The double-headed eagle has long been a popular symbol associated with the concept of a powerful Empire. Most contemporary uses of the symbol are exclusively associated with its use by the Byzantine Empire and the Greek Orthodox Church. However, the double-headed eagle has been in use for thousands of years before the Greeks identified it with the Byzantine Empire and Orthodox religion – while its original meaning is debated among scholars.
The eagle was a common symbol representing power in ancient Greek city-states. In Greek mythology, there was an implication of a 'dual-eagle' concept in the tale that Zeus let two eagles fly East and West from the ends of the world with them eventually meeting in Delphi thus proving it to be the center of the earth.
According to many historians, however, the two-headed eagle appears to be of Hittite origin. Early examples of the symbol come from the Hittite empire in central Anatolia, where two-headed eagles can be found on seals and also on sculptures.
Interestingly, some of those sculptures also have other beasts in their claws and appear to be the symbol of the ruler standing on it. Thus, the two-headed eagle could have been the symbol of the tribe of the ruler but also of the ruler himself.
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