Friday, October 7, 2011

The Romans NEVER CRUCIFIED the Way We Think They Did 5

Early Medieval Greek Orthodox Crucifixion Icon.

Part 5 - The First Crucifix.

A. Introduction.

As we have seen in Part 4, various Ante-Nicene Church Fathers noted that certain deceased emperors were deified at their funerals with their wax images suspended on cruciform tropaea. Just a little rehash here:

And with this form you consecrate the images of your emperors when they die, and you name them gods by inscriptions.
Justin Martyr, First Apology 55

Your victorious trophies not only imitate the appearance of a simple cross, but also that of a man affixed to it.
Minucius Felix, Octavius 29

He had them hanged 'on the very trees of their temple, in the shadow of which they had committed their crimes, as though on consecrated crosses.'
Tertullian, Apoligeticus 9.2

Consecrated crosses here would have been called tropaea by the Nonchristians.

You put Christians on crosses and stakes: what image is not formed from the clay in the first instance, set on cross and stake? The body of your god is first consecrated on the gibbet.
Tertullian, Apoligeticus 12.3

Nota bene: "clay" here is the Latin argilla which means white clay, which could have been Tertullian's mistaken identification of wax -- as we shall later see below. And as we have seen before in Part 4, "gibbet" is patibulum, meaning an execution pole's crossarm, a door-bar or a Y-shaped forked gibbet.

We have shown before that your deities are derived from shapes modelled from the cross. But you also worship victories, for in your trophies the cross is the heart of the trophy.
Tertullian, Apologeticus 16.7

Obviously, from these three ancient apologists alone, we can see that certain Emperors were deified at their funerals with their images - simulacra - modelled in argilla (white clay) or probably wax instead and mounted with nails on cruciform tropaea. And they were proclaimed gods with inscriptions.

So when did this Emperor-deification all get started? It must have been with Gaius Julius Caesar. After all, he is the first one to be deified as "Divus Iulius."

B. Intermission (and a Little Levity).

"Set the Wayback Machine, Sherman: March 17th, 44 BCE."

"Ah, here we are, Sherman. March 17th, 44 BCE, Central Square, Rome."

"Central Square, Mister Peabody..?"

"Known to all as The Forum. And look! Over there is Mark Anthony is giving a speech before a crowd gathered under a crucifix at the foot of Capitoline Hill. Of course, the locals call this crucifix a tropaeum. That is, a trophy. And do you know whose waxen image is on it, Sherman?"

"Uh, I don't know Mr. Peabody."

"Julius Caesar's."

"But Julius Caesar never had been crucified."

"I know, Sherman. That's why this is a cruci... fiction."

(Sound the trombone.)

Intermission's over, back to reality.

C. The Funerary Tropaeum of Julius Caesar.

From Francesco Carotta, Jesus Was Caesar, Chapter III "Crux."

We have an immense debt to Francesco Carotta who has rediscovered the origins of the Roman Imperial Cult and quite possibly the origin or one of the origins of Christianity.

But the exposition of the wax simulacrum of Julius Caesar's body, complete with its twenty-three stab wounds on a cross, that is, a frame of a tropaeum, was no fiction and its veracity has been easily proven by Francesco Carotta and others looking into recorded historic chronicles preserved against all odds through the mists of time.

Of the original Greek and Latin quotes of the historians I shall cite, you may view in Part D below.

The first historian I shall quote is Cassius Dio, who lived about 155 or 163/164 to 229+ CE.

And Antony aroused them [the people] still more by bringing the body most inconsiderately into the Forum, exposing it all covered with blood as it was and with gaping wounds, and then delivering over it a speech, which was very ornate and brilliant, to be sure, but out of place on that occasion.

Cassius Dio Roman History 44.35.4

Cassius Dio thought Mark Anthony, when he solemnized Julius Caesar's funeral, has actually exposed the body to public view. This is probably mistaken, for Caesar was cremated and bodies are typically lain flat for the purpose. It would be difficult for people to see an exposed body if it was laying flat. Exposing it to public view in front of a crowd would probably entail making a simulacrum of it and raising the effigy on high.

To verify this we must refer to earlier historians who described Julius Caesar's funeral and how his image appeared before the public.

The earliest to report on Caesar's death is Nicolaus Damascenus, who lived from 64 BCE to 14/15 CE.

A little later, three slaves, who were nearby, placed the body on a litter and carried it home through the Forum, showing where the covering was drawn back on each side, the hands hanging limp and the wounds on the face. Then no-one refrained from tears, seeing him who had lately been honoured as a god. Much weeping and lamentation accompanied them from either side, from mourners on the roofs, in the streets, and in the vestibules. When they approached his house, a far greater wailing met their ears, for his wife rushed out with a number of women and servants, calling on her husband and bewailing her lot that she had in vain counseled him not to go out that day. But he had met with a fate far worse than she had ever expected.

Nicolaus Damascenus, Bios Kaisaros = Life of Augustus, tr. C. M. Hall, FGrH F 130 (26) [fin]

What we learn from here is that when Caesar was assasinated, he fell right where he was murdered, possibly with (1) both his arms unfurled to his side and laying on the floor, because when his slaves were porting the body home, (2) both hands were hanging out the sides.

Next to report is the historian Appian, Bellae Civile (95 - 165 CE), 2.146-147 Julius Caesar's Funeral 17 March 44 BCE

[146] Having spoken thus, he [Mark Anthony] gathered up his garments like one inspired, girded himself so he might have the free use of his hands, took his position in front of his bier...

...Carried away by extreme passion he uncovered the body of Caesar, lifted his robe on the point of a spear and shook it aloft, pierced with dagger-thrusts and red with the dictator's blood.

Whereupon the people, like a chorus, mourned with him in the most lugubrious manner, and from sorrow become again filled with anger.

Somewhere from the midst of those lamentations Caesar himself was supposed to speak, recounting the benefits he had conferred upon his enemies by name, and speaking of the murderers themselves, exclaiming, as it were, "Oh that I should have spared these men to slay me!" The people could endure it no more.

[147] While they were in this temper and were already near to violence, somebody raised above the bier an image of Caesar himself made of wax. The body itself, as it lay on its back on the couch, could not be seen. The image was turned round and round by a mechanical device, showing the twenty-three stab wounds in all parts of the body and on the face, which gave him a shocking appearance. The people could no longer bear the pitiful sight presented to them. They groaned, and, girding themselves, they burned the senate-chamber where Cæsar was slain, and ran hither and thither searching for the murderers, who had fled some time previously.

What Appian is telling us here is that (3) Mark Anthony removed the blood-stained toga of Julius Caesar from his body and (4) raised the blood-stained and dagger-torn garment aloft. When the masses attending the funeral saw it, (5) they all moaned with grief and became very, very, angry. (6) An actor playing Caesar and wearing his wax death mask exclaims, "Oh that I should have spared these men to slay me!" Then (7) someone raises [νέσχε = exalts (LSJ & Middle Liddell A.4.)] a wax image of his body on a mechanical device which could be spun 'round and 'round so everybody can see it. In the meantime, (8) the real body was lying on its couch and nobody could see that. To compensate, (9) the wax image was given a shocking appearance so the twenty-three stab wounds all over his body and on his face could be plainly seen -- this mannekin was probably painted realistically and given a minimal covering (a loincloth and quite possibly a crown of acanthus leaves). (10) And the masses found this intolerable.

The next historian to report on this is Suetonius (69/75 - 130+ CE).

All the conspirators made off, and he lay there lifeless for some time, and finally three common slaves put him on a litter and carried him home, with one arm hanging down.

Suetonius, The Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Julius Caesar, 82.3

When the funeral was announced, a pyre was erected in the Campus Martius near the tomb of Julia, and on the rostra a gilded shrine was placed, made after the model of the temple of Venus Genetrix; within was a couch of ivory with coverlets of purple and gold, and at its head a pillar [tropaeum = votive cross] hung with the robe in which he was slain. Since it was clear that the day would not be long enough for those who offered gifts, they were directed to bring them to the Campus by whatsoever streets of the city they wished, regardless of any order of precedence.

Suetonius, Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Julius Caesar, 84.1

What Suetonius reports here is that when Julius Caesar's corpse was being ferried home to his wife, (2) one arm was hanging out. Then on the day of the funeral (8) a simulacrum of the Temple of Venus was parked on the Rostra. The funeral couch with the body on it was inside, surrounded or fenced in by columns made from logs: i.e., poles [being fenced in with poles = σταυρούμενος], and (7) there was a cruciform tropaeum already erected (3) with Caesar's robe on it.

So, to sum up, we have:

  1. After he was killed, Julius Caesar was found laying on the ground, possibly with both arms out to the side.
  2. Both hands were hanging out the sides (Nicolaus Damascenus); one arm was hanging out (Suetonius).
  3. Mark Anthony removed the blood-stained toga of Julius Caesar from his body at his funeral (Appian). Caesar's robe was on the tropaeum (Suetonius).
  4. He raises the blood-stained and dagger-torn garment aloft.
  5. The masses attending the funeral saw it all and moaned with grief and became very, very, angry.
  6. An actor playing Caesar and wearing his wax mask exclaims, "Oh that I should have spared these men to slay me!"
  7. Someone exalts a wax image of the body of Julius Caesar on a mechanical device so everybody can see it (Appian). A cruciform tropaeum was already erected (Suetonius).
  8. The real body was lying on its couch and nobody could see the body (Appian). A simulacrum of the Temple of Venus was parked on the Rostra, and the funeral couch with the body on it was inside (Suetonius).
  9. The wax image was given a shocking appearance so the twenty-three stab wounds all over his body and on his face could be plainly seen.
  10. The masses found this intolerable.

We have some contradictions here, but they are minor and quibbling. They concern the number of hands hanging out of Caesar's sedan when his body was being borne home, where the robe was, when the display device was lifted.

The hands -- unless rigor mortis had set in or the body cast was made while the body was no longer in rigor mortis, it doesn't matter. Otherwise both hands would be hanging out.

Where the robe was probably depended on when the wax image was raised. It is probable that the wax image was already aloft on the cross (tropaeum) with the toga on it because there could very well not have been enough room to keep the image on the ground away from the crowds.

So there you have it. For at least part of the funeral or its whole duration, there was a mannekin of Julius Caesar displayed on a cruciform tropaeum or a cross and when Mark Anthony removed the toga from where it was, the people could see an intolerable display of the likeness of Caesar's wounded body.

So there you have it, the first crucifix.

D. Original Greek and Latin Sources.

Cassius Dio, Histoire Romaine 44.35.4 (site in bilingual French and Greek)

Κα ατος ντώνιος πιπαρώξυνε, τόν τε νεκρν ς τν γορν νοητότατα κομίσας, κα προθέμενος ματωμένον τε, σπερ εχε, κα τραύματα κφαίνοντα, καί τινα κα λόγον π´ ατ, λλως μν περικαλλ κα λαμπρόν, ο μέντοι κα συμφέροντα τος τότε παροσιν, επών.

Nicolaus Damascenus, Bios Kaisaros, FGrH, ed. F. Jacoby, 26.97 [scroll 9/10ths of the way down at the link]

οκέται δ δ τρες, οπερ σαν πλησίον, λίγον στερον νθέμενοι τν νεκρν ες φορεον οκαδε κόμιζον δι τς γορς ρώμενον, νθεν κα νθεν νεσταλμένων τν παρακαλυμμάτων, αωρουμένας τς χερας κα τς π το προσώπου πληγάς. νθα οδες δακρυς ν ρν τν πάλαι σα κα θεν τιμώμενον· ομωγ τε πολλ κα στόν συμπαρεπέμπετο νθεν κα νθεν λοφυρομένων πό τε τν τεγν καθ' ος ν γένοιτο κα ν τας δος κα προθύροις. κα πειδ πλησίον τς οκίας γένετο, πολ δ μείζων πήντα κωκυτός· ξεπεπηδήκει γρ γυν μετ πολλο χλου γυναικν τε κα οκετν, νακαλουμένη τν νδρα κα αυτν δυρομένη, τι μάτην προύλεγε μ ξιέναι τν μέραν κείνην. τ δ' δη μορα φειστήκει πολ κρείττων κατ τν ατς λπίδα.

Appian, Bellae Civilae, 2.146

[146] τοιάδε επν τν σθτα οά τις νθους νεσύρατο, κα περιζωσάμενος ς τ τν χειρν εκολον, τ λέχος ς π σκηνς περιέστη κατακύπτων τε ς ατ κα νίσχων,…

εφορώτατα δ ς τ πάθος κφερόμενος τ σμα το Καίσαρος γύμνου κα τν σθτα π κοντο φερομένην νέσειε, λελακισμένην π τν πληγν κα πεφυρμένην αματι ατοκράτορος.

φ ος δμος οα χορς ατ πενθιμώτατα συνωδύρετο κα κ το πάθους αθις ργς νεπίμπλατο.

ς δ π τος λόγοις τεροι θρνοι μετ δς κατ πάτριον θος π χορν ς ατν δοντο κα τ ργα αθις ατο κα τ πάθος κατέλεγον καί που τν θρήνων ατς Κασαρ δόκει λέγειν, σους ε ποιήσειε τν χθρν ξ νόματος, κα περ τν σφαγέων ατν πέλεγεν σπερ ν θαύματι: ‘μ δ κα τούσδε περισσαι τος κτενοντάς με,’ οκ φερεν τι δμος,

Appian, Bellae Civilae, 2.147

[147] δε δ ατος χουσιν δη κα χειρν γγς οσιν νέσχε τις πρ τ λέχος νδρείκελον ατο Καίσαρος κ κηρο πεποιημένον: τ μν γρ σμα, ς πτιον π λέχους, οχ ωρτο. τ δ νδρείκελον κ μηχανς πεστρέφετο πάντ, κα σφαγα τρες κα εκοσιν φθησαν νά τε τ σμα πν κα ν τ πρόσωπον θηριωδς ς ατν γενόμεναι. τήνδε ον τν ψιν δμος οκτίστην σφίσι φανεσαν οκέτι νεγκν νμωξάν τε κα διαζωσάμενοι τ βουλευτήριον, νθα Κασαρ νρητο, κατέφλεξαν κα τος νδροφόνους κφυγόντας πρ πολλο περιθέοντες ζήτουν,

Suetonius, Vita XII Caesarum, Divus Iulius, 82.3

Exanimis diffugientibus cunctis aliquamdiu iacuit, donec lecticae impositum, dependente brachio, tres servoli domum rettulerunt.

Suetonius, Vita XII Caesarum, Divus Iulius, 84.1

Funere indicto rogus extructus est in Martio campo iuxta Iuliae tumulum et pro rostris aurata aedes ad simulacrum templi Veneris Genetricis collocata; intraque lectus eburneus auro ac purpura stratus et ad caput tropaeum cum veste, in qua fuerat occisus. Praeferentibus munera, quia suffecturus dies non videbatur, praeceptum, ut omisso ordine, quibus quisque vellet itineribus urbis, portaret in Campum.

Part 6: From Wax Image to Exposed Body.


Crucifixion – The Bodily Support - Part 2 - Archaeological Evidence.

Crucifixion - The Bodily Support - Part 3 - Manuscript Evidence and its Similarities to the Imagery of the Caesar Cult.

Crucifixion – The Bodily Support - Part 4 - Physics of Crucifixion.

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