This graffito consists of two rather crudely etched figures and an inscription below them, written in equally crude letters. There is a Greek. Image of the Palatine graffito of Alexamenos accompanying the discussion of Giulia Sacco,”Il graffito blasfemo del paedagogium nella Domus. Alexamenos Graffito. To pagans, the predawn worship of Christians and their acts of faith were a mystery, which was made no more understandable by the.

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But we also know it is our response to it that matters. Thank you for keeping this forum thoughtful and respectful. The Alexamenos graffito is in the Palatine Museum Rome.

This has implications for both NT books which are related to Rome: And yes, gragfiti would seem we even have the example of Alexamenos too. People have been leaving their marks, or making comments on their world, on walls for thousands of years. Yet even in these times of freedom from systemic persecution, Christians were mocked and belittled.

For much of the last fifteen years, the graffito has been placed fairly high up on a wall in a room with poor lighting, thwarting all my attempts to get decent photos. To his gratfiti, rising above him, is a second man suspended from a cross. Crucifixion continued to be used as an execution method for the worst criminals until its abolition by the emperor Constantine in the alexamenoe century, and the graftiti of seeing a figure on a cross is comparable to the impact today of portraying a man with a hangman’s noose around his neck or seated in an electric chair.

The donkey head must have been a prevalent slander at the time as, Tertullian, a convert, countered the accusation in his writings:.


The translation is my own. Sometimes Christians would be put to death for their beliefs, after being hunted down by Roman authorities. Apion ought to have had a regard to these facts; unless he had himself had either an ass’s heart, or a dog’s impudence: The figure on the cross presumed to be Jesus, although some scholars argue it could be another deity is as we would think of a modern depiction of Christ Crucified minus the donkey head. Since named the Alexamenos Graffito, it is believed to date from around AD and is possible the earliest surviving depiction of Jesus.


The emperor Caligula had acquired the house for the imperial palace, which, after Caligula died, became used as a Paedagogium boarding school for the imperial page boys.

Aug 31, Patricia Grimshaw. Our ancient brother Alexamenos also knew the shame and foolishness of worshipping a crucified God, of raising his hands to a Savior on a cross. This entry was posted in Graffiti. The History of the Church translated by G. It doesn’t make them hurt less to know that they’ve been flown at us for 2, years. Archived from the original PDF on Our Lord is represented with the head of a donkey, tied to the cross, with the feet resting on a horizontal piece of board.

There were different forms of execution on a cross.

It represents a satirical representation of Christian worship and it dates back to a period between the year 85 to the 3rd century. During the early Christian period, non-believers who remained the majority for centuriesridiculed Christians for worshiping a man who had been crucified — the execution method reserved for the worst criminals until it was abolished in the 4th century by emperor Constantine, a devout converted Alexamenso.

Earliest Known Depiction of Jesus is not so Flattering. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. The featured photo in this post is completely undoctored. In the image, Alexamenos is portrayed venerating an image of the crucifixa detail that Peter Maser believed to represent actual Christian practice of veneration of icons.

We encourage a lively and honest discussion of our content. Graffiti mocking a Christian. Fronto asserted that “the religion of the Christians is foolish, inasmuch as they worship a crucified man, and even the instrument itself of his punishment. Heikki Alexamenoe and Marja Itkonen-Kaila, eds. The path through the area has been nicely landscaped with plants described by Pliny and aleaxmenos Roman authors.

It is old and faded and the original design is difficult to discern, yet a careful tracing reveals two roughly-drawn figures and a string of Greek characters.

Alexamenos graffito

The significance of this graffito is the portrayal or caricature of early Christianity by the average Roman. And as with so many Christians before and after him, he was mocked for what he believed.

So, in the temple at Jerusalem, “they consecrated an image of the animal which had delivered them” V. In the HistoriesTacitus recounts how the Jews, expelled from Egypt, wandered in the desert, exhausted and dying of thirst, when, following a herd of wild asses, they were led to water.


If you graffti like to write a letter to the grafffiti, you can do so here. It has also been suggested that both the graffito and the roughly contemporary gems with Crucifixion images are related to heretical groups outside the Church.

Even in these times they faced the shame of worshipping a God so many others denied. However, as Alexamenis points out, this does not account for the fact that Christians themselves do not need to have been venerating the image of the cross in this manner in order for caricatures to represent them as doing so.

At other times, they were allowed to discreetly worship their God, but they were often still mocked and shamed for it. And it is not at all flattering.

This Anti-Christian Graffito May Be Earliest Depiction of Crucifixion

This practice, however, was not known to be a part of Christian worship until the 4th or 5th century. Secondly, depending on how one interprets the graffito it may offer us some insight into anti-Jewish sentiment see the discussion belowor alternatively represent an attempt out of fear or malice to expose the controversial religious beliefs of another member of the imperial household.

That was based on the misconception that Jews worshipped a god in the form of a donkey, a claim made by Apion BC — c. Press, Reproduction of material from this website without written permission, or unlicensed commercial use or monetization of National Catholic Register RSS feeds is strictly prohibited.

To pagans, the predawn worship graffitii Christians and their acts of faith were a mystery, which was made no more understandable by the martyred bishop of Lyons, who, when asked who was the Gdaffiti god, replied only that “If you are a fit person, you shall know. Post was not sent – check your email addresses! This second figure seems to have hair, represented by jagged lines, but no ears.

From what I gather, you are going to wait until Dr. Alexamenos graffito in the Palatine Antiquarium Museum.