Friday, December 31, 2010

HAPPY NEW YEARS Y'ALL!!!

2010 was a disaster. The mainstream media was responsible for the right-winged takeover of the Lower House of Congress, for Pfc Bradley Manning to be figuratively CRUCIFIED in the public square, for Obama (THAT One) caving time and time again again, undermining Nancy Pelosi and pruning Harry Reid's ability for enabling better legislation. For passing a bogus DADT Repeal which is anything BUT - and with the fake Bradley Manning scandle, they'll take years, if not decades, to get a round tuit and lift DADT. And yes, the Bradley Manning scandle is utterly FAKE, because all the evidence that's been produced so far are a bunch of BOGUS or at least apparently so chat logs produced by one disreputable character, Adrian Lamo, quisling!

And why am I so pissed off at the Bradley Manning scandle? Because if the guy is sent to 52 years in prison, or executed for Treason MERELY FOR SPEAKING THE TRUTH, then the US Government gets to be as opaque as it wants to be, but the citizenry, not just in the US but all over the world, will have to be utterly transparent to the US government! This is nothing short of utter insanity and pure fascism and is reminiscent of the sort of human liberty abuses that were predicted in Revelations Chapter 13. Even tho' I'm a Bible disbeliever!

And I am going to make a Hitler Downfall (Untergang) parody where Der Fuehrer complains that Obama (THAT One!) is horning in on HIS territiry and is liable for civil and criminal penalties under Godwin's Law!!!

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Merged Chat Logs Timeline Discrepancies!

Many thanks to Fire Dog Lake for merging the alleged Manning-Lamo chat log bits and pieces from wired, BoingBoing.net and The Washington Post. They have also included unsubstantiated statements from Adrian Lamo, the quisling who fingered Bradley Manning. If Manning's guilty, he's a hero. If innocent, he's been set up, framed and railroaded.

Glenn Greenwald became furious over the past two weeks as he found out that as Bradley Manning is suffering under conditions that any rational being would call torture, Adrian Lamo was free to make many, many unsubstantiated claims about how Manning uploaded the docs up to WikiLeaks (remember, folks, there's 3/4 Million in all, not the 260K Manning's charged with) so he wrote a demand that Poulsen either substantiate Lamo's claims or deny them here, calling the utter fiasco of journalism at Wired a worsening disgrace!

In response, Evan Hansen and Kevin Poulsen of Wired sought to put the record straight here, except they don't, really. They did more of a self-defense through rationalisation and justification, which Glenn Greenwald clearly saw through and reported here and here. Glenn noticed that Poulsen and Hansen did not address Lamo's claims that (1) Manning contacted him out of the blue, either through the AOL(?) IM service or through sending encoded emails that Lamo didn't decode because he lost or discarded the key he had to do so, and (2) Assange gave Manning special software other than the FTP software that can be used by anybody to upload sensitive documents up to WikiLeaks. Assange has said several times that his technology is set up to upload completely anonymously so that the WikiLeaks people would not ever know who uploaded the data. Assange also said that he never knew of Manning until his name was made public by the Mainstream Media!

Well today, BoingBoing.net reported that Poulsen and Hansen basically threw Lamo under the bus! And even then they were being coy about it: Evan Hansen tweet: "@ggreenwald I just reviewed the full text and all descriptions of Manning's relationship w/ Assange and Wikileaks are already public."

I for one think that the chat logs are very fishy. They appear to have Manning and Lamo chatting at peculiar hours, especially for a soldier who's expected to keep normal - early to bed, early to rise - hours after being removed from the intelligence unit (the logs allege that) and probably when he was in it, too! BoingBoing noticed that Adriam Lamo was outing him as a pre-transitioned transgendered person (really Adrian? where's the proof?). So without further adieu, I shall sort out the blocs of chats and the hours covered. The times in FDL as in every other media hour, I presume to be Pacific Daylight Time (PDT), which is = GMT - 7. Iraq Military Time (IMT) is GMT + 3. So to get IMT, one adds 10 hours to PDT.

FireDogLake's Merged Chat Logs Divided into Blocs

IMT: 0000:00 HRS to 1200:00 HRS is AM; 12:00:00 HRS to 2400:00 HRS is PM.

Bloc A

Begin 5/21 01:41:12 PM PDT = 5/21 2341:12 HRS IMT
End 5/21 02:17:29 PM PDT = 5/22 0017:29 HRS IMT

Bloc B - Question by Lamo - Manning should be asleep.

Lamo 5/21 06:07:29 PM PDT = 5/22 0407:29 HRS IMT

Bloc C - Answer by Manning. Assume before dawn 5/22 PDT. Lamo's probably up!

Manning 5/22 03:16:24 AM PDT = 5/22 1316:24 HRS IMT

Bloc D

Begin 5/22 12:15:11 PM PDT = 5/22 2215:11 HRS IMT
End 5/22 02:19:37 PM PDT = 5/23 0019:37 HRS IMT

Bloc E

Begin 5/23 07:19:12 AM PDT = 5/23 1719:12 HRS IMT
End 5/23 07:34:48 AM PDT = 5/23 1734:48 HRS IMT

Bloc F

Begin 5/23 08:01:30 AM PDT = 5/23 1601:30 HRS IMT
End 5/23 10:37:28 AM PDT = 5/23 2037:28 HRS IMT


Bloc G

Begin 5/25 02:03:10 AM PDT = 5/25 1203:10 HRS IMT
End 5/25 02:32:53 AM PDT = 5/25 1232:53 HRS IMT

Bloc H

Begin 5/25 02:26:01 PM PDT = 5/26 0026:01 HRS IMT*
End 5/25 03:02:03 PM PDT = 5/26 0102:03 HRS IMT

Bloc J

Begin 5/25 03:07:26 PM PDT = 5/26 0107:26 HRS IMT
End 5/25 03:12:16 PM PDT = 5/26 0112:16 HRS IMT

Okay, what the hell is a soldier doing up at 1 in the morning if he has to awake at 5 or 6 AM??? And even later, cause the chat logs if fully released, could show the alleged conversation going even further into the morning!

Time Lapse Blocs. The time recorded between end of Bloc J and beginning of Time Lapse Bloc K goes BACK in time by more than one hour. Recorded by Wired as having occurred on the 25th PDT. I will leave it like that here, but plot it on the attached chart (at the bottom) as having occurred the next day. To avoid obvious conflicts.

Time Lapse Bloc K

Begin 5/25 01:52:30 PM PDT = 5/25 2352:30 HRS IMT
End 5/25 02:03:53 PM PDT = 5/26 0003:53 HRS IMT

Time Lapse Bloc L

Begin 5/25 02:12:23 PM PDT = 5/26 0012:23 HRS IMT
End 5/25 02:29:18 PM PDT = 5/26 0029:18 HRS IMT*

* There are 3 minutes' overlap between the beginning of Bloc H and the end of Time Lapse Bloc L, but the subject matter does not match one with the other! They are mutually exclusive and it appears there are texts sent simultaneously by Manning! This is absolutely impossible. This is an immense credibility problem for these chat logs, given Lamo's disreputable character.

Time Lapse Bloc M

Begin 5/25 03:38:07 PM PDT = 5/26 0138:07 HRS IMT
End 5/25 03:45:13 PM PDT = 5/26 0145:13 HRS IMT

Time Lapse Bloc N

Begin 5/25 04:32:05 PM PDT = 5/26 0232:05 HRS IMT
End 5/25 04:46:29 PM PDT = 5/26 0246:29 HRS IMT

What on Earth is a soldier doing up at 3 AM unless he's on night duty? And if he's on duty, and already people have eyes on him, what would he be doing chatting with this slacker hacker? Or is he "talking" with the hacker only in the hacker's BRAIN? Enquiring minds want to know!

Now the Time Lapse blocs. Since Wired has these blocs on the 25th PDT, they could have been in Lamo's 'puter as reading that they were made on the 25th! Immediately I would assume, if I were on the jury, that these chat logs, being *.txt files, are utterly suspect. I mean, they could have been corrupted or even invented by Lamo. Who basically snitched on Manning or set him up and framed him without even contacting him. Which means Lamo and others whom he pals around with, like Poulsen, could be working for the US central government. Which in itself is utterly corrupt.

So instead of Manning being Courtmartialed, the whole government/military-industrial nomenklatura should should all be arrested. For war crimes and crimes against humanity as well as treason.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Yemeni Nationals Get to Call Home From Guantanamo.

Xinhuanet: ICRC facilitates video calls for Guantanamo detainees, their families in Yemen

SANAA, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) announced on Tuesday that it has facilitated video-teleconference calls between detainees at the U.S.-run military jail in Guantanamo Bay and their families in Yemen.

"The first calls were made ten days ago at the headquarters of the ICRC's delegation in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen. The latest round of calls was made from Yemen's southern city port of Aden," the ICRC said in a press release.

"So far, four Yemeni families have used the video calls," Nourane Houas of the ICRC's Sanaa delegation said.

The video calls can last up to one hour, in which detainees for the first time in almost a decade can speak and also see their families in Yemen.


No information on whether Pfc Bradley Manning can call his family or receive phone calls from them, even from his aunt who lives in Potomac, MD., only 50 miles away by Expressway, his father in Oklahoma, or his mum and other aunt in Wales. I suspect he cannot. And I bet that compared to Manning's solitary confinement, the detainees prisoners of war at Guantanamo Bay live in the lap of luxury. For one thing, they don't have to sleep in only boxer shorts under a heavy, itchy and scratchy blanket that is exactly like rough commercial carpet superglued onto an x-ray technician's protective shroud, which is pure torture. Which is why he takes sleeping pills.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Lawless State Tortures Its Own.

Bradley Manning, whether he leaked the video and the documents or not, was only doing his job!

From Paul Craig Roberts:

Bradley Manning, who allegedly provided the media with the video made by US troops of their wanton, fun-filled slaughter of newsmen and civilians, has been abused in solitary confinement for six months. Murdering civilians is a war crime, and as General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at the National Press Club on February 17, 2006, “It is the absolute responsibility of everybody in uniform to disobey an order that is either illegal or immoral” and to make such orders known. If Manning is the source of the leak, he has been wrongfully imprisoned for meeting his military responsibility. The media have yet to make the point that the person who reported the crime, not the persons who committed it, is the one who has been imprisoned, and without a trial.


Read the whole article here.

Actually the solitary confinement has been going on for seven months and counting. It is an intensive 23-hour-a-day solitary, made all the more inhumane by a now unneccesary for six-and-a-half months Prevention of Injury watch, ostensibly for the soldier's own protection! This is no less than torture, even when done with the best of intentions, and reeks of pure fascism.

Everything is Oppositeland at Fox News

Do they have anything useful that can be used? The former Defence Undersecretary says Manning's attorney should contact the Inspector General. I assume he's done that already.



This Fox News piecs is no less than a smear on Bradley Manning and us, his supporters. Worse, they're justifying and advocating torture! And the one speaking up for our side and for Bradley is beyond pathetic. The whole exercise is disgusting!

Monday, December 27, 2010

This US Soldier's Torture Is Worse than Crucifixion, Totally Insane and Beyond Disgusting.



The US central government is slowly grinding down an heroic soldier, who either with the aid of others, leaked swarms of documents and other files that document war crimes and other US misdeeds to WikiLeaks and was entrapped by a hacker, or made a nuisance of himself insisting his superiors address the international felonies and was conveniently gotten rid of. The soldier's name is Pfc Bradley Manning. They are grinding down through the slow psychological torture of intensive, 23-hour-a-day solitary confinement, made all the more wearying with restrictions invoked through a "Prevention Of Injury" order. How Orwellian is that??

First is the infamous video of a US War Crime in North Baghdad that Bradley is alleged to have leaked. It'll turn your stomach!



And following is an excellent article by Chris Floyd of the Empire Burlesque blog.

Written on the Body: The Progressive Torture of Bradley Manning
Written by Chris Floyd

Monday, 27 December 2010 23:17

Tonight, in the tenth year of the 21st century, the government of the United States is torturing a young man -- one of its own soldiers -- whom it has incarcerated but not indicted. He has been held in solitary confinement for months on end, subjected to techniques of sleep deprivation taken from the Soviet gulag, denied almost all human contact except from interrogators, constantly harassed by guards to whom he must answer every few minutes -- all in an attempt to break his mind, destroy his will, degrade his humanity and force him to "confess" to a broader "conspiracy" against state power.

His name is Bradley Manning. He is 23 years old. The "crime" he is accused of committing is releasing video evidence of an American atrocity committed years ago in Iraq: the murder of Iraqi civilians by helicopter gunships. Under the American system of jurisprudence, of course, he is considered innocent until proven guilty of this heinous 'crime' of truth-telling. He has not been tried or convicted of this charge, or any other crime.

Yet tonight, in the tenth year of the 21st century, in the United States of America, under the leadership of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Barack Obama, 23-year-old Bradley Manning is being subjected to same tortures routinely inflicted on other unindicted, untried captives of the militarist state.

Journalist Andy Worthington, who has been one of the most thorough and assiduous chroniclers of the modern American gulag, has noted the parallels between the treatment imposed on Manning and that doled out to earlier prisoners of the bizarre, lawless limbo concocted by the American war machine for those who threaten -- or are perceived to threaten -- its ever-expanding, ever-more corrupt operations around the world. Worthington states that the conditions of Manning's imprisonment

bear a marked and chilling resemblance to the conditions in which a handful of US citizens and residents were held as “enemy combatants” under the Bush administration. The key elements here are the elements of profound isolation and suffering ... not just the solitary confinement, with no other human being for company, but also the refusal to allow Manning to have a pillow, sheets, or any access to the outside world through the reporting of current affairs.

It is these factors that mark out his conditions of detention as sharing some key elements with the conditions endured by the three “enemy combatants” held on the US mainland under the Bush administration — the US citizens Yasser Hamdi and Jose Padilla, and the US legal resident Ali al-Marri.

...

al-Marri, along with two American citizens also held as “enemy combatants” — Yaser Hamdi and Jose Padilla — was subjected to the same “Standard Operating Procedure” that was applied to prisoners at Guantánamo during its most brutal phase, from mid-2002 to mid-2004. This involved the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques,” including prolonged isolation, painful stress positions, exposure to extreme temperature, sleep deprivation, extreme sensory deprivation, and threats of violence and death.

...

There is, at present, no suggestion that Bradley Manning has been subjected to a wide range of “enhanced interrogation techniques,” but prolonged isolation is confirmed, and depriving him of a pillow, sheets, or any access to the outside world through the reporting of current affairs are all elements of discomfort and further isolation that were key to the program of belittling and punishing “enemy combatants,” and, crucially, “softening them up” or “breaking” them for interrogation. It is, sadly, all too easy to imagine that other techniques designed to disorientate Manning and to further erode his will — involving elements of sleep deprivation, threats and sensory deprivation — could also be applied, or are, perhaps, already being applied, especially if, as has been suggested by the Independent, the authorities are hoping to cut a plea deal with him, reducing a 52-year sentence in exchange for a confession that Julian Assange of WikiLeaks, whom the US is seeking to extradite to the US, was not just a passive recipient of the information leaked by Manning, but was instead a conspirator.


As Glenn Greenwald and others have documented, the known treatment being meted out to Bradley Manning is itself a profound form of torture. Indeed, isolation, sleep deprivation, incessant harassment and constant interrogation were primary methods of the torturers in the Soviet gulag, who in many cases did not resort to more "enhanced" techniques unless the pressure was on from above to produce large numbers of "convictions" and "evidence" of conspiracies in a hurry. These techniques -- the same techniques now used under the command of the Peace Laureate -- were considered highly effective and severely punishing tortures in their own right. They are now at the center of the American gulag's treatment of its captives.And, as Worthington ominously notes, we have no way of knowing at this moment whether "enhanced" techniques are being used on Manning as well.

I am running out of words to describe the depths we are sinking into. I am running out of ways to try to shake people from their stupor and shock them into an awareness of the monstrous evil that is rising all around them. Even those who proclaim themselves the progressive friends of all humankind spend most of their time and energy wringing their hands over the political tea leaves, parsing the strategy and tactics of the partisan squabbles between the two scarcely-distinguishable factions of the militarist establishment. And while they are sometimes bold enough to criticize this or that element of the Peace Laureate's administration, they still fret and fight and pray to keep that administration in power.

But tonight that very administration is torturing a young man -- torturing him -- for telling the truth about the crimes being committed by the machinery of evil that their standard-bearer, the Peace Laureate, now proudly directs. If you support this administration, then you support the torture of Bradley Manning. You are working to guarantee that such tortures, and worse, are inflicted on more and more truth-tellers, more and more people whose consciences have been jolted to the core by the abominations they have witnessed or learned about from others.

The militarist, corporatist, liberty-stripping evil that our earnest lovers of humanity fear will come to pass if those evil Republicans come to power is already here, it is happening before their very eyes. "Oh, that Glenn Beck, how terrible he is!" Yes, he is terrible, but I tell you this: Glenn Beck hasn't tortured anyone. Glenn Beck hasn't killed hundreds of defenseless innocent civilians, men, women and children murdered without any warning by robot drones in an undeclared war on an allied nation. Glenn Beck hasn't "surged" an endless, pointless, murderous, money-making war of domination against a broken land and its terrorized people. Glenn Beck is not going to court to defend torturers. Glenn Beck is not proclaiming he has the arbitrary, unchallengeable power to assassinate anyone on earth whenever he feels like it.

But the Peace Laureate has done all these things. He is doing all these things, and more. No doubt Glenn Beck -- and all the other greasy-pole climbers seeking wealth and domination in our degraded society -- would like to do these things too. But those with their eyes fixed on the potential or fantasized future evil of their partisan opponents are blind to the fact that their own faction is committing gross evils right here and now. Barack Obama is entrenching the machinery of evil deeper and deeper into the structures of government and society; he is strengthening the foundations of evil that others will build upon, just as he is building upon the wars and gulags and corporate whoredom of his predecessor. Progressives who support Obama -- who support this entrenching process -- are in fact guaranteeing that their dystopian nightmares of the future will come true. They are helping Obama clear the path for an even rougher, more merciless beast now slouching toward Washington to be born.

As I said, words are beginning to fail me. And in any case, almost no one is reading the words on this site. [Most of the traffic is drawn by the magnificent -- and shattering -- collection of Iraq War photos compiled by the webmaster, Rich Kastelein.] So let me end with the words of someone else: the incomparable Arthur Silber, whose mighty heart and incisive mind have blazed with light through many dark years:

I repeat once more: these horrors are now what the United States stands for. Thus, for every adult American, the question is not, "Why do you obey?" but:

Why do you support?

Or will you refuse to give your support? Will you say, "No"? These are the paramount questions at this moment in history, and in the life of the United States. We all must answer them. Our honor, our humanity, and our souls lie in the balance.


UPDATE: After putting this post together, I ran across the latest essay by Chris Hedges at Truthdig. Hedges, like Silber, is one of the very few who have the courage to walk the full walk and live fully by their convictions, despite the cost. Hedges was recently arrested outside the White House of the Peace Laureate, one of many protestors hauled off for speaking the truth about the Laureate's wars in a manner deemed unseemly in our great democracy.

His new piece is an eloquent description of how the nightmare dystopia noted above is already coming into being, a horrible mash-up of Huxley's "Brave New World" and Orwell's "1984." You should read the whole thing, but here are a few excerpts, beginning with his mention of the Bradley Manning case:

...The psychological torture of Pvt. Bradley Manning—who has now been imprisoned for seven months without being convicted of any crime—mirrors the breaking of the dissident Winston Smith at the end of “1984.” Manning is being held as a “maximum custody detainee” in the brig at Marine Corps Base Quantico, in Virginia. He spends 23 of every 24 hours alone. He is denied exercise. He cannot have a pillow or sheets for his bed. Army doctors have been plying him with antidepressants. The cruder forms of torture of the Gestapo have been replaced with refined Orwellian techniques, largely developed by government psychologists, to turn dissidents like Manning into vegetables. We break souls as well as bodies. It is more effective. Now we can all be taken to Orwell’s dreaded Room 101 to become compliant and harmless. These “special administrative measures” are regularly imposed on our dissidents, including Syed Fahad Hashmi, who was imprisoned under similar conditions for three years before going to trial. The techniques have psychologically maimed thousands of detainees in our black sites around the globe. They are the staple form of control in our maximum security prisons where the corporate state makes war on our most politically astute underclass—African-Americans.

...The public, at some point, will have to face some very unpleasant truths. The good-paying jobs are not coming back. The largest deficits in human history mean that we are trapped in a debt peonage system that will be used by the corporate state to eradicate the last vestiges of social protection for citizens, including Social Security. The state has devolved from a capitalist democracy to neo-feudalism. And when these truths become apparent, anger will replace the corporate-imposed cheerful conformity. The bleakness of our post-industrial pockets, where some 40 million Americans live in a state of poverty and tens of millions in a category called “near poverty,” coupled with the lack of credit to save families from foreclosures, bank repossessions and bankruptcy from medical bills, means that inverted totalitarianism will no longer work.

...

The noose is tightening. The era of amusement is being replaced by the era of repression. Tens of millions of citizens have had their e-mails and phone records turned over to the government. We are the most monitored and spied-on citizenry in human history. Many of us have our daily routine caught on dozens of security cameras. Our proclivities and habits are recorded on the Internet. Our profiles are electronically generated. Our bodies are patted down at airports and filmed by scanners. And public service announcements, car inspection stickers, and public transportation posters constantly urge us to report suspicious activity. The enemy is everywhere.

Hedges also provides a telling passage from Orwell's novel, where the facts of life are explained to Winston Smith:

"We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. ... The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.”

These bedrock truths of our time are now being played out on the body and mind of Bradley Manning. The object of Bradley Manning's torture is not bolstering "national security" or upholding the "rule of law"; the object of his torture is the torture itself: the demonstration of power, the enactment of power, the physical embodiment of power. Power is not a reality until you exercise it -- inflict it -- upon someone else. And that is the essential, the ultimate concern of the militarist empire that rules us today.


So this is how we support our troops! By treating the ones who are accused of being whistle-blowers as if they are enemy combatants (who should be treated better than they are)! By subjecting them to torture and cruel and unusual punishments! We do it without conviction, without trial, without an indictment, even! Where is the soldier's right to humane treatment whilst awaiting only a short time for a speedy trial? Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? I guess like the Constitution and the Rule of Law, the Uniform Code of Military Justice has been gitmoised!

This is not what one would expect from Limited Government!

This is not what one would expect from Liberal Politicians!

This is NOT right, it is totally beyond the pale, and cannot be tolerated in any civilised society!

Obama, Biden, Hilary, Gates, et al, must all be impeached and removed from office; then arrested. For war crimes as well as treason.

And the Teabaggers scream about Birth Certificates!

Please click here and here to join me in support of Bradley Manning.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

ChristPsychotic Navy Chaplin Goes Anti-Gay in Speech on Abortion



And these types are trying to take over! All the more reason to end Don't Ask - Don't Tell. So these nuts will jump ship like rats!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Huntsville Rapist Bed Intruder Song -- Inspired!!

This is great!! A guy sounds off after his sister was almost raped in her bed.



And it makes for excellent dance music, too!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Crucifixion – The Bodily Support - Part 4 - Physics of Crucifixion.

Part 3

UPDATE JANUARY 17, 2010: What I have found out since posting these four parts will require a major rewrite. Parts 2, 3 and 4 will be broken up. Videos showing where Christianity got The Crucifixion FROM will be presented. The series will rerun under a new title, "The Romans NEVER CRUCIFIED the Way We Think They Did."

Sources.

Was Jesus Crucified in the Manner Shown in Art and on Film?
Crucifixion in Antiquity
Dr. Zugibe's Findings
IO9.com "The Last Temptation of Jean-Claude Van Damme"
Amazon.com "Cobra"
Media Fax Photo via the Google Group "Male Cross Research."
http://encyclopediaurantia.org
glbtq.com
Son of Man.org

Preface.

In modern-day reenactments, how do movie directors keep the actor's midsection from flaring out like an archery bow when he is portrayed crucified? That has actually happened in the production of films and in safe, sane crucifixion experiments.


Experiments by Others.


Photo Credit: Crucifixion Shroud.com


The above photo demonstrates the problems with crucifying someone in the traditional manner on a conventional Christian Cross.

Frederick T. Zugibe, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Medical Examiner in Rockland County, N.Y. and Adjunct Associate Professor of Pathology Columbia University College of Physician’s and Surgeons, N.Y. crucified both fresh cadavers or body parts and live students (safely and sanely, of course) to test and study the practice of crucifixion. He proved with cadavers that if a man was nailed to the front of a cross in his palms and the top of his feet, the nail ripped through the skin with only about 45 pounds of pressure. One crucified in this manner could pull free of the cross solely from his own body weight, because a nail driven through the palm or the fleshy part of the foot is in unsupported flesh that can be torn. But remember a living man would use gravity plus his own strength to pull loose. People who are physically fit can easily pull themselves free. On the other hand, if one nails a person in one of two places in the wrist or a place in the forearm just behind the wrist instead of the palm, and in the ankles instead of the tops of the feet, however, he is better secured. Plus, use of wooden washers as was the case with Jehohanan, would even more firmly secure the condemned criminal to his cross. This, however, still leaves two problems. 1) How do you stop a person nailed to the front of a cross from swaying dramatically forward, and 2), what happens if the nails let go or the executioners had no washers?

Based on archaeological and experimental evidence alone, the traditionalists, artists, movie producers and directors who show Jesus nailed to the front of the cross couldn’t be more completely wrong. The traditional crucifixion pose is just impossible. A man nailed to the front of a cross in that manner can easily use his body weight and his muscle strength to pull himself free. And there is more evidence discovered in the laboratory that show any person nailed to a cross couldn’t have been nailed to its front (or maybe even its sides), at least without securing him to the stipes at his midsection. Dr. Zugibe (pictured above in his lab) found that his students who were safely and sanely crucified with straps in the traditional manner began having serious difficulties almost immediately. When they flexed forward, their chests, shoulders, and arms began to cramp in ten to twenty minutes. Only his strongest student was able to being suspended in this manner for forty-five minutes. Death would arrive rapidly to those crucified like this, unless they managed to free themselves first.


Summation of the laboratory experiments:
1. The angle of the arms with the upright varied between individuals at a broad angle ranging between 60 and 70 degrees from vertical.

2. The volunteers were suspended for periods ranging from 5 to 45 minutes determined by when they wished to come down. The main reason was almost always the pain or cramping in the shoulders, arms and hands.

3. A common complaint from the volunteers was a feeling of chest rigidity and leg cramps between 10 and 20 minutes into suspension. When this occurred, they were allowed to straighten their legs or come down.

4. There was no visual evidence of breathing difficulties throughout the suspension. Every volunteer affirmed that they had absolutely no trouble breathing either during inspiration or expiration. This was true even if the volunteers’ feet were not secured to the cross.

5. The oxygen content of the blood either increased or remained constant. Both visual observations and Douglas bag studies determined this was the result of hyperventilation with abdominal breathing beginning after 4 minutes at a rate about 4-5 times normal.

6. Sweating occurred at about 6 minutes in most volunteers, varying in amount from mild to easily noticeable.

7. Each volunteer’s heart rate increased up to 120 bpm at the end of his suspensions without arrhythmias. There were occasional rapid rates as high as 175 bpm but this rate decreased after each volunteer who experienced this got over his initial anxiety. The blood pressure increased to varying degrees but never above 160 mm systolic blood pressure in each person depending on his state of conditioning. The electrocardiogram showed muscle tremors only; it did not show any cardiac abnormalities.

8. The volunteers who were suspended without securing their feet suffered a marked increase in pain in their shoulders, arms and hands, requiring the team to support the feet or take down the volunteers.

9. The backs of the volunteers never touched the cross except for slight contact in the shoulder region of some volunteers. Pain in the shoulders caused many of them to arch their bodies back in order to relieve some of the pain.

My Own Small-scale Experiments.

To figure if horizontal restraint was still necessary even when vertical support was provided, I decided to conduct some small scale experiments of my own, using common items around the house or available at the lumber yard and sporting goods store.

What I used to mimic traditional crucifixion:

- 4” x 4” lumber, 32” in length.
- A Victorian claw-foot bathtub (this won’t work with a standard built-in tub).
- A dry towel, washcloth or bathmat.
- Pieces of plywood or planks to level.
- Carpenter’s level to check levelness.
- A twenty-pound weight.

I placed 4” x 4” lumber on top of the tub with the towel/cloth/mat and a piece of wood beneath the front end to level the lumber. Checked with the carpenter’s level, of course. Then I sat bare-ass naked on top of the 4” x 4” lumber, both dry and moistened, tucked my feet against the lower surface of the bathtub beneath, and planted my fists against the opposing walls at either end of the tub (upper fingers against each wall). I did this to see if I could stay in place on the lumber. To my total lack of surprise, in each instance I slid right off within minutes!

What I used to mimic Jehohanan’s crucifixion (see above):

- 4” x 4” lumber, 32” in length.
- Kitchen base cabinet at the kitchen sink.
- A 1-gallon paint can.
- A 1-gallon spackling compound bucket.
- Surveyor’s stakes and pieces of plywood or planks to level.
- Carpenter’s level to check levelness.

I placed the spackling compound bucket in the back of the cabinet and the paint can in front of the cabinet on the kitchen floor. I stacked surveyor’s stakes, laid on their sides, and the necessary plywood or planks to level the 4” x 4” lumber and checked with the level. Once again, I sat bare-ass naked on top of the 4” x 4” lumber, tucked my feet against the face of the cabinet and my forearms against the inside front of the sink (this mimics being hooked over a patibulum). I leaned forward mimicking exhaustion and I slid right off in minutes, even as I kept my forearms flush with the inside of the sink. Gee, what a surprise! (Not.)

So I have reached a conclusion that the crucified person will need positive horizontal restraint at midsection as well as vertical support, in order to keep alive for more than an hour on the cross – regardless of how he was nailed there – because mere friction between the beam and the crotch I consider to be insufficient to keep the person in place, initially as well as after sweat and blood collect in that area. So long as you have the restraint and support at midsection and the arms aren’t raised too high, the executioners could nail the condemned in any upright position on the cross and have him suffer there for days! Without the support and restraint, in my opinion the crucified will flex forward and death will arrive quickly.



Reenactments in Film and Art.

The film, The Gospel of John. The producer and director, cast and crew, discovered accidentally in the making of the movie that without support and restraint at midsection, the actors who were “crucified” flexed way out like an archery bow, away from the cross. They must have been shocked when the Jesus character bowed outward. They filmed the Jesus character like that in the first shot, and retained it in the film.

It is possible to maintain the position of one’s back and buttocks touching the face of the cross by having your crucified one stand with all of his weight on a foot support. Otherwise, it will be necessary to install a harness hidden beneath his loin cloth and strap his buttocks to the post, which they did in this film. So in subsequent shots, the actor playing Jesus was strapped to his cross to correct the problem. The crew very likely may have secured the two actors playing the role of the malefactors in this manner as well.

Mel Gibson’s pornographically violent film, The Passion of the Christ shows a totally unrealistic portrayal of the Crucifixion. Note when they flip the cross over to turn the nails into “hooks” – note Jesus (Jim Caviezel) is hanging by the nails yet his buttocks and shoulders, before the Romans bent the nails onto the back of the patibulum, are in intimate contact with the downward facing front of the cross! This was not done by magical thinking!! Obviously, Jim had to have been secured with some kind of harness or harnesses, of which the visible parts were edited out using Photoshop or the like.



At 9:40 into this video through the end, note the impossible.


Photo Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer / United Artists


In the photo above, Jean Claude Van Damme was restrained to a cross in the movie Cyborg. Watch a clip here. The movie’s available for 15 bucks at Amazon if you care to buy it.



Photo Credit: MediaFax Photo


The 2008 Passion Play in Sydney, Australia, restraints were clearly visibly used to support Jesus and the two thieves on their crosses. Even though each man was tied around his wrists, it is apparent from the angle of his suppedaneum (foot support) that he was just barely able to stand. Without the hidden restraints, they might have slipped off – and those crosses appear to be quite tall!



Illustration Credit: http://encyclopediaurantia.org.


In Max Klinger’s Der Kreuzigung Christi (Crucifixion of Christ), ca. 1890, it is obvious to me that the work was produced using completely nude live models with no harm done. Despite the presence of horizontal planks for the men to sit on and rest themselves, the crosses are leaning backwards, yet the planks for the models to sit on are perpendicular to the posts! This leads me to believe that the artist found that without some kind of horizontal restraint, the models would slide off the beams. My conclusion is, by leaning the posts backwards, he used gravity to negate the need for a restraint.



Photo Credit: glbtq.com.


The artist Fred Holland Day was tied at his midsection to a cross, as shown in his photographic portrayal of Christ's Crucifixion, ca. 1898, to keep him from flaring out once he exhausted himself. Initially, he was not tied as such.


The Japanese Solution.


The Japanese installed a yardarm and seated the crucified astride it to support the body weight at the crotch, clearly visible with the crucified male in the foreground. The female was treated with considerably more dignity. Both are tied at their torsos to the stipes as well as at their hands and feet to the crosspieces. Need I say anything more?

Part 5

Friday, June 18, 2010

Crucifixion - The Bodily Support - Part 3 - Manuscript Evidence and its Similarities to the Imagery of the Caesar Cult.

Part 2

UPDATE JANUARY 17, 2010: What I have found out since posting these four parts will require a major rewrite. Parts 2, 3 and 4 will be broken up. Videos showing where Christianity got The Crucifixion FROM will be presented. The series will rerun under a new title, "The Romans NEVER CRUCIFIED the Way We Think They Did."

Sources:

Jesus was Jehovah - Papyrus Bodmer II (P66)
Wikipedia - Papyrus 66
Earlham.edu - Papyrus 66
Jesus Was Caesar - Part III: Crux
Definition of Chiasma
Ancient Crucifixion Nails
Raving Athiests.com - Domus Aureus Reopens in the New Year


Photo Credit: Earlham.edu


The Papyrus Bodmer II (Papyrus 66)

The Papyrus Bodmer II (Papyrus 66) is an interesting document. Dating to about 200 CE, it has some curious abbreviations for the various forms of the Greek noun stauros, cross or crux, and the various conjugations of the verb staurow, to crucify. Following are a few examples from page 137 of the manuscript:

Line 3 – John 19:16 – verb “to be crucified” - staurothe - abbreviated as s tau-rho the

Line 6 – John 19:18 – verb “crucified” - staurosan - abbreviated as s tau-rho san

Line 10 – John 19:19 – noun “cross” - staurou - abbreviated as s tau-rho ou

What is going on here is that copyists, as early as 200CE, have been inserting staurograms and Christograms for the letters “t,a,u” and “r” in the Greek noun stauros, the verb staurow, and all their variants. A staurogram is a pictorial representation of a human body being affixed to a Crux Immissa (Tropaeum) – Latin Cross – or a Crux Commissa – St Anthony’s Cross. Below is a diagram of the three monograms (the staurogram and two Christograms) combining the Greek letters, from left to right, Tau and Rho, Chi and Rho (the first two letters of Xristos, “Christ”), and Iota and Chi (initials for Iesous Xristos, “Jesus Christ”). I shall note here that the Greek letter Chi is also the first letter of the word xiasma, meaning a cross-piece of wood.


Diagram Credit: WCAC - Online Horizon


Now what is interesting about the staurougram on the left, is that the letters “tau” and “rho” are drawn as a UNIT. In other words, the Crucified One and his Cross once were two but by crucifixion had become one. And as we shall see in the next installment, Physics of Crucifixion, it’s not just the nails that will make the two one! It probably took the seat of the cross called the “sedile” a.k.a. “cornu,” as I have noted in the previous installments, to enable the two to unite into one.


Similarity to the Imagery of the Cult of Divus Iulius (Julius Caesar)

What’s also curious about these monograms is that the first resembles the nailing of the wax effigy of Julius Caesar on a Crux Immissa (Tropaeum) and the other two look awfully similar to the Comet Pictogram of Divus Iulius, aka the deified Julius Caesar. I presume it helped the Christians operate under the radar of the pre-Constantine Roman Empire.


Wax Effigy of Julius Caesar nailed to a Tropaeum. Note it is similar or identical to a Crux Immissa. The nails used could have been brass ones like the ones shown here.
Photo Credit: Francesco Carotta


Comparison of the Christusmonogram and the Sidus Iulium
Photo Credit: “Nero's Domus Aureus Reopens in the New Year” (Calpurnpiso)


This seems like a diversion but I believed it necessary to discuss the similarities of the Staurogram and the Christograms to see how very similar icons can develop independently one from another. I’m sure Justin Martyr would agree… it was he who said that the Pagan savior-gods and the cult of emperor worship were invented by the Devil! And there are critics who say Christianity itself is built on nothing but plagiarism!


Part 4

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Crucifixion – The Bodily Support - Part 2 - Archaeological Evidence.


Part 1

UPDATE JULY 31, 2012 - Added information and links for second gem shown. Also revised interpretation of Alexamenos Graffito (he is wearing a tunic) with an added link, made corrections and added new information to Lex Puteoli, revised interpretation of Pozzuoli graffito with an added link, added new information to Pompeiian Graffiti.


UPDATE JANUARY 17, 2010: What I have found out since posting these four parts will require a major rewrite. Parts 2, 3 and 4 will be broken up. Videos showing where Christianity got The Crucifixion FROM will be presented. The series will rerun under a new title, "The Romans NEVER CRUCIFIED the Way We Think They Did."

Sources:

Crucifixion in Antiquity
Was Jesus Crucified in the Manner Shown?
Mishnah - Shabbat 6:10 - Crucifixion Nails
Crucifixion Bone Fragment - Jehohanan (article revised and reposted with New Analysis)
New Analysis of Crucifixion Bone fragment - Jehohanan (article deleted)
Crucifixion Graffito Found in Pompeii
Puzzuoli Article in Italian (Translation with help of “Google Translator.”)
Medical Theories on the Cause of Death in Crucifixion
"A Forensic Way of the Cross" Frederick T. Zugibe, M.D., Ph.D.
Regio I - Insula XIII - Domus delle Gorgoni
University of Texas - Roman Civic Images - Graffito
Flicker Photo Album - Graffito Blasphemo - excellent photos!
Jehovah's Witnesses.net - Facts on Crucifixion
The Crucifixion Graffito of the Palatine
1st Century Crucifixion Nail Found in Archaeological Dig
Crucifixion Nails and Spikes for Sale
Crucifixion Gem with Kneeling Supplicants
Magical Amulet from Gaza Representing Jesus Christ on Cross
Jesus Was Nailed to the Cross - Jasper Gem dated 200 CE shows crucified hanging
British Museum Magical Gem / Intaglio - Click on image of Jasper Gem for large HD image.
Cambridge Journals / Harvard Theolog. Review - Crucifixion Conundrum and the Santa Sabina Doors
Excerpt from Crucifixion Conundrum and the Santa Sabina Doors
Jewish Encyclopaedia, "Ass-Worship", paragraph: Origin in the Egyptian Typhon-Worship
Clear Image of Pozzuoli Graffito (downloadable!)

Jehohanan's Crucifixion.




Despite all the people the Romans crucified, no crucified remains were found before 1968. An obviously reason is that the bodies usually were torn apart by scavengers instead of buried – but they were buried in Judea! Another reason is that the nails and whips were taken home by the superstitious locals for use as magic talismans with healing properties of some sort. The Jewish Rabbis permitted Jews to do this, even on the weekly Sabbath (The Mishnah, Shabbath 6.10). In 1968, Jewish tomb containing an ossuary (a stone box containing bones) was discovered at a construction site in Jerusalem and dated to about 21 CE. In the ossuary, archaeologists found the remains of a young Jewish man who was crucified in the 1st Century CE. As was the custom of the day, the victim’s name – Jehohanan son of Hagaqol - was scratched on the back side of the box. He was determined to be in his twenties when he was killed. His executioners apparently had some difficulty pulling out the nails that transfixed Jehohanan to his cross or stake (let's assume cross). The nail was still piercing his Calcaneum (heel bone) when his remains were found and analysed. The model of the nailed foot pictured (left photo) demonstrates the actual heel bone of Jehohanan (right photo).



The man’s feet were not nailed to the front of the cross with a single nail, because it turns out the nail was too short for that purpose. It appears his heels were nailed to the outsides of the stipes (main upright) with one nail each. He was straddling the stipes, legs spread about a foot wide, with his heels nailed to either side (see drawing above). This would likely make the genitals appear prominent. And despite the loincloth shown, it was likely Jehohanan was crucified completely naked.

As shown in the remnant and the model, the nail passed first through a square or rectangular washer, made of wood. A bit of the original washer was still present between Jehohanan’s heel and the nail head. Tests showed it was from either an acacia or pistacia tree. The wooden washer broadened the head of the nail, making it very difficult for Jehohanan to pull himself free. The heel was tightly secured between the washer and the stipes. After hammering the nail through the plaque of wood the soldier responsible hammered it through the heel bone into the stipes. Combined with the washer, the nail placement made it virtually impossible for Jehohanan to free himself. The heel bone is also a logical place in the foot to secure the nail for it can support half the full weight of the body.

When the nail penetrated the stipes, it hit a knot and turned back on itself, hooking itself into the wood. Vassilios Tsaferis, Zias, and others tested the wood that still clung to the hooked point, but found that the amount was insufficient to determine the species.

Jehohanan’s lower leg bones (tibia and fibula) were shown to be broken at a 60 to 65 degree angle. Originally Tsaferis postulated that the crucified had his legs broken the same day he was crucified to hasten death so that he could be buried before sundown per Jewish Torah Code (Deuteronomy 21:22-23). But tests have determined that they had been broken post-mortem (Hershel Shanks); that means Jehohanan died on his cross and could have been suffering on that cross for days! This means once the Romans replaced the Hasmonean Kings with their own Prefects, Roman laws probably applied to crucifixion: no burial of the crucified allowed. Even so, they still could have deferred to local custom, allowed burial after the crucified passed on, or made exceptions to the Roman laws for days like Caesar’s birthday, local high holy days and the like (John 19:31).

After Jehohanan died, the soldiers began removing the nails to take him off of the cross so his family could bury him. He may have been still crucified on the eve of a holy day, since the authorities, per request, had him taken down and permitted his relatives to bury him. But the soldiers who tried to extract the nail from his right foot, they found out it was impossible because the nail was hooked into the knot. So they yanked his foot loose, pulling the washer, nail and knot with it. Nineteen hundred years later, when the archaeologists analysed his bones, they found the whole assembly intact. They had unearthed a very important clue as to how Romans crucifiied people.

The Pompeii Graffiti.

As we all know, Mount Vesuvius blew up and buried Pompeii and Herculaneum in ash in 79 CE. A short phrase about crucifixion was found on a wall in Pompeii and perhaps other graffiti as well:
…[The] word crux has been found in Pompeii, as for example, one published in Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, Vol. IV., at No. 2082, ‘In cruce figarus.’ Professor Zangermeister says figarus stands for figaris.
Source: Edward Walford, John Charles cox and George Latimer Apperson, editors. The Antiquary, Volume 34, “The Antiquary’s Note-Book, [heading] The Crucifixion Graffito of the Palatine,” pp. 148-149

The graffito in question certainly does read "IN CRVCE FIGARVS" which translates as "may you be fixed on / by a crux. yes, "by." Not, "may you be nailed to a cross" as so many scholars interpret. It's all in the simple rules of the Latin. You see, when the preposition in is joined with the ablative, and cruce is the ablative of crux, it becomes a locational-instrumental ablative, such as in hoc signo vinces "in / by this sign you will conquer" or caput adfixum gestari iussit in pilo, "he ordered the head carried about, affixed to / by a pike". So graffito was an obscenity of the worst kind, and the sort of crucifixion wished upon the dear reader was a va te faire crucifixion, either a simple direct impalement or a crucifixion on a cross equipped with a cornu.

The Puzzuoli Graffito.



This Graffito was found in Puzzuoli, Italy. I am not sure of what time period it is dated to; the graffito was discovered in the old ampitheatre at Puzzuoli, Italy and presented by Fr. Umberto Fasola before a conference of the International Congress of Sindonology in Turin, Italy in 1978. Following is an interpretation by Gino Zaniotto:
The element of crucifixion is a crux commissa. (Tau Cross) The crucified man is attached to the patibulum, hanging by his wrists. Each foot, in opposition, is fixed with one nail. He is riding a “cornu” and is presenting a divergence of the knees. His body seems covered with animal skin likely to attract the beasts to the conclusion of the torture to make havoc of the corpse and devour what they can tear off of it.

He appears to be depicted from behind as in the “graffito blasphemo” of Palatine Hill in Rome with arms extended and hands attached to the end of the patibulum. There do not appear to be any ropes or rings. His feet are secured, probably nailed, to the stipes in opposition to each other. At a third of the way up the stipes projects a little pale, on which ‘rides’ the crucified. Its function is to support the weight of his body. It is clearly seen that the arms are outstretched; also there appears to be a circular motion of his right hand around the wound in his wrist: this is probably not random if one considers the crudeness of the design. Surrounding graffiti are in the Greek alphabet, presumably inscribed in a period after this graffito was created. The first four letters show a hand different from that which affected the subsequent letters. Because of its location along the highway to Cuma, it is considered that the taberna (backstage? canteen? tavern?) remained in operation mainly in the 1st Century CE. It is also possible that it was in the time following the opening of the Via Domitiana. The dating to the 1st Century CE is corroborated by examinations of the wall that was built in "opus reticulatum" (network of works). The simple lines of this engraving shows the dramatic description of the “servile supplicium” lacks any figurative information. We could say that the most humble of Fine Arts was responsible for sending a crucifixion, which, like pantomime, was then the latest in performing arts.

There may be references to a cult or mocking of Christian graffiti at this site as well….

Fr. Fasola believes that the graffiti depicts an individual male crucified in the Puteoli amphitheater…. [According to Fr. Fasola, it] is… of a crucified man in complete nudity. The trunk lines are strongly stretched to emphasize the ribs for the expansion of the chest. The signs of asphyxiation were given by mouth wide open as to the person who, feeling choked, is trying to breathe air. And the person who likely drew the graffiti "was to bring a strong impression in the memory of the show"
Source: Gino Zaninotto, “La Crocifissione Negli Spettacoli Latini Il Graffito Della Taberna Di Pozzuoli,” Collegamento Pro Sindone, 1987 September/October, p. 18-26 (link below).

My interpretation: This is definitely a man. Note the strong V-shape and the narrow hips. Not also that the undercarriage (genitals viewed from the back) are visible below the line of the left leg.* (Better image here.) It appears that his penis is erect, slightly above vertical, and his testicles are drawn up to the body. There is no evidence of ropes or rings anywhere. The crucifixion execution is presented from the back. The crux appears to be a crux commissa: the stipes (main post) ends at the patibulum, but there is a narrow post above it, presumably for the missing titulus.. The condemned man appears to be astride and slightly above a mockery of a seat called the “sedile.” It is crudely drawn in: it appears to resemble an uncircumcised penis, pointing out and at a slight down angle –- but with a thornlike peg (acuta crux) (cornu) (skolops) of an undisclosed length penetrating the crucified through his anus. The ancient writers, both Christian and non-Christian, would shed more light on how the “cornu” was oriented. The crucified at the very least, undoubtedly was screaming in pain from the nails and the racking effect of being suspended by his wrists with outstretched arms. His feet are shown to be nailed to the stipes and his legs appear to be very obscenely spread. His back is covered with stripes; possibly from being scourged prior to being lifted up by his nailed wrists and nailed in place through his heels.

* I have seen photos of female aquatic athletes in embarassing positions and the female undercarriage does not look like the undercarriage of the portrayed subject of this graffito, for the curvatures are opposite.

Aanother peculiar thing about this graffito is that the crucified is apparently depicted to be smiling. It is as though he was enjoying the ride -- the tagger definitely drew him in a state of arousal. If that is the depiction, this graffito is a mockery of the someone the artist knew, and was crucified. Or it is his pornographic fantasy of seeing a young male crucified. And the spectators in an ampitheatre would most certainly get a kick out of one crucified enjoying it. That’s Rome for you!

Concerning Fr. Fasola’s determination that the crucified was suffering asphyxiation, Dr. Frederick T. Zugibe had found through controlled experiments that crucified people with their hands secured so that their arms formed the presumably typical suspension angle of 60 to 70 degrees from vertical, the people had no trouble breathing and their blood oxygen remained steady or increased. At least in his lab this was true, where he used straps and special gloves in lieu of ropes and nails, so the crucified people can come down from the cross and walk away unharmed. And under the Roman Empire, those nailed to the cross reportedly survived for several hours or more typically, days. So it appears the asphyxiation hypothesis for death from Roman crucifixion, with the arms raised no more than 60 degrees from vertical, has been debunked.

Another possibility this graffito is showing is that the cornu was pointed down and the crucified was unable to either ride it, probably leading to a quick death within an hour or two through exhaustion, severe cramping and finally asphyxiation, depending upon the final position of the arms. Executions carried out and experiments conducted (including by the Nazis) have indicated that when people were suspended by their arms with their wrists at 40” apart or less, asphyxiation would rapidly occur.

The Funeral / Execution Contractor’s Posted Regulations.

The House of the Gorgons in Ostia was discovered just prior to or during the beginning of the Second World War. There have been several interpretations as to what it was, like a wealthy residence or a brothel. Further investigation revealed it to be a funeral, execution and executed body disposal contractor. One the site was posted an inscription (since lost) of the regulations that governed this type of contractor.

Other inscriptions were found in Puteoli and Cumae. They are postings of the regulations, called the “leges libitinariae,” that are applicable to this sort of enterprise. Lines 8 through 14 describes the requirement for the executing contractor for carrying out a crucifixion in the original Latin with the parts in parentheses added by the interpreter:

8. Qui supplic(ium) de ser(vo) servave privatim sumer(e) volet, uti is sumi volet ita supplic(ium) sumet, si in cruc(em)

9. patibul(atum) agere volet, redempt(or) asser(es) vincul(a) restes verberatorib(us) et verberator(es) praeber(e) d(ebeto), et

10. quisq(uis) supplic(ium) sumet pro oper(is) sing(ulis) quae patibul(um) ferunt
verberatorib(us)q(ue) item carnif(ici) HS IIII d(are) d(ebeto)

11. Quot(iens) supplic(ium) magistrat(us) public(e) sumet, ita imperat(o); quotienscumq(ue) imperat(um) er(it), praestu esse su-

12. p(p)licium sumer(e) cruces statuere clavos pecem ceram candel(as) quaeq(ue) ad eas res opus erunt red(emptor)

13. gratis praest(are) debeto; item si u(n)co extrahere iussus erit, oper(is) russat(is) id cadaver ubi plura

14. cadavera erunt cum tintinnabulo extrahere debebit.

The English translation below was provided by (Mr. or Dr.) Jan Theo Bakker at the webpage titled “Regio I – Insula XIII – Domus delle Gorgoni” (link at top). After using online translators, I made a some changes shown in italics where I thought they were more true to the Latin.

8. If someone, privately, wants to inflict punishment on a male or female slave, then the punishment must be inflicted in the way that has been asked for, so that if he wishes to drive to the crux

9. the patibulated [slave]**, the contractor must provide the beams, the fetters, the whips for the floggers, and the floggers, and

10. each person asking for inflicting punishment must pay 4 sesterces for each worker carrying the crossbeam, and for each flogger, and likewise for the executioner.

11. For each public punishment the magistrate must give the appropriate orders. Each time the orders have been given the contractor must guarantee

12. that the punishment will be inflicted, that the cruces will be erected, that there will be nails, pitch, wax, candles or wax-lights, and everything that is needed,

13. free of charge. Furthermore, if the order has been given to drag the body away with a hook, the contractor must guarantee that the corpse will be dragged

14. to the place where many corpses will be by workers clothed in red, using a signal-bell.
** The phrase "if he wishes to drive to the crux the patibulated slave" meaning if he wants to impel the slave bound to the patibulum on the way to the crux / cross. The original Latin without interpreter's marks was "SI IN CRUC PATIBUL AGERE VOLET" could be either si in crucem patibulatum agere volet as above, or si in crucem patibulo agere volet, meaning, if he wishes to drive [the slave] onto the crux from a patibulum, that is, hang him from the transverse of the cross and impale him on its acuta-crux or on a separate stake. Note the second instance of "PATIBUL" in verse 10 is interpreted as patibulum. So both interpretations are valid.

In verse 12 there is mention of using pitch, wax, and candles or wax-lights. I am of the opinion they were used for nighttime illumination and for insect control, especially at dusk, to benefit the guards. This means the guards often had to watch the crucified overnight, lest somehow he managed to extricate himself from his cross or someone removed him from it. Which means he was still alive; this strongly hints at a bodily support for the crucified.

The Graffito Blasphemo: "Alexemenos, Worship God."



This crude (and rude!) graffito was found in Rome proper on Palatine Hill. Dr. Tim Moore of the University of Texas interpreted it thusly:

Graffito depicting a crucifixion, from the Palatine Hill, Rome, first half of 3rd cent. AD. The crude graffito shows a crucifix with a donkey's head, seen from behind and dressed in a short tunic. To the left stands a man with the same clothes and his arm raised. Between the two figures is a Greek graffito: “Alexemenos sebete theon” (Alexamenos worships his god). Apparently, the author of the drawing is making fun of a Christian, Alexamenos, who is praying to a god with a donkey's head. The Y visible on the plaster, to the right, at the top, has been interpreted as a symbol of a gallows, or a transcription of a scream of pain. This is one of the oldest representations of the crucifixion.

Now I used to disagree with the object of worship described as “dressed in a short tunic”, but since then I have found better photos of this graffito. There is evidence of a shirtsleeve flap drawn on the victim's right upper arm near his shoulder. He is obviously shown naked from the buttocks down – although men appear shown in a similar state of dress/undress on Trajan’s Column (except they are wearing leather riding trousers of the same length as our capri pants) - and Romans crucified the condemned completely naked. The neckline of the tunic represented; the same lack of a neckline shows on Alexameno's tunic also. The strong horizontal line that Dr Moore interpreted as the bottom of the tunic is suspiciously at the level of the perianal region (crotch and anus). The graffito artist drew lines to represent the lines of the buttocks and shoulders, plus the knee and elbow joints! Still, the thick black line at the crucified’s crotch and anus level seems to indicate what the tagger knew was coming next... the installation of the seat of the cross, itself an acuta crux (Seneca, Epistles 101:10-12).

Here are my other observations. A suppedaneum is represented here for support of the feet. The legs are drawn spread apart. The crucified’s genitals may be portrayed, but that is just a blemish in the rock. There are lines that may appear to indicate rope bindings on the arms of the crucified person.

And the Y visible on the plaster next to the donkey's head has also been interpreted to represent the Egyptian Gnostic deity Typhon-Seth, which has been indicated on numerous defixiones (curse tablets, usually lead plates transpierced with iron nails) that have been discovered by archaeologists.

It has been noted back at the end of the 19th Century that there was at least one other cross on Palatine Hill that had been utterly obliterated by an offended Christian, who left only traces of the cross itself remaining. It may be identical with, or a separate, damaged graffito from the Crestus graffito.

Tertullian (wrote 190 – 220 CE) saw a graffito with a similar portrayal of the crucified one worshipped by Alexamenos! He notes:
"A new representation of our god has quite recently been publicized in this city, started by a certain criminal hired to dodge wild beasts in the arena. He displayed a picture with this inscription: 'Onokoites, the god of the Christians'. The figure had the ears of an ass, one foot was cloven, and it was dressed in a toga and carrying a book. We laughed at both the caption and the cartoon" (Apologeticus, 16.12-14).
Nails.

A nail from the time of Christ's crucifixion which was hidden by the same knights who featured in The Da Vinci Code has been found in an archaeological dig. According to Archaeologist Bryn Walters, the iron nail is of the type used in thousands of crucifixions and dates from the 1st to 2nd Century CE. Other crucifixion nails have been the objects of collectors. A pair have recently been sold over the internet.

Crucifixion Gems.

These are two ancient Crucifixion gems showing upright posture and legs spread wide. Whoever made these gems could very well have had first-hand eyewitness knowledge of someone being crucified.


This first one was made sometime between 200 CE and 600 CE (although some claim it’s from the Middle Byzantine period). But Jesus appears to have short hair! That prejudices me toward an early date. Note the angle of the two kneeling supplicants (one looks like an Orthodox priest!) on either side of the crucified Jesus. This posture determines the vertical line of the stipes of the cross. So, I have provided a “T” to indicate the cross because the gem was produced without one yet shows him in his apparent crucified position – no loincloth, arms stretched out, erect posture, buttocks slightly forward of the cross, legs slightly spread and feet apparently nailed to the sides of the stipes, like Jehohanan’s feet were. It may have been that the creator of this gem thought the cross itself was too obscene to show.



View large HD image at the British Museum website,
by clicking on identical image there same size as this.

This second one is dated from the late 2nd Century to 3rd Century CE. Like the Alexamenos graffito, the crucified person, identified as IHCOY XRICTE (Jesus Christ [in the vocative case]), is affixed to a “T”, or an impaling stake below and a transverse beam above, with his feet about 2 feet above the low end of the upright. This means the patibulum is about 7 feet above the ground. Notice the legs are spread obscenely and painfully wide in this one: kind of like an equestrian rider, but it is meant to show, in my opinion, that the subject is undergoing a crucifixion that includes some kind of impalement: either on a stout, outrigged cornu or the upright itself. Also, the hands do not appear to be nailed to the patibulum but merely bound with ropes with the arms spread out, but relaxed. The feet seem to lack a suppedaneum. This definitely is meant to show that the victim is firmly supported by something. Otherwise, he is hanging. Also, the head of the victim is turned to the left out of shame – the person is portrayed with short hair and a beard. There are gouges in the chest on the left side and the abdomen in the middle, suggesting fatal wounds and blood flows. Curiously, there is the suggestion of an erection on the person -- no Christian would portray the crucified Jesus like that today! Yet in earlier photographs, this suggestion is retouched to make the erection obvious (example below). Besides, erect phalluses were considered apotropaic back then.


There are also names of apparent Egyptian beings that are invoked -- Badetophoth and Satraperkmephthe. So the possibility is strong that this is an occult Gnostic Christian, Jewish Christian or Pagan gem. This is in keeping with ancient Roman magical and therapeutic practice where there was a high demand for crucifixion nails and even fragments of those nails. Acts 19:13-17 is an anecdote of a Jewish Exorcist using the name of Ιησους Χριστος (early manuscripts show only the genitive IY XY of the Nomina Sacra IC XC). And Lucan's Pharsalia (Civil War) 6,538-553 speaks of a witch that harvests ropes, nails and even rancid bodily fluids from a person executed by crucifixion.

Both gems appear to be consistent with Roman crucifixion practice: don’t set the condemned so low that they exhaust themselves trying to breathe and asphyxiate within minutes once they finally hang in the down position. They also suggest the Romans supplied some sort of item that kept the condemned postures erect and crucified them in a manner (like nailing the feet through the ankles to the sides, although neither gem shows any nailing!) that kept their legs spread and their private parts exposed as their upper bodies hung down. All the more to humiliate them by making them appear “shameless.”

Part 3

Crucifixion – The Bodily Support - Part 1.



1-5-2013 Additional Information under the series, "The Romans NEVER CRUCIFIED the Way We Think They Did." Text below slightly revised.

Sources:

Perseus Digital Library - Crux
Crucifixion or 'Crucifiction' in Ancient Egypt?
Laucus Curtis - Crux
Crucifixion in Antiquity
BELIEVE Religious Info Source Website - Crucifixion

Introduction.

The Romans figured out early on that the crucified individual needed vertical support and horizontal restraint at his midsection, as made obvious in modern-day experiments and re-enactments. So what did the Romans do? Instead of providing just a short cantilever with an upright in front of the body, which is all that is needed to provide the necessary support and restraint, they designed the sedile (seat or support) aka cornu (horn) to provide the maximum amount of excruciating pain, degradation, shame and humiliation to the victim. In other words, they designed an impaler, making the cross a kind of erect (aroused) male.

This was the item that gave Seneca cause to in writing rebuke Maecenas (who said he’d rather live at the expense of suffering, even if he had to sit on "the piercing cross," than die) and by implication to call the standard Roman Imperial method of crucifixion, a turpitude of an effeminate secular ritual.  Called a monokeros / rhinoceros horn (unicorn) by Justin Martyr, a point by Iraeneus, a projection / transgression of a seat, a rhinoceros horn, and possibly a stake and a pale by Tertullian and a tree trunk by Pope Innocent III (now how would he know?), this utterly obscene device, projecting or offset on a cantilever from the vertical post, could very well have caused the crucified’s anus to be pierced, penetrated and dilated as deep and wide as can be whenever he needed to sit and rest. Furthermore, there is no indication in either the gospels, anyplace else in the New Testament, or on the Shroud of Turin that indicates that Jesus’ reported crucifixion was anything other than the Roman Empire's standard operating procedure, unless it was some procedure that was equally tortuous and humiliating.

A Short History.

Crucifixion evolved from three different practices that used to be common all over the Mediterranean and the Middle East. The Romans started out under the old Etruscan Kings with the punishment known as “arbor infelix” by which one was suspended by the neck from a Y-shaped yoke with a bar between the arms of the yoke, or by the person’s wrists tied to the arms of the yoke, or from the fork of a dead tree, then scourged til death. The Egyptians, Assyrians, Persians all practiced some form of impalement where the condemned was impaled by a post or pole, either alive or dead. The Behistun Inscription makes it clear that Persians executed people by impaling them. The ancient Israelites had the practice of hanging someone from a tree after he was legally executed, per the Biblical passage of Deuteronomy 21:22-23. This could have been done by impalement. It was the Persians who were first known to practice crucifixion by means of nailing the condemned to a board and then suspending him, which is noted by the Historian Herodotus in the 5th Century BCE (Herodotus 9.120.4). Herodotus commonly used the verbs ἀνασκολοπίζω (anaskolopizô) and ἀνασταυρόω(anastaurow), both of which meant, before the Roman method of crucifixion evolved to its standard form, “to impale.” But when he described a punishment doled out to a Persian Satrap by a Greek general he instead used the term πρός σανίδας προσπασσαλεύσαντες ἀνεκρέμασαν (pros sanidas prospassaleusantes anekremasan), which meant “and there nailed him to boards and suspended him” (9.120.4). From the ancient Egyptians, Assyrians, Persians or unknown others the practice spread rapidly throughout the Mediterranean, with the practice adopted by the Greeks (specifically the Macedonian Empire), the Phoenicians, and the Carthaginians. It is noted that Alexander the Great is said to have suspended 2,000 survivors of his siege of Tyre out on the beach close to the city.

It is from the Carthaginians that the Romans picked up the idea of crucifixion or impalement by means of attaching people to boards and suspending the boards. The Carthaginians were noted for their cruelty and reportedly utilized the practice only too frequently as a form of punishment. There was even a report out of Carthage that a father had his son so suspended! After Hannibal had suspended an Italian Guide for unintentionally misleading him in 217 BCE, the Romans picked up on the practice and executed some 25 slaves in the same manner. And it was the Romans who then “improved” the practice into a ritual or a secular liturgy, that is, a standard operating procedure, that involved first, public nudity, scourging and other tortures, bearing the instrument of execution or a part of it (like a crossarm) through town, nailing to the crossarm, lifting up which induced a racking by gravity, nailing to the main post, exposure to the elements and the public, and provision of a bodily support, all in order to provide the maximum amount of sustained torture in extreme pain, agony, anguish, degradation and utter public humiliation. Outside the ampitheatre where quick deaths and spectacle were popular, crucified persons typically had to suffer for two days or more; in one report (or legend) two such people, a husband and wife who were Christians, allegedly survived for nine days before they perished.

Part 2