Pictures at a Crucifixion
Monday June 12th 2006, 9:41 am
Filed under: Archeology,Patristics

Yesterday I blogged on the exciting archeological discovery in the Basque Country. Among the finds was the a third-century rendering of Calvary — the earliest ever found. The crucifixion scene is primitive in technique, but rich in details from the canonical gospels. (Nothing from the Gospel of Judas, though. Was there perhaps … a coverup? Dan Brown, call your agent!) Some folks said they want to see pictures. Others let us know where to find pictures.

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Thanks for directing me to this. It is fascinating that John and Mary are considered important to the story, but not the onlookers. Interesting too the larger than life Cross and Christ and that the cross is drawn in outline without any reference to its construction. I cannot make out what the titulus says, or what the significance of the road/wall and the figure on/behind it is. The lack of other detail, to me, would suggest that this more that just a narrative illustration and the the stylisation would suggest that it was already by this period an often repeated image.

Comment by Fr Raymond Blake 06.12.06 @ 10:14 am

Thanks for the link to the picture. What are the letters above the Christ – they look like RIP? Is that possible????

Comment by Ronald Cox 06.12.06 @ 10:57 am

Initially, I doubted the genuiness of the picture in the link for the same reason as Ronald Cox. On closer inspection of an enlargement, the “R” appears to me more like an “F” with an extra bar. That just begs the question, however. I will suspend belief until a little more information is forthcoming.

Comment by Bill Daugherty 06.12.06 @ 11:47 am

I am definitely skeptical about that picture. It is just a little too neat in what it depicts. I’m not saying that it should diverge from the traditional artistic depiction, but the totality of the scene strikes me as not quite consistent with what I’ve seen in early Christian art. But perhaps I’ve not seen enough!

Comment by Glen 06.12.06 @ 11:30 pm

Well, now you’ve got me uneasy. I have not seen another photo of that item, but there are descriptions out there from the day of the press conference. Here’s one — — that seems to describe what we see in the photo. Here’s another: . . . And this one seems like the best confirmation: . . . And here’s the official site: . . . OK, one more that seems interesting:

Comment by Mike Aquilina 06.13.06 @ 5:35 am

I’ve found a page with a lot of good links in Spanish:

Also, the official website has a good post in Spanish on the news:

Since this stuff I _can_ translate, I’ll try my best and put it up on my other blog, Aliens in This World:

Comment by Maureen 06.13.06 @ 7:00 pm

I do like the picture gallery attached to the EITB link, though. It gives scale.

Comment by Maureen 06.13.06 @ 9:49 pm

Good picture of a Basque shard here:

Comment by Maureen 06.13.06 @ 9:53 pm

[...] Pictures at a crucifiction – [...]

Pingback by » Third century Roman inscriptions discovered in the Basque Country 06.14.06 @ 2:24 am

Another picture here:

Comment by Goierritarra 06.14.06 @ 10:21 am

Huh. With the new picture, I count four crosses plus the bottom of a fifth. That means we either have a Golgotha panorama, or a comic book style narrative where events happen side by side (or above each other).

Just so darned interesting.

Comment by Maureen 06.14.06 @ 10:34 am

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