The meaning of the swastika and its origins are discussed here in this classic 1880 presentation by Girard de Rialle to the Anthropology Society of Paris. De Rialle points out that the swastika was regarded as a good luck charm in ancient times and has been found on numerous objects uncovered at prehistoric sites throughout Europe, Asia Minor, and India. With respect to the swastika’s origin, de Rialle provides evidence that the swastika’s hook shape represents the weapon of the god of lightning (Thor, Zeus, Jupiter for the Scandinavians, Greeks, and Romans respectively).
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