Use of The Eagle From Ancient Rome to Modern-Day U.S.

The use of the eagle as a trope in the media is widely known and very recognizable. The eagle, especially when used in the media is commonly associated with being a symbol of the United States. Specifically, the bald eagle has been the nation’s emblem since 1782. Upon the sight of a bald eagle, some Americans will get an overwhelming sense of pride. While the bald eagle is native to North America, the eagle, in general, has been a symbol of nations all over the world for centuries. Ancient Babylonians, Egyptians, Persians, Greeks and Romans have used the eagle in a symbolic nature for their countries and their armies. Some Native Americans also considered the eagle to be sacred and used its feathers for headdresses.

This 1800-year-old statue was found in was found buried in an excavation tomb site in London. The statue has since been said to date back to the height of Rome’s control over Britain. This statue is 26 inches tall and carved out of limestone. It pictures an image of an eagle holding a struggling serpent in its beak. We can also see the large wings of the bird and the talons. A common meaning of the use of the eagle is strength. While the eagle was a symbol of the entire Roman empire, it was also used as a symbol during funerals or at cemeteries. It is possible that this statue represents the struggle of good against evil; the eagle against the serpent. The eagle is not solely seen as a symbol of strength, but it is also seen as a religious symbol for many different faiths. The eagle was sacred to the god Jupiter, who was the highest god of the Roman people.

This poster entitled “Keep Him Free” was designed by Charles Livingston Bull in 1918. The goal of this poster was to convince American citizens to buy savings stamps, which are similar to savings bonds to help finance the country during World War One. In the picture, we can see the eagle with an open beak, perched on top of what appears to be enemy planes. There are also American planes that are visible but they are not within the grasp of the eagle’s talons. Here, the eagle represents freedom and strength. When this was created in 1918, the war was coming to a close but the country still had to be able to finance the rest of it, and by using this poster, they are almost able to use a slight scare tactic on the citizens. If they did not help pay for the war, then there was the chance that our freedom would be taken away.

This is an image of an illustration from a comic book that was published shortly after the September eleventh attack in New York City. There is an American flag present in the background and an image of Superman in the foreground with an American Eagle on his arm. Superman himself is seen as a symbol of strength, but with the added element of the eagle, the theme of strength becomes more prevalent.

For centuries the symbol of the eagle has represented strength, perseverance and freedom and appears in many different forms of media and art.


“[Comic Book Illustration Depicting Superman with a Bald Eagle on His Arm against an American Flag Background, Following the September 11th Terrorist Attacks on the United States] / A. Olivetti.” The Library of Congress,

Ovmp. “KEEP HIM FREE, Original WW1 War Savings Stamps Poster.” Original Vintage Movie Posters, 30 Mar. 2017,

Smith-Spark, Laura. “London Archaeologists Find Roman Eagle Statue.” CNN, Cable News Network, 30 Oct. 2013,