Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Romans NEVER CRUCIFIED the Way We Think They Did! 6

Part 5 - The First Crucifix.
Part 4 - The Tropaeum and the Furca.
Part 3 - Crux - Modern English Use and Ancient Quotidian Meanings.
Part 2 - Crux.
Part 1.

Part 6 - From Wax Image to Exposed Body.

A. Introduction.

Between Friday March 17, 44 BCE and the time Cassius Dio (155 or 163/164 to after 229 CE) wrote his Roman History people got the idea that Mark Anthony actually exposed the very body of Julius Caesar to public view.
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

In my opinion, derived from the Alexamenos Graffito and the Orpheos Bakkikos pendant (now lost) it also influenced at least three religions, the chief of which is Christianity. The likely others, now extinct, were the Egyptian Gnostic sect of Typhon-Seth [i], an Iranian cult whose deity was a horse-headed god [ii], and the mystery cult of Bacchus - Dionysius.

The change in thinking happened probably due to the fact that Julius Caesar and his opponents were known to have been involved in crucifying others and also due to the fact that Caligula was assasinated in a theatre during the production of Catullus' Laureolus, a play that featured a crucifixion that was utterly fake.

B. Julius Caesar's Crucifixions (of Other People).

B.1. Ceasar and the Pirates.

Classical scholars and Christian apologists are all quite familiar with Julius Caesar's crucifixions of the pirates on an island off the coast of Asia Province (west coast of Turkey) near Pergamos. Let's see what the historians who record the episode have to say about this.

Plutarch (46 to 120 CE):
[1] To begin with, then, when the pirates demanded twenty talents for his ransom, he laughed at them for not knowing who their captive was, and of his own accord agreed to give them fifty. [2] In the next place, after he had sent various followers to various cities to procure the money and was left with one friend and two attendants among Cilicians, most murderous of men, he held them in such disdain that whenever he lay down to sleep he would send and order them to stop talking. [3] For eight and thirty days, as if the men were not his watchers, but his royal body-guard, he shared in their sports and exercises with great unconcern. [4] He also wrote poems and sundry speeches which he read aloud to them, and those who did not admire these he would call to their faces illiterate Barbarians, and often laughingly threatened to hang them all. The pirates were delighted at this, and attributed his boldness of speech to a certain simplicity and boyish mirth.

[5] But after his ransom had come from Miletus and he had paid it and was set free, he immediately manned vessels and put to sea from the harbour of Miletus against the robbers. He caught them, too, still lying at anchor off the island, and got most of them into his power. [6] Their money he made his booty, but the men themselves he lodged in the prison at Pergamum, and then went in person to Junius, the governor of Asia, on the ground that it belonged to him, as praetor of the province, to punish the captives. [7] But since the praetor cast longing eyes on their money, which was no small sum, and kept saying that he would consider the case of the captives at his leisure, Caesar left him to his own devices, went to Pergamum, took the robbers out of prison, and crucified them all, just as he had often warned them on the island that he would do, when they thought he was joking.
Plutarch, The Life of Julius Caesar 2.1-7 [1]

Plutarch uses the following Greek verbs for Caesar's promises to hang the pirates and how he carried the threats out. First, κρεμᾶν means (future infinitive active) "to hang, to hang up, to suspend." Any method will do, including crucifixion or impalement (Herodotus, Histories 3.125.3 & 4; Diodorus Siculus, Library of History, 16.35.6 & 16.94.4). Second, ἀνεσταύρωσεν (3rd person singular aortive indicative active of ἀνασταυρόω) means "he crucified," but also "he impaled." This same exact verb is utilized by Cassius Dio (Roman History, 74.8 & 75.7) to describe the Roman Emperor Alexander Severus (ruled 222 - 235 CE) fixing the heads of Niger and Albinus on poles.

Suetonius (69/75 – after 130 CE):
For he had instantly dispatched his other servants and the frends who accompanied him, to raise money for his ransom. Fifty Talents having been paid down, he was landed on the coast, when, having collected some ships, he lost no time in putting out to sea in pursuit of the pirates, and having captured them, inflicted upon the the Punishment which he had often threatened in jest.
Suetonius, The Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Julius Caesar 4.2 [2]

Now here, Suetonius simply states that he inflicted the Punishment (supplicio adficeret), which Martin Hengel has demonstrated was the punishment for slaves. [iii] This, of course, was crucifixion or direct impalement (Seneca, Dialogue 6 (De Consolatione) 20.3)
Even in avenging wrongs he was by nature most merciful, and when he got hold of the pirates who had captured him, he had them crucified, since he had sworn beforehand that he would do so, but ordered that their throats be cut first.
Suetonius, The Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Julius Caesar 74.1 [3]

Suetonius here uses suffixurum (verb-participle plural perfect passive masculine genitive) and suffigi (present passive infinitive) mean respectively "of being suffixed" and "to be suffixed" where suffigere means "to fix or fasten beneath," which could mean "to crucify" but definitely "to impale." Indeed, he the verb to describe the head of Emperor Galba being carried around a legion's camp stuck on a pike: "ille lixis colonibusque donauit, qui hasta suffixum non sine ludibrio circum castra portarunt (he handed it [Galba's severed head] over to his servants and camp-followers, who fixed it on a spear and paraded it round-about the camp with mockery)," The Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Galba 20.3.

And of course, crux can also mean "impaling stake," e.g., acuta crux or punica crux. It could be a simple stake or, as we have seen, a riding thorn outrigged to a gallows.

Valerius Maximus (1st Century CE):
Also, Caius Julius Caesar, whose virtues provided him with an entry into Heaven, during the beginnings of his early youth while travelling to Asia as a private citizen, [was abducted and held captive] by seafaring pirates around the Isle of Pharmacuse, except one redeemed him with 50 Talents. So, then! With an unimportant sum he wishes perchance the most brilliant Star of the World to be brought back in a pirate boat. What is it, then, that I might complain about it any longer if he spared not the fellow-partakers [lit.: consorts] of his own divinity? But in fact the heavenly divinity vindicated himself in an unjust manner: indeed the captured robbers he crucified!
Valerius Maximus, Factorum et Dictorum Memorabilium 6.9.15 [4]

Now here the term for crucified is "crucibus adfixit." Its traditional meaning, of course, is "he fastened [them] to crosses" but its alternative meaning could mean "he impaled [them] on stakes." The latter meaning is clear in Memorabilium 6.9.ext.5 "Orontes Darii regis praefectus in excelissimo Mycalensis montis uertice cruci adfixit (Orontes, Prefect of Darius the King, impaled Polycrates in the highest peak of the Mycalenian Mountains)"[iv] and 9.2.3 "Carbonisque Aruinae truncum corpius patibulo adfixum gestatum est (And the dismembered body of Carbo Arvina was carried about, spitted on a carrying-pole)."[v]

So it is evident that Julius Caesar was associated with crucifixion early on... but was it mere crucifixion, or the full-blown variety with a riding thorn? (Only the latter is positively supported by the epigraphy without scholars making assumptions.) Or was it simple impalement? For us'ns, the verbiage is usually far too laconic, but for the ancients, they knew exactly what was going on. Because we moderns think they are two or three entirely different things but to the people back then they were one in the same (Seneca, Dialogue 6 (De Consolatione) 20.3).

And indeed, later writers like Valleius Paterculus (who wrote 395 CE) and Xylander (1532-1576 CE) describe Caesar's execution of the pirates. On the one hand they would just have meant mere crucifixion, since the knowledge of the Roman practice had by then died out, but then again, they could have figured out the meaning of the veribage. V. Paterculus (The Roman History 42.3) wrote that Caesar returned with maximum speed and "crucified them" (suffixit cruci), which, as we have seen before, could have meant impaled; Xylander stated in his work that "having wrought in the midst of the World as he had predicted: the pirates he led to the cross" (in crucem egit), which, the literal meaning is to force on to the actual instrument of execution itself: i.e., to force onto the cross (for fastening), or to thrust onto the stake, that is, impale.

And if we apply Ockham's Razor to all this, knowing that Caesar had captured the pirates by surprise, he would have executed them in haste as well. And knowing that Suetonius said that he slit their throats first, a likely method of crucifixion here would be direct impalement. But Ockham's Razor sometimes cuts the wrong way! Caesar had had told the pirates he would hang them all, he dragged them out of prison which means there was sufficient time to build gallows complete with sediles / cornus, and plant the stipes well in advance. So it is more likely the pirates were subjected to the full-blown crucifixion where they were not just nailed up, but also penetrated... for life. (Edited 1-30-2012) (Credit to Sam per comment below).

B.2. African War.

Julius Caesar doesn't crucifiy any one here as far as we know, but due to reinforcements led by him, some Numidian fugitives are lifted up in order to be put down the next day.
Caesar, being informed of the ambuscade of the Labienus by deserters, delayed there a few days, till the enemy, by repeating their practice often, had abated a little of their circumspection. Then suddenly, one morning ordering eight veteran legions with part of the cavalry to follow him by the Decuman Gate, he sent forward the rest of the cavalry; who suddenly was coming upon the enemy's light-armed foot, that lay in ambush along the valleys, slew about five hundred, and put the rest to flight. Meanwhile Labienus advanced, with all his cavalry, to support the fugitives, and was on the point of overpowering our small party with his numbers, when suddenly Caesar appeared with the legions, in order of battle. The day after, Juba ordered all the Numidians who had deserted their post and fled to their camp to be crucified.
Julius Caesar, Commentary on the African War 66 [5]

Here the Latin for crucified is in cruce suffixit. Traditionally thought of as "nailing up to a cross (tropaeum)" but it could just as easily refer to nailing up to and impaling on a Priapean version of a cross, or simply impaling on a stake. Application of Ockham's Razor here would lead the reader to rightly (or wrongly!) conclude that the deserters were simply impaled, unless the numbers were few (which we cannot figure out from the material). And again, what kind of crucifixion?

B.3. Hispanic War.

Here three slaves have been recorded to have lost their lives.

Pompey, being informed by some deserters that the town had surrendered, removed his camp toward Ucubis, where he began to build redoubts, and secure himself with lines. Caesar also decamped and drew near him. At the same time a Spanish legionary soldier deserting to our camp, informed us that Pompey had assembled the people of Ucubis, and given them instructions to inquire diligently who favored his party, who that of the enemy. Some time after in the town which was taken, the slave, who, as we have related above, had murdered his master, was apprehended in a mine and burned alive. About the same time eight Spanish centurions came over to Caesar, and in a skirmish between our cavalry and that of the enemy, we were repulsed, and some of our light-armed foot wounded. The same night we took of the enemy's spies, three slaves and one Spanish soldier. The slaves were crucified, and the soldier was beheaded.

Julius Caesar, Commentary on the Hispanic War, 20 [6]

The Latin for the last sentence is tersely, "Servi sunt in crucem sublati, militi cervices abscisae." Meaning, the slaves were "hoisted up into the assembly of a gallows" or "pushed / borne up onto a stake and impaled thereon." Nota bene: crucem is the accusative of crux, and when the preposition in is used with an accusative, it indicates motion towards an object and entry into or contact with it. Since only three slaves were put to death in this manner, I am holding the opinion that it is the full-blown Priapean variety described above.

C. A Threat to Caesar from Pompey's Faction - and their Final Success!

Indeed, during the first civil war, Julius Caesar perceived himself to be under the threat of crucifixion, or at the least, torture. He expressed exactly that in a speech before Pharsalus:
Today either the reward or the penalty of war is before
us. picture to yourself the crosses and chains in store for Caesar, my
head stuck upon the rostrum and my bones unburied.

Lucan, The Civil War (Pharsalia) 7.303-5 [7]

Now here the latin for "crosses" is cruces, accusative plural of crux. it could mean crosses, crucifixions, direct impalements, or simply tortures, or a combination thereof, for a person can only be put to death once by crucifixion or by single or simultaneous multiple direct impalement. My opinion? It means tortures, followed by beheading and (possibly) post-mortem crucifixion or impalement of the corpse.

Indeed, the Pompeiian threat never went away, for even after the Senate had bestowed many honors upon Caesar, including those of dictator, pontifex maximus, and (to be bestowed post-mortem) of a divus, what did the Pompey loyalists do? They assasinated Julius Caesar in Pompey's Curia, in the portico section that was used as temporary quarters for the Senate, with twenty-three stab woulnds in what must have been felt like torture. It was Cassius Longinus who dealt the fatal blow, and Caesar fell backwards with his arms out toward his side at the base of a statue of Pompey himself.

And when, and even before, Mark Anthony displayed the wax image on the tropaeum?
The people could endure it no longer. It seemed to them monstrous that all the murderers who, with the single exception of Decimus Brutus, had been made prisoners while belonging to the faction of Pompeius...

Appian, The Civil Wars 2.20.146 [8]

Indeed, the killer who struck the fatal blow, Cassius Longinus, had previously in 53-52 BCE subjugated Judea by force after Crassus' defeat at the hands of the Parthian Empire. In quelling a rebellion there, he captured 30,000 Jews including a certain Pitholaus who had defected and led the Jewish rebellion after Aristobulus passed on and had Pitholaus executed on the advice of Aristobulus' son, Antipater, whom Cassius held in high regard (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 14.7.3, Jewish War 1.9). There is little doubt that the mode of this execution was crucifixion or impalement because it was Aristobulus' father, Alexander Jannaeus, who had done the same to 800 Pharisees in the middle of the City of Jerusalem and earned the bon mot of "Thracian." [vi] [vii]

And nine years after he crucified in Judea, Cassius Longinus has killed again! To all the Romans attending the funeral, including not a few Jewish people, the exposition of the tortured body in imagino must have struck the assassins' deed as tantamount to a crucifixion!

D. Mark Anthony's Execution of Antigonus.

Mark Anthony, the one who displayed the wax image of Julus Caesar's slain body on a cruciform tropaeum, went on to slay a beloved ruler himself.

During the Civil War that was to follow in the wake of Julius Caesar's assasination, Antigonus, the last of the Jewish Hasmonean Kings, met his demise on the orders of Mark Anthony, to allay the fears of Herod, who would become Kind Herod the Great, because he, Herod, was a very unpopular private citizen of Arab-Idumean stock whereas Antigonus was a well-loved monarch of royal blood. The method of execution was by beheading with an axe (Cassius Dio, Roman History 49.22.4-6; Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 14.16.4 [487-91], 15.5-10; Jewish War 1.18.3 [354-7]; Plutarch, Anthony 36.2). All agree that it was a most dishonorable death for a king and Mark Anthony gained quite a bit of notoriety from that; Cassius Dio was the only one who noted what went on before he was beheaded:
These people (the Jews of Judea) Anthony entrusted to a certain Herod to govern; but Antigonus he bound to a cross and scourged, -- a punishment no other king had suffered at the hands of the Romans -- and afterwards slew him.
Cassius Dio, Roman History 49.22.4-6 [9]

It should be noted that the word for "to a cross" here is σταυρῷ which also means "to a post" and the word for "flogged" is ἐμαστίγωσε, which is commonly translated in the New Testament as "scourged," i.e., "torn up by blows." It appears to be related to μαστιχάω (mastikhaō, “I grind the teeth”) from which the word "masticate" (to chew) is derived.

It is possible that the death of the last of the Hasmoneans at the hand of Mark Anthony might have had a hand in transmorphing the exhibitied wax image of the cruciatus, Julius Caesar, and his hidden body into an exposed cruciarius himself! [viii]

E. Threats against Octavian Caesar (Augustus).

Now before Caesar's nephew and adopted son, Octavian, would be able to rise to the throne, he basically has to fight a multiple-way civil war with Decimus Brutus, Marcus Lepidus, Mark Anthony, and the Pompey partisan / nobleman faction. He had first aligned himself with the latter alliance but when he discovered that they were making threats against him and found out that Anthony and lepidus had formed an alliance themselves, he defected to to Lepidus and Anthony's side.
But when he had learned that Anthony after his flight had found a protector in Marcus Lepidus, and that the rest of the leaders and armies were coming to terms with them, he abandoned the cause of the nobles without hesitation, alleging as a pretext for his change of allegiance the words and acts of a certain of their number, asserting that some had called him a boy, while others had openly said that he ought to be honoured and gotten rid of, to escape the necessity of making suitable recompense to him or his veterans.

And it turns out that faction wasn't kidding! Even in the late 4th Century CE Valerus Paterculus was able to get the dirt on them and in fact it was Cicero who said that Octavian should be tollendum "lifted up," whereby he said it in one sense and meant it in another! Vicious!!
It was at the time that Cicero with his deep-seated attachment to the Pompeian party, expressed the opinion, which said one thing and meant another, to the effect that Caesar "should be commended and then -- elevated." [ix]
Velleius Paterculus Roman History 2.62.6 [11]

And indeed, decimus Brutus says this in his own letter to Cicero about the 25th of May (9th before the Calends of June) 42 BCE (Cicero, Ad familiares 11.20.1) in which he wrote :
"Octavian himself has no reasonable complaint about you, except a speech in which it was said you were to have called him an adolescent about to be extolled, decorated, and "lifted up," to be allying with him so that it may not be possible for him to be "lifted up."
Cicero, Ad Familiares 11.20.1 [12]

Vicious and a right hypocrite! To be "lifted up" means both to be "extolled" and also to be "lifted up [to be crucified or impaled]." Because about 30 years or so before, he wrote a long winded speech in five volumes against the Proconsul of Sicily, Gaius Verres whose atrocities and shameful acts included, among other things, a full-blown crucifixion of a Roman Citizen upon what I take to be a unitary cruciform gallows and impaling stake structure mentioned as such twice: cruciatus et crux - (In Verres 2.5.14), and illum cruciatum et crucem (In Verres 2.5.170).

F. Gaius "Caligula" Caesar's Assassination.

Suetonius (69/75 to after 130 CE) reports Caligula was assasinated just after he was conversing with some young actors of noble birth rehearsing their lines backstage, just before the performance of a play.
[1] On the ninth day before the Kalends of February at about the seventh hour he hesitated whether or not to get up for luncheon, since his stomach was still disordered from excess of food on the day before, but at length he came out at the persuasion of his friends. In the covered passage through which he had to pass, some boys of good birth, who had been summoned from Asia to appear on the stage, were rehearsing their parts, and he stopped to watch and to encourage them; and had not the leader of the troop complained that he had a chill, he would have returned and had the performance given at once. [2] From this point there are two versions of the story: some say that as he was talking with the boys, Chaerea [Cassius] came up behind, and gave him a deep cut in the neck, having first cried, "Take that," and that then the tribune Cornelius Sabinus, who was the other conspirator and faced Gaius, stabbed him in the breast. Others say that Sabinus, after getting rid of the crowd through centurions who were in the plot, asked for the watchword, as soldiers do, and that when Gaius gave him "Jupiter," he cried "So be it," and as Gaius looked around, he split his jawbone with a blow of his sword. [3] As he lay upon the ground and with writhing limbs called out that he still lived, the others dispatched him with thirty wounds; for the general signal was "Strike again." Some even thrust their swords through his privates. At the beginning of the disturbance his bearers ran to his aid with their poles, and presently the Germans of his body-guard, and they slew several of his assassins, as well as some inoffensive senators.

Josephus (37-101 CE) reports in his Antiquities that Caligula was assasinated during a performance of Laureolus, which he calls Cinyras, that was a play named after a nortorious highwayman, written by the First-Century CE playwright, Catullus, namesake of the First-Century BCE poet and sworn enemy of Julius Caesar, Catullus. This was one of several plays that dealt with the death of tyrants.
And here he perceived two prodigies that happened there; for an actor was introduced, by whom a leader of robbers was crucified, and the pantomine brought in a play called Cinyras, wherein he himself was to be slain, as well as his daughter Myrrha, and wherein a great deal of fictitious blood was shed, both around him who was crucified and also about Cinyras.
Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 19.1.13 [94] [14]

Now herein Josephus tels us that (1) a leader of robbers was crucified, (σταυροῦται) 3rd sg pres ind middle-passive of σταυρόω, which means "fence with pales, impalisade, drive piles" The LSJ reports that it is in the New Testament does it mean "crucify;" the Middle Liddell adds as a reference Polybius (Histories 1.86) wherein the historian records that Spendius was crucified by Hamilcar. Which brings us back to one of the original definitions of this Greek verb, "to drive piles," meaning, "to impale," which leads us to (2) there was a great deal of blood shed around the one crucified (τόν σταυρωθέντα), meaning poured out (ἐκκεχυμένον) around the main pole of whatever he was hanging on. In this case, a fake version of a simple impaling stake would be the better candidate, assuming that the crucified/impaled was supposed to shed his blood. But perhaps it wasn't a simple stake, epigraphy from Pompeii and Pozzuoli indicates it could have been a cruciform gallows equipped with a fake sedile instead.

Continuing with the subject of the assasination, Caligula had realised that this was the day that Pausanius had slain Philip, King of Macedonia. [x] Josephus describes the assasination in a different place, and Caligula coming out of the theatre for the last time at the ninth hour, but in the end he is assasinated and with immense bloodshed. And Cherea Cassius was the guilty party. [xi] [xii]

Suetonius tells us in his work, the previous paragraph filled with bad omens for Caligula, that during an audition or rehearsal for Laureolus, several understudies for the part of the lead actor had demonstrated their ability to regurgitate artificial blood. This was one of the omens.
[T]he pantomimic actor Mnester danced a tragedy which the tragedian Neoptolemus had acted years before during the games at which Philip king of the Macedonians was assassinated. In a farce called "Laureolus," in which the chief actor falls as he is making his escape and vomits blood, several understudies so vied with one another in giving evidence of their proficiency that the stage swam in blood.

Juvenal attended a performance of this play and wished the actor was indeed crucifed or impaled.
And Lentulus acts hanging with such art,
Were I a judge, he should not feign the part.
Juvenal, Satires 8.187-188 [16]

A more accurate but less poetic translation would be: "Now, too, the fleet Lentulus agreeably played the part of Laureolus; as a judge I deem him worthy of a true crux." [xiii]

At a later performance in the new Flavian Ampitheatre (Roman Colosseum), Martial (38/41 to 102/109 CE) witnessed an actual criminal being put to death, playing the part of Laureolus:
Laureolus, suspended on no feigned crux, offered up his defenceless entrails to a Caledonian bear. His mangled limbs quivered, every part dripping with gore and in his whole body no shape to be [f]ound.

Martial, Liber Spectaculorum 7 [17]

Indeed, a bear would most certainly be lethal to a naked and defenceless human being! For a single bear paw is close to the size of a human head. Presently, the Eurasian Brown Bear has a mass of 680 lbs. (mean avg) / 583 lbs (avg min) / 780 lbs (avg max) / 1058 lbs (Guiness Book World Record) for males and 330-550 lbs for females. It would exert a lot of downward and outward force on a crucified person! If on a cruciform gallows sans acuta crux (sedile), the nails probably would let go and the condemned would fall flat on his face; on a regular impaling stake the condemned would quickly be killed. In all likelihood, the criminal was crucified on a gallows with an acuta crux attached and outrigged to it.

G. Conclusion.

Knowing the above, it is very easy to see how the expositus of the waxen image of the slain Gaius Julius Caesar could have been morphed into an actual crucifixion post-mortem of the person himself, for Caesar and everyone around him, and even his descendant, Gaius Caligula Caesar, was intimately involved with crucifixion one way or another. Also, it was very easy to see that because of the expositus the crowd perceived his assasination as tantamount to an actual crucifixion. This in spite of the fact that an acuta crux / sedile / cornu is completely unnecessary to display a wax image on a tropaeum and is utterly necessary to keep a living person crucified, or at least guarantee that all the witnesses would view the crucifixion as shameful as can be; and in spite of the fact that all pictorial epigraphy that refer to actual crucifixion (what damn few that remain), not a fictitious one, do not show a cross without the cornu. Nevertheless, it was very easy for Cassius Dio to mistakenly believe that it was Caesar's body itself, not a waxen mannekin, that was clearly displayed for all to see.

H. Original Greek / Latin Sources.

[1] Plutarch, Caesar 2.1-4 (note: different verse numbering system)
[1] πρῶτον μὲν οὖν αἰτηθεὶς ὑπ᾽ αὐτῶν λύτρα εἴκοσι τάλαντα κατεγέλασεν ὡς οὐκ εἰδότων ὃν ᾑρήκοιεν, αὐτὸς δὲ ὡμολόγησε πεντήκοντα δώσειν ἔπειτα τῶν περὶ αὐτὸν ἄλλον εἰς ἄλλην διαπέμψας πόλιν ἐπὶ τὸν τῶν χρημάτων πορισμόν, ἐν ἀνθρώποις φονικωτάτοις Κίλιξι μεθ᾽ ἑνὸς φίλου καὶ δυοῖν ἀκολούθοιν ἀπολελειμμένος οὕτω καταφρονητικῶς εἶχεν ὥστε πέμπων ὁσάκις ἀναπαύοιτο προσέταττεν αὐτοῖς σιωπᾶν. [2] ἡμέραις δὲ τεσσαράκοντα δυεῖν δεούσαις, ὥσπερ οὐ φρουρούμενος, ἀλλὰ δορυφορούμενος ὑπ᾽ αὐτῶν, ἐπὶ πολλῆς ἀδείας συνέπαιζε καὶ συνεγυμνάζετο. καὶ ποιήματα γράφων καὶ λόγους τινὰς ἀκροαταῖς ἐκείνοις ἐχρῆτο, καὶ τοὺς μὴ θαυμάζοντας ἄντικρυς ἀπαιδεύτους καὶ βαρβάρους ἀπεκάλει, καὶ σὺν γέλωτι πολλάκις ἠπείλησε κρεμᾶν αὐτούς: [3] οἱ δὲ ἔχαιρον, ἀφελείᾳ τινὶ καὶ παιδιᾷ τὴν παρρησίαν ταύτην νέμοντες. ὡς δὲ ἧκον ἐκ Μιλήτου τὰ λύτρα καὶ δοὺς ἀφείθη, πλοῖα πληρώσας εὐθὺς ἐκ τοῦ Μιλησίων λιμένος ἐπὶ τοὺς λῃστὰς ἀνήγετο καὶ καταλαβὼν ἔτι πρὸς τῇ νήσῳ ναυλοχοῦντας ἐκράτησε τῶν πλείστων, καὶ τὰ μὲν χρήματα λείαν ἐποιήσατο, τοὺς δὲ ἄνδρας ἐν Περγάμῳ καταθέμενος εἰς τὸ δεσμωτήριον αὐτὸς ἐπορεύθη πρὸς τὸν διέποντα τὴν Ἀσίαν Ἰούνιον, 1 ὡς ἐκείνῳ προσῆκον ὄντι στρατηγῷ κολάσαι τοὺς ἑαλωκότας. [4] ἐκείνου δὲ καὶ τοῖς χρήμασιν ἐποφθαλμιῶντος ῾ἦν γὰρ οὐκ ὀλίγα καὶ περὶ τῶν αἰχμαλώτων σκέψεσθαι φάσκοντος ἐπὶ σχολῆς, χαίρειν ἐάσας αὐτὸν ὁ Καῖσαρ εἰς Πέργαμον ᾤχετο, καὶ προαγαγὼν τοὺς λῃστὰς ἅπαντας ἀνεσταύρωσεν, ὥσπερ αὐτοῖς δοκῶν παίζειν ἐν τῇ νήσῳ προειρήκει πολλάκις.
[2] Suetonius, De Vita XII Caesarum, Divus Iulius 4.2
nam comites seruosque ceteras inition statim ad expediendas pecunias, quibus redimeretur, dimiserat. numeratis deinde quinquaginta talentis expositus in litore non distulit quin e uestigo classe deducta persequeretur abeuntis ac redactos in potestatem supplicio, quod saepe illis miratus inter iocum fuerat, adficerat.
[3] Suetonius, De Vita XII Caesarum, Divus Julius 74.1
Sed et in ulciscendo natura lenissimus piratas, a quibus captus est, cum in dicionem redegisset, quoniam suffixurum se cruci ante iuraverat, iugulari prius iussit, deinde suffigi.
[4] Valerius Maximus, Factorum et Dictorum Memorabilium 6.9.15
C. autem Caesar, cuius uirtutes aditum sibi in caelum struxerunt, inter primae iuuentae initia priuatus Asiam petens, a maritimis praedonibus circa insulam Pharmacusam exceptus L se talentis redemit. parua igitur summa clarissimum mundi sidus in piratico myoparone rependi fortuna uoluit. quid est ergo quod amplius de ea queramur, si ne consortibus quidem diuinitatis suae parcit? sed caeleste numen se ab iniuria uindicauit: continuo enim captos praedones crucibus adfixit.
[5] Julius Caesar, de Bello Africo 66
Caesar interim de insidiis Labieni ex perfugis certior factus paucos dies ibi commoratus, dum hostes cotidiano instituto saepe idem faciendo in neglegentiam adducerentur, subito mane imperat porta decumana legiones se + VIII + veteranas cum parte equitatus sequi atque equitibus praemissis neque opinantes insidiatores subito in convallibus latentes [ex] levi armatura concidit circiter D, reliquos in fugam turpissimam coniecit. Interim Labienus cum universo equitatu fugientibus suis suppetias occurrit. Cuius vim multitudinis cum equites pauci Caesariani iam sustinere non possent, Caesar instructas legiones hostium copiis ostendit. Quo facto perterrito Labieno ac retardato suos equites recepit incolumes. Postero die Iuba Numidas eos qui loco amisso fuga se receperant in castra, in cruce omnes suffixit.
[6] Julius Caesar, de Bello Hispaniensi 20

Quod Pompeius ex perfugis cum deditionem oppidi factam esse scisset, castra movit Ucubim versus et circum ea loca castella disposuit et munitionibus se continere coepit. Caesar movit et propius castra castris contulit. Eodem tempore mane loricatus unus ex legione vernacula ad nos transfugit et nuntiavit Pompeium oppidanos Ucubenses convocasse eisque ita imperavisse ut diligentia adhibita perquirerent qui essent suarum partium itemque adversariorum victoriae fautores. Hoc praeterito tempore in oppido quod fuit captum, servus est prensus in cuniculo quem supra demonstravimus dominum iugulasse; is vivus est conbustus. Idemque temporis centuriones loricati VIII ad Caesarem transfugerunt ex legione vernacula, et equites nostri cum adversariorum equitibus congressi sunt, et saucii aliquot occiderunt levi armatura. Ea nocte speculatores prensi servi III et unus ex legione vernacula. Servi sunt in crucem sublati, militi cervices abscisae.

[7] Lucan, De Bello Civili (Pharsalia) 7.303-5
Aut merces hodie bellorum aut poena parata.
Caesareas spectate cruces, spectate catenas
Et caput hoc positum rostris effusaque membra.
οὐκ ἔφερεν ἔτι ὁ δῆμος, ἐν παραλόγῳ ποιούμενος τὸ πάντας αὐτοῦ τοὺς σφαγέας χωρὶς μόνου Δέκμου, αἰχμαλώτους ἐκ τῆς Πομπηίου στάσεως γενομένους, ἀντὶ κολάσεων ἐπὶ ἀρχὰς καὶ ἡγεμονίας ἐθνῶν καὶ στρατοπέδων προαχθέντας ἐπιβουλεῦσαι....
[9] Dion Cassius, Histoire Romaine 49.22.6-7
Ἐκείνους μὲν οὖν Ἡρώδῃ τινὶ ὁ Ἀντώνιος ἄρχειν ἐπέτρεψε, τὸν δ´ Ἀντίγονον ἐμαστίγωσε σταυρῷ προσδήσας, ὃ μηδεὶς βασιλεὺς ἄλλος ὑπὸ τῶν Ῥωμαίων ἐπεπόνθει, καὶ μετὰ τοῦτο καὶ ἀπέσφαξεν.
[10] Suetonius, De Vita XII Caesarum, Divus Augustus 12
Sed ut cognovit Antonium post fugam a M. Lepido receptum ceterosque duces et exercitus consentire pro partibus, causam optimatium sine cunctatione deseruit, ad praetextum mutatae voluntatis dicta factaque quorundam calumniatus, quasi alii se puerum, alii ornandum tollendumque iactassent, ne aut sibi aut veteranis par gratia referretur.
[11] Velleius Paterculus, Historiae Romanae 2.62.6
Hoc est illud tempus, quo Cicero insito amore Pompeianarum partium Caesarem laudandum et tollendum censebat, cum aliud diceret, aliud intellegi vellet.
[12] Cicero, Ad Familiares, 11.20.1
ipsum caesarem nihil sane de te questum, nisi dictum quod diceret to dixisse, laudandum adolescentem, ornandum, tollendum, se non esse commissurum, ut tolli possent.
[13] Suetonius, De Vita XII Caesarum, Caligula 58.1-3
[1] VIIII. Kal. Febr. hora fere septima cunctatus an ad prandium surgeret marcente adhuc stomacho pridiani cibi onere, tandem suadentibus amicis egressus est. Cum in crypta, per quam transeundum erat, pueri nobiles ex Asia ad edendas in scaena operas evocati praepararentur, ut eos inspiceret hortareturque restitit, ac nisi princeps gregis algere se diceret, redire ac repraesentare spectaculum voluit. [2] Duplex dehinc fama est: alii tradunt adloquenti pueros a tergo Chaeream cervicem gladio caesim graviter percussisse praemissa voce: "Hoc age!" dehinc Cornelium Sabinum, alterum e coniuratis, tribunum ex adverso traiecisse pectus; alii Sabinum summota per conscios centuriones turba signum more militiae petisse et Gaio "Iovem" dante Chaeream exclamasse: "Accipe ratum!" respicientique maxillam ictu discidisse. [3] Iacentem contractisque membris clamitantem se vivere ceteri vulneribus triginta confecerunt; nam signum erat omnium: "Repete!" Quidam etiam per obscaena ferrum adegerunt. Ad primum tumultum lecticarii cum asseribus in auxilium accucurrerunt, mox Germani corporis custodes, ac nonnullos ex percussoribus, quosdam etiam senatores innoxios interemerunt.
[14] Josephus, Antiquitatae Judaicae 19.1.13 [94]
[94] ἔνθα δὲ καὶ σημεῖα μανθάνει δύο γενέσθαι: καὶ γὰρ μῖμος εἰσάγεται, καθ᾽ ὃν σταυροῦται ληφθεὶς ἡγεμών, ὅ τε ὀρχηστὴς δρᾶμα εἰσάγει Κινύραν, ἐν ᾧ αὐτός τε ἐκτείνετο καὶ ἡ θυγάτηρ Μύρρα, αἷμά τε ἦν τεχνητὸν πολὺ καὶ περὶ τὸν σταυρωθέντα ἐκκεχυμένον καὶ τῶν περὶ τὸν Κινύραν
[15] Suetonius, De Vita XII Caesarum, Caligula 57.4
...et pantomimus Mnester tragoediam saltavit, quam olim Neoptolemus tragoedus ludis, quibus rex Macedonum Philippus occisus est, egerat; et cum in Laureolo mimo, in quo actor proripiens se ruina sanguinem vomit, plures secundarum certatim experimentum artis darent, cruore scaena abundavit. Parabatur et in noctem spectaculum, quo argumenta inferorum per Aegyptios et Aethiopas explicarentur.
[16] Juvenal, Satirae 8.187-8
Laureolum uelox etiam bene Lentulus egit,
iudice me dignus vera cruce.
[17] Martial, Liber Spectaculorum 7
nuda Caledonio sic viscera praebuit urso
non falsa pendens in cruce Laureolus
vivebant laceri membris stillantibus artus
inque omni nusquam corpore corpus erat.
I. Footnotes.

[i] Wünsch, Sethianische Verfluchungstafeln aus Rom, p. 222, Leipsic, 1898 (ap. K. Kohler & S. Krauss, "Ass-Worship," Jewish Encyclopaedia, 1906, sub-heading "Origin in the Egyptian typhon-Worship).
[ii] A. Alföldi, “Der iranische Weltriese auf archäologischen Denkmälern”, in: Jahrbuch der schweizerischen Gesellschaft für Urgeschichte 40, Zurich 1949/50, 28 (ap. F. Carotta & A. Eickenberg, Orpheos Bakkikos - the Missing Cross (pdf), p.7).
[iii] M. Hengel, (tr. J. Bowden), Crucifixion, Philadelphia 1977, Fortress Press, pp.51-63.
[iv] Cf. Herodotus, Histories 3.125.3,4; Cicero de Finibus 5.30.92; Lucian, Charon 13 (fin), 14; Philo, de Providentia, frg. 2.24f (ap. Eusebius, Praeparatio evangelica 8.14.386-399).
[v] Even Martin Hengel recognized this as an impalement (Crucifixion, p. 47). The context forces the patibulum to be interpreted as a pole. Interesting, because the Greeks starting with Chariton ~ or the Four Evangelists ~ would also call the patibulum a pole: a σταυρός!
[vi] Francesco Carotta, Jesus Was Caesar, "III Crux" (footnote [183])
[vii] Josephus, Jewish War 1.4.6 [96-98], Antiquities of the Jews 13.14.2 [379-383]
[viii] Carotta, ibid.
[ix] The equivocation is on the verb tollere which, on the one hand, means "to lift up" or "extol," but on the other hand, "to lift up [into a cross / onto a stake]" or "remove."
[x] Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 19.1.13 [95]
[xi] Ibid, 19.1.13 [96-98] & 19.1.14 [99-113]
[xiii] Hengel, p. 35: "Juvenal wished that the actor Lentulus were on a real cross in this fearsome piece; it was an abomination to the satirist that the actor, as a member of the upper class, should debase himself by such a performance." Of course, I left the word crux untranslated, above because it doesn't necessarily mean a cross, even as an instrument of torture-execution.

J. Previous Series.

Crucifixion – The Bodily Support - Part 1.
Crucifixion – The Bodily Support - Part 2 - Archaeological Evidence.
Crucifixion – The Bodily Support - Part 4 - Physics of Crucifixion.


Sam said...

In the conclusion of your discussion of young Caesar's action against the pirates, you state: "And if we apply Ockham's Razor to all this, knowing that Caesar had captured the pirates by surprise, he would have executed them in haste as well. And knowing from Suetonius that he slit their throats first, the likely method of crucifixion here was impalement." Are you suggesting that the punishment was simple impalement, or that the pirates were subjected to the cornu?
I would think that the latter is most likely, for several reasons. Firt, the earliest source, Plutarch, employs terms that could be interpreted as both "crucifixion" and "impalement." Second,Suetonius is the only source that mentions Caesar's supposed "clemency" toward the pirates prior to crucifixion. Such clemency seems unlikely considering that the execution site was in or near the city of Pergamum. In 75 B.C., Pergamum was the headquarters of a considerable Roman military presence, and this force was largely required to combat the threat continually posed by Mithridates VI (who had been forced to abandon control of Pergamum in 85 B.C.). The Romans viewed pirates as allies of Mithridates and would, it seems, have had little inclination to provide any measure of clemency to Caesar's prisonsers. It seems, then, that those pirates captured by Caesar and transported to Pergamum for execution by the Roman military authorities were, in all likelihood, subject to the cornu. Do you agree?

Ed-M said...

"The Romans viewed pirates as allies of Mithridates and would, it seems, have had little inclination to provide any measure of clemency to Caesar's prisonsers. It seems, then, that those pirates captured by Caesar and transported to Pergamum for execution by the Roman military authorities were, in all likelihood, subject to the cornu. Do you agree?"

Yes, I know that sometimes, applying Ockham's Razor can yield incorrect results. People don't always do things the quickest, easiest way. Also, I can see the throat-slitting not happening, but rather Suetonius coming across false information about it, not knowing it was false, and including it in his Twelve Caesars.

And since Caesar, according to Plutarch at least, had dragged the pirates out of the prison, his crew could have had time to prepare the crosses complete with cornus and planted the stipes all in advance. So given the political situation, the pirates probably were subjected to the cornu, just as Publius Gavius was by Governor Verres only two years later (73 BCE).