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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Lindisfarne Gospels 6

There has been some discussion as to whether this symbol to the left of the name is a chi rho. It has been so identified in this lecture.

And on these two coins both symbols are identified as a chi rho here. I am not sure that it is in any way important that this symbol be identified but it is convenient to give it a name. I understand it to be a vertical chi rho but I have also seen it called a 'rho cross' elsewhere.

I hope to write more about the ampersand next.



At Mon Mar 05, 02:15:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Thank you, Suzanne. I don't think the links you give are to authoritative scholarly sites, and there is clearly some confusion. But there seems no doubt that in Egypt the chi-rho and tau-rho were semantically distinct symbols, rather than glyph variants of the same symbol. Whether this was true in the West is not so clear. It is the chi-rho form which appears on Constantine's coins as well as those of Magnentius; the tau-rho is found only on the coin of Arcadius, who was emperor in the East only two generations after Constantine, and on the Bagshot cross from about the same later period.

At Mon Mar 05, 08:01:00 AM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...


On a previous post I added a reference to Michelle Brown. I certainly do consider her authoritative without a doubt and she called this symbol a chi rho. This was my first reference and I had read her lectures before posting originally. I didn't quote her then because I didn't think this interpretation would be challenged.

It could also, I believe, be called a rho cross. However,I believe that it is a serious mistake to call this symbol in the Lindisfarne manuscript a tau rho.

At Mon Mar 05, 10:25:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Thank you, Suzanne. Now that I have seen the Michelle Brown attribution I accept that this is a good scholarly site. I also accept that "rho cross" would be a better name that "tau rho" in a western context.


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