Crosses, in general, have been popularly used as tattoo designs. These are symbols of religions, spirituality, and for a few art enthusiasts they hold a mysterious deeper meaning. Maltese cross tattoos originate from Malta island of Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order, belonging to St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta, which is commonly known as Sovereign Order of Malta. This organization is similar to Red Cross, but it has a medieval history of caring for the wounded knights. It was established in 1099 in Jerusalem by armies of First Crusade to look after the pilgrims in the Holy Land. The monastic community later evolved to perform military functions in order to protect the helpless and their territories. It was Fra Raymond du Puy who first introduced the Maltese cross as their symbol. The white cross with a red cross, inset, is the emblem of the community even today and hence, these crosses are unknown to have a fascinating history to its name.
Maltese Firefighter Cross
The most commonly searched and drawn Maltese cross tattoo designs is the firefighter tattoo. The firefighter tattoo represents the firefighter's courage and bravery. It symbolizes the wearer's desire to face fears, overcome obstacles and win the losing battles. A firefighter's tattoo is also worn as an ode to those who lost their lives, saving others. A firefighter cross most importantly represents, the knights who fought fire to save those who would have lost their lives otherwise.
Maltese Celtic Cross
The Celtic and Maltese cross conform to similar logic and meanings due to similarity in patterns. Their interchangeable patterns and designs make them mimic the same complexity of nature, cycles of life, and changing seasons. Crosses, since time immemorial, have been associated with worship and religious symbols. Most of the Celtic tattoos have been derived from the Book of Kells or the Book of Durrow. Maltese crosses, such as the eight pointer cross represents loyalty, piety, generosity, courage, glory and honor, helpfulness, and respect for the Church.
Mistaken Maltese Cross
The Iron Cross is misconstrued as Maltese cross by many. This tattoo is for long been associated with Germany's triumph and courage. This powerful military awards of all time, was introduced by King Friedrich Wilhelm III. The decoration came at the time of Prussian War of Liberation against Napoleon. The Iron Cross was rediscovered in WWI, to decorate the five million soldiers for acts of heroism, bravery, and leadership. In 1939, Hitler was awarded one for resurrecting the glory of bygone days.
The Maltese cross is known to be used in the 11th century on Angby Stone. This is a memorial which exhibits the runic cross with intertwining snakes around it. The Maltese cross also has a deviation extending to Iron cross, which is actually a cross cast in iron. This cross designed by using four triangles is also embossed on the back of one and two Euro coins. The Maltese crosses have been used by various armed forces around the globe as emblems. For instance, this cross is used by the Garhwal Rifles of the Indian Army, in Spain it is used as symbol of Medical Corps, in Malta as a symbol of Maltese civil ensign, and in France as a symbol of AJ Auxerre.
At the end, whether these Maltese cross designs are used by the knights, military forces, or by medical corps, the fact remains that they intrigue many for various reasons. The symmetric simplicity that the designs exhibit, is good enough reason for them to create an alluring appeal on your sleeve!