f Humanisticus: Earliest Known Pictorial Blasphemy of Jesus

Monday, 1 October 2012

Earliest Known Pictorial Blasphemy of Jesus

So apparently today, September 30th, is blasphemy day, so I present you with the earliest known depiction of the blasphemy of Jesus.


Known as the Alexamenos graffito, it was discovered in 1857 in a house on the Palatine Hill, Rome. There is no clear date but it is roughly from 1st - 3rd century CE. It depicts Jesus on a cross with a worshiper, Alexamenos, at his feet. As you can see, Jesus has the head of a donkey (I think the worshiper should bear the donkey's head, or at least a donkey's ass, but I digress). The scraggly writing reads  Αλεξαμενος ϲεβετε θεον,  which roughly translates as Alexamenos worships god. Although it can be interpreted in several ways, it is clear that the "graffiti artist"  is mocking Alexamenos and his worship of Jesus. So people 17 centuries ago found worshiping somebody on a torture device ludicrous too.

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2 comments:

  1. yeah yeah, I agree with all that, but you're missing some really interesting things in that scribble. the crucified ass is standing on a lower platform on the cross, not nailed to it as is traditionally depicted. Crucifixion is still rather a mysterious thing. And one of Jesus' hoofs seems to be connected to the cross with a rope or a line of some sort. This might give some insight into how Romans crucified ppl. I realize it's a scribble and not an accurate depiction,but I find the historic content tantalizing, but I'm sure it's all be studied by people who are more interested than me

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    1. Certainly, this image reveals quite a bit. I was going to delve into the imagery but it would have become a rather extensive post and I don't think I would have done it justice, so I decided to keep it light and simple.

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