Rome's Secret Christians

Richard Stanley

Well-Known Member

This may be the best of Jacobovici's episodes. It begins with symbolic evidence of proto-Christianity found within a cave used by Roman troops before their assault on Jerusalem. There are several cross symbols, a solar representation of Sol Invictus, and a definitively Roman military symbol for a legion standard.

The crude 'stick figure' crosses are interesting because they are not of the type normally depicted for a crucifixion, ignoring here that more typically the actual crucifixion crosses were 'capital T' shaped. Instead they were equilateral and most interestingly all four arms had angled flares at the tips. This is highly evocative of the flared Templar Cross commonly seen today, including worn by Catholic functionaries.

Next they moved to Megiddo where an early 2nd century 'house church' had been discovered with an esoteric mosaic on the floor. In the center of an octangle were two fishes which were then surrounded by 8 symbols, of which I cannot identify or associate easily with the 12 zodiac signs. The mosaic, at least, was funded by a Roman centurion and the house was part of the permanent Roman encampment, which immediately abutted a Jewish village. The writing embedded in the mosaic mentions "our god, Jesus Christ". This is clearly a usage which the early Christians as depicted by normative conventions does not allow for, thus this is a form of otherwise aberrant Christianity, at a very early stage, placing it in a status with such as gnostic forms. All of which indicate esoteric beliefs predating the Roman imposition of normative Christianity for the hoi polloi.

Next comes the city of Dura Europas, where what was clearly a Christian Church in the midst of a community whose purpose was as a Roman military frontier fortress. Not discussed in the doc was that a Jewish synogogue was also found there with elaborate wall murals depicting OT stories.

Now the discussion begins to focus on what quickly becomes a common inscription across the empire, and in a place like Pompeii can be linked to a Christian couple living there. The inscription is something called the Sator Square which is a Latin word square of 5 letter palindromes. A computer expert was consulted who determined that over 50,000 such Latin 5 letter words are possible.

One possible interpretation using the literal word meanings was that AREPO (a name perhaps), the sower (SATOR) holds (TENET), the wheel (ROTAS) in work (OPERA). AREPO is not a Latin word and thus perhaps a name or just a necessary filler needed to complete the word cross as the reverse aspect of OPERA.

Here it was noted that the middle word, TENET, forms an equilateral cross. What they did not mention or notice was that the outer words form a kind of rotating wheel and thus the cross forms four spokes.

Next they decided to try to see if they could make something by using all the letters. And after a bit they came up with Pater Noster. But they didn't go any further with this, or I fell asleep.

In any case, it became apparent to me, that given that the Hellenized Jews of the period were already well into using the zodiac, as witnessed by the floor mosiac at the synogogue at Sepphoris(?), and thus that the deeper esoteric meaning being searched for was that Our Father (the Sun), is the sower that holds the wheel in work.

The basis of the zodiacal system, which is also at the root of Romanized Mithraism, depends upon the Precession of the Equinoxes, of which the Sun (as Sol and/or Apollo) is the center of the wheel. Of course, at this point in time the fish was coming into its own, taking over from Aries the ram. Interesting also, to note that Abraham sacrifices a ram in place of Isaac (or Ishmael).

Based upon the evidence at Megiddo and Dura Europas, it was concluded that at least some Romans were collaborating with some Jews on this esoteric belief system. The 'Christian' couple living in decadent Pompeii were apparently not Romans, but of eastern origins.

As is usually the case with most of Jacobovici's works, there is an attempt to always try to fit matters into a framework taking only normative Christianity into account. But in our construct we see the imperial Romans desiring to use pre-existing assets to spread quietly the gospel while pretending to disavow it. In one case covertly using the assets of the imperial cult (the cities of Paul's letters), while here they are using the soldiers to efficiently spread the esoteric aspects that will later take hold of the exoteric imposition by Constantine's time.
Last edited:

Richard Stanley

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the comment, it reminded me to check out the inner ring of letters: PER, and REP. Quite amazing.

The preposition PER has contextual applications for space and time rendering meanings of: (space:) through, all over; (time:) throughout, during; (means:) by, by means of; (cause:) by reason of, for the sake of.

The pseudo-prefix RE-P has various applications connoting such as cyclic iteration.

Another thing that I forgot to point out, was that in the pic of the Sator Square I provided, is that fact that the circular 'O's have an inscribed dot in the middle. This is a common symbol for the Sun.

The manner in which the SATOR and ROTAS are reversed in implied cycle suggest an understanding of the solar impact on at least annual, if not the longer term cycles, such as Precession, of which the astronomer/astrologers of the time were certainly aware.

Also note the rendering of the letter A, of which I have seen before on inscriptions around this time. It would be interesting to make a study of where this letter style was put to use.