This thread will attempt to document and discuss various evidences that the 'Chrest..' associated with Mithraism and such as the Flavian emperors was later converted to the 'Christ..' that we are much more familiar with today. This thread will also pursue the notion that Mithraism was not in competition with Christianity, but rather that Mithraism's elite adherents were the elders if not the fathers of the Christian Church of Rome. The first piece of evidence is the central panel of the Sarcophagus of Domatilla from the mid-4th century CE. This is named for Flavia Domatilla, the niece of Flavian emperors Titus and Domitian, and an early saint of the Roman Catholic Church. The below is from http://mountainman.com.au/essenes/chi rho.htm , and provides images of numerous depictions of the Chi-Rho going back to Ptolomy III in the 3rd century BCE. For a full image of the Sarcophagus of Domatilla see here: http://www.christianiconography.info/aict/sarcophagusDomatilla.html. And here for a similar sarcophagus from the same general period. alpha (Α or α) and omega (Ω or ω) letters What immediately struck me on seeing this central panel was how the entire scene so clearly evokes the Mithraic tauroctony, however the central image of Perseus killing the Bull has been replaced by the Chi-Rho, already long familiar to the cognoscenti of the day. Similarly, several other minor elements have been 'borrowed' from the typical tauroctony tableau, and which still imply the transition of one age to the next. Remarkably, there is still Carrier-esque resistance in academia to what is clearly obvious, especially given the intellectual sensibilities of the cognoscenti of those centuries. Namely, that cosmological ponderings within a zodiacal contextual framework was considered the Science of the Day. Also of unique interest is that the Chi-Rho is placed immediately atop a very minimalist cross, more typical of a 'modern' Protestant metaphorical depiction. In this combined sense the Chi-Rho is indeed shouting to us that it is representing Christ atop the cross. How interesting for such symbolism as such an early depiction of a crucifixion cross, especially given the surrounding literalism of the other four gospel scenes. Before returning to the Chi-Rho element let's first examine the 'retained' elements that are visible: Tauroctonies frequently display Helios, the Sun, in the upper-left corner and Luna, the Moon, in the upper-right, both looking down on the central scene. In future depictions of the crucifix, the Sun and the Moon (more literally) will be displayed in the same relative positions. Directly under the sacrificed bull of a tauroctony is usually a large snake, which we can see ambiguated into something that looks like a billowing ribbon just behind the common upright of the cross and Chi-Rho. On closer examination we can discern that we are seeing the ends of the ribbon that is being used to bind the bottom of the wreath to the upright (while the top of the wreath is being held by an odd bird's head that almost evokes a Gothic era gargoyle). Ignoring the visual 'cover' of the wreath binding, it otherwise clearly evokes the Mithraic 'snake'. Also normally standing below the sacrificed bull of the tauroctony are Cautes and Cautopates, the torchbearers (whom some equate with Castor and Pollux as well), of whom one has his torch pointing up and the other's is pointing down. This has been transposed to having one guard looking up and the other down. (In a later post here I will discuss Castor and Pollux as sometimes cleverly depicted by the two thieves crucified on either side of Jesus.) Two birds are depicted perching on the opposing arms of the cross. Ravens (as Corvus) are part of the Mithraic motif, and represent the lowest ranking adepts of the order. But this feature can be dismissed as too generic possibly. Perhaps most subtle imagery of all are the two opposing flourishes just outside the 'wreath' at 10 and 2 o'clock. One can see explicit, yet subtle, Greek letters for 'Alpha' and 'Omega' with many Chi-Rho symbols, and here I say that the artist and/or the commissioner of the piece wanted to cleverly depict the alpha (Α or α) and omega (Ω or ω) letters in a way that could be denied, if needed for some reason. The Gospels have Jesus saying that he is the Alpha and Omega, and as I, and others, have asserted these terms referring to the end of one cyclical Age, and the immediate Beginning of a New Age. Contra Carrier, these ages were demarcated by the transitions from one zodiacal zone to the next, albeit that we are not privy to the means of determining the precise datum points. What we do know is the the Christian 'Christ' was accorded the imagery of the sacrificial lamb, and later we'll even see a lamb depicted atop a crucifixion cross. The surviving, saved, adherents of the new age are accorded the symbology of the Fish. The age prior to the lamb/sheep/ram, was preceded in turn by the Bull, who is sacrificed and the event attended by the Gemini twins Castor and Pollux. Finally, we can look at the wreath, which actually represents the "crown of thorns", made obvious by its depiction in 3 of the 4 other adjacent gospel scenes. With the crown of thorns placed so around the extremes of the Chi's 'X', the cosmological aspect of the symbology becomes much more apparent. The angle of the 'X' more clearly evokes the angle of the 'crossing' [sic] solar system ecliptic with the Earth's equatorial ecliptic. It is during this 'crossing' time that the esoteric adherents of such as Mithraism would account for the datum points of transition, and thus Christianity would assign the dates for Easter and such. And Jesus enters the Temple Mount through the "Golden Gate" (the Eastern Gate), which links back to the older Egyptian system, using the same name and concept of a Golden Gate. In a subsequent next post we'll examine the letter that comes after the Chi-Rho, and we'll see that the 'E' was much more common in display than the 'I' of Christ, and we'll discuss why. But for now, its good to know that the Christian saint, Flavia Domatilla, was associated by blood with those who are recorded in association with the 'E', as in Chrest. OK, and also that she was married to a Flavian cousin that scuttlebutt has it was also one and the same as Pope Clement I, and the latter whose death, at the will of cousin Domitian, evokes that of St. Peter's. The above is a 15th century depiction of Saint Domatilla from Umbria holding what appears like a Jesuit IHS Christogram with the typical solar flares, albeit the first letter(s?) seems problematic as an 'I'. Note the depicted tint of her hair, a common feature feature for such royals and members of the 'holy' family(s).