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The New International Encyclopædia/Eagle (standard)

EAGLE. A military standard, adopted by the Romans, and even by nations preceding them in history. The Persians, in the time of Cyrus the Younger, bore an eagle on a spear as a standard. The Romans for some time used the eagle, the wolf, the boar, the horse, and the minotaur for standards, but afterwards abandoned the last four and confined themselves to the eagle. The Roman eagle, sometimes of gold, but more frequently of silver, was about as large as a pigeon with extended wings, and was borne on the top of a spear, with a cross-bar or a shield to support it. Some of the eagles were represented as holding thunderbolts in their talons, and usually bore the name of the legion to which they severally belonged.