The Non-Christian Cross, Parsons.
Chapter VII - THE ESTABLISHER OF THE CHURCH
HAVING already shown not a little cause for
believing that the adoption of the cross as our symbol is due to
the fact that we Christians helped to secure the triumph of the
ambitious ruler of the Gauls, and after receiving numberless
smaller favours from Constantine during the years he was ruler of
Rome but not as yet sole emperor eventually obtained from him the
establishment of Christianity as the State Religion of the Roman
Empire, adapting the victorious trophy of the Gauls and the
various crosses venerated by them and other Sun-God worshippers
to our faith as best we could, it is desirable that we should
pause to trace the career of the man we hail as the first
To do this properly we must commence by referring to Constantine's
father, Constantius Chlorus; and to the favour shown to
Constantius Chlorus by his patron the Emperor Diocletian.
Finding the supreme rule of the almost world-wide Roman Empire
too much for one man in ill-health to undertake successfully,
Diocletian in the year 286 A.C. made Maximian co-emperor. And in
A.C. 292 Diocletian followed this up by conferring the inferior
position and title of Caesar upon Galerius and Constantius
In A.C. 305 Diocletian relinquished power altogether, forcing
Maximian to abdicate with him ; Galerius and Constantius Chlorus
thus obtaining the coveted title of Augustus, and sharing the
Galerius now ranked first, however; for it was to the ruler of
Illyricum and not to that of Gaul that Diocletian gave the power
of appointing Caesars to govern Italy and the East.
Constantius Chlorus died in Britain A.C. 306, the year after
Diocletian abdicated ; and Galerius, who had married a daughter
of Diocletian, naturally thought that under the circumstances he
ought to become sole emperor.
The legions of Gaul, however, proclaimed the son of Constantius
Chlorus as Augustus in his stead ; and as Constantine thus became
ruler of Gaul and a power to be reckoned with, Galerius thought
it best to aive way so far as to grant Constantine the inferior
title of Caesar.
Soon afterwards Galerius conferred the title of Augustus upon
Severus; and a little while after that the Eternal City was lost
to Galerius through the revolt of his son-in-law Maxentius, the
son of Maximian.
The Senate of Rome then asked Maximian to re-assume the purple,
and he and Maxentius shared the power between them, both taking
the title of Augustus.
Upon this Severus at the request of Galerius marched upon Rome.
He was, however, defeated and slain.
After being more or less expelled by his son Maxentius, Maximian
in the year A.C. 308 marched to Gaul and married his daughter
Fausta to Constantine ; at the same time conferring upon him the
title of Augustus.
About this time Galerius made his friend Licinius an Augustus in
the place of Severus whereupon Maximin, the Governor of Syria and
Egypt, demanded and was granted that title
There were thus in the A.C. 308 some half-a-dozen Roman Emperors
instead of one there being Constantine and Maximian in the west,
Maxentius at Rome, and Galerius, Licinius, and Maximin elsewhere;
not to mention Diocletian, who was content to remain in
This decided break-up of the Roman Empire was Constantine's
opportunity ; and he was favourably placed, for he had a warlike
and faithful people under him.
Moreover by reversing so far as lay in his power as ruler of Gaul
the traditional policy of Rome towards Christianity, and setting
himself forward as a champion of a non-national religion which
had been persecuted because it was non-national, Constantine was
secure of the enthusiastic backing of all the Christians to be
found in the dominions of his various rivals.
In A.C. 310 Constantine either executed his father-in-law the
Emperor Maximian, or caused him to commit suicide; and the first
of his five rivals was disposed of.
In A.C 311 the Emperor Galcrius died from disease, and
Constantine's most formidable competitor, and one who undoubtedly
had a better claim than himself to the position of sole emperor,
thus opportunely made way for the ruler of Gaul.
In A.C. 312 Constantine marched at the head of the Gauls against
the Emperor Maxentius, defeated him near the Milvian Bridge
outside Rome, and entered the Eternal City in triumph. Maxentius
is said to have been drowned in the Tiber ; and the Senate
decreed that Constantine should rank as the first of the three
In A.C. 3I3 the Emperor Maximin fought the Emperor Licinius; but
his forces were defeated, and he soon afterwards died.
Some ten years or so later Constantine went to war with his only
remaining rival, Licinius, defeated him, and became sole emperor,
That despite his great qualities as a ruler the character of
Constantine was not perfect, can be easily seen from the fact
that, not content with executing the Emperor Licinius after
accepting his submission, he murdered the young Licinius; a boy
certainly not over twelve years of age, and according to some
authorities two or three years younger than that. He also put his
own son Crispus to death, and other relations as well.
We are told that Constantine was so tortured by the memory of
these and other crimes that he applied to the priests of the Gods
of Rome for absolution, but that they bravely said that there was
no absolution for such sins, whereupon this worshipper of the Sun-God
turned to his friends the Christians and they gave him what he
This statement seems somewhat improbable, however, as one would
imagine that the Pagan priests, when called upon by one who was
Pontifcx Maximus and therefore their spiritual superior as well
as the supreme emperor, would not have scrupled to invent some
purifying rite -if they had none such-warranted to blot out the
stain of every crime and thoroughly appease offended heaven.
However this may have been, these terrible crimes of Constantine,
all committed many years after his alleged conversion to our
faith, show how badly advised we are to so needlessly go out of
our way to claim as a Christian one who refused to enter the
Christian Church till he was dying and possibly no longer master
It is said that this refusal of his to be baptised till he was
weak and dying and surrounded by Church officials who would
perhaps have spread the report that he had been baptised even if
they had not then at last been able to induce him to take the
decisive step, was due, not to want of belief, but to excess of
belief; Constantine's idea being that the longer he put off the
rite in question, the more crimes would it wash out. Or, in other
words, that delay would enable him to sin with impunity a little
This may possibly have been the case, but it should at the same
time be borne in mind that whether Constantine called him Apollo
or Christ, it seems probable that it was the Sun-God to whom he
referred. For everything tends to show that this astute emperor,
who so naturally wished to establish and mould a religion which
all his subjects of whatever race or nationality might be
reasonably expected to become in time willing to accept, acted
during his reign as supreme ruler of the Roman World, if not from
first to last, as if the Christ were but another conception of
the Sun-God he was brought up to worship as Apollo and all
countries venerated under some name or other.
This point is not only demonstrated by the fact that upon his
coins Constantine repeatedly declared that the Sun-God was his
invincible guide and protector and the giver even of the victory
foreshadowed by the alleged vision of the cross or Monogram of
Christ above the meridian sun, but is also clearly shown by
certain incidents connected with the founding towards the end of
his life of the new metropolis which in less than a century
equalled Rome in all save antiquity.
New Rome, or, as we now call it, Constantinople, the city of
Constantine, was built on the site of, and often called by the
name of, Byzantium. It was not designed till A.C. 324, and was
not dedicated till A.C. 330, or, as some think, an even later
date: Constantine dying in the year A C 337.
We are told that Constantinople was dedicated to the Virgin
Mother of God.- This should remind us of the fact that long
before our era, and right down to the time when Constantine
selected Byzantium as the site of a new capital, that place was
considered dedicated to the Virgin Queen of Heaven.
Now in the central place of honour in his new metropolis, one
would naturally expect Constantine to erect something or other to
the honour of the God to whom he attributed his victories.
Whose, then, was the statue Constantine towards the end of his
life, and about twenty years after his alleged conversion to our
faith, erected in the centre of the Forum of New Rome ?
It was a statue of the Sun-God Apollo; or, as some explain it, a
statue of himself adorned with the attributes of the Sun-God.
In fact, taking the career of Constantine as a whole, there is
nothing inconsistent with the supposition that he was a Christian
only so far as, out of policy or conviction, he acted as if he
considered the Christ to be one of many conceptions of the Sun-God.
For although, as has been mentioned and will be shown in a later
chapter, Constantine, upon the many varieties of coins he issued,
repeatedly acclaimed the Sun-God as his companion and the author
of his triumphs, he never once, except in so far as he it may
have considered the God we Christians worship to be the Sun-God,
so attributed his victories to the Christ.
Chapter VIII- CROSS AND CRESCENT
BEFORE passing in review the evidence regarding
the symbol of the cross derivable from Roman coins and other
relics of antiquity, a few introductory remarks are necessary
regarding the too often forgotten fact that the ancients
naturally looked upon the Giver of Life as bi-sexual; no life
being known to them which was not a result of the conjunction of
the Male and Female Principles.
The necessarily bi-sexual character of the creator of both the
Male and Female Principles, was, it should be remembered, borne
in mind by the thinkers of old all the while they accommodatingly
spoke of the Sun-God or Giver of Life as being a personification
of the Male Principle and gave him a Bride or Virgin Mother to
represent the Female Principle.
Moreover, just as the disc of the Sun, or the star-like form
which the ancients often used to signify the radiate or
impregnating Sun, naturally, came to be recognised as the symbol
of the Male Principle,. so the Crescent, as signifying the
increasing Moon and the lesser of the two great lights of heaven,
in like manner came to be adopted as the natural symbol of the
In this connection it will not be amiss to draw attention to the
symbol of the conquerors of the city founded by Constantine. For
though misleadingly called " the Crescent," that symbol
is, as the reader cannot very well fail to be aware, not a mere
crescent; but one which has within its horns what we consider to
be a star-like form and therefore call a star. And though it is
possible that it was not knowingly adopted as such by the Moslems,
this dual symbol was a combination of the ancient symbols of the
Male and Female Principles.
An erroneous account of the origin of this symbol as a Moslem
symbol is given in all our works of reference which deal with the
matter, as if their compilers copied one from another without
troubling to consider the evidence for themselves.
The incorrect but widely accepted explanation in question, is to
the effect that the so-called star and crescent had its origin as
a Moslem symbol in the capture of Byzantium or Constantinople by
the Turks in A.C. 1453 ; our works of reference stating that it
was then adopted by Mahomet II., as the symbol of the famous city
he had taken from the Christians.
But was the "star and crescent" the symbol of the City
of Constantine? It would appear not.
Ancient Byzantium was, as stated in a previous chapter,
considered, long, before our era and right up to the days of
Constantine, as dedicated to the Virgin Queen of Heaven; whose
symbol was a crescent. And when Constantine rebuilt and renamed
Byzantium, he dedicated New Rome-or, as we now call it,
Constantinople-to the Virgin Mother of God and Queen of Heaven;
whose symbol, as can be seen upon reference to both ancient and
modern representations of the Virgin Mary, is also a crescent. It
would therefore appear that the symbol of the city is more likely
to have been a simple crescent than the so-called "star and
Such a conclusion is entirely borne out the evidence. For though
the So-called star and crescent can be seen upon three or four
coins struck at Byzantium before such a place as New Rome was
thought of, this proves little if anything ; inasmuch as the
symbol in question was a very common one in days of old, and
occurs frequently upon coins struck elsewhere.
Moreover the question is what the symbol of Constantinople was at
the time it was capturcd by the Turks. And an inspection of the
coins issued by the Christian rulers of that city during the
thousand years and more it was in their hands, will reveal to the
enquirer that though the crescent with across within its horns
appears occasionally upon the coins of the Emperors of the East,
and in one or two instances we see a cross of four equal arms
with each extremity piercing a crescent, it is doubtful if a
single example of the so-called "star and crescent
" symbol can be found upon them.
We learn from other sources also that the symbol of the imperial
Christian Metropolis captured by the Turks nearly five hundred
years ago and ever since retained by them, was a simple crescent.
And there is no doubt what-ever that the dual symbol of the
Moslems was adopted by them, not when they brought about the
downfall of Constantinople as a Christian city, but centuries
before, as a result of the conquest of Persia.
It was in the year A.C. 641 that the battle of Nehavend, ever
after called by the Moslems the Victory of Victories,
laid at the feet of the followers of the Prophet the kingdom of
Iran or Persia, and brought to an end the Sassanian Monarchy.
Now the coins of the Sassanian kings then and for the previous
two centuries bore upon them, with scarcely an exception, the so-called
"star and crescent" ; and it was as the symbol
of this Zoroastrian dynasty of the fair land of Iran, that the
Moslems adopted it as their own.
What the star-like object (star-like, that is, in opinion)
represented upon the coins of Iran or Persia when placed within
the horns of a crescent, was, of course, the Sun. The supposition
of certain writers that the dual symbol represented the two
crescent-presenting orbs, Venus and the Moon, is entirely
For though the conjunction of the two crescent-shaped and
feminine lights of heaven, was of old, like the combination of
the symbol of the Sun-as representing the Male Principle-with
that ever feminine symbol the Crescent, held to signify Increase
and Life, we are dealing with what was admittedly a Mithraic
symbol. And not only was the star-like object in question the
symbol of the Sun-God Mithras, but it was, as any student of the
coins of the Sassanian dynasty can see, substituted for the disc.
Upon the Sassanian coins the so-called star, in reality a
representation neither of a star nor of a planet but of the
radiate Sun, seems to have been first substituted for the round
disc as a representation of the Sun, by Perozes, about A C. 457 ;
the disc in the horns of a crescent being the symbol on the coins
of his father Isdigerd II and other predecessors. But the dual
symbol miscalled the " star and crescent ", was one
even then of great antiquity, as will be shown in a later chapter
dealing with Phonecian relics discovered in Cyprus and elsewhere.
The primary signification of the dual symbol in question, often
accompanied on the Sassanian coins by a prayer that the monarch
might increase," or flourish generally, was undoubtedly Life,
And it is clear that the conjunction of the Crescent as the
symbol of the Female Principle of Life with the star-like figure
which represented the radiate, life-giving, or impregnating Sun,
must have not only signified Life, but also the necessarily bi-sexual
Giver of Life.
We are thus brought to the conclusion that the Cross and the so-called
Crescent are more or less allied signification.
Nor is this noteworthy fact to be wondered at. For only words and
forms divide the faiths of Mankind, and at heart the one object
of our desires is Life. Even those who piously lay down their
lives for others here, do so in the hope of being rewarded with
longer life and more blissful life hereafter.
Another point which is too often overlooked, is that if the
followers of the so-called Crescent have, as would appear to be
the case, forgotten the meaning of their symbol and the fact that
it alludes to the bi-sexual nature of the Creator,we followers of
the Cross may all unconsciously be in a very similar position
regarding our symbol. And as the Cross as the recognised symbol
of the Christ is not of older date than the conquest of Rome by
the Gauls, and more or less resulted therefrom, it is clear that
the same remark applies if we consider the Moslems to have
adopted their symbol as that of the land they conquered from the
Sassanian kings, rather than as one with the primal and natural
interpretation of which they were content.
Anyway the cross as well as the "star and crescent " is
more or less a bi-scxual symbol, as will be clear to those who
understand how the cross came to be recognised ages before our
era as the natural symbol of Life. And a good illustration of the
fact in question still exists in the Caroccio crucifix of Milan;
in which relic we see, under the usual inscription, an
androgynous Christ upon a cross, with a man's head but half the
body of female form, and with, instead of a cloth or fig-leaf,
the phallic crux ansata, or Egyptian cross or
symbol of Life, placed sideways, and as if the oval represented
the female organ of reproduction, and the tau or
incomplete cross that of the other sex.
Like the Red Cross of to-day, the Caroccio bi-sexual crucifix,
once so common in Italy, was a symbol of Life and Salvation in
two senses; it not only being considered so in itself, but being
also used on the battlefield as a rallying point for wounded
soldiers, signalling to them that bandages, drugs, and surgical
aid, could be obtained where it towered aloft.
These references to the fact that in days of old man very
naturally came to the conclusion that the Creator and Giver of
Life and only Saviour must be bisexuals should remind us
Christians that our assertion that the Infinite Spirit is "Our
Father" is not from all points of view an improvement upon
the ideas of the ancients. For they also, and rightly, conceived
what we wrongly ignore, that the Infinite Author of all existence
must also be " Our Mother."
In this respect Protestants have if possible gone even further
astray than members of the Greek and Roman Churches. For in the
veneration paid by the latter to Mary of Nazareth as the Bride of
God, the Mother of God, the Star of the Sea, and the Queen of
Heaven, can be seen a survival, however toned down or distorted,
of the old idea that the Deity must necessarily be of both sexes.
Even the plainly evident fact that, while in pre-Christian days
the symbol of the cross represented the two sexual powers in
conjunction, it has in Christian times come to be considered the
symbol of Life as being the symbol of the SON of God, should,
moreover, lead us to note that our religion scarcely does justice
to the part played in the economy of Nature by the fair sex. This
is doubtless due to the fact that the moulding of our creed and
the interpretation of things hard to be understood has for the
most part been in the bands of the sex which, as the author
belongs to it, may by way of contrast be called unfair.
What, for instance, can be more unfair than the assumption that
God, if incarnated as one of the -enus Homo, must have been born
a male ? Yet that assumption is at the very basis of modern
Moreover, even granting that the Deity was specially incarnated
in Jesus the Nazarene and therefore as a male, why should we, as
if supposing that a passing form could stamp its sex upon an
Infinite Spirit, speak of " God the Son yet never of "
God the Daughter ?
The fact is that the natural disabilities and disadvantages of
the childbearing sex have from the first resulted in the power of
the male sex to rule the roast, and one result of the pre-dominance
thus ensured to the male sex by the laws of Nature has of course
been a similar predominance for the opinion that the Creator is
of the male sex.
Some enthusiastic champion of her sex, alluding to the fact that
the opposing sex now has a monopoly of the priesthood, may even
go so far as to ask with a special meaning, Has not man made God
in his own image ?
The male sex did not always have a monopoly of the priesthood,
however ; and in few if any instances did the priests of old go
so far as to out of compliment teach that the Creator, whom out
of compliment to the Deity- or themselves-they naturally spoke of
as belonging to the stronger sex was a male and only a male. Nor
did they even assume such a thing. Though the different gods and
goddesses were spoken of as belonging to this or that sex, more
than one were regarded as in reality androgynous ; and the fact
that the Creator and Giver of Life must of necessity be was very
As a matter of fact it is by no means certain that the Creator is
not represented as being andogynous even in our Bible. For in the
account of the Creation which the Jews brought with them from
Babylon, the Creator is represented as saying "Let us make
man in our3 image"; and a race which like the Jews solemnly
declared that there was but one God, could only, it would seem,
have accepted such a declaration as a divine revelation if they
conceived the God supposed to be spealking to be androgynous, and
addressing the other part of himself. This would account for the
emphasis laid upon the statement that man was created " male
and female," lilke or in the image of, the Creator.
In any case it is clear that if God be not female as well as male,
Man was not created in the likeness of God. The theory of the
ancients that Man himself was created an androgynous being,
capable, like the Creator, of creating life in himself, but was
afterwards divided into halves, one of which is ever seeking to
find the other, need only be mentioned.
Suffice it to add that it can scarcely be said to have been
altogether progress in the right direction, which has led us
mortals to call the Author of all Life " Our Father,"
to the utter obscuration of the equally important fact that the
Deity in whom we live and move and have our being must also be
Chapter XV- THE PRE-CHRISTIAN CROSS IN EUROPE
That the symbol of the cross was widely
venerated in Europe long before out era, is well known to
Of Britain in those days we know next to nothing, history being
almost silent upon the subject and relics conspicuous by their
absence. The cross is however a conspicuous feature upon certain
funeral urns which are said to date back to the period in
question. And it is noteworthy that both it and the solar wheel
occur upon several of the earliest British coins ; which whether
issued as some say before, or as others aver after, the advent of
Julius Coesar, were admittedly of pre-Christian date.
Evidences of the veneration of the cross in France before our era
are so numerous and easily ascertainable, that it will only be
necessary to refer the reader to the Collection Roujou,
the pages of the Revue de Nuismatique, and the writings
of Messieurs De la Saussaye, Lenormant, De Saulcy, E. Lambert,
and other French authorities.
If, continuing our journey eastwards, we pass over the border
into the northern provinces of Italy, we find equally striking
evidence of the pre-Christian veneration of the symbol in
Let us take for example the evidence furnished by the remarkable
discoveries made in the pre-Christian cemetery unearthed at Gola-Secca.
For upon a very large proportion of the articles discovered in
the ancient tombs of the cemetery in question, a cross of some
kind is the prominent feature.
Particulars of these articles can be found recorded in the
literary and scientific journals of France. And the conclusion
arrived at by the authorities upon such matters cannot be better
put than in the revised edition in book form of an article in the
Revue Archeologique by Monsieur G. de Mortillet.
After refcrring to the relics of so much of ancient Gaul as is
comprised in modern France, a subject he takes leave of in the
"But the pre-Christian cult of the cross was not confined to
Savoy and the environs of Lyons. A glance at the coins of ancient
Gaul is sufficient to show that it existed in nearly every part"-
M. de Mortillct, crossing the frontier and dealing with the said
tombs of Gola-Secca near Milan in Italy, sums up as follows
"One sees that there can be no doubt whatever concerning the
use of the cross as a religious sign for a verv long time before
Christianity. The cult of the cross was well spread over Gaul
before its conquest and already existed in Emilia in the Bronze
Age, more than a thousand years before Jesus Christ."
Let us pass on to yet another country, Switzerland. Here also we
find unexceptional evidence of the general recognition of the
cross before our era as a symbol which should above all others be
The Lake Dwellings of Switzerland may be said to have been
brought to light by the extraordinary drought experienced in the
years A.C. 1853-4; for though piles and ancient remains were
found upon the shores of various lakes before that date, no great
heed was paid to them till the drought in question lowered the
waters of the lake of Zurich and of other lakes to an
unprecedented extent, and certain discoveries due thereto led to
the matter being thoroughly investigated by antiquarians.
The result was that many relics of the Lake Dwellers were found.
And, placed upon those relics by this forgotten race of hoary
antiquity as the sign they venerated, was the symbol of the cross.
These relics, preserved for us by the sediment carried into the
lakes by various rivers, cannot be less than 3,000 years old, are
not improbably 4,000 years old, and may quite possibly be 5,000
years old ; some authorities-Monsieur Morlot for instance-estimating
their age at from 6,000 to 7,000 years. Suffice it to record the
fact that these relics are admittedly pre-Christian.
Upon the articles in question, as on those discovered in the pre-Christian
tombs of Gola-Secca, the cross is stamped as a symbol of life, of
good omen, and of salvation. Even dies for stamping articles with
the cross have been discovered among the remains of the Lake
Dwellers. And the crosses are of three kinds; (1) the right-angled
cross of four equal arms, of which so many variations, some
enclosed in circles and some with the extremities widened and
rounded, are used as Christian symbols ; (2) the other cross of
four equal arms, known as the St. Andrew's cross or Chi
cross; and (3) the Fylfot or Svastika cross.
The last named cross is a peculiar one of quite unmistakeable
design ; and there are two varieties,[right handed swastika]and ,
[left handed swastika]of which one is obviously an impression or
reverse view of the other.The names Fylfot and Svastika
are very generally applied to both these symbols. The term Svaslika,
an Indian one, is however applied by the inhabitants of Hindostan
to one only; they calling the other Sautvastika. And it
is curious to note that the meanings attached to these names,
though, like the symbols allied in nature, are, also like them,
the reverse or negative or complement of each other.
For instance we are told by Sir G. Birdwood that the right handed
Svastika signifies the Male Principle, the Sun on its daily
journey from East to West, Light and Life; and that the left-handed
Svastika signifies the Female Principle, the Sun in Hades or the
Underworld on its journey from West to East, Darkness and Death.
This more or less official pronouncement may be taken as a fairly
accurate one, although it is obvious that the annual as well as
the diurnal movement of the Sun should have been referredto ; the
half year between the Vernal Equinox and Autumnal Equinox
representing Light and Life, and that between the Autumnal
Equinox and Vernal Equinox Darkness and Death, just as clearly as
do the half days between sunrise and sunset, sunset and sunrise.
But it is to be feared that even those who remember how often
Death and Darkness are referred to as periods of Gestation, will
have some difficulty in seeing how a sign or symbol of the Female
Power of Generation can have signified Death.
The fact of course is that the symbol in question represented
both Life and Death, and represented the latter only in a minor
sense and owing to the fact that the Female Principle of Life was
regarded as the necessary reverses negative, or complement of the
Male Principle; which latter, having of the two the better claim
to be considered the starter of life, was the one more
particularly identified with Life and therefore with the vernal
It would also appear that the two symbols in question to some
extent signified Fire and Water; Fire being of course the Male
Principle, Day, Summer, Light, and Life; and Water the Female
Principle. This still further illustrates the point dealt with
above for though Water is the negative of Fire, yet Fire cannot
produce Life without the aid of Water.
Returning however to our consideration of the cross as a symbol
of Life of pre-Christian date and origin, and having already
dealt with the lands now known as Britain, France, Italy, and
Switzerland, let us now consider the evidence of Greece.
At Mycenae and elsewhere Dr. Schliemann discovered, among other
relics of a bygone age, not only articles marked with the
Svastika cross and the cross of four equal arms, but even seals
and dies giving impressions of such crosses thus demonstrating
how large and prominent a Part the symbol of the cross played in
pre-Christian times among those in whose classic tongue the
earliest known copies of the Christian Scriptures were written
It is also remarkable that Dr. SchlieMann found golden crosses in
the previously unopened tombs he discovered and explored at
Mycenae; as many as five such crosses having in some instances
been placed with a sincle body by those who sealed up the vaults
in question thousands of years ago and many centuries before the
commencement of our era.
As few if any unrifled tombs of so ancient a date have been
discovered in Greece and first explored by a trustworthy
investigator, and as, moreover, it would only have been with the
bodies of important personages that crosses of so valuable a
material as gold would have been buried, these discoveries,
coupled with the self-evident fact that crosses of more
perishable material may have been buried with the bodies of less
distinguished people, and by this time, like both the bodies and
the tombs which enclosed them, have gone to dust, are most
remarkable. And they entirely corroborate the testimony borne by
the coins of ancient Gaul, the contents of the tombs of Gola-Secca,
and the remains of the Lake Dwellers of Switzerland, to the
veneration paid long before our era by the inhabitants of Europe
to the cross as the recognised symbol of Life. Nor as the symbol
only of the life which ends in the grave, but also of the
glorious hope that as the Sun, from whom we derive that life,
whether considered from a daily or yearly point of view sinks but
to rise again, even so we who owe our brief lives to the Sun-God,
may, like the Giver of Life and only Saviour, rise from one life
For whether the ancients were or were not unphilosophic enough to
believe in the resurrection of bodies whose constituent atoms are
continually changing and in time form part of other bodies, it is
absurd to assume that they did not at times like ourselves
conceive and dwell upon a hoped-for, if unexpected and improbable,
Moreover it is with us, as it was with them, a hope; and
it is disingenuous to label as Christian what was pre-Christian,
and to claim as ours what has been common to the reasoning minds
of suffering men and women of all eras.
It is equally disingenuous on the part of us Christians to keep
in the background the noteworthy fact that even in pre-Christian
ages the Symbol of that hope was-the cross.
Chapter XVI -THE PRE-CHRISTIAN CROSS IN ASIA
IF, leaving Europe, we pass on into Asia, we
find that not only have the two varieties of Svastika crosses for
thousands of years played a prominent part as a religious symbol
in Hindostan, Thibet, and China, but that other kinds of crosses
also were in bygone ages venerated by their inhabitants.
For instance our Eastern Empire is strewn with the remains of
ancient temples built, like those of Christendom in later days,
in the shape of a cross ; and we are told that the oldest of its
rock-hewn caves were planned after the same figure. It is also
well-known that isolated stone crosses of pre-historic date are
to be seen in various parts of India.
The evidence of Hindostan is however out weighed by that
obtainable from the antiquities of Western Asia, concerning some
of which Sir A. H. Layard wrote:
"The crux ansata, the tau or sign of life, is found in the
sculptures of Khorsabad, on the ivories of Nimroud-which as I
have shown are of the same age-carried too by an Assyrian King."
We have also to note the equally significant facts that the
recognised symbol of the Phoenician Goddess of Love-Astarte,
Ashtoreth, or Ishtar, the Bride of the Sun-God-was a cross; that
a cross was also associated with the Phoenician Baal or Sun-God ;
and that the circle and cross, now the symbol of the planet held
sacred to the Goddess of Love, frequently occurs upon the ancient
coins of Western Asia and was not improbably more or less akin in
signification to the crux ansata of Egypt. The fact that upon
very ancient remains still existing the Baal is represented as
crowned with a wheel-like nimbus of rays should also be mentioned.
The cross more especially connected with the Phoenician "Bride
of the Sun-God " in ancient days, was, as can easily be seen
upon reference to ancient coins, where it occurs in the hand of
the goddess in question, a long handled cross such as is
frequently to be seen in our pictorial representations of John
As John the Baptist was an Asiatic and to some extent a pre-Christian
Asiatic, we can here, without wandering very far from the matter
in hand, pause to consider the question why we Christians
represent John the Baptist, who had nothing to do with a cross,
as holding a cross if it be not that while Jesus was supposed to
represent the Sun in its annual ascension John was supposed
supposed to represent the Sun in its annual declension? What
other rational explanation have we of the facts, (i) that John is
represented as saying that he baptised with water but that Jesus
would baptise with fire (where the rains of winter and the heat
of summer may be referred to) ; and that the Christian Church in
framing its calendar fixed upon what we call Midsummer day as the
birthday of John the Baptist, and upon the day which bears the
same relation to the other solstice as the birthday of Christ, as
if wishing to illustrate that other remarkable pronouncement of
Jofn thus placed at the point where the days begin to shorten,
concerning Jesus thus placed where the days begin the lengthen,
"He must increase but I must decrease"?
The probability that to its original signification of Life, that
of Salvation was added to the cross as a recognition of the fact
that the salvation of Earth-Life in general and of Mankind in
particular is due to the fact that at the Vernal Equinox the Sun-God
"crosses" to save, summer and the fruits of the earth
and therefore salvation and increase being due to the fact that
the Sun then crosses the Equator, is supported by evidence from
all quarters. And if we refuse to admit that Christianity is
permeated with the ideas of Sun-God worship, we not only have no
rational explanation to offer of the prophecies put by the
Evangelists in the mouth of John the Baptist to the effect that
Jesus would baptise with fire and would increase, but also none
to offer of many another prominent feature of our religion ; such
as, for instance, the fact that while pretending to reverence all
the Ten Commandments we deliberately make a point of breaking one
of them in order to keep as a day of rest not the seventh day but
the first, the day which from time immemorial was held sacred
throughout the Roman Empire as Dies Solis, the Day of
the Sun. For to aver as we do that Jesus was not made the subject
of a Sun-God allegory, but purposely rose from,the underworld on
the Day of the Sun, at the time of the Vernal Equinox, in order
to annul a commandment previously laid down by God and substitute
a new one in silence, is only to make ourselves ridiculous.
Returning however to the matter more particularly in hand, it
should be pointed out that the crux ansata mentioned by Layard is
not the only kind of cross to be found upon the relics of ancient
Babylonia and Assyria. For the cross of four equal arms and the
solar wheel are also to be met with.
Moreover, as all visitors to our museums should be aware, the
monarchs are represented as wearing in the place of honour round
their neck and on their breast, a Maltese cross. And this cross,
worn by the kings centuries before our era as the symbol which
should above all others be venerated, or as best signifying their
power over the lives of their subjects and their position as vice-gerents
of the Sun-God, is admitted by all the best authorities to have
been the sign and symbol of the Sun-God.
Chapter XVII- THE PRE-CHRISTIAN CROSS IN AFRICA
PASSING on to Africa and a consideration of the
crux ansata or so-called 'Key of the Nile,' we find that
this variety of cross had much the same significance attached to
it by the ancients as had the more widely accepted varieties.
As a matter of fact no one acquainted with Egyptian antiquities
who enquires into the matter in thorough going fashion, can in
the end fail to be convinced that the Egyptian cross was a
phallic symbol having reference to the sexual powers of
generation and to the Sun, and being therefore a symbol both of
Life and of the Giver of Life.
The connection between the crux ansata and the Sun-God in the
minds of the inhabitants of the Land of the Nile in pre-Christian
days, is very clearly set forth by an illustration of Khuenaten
in the act of distributing gifts to his courtiers which faces
page 40, volume I., of Sir J. Gardner Wilkinson's "Manners
and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians". For this monarch-also
known as Amenophis IV.-and his wife are both represented as
receiving the crux ansata from the Sun-God, and the Sun is marked
with the crux ansata as its peculiar symbol. Upon Plate IV.
facing page 43 of the same famous work, we see Seti I. surmounted
by the Sun ; two crosses adorning the latter. The crosses are,
moreover, attached to two serpents issuing from the sun ; and
these were in ancient days phallic signs representing the sexual
On page 405 is a representation of the Egyptian god Khem, or Amen-Ra
Generator; the Egyptian Priapus, or god of Generation. The names
of this phallic deity show his connection with the Sun.
It is noteworthy that this particular conception of the Sun-God
is accompanied by emblems of the sexual organs of reproduction,
and that he bears a St. Andrew's cross upon his breast.
Upon page 24 of volume IIIof the same work is another
representation of Khem, or Amen-Ra Generator. In this case also
he is accompanied by phallic and solar emblems and wears a St.
Andrew's cross upon his breast.
On page 26 Sir J. Gardner Willi:inson tells us that
"Khem was considered the generating influence of the sun,
whence perhaps the reason of his being connected with Amen-Ra :
and in one of the hieroglyphic legends accompanying his name he
is styled the sun ; that is the pro-creating power of the only
source of warmth, which assists in the continuation of the
various created species."
Upon Plate XXII., facing page 44 of volume III., are three
different instances of the crux ansata being attached to the sun
as the symbol of the Sun-God
Upon page 46 is another instance of the crux ansata being
attached to the solar serpent issuing from the sun's disc.
On Plate XXIII., facing page 52, is another illustration of the
reception of the crux ansata from the Sun-God.
Upon page 82 Sir J. Gardner Wilkinson rightly observes that it is
absurd to speak of the crux ansata or Egyptian cross as the Key
of the Nile, inasmuch as this cross " is less
frequently seen in the hand of the God Nilus than any deity of
the Egyptian pantheon."
Upon the remarkable Plate XXXI., facing page 136, we see
inscriptions describing the reigning Pharaoh as the " Vice-gerent
of the Giver of Eternal Life" or, in other words, the Sun-God.
Other expressions applied to the Pharaoh are "Giver of Life
and Strength like the Sun"; "Who gives all Life,
Stability, and Health like the Sun"; and " Approved of
the Sun and Giver of Life like the Sun."
It is thus clear that ages before our era the cross was venerated
in Egypt as in other lands as the symbol both of Life and of the
Giver of Life; and that the deity worshipped as the Giver of Life
; and ever associated was the with that salutary symbol the cross,
was the Sun-God.
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