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Why is the cockerel the symbol of France, and why is it the traditional shape of the weather vanes?


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Le Coq Gaulois, "The Gallic Rooster," is apparently based on the Latin pun gallus, a word which has two meanings: a Gaul, & a rooster or cockerel. In the Middle Ages the enemies of France used the pun to make fun of them, but later kings of the country drew Christian associations from the emblem, basing it on the New Testament scene in which a rooster crows just after Jesus' disciple Peter denies him. As a Roman Catholic symbol of watchfulness during the Renaissance period, roosters became weathervanes (or "weathercocks") so that they could "watch out" for wind and weather. After the French Revolution, the anti-royal republicans, in their desire to refute the tradition that it was upon the baptism of France's first Christian king (at the onset of the Middle Ages) that the cockerel their [unofficial] national symbol, instead traced it back to the Roman occupation of Gaul, even though Gaul was at that time not a unified nation, nor did the loose confederation of tribes whom the Romans called Galli identify themselves by this animal at all.