crescent

Latin: crescere, to increase

The name given to that part of the moon which can be seen during the first quarter, when the moon is apparently increasing. The representation of the crescent moon was from ancient times the symbol of Byzantium (now Constantinople). After Byzantium was taken by the Turks in 1453, the crescent became the emblem of Turkish power. The crescent thus came to represent the forces of Mohammedanism as opposed to the Cross, the emblem of Christianity. However, the crescent also appears in Christian art under the figure of Our Lady in reference to Apocalypse 12: “A woman clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet.”