Automata have been associated with European mechanical clocks from their earliest development. Seventeenth-century Augsburg clockmakers specialized in small, domestic versions. A free city of the Holy Roman Empire, Augsburg owed allegiance directly to the Hapsburg Holy Roman emperors. The eagle, an emblem of the Hapsburgs, thus had special meaning for Augsburg clockmakers; note the stiff, heraldic pose of the bird, with its crown and scepter. When the clock strikes the hour, the scepter moves, and at the quarters, the eagle opens and shuts its beak and rolls its eyes.