Byzantine Cross. Bronze cross. Interesting design 7th to 11th Century

Ancient Coins - Byzantine Cross. Bronze cross. Interesting design 7th to 11th Century
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Byzantine Cross. Bronze cross. Interesting design 7th to 11th Century   39x22mm
The Christian cross is the best-known religious symbol of Christianity. It is a representation of the instrument of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It is related to the crucifix (a cross that includes a representation of Jesus' body) and to the more general family of cross symbols.


The cross-shaped sign, represented in its simplest form by a crossing of two lines at right angles, greatly antedates, in both East and West, the introduction of Christianity. It goes back to a very remote period of human civilization. It is supposed to have been used not just for its ornamental value, but also with religious significance.[1]

Some have sought to attach to the widespread use of this sign, in particular in its swastika form, a real ethnographic importance. It may have represented the apparatus used in kindling fire, and thus as the symbol of sacred fire [2] or as a symbol of the sun,[3] denoting its daily rotation. It has also been interpreted as the mystic representation of lightning or of the god of the tempest, and even the emblem of the Aryan pantheon and the primitive Aryan civilization.

Another symbol that has been connected with the cross is the ansated cross (ankh or crux ansata) of the ancient Egyptians, which often appears as a symbolic sign in the hands of the goddess Sekhet, and appears as a hieroglyphic sign of life or of the living.[4] In later times the Egyptian Christians (Copts), attracted by its form, and perhaps by its symbolism, adopted it as the emblem of the cross (Gayet, "Les monuments coptes du Mus�e de Boulaq" in "M�moires de le mission fran�aise du Caire", VIII, fasc. III, 1889, p. 18, pl. XXXI�XXXII & LXX�LXXI).

In the Bronze Age we meet in different parts of Europe a more accurate representation of the cross, as conceived in Christian art, and in this shape it was soon widely diffused. This more precise characterization coincides with a corresponding general change in customs and beliefs. The cross is now met with, in various forms, on many objects: fibulas, cinctures, earthenware fragments, and on the bottom of drinking vessels. De Mortillet is of opinion that such use of the sign was not merely ornamental, but rather a symbol of consecration, especially in the case of objects pertaining to burial. In the proto-Etruscan cemetery of Golasecca every tomb has a vase with a cross engraved on it. True crosses of more or less artistic design have been found in Tiryns, at Mycen�, in Crete, and on a fibula from Vulci.

 Early Christian use

During the first two centuries of Christianity, the cross may have been rare in Christian iconography, as it depicts a purposely painful and gruesome method of public execution. The Ichthys, or fish symbol, was used by early Christians. The Chi-Rho monogram, which was adopted by Constantine I in the fourth century as his banner (see labarum), was another Early Christian symbol of wide use.

However, the cross symbol was already associated with Christians in the second century, as is indicated in the anti-Christian arguments cited in the Octavius of Minucius Felix, chapters IX and XXIX, written at the end of that century or the beginning of the next,[5] and by the fact that by the early third century the cross had become so closely associated with Christ that Clement of Alexandria, who died between 211 and 216, could without fear of ambiguity use the phrase τὸ κυριακὸν σημεῖον (the Lord's sign) to mean the cross, when he repeated the idea, current as early as the apocryphal Epistle of Barnabas, that the number 318 (in Greek numerals, ΤΙΗ) in Genesis 14:14 was interpreted using numerology as a foreshadowing (a "type") of the cross (T, an upright with crossbar, standing for 300) and of Jesus (ΙΗ, the first two letter of his name ΙΗΣΟΥΣ, standing for 18),[6] and his contemporary Tertullian could designate the body of Christian believers as crucis religiosi, i.e. "devotees of the Cross".[7] In his book De Corona, written in 204, Tertullian tells how it was already a tradition for Christians to trace repeatedly on their foreheads the sign of the cross.[8]

The Jewish Encyclopedia says:

The cross as a Christian symbol or "seal" came into use at least as early as the second century (see "Apost. Const." iii. 17; Epistle of Barnabas, xi.-xii.; Justin, "Apologia," i. 55-60; "Dial. cum Tryph." 85-97); and the marking of a cross upon the forehead and the chest was regarded as a talisman against the powers of demons (Tertullian, "De Corona," iii.; Cyprian, "Testimonies," xi. 21�22; Lactantius, "Divin� Institutiones," iv. 27, and elsewhere). Accordingly the Christian Fathers had to defend themselves, as early as the second century, against the charge of being worshipers of the cross, as may be learned from Tertullian, "Apologia," xii., xvii., and Minucius Felix, "Octavius," xxix. Christians used to swear by the power of the cross (see Apocalypse of Mary, viii., in James, "Texts and Studies," iii. 118).
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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