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The circle inflated with a cross

The glyph is commonly known as the symbol of earth and church . But its history is very changeable. Common names include a cross on the globe or a spherical cross .


The signs Cercle noir 100% .svg, the circle , and Greek cross.svgthe common, four-armed symmetrical cross belong to the elementary graphic signs and can be found individually from the beginning and already combined as petroglyphs in the Magdalenian of the end of the Ice Age ( Mesolithic ), as the signs of man increasingly abstract kick off. They are then referred to as wheel cross Earth symbol.svg or sun wheel Wheel cross.svg and can be found as Egyptian, Minoan or ancient Chinese glyphs, but also in Central America.

In many cultures the circle is interpreted as a halo (nimbus) and became a halo in Christian symbolism from the 2nd century onwards . In depictions of Christ it is consistently executed in the form of the wheel cross as a cross nimbus . Because the lower bar is covered by the head of the glass carrier, the lower bar is lost and the three-bar cross nimbus emerges as an iconographic symbol of Christ .

In addition, the circle is also interpreted as a symbol of the sun or, according to the worldview of antiquity, as orbis terrarum as the globe . With the Middle Ages - according to Isidore, Bishop of Seville (around 560–636) - a map representation of the earth, called the TO card or bike map , spreads , and the shape of the nimbated Tau cross generally becomes the image of the earth, often with it an additional point that represents Jerusalem as the center of the world. Later the sign turned upside down because Rome became the new center of power.

ΙΧθΥΣ and wheel cross , early Christian graffiti , Ephesus

The old emblem of Christianity remains the Christ monogram until the 5th century Simple Labarum2.svg, which is nimbly depicted as a medallion , and also simplified as a six-spoke wheel and even as an eight- or four-spoke wheel cross - for example on early Christian sarcophagi. Only after the end of antiquity does the cross become a sign of Christianity, and first of all the Greek cross , a common cross (today's Latin cross is younger). Since then, the consecration cross has been an apostolic and papal cross.

In the course of the early Middle Ages, the three symbol complexes begin to merge, and "Christ as Lord of the World" is depicted with the nimbed dew cross or wheel cross raised by a cross. When the discipleship of Christ finally passed to the Bishop of Rome , this sign passed to the papal see. With the agreement of the cycling map, but also the establishment of the simple halo towards the end of the Middle Ages, the symbol that is still used today is finally formed.

Usage today

Astronomical and astrological symbol

Earth symbol.svgwe also Earth astrological symbol.svgstand in astronomy for the earth as a heavenly body . However, the first sign has become unusable. In early astrology , a symbol of the earth cannot occur because the earth is not a heavenly body in this world view and is not represented: The first sign symbolizes the 'center' in the geocentric world view . Today's use in astrology for earth takes over the astronomical abbreviation.

Eris-symbol-Poland.svg, a variant with a cross instead of a Greek cross is also discussed in astrology as a possible symbol for the dwarf planet (136199) Eris , which was discovered in 2005 . However, this has not yet caught on.

Religious emblems and heraldry

Emblem of the Carthusian Order

The sign is also common in Christian heraldry :

  • From the icon of Christ the Lord of the world, the developed orb - here are found both on the orb of the Holy Roman Empire with its issued bands, as well as in heraldic images Radkreuz- and Taukreuzformen again.
  • In the original version, it can also be found in the Carthusian coat of arms : Stat crux, dum volvitur orbis ('The cross is fixed while the world is turning').
  • The logo of the German Association of Evangelical Youth has been using the simple, more modern symbol since the Second World War. It can be found in many evangelical organizations, and as a golden ball cross as an award.

In addition, there remains a Earth astrological symbol.svggeneral symbol for church and is used in the legend of cards for church buildings .


The Alchemy used for earth (as an element of classical element ) but the character Alchemy earth symbol.svg, Antimony-symbol.svgrepresents antimony , an estimated basis for the production of mineral elements and transversely deleted for cinnabar . Here it in no way follows the Christian symbolism; However, the roots of the alchemical shorthand spelling are consistently unclear, so that it is not known what motivation the signs for antimony and similar graphic signs are based on.

Character encoding

The character can be found as ♁ U + 2641 (9793 decimal) EARTH in the Unicode block Various symbols . In addition to the form Earth astrological symbol.svgthat is used in the character table of the Unicode standard, there are also fonts that give this character other forms, such as Earth symbol.svg.

See also


Web links

Commons : Earth Symbols  - collection of images, videos, and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Lit. Signs and symbols . Prehistory and Early History, p. 14 (No. 30).
  2. Lit. Signs and symbols . Christian symbols, p. 92 (nos. 393, 394).
  3. Lit. Signs and symbols . Christian symbols, p. 92 (No. 396).
  4. a b lit. Signs and symbols . Christian symbols, p. 78 (numbers 334-336).
  5. Lit. Signs and symbols . Magical signs and symbols, p. 104 (No. 413).
  6. Zane B. Stein: Chiron and Friends - Eris. Retrieved May 30, 2015 . (Website of an American astrologer)
  7. Lit. Signs and symbols . Magical signs and symbols, p. 110 (No. 468).
  8. Lit. Signs and symbols . Magical signs and symbols, p. 116 (No. 552).
  9. Lit. Signs and symbols . Magical signs and symbols, p. 124 (No. 622).
  10. Unicode Consortium (Ed.): Miscellaneous Symbols (2600–26FF) . ( pdf ).