Tropaion to crucifixion


We've discussed purported Christograms before:

These claims are late - that is, much later than when either the Chi-Rho or Tau Rho appear, even in the modern era; they appear before Christianity, though they are concurrent with Chrestianity.

The Chi-Rho is Ptolemaic, then adopted by Constantine I the Great in the 4th century; I interpret it as an abbreviation for Chrest/Chrestos/Chrestiani.

Here we will look at how the Tau Rho became associated with the tropaion, which is:
tropaion (GreekτρόπαιονLatintropaeum), whence English "trophy" is an ancient Greek and later Romanmonument set up to commemorate a victory over one's foes. Typically this takes the shape of a tree, sometimes with a pair of arm-like branches (or, in later times, a pair of stakes set crosswise) upon which is hung the armour of a defeated and dead foe. The tropaion is then dedicated to a god in thanksgiving for the victory.The tropaeum in Rome, on the other hand, would probably not be set up on the battle-site itself, but rather displayed prominently in the city of Rome. A tropaeum displayed on the battlefield does not win votes, but one brought back and displayed as part of a triumph can impress the citizens (who might then vote in future elections in favor of the conqueror) or the nobles (with whom most aristocratic Romans of the Republican period were in a constant struggle for prestige).The symbolism of the tropaeum became so well known that in later eras, Romans began to simply display images of them upon sculpted reliefs (see image and Tropaeum Traiani), to leave a permanent trace of the victory in question rather than the temporary monument of the tropaeum itself.
The armour of the defeated includes the helmet:
A Roman tropaion in process of erection. Detail from the Gemma Augustea, circa 20-30 CE.
The lower scene, in which the figures are less readily identifiable, depicts the erection of atropaion.
The man is bound with his hands behind his back, and both are apparently about to be tied to the base of the as yet half-erected tropaion The trophy consists of a wooden cross, designed to support human clothing. A helmet is placed on top, and the breastplate and weaponry of the enemy is placed upon it. In the scene, four young men are raising the trophy into a vertical position.

Identification of the figures in the two scenes are particularly relevant to the study of Chrestianity:
Others, though, think that Figure #8 is Germanicus, son of Drusus.[4] If the gem was commissioned no earlier than A.D. 12 and referred to Tiberius’ triumph over the Germans and the Pannonians, it would stand to reason that Germanicus, born in 13 B.C., was old enough to don gear and prepare for war, years after his father’s death. Germanicus was also looked upon quite fondly by Augustus and others.
Drusus is the husband of the leading Chrestian, Antonia Minor and both are mentioned in the inscription CIL VI 24944 as Chrestians.

This is how the tropaion can look on a coins:
Just as the tropaion relates to the Tau Ro, so obviously both relate to the crucifixion (of IS Chrest in the original gospels); a Christian interpretation:
We have learned how the NT is an imperial work parodying the messianic Jews who fought and lost the three Jewish-Rome Wars. Use of the tropaion as the Tau-Rho in the early texts reinforces the parody.

Another, academic view (again confusing the later Christ for the contemporaneous Chrest):
Change Christ to Chrest as per the archaeology and that is a good interpretation.

Note too how crosses are appearing in Armenia and Syria - the home of Chrestianity, especially after imperial Roman conquest.

Chronology

To interpret all this, we need a chronology. My interpretation of how the tropaion was used is that it re-entered fashionable use with Octavian/Augustus and the early empire - the Principate (27 BCE – 284 CE). 

As I date source Q of the gospels as necessarily post-Hadrian/Antinous; Bardaisan finding his inspiration in the events of the late-3rd century; both the Dura fragment and Dura baptistery to the early-3rd century; we should look to Papyrus 75:
  • It uses a staurogram in Luke 14:27.
  • The discovery of \mathfrak{P}75 has had a profound effect on New Testament textual criticism, due to its great agreement with Codex Vaticanus.

It is dated:
The handwriting is a clear uncial which when compared to other papyri dates the manuscript to sometime between 175 and 225 C.E.
Broadly, P75 is a product of the Principate, and we can see it as part of that new genre I date to ca 215, which includes Travels of Apollonius of Tyna, Acts of Thomas and others.

Please note (again) how none of the early texts mention a Jesus Christ, though some mention Chrest, an undeniable fact which identifies nomina sacra and Christograms as Chrestian. But to be Chrestian in the early-3rd century, the gospel story of Bardaisan must have been made imperial: the empire was chasing Bardaisan, killed his friend the king of Osroene and took over the state:
Upon his death in 212 AD,[1] Abgar the Great was succeeded by his son Abgar IX surnamed Severus in contemporary Roman fashion. Though Abgar Severus was summoned with his son to Rome in 213 AD and murdered at the orders of Caracalla.[2] A year later Caracalla ended the independence of Osroene and incorporated it as a province into Roman Empire.
A scholarly view today is the king executed in Rome is Abgar the Great.

The chronology is essential, delineating a developing theology in conjunction with changes in imperial politics:
  1. Source Q uses the trials of 'Jesus' Barabbas and 'Jesus' Chrest to claim how Izas stole Osroene from its rightful monarch (putting Pontius Pilate in charge of the trial).
  2. Imperial Rome (the Severans, with Julia Domna & Co.), ensconced just down the road from Edessa in Emesa, reacts to this effrontery by criminalising both source Q and the monarchy of Osroene.
  3. The Severans remake source Q as the gospels, this time making the divine man a trophy of imperial Rome.

This process of Romanisation continues with the New Testament, using every opportunity to parody their enemy in the Jewish-Roman wars; Osroene is now an irrelevancy, made into an imperial province, its leaders as dead as the messianic Jews they both opposed.

The need for the Tau Rho as a symbol also fades, to be replaced by the Chi-Rho.

There is, clearly.more to this than these few facts and interpretations, for - as an example - the NT also contains the Pauline textual tradition, which is Chrestian. I would offer that it is the addition of this tradition, which originally would have contained no mention of 'Jesus' simply because its divine man is the resurrected Saul (who became Saint Paul). To combine these two very different traditions to make the NT took the might of the imperial court.

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