Bible Myths and their Parallels in other Religions Being a Comparison of the Old and New Testament Myths and Miracles with those of the Heathen Nations of Antiquity Considering also their Origin and Meaning
The commonest of all the Egyptian crosses, the CRUX ANSATA (Fig. No. 23) was adopted by the Christians. Thus, beside one of the Christian inscriptions at Phile (a celebrated island lying in the midst of the Nile) is seen both a Maltese cross and a crux ansata.
It is related by the ecclesiastical historians Socrates and Sozomon, that when the temple of Serapis, at Alexandria, in Egypt, was demolished by one of the Christian emperors, beneath the foundation was discovered a cross. The words of Socrates are as follows:
"In the temple of Serapis, now overthrown and rifled throughout, there were found engraven in the stones certain letters . . . resembling the form of the cross. The which when both Christians and Ethnics beheld, every one applied to his proper religion. The Christians affirmed that the cross was a sign or token of the passion of Christ, and the proper cognizance of their profession. The Ethnics avouched that therein was contained something in common, belonging as well to Serapis as to Christ."
Sir Robert also found at this place, sculptures cut in the solid rock, which are in the form of crosses. These belong to the early race of Persian monarchs, whose dynasty terminated under the sword of Alexander the Great.
The ancient Etruscans revered the cross as a religious emblem. This sacred sign, accompanied with the heart, is to be seen on their monuments. Fig. No. 27, taken from the work of Gorrio (Tab. xxxv.), shows an ancient tomb with angels and the cross thereon. It would answer perfectly for a Christian cemetery.
The cross was adored by the ancient Greeks and Romans for centuries before the Augustan era. An ancient inscription in Thessaly is accompanied by a Calvary cross (Fig. No. 28); and Greek crosses of equal arms adorn the tomb of Midas (one of the ancient kings), in Phrygia.[344:4]
The adoration of the cross by the Romans is spoken of by the Christian Father Minucius Felix, when denying the charge of idolatry which was made against his sect.
"As for the adoration of cross," (says he to the Romans), "which you object against us, I must tell you that we neither adore crosses nor desire them. You it is, ye Pagans, who worship wooden gods, who are the most likely people to adore wooden crosses, as being part of the same substance with your deities. For what else are your ensigns, flags, and standards, but crosses, gilt and beautiful. Your victorious trophies not only represent a cross, but a cross with a man upon it."[345:1]