Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Fasces

Fasces, in ancient Rome, were twigs of birch or elm bound together in a bundle, and containing an axe, the head of which projected from them. They were carried by lictors (q.v.) before the consuls, preetors, dictator, and master of the horse, and in the provinces before the quaestors. When a general had been "saluted as imperator" by his soldiers in consequence of a victory, his fasces were wreathed with laurel. Probably they were of Etruscan origin, and they were carried before the Roman kings.