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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The so called Alexamenos graffito. The graffito can now be easily studied and photographed in quite nice detail. Paedagogium of the imperial palace, Palatine Hill. There were times aleaxmenos which the ancient church faced systemic persecution, in which Christians were hunted down and put to death for daring to reject the gods of Rome and for daring to deny the divinity of her Emperor.

But this, as we know, is nothing new for Christians.

Alexamenos Graffito

They are said to worship the head of an ass, and even the nature of their father” IX. His left hand is raised in a gesture that is suggests worship. That was based on the misconception that Jews worshipped a god in the form of a donkey, a claim made by Apion BC — c. The Greek inscription reads “Alexamenos worships [his] God.

There is also a discussion of it in the Catholic Encyclopedia: July 1, at 4: It seems to have been commonly believed at the time that Christians practiced onolatry donkey-worship. However, as Balch 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.

Archived from the original PDF on 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: Perhaps this is your charge against us that in the midst of all these indiscriminate animal lovers, we save our devotion for asses alone” XI!


Here is a photographic reproduction of the precious sketch. Harvard University Press But despite all of that, every Christian trusts that what appears to be folly is in reality the very power of God that accomplishes salvation.

To pagans, the predawn worship of 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 Christian god, replied only that “If you are a fit person, you shall know.

Since the excavation, the piece of wall on which the figure was etched has been removed and is now in the nearby Palatine Hill Museum. We have countless examples of love and faith overcoming derision and violence throughout the millennia from Stephen the Martyr to Maximillian Kolbe and countless others. Yet even in these times of freedom from systemic persecution, Christians were mocked and belittled.

The image depicts a human-like figure affixed to a cross and possessing the head of a donkey. I guess I will have to wait. He worshipped a God who became man and who endured the most painful and shameful death devised by the minds of that day.


Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here The graffito shown below is from first century AD Rome. Thoughts on History, Religion, Archaeology, Papyrology, etc. The illustration has been interpreted as Alexamenos being a Roman soldier or guard. Patricia Grimshaw i s a self-professed museum nerd, with an equal interest in both medieval and military history.

A barrier now prevents entry into the room itself ]. With the Jesus figure wearing the head of a donkey, however, it is not farfetched to conclude that this illustration was meant as a mocking portrayal of a Christian performing an act of worship.

An essay in deciphering prehistory from megalithic monuments, earthworks, customs, coins, place-names, and faerie superstitions.

The image, discovered in on the southwestern slope of the Palatine hill in Rome, is generally thought to evoke the experience of Christians in the Roman world in the age before Constantine. And then you throw in Epona, the patron saint of donkeys and all the beasts of burden, cattle, and wild animals. Later, the street on which the house sat was walled off to give support to extensions to the buildings above, and it thus remained sealed for centuries.


Alexamenos Graffito Author s of this publication: Plan of the Palatine Hill.

Post was not sent – check your email addresses! This has implications for both NT books which are related to Rome: And one can now see the room in the paedagogium from which the graffito was removed after its discovery alexameenos 9 July We are mocked in popular culture.

Alexamenos and pagan perceptions of Christians

This page was last edited on 21 Decemberat From the John Rylands Library at the University of Manchester we return to the city of Rome and this time we travel to the Palatine Antiquarium Museum, a museum dedicated to the history of the Palatine Hill. 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.

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. They faced the shame of worshipping a God who had been put to death as a common criminal. The path through the area has been nicely landscaped with plants described by Pliny and other Roman authors.

In this ongoing series of articles we are tracing the history of the Christian faith by pausing to look at 25 objects, 25 historical relics that survive to our day. Pickwick, He also defends Christians against the charge of a Roman Jew who “would carry around a picture directed against us with the heading ‘Onocoetes,’ meaning Donkey Priest.