What does it mean?
The symbol at the foot of this cross puzzled us for seven months, until somebody kindly posted the answer through the dialog box below. Before that, we had only a few ideas:
A cross atop an orb is not unusual. It represents royalty; either spiritually or earthly (see Globus Cruciger) but in this case, the circle seems neither to represent the world nor anyone particularly regal. There are three elements that appear to be:
- A man's head wearing a helmet. Is he a custodian or guardian? Usually a sentinel looks outwards to see who/what is approaching but this man is looking inwards. Does the type of helmet indicate a rank? Is this one of a series of symbols where the figure is wearing a helmet, or a crown, or bare-headed, etc?
- He is standing behind battlements. Their relatively small size implies they are there to support the function of the man, rather than being a main feature of the symbol. One of our younger contributors has suggested this represents a castle. heaven perhaps?
- A double circle encloses the symbol. This may be simply a decorative border with no meaning.
All complete conjecture and none of which helps answer the fundamental question: To which society, if any, does this belong?
Well, we've since found out that the battlements are part of the logo from the Finnish Defence Forces (see www.mil.fi/english).
Sandwiched between its former master of Sweden (12th to 19th centuries) and its later master of Russia (after 1809), Finland's current independence (since 1917) has been considered a treasure worth protecting and defending. Their troops fought hard against the Russians in the Winter War (1939-1940), followed by the Continuation War (1941-44) and the Lapland War (1944-1945).
Since then, the Finnish military has participated in numerous UN peace keeping operations. These have been significant contributions but nowhere near the sacrifices made in the Second World War. It is the 1940s which remain the most poignant memories for Finns, especially now, since very few WWII veterans survive.
An association of veterans exists to help former servicemen in the twilight of their lives. This association is called Suomen Sotaveteraaniliitto, and it is their logo we see at the foot of this symbol.