Chapter III of the English edition
© Francesco Carotta, Kirchzarten, Germany
© 2005, Uitgeverij Aspekt b.v., Soesterberg, The Nederlands
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We have shown some similarities
and parallels between Caesar and Jesus. There are just as many to be
found when we compare the narratives of their respective passions.
The main discrepancy lies in the
fact that Caesar was stabbed and Jesus crucified. At this point the
parallels seem to come to an end.
So let us have a closer look at this essential difference.
Firstly, to get our bearings, we will recall the structure of their respective passion narratives.
Concerning Caesar we have (a)
the conspiracy, (b) the assassination, (c) the posthumous trial, (d)
the cremation, (e) the conflict about his heritage, (f) the succession.
Concerning Jesus we have (a) the
conspiracy, (b) the capture, (c) the trial, (d) the crucifixion, (e)
the burial, (f) the resurrection.
A structural correspondence is
plain to see. The main discrepancy is that Caesar was murdered at the
attack, whereas Jesus was merely captured. All the other differences
are the result of this: regarding their trials, the only difference is
that one is already dead whilst the other one is still alive. Whether
we are dealing with funeral or crucifixion depends on whether Jesus was
still alive or not at the time. Conflict about the inheritance on the
one hand and the burial of Jesus’ body on the other only seem to
be different: in both cases it is about the corpus. Succession or
resurrection, it is about the Empire—whether on earth or in
The first question we have to deal with is whether Jesus was still alive at his trial.
And when he does finally speak, what does he say?
‘Thou sayest it.’
Which again means nothing: the other one says it, not he himself.
It is not necessary to take Jesus’ last words into consideration: they are an invention in some phase or other of the tradition. This is something all scholars agree on. Namely, that it was a common literary topos in antiquity to put last words into the mouth of anyone famous who was dying. Indeed, Mark, and after him Matthew, have the famous ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’; Luke has instead: ‘Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit’; John, showing little respect, has him settle his last Will and Testament—‘Woman, behold thy son! … Behold thy mother’—then toast to it—‘I thirst’—and to set the seal on it—‘It is finished’. Everybody has put something different into his mouth: this proves that he said nothing, otherwise there would only be one version.
The same can be applied to his
conversation with those who were crucified along with him. Mark merely
reports that they reviled him and offers no further elaboration. The
conversation only starts with the later Evangelists.
Conclusion: Jesus is silent
after his capture. He, the fearless individualist, acting alone against
everybody from the beginning—he who had come not to bring peace
but the sword—should suddenly become speechless? Here, the gifted
orator with whom the word was from the beginning, and who had something
eloquent and incisive to say on every occasion, whether it were Sermons
on the Mount or parables, is now dead silent at his trial, the crucial
moment when he finally has a stage? We immediately think of the apology
of Socrates, the other famous orator who was unjustly condemned. This
silence of Jesus is inexplicable—that is why there is such an
extensive literature about it.
Was his trial conducted posthumously? Was he already dead?
The following sentence of Mark is also quite strange:
‘…and they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull.’
Here Mark says pherousin,
‘they carried him’, and not, as one would expect,
‘they led him’. We hesitate because, here, where according
to the traditional story Jesus should still be alive, he is
‘carried’ to the place of a skull. Was he not capable of
going by himself? We note that just before this, Simon the Cyrenian had
been forced to take Jesus’ cross and carry it. So he must have
been unable to do it himself. Of course this debility is usually
attributed to the earlier flagellation that he had endured. But the
fact is, if Mark is to be taken literally, he not only did not carry
his cross, he even had to be carried himself.
If we take an objective look at
the corpse of Jesus, we have to observe that it bears a very unusual
feature for someone who was crucified, namely a stab-wound in the side,
and one so open and fresh that blood ran out of it. Very peculiar
indeed, so much so that John, who quotes this detail, feels himself
obliged to provide us with an explanation for the inexplicable:
‘But when they came to Jesus ... one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.’
And because it was apparently unheard of, John fiercely swears that it is true:
‘And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.’
And because still no one believes him John explains why he should be believed:
‘For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled… (Zach. 12:10): “They shall look on him whom they pierced.”’
Critical biblical critics smirk
here and say that the passage obviously has been invented to ensure
that the prophecy is fulfilled: and they are right, but only partly.
Here we are dealing with a
so-called midrash, a very formalized method for interpreting something
inexplicable. The idea is that everything must already be present in
the biblia iudaica; if an unusual event takes place and one has
to justify it, then at least one passage has to be found in the Jewish
books that can serve as a vaticinium ex eventu, a prophecy after the event. Some Gospel critics even deem the events in the Gospel text eventus ex vaticiniis,
which would mean they are entirely invented on the basis of the
prophecies. They thus misjudge intention and mechanism of the midrash.
For, one sees immediately that the unexplainable must already be
present so that the corresponding passage can be sought, otherwise
simply any passage could be sought to justify anything. But the Gospels
do not contain just anything but something definite, and very precisely
defined at that.
Thus we conclude that the
passage in John is probably interpolated—the other Evangelists
know nothing about it—however the reason to search for a
corresponding passage was pre-existent: they had stabbed him. That we
may regard as a certainty.
An indirect proof that John is speaking the truth here is brought to us by an apocryphon, which means a scripture not accepted into the canon, the so-called Gospel of Nicodemus, also known as the Acts of Pilate. There it is said that the soldier who perforated his side with a lance was named Longinus.
Theologians speculate here that the name Longinus may have been invented: because lance in Greek is lonchê, the soldier was consequently named Longinus:
in this they break the rules of the art. For ‘Longinus’ is
a proper name, ‘lance’ a common term; the one rare and
personal, the other one universally known. Experts speak of a lectio difficilior and a lectio facilior—by
this they mean that in the process of tradition the easier word can
replace the more difficult one: never the other way round. Thus
Longinus is certain, and the pointed weapon was associated with his
name and so became a lance. But the pointed weapon could have been of a
From where did John take the
stab in the chest of Jesus? It can only have happened at his capture,
where there was a violent engagement and the naked sword was drawn:
‘…and kissed him. And they laid their hands on him, and took him. And one of them that stood by drew a sword, and smote a servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.’
We are accustomed to hearing
sword used here and not dagger, because in the King James Version it
was translated this way. But Mark does not say sword, but machaira, which primarily means knife, then dagger, or at most a short sword—like, for example, the Roman gladius.
That murderers were involved in the so-called arrest of Jesus is revealed by Mark’s choice of words in the next verse:
‘And Jesus answered and said unto them, Are ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and with staves to take me?’
‘…as against a murderer’. We can be confident that a
gang went wild with daggers and other weapons, and indeed so wild that
they wounded each other in the face. The arrest of Jesus seems to have
been more murderous than it looks at first glance. Due to the fact that
Jesus does not speak a word after the arrest and is later depicted with
an open chest-wound, untypical for a crucified one, it is reasonable to
assume that he was murdered at this point and that his so-called arrest
was actually his capture, his entrapment, and—as Mark’s
choice of words indicates—his assassination.
John could have easily borrowed the stab in the side of Jesus from here and have made use of it at the descent from the cross.
So while we are at it, let us
have a quick look at the parallel passage in the assassination of
Caesar. The supposition that the Caesar source could have been used as
a model for Mark is substantiated by the following detail, mentioned by
‘Many of the attackers wounded each other, whilst they stabbed with the daggers.’
If we leave the servant in Mark’s account of the capture of Jesus out of consideration for a moment
and understand that the High Priest himself was the target of the
stabbing, then Mark’s report superbly summarizes the attack on
Caesar, pontifex maximus, High Priest.
And who stabbed him?—Longinus—C. Cassius Longinus:
‘Cassius stabbed into the face…’
—says Appianus; and Suetonius:
‘Of all the many stab
wounds, according the judgement of Antistius, his personal physician,
only one was mortal, namely the second, which he took in his
Well, the logical conclusion of
this would be that the crucifixion of Jesus was actually his funeral,
and therefore, either the crucifixion did not take place at all, or if
it did, it too was posthumous.
Mark writes: ‘And the superscription of his accusation was written over, THE KING OF THE JEWS’; Luke: ‘And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS’; Matthew: ‘And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS’; John: ‘And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZAREHT THE KING OF THE JEWS’.
Here we have cited the four
Gospels in the supposed order of their genesis: the oldest is thought
to be Mark (the so-called Protoevangelium); then follow Luke and
Matthew, which show a lot of conformity to Mark (that is why they are
called Synoptics), but in contrast to Mark they present in places some
‘unpublished material’ (the famous source Q and the Sondergut, special material); John is supposed to be the latest of them all, but he belongs to a tradition different from the other three.
It is striking that the further
away in time the Evangelist is from the events being reported, the more
he has to say when it should be the other way around. Let us follow the
thread from the other direction.
John has added the epithet
Nazoraean (meaning from Nazareth), the cross and Pilate; Luke has added
(in some manuscripts) that it was written in letters of Greek, and
Latin, and Hebrew; Matthew for his part has added the name Jesus and
that the sign was positioned above his head. And what was it that Mark
added to his exemplar? After the word ‘king’, should he not
have appended the words ‘of the Jews’? So we have to
conclude that originally there was only the accusation of being king,
which had been written (wherever).
The inscription over Jesus’ head in Mark was: (h)o basileus tôn Ioudaiôn, ‘the King of the Jews’.
But Iulius is written in Greek IOULIOS—Ioulios, in the accusative IOULION—Ioulion, (the temple) of Iulius is named IOULIEION (HRWON)—Ioulieion (hêrôon)—which both visually resemble IOUDAIWN—Ioudaiôn—because of the resemblance of D and L (D like L) in the graphic. Basileus did not always mean king, in Greek it could frequently indicate the Latin imperator, as also basileia could indicate imperium.
‘King of the Jews’
and ‘Imperator Iulius’, or ‘Imperator (from the
house) of the Iulians’ are confusable in Greek.
Was the inscription on the cross at all? Where did the cross stand?
It is only explicitly mentioned as being in the hands of Simon of Cyrene:
‘And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross.’
The King James Version lingers in our ears: ‘…to bear his cross.’ But Mark says arêi: ‘…to take up his cross, lift it.’
This is strange. According to
Mark, Simon did not bear the cross in Jesus’ place but rather
lifted it up, erected it. Did Jesus ever come in contact with that
Let us look at the development of the sentence that tells us Jesus was crucified:
Matthew: ‘And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots…’
Luke: ‘…there they crucified him…’
John: ‘Where they crucified him…’
It is striking that John and
Luke first emphasize that he was crucified; Matthew and Mark speak of
the parted garments and about the casting of lots. We learn that he was
crucified because it happened just at the moment that they were parting
the garments and casting the lots: incidentally, as it were.
The crucifixion seems to have
graduated from a side issue to the central issue. And even after this
metamorphosis, the speech is only about the act of the crucifixion
itself, not about a cross: a verb rather than a substantive.
If we have a closer look at this verb, it turns out that staurô does not mean crucify, but to put up posts or slats or a palisade, or more precisely to fence in. Namely, the origin of the verb is stauros, which means stake, post, slat, and especially in the plural: palisade. First the Christians used the verb in the sense of ‘to put up a post’, then the post was interpreted as a stake and later on as a torture stake—a cross. So, ‘put up stakes or posts’ became ‘lift to the cross’, whereby in the mind, due to the iconography, the image of ‘nailed to the cross’ developed.
Above we have utilized the ‘Christian’ translation of Mark’s sentence:
‘And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them…’
But a Greek of the first century
would not have understood the sentence in this way, either not at all,
or if so, rather in this sense:
‘…and when they
were putting up stakes, posts or slats or a palisade around him, they
parted the garments, and cast valuable pieces on it…’
—because the Greek word for lot—klêros—originally means all that is received as an allotment, especially an inheritance, an heirloom.
A strange sentence. It rather
seems to describe the erection of a funeral pyre and the ritual casting
of gifts for the dead on it than the erection of a cross.
The preceding sentence of Mark is even stranger:
‘And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not.’
This sentence does not say
anything. We are informed that Jesus has not taken anything: a piece of
non-news. It is inexplicable why this sentence should be here at all.
Obviously, the other Evangelists could not interpret it either and
started, each after his own manner, to make a ‘reasonable’
reorganization of the existing requisites.
Matthew, who likes to search
through the Jewish scriptures, found the psalm (69:21): ‘They
gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to
drink.’ And he promptly rewrote it:
‘They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.’
Some of the manuscripts refer to
wine instead of vinegar. But it is assumed that the original word was
vinegar and not wine, as otherwise Matthew would not have found it in
the psalm. And because he found vinegar, the gall replaced the myrrh.
Probably, Mark often used the word wine instead of
vinegar—through the intermediate word oxys oinos
‘sour, vinegary wine’—because of the resemblance of
the words and because myrrh was added to the wine, not to vinegar. But
for the others, vinegar held its position. Therefore the myrrh had to
fade out, only to pop up again in another place.
In fact, Luke simply left out the myrrh: the soldiers only offer vinegar to Jesus.
‘And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar…’
He does not tell us if Jesus took it or not.
He makes the women bring the myrrh to the grave, interestingly enough not in the form of myrrh—myrrha, MURRA—but instead as ointment—myra, MURA:
‘…and [they] beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments;’
At this point in Mark’s account he only speaks of ‘aromatics’, arômata. It looks as though Luke combined it because of the resemblance of the names arômata and myra.
John lets this sentence
disappear completely from this particular place where it explains
nothing—because myrrh was not ingested but used externally,
resulting in Mark and Matthew being forced to say: ‘…he
would not drink’—and moves it backwards to places where it
makes more sense. He separates the vinegar from the myrrh: he has
vinegar being offered to Jesus, together with hyssop, and he takes it:
‘…and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar…’
John has the myrrh being brought, not by the women, but by Nicodemus when Jesus’ corpse is collected: ‘…and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.’ Why the aloes are suddenly added to the myrrh is explained as follows: ‘…with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.’
After we have reviewed the four canonical Gospels, it is certain that the original requisites are the following: MURRA or MURA—myrrha or myra, ‘myrrh’ or ‘ointment’, OXU(V)—oxy(s), ‘sour’ (vine) and OUK respectively OUN ELABEN—ouk/oun elaben, ‘did not take’ respectively ‘did take’.
Now, if we wanted to decide between these alternatives, we would have to give the first requisite myra priority over myrrha, because Mark does not say myrrh, but esmyrnismenon, i. e. actually ‘anointed’, but in Mark it still has the sense of ‘myrrhed, with a little bit of myrrh’.
In the second and third requisite there is a resemblance in the lettering between oxy ‘sour’ and ouk/oun
‘not/but’. Because Mark does not have ‘oxy’
anymore, his ‘ouk’ would appear to be the residuum of it.
And as ‘ouk’ is unstable—it is not by chance that
John replaces it with ‘oun’—only ‘oxy’
and ‘elaben’ can be regarded as valid.
This means that we are only left with the requisites: MUR(A) / OXU / ELABEN—myr(a) / oxy / elaben.
Thus we arrive at the following
conclusion: Abstracting from the popular translations and taking them
literally, the two verses in which Mark tells us that Jesus was
crucified only attest:
‘myr(a) / oxy / elaben.
And when they were putting up stakes, posts or slats or a palisade
around him, they parted the garments, casting valuable pieces on
Above we have noticed that the
second verse of Mark seems to describe the erection of a funeral pyre
and the ritual deposit of gifts for the dead.
If now the words of the first verse are read from the same viewpoint as in the second, it is conspicuous that MURA—myra—is nearly identical in lettering to PURA—pyra—meaning ‘pyre’, and that MUR—myr—can be confused with PUR—pyr—‘fire’
(think of e.g . ‘pyre’, pile to be burned,
‘pyromaniac’, incendiary, ‘pyrotechnic’,
fireworks, or ‘pyrite’, firestone). OXU—oxy—also
means ‘sour’, but originally ‘sharp’—and
together with verbs of movement or action it takes on the meaning of
‘quickly’. Now, if we combine oxy and elaben, it takes on the sense of: ‘was promptly’, ‘took quickly’, ‘grasped the opportunity’.
Both verses of Mark can now produce a coherent meaning:
‘…and while the
pyre caught fire, they quickly assembled stakes, posts, slats and
palisades, placed them around it, tore up their garments and threw
valuable pieces on it…’
It would be sufficient, if a copyist had confused PURA = MUR(R)A, pyra and myrrha,
encouraged by the fact that in a Jewish funeral myrrh is used but no
fire, to finally render ‘pyre’ as ‘myrrh’. Then
follows the confusion of the one oxy,
‘quickly/sharp’, with the other meaning
‘sour’—and already we are attending a completely
different funeral: instead of stake, pyre and cremation we have
crucifixion and inhumation.
And since we find ourselves
already there, let us take a closer look at Caesar’s funeral
using three versions. The first is Appianus:
‘There they collected together pieces of wood and benches, of which there were many in the Forum, and anything else they could find of that sort, for a funeral pyre, throwing upon it the adornments of the procession, some of which were very costly. Some of them cast their own wreaths upon it and many military awards.’
‘…and they hauled benches, barriers and tables from the place and heaped them around the corpse…’
‘…and immediately the throng of bystanders heaped on it dry branches and the judges’ chairs with the court benches and whatever else came to hand and could serve as an offering. Then the flute players and actors pulled off their robes which they had taken from the equipment of his triumphs and put on for the occasion, tore them apart and flung them into the flames, likewise the veterans of the legions threw the arms with which they had adorned themselves for the funeral. Many of the matrons similarly offered up the jewels which they wore together with their children’s lockets and purple-fringed tunics.’
It is easy to detect that the
passage from Mark is an abridgment of Caesar’s funeral. The same
requisites are present in both. The defining difference only exists in
our minds. It is we who know that Caesar was burned and Jesus was
crucified. But in the cited sentences and the original text, the
required details are the same. The difference in interpretation is
brought and applied by us.
In the same way, if in the
next sentence the Caesar sources say that the pile was set alight, it
is necessary to know beforehand that the corpse was burned. Because, as
it often happens, so here too the Greek word may have totally different
meanings. Which one is right depends on the context. Appianus:
‘Then they set it and all the people waited by the funeral pile throughout the night.’
The translators add after
‘they set it’ ‘afire’, because they know what
it is about, so in order that we—not being used to Greek mental
gymnastics and acrobatics—do not loose the thread. The Greek does
not add anything at all, he relies on the understanding and the
knowledge of the reader: after all, he is a Greek like himself. But
what happens if the reader a hundred years later has a different
knowledge and a different understanding, lives in another country where
Greek is a foreign language, finds himself in another political context
wherein the text is possibly used for other purposes and where the
listeners have different interests? Here we find ourselves wandering
along the edge of a precipice: one can sense the abyss. But back to the
The primary meaning of the word exêpsan is not even ‘set afire’, but actually ‘set on’. Plutarchus chose the version hyphêpsan:
‘to set on from underneath’. We can see what can become of
it. There is something set on (from underneath). If this something is a
fire, it burns; if it is a sign, then it is nailed on; or if it is even
a man, then he is hanging on the cross.
From this examination we can
conclude that while Jesus’ crucifixion is not necessarily a
crucifixion at all, it actually replicates the cremation of Caesar.
Of course, all of this is
still speculation and circumstantial evidence. But now the text itself
gives us the opportunity to ascertain whether the parallels between
Caesar and Jesus are coincidental or systematic. We merely have to
check if, for example, the following or preceding sentences contain the
same requisites in both sources. If this can be shown to be the case,
then one cannot speak of coincidence anymore.
The preceding sentence in Appianus:
‘…but the people returned to Caesar’s bier and they bore him to the Capitol…’
And in Mark:
‘…And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull.’
It is striking that both sources in the Greek language use the same verb pherô: ‘bear’, ‘carry’, ‘bring’. In Jesus’ case we would have expected the word ‘led’, for he still was alive. This expectation is so strong that it has been correspondingly corrected in some manuscripts.
Even more striking is that the place has the same name: Capitol. In Mark, of course, it is translated: the place of a skull. The Romans derived Capitolium from caput. The tale is that an Etruscan king, Olus (i. e. Aulus Vulcentanus) was killed and buried there, and that the Capitoline temple and hill received its name after his skull was later found: ‘the head of Olus’—caput Oli—Capitolium.
That Golgotha is the translation of place of skull and not vice versa is evident in Luke, who only has ‘the place of skull’ and says that the place was ‘called’ this way (and not translated), as well as in John, who says explicitly that the place was ‘said’ the ‘place of a skull’, which ‘means’ Golgotha in Hebrew.
The wording ‘place of skull’ used by Mark—Kraniou Topos—seems a little stiff in the Greek, and Luke has replaced it by the more graceful ton topon tôn Kraniôn. Therefore the more original version of Mark—Kraniou Topos—was not an appellation, but the name itself. Strangely enough it represents not only the translation of Capitolium, but also its alteration: Capi > Kraniou; tolium > Topos—with the same first letter and confusable lettering of the second part, especially in the accusative: TOLIVM > TOLION > TOPON (the erroneous separation of Capitolium is inevitable because, unlike Latin, no Greek word can end with a ‘t’.)
Let us have a look at the same
passage in Suetonius, where, associated with the igniting of the
funeral pyre, other requisites are mentioned—this passage
immediately precedes the one by Suetonius cited above. The irrelevant
part is in parenthesis:
‘[…and while some were urging that it be burned in the temple of Jupiter Capitoline, and others in the Curia of Pompeius,] suddenly two unknown men, girt with swords and brandishing a pair of javelins, with blazing wax tapers set fire to it.’
Where are the requisites in Mark?
‘And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left.’
We already know that ‘set
fire to’ has become ‘crucify’; and here is the
confirmation. The only bemusing thing is that in Suetonius it was they
who lit the fire, whereas in Mark they are being crucified: in the one
case an active, in the other, a passive role. But he who understands
Greek knows that besides active and passive there is also the
famous/infamous medium, so that one and the same form can mean both
‘to set on / to crucify’ and ‘be set on / be
crucified’ it depends on how it is perceived and how one wants to
The two guys girt with swords
and brandishing a pair of javelins are explained simply as thieves. In
fact, it was dangerous burning a body in the Forum, on the Via Sacra, directly in front of the house of the pontifex maximus and the old regia, in the midst all the temples: the regular funeral pyre for Caesar had been erected on the Campus Martius, the Field of Mars—as it had been for his daughter.
Only after Caesar’s being taken up among the gods, was it
possible to reinterpret this sacrilegious act—burning his body in
this most holy place—as his apotheosis, his ascension to heaven.
As these guys had two javelins
in their hands, apparently one in the right and one in the left, and
because they again were two, they themselves wound up on
crosses—one to his right and one to his left.
Here too the requisites are the same: two anonyms / wrongdoers / the right and the left hand / to set fire to (to crucify).
However, there are many more
requisites in Suetonius and Appianus than we have seen in Mark so far:
the ‘two javelins’ for example; or above, when the people
throw a lot of different things on Caesar’s funeral pyre: the
crowd, the Forum, the flute-players, the actors, the triumphal
garments, the long-serving soldiers, the legion, the weapons, the
wreaths, the military decorations, the jewelry, the matrons, the golden
lockets, the purple-fringed tunics, the children, the wearing of
apparel and taking it off, the throwing upon, the sacrifice and
offerings, the last respects.
What has Mark made of all this?
‘And the soldiers led him away into the hall, called Praetorium; and they called together the whole band. And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head, And began to salute him, Hail, King of the Jews! And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him, and bowing their knees worshipped him. And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him.’
We recognize many of the
requisites at once, even if Mark has rearranged them masterfully: the
soldiers, the Legion (the whole band), the Forum (hall, or more
precisely, Praetorium), the triumphal garment / purple-fringed tunic
(purple), the greeting to Caesar at his last triumph ave rex
(rendered literally: ‘Hail, King’), the actors (the mockery
by the soldiers), the last respects (the worshipping), the donning of
apparel, the disrobing, the throwing upon, (clothe, unclothe, reclothe).
Other requisites are more hidden, however: the flute-players—tibicines—now smite with a reed. Flute, in Latin tibia, ‘hollow cylindrical bone’, is correctly rendered in Greek as kalamos, ‘reed’ (in both languages the instrument is named after the material), the second part of tibi-cines, -cines, is derived instead from the Latin cano, ‘sing’, ‘play’ from the nearer sounding Greek kinô, ‘move’; the verb ruled by tibicines is inicere,
which not only means ‘throw above’, but sometimes
‘smite on’: so both verbs fuse and the
‘flute-players’ become those who ‘smite with the
reed’. The weapons and the wreaths of the soldiers are braided
together to a crown of thorns: the weapons mentioned are the
‘spears’ (borne by the two strangers)—in Latin iaculum, in Greek akontion; stephanos ‘wreath’ was the next word; but akanthinos stephanos
means wreath of thorns: out of ‘spear’ and
‘wreath’ we get a ‘pointed wreath’, a
‘wreath of thorns’, a ‘crown of thorns’.
Consequently ‘throw upon’ here becomes ‘put
on’—‘put on the head’. The
‘matrons’ together with ‘the children’ goneus, gonê are generally mistaken as gony
‘knee’ and that is why the soldiers fall down on their
knees. Finally the ‘lockets’ on the necks of the children,
being hollow in order to contain the heraldic amulet of the family, are
named in Latin bullae, literally ‘bubbles’: misunderstood as ‘bubbles of saliva’, they become ‘spit in the face’.
So there is nothing missing. No
word has been taken away or added. The same words were only taken in
another meaning, which made a reorganisation of the story necessary in
order for it to make sense again—but of course it becomes a
different one. The interpretation changes, but the
requisites—even though transformed—continue to exist.
In addition, this passage gives
us the opportunity to prove the resistibility of the requisites. We
have just seen how two different requisites in the Caesar
story—the triumphal garment of the actors and the
children’s purple-fringed tunics—compete with each other to
represent the purple in which the soldiers in Mark’s story array
Jesus. This means that one of the requisites in the Caesar sources has
not been used. It hovers in the ether, wandering around, waiting for
the opportunity to be put to a ‘sensible’ use elsewhere. It
is easy to detect whether it is the triumphal garment of the actors or
the children’s purple-fringed tunics: the purple and the wreath
belong together with the triumphal garment, whereas the
children’s tunics only have a purple fringe. So the still unused
requisite is the children’s tunics. What is it called in Latin?
Simply praetexta—literally ‘pre-woven’. The
meaning was that something additional was woven at the front: in the
case of the togas of officials and senators it was the well-known
purple border; in the case of the children it would have been a tunic
with purple borders as well, like we still see today with our
choristers of the Catholic churches, sometimes even with floral
patterns. This term ‘pre-woven tunic’ has not been used by
Mark at all: we have to wait for it to turn up in another place. As we
have seen, Matthew and Luke depend much on Mark, so it is better to
seek it in John. We find it right away:
‘Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.’
The King James Bible says coat for tunic. John says chitôn, i.e. exactly the same, even etymologically, as the Latin tunica. Praetexta,
‘pre-woven’ is understood as ‘woven before, not
sewn’ and indeed ‘from the top throughout’ like the
purple borders of the Romans as well.
The following sentence by Appianus (we already know the beginning):
‘[Then they set alight the pyre] and all the people waited there throughout the night.’
And in Mark as read in the Bezae Cantabrigiensis (D):
‘And it was the third hour, and they watched over him.’
‘And the people stood beholding.’ … ‘And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.’
Here too, we can observe the congruence of
requisites—the people keeping vigil, the darkness. In regards to
the amount of time involved, it is obvious by the variety offered that
they were later suggestions by the Evangelists. As a matter of fact,
the Greek hôra can mean any arbitrary period of time,
from the seasons right down to the hour, whether it be day or night.
The ‘third hour’ of Mark could quite well be ‘the
Before we continue comparing the whole Gospel with the entire Vita Caesaris, a brief interim assessment seems appropriate. Here we have seen that the Vita Caesaris
and the story of Jesus, looked at from an arbitrary point, be it
forwards or backwards, when comparing the oldest sources, in the
original text, not only exhibit the same requisites, but in the same
order, and in some passages they even show the exact same sequences.
And if the requisites differ from each other, it is because another
translation was made, but any resulting abnormalities still remain
within the bounds of normal folk-etymologies and the mistakes of
Because such parallels are too inherent to be
attributed to literary topoi and even more so because Caesar’s
biography is history and not literature—there is only one
interpretation left: the Gospel is a Greek version of the Vita Caesaris
although an anomalous one. It looks as if the fact that Matthew (in
particular), by infusing the text with so many citations from the
Jewish Bible, adulterated the picture to such an extent that the most
Roman story of all—which had belonged to the whole empire and its
peoples—could emerge as a Jewish one.
We now want to test this concretized hypothesis
by returning to the question we asked initially: Where is the cross in
the Caesar story?
We have seen that in all likelihood Jesus was
not crucified whilst alive, and perhaps not even at all. Then, we
observed that his crucifixion shows a high structural conformity with
Caesar’s cremation. Now, in the case of Jesus, the cross cannot
be ignored. We are not inclined to think that Mark has simply
fantasized the cross on the basis of a martyr’s stake due to the
presence of all the court benches, judges’ seats and palisades.
This would contradict his painfully meticulous treatment of the
requisites, even if his result has fallen wide of the mark. If the
Gospel is the hidden Vita Caesaris, then a dominant role must
have been played by a requisite, that by its nature would have
predestined it to be mistaken for a cross in a changed environment, and
indeed, it would have to have been connected with Caesar’s
funeral, even if it was a cremation.
Hence, let us follow the procedure of
Caesar’s funeral with more attention, with special concern for
the imagery used there. What we will behold is an unusual tropaeum with
an unexpected image of Caesar attached to it, and we will hear the
voice of an unsettling face of Caesar.
As was usual at the funeral of a distinguished
Roman, so here too the wax figure of Caesar was to be carried in front
of the bier and then placed on the Rostra, so that during the funeral
oration the people could see him as he had been in life.
But Caesar’s wax statue could not be
adorned in full robes as was the usual custom: it would have been
dressed with the triumphal robe which was none other than the red robe
of the ancient kings,
the one that had made his murderers see red and decide to carry out
their assault on the tyrant. Now at this time Brutus and Cassius were
still in the city. They had managed to receive amnesty for themselves
and buy the neutrality of several veterans with the promise to
compensate expropriated landlords from the state treasury so they could
buy their properties back. Marcus Antonius, friend and relative of the
deceased and moreover holder of the office of consul and designated flamen Divi Iulii—High
priest of Divus Iulius, the new god that Caesar was to become after his
death—had to consider himself lucky to still be alive, and that
Caesar’s estates had not been auctioned, that his acts had not
been repealed, and that the Liberators who had at first planned to drag
the corpse of the tyrant through the streets and throw it into the
Tiber had instead complied with the insistence of Caesar’s
father-in-law Piso that the Pontifex Maximus should be lain to rest
with the customary honors.
In the midst of this stalemate, Antonius had the momentous idea of fashioning Caesar’s wax-figure in such a way that the people would see him as he had lain after the murder—with the blood-stained toga displaying all the rents of the daggers on his martyred body, and with his arms spread out just as he had fallen. Indeed nobody had seen him there where he had fallen because they all ran for their lives after the assault—both friend and foe. Antonius, who had remained outside, fled first. But from the house tops where the people had barricaded themselves, they could see Caesar’s injured face and his arms hanging out of both sides of the litter as three of his servants carried the body home through Rome’s narrow alleys to his wife Calpurnia.
As this wax figure would not
have been visible if it had lain flat on the bier, Antonius ordered it
hung on the cross-like tropaeum where, as tradition required, the
insignia of victory were affixed. This created an ironic, provocative,
unbearable tropaeum, where the image of the victor himself was hung in
the midst of the trophies of war. The wax figure was still clad in his
passion garment, and the tropaeum was constructed in such a way that it
could be rotated so that everybody could clearly see it.
When Piso brought Caesar’s body into the Forum, it was placed on the bier on the Rostra so that the tropaeum stood at the head of the funeral bier—a golden ciborium after the fashion of the temple of Venus Genetrix, wherein lay the son of the goddess on a bed of ivory adorned with gold and purple, like the new Osiris on the womb of Isis.
For the funeral obsequies a
death mask of Caesar had also been made, as was the custom, so that the
deceased himself could address the funeral guests by means of a masked
actor who imitated his voice and gestures. This was sometimes done with
some levity, but on this occasion with gallows humor and deadly earnest.
Both wax-images, the figure hanging on the tropaeum and the mask worn by the actor, were the main requisites of Antonius’ staging of Caesar’s funeral liturgy. And he employed them dramatically.
‘During the performance
verses were sung which would evoke emotions of compassion and
indignation, such as the line from Pacuvius’ “Contest for the Arms of Achilles”:
With the reading of the will the
atmosphere changed completely, because the supposed tyrant now proved
himself a benefactor, bequeathing a remarkable amount to each
individual Roman, in addition to leaving the Roman people his famous
gardens on the banks of the Tiber. They slowly began to regret that
they had been in favor of the amnesty. And from the enormous crowd of
people flocked together there arose the increasingly loud sounds of
lamentation and misery, and all those who were armored beat their
In this situation it is easy to
imagine which verses of the Electra the people chanted like a choir:
namely those that served as improperia, as lamentations over the
ingratitude of the murderers.
‘And now under the earth the immortal reigns.’
This was the time for Antonius’ funeral oratory. But:
‘Instead of the usual Laudatio, Antonius ordered a herald to read aloud the decree of the Senate which awarded all divine and human honours to Caesar, furthermore the oath of loyalty in which they had all pledged themselves to his personal safety. Antonius added very few words of comment.’
He only commented on what the herald read out:
‘At each resolution,
Antonius turned his face and his hand towards Caesar’s body
illustrating his discourse by his action. To each appellation he added
a brief remark full of grief and indignation. As, for example, where
the decree spoke of the father of the fatherland, he added “This
is a testimony to his clemency!” and again where he was made
“sacred and inviolable” and “everyone was to be held
unharmed who should seek refuge with
him”—“Nobody”, said Antonius, “who found
refuge with him was harmed, but he, whom you declared sacred and
inviolable, was killed, although he did not extort these honours from
you as a tyrant, and did not even ask for them.”’
And the herald read all the
decisions of honor and oaths of allegiance; Antonius indicated what
they had made of that by pointing again and again towards the murdered
man; Caesar’s voice resounded from behind the death mask; the
people answered with a fitting strophe from the Electra. And thus the indignation increased.
When the herald read aloud the
oaths wherein all obliged themselves to protect Caesar and his person
with all their power, and wherein all had sworn that he who did not
come to his aid in the case of a conspiracy should be condemned to
death, Antonius lifted his hand toward the Capitol and cried
‘Father Jupiter, I am prepared to help him as I have vowed, but
because the other senators have preferred an amnesty, I pray that they
will bring us blessings.’ The senators were alarmed and hoped
that Antonius would retract the accusations and threats; but Antonius
distracted: ‘It seems to me, fellow-citizens, that what has come
to pass is not the work of men but of an evil spirit’. So he
blamed it on the devil—and conjured him up at the same time.
‘After these words he gathered up his garments like one inspired by God, girded himself so that he might have the free use of his hands, took his position in front of the bier as in a play, bending down to it and rising again, and first hymned him again as a celestial deity, raising his hands to heaven in order to testify to his divine origin.’
Finally Antonius went to the
tropaeum, where the symbols of Caesar’s victories were attached
and in rapid and fluent speech counted out his wars, the battles, the
victories, the spoils, extolling each exploit as miraculous and all the
time exclaiming ‘Thou alone hast come forth unvanquished from all
the battles thou hast fought. Thou alone hast avenged thy country of
the outrage brought upon it three hundred years ago, bringing to their
knees those savage Gallic tribes, the only ones ever to have broken
into and burned the city of Rome.’ He counted out all the titles
the people had awarded Caesar, conscious that no other man could equal
‘Therefore for the gods he was appointed Pontifex Maximus, for us Consul, for the soldiers Imperator, and for the enemy Dictator. But why do I tell you all this when in one phrase alone you called him Pater Patriae?’
And here Antonius lowered his voice from its high pitch to a sorrowful tone, and mourned and wept as for a friend who had suffered unjustly:
‘Yet this father, this Pontifex Maximus, this inviolable being, this hero and god, is dead, alas … murdered right here within the walls as the result of a plot—he who safely led an army into Britain; ambushed in this city—he who had enlarged its Pomerium; murdered in the Senate house—he who had reared another such edifice at his own expense; unarmed—the brave warrior; naked—the promoter of peace; the judge—near the tribunals; the magistrate—at the seat of government; at the hands of citizens—he who none of the enemy had been able to kill even when he fell into the sea; at the hands of his comrades—he who had so often shown mercy to them! Of what avail, O Caesar, was your humanity, of what avail your inviolability, of what avail the laws? Nay, though you enacted many laws that men might not be killed by their personal foes, yet how mercilessly you yourself were slain by your friends! … And now you lie dead in the Forum through which you often led the triumph crowned. Wounded to death you have been cast down upon the Rostra from which you often addressed the people. Woe for the blood-bespattered locks of grey, alas for the rent robe, which you donned, it seems, only to be slain in it!’
And with his spear he lifted the
garment hanging on the tropaeum and shook it aloft, rent by the dagger
blows and red with the blood of the Imperator. With this movement he
exposed the Simulacrum hanging on the tropaeum and rotated it in all
directions by means of a turn-table. And thus was Caesar’s martyred body suddenly revealed for all to see—like Christ on the cross.
The pitiful sight did not fail
to have its effect. Blinded by wrath, the people rose up and hunted for
Caesar’s murderers who were long gone, but they tore to pieces
one whom they did find—a certain Helvius Cinna who was a good
friend of Caesar but who had the great misfortune of bearing the same
name as another Cinna who had made a speech against the deceased.
‘Without hearing any explanation about the identical names, they rent him to pieces in an act of savagery: no part of the body could be found for the funeral!’
His head, however, was speared on a lance and paraded about.
Now the furious crowd returned to the bier and took hold of it. Here, one wanted to take it to the place where he had met his death—the Curia of Pompeius—which they desired to reduce to cinders. There, another tried to convey it up to the Capitol for cremation as something consecrated in order to give him a place amongst the gods. The priests blocked their way because of the risk of fire. It went to and fro. The crowd raged. The soldiers intervened and the consuls had some of the more audacious men thrown down from the Capitoline rock.
So the people placed the bier
back in the Forum at the site where the ancient Roman house of the
Kings and the house of the Pontifex Maximus stood.
‘…all of a sudden
two strangers appeared, girdled with swords and with two spears in
their hands and ignited the bier with wax-torches!’
Now the most daring stormed up
to the houses of the murderers with torches and tried to set them on
fire, but the neighbors hindered them because of their fear of a blaze
and finally they persuaded them to forgo the arson. Meanwhile the
people kept vigil at the funeral pyre and even stayed for some time
‘Public grief was
enhanced by crowds of foreigners lamenting after the fashion of their
own countries, especially Jews who came flocking to the Forum for
several nights in succession.’
So says Dio. And the parallel conclusion by Appianus:
‘There an altar was first erected, but now there stands the temple of Caesar himself, as he was deemed worthy of divine honors. For Octavianus, his son by adoption and who took the name of Caesar, followed in his footsteps in political matters, greatly strengthened the government that was founded by Caesar and which remains to this day, decreed divine honors to his father.
All events related to
Caesar’s death were so dramatic—with treason, murder, and
subsequent apotheosis—that the Passion story of the god incarnate
becomes the centerpiece of each vita of Divus Julius. That is why a
biography of Caesar, especially an ancient one always reads like a
hagiography and leaves an impression of sacredness. So for example it
could be said:
‘…the panegyric Emperor-biography, composed by Nicolas of Damascus, Chancellor and Historian of Herodes’ palace in the years 23-21 BC, reads in part like a Gospel-text.’
This is not limited to the
pro-Caesarean authors nor does it rely on subjective impressions. That
the Christian Easter-liturgy follows the ritual of Caesar’s
funeral like a script has already attracted attention:
‘The funeral ritual for Divus Iulius [is] a unique passion-liturgy … this celebration is one of the most essential events of history contemporaneous with the New Testament.’
This is all the more striking as
one would expect that the Easter-liturgy would follow the Gospel and
not the funeral ritual of Caesar. Some details and requisites are not
grounded in the Gospel Passion-story, but they find their counterpart
in Caesar’s funeral. Think for example of the unveiling of the
cross, accompanied by the chant:
‘Here is the cross of torture on which the salvation of the world hung.’
It corresponds to the action
of removing Caesar’s toga on the tropaeum and to the content of
the words of Antonius. Think of the ensuing improperia, the
lamentations of the crucified one over the ingratitude of the people of
Israel which are sung in the Catholic liturgy of the Good Friday Mass.
They conform to Antonius’ demonstrated repetitive example: the
reading out of each of the benefactions conferred on his people which
are counter-pointed by the lamentations over the murder of God.
Consider the beginning:
‘My people, what did I do to you? How did I offend? Answer me. I led you out of Egypt, you lead your savior to the cross.’
It sounds like the words spoken through Caesar’s death-mask: ‘Ah, did I
Think of the adoration of the cross, of the
procession behind the cross, and finally of the renewing of baptismal
vows. There is also the Easter-fire on Holy Saturday. While the
congregation waits in the dark church for the Easter Light, the priest
ignites a small pile of wood, a little pyre outside, on which the
Easter candle is lit.
The correspondence with the funeral pile and Caesar’s apotheosis
is striking, even in the re-enactment: the believers carry the fire
into the night, as once the fire-brands were carried to the houses of
Caesar’s murderers, whereas the holy water sprinkled and
distributed in the church recalls the corresponding extinguishing of
the fires. The Easter-communion itself—where nothing is permitted
to remain—evinces an unsettling symmetry with the total
annihilation of Caesar’s intimate, Cinna.
There even appears to be another corresponding
custom preserved by the people independent of the ecclesiastical
hierarchy. When the triumvirate finally managed to gain the upper-hand
over the murderers of Caesar, they decreed that the Ides of
March—which the murderers had celebrated on their coins as the
day of liberation from the tyrant—be damned as dies parricidii,
‘the day of parricide’. Further, they converted the venue
of the murder, Pompeius’ Curia, into a latrine, so that everyone
had the opportunity to express their greater or lesser opinion of the
self-styled Liberators. The Catholic farmers in Germany, at least those from within the limes,
seem to have conserved this practice until today, because they regard
the celebration of Good Friday as a provocation, and on that day they
vent their displeasure by spreading compost and manure on their fields.
Now, as is well-known, Caesar is a century more
ancient than Jesus (born exactly 100 years before the official birth of
Christ) and he died still 76 years before Jesus (Caesar 44 BC, Jesus
traditionally 33 AD). So four to five generations lie between them.
Thus the cult of Divus Iulius is older than
that of Jesus, and in the face of change, liturgy tends to be
conservative. We can rule out the notion that the similarities between
the two rituals can be attributable to their both drawing upon
collective oriental examples,
because Caesar’s ritual was improvised—it had to
be—due to the context in which it fell. So it is more logical to
consider the unconventional but nevertheless possible alternative,
namely, that Divus Iulius could have been the prototype for Jesus.
And our texts even offer some circumstantial evidence for this assumption.
In the reconstruction of Caesar’s
funeral, Appianus was our main source with Suetonius serving as a
guideline. Appianus is more elaborate, but his offerings have a
repetitive character. These repetitions give rise to the supposition
that he employed not only the Historiae of Asinius Pollio as a schema, but used literary sources as well. We can point to the funeral oration of Antonius as a possibility, which was published according to custom, or even a praetexta Iulius Caesar
which developed from it—a drama—written with classic Roman
gravity. In fact, Appianus’ account reads like the libretto of a
play, where the repetitions seem to arise from the arrangement of the
different roles in sequences .
It is true that a praetexta Iulius Caesar has not been passed down to us, but it is quite probable that Antonius’ funeral oration was published.
And because Antonius, when giving his funeral oration, had the herald
recite the decrees that honored Caesar while he himself only commented
on them, and also selected the verses from the Electra and set the tone
for the people’s chorus, then the text of his funeral oration
must have had the character of a libretto. As flamen Divi Iulii,
who on the basis of the honor decrees was beholden (like all the other
priests) to liturgically celebrate Caesar’s victories annually,
he would not have neglected to celebrate Caesar’s funeral, which
precisely because of its staging and oratory could amount to his
apotheosis. Had Appianus attended Passion-plays designed to honor Divus
Julius? The immediacy that characterizes his account invites such a
In light of this situation, it gives cause for
thought that the tradition of the Passion play has been preserved right
up to the present day—for which Appianus’ account could
have served as an excellent exemplar.
Was it the original one?
In any case, in the sequence of Marcion, who saw Jesus on the cross as a mere phantasma (cf. Tert. adv. Marc.
4.42), and Nestorius, the Koran also rejects the notion that Jesus was
crucified and it says, that ‘a very similar figure appeared to
them’ or more precisely ‘was shown’ (sura 4.157).
Hence it confirms that the idea of Jesus’ crucifixion was a later
and contested one (as late as 325 ad, the Council of Nicaea in its
creed, the Symbolum Nicaenum, in the original form does not say anything about crucifixion or Pilate[190b]).
It even sounds as if it developed from a stage-setting that displayed
Caesar’s wax-figure on the cruciform tropaeum. Was it the Passion
play of the original Easter ritual? In actuality, Jesus is scarcely
depicted dying on the cross throughout the whole of the first
millennium (cf. also note 157 p. 384).
In perusing the above cited historical texts,
especially in the Greek original, it is striking that the sole reason
we know that the whole scene occurred in Rome is because—we just
happen to know it. The name itself is not mentioned: it is referred to
as ‘the city’. It could be any city. The fact that Romans
are involved does not locate the scene: at this time all the officials
in the empire were Romans. Also the Senate is often called Synedrion,
so that we easily could imagine it to be in Jerusalem, all the more
post festum, when only the mourning Jews remained at the reliquies.
(cf. p. 79).
Caesar too, is barely mentioned by name:
we hear of the one ‘killed’, the ‘murdered’,
the ‘martyred’, of the ‘dead’, the
‘corpse’, the ‘body’ and the
‘bier’, rarely of the ‘autocrat’, the
‘dictator’, the ‘king’, or the
‘tyrant’; but rather we hear of the ‘high
priest’, ‘son of God’, of ‘God’; or of
the ‘saviour’, the ‘father’, and if we do hear
of him , then it is just ‘him’. It could easily be assumed
that another person is being spoken of—Jesus.
The personae surrounding him play well-known
roles too: there is a follower who betrays him, and a murderer who gets
an amnesty; there is somebody who bears his cross, someone who demands
his body, and somebody who proclaims his apotheosis.
The requisites also seem to be familiar: the
cross-shaped tropaeum, the wax-figure on the cross, the spear, the
passion-garment, the improperia, the Easter fire, the empty tomb, the
stone that has rolled over. And—we even have the Via Dolorosa and the Pietà:
‘A little later, three slaves, who were
nearby, placed the body on a litter and carried it home through the
Forum. The wounds on the face and the arms hanging down were visible on
both sides, as the curtain had been drawn back. There was no one who
refrained from tears at the sight of him who for a long time had been
revered as a god. Much weeping and lamentation accompanied them from
either side, from mourners on the roofs, in the streets, and in the
vestibules. When they approached his house, a far greater wailing met
their ears, for his wife rushed out with a number of women and
servants, calling on her husband and bewailing her lot in that she had
in vain counselled him not to go out on that day. But he had suffered a
fate far worse than she had feared.’
All the participants in the Roman drama were
incidentally old acquaintances of the Jews, who remained conspicuously
long at Caesar’s cremation site. Because they all had also made
an appearance in Jerusalem: Caesar’s adversary Pompeius had
conquered the city and the temple in 63. It is no coincidence that
Cicero (Att. 2.9.1) mocked him as noster Hierosolymarius,
‘our Jerusalemite’—with a play on words on
‘Marius’, Caesar’s uncle. Pompeius had brought the
rebellious Aristobulos as a captive to Rome. After Crassus’
defeat against the Parthians in 53/52, Cassius Longinus had been able
to hold Syria and renegade Judaea only with brute force, in the process
he had had Pitholaos, who had defected and led the rebellion after
Aristobulos, executed—i.e. probably crucified. At the beginning
of the civil war Caesar had freed Aristobulos and sent him back to
Jerusalem—without success, because some Pompeians poisoned him.
For a long time the burial of his body was denied until Antonius later
sent it, embalmed in honey, to the Jews to bury it in the royal tombs
(cf. note 183).
Now all these Jerusalemite protagonists cast similar, appropriate respective roles in Rome also:
Pompeius was dead already, but it was in front
of his statue, which incidentally Caesar had had re-erected, where
Caesar was murdered. Thus Pompeius had his revenge, but also showed
himself to be ungrateful posthumously.
Cassius Longinus had raged and murdered again.
And the exposition of Caesar’s body as a wax simulacrum on the
cruciform tropaeum had to have even more so called to mind the
execution of Pitholaos by the hand of the same Longinus, as well as all
the other crucified ones of Judaea.
And Antonius repeated the same act of piety on
Caesar that he once had shown to Aristobulos: again he has the dead one
buried anyway, against the resistance of the Pompeians. This time he
does not have the martyred body embalmed in honey, but, appropriate for
the cremation, duplicated and affixed to the cruciform tropaeum not
least to the shame of Longinus.
Now all these players, well-known to the Jews,
also appeared in a drama which happened during their most important
For although Caesar had reformed the calendar
one year earlier, switching over from the old-Roman one which had
become a mess, to the solar one, called the Julian after
him—which actually made the concurrence of the Roman Ides on the
15th of March, now reckoned according to the sun, with the Jewish
Passover, still reckoned according to the moon, on the 15th of Nizan a
rarity—it just so happened that in 44 BC the 15th of March, of
all days, was a full moon day: that is to say that on Caesar’s
Ides of March it was Passover at the same time (cf. note 183).
Due to an even less probable coincidence,
Caesar’s funeral on the 20th of March fell on a Sunday, of all
days, so that Caesar’s funeral which was perceived as his
resurrection occured on the same day of the week as the resurrection of
The simultaneous occurence of both
‘coincidences’, that there is a full moon on the 15th of
March and the 20th is a Sunday, happens once every 532 years! (cf. note 183).
Let us first address the context.
One of the more famous anecdotes concerning Caesar tells of when he fell into the hands of pirates during his youth. It happened near the island of Pharmakussa, on the Ionian coast between Miletus and Halicarnassus. Caesar wanted to go to Rhodes to hear the lectures of Apollonius Molo, the most eloquent teacher of that time. Pirates were greatly feared because they did not handle their victims with kid gloves, even killing or throwing overboard the more obstinate. The pirates that captured him only wanted twenty talents ransom which insulted Caesar because, as he advised them, he was worth at least fifty. He sent his companions into the surrounding area to raise this hefty sum and spent almost forty days alone with the pirates during which time he complained when they disturbed his sleep, gambled and competed in fighting with them and read aloud poems and speeches. Since they were not enthusiastic Caesar called them uneducated barbarians and promised and swore to hang them soon. All this delighted their hearts and they thought they had hooked the most hilarious of patrons. So when he paid them the fifty talents ransom they readily let him go. When he reached shore he manned some ships, set out to sea, and surprised the pirates still anchored on the island. He captured most of them and had them crucified as he had sworn under oath to do, which they had taken to be his joking. But because he abhorred cruelty even in revenge, he had them strangled first so that they would not suffer.
By the way, we should note that
the Church, of all institutions, followed suit in this leniency in
punishment and was always anxious to have heretics strangled before
they were burnt at the stake. But back to our theme.
We see that from the start of
his career Caesar was associated with crucifixion, but not in the same
way as Crassus and Pompeius who defeated the Spartacus slave rebellion
and lined the streets with the crucified rebels. For Caesar himself had
fallen into the hands of those pirates who had furnished
Spartacus’ fleet, and had risked being speared or drowned by them
with scorn and derision.
The terminology does not allow enough differentiation to know whether Plutarchus says that Caesar had the pirates crucified or impaled, and says that when Caesar spoke the threat he said he would have them kremân, ‘hung by the neck,’ ‘hung’, or ‘strung up’. When Caesar carries out the threat Plutarchus says that he anestaurôsen them, he had them ‘impaled’, ‘speared’. Suetonius remains vague at first and says generally that ‘he had them executed’ (supplicio adfecit), and then becomes more precise by saying literally that he had them ‘fixed, stuck to the cross’ (cruci suffixit). Strictly speaking, it cannot be decided from Suetonius either whether it is about a crux punica, i. e. acuta, a ‘punic’ or ‘sharp’ crucifixion, which was an impalement. For the Roman pronounced the penalty; the executioner carried it out according to the custom of the country or his own taste.
Assuming it was a crucifixion
similar to popular iconography, with the arms outstretched and nails in
the hands and feet, we see that Plutarchus used stauros as root for his verb anestaurôsen, ‘he speared’. Stauros
means primarily ‘stake’, in this case in the sense of a
‘martyr’s stake’ and is used as the translation for crux. Thus, here we would have, independent of Christian literature, an equation stauros = crux,
‘martyr’s stake’ = ‘cross’, and in fact
one referring to Caesar, not to Jesus. The other verb that Plutarchus
uses, however—kremô, ‘hang by the neck’, ‘hang’, ‘string up’—is so very similar to the Latin cremo, ‘burn, cremate’, that the cremated Caesar could become the ‘crucified one’.
It is therefore understandable
why, when the tropaeum with Caesar’s wax effigy nailed to it was
displayed, the people seized the first Cinna that they met, tore him
apart, stuck his head on a pole and carried it around: occidit caputque eius praefixum hastae circumtulit, says Suetonius. We see here how this praefixum hastae,
which is normally translated with ‘fixed on a lance’, but
could as well be rendered as ‘hefted to a stake’—the
original meaning of hasta is ‘pole’, thin
‘stake’, only later via ‘shaft’ did it come to
mean ‘lance’—joins that suffixum cruci,
‘nailed to a martyr’s stake’ we came across with the
pirates. Since Helvius Cinna co-suffered the martyr death of
Caesar—lat. cruciatus—because of a mix up of names, the carrying around of Cinna’s hasta
with his head on it can, under changed conditions, be perceived as
co-carrying Caesar’s martyr stake, i. e. the cross of Jesus. Thus
cruciatus becomes crucifixus, the martyr death becomes the crucified one and Helvius Cinna confused with Cornelius Cinna becomes one of the two crucified with him.
The decisive impetus for perceiving Caesar’s cruciatus as crucifixion was given by the repetition of Caesar’s assassination carried out on his successor and namesake Gaius Caesar, i. e. Caligula.
This time, too, the main ringleader was a Cassius (Chaerea),
and that it was meant as a repetition of the ‘tyrannicide’
of the other Gaius Caesar is clarified not least by the watchword
chosen by the murderers, which they shouted while stabbing with the
daggers: Repete!—‘once more’ (cf. Suet. Cal. 58).
This second act of the assassination of Gaius Caesar took place during a mime play that was written by a Catullus (coincidentally also a namesake of Caesar’s bosom foe, the poet Catullus) and named after an infamous brigand: Laureolus—‘small
laurel’. From Flavius Josephus we learn that in this mime play
‘the bandit chief was nailed to the cross’, and this had
been consciously chosen as the background scene for the
‘spectacle of the tyrannicide’ performed on Caligula (Jos. A.J. 19.1.13 [§94]).
This, too, was no coincidence.
Because it had been Caesar who had particularly supported the mime
plays and himself had maintained mimes. And then a mime had also
performed at his funeral, as we saw, imitating gesture and voice of the
deceased and speaking, as if from beyond, the famous verse of Pacuvius:
‘Alas, did I save these men that they might murder me?’
Now Gaius Caesar had been
murdered as a tyrant again, during a mime play, in which a bandit chief
was crucified. It was inevitable that this would rub off on the later
depictions of Caesar’s funeral—whether in Passion plays or
in the liturgy. As a result, the exposition of his body as wax figure
had to be perceived as crucifixion and mockery from the time of
Speaking of repercussions, let
it be mentioned briefly here that the execution of Vitellius by
followers of Vespasian might have molded the image of Jesus’ Via Dolorosa also. Suet. Vit.
17: ‘They dragged him to the Forum with his arms bound behind his
back, a rope around his neck, with rent garments and half-naked. All
along the Via Sacra he endured the grossest abuses by deeds and words…’.
The image of the flagellation of
Jesus, which accompanies the crucifixion, however, was co-influenced by
the manner of execution of Antigonus which Cassius Dio described as
outrageous. Antigonus was flagellated and crucified in
Jerusalem—by the hand of the same Antonius who performed
Caesar’s funeral (cf. note 183).
But Caesar had himself already
experienced a flagellation of sorts. His political enemies had a man
flagellated in order to challenge and insult Caesar by demonstrating
that the Roman citizenship rights he had granted to the man would not
be honored (cf. p. 310).
What may have contributed to
perceiving Caesar’s cruciatus as crucifixion, might have its
roots in the original charter from the time of the Divus Iulius Cult.
The day of Caesar’s assassination, the Ides of March, was declared dies parricidii, the day of parricide, the dies ater, nefastus,
the black day, the abominable day. Any recognition of the day and the
deed was forbidden, because this would have led to its celebration by
the anti-Caesar side also. The place of the assassination was even made
into a latrine and thus the deed itself was presented as filth. The
obvious consequence was the detachment of day and place from the memory
of Caesar and the worship of the Divus Iulius. In a religious sense,
the stabbing took place on no day and in no place, never and nowhere,
i. e. it was rendered undone. The resurrection of Divus Iulius, rung-in
with the people’s revolt at his funeral and completed by the
victory over his assassins in Philippi, undid his death even more in
retrospect, all the more since with Octavianus the new, younger Caesar,
Divi Filius, existed, live and in the flesh. There was no
death and no murder anymore. That which remained alive was the memory
of the Passion, of the cruciatus, which naturally had to be
relocated, while the expositio, the presentation of Caesar’s
martyred body in the form of an exposed wax figure hanging on a
tropaeum, had to be reinterpreted as a crucifixion (ill. 115 in note
157). That means that the first impetus to the reinterpretation of
Caesar’s stabbing as the crucifixion of Jesus was the inherent
necessity and inner logic of the Divus Iulius Cult. The mistakes of
copyists and translators, who made cruciatus crucifixio, cremo kremô and the dagger of the conjuror Longinus the spear of the soldier Longinus,
are not the result of their stupidity, but are their creative attempts
to bring the history of the Passion in accord with the political and
theological necessity of undoing the stabbing of Caesar.
An important point in the lex templi—the
law that decreed the building of the Divi Iulii Temple on the place of
Caesar’s cremation in the Forum Romanum initiating the worship of
the new God throughout the entire empire—was the ban placed on
the Gens Iulia from thenceforth carrying along images of the dead
Caesar in the funeral processions of his family members. (In funeral
processions it was the custom to carry the image of the newly deceased
in front of the procession; from the family mausoleum the images of the
dead family members came to meet him halfway, to welcome him, and to
accompany him to the family grave). The reason was that, from that
point on, he was no longer to be considered as a dead person—as
his murderers, Cicero imprimis, would have wanted it—but
as a living god, as the people demanded and Octavian decreed it. This
ban had an iconographic effect and resulted in his image as Divus
Iulius no longer having the facial features of Caesar (see ill. 48, 92,
98). This means that the uncoupling of Divus Iulius from Caesar was
deliberate and desired from the beginning. So that the God—who,
unlike the man from whom he emerged like a butterfly from a
caterpillar, was never born and never died but always was, is and will
be, eternally—having discarded everything human, is received,
perfectly celestial, amongst the Gods.
The Tropaea of the Pompeians and Caesar’s Cross
Sun, Moon and Stars
The Habitus of Divus Iulius
The Resurrection of Divus Iulius
Christophorus and other symbols
The Trinity of Divi Filius
[ for the missing passages please refer to the printed edition ]
Notes to III. Crux
 Mk. 14:61: ὁ δὲ ἐσιώπα καὶ οὐκ ἀπεκρίνατο οὐδέν. Mk. 15:5: ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς οὐκέτι οὐδὲν ἀπεκρίθη […]. [<]
 Mk. 14:62: o de IhsouV eipen, Su eipaV oti egw eimi (Qf pc arm Or); 15:2: o de apokriqeiV autw legei, Su legeiV. [<]
 Mk. 15:34: Elwi elwi lema sabacqani; o estin meqermhneuomenon O qeoV mou o qeoV mou, eiV ti egkatelipeV me; Mt. 27:46: Hli hli lema sabacqani; tout¢ estin, Qee mou qee mou, inati me egkatelipeV; Lk. 23:46: Pater, eiV ceiraV sou paratiqemai to pneuma mou. Jn. 19:26: Gunai, ide o uioV sou. 19:27: Ide h mhthr sou. 19:28: Diyw. 19:30: Tetelestai.
 Mk. 15:22: […] kai ferousin aujton epi ton Golgoqan topon, o estin meqermhneuomenon Kraniou TopoV. [<]
 Jn. 19:33-4: epi de ton Ihsoun elqonteV […] all¢ eV twn stratiwtwn logch autou thn pleuran enuxen, kai exhlqen euquV aima kai udwr. [<]
 Jn. 19:35: kai o ewrakwV memarturhken, kai alhqinh autou estin h marturia, kai ekeinoV oiden oti alhqh legei, ina kai umeiV pisteu[s]hte. [<]
 Jn. 19:36-7: egeneto gar tauta ina h grafh plhrwqh, […] Oyontai eiV on exekenthsan. [<]
 Acta Pilati XVI, in Schneemelcher (1990), vol. 1, p. 413. [<]
 Mk. 14:47: eiV de [tiV] twn paresthkotwn spasamenoV thn macairan epaisen ton doulon tou arcierewV kai afeilen autou to wtarion. [<]
 Mk. 14:48: kai apokriqeiV o IhsouV eipen autoiV, WV epi lhsthn exhlqate meta macairwn kai xulwn sullabein me; [<]
 App. BC 2.117: polloi te diwqizomenoi meta twn xifwn allhlouV eplhxan. [<]
 Servants appear at the attempt on Caesar as well. We will see later in what role; cf. Suet. Jul. 82. [<]
 App. BC 2.117: kai KassioV eV to proswpon eplhxe. [<]
 Suet. Jul. 82: Nec in tot vulneribus, ut Antistius medicus existimabat, letale ullum repertum est, nisi quod secundo loco in pectore acceperat. [<]
 Mk. 15:26: kai hn h epigrafh thV aitiaV autou epigegrammenh, O basileuV twn Ioudaiwn. Lk. 23:38: hn de kai epigrafh ep¢ autw, O basileuV twn Ioudaiwn outoV. Mt. 27:37: kai epeqhkan epanw thV kefalhV autou thn aitian autou gegrammenhn: OutoV estin IhsouV o basileuV twn Ioudaiwn. Jn. 19:19: egrayen de kai titlon o PilatoV kai eqhken epi tou staurou: hn de gegrammenon, IhsouV o NazwraioV o basileuV twn Ioudaiwn. [<]
 For the written fixation of the accusation against Caesar cf. Cic. Phil. 2.85-7: […]
adscribi iussit in fastis ad Lupercalia C. Caesari dictatori perpetuo
M. Antonium consulem populi iussu regnum detulisse: Caesarem uti
 Cf. i. a. Suet. Jul. 79-80: proximo autem senatu Lucium Cottam quindecimvirum sententiam dicturum, ut, quoniam fatalibus libris contineretur Parthos nisi a rege non posse vinci, Caesar rex appellaretur. quae causa coniuratis maturandi fuit destinata negotia, ne assentiri necesse esset. [<]
 Cf. Magie (1905), p. 62, 68. [<]
 Mk. 15:21: Kai aggareuousin paragonta tina Simwna Kurhnaion ercomenon ap¢ agrou, ton patera Alexandrou kai Roufou, ina arh ton stauron autou. [<]
 The form arh is an active one (conj. aor. I a., 3. s.). One could only translate it with ‘would carry’ if the respective medium: arhtai—‘he carried for himself, he carried away’ were in place here. For airô in contrast to pherô cf. Mk. 2:3: kai ercontai feronteV proV auton paralutikon airomenon upo tessarwn. Mk. 6:8 does not contradict it, because there airô is used in the sense of ‘to carry with themselves; to take along’. [<]
 Mk. 15:24: kai staurwsanteV auton diamerizontai ta; imatia autou, ballonteV klhron ep¢ auta […]; Mt. 27:35: staurwsanteV de auton diemerisanto ta imatia autou, ballonteV klhron […]; Lk. 23:33: […] ekei estaurwsan auton […]; Jn. 19:18: […] opou auton estaurwsan […]. [<]
 ‘Cross’ in the sense of ‘to make a cross’ is in classic Greek chiasma respectively chiasmos, ‘to order anything cross-shape’ chiazô. These words are also familiar to us, for example as chiasma, the ‘crossing over’ of chromosomes in biology or as chiasmus, ‘to put crosswise’ in the syntax. The basis was the letter chi = X,
for the Greeks the genuine symbol of the cross. ‘Cross’ in
the meaning of ‘to carry his cross’, hence for
‘pain’ is called ponos, penthos or lypê. Stavros,
which as noted above originally meant ‘stake’,
‘slat’ or ‘palisade’, was never associated with
the cross in classic times, and even when in the course of the
Christianization it took on the meaning ‘cross’ in the
sense of the ‘martyr-stake’, its symbol was a T and not a
 Mk. 15:23: […] kai edidoun autw esmurnismenon oinon: oV de ouk elaben. [<]
 Mt. 27:34: edwkan autw piein oxoV meta colhV memigmenon: kai geusamenoV ouk hqelhsen piein. [<]
 Lk. 23:36: oi stratiwtai prosercomenoi, oxoV prosferonteV autw […]. [<]
 Lk. 23:55-6: eqeasanto to mnhmeion kai wV eteqh to swma autou, upostreyasai de htoimasan arwmata kai mura. [<]
 It should not be a surprise that ‘aromatics’ respectively ‘aromatics and ointments’ is found here: aromatics were used at funerals in both forms to alleviate the cadaverous smell, they were used in cremations to an even greater extent. Besides incense, sometimes whole dolls of cloves were burned as well. Oils and ointments were used for the same purpose and for the preservation of the corpse before the cremation, which sometimes happened many days later, see below. [<]
 Jn. 19:29-30: spoggon oun meston tou oxouV usswpw periqenteV proshnegkan autou tw stomati. ote oun elaben to oxoV—‘Ysop’ usswpw or ussw—(h)yssô(i)—looks like a doublet of vinegar oxw—oxô(i)—but on the other hand like the anagram of ‘Piso’, Caesar’s father in law, who took charge of the funeral and who brought the body to the Forum. [<]
 Jn. 19:39-40: […] ferwn migma smurnhV kai alohV wV litraV ekaton. elabon oun to swma tou Ihsou kai edhsan auto oqonioiV meta twn arwmatwn, kaqwV eqoV estin toiV IoudaioiV entafiazein. [<]
 This word comes from SMURNA—smyrna—variation of MURRA—myrrha—like for example smikros could stand for mikros, ‘small’: The sigma tends to proliferate in Greek. The use of smyrna for myrrha could be based on the fact that these, like the other oriental aromatics, were imported into Greece through the port of Smyrna, located at the mouth of the Persian royal trade route, which stretched from Susa over Sardes to Ionia. But because with the MURA—myra—of Luke only the part myr is common—esMYRnismenon (the beginning of the word es- can be a prefix in Greek)—so only MUR(A)—myr(a)—appears to be certain. For that matter the difference between ‘rr’ and ‘r’ in MURRA and MURA is irrelevant, because in the late classical period the double consonants were pronounced like single ones. Cf. Charalambakis (1984), S. 88 7.1.7: Ta dipla sumfwna (al-loV, am-moV) arcisan na aplopoiountai sthn profora. [<]
 App. BC 2.148: […] kai xula autw kai baqra, osa polla hn en agora, kai ei ti toioutotropon allo sunenegkonteV, kai thn pomphn dayilestathn ousan epibalonteV, stefanouV te enioi par¢ eautwn kai aristeia polla; epiqenteV […]. [<]
 Plut. Caes. 68: […] autwn to paqoV, alla tw men nekrw periswreusanteV ex agoraV baqra kai kigklidaV kai trapezaV […]. [<]
 Suet. Jul. 84: […] confestimque circumstantium turba virgulta arida et cum subsellis tribunalia, quicquid praeterea ad donum aderat, congessit. deinde tibicines et scaenici artifices vestem, quam ex triumphorum instrumento ad praesentem usum induerant, detractam sibi atque discissam iniecere flammae et veteranorum militum legionarii arma sua, quibus exculti funus celebrabant; matronae etiam pleraeque ornamenta sua, quae gerebant, et liberorum bullas atque praetextas. [<]
 App. BC 2.148: exhyan kai thn nukta pandhmei th pura paremenon […]. [<]
 This polysemy of verbs occurs in
every language. For example in German when a car ‘hält
an’—literally ‘holds on’—it stops; but if
the rain ‘hält an’—also literally ‘holds
on’—it continues; if a law is
‘aufgehoben’– literally ‘lifted
up’—it is ‘repealed’ and gone, but if milk is
‘aufgehoben’—also literally ‘lifted
up’—it is ‘retained’ and you still have it; if
a synthesis occurs and ‘hebt auf’—‘lifts
up’—thesis and antithesis, it ‘resolves’ them,
although the student of philosophy might ruminate:
‘aufgehoben’ as in the case with law or milk?
 App. BC 2.148: […] o de dhmoV epi to lecoV tou KaisaroV epanelqwn eferon auto eV to Kapitwlion […]. [<]
 Mk. 15:22: […] kai ferousin auton epi ton Golgoqan topon, o estin meqermhneuomenon Kraniou TopoV. [<]
 agousin Df lat—cf. Aland & Nestle (181957). [<]
 Arnobius Adversus gentes VI 7; Servius Aeneid-Commentary VIII 345; the chronograph of the year 354 specifies that ‘caput Oli regis’ was written on the skull in Etruscan letters; cf. also Isidor Origines XV 2.31. [<]
 Lk. 23:33: […] ton topon ton kaloumenon Kranion […]; Jn. 19:17: […] ton legomenon Kraniou Topon, o legetai Ebraisti Golgoqa […]; Matthew does not contradict this, because both times he says ‘called’: 27:33: topon legomenon Golgoqa, o estin Kraniou TopoV legomenoV […].
 Suet. Jul. 84: Quem cum pars in Capitolini Iovis cella cremare, pars in curia Pompei destinaret, repente duo quidam gladiis succinti ac bina iacula gestantes ardentibus cereis succenderunt […]. [<]
 Mk. 15:27: Kai sun autw staurousin duo lhstaV, ena ek dexiwn kai ena ex euwnumwn autou. [<]
 Suet. Jul. 84: Funere indicto rogus instructus est in martio campo iuxta Iuliae tumulum […]. This was independent of the fact that it was part of the honor decrees adopted for Caesar that he should be interred within the Pomerium (cf. Dio Cass. HR 44.7.1). [<]
 Mk. 15:16-20: Oi de stratiwtai aphgagon auton esw thV aulhV, o estin praitwrion, kai sugkalousin olhn thn speiran. kai endiduskousin auton porfuran kai peritiqeasin autw plexanteV akanqinon stefanon: kai hrxanto aspazesqai auton, Caire, basileu twn Ioudaiwn: kai etupton autou thn kefalhn kalamw kai eneptuon autw kai tiqenteV ta gonata prosekunoun autw. kai ote enepaixan autw, exedusan auton thn porfuran kai enedusan auton ta imatia autou. kai exagousin auton ina staurwswsin auton. [<]
 Jn. 19:23: Oi oun stratiwtai ote estaurwsan ton Ihsoun, elabon ta imatia autou kai epoihsan tessara merh, ekastw stratiwth meroV, kai ton citwna. hn de o citwn arrafoV, ek twn anwqen ufantoV di olou. [<]
 App. BC 2.148: exhyan kai thn nukta pandhmei th pura paremenon […]. [<]
 Mk. 15:25: hn de wra trith kai estaurwsan (D: efulasson) auton. Here the lection of D has to be preferred, as lectio difficilior. An emendation to ‘and they crucified him and watched over him’ would not change anything. [<]
 Lk. 23:35: kai eisthkei o laoV qewrwn. 23:44: Kai hn hdh wsei wra ekth kai skotoV egeneto ef¢ olhn thn ghn ewV wraV enathV […]. [<]
 The wax-figure of Augustus at his funeral was clad in the triumphal garb—as later that of Pertinax was as well (cf. Dio Cass. HR 56.34.1; 74.4.3). Conversely Traianus was represented at his posthumous Parthian triumph in 117 AD by his imago (cf. SHA Hadr. 6.3; J.-C. Richard, REL 44, 1966, p. 358). [<]
 Cf. Nicolaus Damascenus, Bios Kaisaros, FGrH, ed. F. Jacoby, 26.97: oran d¢ enhn enqen kai enqen apestalmenwn twn parakalummatwn, aiwroumenaV taV ceiraV kai taV epi tou proswpou plhgaV.—‘as the curtains were drawn back, the dangling arms and the wounds on his face could be seen from both sides.’ Cf. also Suet. Jul. 82: Exanimis diffugientibus cunctis aliquandiu iacuit, donec lecticae impositum, dependente brachio, tres seruoli domum rettulerunt.—‘After all had fled he lifelessly lay there for some time until three young slaves placed him in a litter and carried him back home with one arm hanging over the side.’ [<]
 Suet. Jul. 84: pro rostris—‘in front of the Rostra’; App. BC 2.143: epi ta embola—‘on the Rostra’. [<]
 Suet. Jul. 84: […] et pro rostris aurata aedes ad simulacrum templi Veneris Genetricis collocata; intraque lectus eburneus auro ac purpura stratus et ad caput tropaeum cum ueste, in qua fuerat occisus.—Cleopatra, who stayed in Rome at that time and whose statue stood in the temple of Venus Genetrix (evidently in her role as incarnation of Isis and hence equated with Venus) apparently co-led the direction. [<]
 Shakespeare is unfortunately of no
help here, because he follows Plutarchus who does not report anything
about the ritual of the funeral. Dio’s speech of Antonius seems
also rhetorically finessed. We reconstruct the situation here mainly
from Suetonius and Appianus, who agree with each other; but where
Appianus says (BC 2.146) that Antonius ‘recited many other
things’, we refer to Dio. We follow partly Stauffer (1957), p.
21-23. But he overlooks that the effigy of wax had to be hanging on the
tropaeum, because according to Suetonius (Jul. 84, first paragraph: Funere
indicto rogus instructus est in martio campo iuxta Iuliae tumulum et
pro rostris aurata aedes ad simulacrum templi Veneris Genetricis
collocata; intraque lectus eburneus auro ac purpura stratus et ad caput
tropaeum cum ueste, in qua fuerat occisus.) the toga was hanging there right from the beginning. It must have covered the effigy, as is evident from Appianus (BC 2.146: to
swma tou KaisaroV egumnou kai thn esqhta epi kontou feromenhn aneseie,
lelakismenhn upo twn plhgwn kai pefurmenhn aimati autokratoroV.):
When Antonius removes the toga, the effigy is exposed. Also the fact
that Antonius uses a spear to remove the toga (l. c.), speaks for it
unambiguously. With to swma tou KaisaroV—‘the body of Caesar’—Appianus could only mean here the andreikelon autou KaisaroV ek khrou pepoihmenon—‘the effigy (literally: the mannequin) of Caesar himself formed from wax’ (BC 2.147)—because Antonius as priest—apart from being flamen Diui Iulii and lupercus he was also augur—was
not allowed to see a corpse (cf. Weinstock 1971, p. 354(5), with
further proofs); besides—Caesar’s body was lying in the
death bed as Appianus himself reports: to men gar swma, wV uption epi lecouV, ouc ewrato. to de andreikelon ek mhcanhV epestrefeto panth.—‘as
the body, lying flat on the bier, could not be seen. But the model,
with the help of a mechanical device, could be turned in all
directions.’ This ‘mechanical device’ could only have
been set up in advance, and therefore only at the tropaeum. So the
previous sentence of Appianus refers to the erecting of the tropaeum
itself, together with the mannequin, or to the heaving of the wax
mannequin onto the tropaeum: Wde de autoiV ecousin hdh kai ceirwn egguV ousin anesce tiV uper to lecoV andreikelon autou KaisaroV ek khrou pepoihmenon:—‘While
they were in this temper and already near to violence, somebody raised
above the funeral couch a mannequin of Caesar himself made of
Based on the descriptions that are preserved by Suetonius (Jul. 84.1), Appianus (BC
2.146-147), and the parallel tradition, the Utrecht artist Pol du
Closeau has tried in a first approximation a drawn reconstruction of
the central scene of Caesar’s funeral.
The perspective is from the Forum Romanum, from the side of
the Basilica Aemilia on the Rostra, the rostrum, where Antonius is just
delivering the funeral oration to Caesar. On the left we perceive the
gable of the temple of Saturnus and in the background the rocky Capitol
with the temples of Jupiter and Iuno. We are in the year 44 BC, so the
temple of Vespasianus, which was built later, does not yet exist so we
have a clear view of the capitol. The Tabularium which was attached to
the Capitol on the end of the Forum remains just outside the section of
the picture on the right from this angle.
Also notice in the second scene from the left side that the
crown of thorns really is a laurel wreath which is held above the head
of Christ like in the triumph of the imperator, Christ who is depicted
beardless and in toga just as a Roman, the roll in his left hand like
the commander’s rod; on the right he authoritatively instructs
And after 420/430 ad, when the first depictions of the ‘crucified’ Jesus Christ surface, he doesn’t appear as dead man but as one who defies death, victorious, anticipating his resurrection in his posture—like on this ivory relief on the London casket in the British Museum, even emphasized by the anticipated death of Judas by hanging (ill. 117, left).
Also note the way Longinus applies his
‘lance’-stab to the heart region: like a dagger thrust. And
here also, Jesus is beardless, i. e. in Roman symbolism: without
mourning—like Divus Iulius.
If one then looks at the development of the picture of the ‘crucifixion’ through the course of history, two things are detected: firstly the earliest pictures preserved were also popular-naive, and sparsely classical, and secondly there is no effect of gravity at all initially.
It was not until the second millennium and then only slowly
that gravity becomes apparent in the ‘crucified
one’—and slowly pulled him down. In former times it was
different and in Byzantine resp. Greek Orthodox art it has largely
remained that way to date.
Where does this illogical manner of representation stem from?
Traditionally two reasons are given: The basis is said to be that
originally no one wanted to portray a suffering one but rather one
overcoming death-and for that a man in a standing position is better
suited. Additionally there must have been a fearfulness of depicting
one’s own Godman as a crucified one, a fear that allowed cross
representations to develop in art only after Theodosius I had abolished
the penalty of crucifixion and when the cross no longer triggered
negative associations. Meanwhile, one refrains from this earlier
prevailing interpretation (the Rabula-Codex and the casket in Sancta
Sanctorum in Rome, both from the 5/6th century, indeed show a standing
as well as suffering Jesus on the cross), opining that it simply
originates from the fact that the Christian artists had no ancient
examples of crucified ones available—the crucifixion was
sporadically described in texts from classical times, but never
portrayed, neither by painters nor by sculptors—and that no
pictures nor descriptions of Jesus’ crucifixion had been passed
down either. These two competing arguments, neither of which are very
convincing, point to the helplessness of the circles of experts, who
are still struggling for a plausible explanation. The more so as it is
obvious that as soon as the man on the cross was perceived to be a
crucified one, the artists immediately started to let him hang and fall
down more and more. And although the artists in these instances did not
have examples either, they knew that somebody who is hanging on a cross
Irrespective of whether the signet stone resp. the gem
reproduced here is about Christ, Bacchus, Dionysos or somebody else and
whether they evolved from a Orphic-Christian syncretism or served for
pagan-magic use, they do show that not only the artists of the second
millennium but also artists from late Antiquity knew clearly, that one
who was crucified has to hang on the cross and not stand up straight.
One has to ask oneself whether there was a model for the atypical and
unnatural representation of Christ standing on the cross which was the
exclusive way of depicting him for a thousand years, a model that
counteracted the hanging Christ and demanded that the ‘crucified
one’ was not to hang.
The return to Caesar’s funeral again explains this
paradox: originally it was not the presentation of a crucified one but
the expositio of a stabbed one lying on the floor who was only
erected that all could see him. Thus his arms should not be stretched
upwards but rather downwards, or straight out at the most. And this is
exactly what can be observed in the antique ‘crucifixions’.
 Suet. Jul. 84: Inter
ludos cantata sunt quaedam ad miserationem et invidiam caedis eius
accomodata, ex Pacuvi Armorum iudicio «Men servasse, ut essent
qui me perderent?» et ex Electra Atili ad similem sententiam.—‘Emotions
of pity and indignation for Caesar’s murder were aroused at the
funeral games by singing verses like the line from Pacuvius’ play
Contest for the Arms of Achilles—‘What, did I
save these men that they might murder me?!’—and others with
a similar sentiment from Atilius’ Electra.
 App. BC 2.146.611: ouk eferen eti o dhmoV, en paralogw poioumenoV to pantaV autou touV sfageaV cwriV monou Dekmou, aicmalwtouV ek thV Pomphiou stasewV genomenouV, anti kolasewn epi arcaV kai hgemoniaV eqnwn kai stratopedwn proacqentaV epibouleusai, Dekmon de kai paida autw qet;n axiwqhnai genesqai. [<]
 We follow Ethelbert Stauffer here, cf. Stauffer (1957), p. 21-23: Soph. El. 839 sqq.: kai nun upo gaiaV- HL. E e, iw. CO. pamyucoV anassei. 453 sq: aitou de prospitnousa ghqen eumenh / hmin arwgon auton eiV ecqrouV molein. 792: HL. Akoue, Nemesi tou qanontoV artiwV. 1418-21: CO. Telous¢ arai: zwsin oi / gaV upai keimenoi: / palirruton gar aim¢ upexairousi twn / ktanontwn oi palai qanonteV. 33 sq: otw tropw patri / dikaV aroimhn twn foneusantwn para.
 Suet. Jul. 84: Laudationis loco consul Antonius per praeconem pronuntiauit senatus consultum, quo omnia simul ei diuina atque humana decreuerat, item ius iurandum, quo se cuncti pro salute unius astrinxerant; quibus perpauca a se uerba addidit. [<]
 App. BC 2.144.601-3: ef¢ ekastw de toutwn o AntwnioV thn oyin kai thn ceira eV to swma tou KaisaroV epistrefwn en parabolh tou logou to ergon epedeiknu. epefqeggeto de pou ti kai bracu ekastw, memigmenon oiktw kai aganakthsei, enqa men to yhfisma eipoi ¢¢patera patridoV,¢¢ epilegwn: ¢¢touto epieikeiaV esti marturia,¢¢ enqa d¢ hn ¢¢ieroV kai asuloV¢¢ kai ¢¢apaqhV kai ostiV autw kai eteroV prosfugoi,¢¢ ¢¢ouc eteroV,¢¢ efh, ¢¢twde prosfeugwn, all¢ autoV umin o asuloV kai ieroV anhrhtai, ou biasamenoV oia turannoV labein tasde taV timaV, aV oude hthsen.¢¢ [<]
 App. BC 2.146.611: ef¢ oiV o dhmoV oia coroV autw penqimwtata sunwdureto kai ek tou paqouV auqiV orghV enepimplato. [<]
 App. BC 2.146.611 : kai pou twn qrhnwn autoV o Kaisar edokei legein, osouV eu poihseie twn ecqrwn ex onomatoV, kai peri twn sfagewn autwn epelegen wsper en qaumati: ¢¢eme de kai tousde periswsai touV ktenountaV me, […]¢¢. [<]
 App. BC 2.146: Toiade eipwn thn esqhta oia tiV enqouV anesurato, kai perizwsamenoV eV to twn ceirwn eukolon, to lecoV wV epi skhnhV periesth katakuptwn te eV auto kai aniscwn, prwta men wV qeon ouranion umnei kai eV pistin qeou genesewV taV ceiraV aneteinen […]. [<]
 Dio Cass. HR 44.48: dia gar touto arciereuV men proV touV qeouV, upatoV de proV hmaV, autokratwr de proV touV stratiwtaV, diktatwr de proV touV polemiouV apedeicqh. kai ti taut¢ exariqmoumai, opote kai patera auton eni logw thV patridoV epekalesate; [<]
 App. BC 2.146.609. [<]
 Dio Cass. HR 44.49: all¢ outoV o pathr, outoV o arciereuV o asuloV o hrwV o qeoV teqnhken, oimoi, teqnhken ou nosw biasqeiV, oude ghra maranqeiV, oude exw pou en polemw tini trwqeiV, oude ek daimoniou tinoV automatwV arpasqeiV, alla entauqa entoV tou teicouV epibouleuqeiV o kai eV Brettanian asfalwV strateusaV, en th polei enedreuqeiV o kai to pwmhrion authV epauxhsaV, en tw bouleuthriw katasfageiV o kai idion allo kataskeuasaV, aoploV o eupolemoV, gumnoV o eirhnopoioV, proV toiV dikasthrioi o dikasthV, proV taiV arcaiV o arcwn, upo twn politwn on mhdeiV twn polemiwn mhd¢ eV thn qalassan ekpesonta apokteinai hdunhqh, upo twn etairwn o pollakiV autouV elehsaV. pou dhta soi, Kaisar, h filanqrwpia, pou de h asulia, pou de oi nomoi; alla su men, opwV mhd¢ upo t'n ecqrwn tiV foneuhtai, polla enomoqethsaV, se de outwV oiktrwV apekteinan oi filoi, kai nun en te th agora prokeisai esfagmenoV, di¢ hV pollakiV epompeusaV estefanwmenoV, kai epi tou bhmatoV erriyai katatetrwmenoV, af¢ ou pollakiV edhmhgorhsaV. oimoi poliwn hmatwmenwn, w stolhV esparagmenhV, hn epi toutw monon, wV eoiken, elabeV, in¢ en tauth sfaghV.¢¢ [<]
 App. BC 2.146 (cf. note 157): to swma tou KaisaroV egumnou kai thn esqhta epi kontou feromenhn aneseie, lelakismenhn upo t'n plhgwn kai pefurmenhn aimati aujtokratoroV. App. BC 2.147.612: Wde de autoiV ecousin hdh kai ceirwn egguV ousin anesce tiV uper to lecoV andreikelon autou KaisaroV ek khrou pepoihmenon: to men gar swma, wV uption epi lecouV, ouc ewrato. to de andreikelon ek mhcanhV epestrefeto panth, kai sfagai treiV kai; eikosin wfqhsan ana te to swma pan kai ana to proswpon qhriwdwV eV auton genomenai. Dio Cass. HR 44.35.4 and 44.49.3-4. [<]
 App. BC 2.147: thnde oun thn oyin o dhmoV oiktisthn sfisi faneisan ouketi enegkwn anwmwxan te kai diazwsamenoi to bouleuthrion, enqa o Kaisar anhrhto, kateflexan kai touV androfonouV ekfugontaV pro pollou periqeonteV ezhtoun, outw dh maniwdwV upo orghV te kai luphV, wste ton dhmarcounta Kinnan ex omwnumiaV tou strathgou Kinna, tou dhmhgorhsantoV epi tw Kaisari, ouk anascomenoi te peri thV omwnumiaV oud¢ akousai, diespasan qhriwdwV, kai ouden autou meroV eV tafhn eureqh. [<]
 Suet. Jul. 85: caputque eius praefixum hastae circumtulit. [<]
 Dio Cass. HR 50.3. [<]
 Suet. Jul. 84: [Quem cum pars in Capitolini Iovis cella cremare, pars in curia Pompei destinaret,] repente duo quidam gladiis succinti ac bina iacula gestantes ardentibus cereis succenderunt […]. [<]
 Suet. Jul. 84: […] confestimque circumstantium turba virgulta arida et cum subsellis tribunalia, quicquid praeterea ad donum aderat, congessit. deinde tibicines et scaenici artifices vestem, quam ex triumphorum instrumento ad praesentem usum induerant, detractam sibi atque discissam iniecere flam mae et veteranorum militum legionarii arma sua, quibus exculti funus celebrabant; matronae etiam pleraeque ornamenta sua, quae gerebant, et liberorum bullas atque praetextas. [<]
 Suet. Jul. 84: In summo publico luctu exterarum gentium multitudo circulatim suo quaeque more lamentata est praecipueque Iudaei, qui etiam noctibus continuis bustum frequentarunt. [<]
 Dio Cass. HR 44.51.1: bwmon de tina en tw thV puraV cwriw idrusamenoi (ta gar <osta> autou oi exeleuqeroi proaneilonto kai eV to patrwon mnhmeion kateqento) quein te ep¢ autw kai katarcesqai tw Kaisari wV kai qew epeceiroun. oi oun upatoi ekeinon te anetreyan, kai tinaV aganakthsantaV epi toutw ekolasan, […]. [<]
 Which is at the time of Appianus. [<]
 App. BC 2.148: enqa bwmoV prwtoV eteqh, nun d¢ ejsti newV autou KaisaroV, qeiwn timwn axioumenou: o gar toi qetoV autw paiV OktaouioV, to te onoma eV ton Kaisara metabalwn kai kat¢ icnoV ekeinou th politeia prosiwn, thn te archn thn epikratousan eti nun, errizwmenhn up¢ ekeinou, meizonwV ekratunato kai ton patera timwn isoqewn hxiwsen […]. [<]
 Stauffer (1957), p. 28—where in Bios Kaisaros we read ‘Emperor biography’, rather than ‘Caesar-biography’, because Nicolaus Damascenus starts by writing about the life of the young Caesar—Octavianus Augustus—then inserts an excursus about the elder Caesar, resulting in it becoming a central part of this ‘Emperor’-biography. [<]
 Stauffer (1957), p. 21. [<]
 Cf. Gregorian massbook, Good Friday: ‘Ecce lignum Crucis, in quo salus mundi pependit.’ [<]
 Cf. Gregorian massbook, Good Friday: ‘Popule meus, quid feci tibi? Aut in quo contristavi te? Responde mihi. Quia eduxi te de terra Aegypti: parasti Crucem Salvatori tuo […].’ [<]
 Suetonius does not say anything
about why the Jews were so eager here. Although he is the only one
amongst the ancient historians to report the presence of the Jews at
Caesar’s cremation site, his testimony is generally not doubted
by the commentators—there is speculation about their reasons,
 In Jerusalem the Greek patriarch lights the Easter fire in the Holy Sepulchre. As he leaves the tomb, he lights the torches of the believers who then run with them out of the church and announce the resurrection: Christós anesti! In the Eastern churches (Greece, Armenia, etc.) the Easter fire is enormous, and in some rural parishes there is still an effigy of ‘Judas’ on top, understood by the people as the burning of Judas. A comparable custom is seen in the West too, indeed not always at Easter, but in the week between the 15th and the 20th of March, presumably the ancient date of Easter. For example at the ‘fallas’ of Valencia and environs they also burn a huge fire with effigies of Judas in multifarious variations. Does ‘Judas’ here stand for ‘Julas’, i. e. ‘Julius’? (Compare: IVLIVS > IOULAS > IOUDAS). With this custom the people would be faithfully re-enacting the cremation of Caesar’s body—which in the meantime had become incomprehensible to them—so they would have changed its meaning to the desired burning of Judas. [<]
 Cf. Dio Cass. HR 47.19.1. [<]
 Stauffer (1957), p. 135, note 4, does just this, but does not specify the common archetypes. [<]
 Cf. Gabba (1956), as well the Introduzione van Gabba (1958). [<]
 That Appianus could have used novel-like sources has often been suggested, cf. i.a. Schwartz (Ed.), RE, s. v. Appianus, Sp. 222-37, explicitly in reference to Antonius’ funeral speech: Sp. 230; André (1949), p. 41 sqq. [<]
 Weinstock (1971), p. 354. He points out that a praetexta Cato by Curiatius Maternus existed (Tac. Dial. 2.1; cf. Teuffel-Kroll 2.296, s. v. Vespasian), which leads us to assume a praetexta Iulius Caesar, in the same way that the Cato by Cicero was followed immediately by Caesar’s Anticato—and they were read in counterpoise. [<]
 Even if this is not absolutely confirmed by Cic. Att. 14.10.1 and Phil. 2.90 sq (cf. Drumann & Groebe, 1899-19222, reprint Hildesheim 1964, i p. 74), yet the publication of the oratio funebris by Antonius in accordance with Roman tradition is probable (cf. Bengtson (1977), p. 82 sqq). Hence the speech as rendered by Appianus can be regarded as authentic. [<]
[190b] The Original Form of the Nicene
Creed, as adopted at Nicæa (A.D. 325), does not mention Pilate
nor the crucifixion:
 Cf. Nicolaus Damascenus, Bios Kaisaros, FGrH, ed. F. Jacoby, 26.82, i. a. [<]
 Suetonius does not mention the name Caesar at all in his report on the funeral (Jul. 84). [<]
 Nicolaus Damascenus, Bios Kaisaros, FGrH, ed. F. Jacoby, 26.97: oiketai de dh treiV, oiper hsan plhsion, oligon usteron enqemenoi ton nekron eiV foreion oikade ekomizon dia thV agoraV. oran d¢ enhn enqen kai enqen apestalmenwn twn parakalummatwn, aiwroumenaV taV ceira kai taV epi to' proswpou plhgaV. enqa oudeiV adakruV hn orwn ton palai isa kai qeon timwmenon: oimwghi te pollhi kai stonwi sumparepempeto enqen kai enqen olofuromenwn apo te twn tegwn kaq¢ ouV an genoito kai en taiV odoiV kai proquroiV. kai epeidh plhsion thV oikiaV egeneto, polu dh meizwn uphnta kwkutoV: ex<ep>ephdhkei gar h gunh meta pollou oclou gunaikwn te kai oiketwn, anakaloumenh ton andra kai eauthn oduromenh, oti mathn proulege mh exienai thn hmeran ekeinhn. twi d¢ hdh moira efeisthkei polu kreittwn h kata thn authV elpida. [<]
 Plut. Caes. 1-2: eit¢
apoplewn, alisketai peri thn Farmakoussan nhson upo peiratwn, hdh tote
stoloiV megaloiV kai skafesin apletoiV katecontwn thn qalattan. Prwton
men oun aithqeiV up¢ autwn lutra eikosi talanta, kategelasen wV
ouk eidotwn on hrhkoien, autoV d¢ wmologhse penthkonta dwsein:
epeita twn peri auton allon eiV allhn diapemyaV polin epi ton twn
crhmatwn porismon, en anqrwpoiV fonikwtatoiV Kilixi meq¢ enoV
filou kai duoin akolouqoin apoleleimmenoV, outw katafronhtikwV eicen,
wste pempwn osakiV anapauoito prosetatten autoiV siwpan. hmeraiV de
tessarakonta duein deousaiV, wsper ou frouroumenoV alla doruforoumenoV
up¢ autwn, epi pollhV adeiaV sunepaize kai sunegumnazeto, kai
poihmata grafwn kai logouV tinaV akroataiV ekeinoiV ecrhto, kai touV mh
qaumazontaV antikruV apaideutouV kai barbarouV apekalei, kai sun gelwti
pollakiV hpeilhse kreman autouV: oi d¢ ecairon, afeleia tini kai
paidia thn parrhsian tauthn nemonteV. wV d¢ hkon ek Milhtou ta
lutra kai douV afeiqh, ploia plhrwsaV euquV ek tou Milhsiwn limenoV epi
touV lhstaV anhgeto, kai katalabwn eti proV th nhsw naulocountaV,
ekrathse twn pleistwn. kai ta men crhmata leian epoihsato, touV d¢
andraV en Pergamw kataqemenoV eiV to desmwthrion, autoV eporeuqh proV
ton dieponta thn Asian Iougkon, wV ekeinw proshkon onti strathgw
kolasai touV ealwkotaV. ekeinou de kai toiV crhmasin epofqalmiwntoV (hn
gar ouk oliga), kai peri twn aicmalwtwn skeyesqai faskontoV epi scolhV,
cairein easaV auton o Kaisar eiV Pergamon wceto, kai proagagwn touV
lhstaV apantaV anestaurwsen, wsper autoiV dokwn paizein en th nhsw
 Plut. Caes. 1-2: kai sun gelwti pollakiV hpeilhse kreman autouV … kai proagagwn touV lhstaV apantaV anestaurwsen, wsper autoiV dokwn paizein en th nhsw proeirhkei pollakiV. Appianus also uses the same verb kremô for ‘to crucify’, for example when he reports that Antonius had the slave followers of Amatius crucified. App. BC 3.3.9: ewV eterwn epipemfqentwn ex Antwniou amunomenoi te anhreqhsan enioi kai sullhfqenteV eteroi ekremasqhsan, osoi qeraponteV hsan, oi de ejleuqeroi kata tou krhmnou katerrifhsan. As the rebellion originated because Amatius had erected an altar on the site of Caesar’s funeral pyre, the confusion of ‘to cremate’, cremo > kremô, ‘to crucify’, could have originated here. As statues of Caesar are also concerned here, called by Appianus—andriantes—similar to the word for the wax simulacrum on Caesar’s cross—andreikelon—the confusion could have been executed backwards there as well. To make it more complete, we note here that during the slaughter of Amatius’ followers, as well as during the cremation of Caesar, people were hurled from the Tarpeian rock—in the one instance the free citizens amongst the followers of Amatius and in the other the daring fellows who wanted to cremate Caesar’s body on the Capitol. Appianus calls the Tarpeian rock krêmnos ‘overhanging bank’—the root of which is the same as for kremô. Not by chance are both words found in the above cited quotation from Appianus—as if the one would demand the presence of the other: this could have given the last kick to the confusion. [<]
 Namely the fashion of crucifixion was not uniform: cf. Mommsen (1899), p. 918 sqq. [<]