Biker Symbol: History of The Maltese Cross

With so many symbols and designs that are so closely associated to bikers and their community, I thought it might be interesting to take a look at some biker symbols and we they came from.

The first design I thought I’d take a look at is the maltese cross. A design that has been around for at least 500 years as near as I have been able to find out.

For those who aren’t already aware, the cross does in fact relate to the cross that Jesus died on and was adopted by the Knights Hospitaller, a group of christian warriors. The first evidences of the cross came when they were in Malta, and thus became known as the Maltese Cross.

This use as a christian symbol has largely been lost in modern times and is now used in a number of places by various different groups, ie. not just bikers. For example, it is used on the one and two Euro coins since 2008.

In France it is used by the AJ Auxerre football club and is worn on their shirts. It is used by the military Medical Corps in Spain. As a symbol for many Rifle Regiments in the U.K., as well as by the Neath Rugby Club, and on rail tickets. It is used by the St John Ambulance service in both the U.K. and Australia. The Australian state of Queensland has it on their flag, badge and coat of arms, and the state of Victoria has it as the official symbol of the Country Fire Authority.

Okay, so it has a varied use in many different places, but what does it actually represent (other than the Christian cross)? The eight points of the four arms are said to represent the eight points of courage. These being loyalty, piety, generosity, bravery, glory and honor, contempt of death, helpfulness towards the poor and the sick, and Respect for the church.

Well, most people won’t see a link there between what the points symbolize and bikers, but in my experience you’d be surprised how many bikers do fulfill a lot of those virtues.

In closing I should point out that the St John Ambulance service does have a different list of what the points represent, but I like the ones I’ve stated above better

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