Diamond Iron Cross Pendant
Forget all other previous meanings, the Iron Cross today means that you are part of the chopper world, whether it is riding them, building them, or in some other capacity. Having said that, here is more of a historical view on the Iron and Maltese Crosses:
Since man has had the capacity to understand religion, religious beliefs have played a large role in war and conflicts: from the crusades, through the American Revolution, World War II, Vietnam and present day Iraq, including every battle in between and those yet to come. Due to the impact religious beliefs have on military altercations it seems only natural that religious symbolism be used in military decoration of all types. With every battle being fought for "God and country" it is only logical that some of the most honorable military decorations and awards in the world contain religious symbols. The cross, though used in several variations, is the most widely used religious symbol in military decoration.
Of all the military crosses, the most infamous is Germany's IRON CROSS. Thanks to the negative impact Adolf Hitler has left upon civilization, the Iron Cross has become somewhat tainted. Prior to Hitler it had always been a glorious medal that represented bravery and heroism. It seems to be making a comeback as a symbol of bravery and individualism over the past few decades.
The Iron Cross is quite often confused with the Maltese Cross. The shape of each cross actually evolved from the cross pat`ee; the Iron Cross retains the actual shape of the cross pat`ee, the Maltese cross however has deep V cuts into each arm of the cross forming the eight-pointed cross of the Knights of Malta.
The significant difference between the two remains in their meaning and place in history.
The Maltese Cross
The definition of a Maltese Cross is one which conforms to a strict definition ("a cross of made from four straight lined pointed arrowheads, meeting at their points, with the ends of the arms consisting of indented 'v's") is without doubt a Christian symbol. However before examining the use of the cross described as "Maltese", the meaning of the cross needs to be considered.
The Cross as a Christian Symbol.
The cross is a symbol adopted to remind Christians of our Lord's saving death - and with an empty cross his resurrection! Otherwise it is a quite neutral symbol, often in its form of equal sized arms, used in art due to the symmetry of design. Even as used by Christians, Christian artists have been inspired to produce many variations on the theme. Christian countries used the cross as the main symbol of decorations awarded to those who served the nation.
The Maltese cross, used as an identifying insignia on the habit of the Knights of Malta, was for the purpose of identifying themselves from their enemies. The Knights of Malta, also known as the Knights of St. John or the "hospitialers" was a religious order founded by Amalfitian merchants around the year 1070. The purpose of the order was to aid and care for pilgrims making the journey to the Holy Land. In 1136 the knights became a fully militarized order. The Knights driven out of Syria had been fleeing years of persecution by Islamic forces acquired Malta as their Sovereign Land from Charles V of Spain in 1530. This is...