The badges or symbols of fourteen apostles.
Andrew, a cross, because he was crucified on a cross shaped like the letter x. Bartholomew, a knife, because he was flayed with a knife.
James the Greater, a scallop-shell, a pilgrim's staff, or a gourd bottle, because he is the patron saint of pilgrims. (See Scallop Shell.)
James the Less, a fuller's pole, because he was killed by a blow on the head with a pole, dealt him by Simeon the fuller.
John, a cup with a winged serpent flying out of it, in allusion to the tradition about Aristodemos, priest of Diana, who challenged John to drink a cup of poison. John made the sign of a cross on the cup, Satan like a dragon flew from it, and John then drank the cup, which was quite innocuous.
Judas Iscariot, a bag, because he had the bag and “bare what was put therein” (John xii. 6). Jude, a club, because he was martyred with a club.
Matthew, a hatchet or halbert, because he was slain at Nadabar with a halbert. Matthias, a battle-axe, because he was first stoned, and then beheaded with a battle-axe. Paul, a sword, because his head was cut off with a sword. The convent of La Lisha, in Spain, boasts of possessing the very instrument.
Peter, a bunch of keys, because Christ gave him the “keys of the kingdom of heaven.” A cock, because he went out and wept bitterly when he heard the cock crow. (Matthew xxvi. 75.)
Philip, a long staff surmounted with a cross, because he suffered death by being suspended by the neck to a tall pillar.
Simon, a saw, because he was sawn to death, according to tradition. Thomas, a lance because he was pierced through the body, at Meliapour, with a lance.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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