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The Origin of 'Crucifixion'

Updated on August 29, 2017

A tropaion, whence English "trophy" is derived, is an ancient Greek and later Roman monument set up to commemorate a victory over one's foes. Typically this takes the shape of a tree, sometimes with a pair of arm-like branches (or, in later times, a pair of stakes set crosswise) upon which is hung the armour of a defeated and dead foe. The tropaion is then dedicated to a god in thanksgiving for the victory.

There’s no evidence from ancient Roman artwork of ‘crucifixion’ as we generally think of it. Ancient writings mention it, but the original word being translated was actually ‘stauros’. In the Homeric and classical periods, it denoted an upright pale, pole, or stake, but by the time that Christianity appeared, it came to include a crossbeam. ‘Crucifixion’ never happened. The Romans hanged their enemies on poles, trees, etc. Not crosses. The cross (tropaion) was a symbol of victory, not torture.

The Romans depicted their enemies being brutally slaughtered and putting their heads on pikes. But yet there's not one single example of crucifixion anywhere.
The Romans depicted their enemies being brutally slaughtered and putting their heads on pikes. But yet there's not one single example of crucifixion anywhere.

The ‘crucifixion of Jesus’ is largely based off of the funeral of Julius Caesar. During Caesar’s funeral, a wax image of him was nailed to a cross shaped tropaion to display the 23 stab wounds. Caesar was deified and it was believed that his soul had 'ascended to Heaven'. His grand-nephew and adopted son Augustus would be referred to as "son of a god". The Jews mourned at Caesar’s funeral and it’s likely that many considered him to be a messiah / christus / anointed one. This event would eventually mutate into the mythical ‘crucifixion of Jesus’.

© 2017 Kevin Porter

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    • DE N0V0 profile image
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      Kevin Porter 2 months ago

      Caesar permitted Jewish organization in the Diaspora, and his tolerant attitude to Diaspora Jewry was emulated by the rulers of the provinces. Caesar's enmity toward Pompey, who had conquered Jerusalem and “defiled the Holy of Holies”, led to a positive attitude toward him among the Jews. His restoration of the unity of Judea, his deference toward the high priest, Hyrcanus II, and his tolerant attitude toward the Diaspora Jews increased the sympathy of the Jewish masses for him. When he was assassinated, he was mourned by the Jews more than by any other nation, and for a long time after they continued to weep over his tomb both by day and night (Suetonius, Divus Iulius, 84).

      http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perse...

      “In this public mourning there joined a multitude of foreigners, expressing their sorrow according to the fashion of their respective countries; but especially the Jews, who for several nights together frequented the spot where the body was burnt.”

      Josephus frequently mentions the benefits conferred on his countrymen by Julius Caesar. Anti. Jud. xiv. 14, 15, 16.

      We should also take note of this sentence: “At the head was a trophy, with the [blood-stained] robe in which he was slain.”

      The ‘trophy’ is a tropaion with a wax effigy of Caesar.

      http://www.livius.org/sources/content/appian/appia...

      “someone raised above the bier a wax effigy of Caesar - the body itself, lying on its back on the bier, not being visible. The effigy was turned in every direction, by a mechanical device, and twenty-three wounds could be seen, savagely inflicted on every part of the body and on the face.”

      Below is a camera snapshot series of a sequence from the documentary feature film Death Masks, which originally aired on History HD in 2009. It shows a 3D reconstruction of Caesar’s wax effigy on the cross during his funeral, however with several omissions and errors, most notably the arms that are not extended, but bound to the body and to the vertical stem: https://divusjulius.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/hi...

      A reconstruction of what Caesar’s tropaion may have looked like: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Jrdubtc54yc/TjjRE8e4qnI/...

      This is what a tropaion looks like: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-catXV7a9mrE/Tjjq1CgwNZI/... looks exactly like the mythological ‘crucifixes’.

      The Jews had great respect for Caesar. We know they considered Cyrus the Great to be a messiah. So why not Caesar? Caesar’s wax effigy with fake stab wounds being ‘crucified’ to a cross / tropaion is blatantly similar to the crucifixion of Jesus. The evidence suggests that this event would eventually mutate into the mythical crucifixion of Jesus.

      The ‘Jesus Christ’ described in the Bible is a fictional composite character. There’s no evidence he existed.

      As for this: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/reli... - This could be anything. It’s just a nail going through a foot bone. And it’s not even facing right direction. It’s total speculation.

      The earliest artistic representation of crucifixion is the Alexamenos graffito. It was made during the time that Christianity had been invented. It was made by a Roman who was mocking a Christian by depicting a Donkey headed man on a cross. Christians invented the idea of ‘crucifixion’. It was a distortion of Caesar’s effigy on a tropaion. There are no examples of crucifixion in any pre-Christian artwork. Absolutely none.

    • DE N0V0 profile image
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      Kevin Porter 2 months ago

      The Buddhist element was added later on as ‘proto-Christianity’ evolved. The Pali Cannon says that the Buddha’s mother Maya (similar name to Mary) did not engage in sexual activity or entertain any thoughts of other men during her pregnancy. Maya and King Suddhodhana did not have children for twenty years into their marriage. This probably implies a virgin birth. Either way, she dreamed of a white elephant (similar to the white dove) entering her womb from the right side. According to Buddhist tradition, the Buddha-to-be was residing as a bodhisattva in the Tuṣita heaven, and decided to take the shape of a white elephant to be reborn on Earth. Wise men visited and foretold that her son was destined for greatness. (Similar to the wise men / magi of Christianity) Buddha was miraculously born from her right side. Also Buddha was tempted in the wilderness by a devil character called ‘Mara’. The group of heretic Jews who created Christianity were not Buddhists but they copied certain Buddhist stories while they were creating their religion. Also in general, Jesus and Buddha are very similar figures. They’re both portrayed as these supernatural wise men who acquire disciples during their journeys, etc.

      We know that the Jews loved Julius Caesar and that they mourned for him more than any other nation during his funeral. We also know that the Jews have considered certain kings and emperors such as Cyrus the Great to be messiahs. Therefore it’s definitely not a stretch to think that some Jews would have considered Caesar to be a messiah. During Caesar’s funeral, a wax image of him was nailed to a cross shaped tropaion to display the 23 stab wounds. Caesar was deified and it was believed that his soul had 'ascended to Heaven'. If we connect the dots here then it appears that Christianity started out as a Jewish version of the cult of Divus Julius.

      It took a long time for Christianity as we know it today to evolve. Think of it like the game of telephone. It started out as something different (cult of Divus Julius), but then it eventually mutated and changed throughout the years. Of course the Old Testament also had a big influence on the New Testament. For example, the Old Testament character Joseph has a lot in common With Jesus: https://i.pinimg.com/originals/be/c2/3d/bec23db374...

      A ‘patibulum’ can refer to any wooden framework on which persons are put to death by hanging (gibbet / gallows). https://glosbe.com/la/en/patibulum

      The Romans impaled their criminals or hung them on trees or poles. This statue is a good example of what they would do: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8...

      No crosses, x shapes or t shapes were ever used for executions in ancient Rome. There’s no archeological or artistic evidence. Just modern mistranslations of ancient texts.

    • DE N0V0 profile image
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      Kevin Porter 2 months ago

      The word ‘crux’ did not refer to a cross in pre-Christian writings. Crux can refer to any instrument of torture such as a stake.

      https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/crux (Scroll down to the part of the page that says ‘Did You Know?’. It says: “In Latin, crux referred literally to an instrument of torture, often a cross or stake”)

      The words ‘stauros’ and ‘crux’ do not refer only to crosses, but also to any instrument of torture such as a pole or stake. Originally it never referred to a cross. That’s why the ancient Romans (or anybody else) never depicted anyone being nailed to a cross in their artwork. There’s zero evidence. Mistranslations of ancient texts are not evidence. The only cross that the Romans used was called a ‘tropaion’. It was a symbol of victory, not torture. All this nonsense about Jesus being nailed to a cross comes from a Jewish version of the cult of Divus Julius which would eventually mutate into Christianity after being combined with sun worship, dying and rising gods and Buddhist mythology (Jesus and Buddha have very similar virgin birth stories and ‘temptation by the Devil in the wilderness’ stories). During Caesar’s funeral, a wax image of him was nailed to a cross shaped tropaion to display the 23 stab wounds. Caesar was deified and it was believed that his soul had 'ascended to Heaven'. So ‘Jesus Christ’ is a composite character of Julius Caesar, Siddhārtha Gautama and the dying / rising gods of the mediterranean / middle east.