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A Visit
of three Departements
of The Louvre
In 23 steps.




 
Geometric and Animal
Decorated Bowl        Sb 3153
 
Susa     (4200-3800 BC)
 
Richelieu room 7 showcase 2 (14)
  
The cross in its various forms appears very early on in many cultures.
 
Note here the presence of
the swastika, or equilateral cross
with arms bent at right angles.

 Cross and Swastika : religious symbol before Christianity

The significance of this symbol is religious rather than political. For the archaeologist Childe, ‘The swastika and the cross, common on stamps and plaques, were religious or magical symbols as in Babylonia and Elam in the earliest prehistoric period’. A229
 
Oenochoe    AM 778
 Around 700 BC, Crete.
 
Sully 1st floor  Campana Gallery
room 40 showcase 3
 

“The symbol of the cross was widely venerated in Europe long before our era. 
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 (chap XVI, p 74) […]
 
The Svastika was the earliest form of cross
to acquire importance as a symbol.”
 
John Denham Parsons,
The Non-Christian Cross

 considered as practically universal

It is the emblem of the seventh saint for followers of Jainism. Hitler, an altar boy at the time, would have seen it in the Benedictine abbey of Lambach in Austria A230. Swastikas appeared in the composition of mosaic designs in the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
 
 
The right-facing swastika originally

represented the path of the sun before becoming, according to its Sanskrit meaning, a symbol ‘of good omen’.  
 
 
Pendants
 
Bj 2404
 
 
First half of the 7th Century BC.
 
 
 
Denon Ground floor
 
Etruria room 19 showcase 3


 
 
In Babylon, crosses symbolised the sun-god.
We also find the same emblem without the
circle surrounding it and with four equal arms intersecting at right angles. It was venerated
as the ‘sun wheel’. The god Tammuz was represented with a headband
covered in crosses. A231
 
The use of the cross as a religious symbol in
the time before Christianity can be considered  as practically universal.
It is found almost everywhere, in China, Africa and America. This symbol is even found in Scandinavia in cave engravings dating back to
the Bronze Age. A232
 

The use of the cross as
a religious symbol in the time
before Christianity can be
considered as practically universal.
 

 

The religious influence of ancient Babylon therefore spread to numerous peoples and nations, much further and with more strength and persistence that its political power. 

 
The Christian symbol of the crucifixion, it was worshipped in Mexico long before the Roman Catholics were to arrive. A233, A234
 
“It was used as the symbol of the god Tammuz (being in the shape of the mystic Tau, the initial of his name). By the middle of the 3rd Century, [...] pagans were received into the churches, and were permitted to retain their signs and symbols. Hence the Tau or T, in its most frequent form, with the cross piece lowered, was adopted to represent the cross of Christ.” Vine’s Dictionary
 
 
“The Semitic peoples associated the cross with Astarte, and for the Greeks, it was an attribute of Aphrodite and Artemis of Ephesus [...] The phallic symbols of Greece, Rome and Japan sometimes took the form of an upside-down Tau.”
Funk & Wagnalls
 
In Ancient Israel, the infidel Jews mourned the death of the Babylonian god Tammuz, behaviour described as ‘detestable things’. (Ezekiel 8:13, 14). The cross was the symbol of this god, who has also been identified with Nimrod, the founder of Babel. The religious influence of ancient Babylon therefore spread to numerous peoples and nations, much further and with more strength and persistence that its political power.
 
   
 Chancel Slab     MND 312   Greek Crosses   Sb 3181

The cross : an example of religious influence of Babylon

Throughout the centuries, approximately 400 sorts of cross have come to light. Some are shown here. The Ankh cross was the Egyptian symbol of life, representing eternity. Greek crosses have arms that are equal in length, intersecting in the middle. The Patriarchal cross has two arms (see Saint Bruno inv 8036), the Papal cross has three. The Chi Rho (XP) is identified with the monogram of Christ. The form of the ‘cross’, two right-angled arms in the shape of a mystic Tau, has its origins in Ancient Chaldea. A235
 
 
The Chi Rho and Funeral Mosaic MND 576   Goddess Maat and the Ankh cross  E 185
 
The representation of the redemptive death of Christ does not feature in symbolic art of the first centuries. AR36, AR37 
Influenced by the prohibition contained in the Old Testament, the first Christians refused to show the instrument of the Passion of the Lord. -n-AR38-/n-, AR39

The representation of the redemptive death of Christ :
not feature in symbolic art of the first centuries

 
Altarpiece of Saint Denis      MI 674
 
1415
 
Richelieu 2nd floor room 3

The majority of scholars agree when stating that the cross did not serve
as a graphical reference before
the time of Constantine. AR40
 
Thus there is nothing to confirm that
the original terms designated the traditional cross, all the more
so as  this religious symbol
was used by non-Christians
long before Christ. AR34
 
The form of the ‘cross’, two right-angled arms in the shape of a mystic Tau, has its origins in Ancient Chaldea.
 
The religious influence of ancient Babylon therefore spread to numerous peoples and nations, much further and with more strength and persistence that its political power.
 
 
 
 
 
 

 




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