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St. Peter's Tomb at the Necropolis Scavi Fact or Fiction?

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CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION AND NERO'S 64AD FIRE (PART 1)
I'm going to post this in 4 parts covering the Fire & ChristianPersecution, St. Peter in Rome, the evidence found in the excavation of the tomb area and websites.
This just makes things easier when I or someone else might have something to add at a later date like 'Part 2 Peter in Rome' then say abible quote is added.

I believe that this is the tomb of St. Peter and that his bones were found there.
There is no rock solid evidence to support this though, if there were you would be reading about it from a published author with alot of letters after their name:) instead of a poorly written post on a messageboard:).

Only believe in the facts like from the Pagan writers and the excavation reports.
But the theory/belief/legend/whatever that Peter was killed and buried at Rome's Vatican Hill is up too you to believe or disbelieve that possibility.
No one should be 100% convinced nor can anyone say that it's also 100% not true IMO that would show extreme bias.
Instead go into this at 50/50 use logic and common sense without bias.

If you believe that there was a Divine Saint called Peter or just an historical person named Peter remember one thing...he had to die and beburied somewhere!
And there is major undisputed archaeological evidence that ~90yrs afterhis presumed death in Rome the Roman Christians marked and worshippedhis grave. Regards, Walter

I am an Atheist so I have no religious or faith-based bias to this site, I am just a Rome (city) ancient history buff and this site IMO is partof that history.
I believe there was an historical Jesus who started a very small cult following that was still part of Judaism. This following grew after his death (~30-33AD) within the Jewish communities and less than 20yrs later it caused religious strife in the Jewish community in Rome.

SUETONIUS 'CLAUDIUS' (~49/50AD) "Since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome".
The name Chrestus is a common name and most scholars believe it should be Christus (Christ) and was just misinterpreted (oral to written) and the Jews are fighting over the Messiah claim by Jesus' followers.

So we have a Pagan writer with access to Imperial archives who wrote 'The Twelve Ceasars' that places Christians in Rome roughly halfway between the death of Jesus and the 64AD Fire.

In 64AD we have the 'Great Fire of Rome' during Emperor Nero's reign. He needs a scapegoat when rumors start that he had ordered the fire set to clear away a large tract of land in order to vastly expand his palace (which he does).
Nobody cares about these very strange Christians plus the fire started in a small Jewish section where Jewish-Christians would have to alsolive.

SUETONIUS 'NERO' (Suetonius has an extreme bias when writing about Nero and other Emperors). Suetonius doesn't tie the Christians and the Fire together but places 100% of the blame on Nero but he does record the Christian persecutionby Nero. "During his reign many abuses were severely punished and putdown...[snip] [45] Punishment was inflicted on the Christians, a class of men given toa new and mischievous superstition.

TACITUS on the Fire and the Christians; "But all human efforts, all the lavish gifts of the emperor, and thepropitiations of the gods, did not banish the sinister belief that theconflagration was the result of an order.
Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt andinflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for theirabominations, called Christians by the populace.
Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of ourprocurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thuschecked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the firstsource of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous andshameful from every part of the world find their centre and becomepopular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then,upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so muchof the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. [SNIP]"

Ok so now we have 2 Pagan sources for a Christian persecution.Tacitus who was a child in Rome at the time of the Fire and Suetoniuswho was born 5yrs after the Fire.Both have access to archives and with actual 1st hand accounts espTacitus but also Suetonius who went to Rome to be educated as a youngman within 25yrs of the Fire, he was also very good friends with 'Plinythe Younger'.

Now to place the city's refuges at the Circus where St. Peter waskilled. We have Nero's Imperial Gardens, a Circus (a chariot racetrack on thefringe of the Gardens) and the Vatican Hill which at this time is adesolate snake infested area used as a cemetary for the poor with simplein-ground burials. So Gardens [G], Circus (), Vatican Hill /\ [G]()/\ all alongside each other.

TACITUS "To relieve the unhappy people, wandering in distress without a place ofshelter, he opened the field of Mars, as also the magnificent buildingsraised by Agrippa, and even his own *IMPERIAL GARDENS*.

He ordered a number of sheds to be thrown up with all possible'despatch, for the use of the populace. Household utensils and all kinds of necessary implements were broughtfrom Ostia, and other cities in the neighbourhood. The price of grain was reduced to three sesterces. For acts like these, munificent and well timed, Nero might hope for areturn of popular favour."

Nero actually did a good job for the people after the Fire and theGardens are just one location for the burnt-out refuges.
But this location has an added bonus, it has a Circus were the 'refuge mob' canbe entertained with death which they enjoy dearly. In the Circus Maximus (which burnt down in the fire) more than chariot races would take place, everything that the future Colosseum would havewas also done in the Circus (gladiators, animal fights, executions,etc).
So killing Christians as criminals in Nero's Circus before the crowdswould be standard operationing procedure.

And below is the rest of Tacitus' statement that I [Snipped] from above.
"Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished,or were ***nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, toserve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired. ***Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a showin the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of acharioteer or stood aloft on a car. Hence, even for criminals (i.e. Christians) who deserved extreme andexemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it wasnot, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man's cruelty,that they were being destroyed."

So we have proof by a Pagan source who was alive and lived in Rome atthat time although not likely an actual eyewitness to the fact thatChristians were killed in Nero's Circus.But his writings will be read by others who lived thru this era and hehas absolutely no reason to lie about it. Now we have as fact this event and a belief that one of the Christianswas St. Peter who was buried in a simple earth grave just outside thisCircus. From the spina (center barrier of the racetrack (|) ) where his andother crucifixions would have taken place a high school outfielder couldthrow a baseball from there to Peter's grave if the Basilica wasn't inthe way:).

Bribing the guards for a body wasn't unheard of or later retriving thebody from a mass burial pit is also possible. If either was done burying the body ASAP would be a must to avoiddetection and very likely arrest and a place in the next day'sentertainment. Also the Romans were good about allowing the Jews to bury their dead thesame day as their crucifixion in their homeland but I don't know if thiswas the case here? Anyway this is probably the worst location (malaria, snakes, barrenwasteland) outside of the City's Walls to *claim* that this is the graveof your religious leader and Apostle of Jesus unless there was a verygood reason to make that claim?

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    [Opps, I should have checked my 'cut & Paste' above as it has run words and paragraphs together]

    PETER IN ROME(?) Part 2

    "Jesus was a marginal Jew leading a marginal movement in a marginal province of a vast Roman empire. The wonder is that any learned Jew or pagan would have known or referred to him at all in the first or second centuries"

    Now what written proof should we expect from this small minority religion in Rome that has an even smaller break-away cult following with regards to St. Peter?
    Even the earliest written proof that there was a *single* Gospel written (out of many) is ~125AD and that small parchment piece of St. John's Gospel would fit in the palm of your hand.

    Also consider the bibical claim that Peter had escaped Roman imprisonment in Jerusaleum he is very possibly a fugitive from Roman authority and keeping a very low profile in Rome. To use the Hippie-era term "He went underground".
    Of course I don't believe that an Angel aided in the escape but it's possible that he was a wanted man who fled that city to avoid arrest and the story was embellished by later NT writers?


    St. Peter had to die somewhere and the early Christians claimed it was in Rome vs anywhere else.
    They also claim an *exact* location and timeframe (Nero's Circus during Nero's persecution).

    IMO if all the evidence and tradition was for a non-religious historic figure we would very likely be claiming we found where this event had taken place.
    But there is often a stigma attached to believing in any bibical site even if based only on non-bias information and evidence.

    IME with a couple of 'Born Again' Christians they wouldn't even look at any evidence based possibly on their bias against the Catholic Church.
    In 'History/Archaeological' Newsgroups Atheists (like myself) or those who don't believe in organized religion refused to look at any evidence as their mind was already made-up that it could not have happened <period>.

    But to their credit actually putting Peter in Rome is a tough sell based on the lack of evidence. Here one must look at what some scant written evidence hints at, Christian tradition and if it sounds possible to you.


    This is the best we can do and remember he had to be somewhere:).

    In St. Peter's First Epistle the end reads:
    "The church that is in Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you: and so doth my son Mark" (5:13).

    The real Babylon is in ruins and it's a fact that early Christians referred to Rome as Babylon.

    Mark is St. Mark who is Peter's scribe (Peter is likely illiterate) and "son" is just a term of endearment (Mark is younger) or perhaps they are posing as father and son to avoid suspicion as two Christian ring-leaders living under the same roof?

    There is some hinted evidence here mostly based on early Christian writings but here I am only concerned with anything written before ~154AD. Because by then the 'Red Wall' and the 'Trophy of Gaius' had been built over St. Peter's grave and Christians have now marked this grave with a large shrine & wall that is visible in sections today which is an archaeological proof for us (If they had marked the grave before that with anything it would have been removed or destroyed when the Shrine was constructed).

    In these letters or writings there would be no reason to mention St. Peter's martyrdom and burial place *if* it was common knowledge to all parties concerned.
    (Like; On the way to Houston I am stopping in Dallas to visit 'Dealey Plaza'. I would not have to explain why to an American of my generation.)

    www.newadvent.org/cathen/11744a.htm
    (Section 'Activity and death in Rome; burial-place')
    Use the website if you're interested, as it has Links to the actual passages. The *commentary* though is Catholic so with a religious bias.

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    Before I get a chance to post Part 3 which will be mostly the archaeological evidence from this website and comments:).

    www.saintpetersbasilica.org/Necropolis/Scavi.htm Click-on the link
    'The Tomb of St Peter' by Margherita Guarducci
    which is 1st hand info.
    Also this link there if you have the time 'The Bones of St Peter' by John E Walsh.

    But 1st you have to know the places that they talk about (Red Wall, Trophy of Giaus, Wall G, etc) and these websites have photos, videos, diagrams and info.
    So start there, the 1st and the 3rd website mainly deals with what this post is about.
    A couple of things are wrong but they are just minor points.
    www.culturaltravelguide.com/saint-peters-basilica-vatican-necropolis www.culturaltravelguide.com/roman-mausoleums-saint-peters-basilica www.culturaltravelguide.com/real-tomb-saint-peter-under-saint-peters-basilica Regards, Walter

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    Very interesting. I too am interested in non-biblical evidence about the fate of Paul. I have not done any digging myself, so I am willing to believe your info is accurate.

    My only quibble is that the church engaged in a lot of displays of supposed holy relics and sites, and we do have to take that into consideration. Some of the later writers may have been referring to claimed info about Paul, claimed by those Christians living in Rome after his death. I am not saying categorically it is untrue, but rather that it is open to doubtful interpretation.

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    "My only quibble is that the church engaged in a lot of displays of supposed holy relics and sites, and we do have to take that into consideration."

    Very true:) esp from Constantine's mother to the Crusades.

    But remember my time-frame is only from 64AD to ~154AD.

    "Some of the later writers may have been referring to claimed info about Paul, claimed by those Christians living in Rome after his death. I am not saying categorically it is untrue, but rather that it is open to doubtful interpretation."

    But do these later writers fit in that time-frame?

    Paul esp in the mid-1C as a Roman Citizen who be entitled to a honorable death by beheading and a burial for his crimes.
    And would not have a dishonorable death in a Circus before the crowds.

    Emperor Constantine believed that the grave of Paul was known and built 'St. Paul's Outside The Walls' where he interned those bones wrapped in purple cloth with gold thread exactly like he did with the bones found in St. Peter's grave.

    From what I have read the false intermingling of Peter and Paul together in Rome and their joint martydom post-dates my timeline and possibly Constantine's? Regards, Walter

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    [CORRECTION; Use this website for the long detailed excavation report and not the other one I recommended above.
    www.saintpetersbasilica.org/Necropolis/JW/TheBonesofStPeter-1.htm OR http://tinyurl.com/tbosp ]


    Also be sure to watch the 4min video on the grave here; www.culturaltravelguide.com/real-tomb-saint-peter-under-saint-peters-basilica OR
    http://tinyurl.com/rtospub

    It's very good but I don't know about the timeline they use '100AD-145AD'.
    I could be wrong but I haven't come across any actual dates for the 1st (and 2nd) 'low wall' that shored-up the grave so it might be pre-100AD.
    Also 145AD would be the earliest, the time-span is 145AD-161AD which is why I use ~154AD, it splits the difference plus it's 90yrs after 64AD.


    The excavation report is very long and detailed so I'd like to just summarize the timeline and locations from the original grave to the bones being placed in the 'Graffiti Wall' while only using the facts.

    This hopefully even though I'm a terrible writer:) will make it easier for anyone that is interested in this site.


    The timeline will be from the ~64AD burial to an unknown date in-between ~250AD when roughly the 'Graffiti Wall' was added and Constantine building the 1st St. Peter's Basilica (319-322AD).

    Somewhere in that timeframe an elderly man's bones that were originally in that earth grave (soil samples are an exact match) were placed into a marble-lined repository (niche) in the Graffiti Wall.

    The niche was then plastered over like the Wall and hidden with no plaque or inscription marking this new grave/tomb location.


    1st go here for a diagram of the 'Red Wall Complex [Scroll-down to> 8. Plan of the second-century red wall complex] www.saintpetersbasilica.org/Necropolis/JW/TheBonesofStPeter-6.htm OR http://tinyurl.com/dotrwc


    Now I am only interested in the enclosed Courtyard (~26ft x 12ft).
    Unlike the other areas in this complex its purpose is a Fact.

    You have a 1stC grave with a large Shrine (Trophy of Gaius) build over it, the floor is tiled and the area is enclosed by a high wall and *possibly* a roof.


    Christians met in each others homes for services and this is attested too by a Pagan letter to an Emperor pre-dating this Complex.

    [Theory] This complex is *very likely* the 1st structure build where Rome's Christians worshipped together making it the 1st Church in Rome and possibly the 1st in the Christian World?


    Now go to this model of the Shrine and Wall
    www.culturaltravelguide.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/model-rotated-trophy.jpg OR http://tinyurl.com/gtrophy

    Now in the later half of the 1stC none of those structures are there and that 1stC groundlevel is maybe a foot or so beneath the Shrine.

    We have proof that this was an area for simple in-ground poor-person's graves with likely just some cheap large bricktiles leaning against each other to form an inverted V over the length of the grave marking it.

    The Fact is nearby graves basically right next to our grave of interest bricktiles were found from Emperor Vespasian's era (69-79AD) and also a small oil lamp from the same era.

    So it's possible now to date our grave of interest to the later half of the 1stC based on the surrounding evidence and 64AD fits into that timeframe.


    Now from that time to the Red Wall's building (~154AD) this simple earth grave has been shored-up twice at different times over the decades with a low brick wall.

    These fixes were needed due to the ground level rising because it's on a hillside slope with soil erosion from the rain.

    So the Fact is that someone or somepersons are maintaining this gravesite.


    [CLAIM, not fact] In the 'Liber Pontificalis' (Book of Popes) it's stated that Pope Anacletus built an Oratory over this grave ~90AD?


    Now ~154AD the Christians have enjoyed decades of realitive peace in Rome, Christianity is still illegal but they are basically being left alone. Like a "Don't ask, Don't tell" policy.
    And it seems they are now confident enough to built this walled-in courtyard with a shrine over this humble grave.


    The shrine isn't square to the grave because this isn't an open space any more, large aboveground Pagan tombs are encroaching upon this area, so they must square-off with them to form this rectangular couryard.

    But in the base/floor of this Shrine there is a stone inset trapdoor (for want of a better word) that outlines the offset grave exactly [\\] by 11deg.

    So the Fact is the Shrine is directly related to the grave below without a doubt.


    ~250AD the Red Wall develops a long vertical crack right next to the Shrine, to save the wall and shrine a short buttress wall is built to support the Red Wall ___||___ .

    This buttress wall is known to us as the 'Graffiti Wall' and it is about to make history!


    Now either when it was built or the time leading up to Constantine or by Constantine himself there was a marble-lined repository/niche (3.5ft x 1ft x 10in) built into this brick Wall.

    This niche was then plastered over just like the bricks in both the Red Wall and this Wall, it's now completely hidden from sight!


    This shows the added 'Graffiti Wall' and its niche. That model of a person throw's off the scale though, see how the shrine's columns support a shelf, that shelf is 6ft high from the base of the shrine. www.culturaltravelguide.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/model-grafitti-wall-north.jpg OR http://tinyurl.com/mgwnj


    Now somewhere in this timeframe the grave is opened and left open to this day.
    A man's skeleton is removed with a few animal bones which were either in the soil of the original grave or any number of reasons because of this location (like erosion).

    But that isn't important, what is important is that the skeleton they removed is from 1 *single* person, a robust man, ~5'7" and ~60-70yrs old.

    Not all the bones in this skeleton are accounted for but all sections of the body are represented to some degree *except* both ankle and foot bones.
    [THEORY that I have heard before]
    This would this would be consistant with a person whose ankles were nailed to an upright beam of a cross later after death the feet were cut-off at the ankles.

    Because the arms were most likely tied (history seems to favor that method) to the removable crossbeam. So they would just cut-off above the nailed ankle and remove the crossbeam, untie and drag the body away.

    Add another cut to the ankle's remains and it would free it from the nail, grab the nail and wiggle it free.
    Also crucifixion nails are valuable items and sold as good luck charms.

    It is also very possible that as the day's entertainment in Nero's Circus neared the end the crucified victims were wearing clothes that were covered in tar/pitch and set alight.

    This was very common in these blood sports venues and a Pagan writer Tactius mentions Nero doing this with Christians in his Gardens next door (cited earlier).

    Also they have found both ankles of a 1C Roman crucifixion (near Jerusaleum) where each ankle was seperately nailed to each side of the upright post.


    So again, somewhere in this timeframe the skeletal remains taken from this grave end-up hidden in the Graffiti Wall's niche and remain there until the 20C.

    We know this because in the 1960's soil samples taken from those bones *exactly* matched the soil from that grave and even soil samples from the surrounding graves were a mismatch.

    So the Fact is, this elderly man was once buried in that earth grave in the 1C-AD.


    Now in ~250AD when this Graffiti Wall was built Christians are again being persecuted even to the point of not being allowed burials or visiting Christian graves.

    Perhaps fearing the bones would be taken and destroyed forever by the Pagans they were secretly hidden in the wall's niche?

    Or perhaps it was done decades later for the same reasons?

    Or Constantine had them placed them there when he built the Basilica?
    This seems to be the accepted theory but there are no facts or claims to back it up.


    Personally I don't think Constantine knew about the bone's location because if he had I believe he would have put them in a beautiful elaborate coffin and placed it in a more honorable location (like beneath or on the new Basilica's altar).

    Remember Constantine is either a new Christian convert or his accepting of Christianity had a political motive?
    Plus he didn't get baptised which is the 1st step to becoming a Christian until he was on his deathbed.

    So it's possible that the Pope didn't trust him completely or perhaps he feared that the Pagans might one day regain complete power again.

    Or the secret hidden location was never passed-on to a following Pope perhaps there were only an original few that knew the secret location and in the following 70yrs only a single Pope, a sudden death and the secret goes to his grave?


    It's very unlikely we will ever know the reason the bones were removed and hidden but the Fact is those bones from that 1C grave match the age and sex of St. Peter and the timeframe is in the ballpark.

    So either the early Christians are right and this is the grave of St. Peter or decades later they just happened to pick a gravesite to worship where by coincidence a 60-70yr old male just happens to be buried? �


    [CONCLUSION; Read this section on the Bones & Theory. But skip the examination results from the other bones found randomly in the larger *Courtyard* excavation of 3 adults & 1 40ish male] www.saintpetersbasilica.org/Necropolis/JW/TheBonesofStPeter-8.htm OR http://tinyurl.com/tbept


    Now to avoid confusion when reading the excavation report remember there are two seperate piles of bones that were discovered here.


    The bones in the Graffiti Wall which were discovered by accident when a small piece of the Graffiti Wall's plaster had fallen off and the hidden niche was exposed during the excavations.

    But they were secretly taken out of the niche and stored away by the Vatican's overseer of the excavations and unknown to the archaeologists for years.


    The 2nd pile of bone was when the archaeologists got into the original grave which was an open cavity beneath the Shrine.

    The grave was empty except where the underground Red Wall's brick foundations cut across the grave, when they built this section ~154AD they arched over the grave by making an inverted V which made a niche.

    In this niche archaeologists found a pile of BONES in the GRAVE that were placed there in ancient times!!!

    Needless to say they were overjoyed at the discovery except later when the bones are examined they discover the bone remains (none are complete, just bits and pieces) are of 2 50ish males and an elderly woman.
    So not of a man fitting St. Peter's older age.


    So the Graffiti Wall's bones are stored in the Vatican unknown to the archaeologists.

    The Vatican overseer who secretly removed them figured they were from some early Christian like a Pope who had himself entombed near the grave generations after St. Peter's death.


    Now the multiple person's bones found in the grave's niche? Who knows? Perhaps they ended up mingled in the grave site's area thru erosion as the report suggests.

    Guessing! Maybe any bones found when building the Red Wall complex were placed there figuring they were earlier Christians.

    But I've always wondered maybe they were a decoy? Any Pagans breaking into the grave to destroy St. Peter's remains would find a pile of bones and think he had found them and leave the cemetary happy.

    Remember just small bits and pieces of those person's skeletons remained even the archaeologists didn't realize they had found multiple persons until the scientists examined the bones.


    Bottomline Hard Facts;

    Pagan writer Tactius states that Christians were killed in the Circus of Nero by Nero.

    St. Peter if alive would have been in his 60's when this happened.

    St. Peter's Basilica southern side is built over part of this Circus.

    The Basilica's main altar is built over a 1stC grave of a man in his 60's.

    Early Christians worshipped this grave site as St. Peter's proven by the building the Red Wall and Shrine Complex ~154AD roughly 90yrs after St. Peter's believed death in the Circus.


    What cannot be factually proven is;

    Was St. Peter in Rome ~64AD?

    Was he killed in the Circus of Nero?

    Was he buried in that 1stC grave beneath St. Peter's Basilica?


    So we have the facts for the 'When', 'Why' and the 'How' but you must decide if the 'Who' is Fact, Fiction, Possible or Impossible:). Regards, Walter

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    I recently came across this website which also makes the excavation report easier to follow as it has pictures and diagrams of the site within the written text.
    (Part 1) http://lonelypilgrim.com/2012/05/14/the-tomb-of-st-peter/ OR http://tinyurl.com/9ny5ntb
    (Part 2) http://lonelypilgrim.com/2012/05/15/the-grave-of-st-peter/ OR http://tinyurl.com/9tkfnkh
    (Part 3) http://lonelypilgrim.com/2012/05/17/the-bones-of-st-peter/ OR http://tinyurl.com/9dh76c5


    Also I would like to add this theory into the mix:) although it doesn't add anything to my 64-154AD main timeline of interest. Regards, Walter


    [The PETROS GRAFFITO Fragment Theory]

    "PETROS ENI literally "Peter is within" in a tomb or grave context "Peter is buried in here."


    Ok this is not a fact it's a theory based on this partial graffito but if you take all of the other evidence into account it seems very likely.


    1st the location; The graffito is on the *large* 'Red Wall' ~2ft from the floor, so a person would have to be on their knees to write it. It just so happens to be in the exact section where the 'Graffiti Wall' was abutted to the 'Red Wall' and to be more exact it is *exactly* where the marble-lined hidden niche with the bones abutts the Red Wall.

    That section is 12in x 10in [X] and in that less than 1 sq/ft area there is vertical crack in the Wall's plaster which likely narrows down the writeable surface area even more.

    So either that graffito was there before the Graffiti Wall was built.

    Or just before the Graffiti Wall's niche tomb was plastered over and hidden a person on his knees reached in and hastily scratched that graffito into the Red Wall's plaster?


    2nd; What survives in this plaster fragment are the definite 1st 3 letters in Greek for PETROS (Peter) with the 4th letter which is a Greek P for our Latin R in petRos as a *possible* match because only part of the vertical line survives and not the top section.

    ENI (within, here) in the 2nd line.
    Best to let the 'Theory' website below explain this line.


    Bottomline; What are the odds of finding this kind of partial evidence *there* inside a secret hidden unmarked tomb niche that ancient Christians placed what they firmly believed were St. Peter's bones?
    Even though the graffito is partial and somewhat cryptic the evidence seems to support her theory IMO?


    [GRAFFITO PHOTO]
    www.culturaltravelguide.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/petros-eni-saint-peter-tomb-349x420.jpg OR
    http://tinyurl.com/8qtn79v


    [PETROS GRAFFITO THEORY]
    Professor Margherita Guarducci is the Italian archaeologist and author who worked for years on decipering the St. Peter's Basilica Necropolis graffiti and this is her theory.

    Scroll down to "10 The Peter Theory" and then scroll down a few paragraphs to the paragraph starting with "During the evening..." which
    is her Graffito Theory.
    http://saintpetersbasilica.org/Necropolis/JW/TheBonesofStPeter-8.htm OR http://tinyurl.com/8bqzd4l

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    Saddly this poster no longer posts here it seems but 6 months after this post he reposted this on 2 Usenet NG's (soc.history.ancient & sci.archaeology).

    There he made corrections, added things and combined his posts into 1 easy to follow post.

    All the links still work but sometimes 'google archives' can cause problems with links, if so just CC&P them or use the links in this Fodor's post.

    This 1st link is only his post and in this individual format (out of the thread) it's complete which makes it alot easy to follow.

    http://tinyurl.com/petermuzzy44 (IS THIS) http://groups.google.com/group/soc.history.ancient/msg/970faea150b9019a

    This 2nd link is the thread it was posted in which he provides addition information in the debate that follows.

    What I find most interesting in the following debate is his theory that Emperor Constantine didn't know the location of St. Peter's bones (which were hidden in a supporting wall many decades earlier) when he built his Basilica over the St. Peter's grave?

    And that in 1 of the 1C/2C dirt graves the same purple cloth with gold thread scant remains were found just like with the bones of St. Peter.

    It was always assumed that Constantine had St. Peter's bones wrapped in expensive purple cloth with gold threads.

    But this other grave (early Pope?) was in the ground and covered over with the tile floor of the 'Red Wall/Shrine Complex' ~175yrs earlier, Constantine had no knowledge of it or access to it?

    http://tinyurl.com/petermuzzy5 (IS THIS) http://groups.google.com/group/sci.archaeology/browse_thread/thread/1209abf431581340/561fc15ca11a29fc?q=peter+jesus+tomb+grave+group:sci.archaeology www.vatican.va/various/basiliche/necropoli/scavi_english.html

    [At the bottom of the page be sure to click-on Newer> for the last 9 responses in this thread]










    wdikswcamp.k

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    A timely find. I remember reading all this before my 2nd Scavi tour. I just had my 3rd tour- yesterday. :)

    So very interesting. If you plan on taking the Scavi, this is worth the reading!

    Grazie, ParadiseLost, wherever you are!

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    If you believe that there was a Divine Saint called Peter or just an historical person named Peter remember one thing...he had to die and beburied somewhere!>

    Well false assumption that there is a scintilla of evidence to document the existence of either a Saint or a common bloke - zilch - only in figments of our collective imagination. Ditto for Jesus and the Bible in general - nada - made up by men centuries after the presumed fact - in part to control women and people in general.

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    <If you believe that there was a Divine Saint called Peter or just an historical person named Peter remember one thing...he had to die and be buried somewhere!>
    -----------------------------------

    <<<Well false assumption that there is a scintilla of evidence to document the existence of either a Saint or a common bloke - zilch - only in figments of our collective imagination.>>>

    Well what the post above states with evidence that what we can see today is that these early Christians believed in ~154AD and possibly well before that, that a Disciple (Peter) of Jesus was buried on Vatican Hill during Nero's persecution.
    A Christian persecution and location that Tacitus factually records although with no Peter referrence.

    Suetonius in his book about the 12 Ceasars covers the entire 1C except the last 4yrs.

    The leading roles of the Emperors and many of the named co-stars around can be proven by physical evidence (temples, inscriptions, statues, etc).

    But many of the named co-stars and almost all of the named minor bit players (Freedmen, slaves, Senators, Consuls, etc) can not be.

    In a factual history are those people also fictional?

    Alot of factual ancient history that scholars except is full of people, events, etc where no physical evidence exists today. �

    With Christianity just being a very small break-away Jewish cult it's impossible to expect any physical evidence for poor non-Roman citizens in a distant province of the Roman Empire to prove their origins.

    While it's impossible to prove the 'Cause' there is alot of evidence to prove the 'Effect' in the 1stC.
    And that is Christianity did exist and that evidence is from Pagan writers.

    A small cult's religious message is being spread by people thru-out the Roman Empire and these messengers have a name.
    But no evidence exists outside the New Testament of their names.

    <<<Ditto for Jesus and the Bible in general - nada - made up by men centuries after the presumed fact...>>>

    "centuries" for non-bibical historical referrences to Jesus/Christ?

    Crucifixion ~30AD to 125AD.

    Imperial records used by Suetonius record Claudius' expulsion of Rome's Jews fighting among themselves over Chrestos in 49/50AD.
    The majority of scholars believe this was in-fighting over the Jewish-Christians Messiah claim.

    64AD; Suetonius mentions a Christian persecution by Nero.

    64AD Fire; Tactius; Christian persecution, names Christ as the dead leader, crucifixion (in so many words) and Pontius Pilate.

    ~112 'Pliny the Younger' & 'Emperor Trajan' letters discuss what Pliny (Governor in Turkey) should do about Christians.
    Pliny also mentions that they meet on a certain day of the week before sunrise and sing hymns to their God and later return for a communal meal.

    Josephus; Mentions 'James, the brother of Jesus' trial and stoning this passage has a highest level of authenticy by scholars.

    His Jesus/Pilate/crucifixion passage has many big-shot scholars believing it has an authentic nucleus but greatly embellished in later Christian translations.
    Pilate is also mentioned a couple/few times more in a historical non-Christian context.

    ~125AD a partial papyrus parchment of the NT exists widely believed to be a 2nd generation copy of the original.

    Besides Tactius and Josephus there was zero evidence that Pontius Pilate ever existed except in the NT.

    So a Pagan, a Jew and Christians who all mention Jesus or Christ existed were the only sources also for Pilate.

    Until 1961 when the 'Pilate Stone' (inscription) was found in a seaside town/city in Judaea where the Roman governor had his residence and kept his Roman soldiers.

    The inscription has Emperor Tiberius named so it can be dated in the 30AD timeframe and Pontius Pilate as the Perfect (governor) of Judaea.

    The NT names factual people, places and things (Josephus' John the Baptist passage is authentic and not tied to Jesus in any way). The NT can be used in an historical context at its core but is *greatly* embellished as religious text.

    The majority of scholars of antiquity believe Christianity was based on an historical person who founded and lead a small cult religion and was later executed by Roman authorites (Pilate) as a criminal religious troublemaker during a Passover in Jerusaleum.

    Say Christianity completely died-out a 100yrs later (130AD) based on the evidence above it would just be a footnote in historical texts.

    There would be absolutely no reason to disbelieve it and the only context we would hear about it in was that Nero blamed this very small dead ancient cult for the 64AD Fire and persecuted them for it. ------------------------------------

    In the end the historical Jesus has proof of his recorded existance, it's proven that his religious message spread in the following decades, someone had to start spreading it shortly after his death in their lifetime and these messengers can be called Disciples, Apostles, Saints, whatever.

    The opposing side has only their belief that the people and events historically recorded never took place.

    The former is accepted by most scholars of antiquity.

    The Latter writes best selling books and makes bundles of money:-).

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