OΡΦEOC BAKKIKOC. Del 6 – inskriptionen

OΡΦEOC BAKKIKOC. Del 1
OΡΦEOC BAKKIKOC. Del 2
OΡΦEOC BAKKIKOC. Del 3
OΡΦEOC BAKKIKOC. Del 4
OΡΦEOC BAKKIKOC. Del 5
OΡΦEOC BAKKIKOC. Del 6
OΡΦEOC BAKKIKOC. Del 7
OΡΦEOC BAKKIKOC. Del 8
OΡΦEOC BAKKIKOC. Del 9
OΡΦEOC BAKKIKOC. Del 10

Efter att ha visat att inget i utformningen, vad gäller teknik och kunnighet hos den som tillverkat föremålet, ger upphov till misstanke; och efter att ha visat att de invändningar mot att föremålet är äkta genom att det skulle avvika från andra äldre föremål inte utgör något säkert tecken, emedan antika paralleller till alla företeelser står att finna, avser jag nu att granska ytterligare enskilda omständigheter som i stället tyder på att föremålet passar mycket bra in i antikens värld.

Attilio Mastrocinque har funnit två bortglömda smycken med inskriptionen Orfeos Bakchikos. I artikeln ”Orpheos Bakkhikos” (på italienska)[1] återger han ritade avbildningar av dessa båda smycken och de finns återgivna här inunder.

Han skriver att det på Biblioteca Marucelliana i Florens finns en handskriven anteckningsbok tillhörande den florentinske senatorn Filippo Buonarroti (1661–1733); en anteckningsbok som går att datera till tiden 1700–1731. I denna finns en uppteckning av flera romerska och florentinska samlingar av ädelstenar, med uppgifter om typ av sten, vem som ägde den och eventuella inskriptioner. Den övre avbildningen av de två ovan återgivna, sägs vara en karneol och finns upptecknad på baksidan av blad 33 med beteckningen nr 578. På baksidan av blad 44 finns en annan sten av samma material och med samma inskription upptagen. Det finns inte angivet vem ägaren var till den övre stenen och det är därför troligt att det var Buonarroti själv. Mastrocinque spekulerar över att den kanske kommer från någon kristen katakomb i Rom eftersom andra föremål visar prov på förkristen hedendom och man på 1600-talet gjorde många utgrävningar i katakomberna.

Noterbart är också att orden är uppdelade på tre rader på båda smyckena och likadant också på ORFEOS BAKKIKOS-stenen. Till höger ses den teckning av stenen som A. Becker gjorde år 1921 åt Robert Eisler. Stavningen är dock inte identisk. Ehuru det på smyckena skrevs BAKXIKOS, vilket är riktigt, står det på stenen till höger felaktigt BAKKIKOS. I båda fallen är också OΡΦEOC felstavat. Det ska alltså inte vara ”OΡΦEOC BAKKIKOC” (Orfeos Bakkikos) om det ska vara korrekt grekiska utan ”OΡΦEYC BAKXIKOC” (Orfeus Bakchikos). Orfeos i stället för Orfeus (Ὀρφεύς) får ses som en så kallad hyperkorrektion utifrån föreställningen att grekiska namn som regel slutar på -os och latinska på -us. Men just Orfeus skrivs med us-ändelse på grekiska. Det är litet som i svenskan där man kan se kattor, grejor och kollegor, trots att det heter katter, grejer och kolleger. Men or-ändelse låter litet finare medan er-ändelse ofta är ett talspråksuttal på ord som slutar på ”or”.

På grekiska heter guden Βάκχος, alltså Bakchos. Men på ORFEOS BAKKIKOS-stenen har grekiskans chi (Χ, χ) ersatts med ett kappa (Κ, κ). Francesco Carotta föreslår att detta betyder att den som gjort denna inskription var en person som hade latin som modersmål men ändå kunde grekiska på grund av grekiskans ställning som dåvarande världsspråk.[2] I latinet finns inte språkljudet ch svarande mot grekiskans chi (Χ, χ). Samtidigt används X i latin för ett annat språkljud, nämligen ks, precis som i svenskan. Bokstaven ”K” föll relativt tidigt ur bruk i latinet och i stället kom C att användas för k-ljudet (Cicero uttalades troligen Kickerå och Tacitus Tackitos). Följaktligen faller det sig naturligt för en som har latin som modersmål att på grekiska skriva K för att beteckna det ljud som kanske inte var lätt att uppfatta som ch i övergången från det föregående k:et. Likaså var en latinspråkig van att ändra alla us-ändelser i sitt eget språk till os-ändelser när han skrev på grekiska.

Om nu inte dessa två smycken skulle duga finns också ytterligare ett smycke beskrivet. F. Ficoroni beskrev år 1757 en samling smycken hos Giovan Pietro Bellori (1613–1696) där följande föremål finns avbildat (tabell V, nr. l3):[3]

Och här är exakt samma stavning som på ORFEOS BAKKIKOS-stenen och dessutom även här uppdelat på tre rader med radbrytning på samma ställe.

Spier väljer dock att beteckna alla dessa föremål som förfalskningar. Det faller sig kanske naturligt att göra så emedan man inte gärna kan hävda att ORFEOS BAKKIKOS-stenen är förfalskad medan alla övriga näst intill identiska inskriptioner är äkta. Som jag skrev i ett tidigare inlägg så avfärdar han alla inskriptioner som lyder ORFEOS BAK[X]KIKOS som förfalskningar utifrån att en kollega till honom i Sankt Petersburg sagt att en liknande karneol som uppenbarligen finns i Ryssland inte kändes äkta.[4]

Det finns (eller fanns) med andra ord flera andra inskriptioner som lyder ORFEOS BAKKIKOS eller något liknande; åtminstone två beskrivna av Mastrocinque, en  av Ficoroni och dessutom en i Ryssland. Och visst kan man tänka sig att en eller till och med flera av dessa föremål är förfalskningar, men förfalskningar brukar vara förfalskningar av något äkta. Alltså, varför i sådan omfattning förfalska uttrycket ORFEOS BAKKIKOS såvida det inte redan fanns ett smycke eller liknande med inskriptionen ORFEOS BAKKIKOS? Ty förfalskare brukar härma något redan existerande och äkta för att trovärdiggöra sin förfalskning. Och det är en undermålig vetenskaplig metodik att döma ut sådan som går emot ens uppfattning som förfalskning bara utifrån ens egna föreställningar. Att något ”känns” på ett visst vis lämpar sig innanför kyrkans väggar och bara där.

Jag vill avsluta detta inlägg med att citera Carotta:

”Furthermore the Orpheos Bakkikos need not necessarily be Christian—after all neither is the inscription. Still most opinions that shed doubt on the stone’s authenticity are based on a petitio principii: It is a methodological error to a priori declare something potentially non-Christian as Christian and consequently—instead of looking for possible ancient non-Christian precursors—rather postulate a case of forgery, simply because it contradicts a prefabricated Christian evolutionary pattern.” (Francesco Carotta med hjälp av Arne Eickenberg, Orpheos Bakkikos: The Missing Cross, Isidorianum, Centro de Estudios Teológicos de Sevilla, 2009, nr 35, s. 15)

Roger Viklund, 2011-04-30


[1] Attilio Mastrocinque, Orpheos Bakkhikos, Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 97 (1993) 16–24.

[2] Francesco Carotta med hjälp av Arne Eickenberg, Orpheos Bakkikos: The Missing Cross, Isidorianum, Centro de Estudios Teológicos de Sevilla, 2009, nr 35, s. 23.

[3] Attilio Mastrocinque skriver:

”F.Ficoroni, Gemmae antiquae litteratae, Romae 1757; La tavola del Ficoroni è riprodotta da P.H. Zazoff, Gemmensammler und Gemmenforscher, München 1983, p.118, fig.31. Debbo alla cortesia della dott. F.M. Vanni, della Soprintendenza archeologica di Firenze, la conoscenza di questa gemma, oltre che di molti dati sulle collezioni di antichità fiorentine.” (Attilio Mastrocinque, Orpheos Bakkhikos, Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 97, 1993, s. 20, not 31)

[4]Francesco Carotta skriver:

”In order to make his evaluation appear more credible, he declared other pieces as forgeries too, namely all those that feature either the same posture of the legs or are presented slightly rotated in a three-dimensional perspective, or else bear the same inscription—the relegation of the latter being based solely on a memorandum by a colleague of his from Saint Petersburg, who had informed him that he felt (sic!) that a similar carnelian, which apparently exists in Russia, was not ancient [”he feels the gem is not ancient”]. This is accompanied by other, even more grotesque arguments: Since for example the gem is wrought flawlessly, which alone would be an obvious characteristic of a genuine ancient artefact, it is a fortiori supposed to be a forgery, since forgers tend to work well (sic!).” (Francesco Carotta med hjälp av Arne Eickenberg, Orpheos Bakkikos: The Missing Cross, Isidorianum, Centro de Estudios Teológicos de Sevilla, 2009, nr 35, s. 2)

24 kommentarer

  1. 30 april, 2011 den 13:29

    Managed to read (and, for the most part, comprehend) the series to the end, phew. Thanks for writing this up, the discussion certainly shares similarities with the Secret Mark debate, as you mentioned in the first installment.

    Gilla

    • 30 april, 2011 den 16:14

      Nice to hear from you Timo. I for sure won’t take the same journey on your Finnish articles. There are more similarities between this artefact and Secret Mark, because they both tend to make people emotionally disturbed. In most cases you can put forward the separate arguments pro and con, and discuss them rationally. But then there are certain subjects where these normal conditions are put out of action and two of these subjects are this stone and Secret Mark. But of course, these are the most interesting subjects.

      Gilla

  2. 30 april, 2011 den 17:14

    Thanks, Roger. I have, after all, studied Swedish for a number of years so the task was far from impossible (though not easy).

    This is a rhetorical question, I know, but why would anyone get disturbed by a depiction of a crucified person/god when this form of execution was common enough in the ancient world and would in all likelihood get represented especially in magical amulets and the likes (considering that a person who died a violent death was believed to be useful in the practice of magic)?

    You mentioned in the first part that we have here ”det lilla smycke eller amulett (eller vad det nu är)” — I was wondering if there was anything more concrete we could say about it or about its function?

    Gilla

  3. 1 maj, 2011 den 10:53

    The disturbances are IMO mostly a result of Freke and Gandy’s book The Jesus Mysteries, where they depict an alternative rise of early Christianity as a Jewish Mystery religion. They really not at all did rely on this stone, but they did refer to it as an example, and of course had a painted image of it on the cover of the book, thereby giving the image a symbolic meaning. When you consider the evangelical Christians’ claim that their religion is original and Jesus is the first and only begotten son of God, it becomes frustrating when someone is trying to show that all the “unique” Christian concepts are pagan and often pre-Christian. I have debated with so many Christians who claim that, although the evidence is overwhelming, nothing whatsoever Christian can be shown to have existed among the pagans before Christ. Everything Christian has begun with Jesus and was unknown to humanity before his arrival. An image of a crucified Orpheus, maybe predating all images of the crucified Christ, then immediately becomes a threat.

    I think it is the same thing with Secret Mark, but then there is also another issue. There are people like Ehrman, Price and many others who definitely cannot be “accused” of being evangelical Christians. Still they have often built their careers on a certain way of depicting the history of the rise of Christianity. And then there appears a secret Gospel with a secret teaching which not only gives a new view of early Alexandrian Christianity, but also a new insight into the canon formation and the way the gospels came into being. Normally, I think that this would be something interesting, a way of gaining new knowledge. But IMO its seems like many reject the unknown, things which complicates the puzzle and demolishes most of that which they so-far had thought was the truth.

    I intend to write something about what the stone could have been. There is a hole going right through it and through which you could bring a thread and make it into an item to wear around your neck. It could then have been a pendant or a gem. Still it might have been used as an amulet. Yet, the hole could also have been made afterwards, as it in modern times has become popular to drill through coins and wear them in a thread around your neck. Then there is the possibility presented by Carotta, that it is a crucifixum signum on the apex of the high priest of the deified Julius Caesar, which has been preserved on the Papal and Patriarchal headdresses. It would then have been part of the cult of Divus Iulius, which commenced as the Roman imperial religion in 44 BCE.

    Gilla

  4. Den andre BB said,

    1 maj, 2011 den 12:45

    Ska du gå igenom alla punkter och jämföra med ickekristna korsfästelseavildningar nu?

    Gilla

  5. 1 maj, 2011 den 13:06

    Jag kan inte på rak arm minnas mig ha sett någon antik icke-kristen avbildning av någon på ett kors som liknar denna. Vi har beskrivningar och dessutom några avbildningar av Dionysos och Marsyas (som jag f.ö. själv har fotograferat på Louvren). Men det vore kanske en god tanke att också gå igenom de avbildningar som finns av icke-kristna på påle eller kors. Det finns ju också den korsfästa åsnan.

    Gilla

    • Den andre BB said,

      2 maj, 2011 den 04:28

      Den vet vi väl dock inte om den är ickekristen eller ej. Åsnan.

      Gilla

  6. 2 maj, 2011 den 06:55

    Nej, det vet vi inte. Den vanligaste tolkningen är att avbildningen avser att driva gäck med kristna. Och sedan finns ju också den ännu äldre Pozzuoli graffito http://img169.imageshack.us/img169/6475/pozzuolihv3.jpg

    Gilla

  7. 2 maj, 2011 den 23:11

    Detta är kommentar nummer 666 sedan jag startade bloggen.
    Jag skriver denna kommentar för att rädda mina läsare från odjurets tal. Hädanefter är det fritt fram

    Gilla

  8. Ed-M said,

    18 juni, 2011 den 11:54

    Roger,

    That Pozzuoli Graffito image you have has the Vivat Crux Graffito in it as a watermark. VC is from Pompeii ca. 79 CE. Contrary to popular belief, this graffito is not evidence that there was Christianity in the Roman Empire back then! On the contrary, it is evidence that the Romans provided something to sit on at the expense of horrible pain and total humiliation: for you would drag forward on its tip and it would inevitably ”impale” you by penetrating a certain orifice.

    Gilla

  9. 18 juni, 2011 den 22:57

    Is it this one then?
    Vivat crux

    Gilla

  10. Ed-M said,

    20 juni, 2011 den 07:33

    Yes, that is it. One must look very closely at the pozzuolihv3.jpg image to suss it out. Which is exactly what I did.

    Gilla

  11. 20 juni, 2011 den 11:35

    You seem to be the one Ed-M who is primarily advocating this graffiti. Couldn’t you introduce the rest of us of the background? It would be nice to know where and when it was found, to what time it is dated; what it is considered to represent; how it is preserved (both the actual inscription and how the drawing was made) and everything else which we all like to learn about. This also includes the expression ”Vivat Crux”, which I suppose you construct from the inscription ”V I V”? I know that you have written about this before, but it would be nice to have it all said in a coherent context.

    Gilla

  12. Ed-M said,

    20 juni, 2011 den 23:29

    OK this is going to be the first of two posts.

    It was found in Pompeii, Regio I, insulae 13 by M. Della Corte in July 1958, it was dated to 79 CE at the latest when Vesuvius blew up, it represents a rebus to the reader (may you live a long life on the cross), it was preserved by the volcanic ash and by unknown methods after discovery and may still be seen in an unidentifiable location at the ”Latinarium” presumably in Naples IT. The inscription may have been scratchitti made with a stylus or some other point typical of graffiti in that ancient town. How the drawing (first copy in 1958) was made is unknown to me.

    But here is what I did to create the above image: I copied the found Pozzuloi image that I found and used a simple computer program (MS Paint) to white-out the Pozzuoli Graffito and overpaint the Vivat Crux Graffito watermark in black.

    I found the files http://img169.imageshack.us/img169/6475/pozzuolihv3.jpg and http://img169.imageshack.us/img169/6682/alexmx9.jpg here: http://dir.groups.yahoo.com/group/ANE-2/message/5081 and noticed the watermarks therein. In addition to the Vivat Crux Graffito watermark, I was able to decipher from the two images the following text that was also watermarked:

    subligaculum), which was the Roman and Jewish praxis – but
    he was clothed from his from his head to his knees within an animal
    skin33, perhaps to attract the animals freed in the circus and
    thus end up torn to pieces as described in the mime of the
    ”Laureolus”.34
    This type of cross with a seat is depicted in a graffito at
    Pompeii. In shape it is like that of the crux immissa or ”Latin”
    cross which recalls a ship’s mast. (Fig. 7) Here again on the
    stipes there is a sign that looks like the sedile ”seat” and
    which would also justify the writing VIV superimposed on the
    cross and which might be interpreted as a rebus VIV[AS IN
    CRUCE] (”That you may live a long time on a cross”) on
    the lines of ”IN CROCE FIGARUS” (May you be nailed to the
    cross) found in the same city.

    Ossuary of Giv’at ha-Mivtar

    There has been much debate over the years on the crucifix-
    ion victim found in Jerusalem in an ossuary in the cemetery
    of Giv’at ha-Mivtar. This was not only due to the exceptional
    nature of the find ”unique of the kind because a nail was still

    ____________

    33 Also Tacitus writes of condemned men dressed in animal skins
    (Annales, 15, 44: 2, 13, 1) ”Ferarum tergis contecti,” ”Contectus
    umeros ferina pelle”
    34 On the mime of Laureolus since Caligula’s times, see my study
    La Crocifissione negli spettacoli latini, Coll. Pro Sindone, Roma 1987
    IV, 11-22; V, 18-26; VI, 15-22.
    35 M Della Corte (”Notizie Scavi”, 1958 p. 113) found it in July
    1958 in a house on insula 13 (Regio I) and he interpreted it as
    ”VIV(at crux) V(ivat)”, taking for a V the sign of the stipes. The graf-
    fito may be seen in the…………………………>Latinarium (CIL IV

    The second piece of information I will cite in the second post following.

    Gilla

  13. Ed-M said,

    21 juni, 2011 den 00:07

    Second of two posts.

    I attempted to find some more information on this graffito and I found it in a tome by John Herbert Roper and William C. Weinrich titled The New Testament Age: Essays in Honor of Bo Reicke, Volume 1, Macon GA, Mercer University Press, 1984, pp. 25-26.

    More to the point for our purposes is a scratched figure found in a house on Insula XIII in Region I of Pompeii in 1955:

    VIV
    |
    —+—
    |V
    |

    The excavator of Pompeii, della Corte, took this as proof of the existence of Christians by reading: ”viv(at) crux V(ivat),” which he thought was an acclimation of the cross. 29 Dinkler disputes this interpretation on the grounds that such a development of Pauline and Johannine theology would have been highly improbable at such an early period. 30 However Dinkler does not explain the undisputed existence of this graffito of the sign of the cross. It is very unlikely that this is Jewish ( + or x ), and we have no pagan parallels to (cross with superimposed ”v” below the patibulum) as is the case with (tau-rho symbol) and (chi-rho symbol). If it is not Christian, what is it? I can see no good reason for denying that the figure of the Vivat Crux refers simply to Christ’s death and resurrection. We do not need to find in this figure an elaborate cult of the cross, or development of Pauline or Johannine theology. What we have is a simple acclamation of faith that Jesus, who died on the cross, is alive. The reason that no figure of Jesus appears on the cross is dur to the fact that early Christians had no knowledge of his physical appearance, beyond a few details about his clothes, and they were loath to portray him. While it would be unscientific to bring in the Cross of Herculaneum to support a Christian interpretation of the ”vivat crux” graffito at Pompeii, a view of both crosses independently does not rule out the possibility that they may be Christian and therefore the earliest archaeological witness to the Christian religion in the Roman Empire. Perhaps we should mention here also the similar cross at Pompeii made long ago by Mazois but now lost. 31

    29 della Corte, ”Inscrizione,” 113, 183 pl. 5 no. 181; see also Agnello Baldi, La Pompei Giudaico-Christiana (Di Mauro Editore, 1964) 67.

    30 Dinkler, Signum Crucis, Aufsaetze zum Neue Testament und zur Christlichen Archaeologie, Tuebingen: J.C.B. Mohr, 1967, 144-45.

    31 Francois Mazois, Les Ruines de Pompeii, 4 vols. (Paris, Firmin Didot, 1824-1838), 2:84. If the ‘Sator square’ is Christian and dates from before A.D. 79, as I think it does, then we have a further witness to the use of the cross sign in the first century.

    And this completes the information I was able to come across regarding the Vivat Crux Graffito.

    Gilla

  14. Ed-M said,

    21 juni, 2011 den 03:45

    Correction for the first post ( 20 juni, 2011 den 23:29 ):

    The Vivat Crux should be in the corpus Inscriptionum Latinarium. I found the name of the Corpus in a discussion of the Alexamenos Graffito elsewhere and I reviewed the last line of the watermarked text in the image http://img169.imageshack.us/ing169/6475/pozzuolihv3.jpg side by side with the name of the mane of the multivolume rerernce. My conclusion is that the last sentence of the blockquote should read:

    ”The graffito may be seen in the corpus Inscriptionum Latinarium (CIL IV”

    I hope I’m right.

    That is all.

    Gilla

  15. 25 juni, 2011 den 18:40

    Thanks Ed-M! There is one thing though, which I am unable to figure out. How come that the images you refer to have the “vivat crux”-image hardly visible as a watermark”? Are the images present on the back of the page or on the next page, and the text (which is also visible) is on the other one (either the back of the page or on the next page)?

    Gilla

  16. Ed-M said,

    25 juni, 2011 den 23:38

    You’re welcome, Roger! I do not know why the images show up only as watermarks. I may have something to do with the thickness of the paper on which the images and text were printed. Your guess is as good as mine whether the Vivat Crux was printed on the back of the first page or the page following, and the text on the other one (either the back of the page or the next one). All I know is, the watermarked image and text show up in pozzuolihv3.jpg in one direction with the text in the proper direction, and in alexmx9.jpg in the other direction.

    The manner in which the Vivat Crux is presented in page 25 of Roger and Weinrich’s work cited above led me to believe the Vivat Crux shows up in the proper direction in the Pozzuoli image. Now I am thinking, Roger and Weinrich may have gotten the image backwards! I am not 100% certain, but if that is the case, the image in post 11 should be mirror-imaged horizontally.

    But I did manage to communicate with Antonio Lombatti, the person who posted the images initially and he was able to give me a lead. The volume the images are published in is titled, The Turin Shroud, past, present and future, International Scientific Symposium, Torino 2-5 March 2000, available from Effata Editrice, here. Unfortunately, I could not find a link to purchase it online. So I sent them an email to info@effata.it and I will see if I get a response.

    Gilla

  17. Ed-M said,

    29 juni, 2011 den 23:56

    I got a reply from Effata Editrice. The correspondent said they are out of stock on the book. :(

    Maybe they’ll start a new run if there are enough requests.

    Gilla

  18. 30 juni, 2011 den 00:14

    I also made an unavailing attempt to find it electronically somewhere.

    Gilla

  19. Ed-M said,

    30 juni, 2011 den 22:32

    I also looked for an electronic copy elsewhere, with no luck. I suspect a copy may be found in a library in Italy or the UK. The person who so kindly uploaded those inages initially, I suspect it would be a copyright violation for him to digitize the whole tome.

    Gilla

  20. 27 november, 2011 den 15:20

    It’s much wider than the vertical crossbeam, so it could be just a suppedaneum. But we would need to see the original before drawing any conclusions. At any rate, whether it’s a suppedaneum or a sedile (which I don’t think it is), doesn’t really matter: in both cases it would show that it’s not Christian, because both the footrest and the seat came much later in Christian iconography. Furthermore, crosses were not only used for crucifixions. For the Greeks & Romans they were first and foremost a sign of victory, a tropaeum, also used as a liturgical prop in the Dionysian Mysteries, where they affixed masks or effigies of Dionysus or Liber Pater to the cross. The small lower cross-beam could be a little gadget that was used to better fasten spoils of war, or cultic props, or even rotate the thing (as they did with Caesar’s cross during his funeral). The graffito could as well have been drawn by a Dionysian myst, or by a soldier or veteran, stating: ”I survived”. The Roman tropaeum (incl. the way to fasten props etc.) has been perpetuated in Christian tradition as the tropaeum holding the arma Christi:

    http://ex.typepad.com/.a/6a0105350453e8970c01156ffbb0e0970b-500wi

    To a priori assume that the ”vivat crux” is about an execution, is false and based on nothing but Christian or (tangentially Christian) bias.

    Gilla

  21. Ed-M said,

    28 november, 2011 den 09:44

    @DIVUUS IULIUS: I did not suspect that the Vivat Crux is a portrayal of an execution cross because I became very familiar with the Pozzuloi Graffito which shows a priapean execution cross with a person not only attached to it but also impaled on it.

    It’s much wider than the vertical crossbeam, so it could be just a suppedaneum. But we would need to see the original before drawing any conclusions.

    A suppedaneum? Did suppendanea come with a stake shaped like a thorn or rhinoceros horn at one end? You are assuming a two-dimensional structure. I am assuming a three dimensional structure like a ”tree”. The rope tied to the patibulum can go over the top or through the post and tied to the back end of a sedile of this type. And as you fully know, ancient writers like Philo, Lucian, Celsus and Porphyry, among others, used the verb anaskolopizein (to impale) describe what the Romans did.

    You can view the watermark of what I believe is a faithful reproduction of Vivat Crux by downloading the images from the following links:


    And opening them using any photoimaging or illustration program. Even MS Paint will do. The above posts indicate alternative places where it can be viewed.

    At any rate, whether it’s a suppedaneum or a sedile (which I don’t think it is), doesn’t really matter: in both cases it would show that it’s not Christian, because both the footrest and the seat came much later in Christian iconography.

    Then we are both in agreement that it’s not Christian in the least. I apologize for misleading you with my Post 15, I should have put a disclaimer on it. Again, it is the large thorn at the end that leads me to believe it’s a sedile, a.k.a. a small acuta crux. The Romans, remember, got their ideas at least from the Carthaginians’ crux punica (= skyscraping impaling stake) and the Greeks’ apotympanismos (= hanging from boards).

    Furthermore, crosses were not only used for crucifixions. For the Greeks & Romans they were first and foremost a sign of victory, a tropaeum, also used as a liturgical prop in the Dionysian Mysteries, where they affixed masks or effigies of Dionysus or Liber Pater to the cross. The small lower cross-beam could be a little gadget that was used to better fasten spoils of war, or cultic props, or even rotate the thing (as they did with Caesar’s cross during his funeral).

    I am well aware that the Greeks and the Romans had the tropaeum, that is, the victory cross. But none of the epigraphy that I have seen indicates the Greeks or the Romans used a small crossbeam partway down to mount victory spoils on. In fact, the only epigraph I have seen that clearly shows a lower crossbeam is the famous cruci-fiction shown in the Alexamenos Graffito.

    The turning handle is more plausible. The fact that the vertical part is a thorn would mean that if Vivat Crux does not show an execution cross, it shows a tropaeum that is patterned after one.

    The graffito could as well have been drawn by a Dionysian myst, or by a soldier or veteran, stating: ”I survived”.

    Do you mean to tell me the Dionysian mystic cult ”crucified” initiates or a soldier or veteran escaped being crucified when his fellow Legionaries were? I do not follow you on this.

    The Roman tropaeum (incl. the way to fasten props etc.) has been perpetuated in Christian tradition as the tropaeum holding the arma Christi:

    http://ex.typepad.com/.a/6a0105350453e8970c01156ffbb0e0970b-500wi
    http://www.sabines-kaleidoskop.de/nabburg/IMG_7104.jpg

    And neither shows a sedile or a suppedaneum. You do not need one to install victory spoils! And the first image has a living human person impossibly nailed up, like he’s a mannekin on a stick similar to the very first one so displayed on 17 March, 44 BCE.

    To a priori assume that the ”vivat crux” is about an execution, is false and based on nothing but Christian or (tangentially Christian) bias.

    I did not a priori assume anything. I compared it with the Pozzuoli and determined that this was a male cross: i.e., a crux. And from that, I made the conclusion that it was a curse: ”May you live long on a crux. Which is an obscene version of the well-known Chinese curse, ”May you live in interesting times.”

    There is nothing Christian about this.

    Gilla

  22. Ed-M said,

    28 november, 2011 den 10:17

    CORRECTION:

    @DIVUUS IULIUS: I did not suspect that the Vivat Crux is a portrayal of an execution cross because because of Christian bias or the like. First, I became very familiar with the Pozzuloi Graffito which shows a priapean execution cross with a person not only attached to it but also impaled on it.

    Gilla


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