Δευτέρα, 24 Σεπτεμβρίου 2012

Acharya S-Krishna Crucified?

Krishna Crucified?

by Acharya S/D.M. Murdock

Krishna Crucified image
The following article is excerpted from:
suns of god cover image
(This chapter from Suns of God is 46 pages long, with 142 footnotes and 4 pages of illustrations comprising 12 images. This article represents reportage of a debate and does not draw any firm conclusion as to whether or not Krishna was ever depicted as "crucified" in the Christian sense.)
Blood sacrifice is the oldest and most universal act of piety. The offering of animals, including the human animal, dates back at least twenty thousand years, and, depending on how you read the scanty archaeological evidence, arguably back to the earliest appearance of humanity. Many religions recount the creation of man through the bloody sacrifice of a God-man—a divinity who is torn apart to sow the seeds of humanity.
Patrick Tierney, The Highest Altar: The Story of Human Sacrifice
[A] peculiarity noticed in some of the Irish Pre-Christian illustrations of the Crucifix is the absence of nails; the legs being bound with cords at the ankles It is singular that the dress of one crucified figure, as worn about the loins, corresponds with that of the fabled crucified Christna.
James Bonwick, Irish Druids and Old Irish Religions
The orthodox depiction of Krishna's death relates that he was shot in the foot by a hunter's arrow while under a tree. As is true with so much in mythology, and as we have seen abundantly, there are variances in Krishna's tale, including the account of his death. In The Bible in India, citing as his sources the Bagaveda-Gita and Brahminical traditions, French scholar and Indianist Jacolliot recounts the death of Christna as presciently understood by the godman, who, without his disciples, went to the Ganges to work out stains. After thrice plunging into the sacred river, Krishna knelt and prayed as he awaited death, which was ultimately caused by multiple arrows shot by a criminal whose offenses had been exposed by Krishna. The executioner, named Angada, was thereafter condemned to wander the banks of the Ganges for eternity, subsisting off the dead. Jacolliot proceeds to describe Krishna's death thus:
The body of the God-man was suspended to the branches of a tree by his murderer, that it might become the prey of the vultures.
News of the death having spread, the people came in a crowd conducted by Ardjouna, the dearest disciple of Christna, to recover his sacred remains. But the mortal frame of the Redeemer had disappeared—no doubt it had regained the celestial abodes and the tree to which it had been attached had become suddenly covered with great red flowers and diffused around it the sweetest perfumes.
Jacolliot's description includes a number of arrows, instead of just one, which, along with the suspension in the tree branches, resembles the pinning of the god to Medieval European image of Archers Shooting into Victim Tied to Treea tree using multiple nails. Krishna's subsequent disappearance has been considered an ascension. Moreover, this legend is evidently but a variant of theorthodox tale, constituting an apparently esoteric tradition recognizing Krishna's death as a crucifixion. Indeed, as John Remsburg says in The Christ:
There is a tradition, though not to be found in the Hindoo scriptures, that Krishna, like Christ, was crucified.
In Bible Myths and Their Parallels in Other Religions, Doane elaborates upon the varying legends concerning Krishna's death:
The accounts of the deaths of most of all virgin-born Saviours of whom we shall speak, are conflicting. It is stated in one place that such an one died in such a manner, and in another place we may find it stated altogether differently. Even the accounts of the death of Jesus are conflicting
The Vishnu Purana speaks of Crishna being shot in the foot with an arrow, and states that this was the cause of his death. Other accounts, however, state that he was suspended on a tree, or in other words, crucified.
Doane then cites M. Guigniaut's Religion de l'Antiquité, which states:
The death of Crishna is very differently related. One remarkable and convincing tradition makes him perish on a tree, to which he was nailed by the stroke of an arrow.
Doane further relates that the pious Christian Rev. Lundy refers to Guigniaut's statement, translating the original French un bois fatal as a cross. Doane next comments:
Although we do not think he is justified in doing this, as M. Guigniaut has distinctly stated that this bois fatal (which is applied to a gibbet, a cross, a scaffold, etc.) was un arbre (a tree), yet, he is justified in doing so on other accounts, for we find thatCrishna is represented hanging on a cross, and we know that a cross was frequently called the so cursed tree. It was an ancient custom to use trees as gibbets for crucifixion, or, if artificial, to call the cross a tree.
To wit, the legend of Krishna's death has been interpreted to mean that he was pinned to a tree, essentially representing a crucifixion. However, it is not just tradition but artifacts that have led to the conclusion that Krishna was crucified. Indeed, there have been found in India numerous images of crucified gods, one of whom apparently is Krishna, important information not to be encountered in mainstream resources such as encyclopedias.
Moreover, it appears that Krishna is not the first Indian god depicted as crucified. Prior to him was another incarnation of Vishnu, the avatar named Wittoba or Vithoba, who has often been identified with Krishna. As Doane further relates:
It is evident that to be hung on a cross was anciently called hanging on a tree, and to be hung on a tree was called crucifixion. We may therefore conclude from this, and from what we shall now see, that Crishna was said to have been crucified.
In the earlier copies of Moor's Hindu Pantheon , is to be seen representations of Crishna (as Wittoba ), with marks of holes in both feet, and in others, of holes in the hands. In Figures 4 and 5 of Plate 11 (Moor's work), the figures have nail-holes in both feet . Plate 6 has a round hole in the side ; to his collar or shirt hangs the emblem of a heart (which we often see in pictures of Christ Jesus)
Rev. J. P. Lundy, speaking of the Christian crucifix, says:
I object to the crucifix because it is an image, and liable to gross abuse, just as the old Hindoo crucifix was an idol.
And Dr. Inman says:
Crishna, whose history so closely resembles our Lord's, was also like him in his being crucified.
Thus, we discover from some of the more erudite Christian writers, admitting against interest, that images of a Indian god crucified, with nail holes in the feet, had been discovered in India, and that this god was considered to be Krishna, as Wittoba . As we have seen, Moor's book was mutilated, with plates and an entire chapter removed, which have luckily been restored in a recent edition of the original text. Fortunately, Higgins preserved for posterity some of Moor's statements and plates, recounting and commenting upon the missionary's remarkable discovery:
Mr. Moor describes an Avatar called Wittoba, who has his foot pierced.
This incarnation of Vishnu or CRISTNA is called Wittoba or Ballaji. He has a splendid temple erected to him at Punderpoor. Little respecting this incarnation is known. A story of him is detailed by Mr. Moor, which he observes reminds him of the doctrineof turning the unsmote cheek to an assailant. This God is represented by Moor with a hole on the top of one foot just above the toes, where the nail of a person crucified might be supposed to be placed. And, in another print, he is represented exactly in the form of a Romish crucifix, but not fixed to a piece of wood, though the legs and feet are put together in the usual way, with a nail-hole in the latter. There appears to be a glory over it coming from above . Generally the glory shines from the figure. It has a pointed Parthian coronet instead of a crown of thorns....
In the images provided by Moor we possess representations of an Indian god, Wittoba/Krishna, in cruciform, with nail Indian Crucifixion in Spaceholes. The image of the godman crucified without the wood, "in space," can also be found reproduced in Lundy's book, wherein he asserts that it is indeed non-Christian, to wit uninfluenced by Christianity and representing an older tradition of a crucified god. With this transcendent cruciform of the deity and others in mind, Higgins continues his intriguing detective tale:
… I cannot help suspecting, that it is from this Avatar of Cristna that the sect of Christians heretics got their Christ crucified in the clouds.
Long after the above was written, I accidentally looked into Moor's Pantheon, at the British Museum, where it appears that the copy is an earlier impression than the former which I had consulted: and I discovered something which Mr. Moor has apparently not dared to tell us, viz. that in several of the icons of Wittoba, there are marks of holes in both feet, and in others, of holes in the hands. In the first copy which I consulted, the marks are very faint, so as to be scarcely visible. In figures 4 and 5 of plate 11, the figures have nail-holes in both feet. Fig. 3 has a hole in one hand. Fig. 6 has on his side the mark of a foot, and a little lower in the side a round hole; to his collar or shirt hangs the ornament or emblem of a heart, which we generally see in Romish pictures of Christ; on his head he has an Yoni-Linga. In plate 12, and in plate 97, he has a round mark in the palm of the hand.…
Figure 1, plate 91, of Moor's Pantheon, is a Hanuman, but it is remarkable that it has a hole in one foot, a nail through the other, a round nail mark in the palm of one hand and on the knuckle of the other, and is ornamented with doves…
It is unfortunate, perhaps it has been thought prudent, that the originals are not in the Museum to be examined. But it is pretty clear that the Romish and Protestant crucifixion of Jesus must have been taken from the Avatar of Ballaji, or the Avatar of Ballaji from it, or both from a common mythos.
As Higgins relates, Moor was compelled by Christian zealots not to publish the volume intact. Elaborating on Higgins's contentions regarding Christian mutilation of documents, Graves says:
[Higgins] informs us that a report on the Hindoo religion, made out by a deputation from the British Parliament sent to India for the purpose of examining their sacred books and monuments, being left in the hands of a Christian bishop at Calcutta, and with instructions to forward it to England, was found, on its arrival in London, to be so horribly mutilated and eviscerated as to be scarcely cognizable. The account of the crucifixion was gone—cancelled out.
In recounting his experiences in India regarding the images he subsequently used as plates in his book, the missionary Moor states, "A man, who was in the habit of bringing me Hindu deities, pictures, etc., once brought me two images exactly alike." Moor's self-appointed, post-mortem censor, Rev. Simpson, notes at this point that these images were of a crucifix. Simpson then comments, "The subject, a crucifix, is omitted in the present edition, for very obvious reasons." In other words, the crucifix image was removed so it would not offend good Christian sensibilities. In fact, it apparently would serve as evidence that the crucified savior god motif predated Christianity and was found in "heathen" nations.
Moor continues his story concerning the presentation to him of the crucifix images:
Affecting indifference, I inquired of my Pandit what Deva it was: he examined it attentively, and, after turning it about for some time, returned it to me, professing his ignorance of what Avatara it could immediately relate to; but supposed by the hole in the foot, that it might be Wittoba, adding that it was impossible to recollect the almost innumerable Avataras described in the Puranas.
The subject [of plate 98] is evidently the crucifixion; and, by the style of workmanship is clearly of European origin, as is proved also by its being in duplicate. These crucifixes have been introduced into India, I suppose, by Christian missionaries, and are, perhaps, used in Popish churches and societies…

This quote is taken from the later edition of Moor's book (Simpson's), in which the plate had been removed. Moor thus claimed the image was originally Christian, introduced into India. As noted, Higgins—whom Rev. Taylor calls a "sincere Christian"—does not concur with Moor's conclusions that the crucifix image with the coronet is of "European origin." He argues thus:
This God is represented by Moor with a hole on the top of one foot just above the toes, where the nail of a person crucified might be supposed to be placed. And, in another print, he is represented exactly in the form of a Romish crucifix, but not fixed to a piece of wood, though the legs and feet are put together in the usual way, with a nail-hole in the latter. There appears to be a glory [halo] over it coming fromabove. Generally the glory shines from the figure. It has a pointed Parthian coronet instead of a crown of thorns. I apprehend this is totally unusual in our crucifixes….
All the Avatars or incarnations of Vishnu are painted with Ethiopian or Parthian coronets. Now, in Moor's Pantheon, the Avatar of Wittoba is thus painted; but Christ on the cross, though often described with a glory, I believe is never described with the Coronet. This proves that the figure described in Moor's Pantheon is not a Portugues crucifix….
…Mr. Moor endeavours to prove that this crucifix cannot be Hindoo, because there are duplicates of it from the same mould, and he contends that Hindoos can only make one cast from one mould, the mould being made of clay. But he ought to have deposited the two specimens where they could have been examined, to ascertain that they were duplicates. Besides, how does he know that the Hindoos, who are so ingenious, had not the very simple art of making casts from the brass figure, as well as clay moulds from the one of wax? Nothing could be more easy. The crucified body without the cross of wood reminds me that some of the ancient sects of heretics held Jesus to have been crucified in the clouds….
I very much suspect that it is from some story unknown, or kept out of sight, relating to this Avatar [Wittoba], that the ancient heretics alluded to before obtained their tradition of Jesus having been crucified in the clouds…. I therefore think it must remain a Wittoba….
That nothing more is known respecting this Avatar, I cannot help suspecting may be attributed to the same kind of feeling which induced Mr. Moor's friend to wish him to remove this print from his book. The innumerable pious frauds of which Christian priests stand convicted, and the principle of the expediency of fraud admitted to have existed by Mosheim, are perfect justification of my suspicions respecting the concealment of the history of this Avatar: especially as I can find no Wittobas in any of the collections. I repeat, I cannot help suspecting, that it is from this Avatar of Cristna that the sect of Christian heretics got their Christ crucified in the clouds.
As we have seen, Lundy also argued, no doubt reluctantly, that this same god Indian crucified in the clouds was pre-Christian, repeatedly demonstrating from "'sculptures on the walls of ancient temples, from monuments, inscriptions, and other archaic relics' that, among other things, Krishna was 'crucified in space,' as he calls it…" Regarding this Indian "crucified man in space," Lundy remarks:
There is a most extraordinary plate, illustrative of the whole subject, which representation I believe to be anterior to Christianity. (See Fig. 72.) It is copied from Moor's Hindu Pantheon, not as a curiosity, but as a most singular monument of the crucifixion. I do not venture to give it a name, other than that of a crucifixion in space. It looks like a Christian crucifix in many respects, and in some others it does not. The drawing, the attitude, and the nail-marks in hands and feet, indicate a Christian origin; while the Parthian coronet of seven points, the absence of wood and of the usual inscription, and the rays of glory above, would seem to point to some other than a Christian origin. Can it be the Victim-Man, or the Priest and Victim both in one, of the Hindu mythology, who offered himself a sacrifice before the worlds were? Can it be Plato's Second God who impressed himself on the universe in the form of the cross? Or is it his divine man who would be scourged, tormented, fettered, have his eyes burnt out; and lastly, having suffered all manner of evils,would be crucified? Plato learned his theology in Egypt and the East, and must have known of the crucifixion of Krishna, Buddha, Mithra, etc. At any rate, the religion of India had its mythical crucified victim long anterior to Christianity, as a type of the real one, and I am inclined to think that we have it in this remarkable plate….
As regards Plato's Second God, Lundy cites the Greek philosopher's "Republic, c. II, p. 52. Spens' Trans." Lundy's decisive assertions regarding the crucifixion of Indian gods, as well as the "mythical crucified victim long anterior to Christianity, as a type of the real one," are more than noteworthy. Throughout his book, Lundy strains himself with this "type of" argumentation, because he simply cannot deny—and maintain his honesty and integrity—that there were numerous correspondences between pre-Christian Paganism and Christianity. Indeed, in his extensive defense of Christianity, Lundy, a more pious Christian could not be found, repeatedly acknowledges that virtually every salient point of Christianity is to be found in earlier "Pagan" religions:
The ancient Christian monuments, from which I have drawn my facts and illustrations, reveal so many obvious adaptations from the Pagan mythology and art, that it became necessary for me to investigate anew the Pagan symbolism: and this will account for the frequent comparisons instituted, and the parallels drawn between Christianity and Paganism. Many of the Pagan symbols, therefore, are necessarily used in this work—such, for instance, as seem to be types of Christian verities, like Agni, Krishna, Mithra, Horus, Apollo, and Orpheus. Hence I have drawn largely from the most ancient Pagan religions of India, Chaldea, Persia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome, and somewhat from the old Aztec religion of Mexico. These religions were all, indeed, systems of idolatry, perversions and corruptions of the one primeval truth as held by such patriarchs as Abraham and Job; and yet these religions contained germs of this truth which it became the province of Christianity to develop and embody in a purer system for the good of mankind.
It is a most singular and astonishing fact sought to be developed in this work, that the Christian faith, as embodied in the Apostles' Creed, finds its parallel, or dimly foreshadowed counterpart, article by article, in the different systems of Paganism here brought under review. No one can be more astonished at this than the author himself. It reveals a unity of religion, and shows that the faith of mankind has been essentially one and the same in all ages. It furthermore points to but one Source and Author. Religion, therefore, is no cunningly devised fable of Priest-craft, but it is rather the abiding conviction of all mankind, as given by man's Maker.
With this type of reasoning, Lundy tries to make a distinction between Paganism and Christianity, while admitting that Christianity "borrowed" from Paganism. Unlike modern apologists, who seem quite unaware of the erudite works of Lundy and so many other leading Christians of the past two to three centuries, Lundy does not dare deny that Christianity is founded upon Paganism; yet, he claims that the former is superior, because it represents "religion," while the latter is "mythology." In his sophistic argumentation, Lundy cites the cases of primitive peoples:
Two illustrations, in what is called savage life, may serve to express more clearly the difference between mythology and religion. Paul Macroy informs us in his book ofTravels in South America, one of the most remarkable journeys of modern times for its curious information, that the Mesaya Indians of the river Japura, cannibals out of revenge, eating only their hereditary enemies, the Miranhas, but whose last cannibal war-feast was held in 1846, and who have only mathematical capacity enough to count as far as three, have yet a well-defined religion, consisting in the belief of a Supreme Being, the Creator and Moving Power of the universe, whom they fear to name, and whose attributes are power, intelligence and love. The visible manifestation of this God, curiously enough, is the bird bueque, a charming warbler, with a gold and green back and a bright red breast… The dove is still a survival of this visible symbol or manifestation of god as Spirit in our Christianity, and we may not therefore smile at this Mesaya notion of the bueque as God's visible representative….
Lundy then goes on to compare unfavorably another primitive "savage" tribe, the Yuracares, who "neither adore nor respect any deity, and yet are more superstitious than all their neighbours." Nevertheless, as Lundy explains, the Yuracares do possess a variety of gods. Now, as this learned Christian apologist is certainly not unintelligent, it cannot be suggested that he himself could not see the paradoxes in his various statements; yet, again, he exerts every effort in creating a difference between mythology and "true religion," without much success. Also, it is somewhat ironic that Lundy is compelled to use as examples savages, including—as proof of his assertion of the superiority of "religion," as he attempts to define it—a group notorious for the brutality and atrocity of cannibalism. After apparently considering himself successful in thus distinguishing between mythology and religion, Lundy triumphantly remarks:
Religion, then, differs from the myth in being the product of the reason and understanding rather than the imagination.
Evidently, Lundy considers the beliefs of these savage cannibals to be the "product of reason and understanding!" Furthermore, in page after page of comparison between Paganism and Christianity, the Reverend shows that the Christian imagination could not have been more overworked in its creation of myth, ritual and dogma.
In any case, concerning the Indian crucifix, Lundy continues:
The annexed plate (Fig. 72) is an exact facsimile of Moor's. Wittoba is one of the incarnations of Vishnu, with holes in the feet, of which Moor gives several examples.
Lundy subsequently seconds his "enemy" Higgins's opinion, contrary to that of Moor, reiterating that the plate is not of Christian origin:
Now this Wittoba or incarnation of Vishnu is Krishna… And so…the hole in the foot must refer to the fatal shot of the hunter's arrow as Krishna was meditating in the forest, and whom he forgave; but the hands also have holes, and these must refer to the crucifixion of Krishna, as spoken of above.
…The Pundit's Wittoba, then, given to Moor, would seem to be the crucified Krishna, the shepherd-god of Mathura, and kindred to Mithra in being a Saviour--the Lord of the covenant, as well as Lord of heaven and earth--pure and impure, light and dark, good and bad, peaceful and warlike, amiable and wrathful, mild and turbulent, forgiving and vindictive, God and a strange mixture of man, but not the Christ of the Gospels.

Regarding Lundy's latter assertion that the Indian god is "God and a strange mixture of man, but not the Christ of the Gospels," we ask, how not? Christ is all of the things Lundy lists, especially when one factors in the Savior's biblical "Father," the architect of good and evil, who is generally not amiable but almost always wrathful, etc. Furthermore, while Krishna is the "shepherd-god of Mathura," Christ is the shepherd god who lived in Maturea. Moreover, Lundy, evidently dismayed by this non-Christian crucifix, unconvincingly attempts to justify its existence as a "prophecy of Christ," as had the early Church fathers done with so many mythical motifs when confronted with their existence prior to the Christian era. Regarding Lundy's admissions, Blavatsky remarks:
One is completely overwhelmed with astonishment upon reading Dr. Lundy'sMonumental Christianity. It would be difficult to say whether an admiration for the author's erudition, or amazement at his serene and unparalleled sophistry, is stronger. He has gathered a world of facts which prove that the religions, far more ancient than Christianity, of Christna, Buddha, and Osiris, had anticipated even its minutest symbols. His materials come from no forged papyri, no interpolated Gospels, but from sculptures on the walls of ancient temples, from monuments, inscriptions, and other archaic relics, only mutilated by the hammers of iconoclasts, the cannon of fanatics, and the effects of time. He shows us Christna and Apollo as good shepherds; Christna holding the cruciform chank [crook] and the chakra[wheel], and Christna "crucified in space," as he calls it…. Of this figure—borrowed by Dr. Lundy from Moor's Hindu Pantheon—it may be truly said that it is calculated to petrify a Christian with astonishment, for it is the crucified Christ of Romish art to the last degree of resemblance.
As it is, Dr. Lundy contradicts Moor, and maintains that this figure is that of Wittoba, one of the avatars of Vishnu, hence Christna, and anterior to Christianity, which is a fact not very easily put down. And yet although he finds it prophetic of Christianity, he thinks it has no relation whatever to Christ! His only reason is that "in a Christian crucifix the glory always comes from the sacred head; here it is from above and beyond…."
To be sure, an image of a crucified Krishna, prior to Christianity, is a fact not easily ignored, and one must wonder how it came to be so disregarded.
Interestingly, the Wittoba temples whence ostensibly came these images are located at Terputty and Punderpoor, the former of which was, in Moor's time, under the control of the British, who had purchased the site. It may be asked why the British would thus be so interested in an avatar purportedly so minor and unimportant as to warrant exclusion of his story from their reports. The avatar was, in fact, important enough to be widespread and to have names in a number of different dialects, names or titles that included Wittoba, Ballaji, Vinkatyeish, Terpati, Vinkratramna Govinda and Takhur. Concerning Ballaji, Higgins says, "The circumstance of Ballaji treading on the head of the serpent shows that he is, as the Brahmins say, an Avatar of Cristna." Higgins also states that very ancient monuments of the crucified god Bali of Orissa can be found in the ruins of Mahabalipore. It is interesting to note the correlation between Bali and "Baali," Baal, Bal or Bel, the Phoenician, Babylonian and Israelite god, whose Passion is represented on a 4,000-year-old tablet purportedly in the British Museum. Furthermore, among others with the prefix "Bhel" or some other variant, there is an Indian sun-worshipping site of some antiquity called Bhelapur or Bhaila Pura, "a place of Bhailasvamin," the latter being a name of the sun god. The name Bhailasvamin is quite similar to the Belsamen of the British Isles, with "Brit" also apparently related to "Bharat," the indigenous name of India.
Any evidence of crucified gods in India—asserted by some to be commonplace in sacred areas, but hidden by the priesthood—may today be scant. It is an intriguing coincidence that many of the scholars who unwillingly and against interest exposed this information were not only Christian but also British, and that the British took over pertinent places, possibly with the intent of destroying such evidence, among other motives. As Higgins—himself a Brit—says:
And when we perceive that the Hindoo Gods were supposed to be crucified, it will be impossible to resist a belief that the particulars of the crucifixion have been suppressed.
Higgins also states:
When a person considers the vast wealth and power which are put into danger by these Indian manuscripts; the practice by Christian priests of interpolating and erasing, for the last two thousand years; the well-known forgeries practised upon Mr. Wilford by a Brahmin; and the large export…to India of orthodox and missionary priests; he will not be surprised if some copies of the books should make their appearance wanting certain particulars in the life of Cristna…
And, Higgins further remarks:
Neither in the sixteen volumes of the Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Calcutta, nor in the works of Sir. W. Jones, nor in those of Mr. Maurice, nor of Mr. Faber, is there a single word to be met with respecting the crucifixion of Cristna. How very extraordinary that all the writers in these works should have been ignorant of so striking a fact! But it was well known in the Conclave, even as early as the time of Jerome.
The "Conclave," of course, is the Catholic cardinals' clique that elects popes. Unfortunately, Higgins does not recite his argument or cite his sources for such a fascinating claim.
Nor does the mystery end there. In his comments concerning the various enigmatic images of an Indian god crucified, Rev. Lundy also acknowledges other striking assertions, regarding purportedIrish crucifix images:
Was Krishna ever crucified? Look at Fig. 61 and see. It is indeed an ancient Irish bronze relic, originally brought to the island from the East by some of the Phoenicians. It is unlike any Christian crucifix ever made. It has no nail marks in the hands or feet; there is no wood; no inscription; no crown of thorns, but the turreted coronet of the Ephesian Diana; no attendants; the ankles are tied together by a cord; and the dress about the loins is like Krishna's. It is simply a modification of Krishna as crucified. Henry O'Brien thinks it is meant for Buddha. But another most accomplished Oriental scholar says it is Krishna crucified: "One remarkable tradition avers the fact of Krishna dying on the fatal cross (a tree), to which he was pierced by the stroke of an arrow, and from the top of which he foretold the evils that were coming on the earth, which came to pass from thirty to forty years afterwards, when the age of crimes and miseries began; or about the same length of time as intervened between our Lord's crucifixion and the destruction of Jerusalem, an age of bitter calamities and crimes…."
Lundy is obviously convinced that a pre-Christian image of a god was found in Ireland and is Phoenician in origin, Irish Crucifix imagerepresenting Krishna "crucified," as described in the orthodox tale. The good Reverend then provides images of "Irish" and "Egyptian" crucifixes, and remarks:
"Here are two crucifixes, one with the wood, and the other without it. Fig. 65 is the old Irish cross at Tuam, erected before Christian times, and is obviously Asiatic; Fig. 66 is from an old Nubian temple at Kalabche, long anterior to the Christian era…"
Egyptian CrucifixAgain, we have pre-Christian images of crucified gods, according to a pious and learned Christian authority. The same Christian authority verifies, against interest, this crucial information also provided by his "enemy" Higgins, as Lundy himself terms him.
Indeed, in his argument against the charge that the Indian priesthood fabricated the Krishna and Buddha stories based on the gospel fable, Higgins likewise claims that "Buddha" was crucified, referring to "the immaculate conception, crucifixion, and resurrection of Buddha, in Nepaul and Tibet." In his assertions, he discusses the equinoctial date (March 25th) for the death and resurrection of a number of solar-fertility gods, and refers to the writings of Father Georgius (Alphabetum Tibetanum, 510), saying:
The following passage from Georgius will show that the crucifixion and resurrection of Buddha took place precisely at the same time as all others: In plenilunio mensistertii, quo mors Xacae accidit.
The Catholic missionary Georgius's remarks in English are: "On the full moon of the third month, wherefore death befalls Saca [Buddha]." Hence, Saca/Buddha dies at the vernal equinox, as is appropriate for a sun god.
Higgins's arguments against the charge of plagiarism by Indians from Christians are quite logical and sound: He notes, for example, the archaeological evidence found at Ellora and Elephanta, as well as the intricacy of the Indian religious system, which indicates antiquity. He then definitively states that the Krishna stories are "most clearly no interpolation" and that they are an intrinsic part of Brahmanism. He further points out the absurdity of supposing that the Christian religion—with its miniscule enclaves in India—could have so influenced the vast subcontinent and its well-established religious system, i.e., the enormous Hindu population, with its "great variety of dialects." As Higgins says:
…In the history of Buddha, as well as of Cristna, are to be found many of the stories which are supposed to be forged; so that two sects hating one another, and not holding the least communication, must have conspired over all the immense territories east of the Indus, to destroy and to rewrite every old work, to the amount almost of millions; and so completely have they succeeded that all our missionaries have not, in any of the countries where the Brahmins are to be found, or in which there are only Buddhists, been able to discover a single copy of any of the works uncorrupted with the history of Cristna. Buddha is allowed by Mr. Bentley to have been long previous to Cristna, and he is evidently the same as Cristna, which can only arise from his being the sun in an earlier period.
Another Indian sun god apparently frequently depicted as crucified is Indra, who as a solar hero could be considered interchangeable with Wittoba and Krishna. The crucifixion of Indra is likewise recorded in the monk Georgius's Alphabetum Tibetanum, p. 203, according to Higgins, who provides pertinent passages in the original Latin:
Nam A effigies est ipsius Indrae crucifixi signa Telech in fronte manibus pedibuseque gerentis.
Although written in the 18th century, this work is in Latin, which was commonly used by the better educated precisely in order to go over the heads of the masses and keep secrets from them. Father Georgius's book contained images of this Tibetan savior "as having been nailed to the cross. There are five wounds, representing the nail-holes and the piercing of the side. The antiquity of the story is beyond dispute." Titcomb also relates the crucifixion of Indra as found in Georgius:
The monk Georgius, in his Tibetanum Alphabetum (p. 203), has given plates of a crucified god worshipped at Nepal. These crucifixes were to be seen at the corners of roads and on eminences. He calls it the god Indra.
In Asiatic Researches, Col. Wilford, another pious Christian, verifies that the "heathen" Hindus venerated crosses in public places and at crossroads. The appearance of the crucified gods as roadside protectors is logical: If you were going to put up an image of a god as a protector, would you not make his arms as widespread as possible, i.e., in cruciform? In fact, it would be surprising if such images did not exist.

The Cross and Crucifix

In reality, the claims concerning cruciform Indian gods are not implausible but to be expected, as it is well known that the reverence for the cross can be found in numerous cultures, long prior to the Christian era. As is acknowledged by the Catholic Encyclopedia ("Archaeology of the Cross and Crucifix"):
The sign of the cross, represented in its simplest form by a crossing of two lines at right angles, greatly antedates, in both the East and the West, the introduction of Christianity. It goes back to a very remote period of human civilization.
… It is also, according to Milani, a symbol of the sun…, and seems to denote its daily rotation.
The cross was in pre-Christian times a common symbol, revered as a divine sign, an emblem of the solar deity, representing the times of the year when the sun appears to be "hung on a cross," i.e., the vernal and autumnal equinoxes.
The Catholic Encyclopedia ("CE") continues:
In the proto-Etruscan cemetery of Golasecca every tomb has a vase with a cross engraved on it.
Thus, even the practice of marking graves with the cross precedes the Christian era by centuries.
There are a number of different shapes for the "sacred cross," including the "crux gammata," or swastika, which is found around the globe for millennia, and appears on Christian monuments as well. As CE further states:
Many fantastic significations have been attached to the use of this sign on Christian monuments, and some have even gone so far as to conclude from it that Christianity is nothing but a descendant of the ancient religions and myths of the people of India, Persia, and Asia generally; then these theorists go on to point out the close relationship that exists between Christianity, on the one hand, Buddhism and other Oriental religions, on the other…. [The crux gammata] is fairly common on the Christian monuments of Rome, being found on some sepulchral inscriptions, besides occurring twice, painted, on the Good Shepherd's tunic in an arcosolium in the Catacomb of St. Generosa in the Via Portuensis, and again on the tunic of the fossor Diogenes (the original epitaph is no longer extant.
The "crux ansata" or ankh of the Egyptians, which is a cross with a loop on top resembling a human stick figure is likewise a common motif, representing eternal life.
Regarding the so-called Christian cross, the "crux immissa," with the crossbeam above center, the CE says:
In the bronze age we meet in different parts of Europe a more accurate representation of the cross, as conceived in Christian art, and in this shape it was soon widely diffused.
The Bronze Age in Europe extended from around the 3rd to the 2nd millennia BCE; hence, this "Christian" cross was an important symbol long before the Christian era.
The cross has also been discerned in the Old Testament. As CE further relates:
The cross, mentioned even in the Old Testament, is called in Hebrew…"wood," a word often translated crux by St. Jerome (Gen., xl, 19; Jos., viii, 29; Esther, v, 14; viii, 7; ix, 25).
Christian writers such as Barnabas asserted that not only was the brazen serpent of Moses set up as a cross but Moses himself makes the sign of the cross at Exodus 17:12, when he is on a hilltop with Aaron and Hur. As we can see, along with the sign of the cross in the pre-Christian world are represented gods and humans in cruciform, with arms extended. Concerning the cross and cruciform, CE also states:
The early Christians in their artistic labours did not disdain to draw upon the symbols and allegories of pagan mythology, as long as these were not contrary to Christian faith and morals. In the Catacomb of St. Callistus a sarcophagus, dating from the third century, was found, the front of which shows Ulysses tied to the mast while he listens to the song of the Sirens; near him are his companions, who with ears filled with wax, cannot hear the alluring song. All this is symbolical of the Cross, and of the Crucified, who has closed against the seductions of evil the ears of the faithful during their voyage over the treacherous sea of life in the ship which will bring them to the harbour of salvation.
Thus, CE asserts that the Greek hero Ulysses or Odysseus is bound to a cross and symbolizes "the crucified." The cruciform image of a god or human with arms extended dates back at least several centuries prior to the common era. As CE also says:
Cruciform objects have been found in Assyria. The statues of Kings Asurnazirpal and Sansirauman, now in the British Museum, have cruciform jewels about the neck (Layard, Monuments of Nineveh, II, pl. IV). Cruciform earrings were found by Father Delattre in Punic tombs at Carthage.
It is evident that the images of gods in the shape of a cross were commonly used, likely for protection as well as eternal life. It is therefore not surprising to find crucifixes in Pagan iconography, especially as concerns the sun god, which we have shown Krishna to be. Indeed, it is clear is that a cross with a man on it, or a crucifix, was revered in pre-Christian times, thus rendering the supposedly Christian motif unoriginal. Such was admitted by early Christian writer Minucius Felix (c. 250) in his Octavius, in which Felix denied that Christians worship a "criminal and his cross," which may signify a denial of Jesus being a "criminal," rather than that Christianity did not then possess the tradition of a god crucified. Nevertheless, Felix thereafter asserts that the Pagans did so venerate the crucifix, which certainly indicates that the image of crucified man or god existed among the pre-Christians:
Chapter XXIX.-Argument: Nor is It More True that a Man Fastened to a Cross on Account of His Crimes is Worshipped by Christians, for They Believe Not Only that He Was Innocent, But with Reason that He Was God. But, on the Other Hand, the Heathens Invoke the Divine Powers of Kings Raised into Gods by Themselves; They Pray to Images, and Beseech Their Genii.
in that you attribute to our religion the worship of a criminal and his cross, you wander far from the neighbourhood of the truth, in thinking either that a criminal deserved, or that an earthly being was able, to be believed God…. Crosses, moreover, we neither worship nor wish for. You, indeed, who consecrate gods of wood, adore wooden crosses perhaps as parts of your gods. For your very standards, as well as your banners; and flags of your camp, what else are they but crosses glided and adorned? Your victorious trophies not only imitate the appearance of a simple cross, but also that of a man affixed to it. We assuredly see the sign of a cross, naturally, in the ship when it is carried along with swelling sails, when it glides forward with expanded oars; and when the military yoke is lifted up, it is the sign of a cross; and when a man adores God with a pure mind, with hands outstretched. Thus the sign of the cross either is sustained by a natural reason, or your own religion is formed with respect to it.
Again, the pious Christian writer Felix, in the 3rd century, takes umbrage at the notion that Christians worshipped a "criminal and his cross," and retorts that the Pagans' own "victorious trophies not only imitate the appearance of a simple cross, but also that of a man affixed to it."
Another early Christian authority, Tertullian, likewise confirmed the Pagan cross and crucifix, in his response to the charges that Christians adored the cross. As CE relates:
The Christian apologists, such as Tertullian (Apol., xvi; Ad. Nationes, xii) and Minucius Felix (Octavius, lx, xii, xxviii), felicitously replied to the pagan taunt by showing that their persecutors themselves adored cruciform objects.
In The Apology (Chapter XVI), Tertullian writes:
…Then, if any of you think we render superstitious adoration to the cross, in that adoration he is sharer with us. If you offer homage to a piece of wood at all, it matters little what it is like when the substance is the same: it is of no consequence the form, if you have the very body of the god. And yet how far does the Athenian Pallas differ from the stock of the cross, or the Pharian Ceres as she is put up uncarved to sale, a mere rough stake and piece of shapeless wood? Every stake fixed in an upright position is a portion of the cross; we render our adoration, if you will have it so, to a god entire and complete. We have shown before that your deities are derived from shapes modelled from the cross. But you also worship victories, for inyour trophies the cross is the heart of the trophy. The camp religion of the Romans is all through a worship of the standards, a setting the standards above all gods. Well, as those images decking out the standards are ornaments of crossesAll those hangings of your standards and banners are robes of crosses. I praise your zeal: you would not consecrate crosses unclothed and unadorned. Others, again, certainly with more information and greater verisimilitude, believe that the sun is our god. We shall be counted Persians perhaps, though we do not worship the orb of day painted on a piece of linen cloth, having himself everywhere in his own disk. The idea no doubt has originated from our being known to turn to the east in prayer. But you, many of you, also under pretence sometimes of worshipping the heavenly bodies, move your lips in the direction of the sunrise. In the same way, if we devote Sun-day to rejoicing, from a far different reason than Sun-worship, we have some resemblance to those of you who devote the day of Saturn to ease and luxury, though they too go far away from Jewish ways, of which indeed they are ignorant. But lately a new edition of our god has been given to the world in that great city: it originated with a certain vile man who was wont to hire himself out to cheat the wild beasts, and who exhibited a picture with this inscription: The God of the Christians, born of an ass. He had the ears of an ass, was hoofed in one foot, carried a book, and wore a toga. Both the name and the figure gave us amusement.
In this pithy paragraph, Tertullian has given an interesting picture of the Pagan impression of Christianity, as well as an acknowledgement of the Pagan reverence of the cross and cruciform or crucifix. This pious Christian writer must also address the allegation that Christians worship the sun, thus admitting that non-Christians perceived the solar orb to be the object of Christian worship, an assertion, therefore, that has existed essentially from the beginning of the Christian era and that has been made countless times since. Furthermore, Tertullian raises the issue of Christians being accused of worshipping an ass, not as blasphemous a notion as it may appear, since the ass-headed god was popular in Egypt as Set or Seth. Indeed, in the "quarters of the imperial pages" of Rome, there is an image of a crucified ass-headed god.
As the Catholic Encyclopedia points out, in images Christ was not represented as crucified until the 6th-7th centuries CE. The CE further says ("Ecclesiastical Art"):
But though with the triumph of Constantine the outline of the "chrisme" (chi-rho), or the Greek monogram of Christ, was universally held in honour and introduced into all Christian monuments and even into the coinage, the crucifix as a Christian emblem was as yet practically unknown.
The "chi-rho" (C+R) itself resembles a human cruciform, as CE implies, and examples of it may be found in ancient mason's marks, such as at Phaestos on Crete, dating from the second millennium BCE.
Regarding the archaeological record, Lundy, an expert on early Christian monuments, concurs that the crucifix in Christianity is a late artistic development:
In the earliest monuments there is no scene of the Crucifixion….
…Neither the Crucifixion, nor any of the scenes of the Passion, was ever represented; nor the day of judgment, nor were the sufferings of the lost.
Nevertheless, CE relates that a "very important monument" dating to the early third century depicts the crucifixion "openly." This image--the ass-headed god--is Pagan-made, states the Catholic Encyclopedia, not Christian, although it is apparently ridiculing the Christian religion. CE further describes the image:
On a beam in the Pedagogioum on the Palatine there was discovered a graffito on the plaster, showing a man with an ass's head, and clad in a perizoma (or short loin-cloth) and fastened to a crux immissa (regular Latin cross). Near by there is another man in an attitude of prayer with the legend Alexamenos sebetai theon, i.e., "Alexamenos adores God." This graffito is now to be seen in the Kircherian Museum in Rome, and is but an impious caricature in mockery of the Christian Alexamenos, drawn by one of his pagan comrades of the Paedagogioum.
…In fact Tertullian tells us that in his day, i.e. precisely at the time when this caricature was made, Christians were accused of adoring an ass's head, "Somniatis caput asininum esse Deum nostrum" (Apol., xvi; Ad Nat., I, ii). And Minucius Felix confirms this (Octav., ix). The Palatine graffito is also important as showing that the Christians used the crucifix in their private devotions at least as early as the third century. It would not have been possible for Alexamenos' companion to trace the graffito of a crucified person clad in the perizoma (which was contrary to Roman usage) if he had not seen some such figure made use of by the Christians. Professor Haupt sought to identify it as a caricature of a worshipper of the Egyptian god Seth, the Typho of the Greeks, but his explanation was refuted by Kraus. Recently, a similar opinion has been put forth by Wnsch, who takes his stand on the letter Y which is placed near the crucified figure, and which has also been found on a tablet relating to the worship of Seth; he therefore concludes that Alexamenos of the graffito belonged to the Sethian sect.

Obviously, if this ass-headed god is not Christ, it is another god, centuries before Christ himself was ever portrayed pictorially as crucified. Regarding this image purported to be of an ass-headed Christ crucified, Lundy claims that it is in reality the Egyptian god Anubis, although the original head of that Egyptian god was a jackal. It is true that Anubis is depicted in cruciform; yet, as Tertullian is forced to refute, the Christians were accused of worshipping an ass-headed god, which is likely Seth or Set, the Egyptian god of night and darkness, the "twin" of the sun god Horus. In reality, both sides of the twin-faced god are depicted as crucified. Indeed, Doane remarks that the Romans' "man on a cross" referred to by Tertullian is the "crucified Sol, whose birthday they annually celebrated on the 25th of December..." Moreover, it is interesting to note that the sun god Sol is depicted with a crown of seven rays, the same number found on the Parthian coronet of the Indian god "crucified in space." It is apparent that this latter image is, in fact, a depiction of the sun god, the solar logos. Evans also asserts that the Roman crucifix portrayed the sun god:
Just as the Brahmans represented their god Krishna as a crucified man with a wreath of sunbeams around his head, just as the ancient Assyrians represented their sun god Baal as a man surrounded by an aureole, and with outstretched arms, thus forming a perfect cross, so the Romans reverenced a crucified incarnation of the god Sol, and many ancient Italian pictures of Jesus as a crucified Savior bear the inscription, "Deo Soli," which may mean "To the only God," or "To the God Sol."
Indeed, as we have seen, the sign of the cross and crucifix were sacred motifs relating mainly to the sun or the solar deity. The sun, as a symbol or proxy of the divine, was deemed to sacrifice "himself" and to bestow eternal life; hence, the cross and crucifix became symbols of these concepts. In this regard, after discussing ancient depictions of a god within the circle of the zodiac, Lundy remarks:
So too, are the Pagan crucifixes on pp. 157, 159, 160, and notably the Hindu one, fig. 72, p. 175…doubtless intended to convey the idea of the sacrifice of this central Zodiacal figure for the life of the universe--his going out in space to give life to all others, or the great sacrifice continually going on in nature and in human society whereby crucifixion and death minister to the general welfare and higher life.
Lundy readily acknowledges the pre-Christian reverence of the cross, attempting to trace it to the Hebrew religion, from which, he claims, so many of the "perverted" and "corrupt" Pagan "mythologies" borrowed their ideas. We know through historical studies and archaeology that the assertion that Paganism was plagiarized from the Bible is false; so, any borrowing must have been in the opposite direction. In any case, like others, Lundy observes that when Moses lifted up the serpent of brass, the latter's image was affixed upon a cross, which, as Lundy says, is a "sign of symbol, expressed by the author of the book of Wisdom, according to the Septuagint, assumboulon swthriaV, the symbol of salvation. (Num. 21:8-9, and Wisdom, 16:6)."
The cross and crucified god were symbols of salvation, which is essentially immortality of the soul. Regarding the Egyptian religion, Rev. Cox says:
To the Egyptian the cross…became the symbol of immortality, and the god himself was crucified to the tree which denoted his fructifying power.
"The god himself was crucified to the tree"--the Egyptian god, asserts this pious Christian authority. This fructifying god, of course, is the solar deity, i.e., Osiris/Horus. Indeed, it has been likewise evinced that the sun god Horus himself is shown in cruciform, between two thieves, no less.
In describing an Egyptian image of the sun reaching down to his worshippers with hands at the ends of his rays holding the crux ansata/ankh, Lundy relates:
The sun's disc is sending forth rays of light, each ending with a hand; and some are bestowing life's hopes and blessings in the symbol of immortality, the cross. All that was dear in this life, and the life to come, is here intended by these hands holding forth the very sign of eternal life, and coming forth from the one source of all life and blessing.
As is evident, the concept of a divine incarnation who bestows eternal life, salvation, and redemption from sins by his suffering, often on a cross, is old and widespread, anterior to the Christian era.
In reality, the list of crucified gods and godmen does not end with the Indian, Egyptian and Roman deities. Kuhn relates that Zoroaster, who was born of an immaculate conception, was "called a splendid light from the tree of knowledge" whose soul in the end "was suspended a ligno (from the wood), or from the tree, the tree of knowledge." Kuhn them remarks, "Here again we find the cross or tree of Calvary, the tree of the Christ, identified with the tree of knowledge of Genesis."
Another god said to have been crucified was Prometheus, the Greek titan of fire and foresight. It has been claimed by a number of writers that the version of the Prometheus story passed down to us through Christian censors has been mutilated so as to hide its similarities to the Christ myth. As Graves says:
In the account of the crucifixion of Prometheus of Caucasus, as furnished by Seneca, Hesiod, and other writers, it is stated that he was nailed to an upright beam of timber, to which were affixed extended arms of wood, and that this cross was situated near the Caspian Straits. The modern story of this crucified God, which represents him as having been bound to a rock for thirty years, while vultures preyed upon his vitals, Mr. Higgins pronounces as an impious Christian fraud. "For," says this learned historical writer, "I have seen the account which declares he was nailed to a cross with hammer and nails."
Graves further relates that the "New American Cyclopedia" (i. 157) states that Prometheus was "crucified." Lundy apparently concurs with this perspective that the Prometheus story was censored. In his remarks concerning the widely used solar symbol, the swastika, he says:
Dr. Schliemann found it on terracotta disks at Troy, in the fourth or lowest stratum of his excavations, indicating an Aryan civilization long anterior to the Greeks, say from two to three thousand years before Christ. Burnouf agrees with other archaeologists in saying that this is the oldest form of the cross known; and affirms that it is found personified in the ancient religion of the Greeks under the figure of Prometheus, the bearer of fire; the god is extended on the cross on Caucasus, while the celestial bird, which is the Cyena of the Vedic hymns, every day devours his immortal breast. The modification of this Vedic symbol became the instrument of torture and death to other nations, and was that on which Jesus Christ suffered death at the hands of the Jews and Romans.
Indeed, even the Catholic Encyclopedia admits that Prometheus was depicted in ancient times as bound to a cross:
On an ancient vase we see Prometheus bound to a beam which serves the purpose of a cross….
…Speaking of Prometheus nailed to Mount Caucasus, Lucian uses the substantive and the verbs and, [sic] the latter being derived from which also signifies a cross. In the same way the rock to which Andromeda was fastened is called crux, or cross.
CE also says:
The penalty of the cross goes back probably to the arbor infelix, or unhappy tree, spoken of by Cicero (Pro, Rabir., iii sqq.) and by Livy, apropos of the condemnation of Horatius after the murder of his sister.
Regarding the execution or, rather, expiatory sacrifice upon an "unhappy tree," CE further comments:
This primitive form of crucifixion on trees was long in use, as Justus Lipsius notes ("De cruce", I, ii, 5; Tert., "Apol.", VIII, xvi; and "Martyrol. Paphnut." 25 Sept.). Such a tree was known as a cross (crux). On an ancient vase we see Prometheus bound to a beam which serves the purpose of a cross.
Obviously, with such an admission against interest made by the world's most powerful Christian organization, we can safely assume that Prometheus was bound to a cross, and that this information has been suppressed. We can also be assured that other gods and, possibly, humans were depicted on crosses, since, as admitted by CE, the "primitive form of crucifixion on trees was long in use." In fact, as we shall see, this primitive crucifixion was part of ancient human sacrifice rituals in numerous parts of the world.
Another of the crucified Pagan gods was Orpheus Bakkhikos, who was depicted on a cross, although this image apparently dates to the 2nd or 3rd centuries CE. However, it may well be that the image represents an earlier tradition, one that was much more commonly portrayed. The deliberate destruction of cultural artifacts, books, sculptures, etc., for centuries by Christians makes it difficult to determine, obviously.
Yet another deity hung a tree was the Norse god Baldur, as Rev. Cox relates:
The myth of Baldur, at least in its cruder forms, must be far more ancient than any classification resembling that of the Hesiodic age [8th cent. BCE]. Such a classification we find in the relations of the Jotun or giants, who are conquered by Odin as the Titans are overthrown by Zeus; and this sequence forms part of a theogony which, like that of Hesiod, begins with chaos. From this chaos the earth emerged, made by the gods out of the blood and bones of the giant Ymir, whose name denotes the dead and barren sea. This being is sprung from the contact of the frozen with the heated waters, the former coming from Nifleim, the region of deadly cold at the northern end of the chaotic world, the latter from Muspelheim, the domain of the devouring fire. The Kosmos so called into existence is called the "Bearer of God"--a phrase which finds its explanation in the world-tree Yggdrasil, on which Odin himself hangs, like the Helene Dendritis of the Cretan legend--
I know that I hung On a wind-rocked tree
Nine whole nights With a spear-wounded,
And to Odin offered, Myself to myself,
On that tree, Of which no one knows
From what root it springs.
Concerning the Norse god Odin, Frazer says:
The human victims dedicated to Odin were regularly put to death by hanging or by a combination of hanging and stabbing, the man being strung up to a tree or a gallows and then wounded with a spear.
As we can see, the god hung on the tree and pierced in the side is a Pagan motif, likely predating Christianity by centuries, if not millennia.
Regarding the Syrian god Tammuz, who was also worshipped by Israelites/Jews (Ezek. 8:14), Graves claims he was crucified around 1160 BCE, asserting that Higgins relates this story, and that Julius Firmicus writes about Tammuz (Thammuz) "rising from the dead for the salvation of the world." Titcomb relates the same information regarding Tammuz, as well as others, giving the solar meaning of this pervasive mythical motif:
The crucified Iao ("Divine Love" personified) is the crucified Adonis, or Tammuz (the Jewish Adonai), the Sun, who was put to death by the wild boar of Aries--one of the twelve signs of the zodiac. The crucifixion of "Divine Love" is often found among the Greeks. Hera or Juno, according to the Iliad, was bound with fetters and suspended in space, between heaven and earth. Ixion, Prometheus, and Apollo of Miletus were all crucified.
Moreover, the rites of the "crucified Adonis," the dying and rising savior god, were celebrated in Syria at Easter time. As Frazer says:
When we reflect how often the Church has skilfully contrived to plant the seeds of the new faith on the old stock of paganism, we may surmise that the Easter celebration of the dead and risen Christ was grafted upon a similar celebration of the dead and risen Adonis, which, as we have seen reason to believe, was celebrated in Syria at the same season.
Interestingly, Tammuz was represented by a tau (T) or cross. In History of the Cross: The Pagan Origin and Idolatrous Adoption and Worship of the Image, originally published in 1871, pious Christian Henry David Ward quotes "The Illustrated History of the British Empire in India" as saying:
The mystic T, the initial of Tammuz, was variously written. It was marked on the foreheads of the worshippers when they were admitted to the mysteries.
Indeed, this mark of the cross upon the forehead was common among a number of pre-Christian peoples, including the Persians and Hebrews. Obviously, we possess traditions and images of crosses and crucified gods not only in the Pagan world at large but also in the Israelite/Jewish world, and in the very area where Christianity is purported to have been created.

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