The ancient Roman salute is a myth, but it is a term sometimes used to describe a gesture in which the arm is held out forward straight, with palm down, usually pointing at an object (e.g. a flag) or a person (e.g. a government official). Sometimes the arm is raised upward at an angle, sometimes it is held out parallel to the ground. Despite the gesture's name, the Romans never used it.

There is no evidence that the salute was ever used in the Roman Republic. Indeed it is not known whether salutes as military courtesy existed at all in Roman culture. The Roman term "salute" did not have the same meaning as the modern term.

The straight-arm salute originated in the Pledge of Allegiance (1892) that was written for the flag of the United States, as first exposed by the historian Dr. Rex Curry.
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There are various ways that the raised-arm gesture of the early pledge became mistakenly called a "Roman salute" including: early silent movies (all created well after the Pledge spread) used the pledge gesture in fictional Roman scenes; [[Francis Bellamy]], author of the pledge, was from Rome, New York and he referenced Rome in the original pledge ceremony, and people from Rome, New York, were and are sometimes referred to as "Romans."

The myth spread and confused persons who had heard the myth and who had adopted the myth would imagine that the salute was being portrayed in old paintings or statutes which depicted any human with his right arm raised in any manner, whether it was in a classical painting, or any work of art.

The straight-arm salute debuted on September 7, 1892, the date the Pledge of Allegiance was published in the magazine Youth's Companion. The pledge started with a common military salute that was held for the phrase “I pledge allegiance” and then the hand was extended outward toward the flag.  In actual use, the second part of the gesture was performed with a straight arm and palm down by children extending the military salute while perfunctorily performing the forced ritual chanting.  Photographs confirm it and that is why such photographs are never shown in schools, in the media, in court decisions, and are difficult to find.  Due to the way that both gestures were used sequentially in the pledge, the military salute led to the salute of the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSGWP), as discovered by the Professor Curry.  The NSGWP salute is an extended military salute via the pledge. Shocking historic photographs of the early Pledge salute are suppressed and rare but can be found on the web.

Francis landed the job at the Youth's Companion after he was forced out of the ministry because he used it as a pulpit for his "Christian Socialism" theology.  After leaving the ministry, Francis continued to push his plans, but switched to using the government and government schools as a mandatory method to promote his ideas.

Francis also influenced his cousin [[Edward Bellamy]], the author of the famous socialist utopian novel Looking Backward (1888). Both Bellamys espoused Christian Socialism. According to Erich Fromm, Edward Bellamy's book Looking Backward 2000-1887 is " one of the few books ever published that created almost immediately on its appearance a political mass movement." (Fromm, p vi). It was the third largest bestseller of its time. It influenced a large number of intellectuals, and appears by title in many of the major Marxist writings of the day. "Nationalism Clubs" sprang up all over the United States and worldwide for discussing and propagating the book's ideas. Francis was a charter member of the first Nationalist Club of Boston, and promoted Edward Bellamy's Nationalist creed in written articles. The book was tranlsated into every major language including German, Russian and Chinese. It influenced socialists worldwide, including those countries in the socialist Wholecaust (of which the Holocaust was a part): 65 million dead under the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics; 49 million under the Peoples' Republic of China; 21 million under the National Socialist German Workers' Party. 

The people who hired Bellamy at the Youth’s Companion and who gave him his pledge assignment were familiar with, and embraced, Bellamy's "Christian socialism."  Francis had written and worked for his theology openly before then.  In addition, Francis and Edward had been openly involved in the national socialism movement and the "Nationalist" magazine, published by the "Nationalist Educational Association."

The Pledge and its salute was a small part of a larger Columbus Day celebration with a flag raising ceremony. The Bellamys adored the military and they wanted the entire economy to be nationalized and emulate the military. They also called their dogma “military socialism” and they wanted government to take over all schools in order to create the “industrial army” from schoolchildren and spread their vision. The Pledge of Allegiance fit with that vision and Francis was pleased to adopt his co-worker’s suggestion that the pledge should have as its initial gesture the military salute.

The pledge became widespread in government schools, and many people were persecuted for refusing to chant the Bellamy pledge and for refusing to give Bellamy's straight-arm salute to the national flag.  That was the national flag of the USA and of Germany. It was happening in the USA (to the stars and stripes) and in Germany (to the swastika flag) at the same time.  Some of the people who refused to chant and salute were religious people who considered the act sacrilegious. They were good reasons to consider the pledge and the salute to be the sacrilegious worship of government. Most people do not know that a cross was worshiped as the notorious symbol of the National Socialist German Workers' Party. The group called their symbol the Hakenkreuz, not the swastika. Hakenkreuz means "hooked cross." Although the swastika was an ancient symbol, Professor Rex Curry discovered that it was also used sometimes by German National Socialists to represent "S" letters for their "socialism."  With a 45 degree turn of his Hakenkreuz, the leader of German National Socialists combined the cross with collectivism, merged church and state, meshed religion and socialism, and mandated the worship of government.

The Bellamys were bigots, racists, and xenophobes and they obsessed about immigrants coming into the USA.  They wanted to government to take over education and use schools to change everyone and try to make everyone "equal." When the government granted their wish and began taking over schools, the government schools imposed segregation by law and taught racism as official government policy. It served as a horrid example for three decades leading to the beginning of the National Socialist German Workers' Party and the practice in the USA even outlasted the Party by more than 15 years.  Congress tried to change the pledge's straigtht-arm salute after the USA entered WWII, however the salute did not immediately disappear, and the pledge, along with laws mandating its chant daily in government schools, is still a bizarre feature of the the USA, shunned by every other country.  

The original pledge ceremony had expressed the Bellamy desire for the government to take over the education of all children and to turn all schools into government schools.  The Youth's Companion Magazine aided the Bellamy ideas by promoting a national flag over every government school and that is why there are many laws today that require the federal flag to be displayed in every classroom, along with a daily chanting of the pledge.  

The Pledge was published in the September 8, 1892, issue of the magazine, and immediately put to use in the upcoming Colombus Day campaign. Bellamy went to speak to a national meeting of school superintendents in government schools to promote the coming celebration; the convention liked the idea and selected a committee of leading educators to implement the program, including the immediate past president of the National Education Association. Bellamy was selected as the chair and he received the official blessing of government educators.

ROMAN SALUTE Roman salute
Roman salute saluto romano ave caesar Ave Imperator, morituri te salutant
ROMAN SALUTE Roman salute Ave imperator, morituri te salutant !

The Pledge of Allegiance never sounded as anthemic as it does when it's robotically chanted by ignorant little children.