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Rome: First-Second Century Christian Sights

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Hi...I have the pleasure of going to Rome for a second time (how wonderful!) and I am very interested in digging deeper into some Christian sights that are not the typical "must-sees".

I am really only interested in Christian sights prior to Constantine I. The only things that I have been able to find in this realm are the 2-3rd Cent. ground level of San Clemente and the Catacombs.

I have read that Santa Constanza is a good suggestion. Other than that I am struggling to find legit early sights.

Any help, especially from 'Eloise' who seems quite knowledgeable about these things, would be great. This can include active dig sites as well. I have already requested Georgina Masson's guide, as per Eloise's other posts about these things, but any other help would be great.

Also, if I will need to schedule a private tour or anything, let me know if you can.

Thanks so much for the help...it is tough to dig through the "tradition" and get to the "history".

Take care.

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    There is a poster here called ParadiseLost who has posted some wonderful threads on the history behind certain places in Rome, and it could well be worth your while to scroll through his Rome posts on the Europe forum. I plan to do just that before my next trip to Rome!

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    Have you been on the tour of the excavations under St Peter's (referred to by most on this board as just the 'Scavi tour' ? The buildings comprised the Roman necropolis during the first few centuries AD, when the regime swung between Christian & non-Christian a few times (from what I remember) & the tour describes the hunt for St Peter's tomb.

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    Delighted to hear that you are doing your own research this time...

    If you only want early Christian sites before Constantine, you will have to skip Santa Costanza, which is believed to have been built to house the tomb of his daughter or granddaughter, both called Constantia.

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    "the first few centuries AD, when the regime swung between Christian & non-Christian a few times "

    Eh?. Surely, before 312, it swung between adherents of the old religion who tolerated Christianity and those who persecuted it?

    And after 312, apart from the two year reign of Julian, swung between Christians who tolerated other viewpoints and those who persecuted them (even some that were also Christian?

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    St Cecelia was matryed in the 2nd century AD. You can visit her church in Trastevere, which features a beautiful sculpture that depicts her body as it was found centuries later. In the crypt under the church are excavations of Roman buildings attributed to her lifetime. There is also a wonderful fresco in the choir, accessible at special times through the attached convent.

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    You will want to visit the church of Saint Peter in Chains (San Pietro in Vincoli), I'd imagine, since the chains alleged to have held St Peter in bondage are on display there. There's also the Mamertine Prison, under the church of S. Giuseppe. (I think it's open to the public--I haven't been there)

    If you're interested in relics of early Christian martyrs, the head of St Agatha is on view in a side chapel of the church of S. Agnese in Agone in Piazza Navona.

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    Visit Nero's Domus, SANTA MARIA IN TRASTEVERE-in 222 AD. Under Pope Callisto I a "meeting place" for the Christian community of Trastevere was built here and is probably the first Christian church (not in a home) in Rome. It's quite beautiful.This was the site of a "miracle spring" which spouted oil for one whole day in 38BC

    SANT'AGNESE IN AGONE
    According to legend the church is built on the site of a brothel where in 304 St Agnes was publicly stripped naked to make her renounce her faith. Miraculous hair growth then protected her chastity

    Don't miss the Lateran Palace ,a bit later than your dates, given by Constantine to the Pope (beginning of 4th century).Next door is the interesting Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano Basilica. Across the street are the "Holy steps" reported to have been climbed by Jesus to reach Pilate’s Palace. Although it very well might not be the steps, it's fascinating seeing the people "walking" up and down the steps on their knees.
    There's the Basilica of ST. Mary Major .I believe it was built around 350BC (legend says) after an appearance of the Blessed Virgin.
    St. Paul Outside the Walls is a great stop. It's built over the burial place of the Apostle of the Gentiles and again is during Constantine's time frame.
    Overall, except for the catacombs, there's very little to see realted to early Christian sites.
    My wife and I have tried to hit them all. My personal favorites are the Scavi tour under St. Peter's and Mamertine prison.
    HERE'S A WEBSITE WITH GOOD INFORMATION: http://roma.katolsk.no/index.htm
    Note the "Home of the Saints". The places listed for Peter and Paul look interesting. We will probably visit them next year.
    I hope this helps.


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    It's post-Constantine but I'll throw it out there :).
    http://www.fodors.com/forums/threadselect.jsp?fid=2&tid=1339419
    Some of the links might be dead.

    This graffito fits into your timeframe, it's usually placed from late 1C to early 3C. But it is probably 2C.
    http://faculty.bbc.edu/rdecker/alex_graffito.htm

    It's located in the Palatine Hill Museum in Room VIII (upper floor-right rear corner room).

    Just to add to that website;
    It was found in the Pedagogium.
    Pagan Romans made fun of Judaism by saying that they worshipped an Ass/Donkey.

    Perhaps someone who knows Jewish history could clarify this better.
    But I believe the Jews either fled or were expelled from Eqypt.
    They were wandering in the desert, dying of thirst when they saw a pack of wild donkeys. They followed this pack and it lead them to water.
    In the 'Temple of Jerusalem' there was a small statue of a donkey in rememberance of this event?
    So the Pagan Romans made the joke that they worshipped donkeys.
    And they also thought that early Christianity was just another Jewish Sect.

    So the donkey head on the crucified man would make sense to the Pagan person who drew this anti-Christian graffito.

    The lone 'Y' is believed to be either a symbol for execution (I've wondered if it represents a dead person hanging down from a cross which would make the shape of a 'Y'?)

    Or it was meant to show a person screaming in pain, rather like the bubble in a comic strip ~(Yeowwww). Regards, Walter

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    Well, I'd really like to thank everyone.

    Eloise: Well...what can I say. You weren't helpful at all, despite my attempt to be cordial.

    Caroline: The St. Peter's suggestion is a great one, I think I rememeber it from last time but we didn't go. Thanks!

    Ellenem - Thanks for the St. Cecilia suggestion!

    DejaVu - St. Peter's in chains sounds interesting, I am looking forward to researching this!

    Jabez - Nero's Domus & Sant'Agnese in Agone sounds great. I hope to find a good amount of historical info on both.

    WillTravel - Our convent experience was WONDERFUL! I would have tried to post a trip report earlier but the last year has been spent preparing for a big surgery, and in and out of the hospital. We honestly loved it. A few blocks from Piazza Navona, a few more to the Pantheon where we spent most late nights. We are going back to the same place this year.

    ParadiseLost - Thanks for the websites and the Palatine Hill Museum suggestion. We didn't have time last year to see the museum, we only stopped in to use the restrooms...I guess I will have to MAKE time this time.

    Thanks everyone so much for your help. Any more suggestions would be great. It has been suggested to me to pick up the Oxford Archaeological guide to Rome, which I am going to do. I have also tried to research some up to date digs and recent finds, but am having a little more trouble with that.

    Either way, it will be a great trip. The Mamertine prison and the Catacombs alone will be great to visit again. To be where such early believers were, and to set foot in a prison that Paul may have been in before his death is a Awe-some thing.

    Thanks again...any more help is so appreciated.

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    If you want to visit the Scavi, you have to send them an e-mail request.

    All the information is here:

    http://tinyurl.com/2yb63

    Your chances are better if you can give the Ufficio Scavi a range of days.

    They ask for your address in Rome; the fact that you are staying at the Istituto Santa Giuliana Falconieri may work to your advantage.

    If I was short, it is because you put such stringent - not to say, ridiculous - limitations on what interests you. As far as I am concerned, all the early Christian churches are of great interest, whether a saint was martyred there or not. Many of them, in any case, are built where the Roman homes stood in which Christian rites were first celebrated.

    Sant'Agnese fuori le Mura (next to Santa Costanza) is where St. Agnes, who was martyred at the site of Sant'Agnese in Agone, was buried.

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    The Oxford Archaeological Guide to Rome is first-rate. I definitely recommend it to any history buff visiting Rome. You'd get a lot out of that book, for sure. It's heavy on the imperial period of course, but nonetheless has good info about early Christian material.

    Also from Oxford Univ Press is a really interesting book called _Imperial Rome and Christian Triumph_ by Jas Elsner. It's not a guidebook and is not limited to Rome proper but gives nice discussions of early Christian art and its influences.

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    DejaVu - Thanks for the affirmation of the Arch. text, and the new suggestion. I have already requested it.

    Man oh man, paradise lost is a wealth of information. No strings, no complaints. Just helping people. Thanks so much Paradise! I am just beginning to dig into your posts.

    Cheers.

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    You may also enjoy reading some of the works of Peter Brown, who writes wonderfully about late antiquity and Latin Christianity. The Cult of the Saints, The Rise of Western Christendom, and The World of Late Antiquity are not solely about Rome, but they give some perspective for travel there.

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    I have seen pictures of the site where St Paul was beheaded but I can't find where the site is located. I think it's San Paolo alle Tre Fontane. But where is it? Does anyone know? I wouldn't mind directions on how to get there either. Thanks -it's so nice of the many who take the time to respond. It is really a huge help & so appreciated.

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    Hi Mimmel, That is the right church. If you would like to view a list of the churches of Rome, type "The Churches of Rome" into your search box, and Chris Nyborg's list of churches will come up. For some reason, I can't get the specific web address to come up on my list. This gives you an alphabetical listing, plus some facts about each church.

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    hi ericjdaniels,

    i was wondering if you can provide me with any information on the convent you stayed at in Rome. My husband and I will be in Rome this october and are still looking for a place to stay.

    thanks!

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    I will be visiting Rome for a week in July, and I am just SO glad that I discovered these posts. Thanks everybody, for sharing and guiding ... I will definitely try to visit each of these sites. Any other suggestions in the same line will be avidly followed!

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    This post was more of response to an Historical Jesus vs. Mythical Jesus Usenet discussion but it has alot of info and guesses on the 'Alexamenos Graffito' so I'd thought I pop it in here:-).

    Go to www.capitolium.org/eng/fori/pianta.htm #23 is the Palatine Hill Museum on the 2nd floor Room VIII is this http://tinyurl.com/ppspvfr hanging on the wall (also google imagine "Alexamenos Graffitto" for others).

    It was found here http://tinyurl.com/ojd9hty these ruins are shown (on above map) only as a 'grassy area'.

    See the Via DEI Cerchi. Take the 'I' in DEI and extend it up following the same angle, thru the short grassy section, thru that small structure and into the grassy area.
    That is where the ruins of this Imperial Slave School are.

    Behind the Museum there is a scenic overlook of the Circus Maximus, if you look to the right on the slope of the Palatine Hill you can see these ruins.

    Just remember what you have seen in Medieval and Renaissance paintings were painted many centuries after crucifixion was banned and are just the artist's personal conception of what he thought it should look like and then it was just repeated over and over again by the later day artists right up until today.
    --------------------------------------------��

    The 'Alexamenos Graffito' has interested me for years, I poured all the conflicting info into head, shook it around and this is what I came up with.

    The Graffito dates to ~200+AD and was found on a plastered beam of the Pedagogium, this was an Imperial Slave School located on the bottom slope of Rome's Palatine Hill facing the Circus Maximus.
    This Pedagogium was founded by Emperor Domition (81-96AD) but this later structure is dated sometime after 192AD.

    This school is where young male student/slaves were being groomed to work for the Emperor and the Roman Empire as government employees from low level servants to the Emperor's private secretary, scribe, attendants, etc.

    Greek slaves are highly prized by the Romans and likely the majority of these students were Greek and Alexamenos is a Greek name.
    But also Romans give non-Greek slaves Greek names.

    Fluent and written Greek is very often used among the upper-class and Imperial Romans and also among the lower classes as a common language.

    So it would be very common place for a graffito to be written in Greek here.

    So what we have is likely one Pagan student/slave poking fun at his classmate because he is a Christian but it could also be a religious bias statement against him.

    [This is an easier to follow artist's drawing]

    http://davidderrick.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/alexamenos-graffito.png

    Ok now look at the figure on the left that is Alexamenos with his *left* arm and hand outstretched and the Greek caption reads 'Alexamenos worships (his) God'.
    I find it odd that only the left arm and hand is used?

    Early Christians used elbows outstretched to the side of the body, arms pointed up, hands open and pointing outward.
    This general type of worship was common over the years to both Pagans and Jews and called Orant or Orans.

    [Just a thought] If only 1 arm and hand was too be used it's practically ingrained in us that it would be the right arm and hand (handshake, salute, grasping a shoulder or arm in greeting, etc) and more respectful and honorable.

    I'm just guessing, is it possible the Pagan artist meant to show that those crazy Christians even pray strangely...not like us normal Pagans?

    But perhaps he had actually seen Alexamenos praying like that, there are alot of off-shoots and different customs of Christianity thru-out the Empire and maybe that was the way the small sect that taught him worshipped?

    The Cross is a Tau Cross 'T', this is a standard issue outside the gates of any Roman City.

    The vertical post is a permanent fixture outside the city gate.

    The horizonal cross beam is removable, the condemed is fasten to it and it is lifted to atop the vertical post (it's not as high as shown it paintings and movies).

    The vertical post has a smaller protruding extention in it ===>`>|| that
    fits into hole in the crossbeam.

    A one piece cross with the cross beam afixed to the vertical beam like the Christian Cross is not practical (heavy, labor intensive by erecting and taking down, etc) and was not used at the execution sites outside city gates.
    Plus this type of cross comes into Christian World centuries later by Christian artists.

    In 200+AD Christians do not use the cross as a religious symbol but our Pagan artist knows Alexamenos' God was crucified and he has undoubtably seen Roman criminal crucifixions outside a city gate so that is how he shows it.

    On those type of criminal/slave executions on a Tau Cross, the condemed is tied with arms outstretched with a seat (sedile) under the buttocks and a footrest (suppedaneum).

    The purpose is for the condemed to last for days as a living tortured moaning crying billboard showing others what happens to non-Roman criminals, troublemakers and to disobedient/run-away slaves.

    A couple of things about this hastely etched graffito IMO.

    The seat ----- is above the buttocks some claim it shows a loincloth (Christian art again) except crucifixions were done where the victim was stripped naked as part of the humiliation in this type of death.

    I think he just etched the cross and later etched the body and they didn't line-up properly or it's such a minor point and it's in the general location.

    To the right of the donkey head is this ----o (except vertical), that is the Titulus which is the plaque stating the victim's crime (In Christ paintings it's shown as INRI) and just part of the overall billboard's message (thief, run-away slave, murderer, political troublemaker, etc). Being off center sounds very practical, the head won't block its viewing nor could the person knock it off or hit it with the back of their head (seeking unconsciousness, death, blood loss to hasten death?).

    Now as far as the donkey/ass head on the victim. Before and after Christianity began Pagans claimed that the Jews worshipped a donkey or a donkey's head in their Jerusalem Temple.

    Earlier Christianity was seen as a Jewish religion by the Pagans and the donkey worship just followed along with that belief.

    This website has a post about this
    http://narrativeandontology.blogspot.com /2010/01/alexamenos-worships-god.html
    If broken; http://tinyurl.com/cl4yw9k

    Also there are at least a couple of more from ancient writers in the ~2ndC that connect Christianity with this donkey worship.

    So the Pagan artist was just drawing what he knew, his Christian classmate worshipped a God that was crucified which to the Pagans was off the charts.

    This was a death that except in extreme cases could not be done to even the lowest class Roman Citizen.

    Then he mockingly put the donkey head on the God because he believed that was also something they worshipped.

    Was it done to be mean and insulting, probably. But it could have also been a joke, we men esp when teenagers do have a mean sense of humor even to our best friends:-).

    Alexamenos it seems let the graffito stay perhaps erasing would show that it got to him and the taunts would likely continue but by letting it roll off his back they would move on eventally?

    The 'Y' in the air to the right of the victim has been thought to possibly be a symbol for a cry of pain but that was just a guess.
    Like in a cartoon drawing's bubble caption (Yeeeoooowww).

    I've wondered if it was a symbol for crucifixion, the Y symbolizing a man hanging on a cross?

    But it very well could also have nothing to do with this graffito and was just there before or after the drawing.

    IMO Romans seem to have two types of crucifixions;
    The 1st most common type is the tied only, seated with a footrest that lasts for days.
    And their corpse would be left to rot still as an impressional billboard with no burial allowed.

    And the 2nd least common type are the 1 day maximum pain crucifixions where the victim would possibly not even survive the day.

    If still alive at the end of the day their legs would be broken (fact) which would cause death by suffocation shortly after (fact).

    In this type there would be a brutal scorging (violent whipping with a cat-of-9-tails with metal objects and sharp bone fragments secured on each individual lash) beforehand and then nails used in the crucifixion.

    For the sadistic Romans entertainment in the Circus or Colosseum these would be like a sideshow to watch between acts like the Chariot races or gladiator or wild beast combats.

    The victims might have also been covered in pitch soaked cloth that was set afire at the end of the day (fact).

    But also it seems highly likely this type was used in Roman's troublesome province of Judaea where religious rebellions/riots have caused major problems.

    The Romans want only taxe$ and peace in their occupied lands, problems cost them money and they love their money:-).

    They seem to have compromised on the standard government type of crucifixions in Judaea for religious calm?

    The Jews will get a 1 day crucifixion and the right to retrive the body for a burial before sunset.

    There is archaeological evidence for this where a 1stC Jew near Jerusalem was crucified and his family was allowed to properly entombed him.
    www.kotiposti.net/raamattu/jt/oppi/risti/pic/extra-cross-nails.jpg
    The nail had bent and was still thru his ankle when found in the 20C and the other ankle had a nail hole in it (also google ankle nail Jerusalem for more info).

    There is written evidence where the families were also allowed to bury the victims due to a Roman holiday for the Emperor.
    Now I don't know it this was always the case (I believe it was in Judaea) but in that instance and in Jesus' crucifixion it was allowed.

    So for a 1C Jewish crucifixion in Judaea the arms would be rope tied. If hand nails were used it would have been thru the wrists and then only for the max pain factor (major nerve area) and not as an attachment of the victim to the crossbeam where the arms are tied.

    In the translated ancient Greek Christian texts the Greek word 'hand' also includes the wrist.

    ---------------------------------------�

    Bottomline IMO; In all likelyhood Jesus was a 1-day crucifixion on a 'T' tau cross, his ankles were nailed to each side of the vertical beam and his arms were tied and the wrists were nailed to the crossbeam.

    (1) The majority of Scholars of antiquity believe there was an Historical living and breathing Jesus and only a small minority believe he was an invented myth.

    (2) The New Testament (NT) claims
    Jesus was scorged (violently whipped).
    Pagan accounts confirm this was done beforehand.

    (3) The NT claims Jesus is made to carry his cross(beam) to the execution site.
    Pagan accounts confirm that the person was made to carry his crossbeam to the execution site.

    (4) The NT claims Jesus was nailed to the cross. Pagan accounts confirm this and the archaeological evidence from 1C Judea confirms this.

    (5) The NT claims Jesus was given a vinegar drink on a sponge while on the cross.
    1 Pagan account claims that the person was given a cheap wine drink at the start of the crucifixion.

    (6) The NT claims the Roman's broke the legs near the end of the day of one (or both) of the criminals still alive to hasten death. Pagan accounts confirm that this was done.

    Opinion: If Jesus had died before this and the Romans were fairly
    certain then stabbing him with a spear would be alot easier and lazier than swinging a heavy mallot to break both legs of a dead limp man?

    (7) The NT claims Jesus was taken down from the cross and allowed to be buried (entombed).
    Many modern scholars support this and based on the earlier 1C crucifixion evidence it appears to be true.

    (8) The NT claims Jesus was entombed and a rock was used to block the door.
    Jews entombed their dead and then returned ~1yr later when the body had totally decomposed and then collected the bones and placed them in a personal or family bone box in the tomb.
    These were family and multi-family tombs where they would be returning for that and to place later bodies.

    Opinion; To keep wild animals out during this process the door would have to be blocked plus security from others entering it.

    (9) Mary and other women? returned after 3 days to anoint the body. I've read this practice was done for a couple of reason. Often the burial before sunset didn't allow enough time to do this properly.
    But mainly to ensure the person was actually dead and not seemingly dead and entombed alive.

    (10) The NT's 'Doubting Thomas' episode claims that the "hands" (wrist) were nailed.
    No proof exists that this was done in these type of crucifixions but to the audience that will hear and read this NT account for the next 200+yrs they know *exactly* how these type of crucifixions are carried out.
    They would absolutely No reason to invent this method knowing that everyone would know it was a Falsehood?

    (11) The NT mentions Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus.

    Some scholars believe that these 2 men were actually Jewish Councilors of the Beth Din, a Jewish court that was in charge of public graves which would also cover Roman crucifixion burials of Jews.

    In Judaism ALL Jews no matter what have a religious right to a quick burial.

    So Joseph going to Pilate for permission to take charge of Jesus' body after his death and then giving it a proper burial would have been in his official capacity and very likely he had done before and likely would again in the future.

    As far as using his own family tomb, who knows. To me it sounds like a later embellishment of the event, I would just assume that Jerusalem had a pauper's tomb for this?

    Remember once the body has decayed the bones are then placed in a box and even some family bone boxes have more than 1 person's bones in them.

    Plus if he was the Jewish official in charge of this he would also have the 2 criminals crucified alongside Jesus that day to deal with?

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    [I hope no one minds me hogging-up more space here:-) but I have just rewritten this for another messageboard and have added more detailed info.
    To me this is are a really cool very often overlooked small plaque in the Palatine Hill Museum.
    And it's not often we get a personal peak into the lives of ancient everyday people with a story.
    In this case 2 young male student-slaves in Rome's 'Imperial Slave School' in the 3rdC AD.
    One is Pagan and the other a Christian and they are living in turbulent times where their Emperor-employers are dropping like flies and not from natural causes.]

    ================================

    Just remember what you have seen in Medieval and later Renaissance paintings were painted many centuries after crucifixion was Banned by Constantine (337AD) and they are just the artist's personal conception of what he thought the 'Cross' and 'Crucifixion' should look like and then it was just repeated over and over again by the later day artists right up until today.

    The earliest crucifixion scene ever discovered was a personally made Ivory Box (420AD) http://tinyurl.com/kz928n8 (Judas on left - Centurion Longinus right)

    And Cross/Crucifixion scenes don't seem to appear in public until the 500's.

    A good example is the Roman Catacombs, 40 have been discovered dating from the 2ndC to the Late-4thC with A LOT of detailed Christian tomb art but not one depicts a Cross/Crucifixion scene.

    But sadly for Christians the 1st depiction of Jesus Christ's Crucifixion ever found is a Pagan graffito where he is making fun of a Christian fellow student-slave sometime in the 200'sAD.

    ============================

    The 'Alexamenos Graffito' has interested me for years, I poured all the conflicting info into head, shook it around and this is what I came up with.
    The Graffito dates to ~200+AD and was found on a plastered beam of the Pedagogium, this was an Imperial Slave School located on the bottom slope of Rome's Palatine Hill facing the Circus Maximus.

    The Pedagogium was founded by Emperor Domition (81-96AD) but this later structure is dated to sometime after 193AD.

    This is a school where young male student-slaves are being groomed to work for the Roman Empire as government employees from low level servants to the Emperor's private secretaries, scribes, attendants, etc.

    Greek slaves (non-barbarians] are highly prized by the Romans and likely the majority of these students were Greek and Alexamenos is a Greek name.
    But also Romans tend to give non-Greek slaves Greek names or just renamed them a name they like.

    Fluent spoken and written Greek is very often used among the upper-class Romans but also among some of the lower/middle classes and soldiers as a common language esp when dealing with foreigners.
    So it would be very common place for a graffito to be written in Greek here rather than Latin.

    So what we have is just likely one Pagan student-slave poking fun at his fellow Christian classmate or it was meant to be a mean insult to his religion?

    [This is an easier to follow artist's drawing or just google imagine "alexamenos graffito" for others]

    http://davidderrick.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/alexamenos-graffito.png ---(OR)--- http://tinyurl.com/la28zfe

    Ok now look at the figure on the left that is Alexamenos with his *left* arm and hand outstretched and the Greek caption reads 'Alexamenos Worships (his) God'.

    I just find it odd that only the left arm and hand are used, it's practically ingrained in us to always use the right hand (salute, handshake, sworn oaths, etc)?

    And Early Christians used elbows to the side of the body, arms pointed up, hands open and pointing outward to pray.
    This general type of worship was common over the years to both Pagans and Jews and called Orant or Orans.

    But perhaps he had actually seen Alexamenos praying like that, there are alot of off-shoots and different customs of Christianity through-out the Empire and maybe that was the way the small sect that taught him worshipped?

    Or maybe it was part of the Joke/Insult (he even prays funny)?

    The Cross in the graffito is a Tau Cross 'T', this is a standard issue outside the City Gates of any Roman City.

    The vertical post is a permanent dug-in fixture outside the Gate.

    The horizonal cross beam is removable, the condemed is fasten to it and it is lifted to atop the vertical post (it's not as high as shown it paintings and movies).

    The vertical post has a smaller protruding extention in it ===>`>|| that
    fits into hole in the crossbeam.

    A One-Piece Cross with the crossbeam fixed to the vertical beam like the Christian Cross is not practical (very heavy, labor intensive by erecting, taking down, re-erecting, etc) and was not used at already fixed execution sites outside City Gates as far as we know?

    Just my guess; If the Christian Cross was used it was likely a quick and easy cross to assemble at a site not equipped for Tau crucifixions?

    Plus this type would be impossible for the condemned man to carry and next to impossible to even to lift-up and drag along.

    And both Pagan accounts and the Christian account of Christ's Crucifixion say the condemned was made to carry his "cross", so it had to be just the removable crossbeam.

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    This Pagan graffito artist knows that Alexamenos' God was crucified and he has undoubtably seen many Roman criminal or slave crucifixions outside the City Gates so that is how he draws the Cross.

    On this type of Tau cross crucifixions the criminal/slave is tied with arms outstretched with a Seat (sedile) under the buttocks and a Footrest (suppedaneum).

    And no nails are used.

    The main purpose for this is for the condemed to last for days as a living tortured billboard showing others what happens to non-Roman criminals, troublemakers and to disobedient/run-away slaves.

    It's a very slow humiliating public death, thirst, hunger, pain, insects, the taunts of passers-by and knowing that after death your body will just be left there to rot away.

    ===================================

    Now a couple of things about this hastely etched graffito IMO.

    The Seat ----- is above the buttocks and some claim it shows a loincloth (Christian art again) except crucifixions were done where the victim was stripped naked as part of the humiliation.
    I think he possibly just etched the cross 1st and later etched the body in and they just didn't line-up properly (a minor point).

    To the right of the donkey head is this ----o (except vertical), that is the Titulus which is the plaque stating the victim's crime (In Christ paintings it's shown as INRI) and just part of the overall billboard's message (thief, run-away slave, murderer, political troublemaker, etc). Being off center sounds very practical, the head won't block its viewing nor could the person knock it off or hit it with the back of their head (seeking unconsciousness, death, blood loss to hasten death)?

    Now as far as the Donkey/Ass head.

    Pagans claimed that the Jews also worshipped a donkey or a donkey's head in the 'Temple of Jerusalem' even before they ever heard of Christianity.

    Later Christianity is seen as a Jewish religion by the Pagans so the donkey worship myth just followed along with that belief even into the 3rdC.

    "Apion of Alexandria (~30AD) asserted that the Jews kept a gold ass's head in their sanctuary: it was discovered there, he said, when Antiochus Epiphanes plundered the temple.
    According to Diodorus what Antiochus discovered was the statue of a bearded man (presumably Moses) mounted on an ass."

    Tertullian; Christian Author (160-225AD);

    "In this matter we are [said to be] guilty not merely of forsaking the religion of the community, but of introducing a monstrous superstition; for some among you have dreamed that our god is the Head of an Ass, an absurdity which Cornelius Tacitus (Pagan Author ~105AD) first suggested.
    In the fourth book* of his histories, where he is treating of the Jewish war, he begins his description with the origin of that nation, and gives his own views respecting both the origin and the name of their religion.
    He relates that the Jews, in their migration in the desert, when suffering for want of water, escaped by following for guides some wild asses, which they supposed to be going in quest of water after pasture, and that on this account the image of one of these animals was worshipped by the Jews." *This is a mistake for the fifth book.

    So the Pagan artist was possibly drawing what he believed to be true and that was that Alexamenos' Christian crucified God had a 'Donkey Head'?
    Which for a Pagan wouldn't be so far-fetched an idea esp when knowing about Egyptian animal-headed Gods in the same region.

    But he could also have known that Jesus was a Man and completely seperate from the 'Donkey Head' worship myth but combined the 2 together as an insult?

    Or it could have also been a joke, we men esp when teenagers do have a mean sense of humor even to our best friends.

    Alexamenos it seems let the graffito stay perhaps erasing would show that it got to him and the taunts would likely continue but by letting it roll off his back they would move on eventally?
    Or the artist was a feared bully?

    The 'Y' in the air to the right of the victim has been thought to possibly be a symbol for a cry of pain but that was just a guess.
    Like in a cartoon drawing's bubble caption (Yeeeoooowww).

    I've also wondered if it was possibly a symbol for crucifixion, the Y symbolizing a person hanging on a cross?

    But it very well could also have nothing to do with this graffito and was just scratched there before or after the drawing.

    =================================

    IMO Romans seem to have two types of Crucifixions;

    The 1st most common type is the tied only, seated and with a footrest where the condemned last for days.

    And later their corpse would just be left to rot away with no burial allowed and still used as a Warning Billboard to others.

    And the 2nd least common type are the 1 day maximum pain crucifixions where the victim would possibly not even survive the day.

    If still alive at the end of the day their legs would be broken (crurifragium) which would hasten their deaths.

    In this type there would be a brutal scorging, a violent whipping with a cat-of-9-tails with metal weights & sharp objects and sharp bone fragments secured on each individual lash beforehand (Horace; 'Horribile Flagellum' horrible whip).

    And then nails are used in the crucifixion.

    For the sadistic Romans' entertainment in the Circus or Colosseum these condemned persons would be like a sideshow to watch between acts of the Chariot races and gladiator or wild beast combats.

    The victims might also be covered in pitch soaked cloth that was set afire at the end of the day as a 'closing act' (fact).

    Also before it was outlawed the Master of his House could crucify a slave for any offense on his property as a warning to his other slaves (there were even professional contractors they could hire for this).
    Obviously they would not want that slave to survive into the night when they are trying to sleep.

    =================================

    And it seems Highly Likely this type of crucifixion was used in Roman's troublesome province of Judaea where religious rebellions and riots have caused *major problems*.

    The Romans want only Taxe$ and Peace in their occupied lands, problems cost money and civil unrest ticks-off the Emperor.

    So they seem to have compromised on the standard government type of crucifixions in Judaea for religious calm?

    Condemned Jews will get a 1 day crucifixion and the right to have their body retrived for a burial before sunset as per their religious beliefs.

    There is archaeological evidence for this where a 1stC Jew in Jerusalem was crucified and his rich family was allowed to properly entomb him.

    www.kotiposti.net/raamattu/jt/oppi/risti/pic/extra-cross-nails.jpg ---(OR)--- http://tinyurl.com/jvtmb8w

    The iron nail had bent from hitting a knot in the vertical post (olive wood) of the cross and couldn't be removed from the victim's ankle.

    The nail is not long enough to pierce 2 ankles and then go into the beam, so the ankles were nailed seperately (through the heel bone) to each side of the vertical beam. -->T<--

    It was discovered in 1968 in a tomb within a bone box and the other ankle had a nail hole in it where the other nail had passed through it. His name was Yehohanan ben Hagkol and he was 24-28yrs old. (google; ankle nail Jerusalem crucifixion for more info)

    And the NT account of Jesus Christ's crucifixion also confirms this practice of 1-day crucifixions where body retrival is allowed.

    So in a 1C Jewish crucifixion in Judaea the arms would be rope tied to the crossbeam.
    If hand nails were used it would have been thru the wrists and then only for the pain factor (major nerve area) and not used as an attachment of the victim to the crossbeam as the arms are tied.

    In the original ancient Greek Christian texts that were later translated the Greek word 'hand' also includes the wrist.

    Which then made its way into the NT as "hand".
    And both ankles were nailed through the heel bones to eachside of the vertical post.

    ----------------------------------------------

    Bottomline IMO;

    In all likelyhood Jesus Christ's was a 1-day crucifixion on a 'T' tau cross, his ankles were nailed to each side of the vertical beam and his arms were tied and the wrists were nailed to the crossbeam.

    (1) The vast majority of Scholars of antiquity believe there was at least an Historical living Jesus that was crucified under Pilate and only a small minority believe he was an invented myth.
    (2) The New Testament (NT) claims
    Jesus was scorged (violently whipped).

    Pagan accounts confirm this was done beforehand.

    (3) The NT claims Jesus is made to carry his cross(beam) to the execution site.

    Pagan accounts confirm that the person was made to carry his crossbeam to the execution site.

    (4) The NT claims Jesus was nailed to the cross.

    Pagan accounts confirm this and the archaeological evidence from 1C Judaea confirms this as far as the ankles (feet) are concerned.

    (5) The NT claims Jesus was given a vinegar drink on a sponge while on the cross.

    1 Pagan account claims that the person was given a cheap wine drink at the start of the crucifixion.
    Perhaps an early translation error 'cheap sour wine' to vinegar?

    (6) The NT claims the Roman Soldier's broke the legs of the 2 criminals at the end of the day to hasten their death.
    Pagan accounts confirm that this was done.

    And with the Soldiers certain Jesus was already dead the spear stab would just be to insure their orders were carried-out in full.

    (7) The NT claims Jesus was taken down from the cross and allowed to be buried (entombed).
    Most modern scholars support this and based on the earlier 1C crucifixion ankle evidence it appears to be true.

    (8) The NT claims Jesus was entombed and a large rock was used to block the door.

    Jews entomb their dead and then return much later when the body has decomposed, they then collect the bones and place them in a personal or family bone box within the tomb.
    Seeing that these were family and multi-family tombs access must be made somewhat easy with a removeable rock.

    (9) NT; Mary and other women returned 3 days later after the Sabbath had passed to anoint Jesus' body.

    I've read this practice was done for a couple of reasons not Sabbath related.
    Often the burial before sunset didn't allow enough time to do this properly so they must return?
    But they waited until 3 days had passed to ensure the person was actually dead and not accidently entombed alive?

    (10) The NT's 'Doubting Thomas' episode claims that the "hands" (wrist) were nailed.
    No proof exists that this was done in these type of crucifixions but to the audience that will hear and read this NT account for the next ~300yrs they know *exactly* how these type of crucifixions are carried out.
    They would be absolutely No reason to invent this method knowing that everyone would know it was a Falsehood?

    (11) The NT mentions Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus.
    Some scholars believe that these 2 men were actually Jewish Councilors of the Beth Din, a Jewish court that was in charge of public graves which would also cover Roman crucifixion burials of Jews.
    In Judaism All Jews have the right to a proper religious burial.

    So Joseph going to Pilate for permission to take charge of Jesus' body after his death and then giving it a proper burial would have been in his official capacity and very likely he had done before and likely would again in the future.

    As far as using his own family tomb?

    To me this sounds like a later Christian embellishment of the event, I would just assume that Jerusalem had a general public tomb for those without means for a private or family tomb?
    And remember once the body has decayed the bones are then placed in a boxes so space isn't a long-term issue.
    Also if he was the Jewish official in charge of this he would also have the 2 criminals crucified alongside Jesus that day to deal with?

    (12) The NT provides no specific details on the type of Cross or that Jesus Christ's crucifixion was any different from any other crucifixion in the 1stC Judaea performed by the Romans.
    My point was to try and blend Pagan and the Christian NT accounts of Jesus' crucifixion together for a clearer picture of that major historic event in history.
    I'm an Atheist who believes that an Historical Jesus existed and was crucified under Pilate ~33AD and I hope that no one religious took offense to anything I said as that was never my intention.

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    p.s. Forget about that Alexamenos left-hand right-hand thingie, I must have 1st seen it thinking he was in a different position (sideview) and that image just stuck:-).
    He is actually in front of the Cross facing it and us so it is the right hand raised.

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