E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
i. Hand (A).
A symbol of fortitude in Egypt, of fidelity in Rome. Two hands symbolise concord; and a hand laid on the head of a person indicates the right of property. Thus if a person laid claim to a slave, he laid his hand upon him in the presence of the prætor. (Aulus Gellius, xx. 19.) By a closed hand Zeno represented dialectics, and by an open hand eloquence.
Previous to the twelfth century the Supreme Being was represented by a hand extended from the clouds; sometimes the hand is open, with rays issuing from the fingers, but generally it is in the act of benediction, i.e. with two fingers raised.