Chi-Rho ☧ originally a Symbol of the Centurion

Kookaburra Jack

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May 2011
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I see. Probably because archaeological finds do not show the sigils.

The sigils are collected (as outlined in the OP) in ...... Michael Avi-Yonah, Abbreviations in Greek Inscriptions, Quarterly of the Department of Antiquities in Palestine (Jerusalem: Government of Palestine, 1940) As reprinted in Abbreviations in Greek Inscriptions Al. N. Oikonomides, Professor of Classics Loyola University Chicargo. Illinois,ARES Publishing 1974., p.112, also see a variation of the Chi-Rho in the Meggido inscription - “the Chapel of the Centurion”).

An extract of the relevant entries is shown at post #6.
 

Kookaburra Jack

Ad Honorem
May 2011
2,946
Rural Australia
Three instances of Greek inscriptions are provided below where the Chi Rho symbol has been listed
as representing ἑκατόνταρχος ‎(hekatóntarkhos‎) centurion

(1) RA 1903 B, 437 (Revue archaeologique)

(2) W 2532 (177-80) (Waddington, W.H.)

(3) SARD 17 (Sardis Volume XII)

Can anyone find further information (or a picture) on any of these?

Thanks.



Here is an extract from the source cited in the OP.



The CHI-RHO seems to have been an abbreviation for - apart from "Christos" - the following:

ἑκατόνταρχος ‎(hekatóntarkhos‎) centurion (multiple occurrences)
χιλιάρχης ... Chiliarch ("commander of a thousand"; "thousandman")
χρεοφυλάκειον ..... (Chreophylax) Dura, Seleucid Financial Magistrate?
χρήσιμος ..... (Chrestos) useful, serviceable, good for use, good, apt. Strong's Greek: 5543
χρόνος .... • (chrónos)
χρυσός .... • (chrysós) gold (metal element, see above)

The context of these inscriptions may need further research, although it appears (from the above) that one of the occurrences for the symbol as representing "centurion" is dated in the later 2nd century
 

Kookaburra Jack

Ad Honorem
May 2011
2,946
Rural Australia
I have just realised that AlpinLuke and slak have already provided background information regarding the three inscriptions requested again in the above post.

Thanks for that once again.

This doesn't change that there are no evidences [and honestly, see what I've posted about the vexilla and the signa, I haven't found any] that such a symbol was present on the vexillum to mean the presence of a centurion. There are no examples at all.
Here is a coin issued by Constantine. It appears to show the Chi Rho above a standard.

The question posed in the OP becomes how would have people in the eastern empire perceived the chi rho symbol?
Would the general pagan populous have viewed the chi rho as a symbol for the new god Christ, or as a symbol for the centurion?


Constantine: Commemorative Coin 327 CE:
Civil War II commemorative coinage 327 CE CONSTANTINVS MAX AVG, laureate head right SPES PVBLIC, chi-rho atop standard
of 3 medallions impaling snake A to left, CONSA in ex. Constantinople RIC 19 r4



Additionally there is an earlier coin with the following features:

Constantine: Bronze Coin 320 CE:
18mm 2.4gm CONSTAN-TINVS AVG; Helmeted, cuirassed VIRTVS-EXERCIT; [Valor of the army] Standard inscribed VOT/XX with captive seated on ground on either side, in left field Iota-Chi. in ex. AQP RIC VII Aquileia 58 On the reverse of this coin, in the left field, there is what many call a Chi-Rho. This should probably be called an Iota-Chi, rather than a Chi-Rho, since it looks very little like the Greek Rho and more like an Iota combined with a Chi. On some examples there is a bit of roundness to the top of the Iota, but not enough to call the symbol a proper Rho…at best the symbol might be called a stylized Chi-Rho.

 

Kookaburra Jack

Ad Honorem
May 2011
2,946
Rural Australia
Megiddo church (Israel) - Wikipedia

From the "Chapel of the Centurion" at Meggido variously dated 3rd-4th century ...




A comprehensive description of all the inscriptions is covered here:
inscripties inscriptions Megiddo


This epigraphic evidence suggests very strongly that the Greek speaking pagan populace of the Eastern Roman empire c.327 CE would have naturally associated the CHI RHO symbol as an abbreviation for "Centurion". I would expect that very few if any of this populace would have known anything about the new testament bible.

Say Greek speaking pagans invest in a Constantinian Commemorative Coin in the year 327 CE:



What do they interpret the CHI RHO atop a standard to represent?

Note TANGENT THREAD: Constantinople coin 327 CE: Chi-Rho impaling snake [What's the snake?]

Is anyone aware of any sources from antiquity that provide explanations for the appearance of the CHI RHO symbol on the coins of Constantine's dynasty? Do any primary sources from the 4th century explicitly state that the CHI RHO on these coins was a symbol of Christianisation?

AFAIK most people believe that the use of this symbol was to propagandise Christ. If that were so, is this made explicit in the sources anywhere?

Thanks for any references.
 
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