A Symbol of France: The Gallic Rooster (Le Coq Gaulois Et La France)

What are the symbols that represent France on the international podium? How did the Gallic rooster, one of the special symbols, become a symbol? There are some historical and religious reasons for the becoming a symbol of Gallic rooster. Read the article “A Symbol of France: The Gallic Rooster (Le Coq Gaulois Et La France)” (Specific article) by PerEXP Teamworks, in which Bektaş Yiğit Kaplan discusses the Gallic rooster’s becoming an important figure for France and the French people!

APA 7: Kaplan, B. Y. (2022, April 22). Fransa’nın Bir Sembolü: Galya Horozu (Le Coq Gaulois Et La France). PerEXP Teamworks. [Article Link]

Symbols of France and their meanings

France, which is located in Western Europe and has the largest area in the European Union, has many famous symbols. Marianne, the symbol of the Revolution, is known for her Phrygian cap, representing France and the motto “Liberty, fraternity, equality” (FR: “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité”); the French flag (FR: Le drapeau), which has the white associated with French monarchism in the middle and the blue and red colors representing Paris on both sides; the Gallic or Gaelic rooster (FR: Le Coq Gaulois); the Bastille Day on July 14, celebrated every year as the “Bastille Prison Raid” in the 1789 Revolution (FR: Prise de la Bastille); The French seal (FR: Le Grand Sceau de France), which has been accepted since September 8, 1848, and is still used on few and far between occasions, such as the amendment or signing of the constitution (FR: Le Grand Sceau de France)… Apart from all these, other symbols are regional. However, in this article, we will touch on the part about why the government and people of France use the Gallic rooster symbolically.

It is possible to see the great seal of France made in the Second Republic (FR: Le Grand Sceau de France), the Gallic rooster at the bottom right.

How the Gallic rooster became a symbol

Firstly, it should be known that the Gallic rooster is an official (Unofficial by some sources) symbol, but today it is used as an emblem in sports competitions. From the many eagle and feline emblems, the rooster puts the French teams forward. There are some historical and religious reasons for the becoming a symbol of Gallic rooster. There is another reason out of history and religion: The Latin word “Gallus” means both “Rooster” and “Inhabitant of Gaul (A region that included the borders of modern-day France, Belgium, and Switzerland)”. In addition, the rooster was first used by the British -later other nations- to mock the Gauls, but the people adopted this animal, which is cheerful, boastful, quarrelsome, and proud. There is no doubt that religious feelings are also influential in this adoption, which is reflected in the coins of the Gauls. Foremost, in the Bible, the rooster is considered an intelligent animal and, in some places, represents Jesus. Cock crowing represents the transition from evil to good in Christianity, from laziness to wakefulness and activity; in Islam, it is transmitted as “The enemy of the enemy of Allah” and is the Muslim’s wake-up call for prayer time. Even roosters are mentioned in Sahih-i Bukhari, which is a hadith book.

The Rooster Cage located in the Élysée Palace

From the end of the twelfth century, the Germans also used the Gallic cock to mock the French. In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the rooster was used -again- by the Italians, who were hostile to the French, and by the English in the Hundred Years’ War. Despite this, the rooster symbol was used on canvases, books, royal statues, and coins in the Renaissance, when artists and scientists learned about Gallic history. After a certain period, although it created connotations such as anger, lust, and stupidity among the people -until the French Revolution- the rooster figure was brought to meanings such as “Development, power” and corrected its image by representing liberation from the Ancien Régime (EN: Decrepit Regime) behind nationalist feelings during the Revolution and the Bastille Raid. On the other hand, Emperor Napoleón rejected the figure of the rooster, saying: “The rooster has no power; it cannot be the image of an empire like France.”, According to him, the eagle, “The ruler of the skies”, should be the actual symbol of France.

After the Revolution, left other symbols such as the white lily or the eagle behind, the rooster symbol took its place on the uniform buttons of soldiers and became a representative of France in the First World War at least as much as in the Revolution. Although its history is old, it is still possible to come across the rooster figure.

It is possible to come across such Gallic rooster figures in the emblems of the French National Team, the French National Rugby Team, and the sportswear store Le Coq Sportif.

NOTE: There is also a story involving Julius Caesar about becoming the Gallic rooster a symbol; however, this detail is not mentioned in the article.


  1. WIKIPEDIA ENTRY Symbolisme du coq. (2022, October 14). In Wikipedia. [Wikipedia France]
  2. WEBSITE Deluzarche, C. (2022, December 8). Pourquoi la France est-elle représentée par un coq?. Futura. [Futura]
  3. REPORT BY A GOVERNMENT AGENCY Élysée. (n.d.). Les symboles. Élysée [Élysée]
  4. WIKIPEDIA ENTRY Gallic rooster. (2022, December 18).  In Wikipedia. [Wikipedia English]
  5. WIKIPEDIA ENTRY Marianne. (2022, December 24). In Wikipedia. [Wikipedia France]
  6. WEBSITE FranceOlympique.com. Du roi au peuple, histoire du coq gaulois. (n.d.). FranceOlympique.com. [France Olympique]

This translation was made by Ahmet Ege Çarıkçıoğlu.

The usage rights and distribution of this work belong to PerEXP Teamworks.

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