Eagle as a Symbol in Iqbal’s Poetry

The remarkable strength and courage of the eagle have inspired mankind throughout the ages. In ancient times the battles between the sun and the clouds were considered as battles between an eagle and a serpent and the eagle was held in awe and worshiped for its majestic figure and superb qualities. Because of their strength, eagles have been a mark of war and imperial power since Babylonian times. In Assyrian myths the eagle was the symbol of storms and lightning and the god who carried souls to Hades.

In India and Babylon the eagle was the symbol of fire, wind and storms, and regarded as the messenger of immortality. In the Golden Age of Greece, it was the emblem of victory and supreme spiritual energy. The eagle was the sacred bird of Zeus, the ruler of all gods. The Greeks represented eagles with wings outstretched, holding a serpent in their claws, which signified the triumph of good over evil. In Rome, an eagle was the symbol of Jupiter, the supreme god. For the Romans the eagle was the sign of victory. As Roman legions conquered the world, they marched under the standard of the eagle, with outstretched wings.

It was the only bird believed to be capable of staring at the sun, which mythology held to be the light of God. Eagle was the personal emblem of the Caesars who represented supreme authority. Afterwords, in the Middle Ages, it became the symbol of Germany. Hunting with an eagle was an outstanding sport in Europe but it was permissible only for the kings and monarchs. The rise of Christianity brought still more honor and dignity for the eagles. To the early Christians, the eagle was the symbol of the Ascension. In the early nineteenth century, French troops under Napoleon conquered Europe under the symbol of the eagle.

There is no denying the fact that the eagle upholds its grandeur and stateliness even in the modern times. With its acute eyesight, the eagle has come to embody an all-seeing EYE. The eagle is often a solar symbol, and is generally linked to all sky gods. It signifies inspiration, release from bondage, victory, longevity, speed, pride, agility and royalty; it is often an emblem for powerful nations. Since it lives in full light of the sun, it is considered luminous and shares characteristics with air and fire The Roman, French, Austrian, German, and American peoples have all adopted this image as their symbol. Through its detachment from earth it represents spirit and soul. Dante calls the eagle as ‘bird of God’. Being a symbol of power and authority, it retains a prominent place in America as was in ancient Rome. In American culture, the eagle is a symbol of great courage, strength and freedom. The emblems of the President, Vice President, several members of the Cabinet, and most branches of the armed forces center on the eagle. The Apollo 11 crew chose “Eagle” as the name for the first lunar landing module. Man was on the moon with the words of Eagle Scout Neil Armstrong: “Houston, Tranquility Base here — The Eagle has landed”.

In 1911, following a tradition as old as man himself, the Boy Scouts of America chose the eagle to symbolize the highest achievement. In short, since the beginning of time, man has been using the eagle as a symbol of power, victory, authority, royalty and valor. And throughout the history, the eagle is profoundly associated with man’s triumph, valor and victory.

The qualities that are attributed to a symbol may or may not be realistic or accurate. But in any case, a symbol is chosen to represent qualities or characteristics that in some sense are expressions of the ideals of that culture. Because of its large size, nomadic lifestyle, striking visage, and graceful flight, the eagle has symbolized great power, strength, freedom, elegance, and independence to many cultures throughout history. So an Eagle stands for a nation or a person who soars to the highest realms of truth and knows no fear and no bounds of time and space. It is the