Serbian Cyrillic alphabet
The Serbian Cyrillic alphabet is an adaptation of the Cyrillic script for Serbo-Croatian, developed in 1818 by Serbian linguist Vuk Karadžić. It is one of the two alphabets used to write standard modern Serbian and Montenegrin, the other being Latin. In Croatian and Bosnian, only the Latin alphabet is used. Karadžić based his alphabet on the previous "Slavonic-Serbian" script, following the principle of "write as you speak and read as it is written", removing obsolete letters and letters representing iotified vowels, introducing ⟨J⟩ from the Latin alphabet instead, adding several consonant letters for sounds specific to Serbian phonology. During the same period, Croatian linguists led by Ljudevit Gaj adapted the Latin alphabet, in use in western South Slavic areas, using the same principles; as a result of this joint effort and Latin alphabets for Serbo-Croatian have a complete one-to-one congruence, with the Latin digraphs Lj, Nj, Dž counting as single letters. Vuk's Cyrillic alphabet was adopted in Serbia in 1868, was in exclusive use in the country up to the inter-war period.
Both alphabets were co-official in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Due to the shared cultural area, Gaj's Latin alphabet saw a gradual adoption in Serbia since, both scripts are used to write modern standard Serbian and Bosnian. In Serbia, Cyrillic is seen as being more traditional, has the official status, it is an official script in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro, along with Latin. The Serbian Cyrillic alphabet was used as a basis for the Macedonian alphabet with the work of Krste Misirkov and Venko Markovski. Cyrillic is in official use in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Although the Bosnian language "officially accept both alphabets", the Latin script is always used in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, whereas Cyrillic is in everyday use in Republika Srpska; the Serbian language in Croatia is recognized as a minority language, the use of Cyrillic in bilingual signs has sparked protests and vandalism. Cyrillic is an important symbol of Serbian identity.
In Serbia, official documents are printed in Cyrillic only though, according to a 2014 survey, 47% of the Serbian population write in the Latin alphabet whereas 36% write in Cyrillic. The following table provides the upper and lower case forms of the Serbian Cyrillic alphabet, along with the equivalent forms in the Serbian Latin alphabet and the International Phonetic Alphabet value for each letter: According to tradition, Glagolitic was invented by the Byzantine Christian missionaries and brothers Cyril and Methodius in the 860s, amid the Christianization of the Slavs. Glagolitic appears to be older, predating the introduction of Christianity, only formalized by Cyril and expanded to cover non-Greek sounds. Cyrillic was created by the orders of Boris I of Bulgaria by Cyril's disciples at the Preslav Literary School in the 890s; the earliest form of Cyrillic was the ustav, based on Greek uncial script, augmented by ligatures and letters from the Glagolitic alphabet for consonants not found in Greek.
There was no distinction between lowercase letters. The literary Slavic language was based on the Bulgarian dialect of Thessaloniki. Part of the Serbian literary heritage of the Middle Ages are works such as Vukan Gospels, St. Sava's Nomocanon, Dušan's Code, Munich Serbian Psalter, others; the first printed book in Serbian was the Cetinje Octoechos. Vuk Stefanović Karadžić fled Serbia during the Serbian Revolution to Vienna. There he met a linguist with interest in slavistics. Kopitar and Sava Mrkalj helped Vuk to reform its orthography, he finalized the alphabet in 1818 with the Serbian Dictionary. Karadžić reformed the Serbian literary language and standardised the Serbian Cyrillic alphabet by following strict phonemic principles on the Johann Christoph Adelung' model and Jan Hus' Czech alphabet. Karadžić's reforms of the Serbian literary language modernised it and distanced it from Serbian and Russian Church Slavonic, instead bringing it closer to common folk speech to the dialect of Eastern Herzegovina which he spoke.
Karadžić was, together with Đuro Daničić, the main Serbian signatory to the Vienna Literary Agreement of 1850 which, encouraged by Austrian authorities, laid the foundation for the Serbian language, various forms of which are used by Serbs in Serbia, Montenegro and Herzegovina and Croatia today. Karadžić translated the New Testament into Serbian, published in 1868, he wrote several books. In his letters from 1815-1818 he used: Ю, Я, Ы and Ѳ. In his 1815 song book he dropped the Ѣ; the alphabet was adopted in 1868, four years after his death. From the Old Slavic script Vuk retained these 24 letters: He added one Latin letter: And 5 new ones: He removed: Orders issued on the 3 and 13 October 1914 banned the use of Serbian Cyrillic in the Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia, limiting it for use in religious instruction. A decree was passed on January 3, 1915, that banned Serbian Cyrillic from public use. An imperial order in October 25, 1915, banned the use of Serbian Cyrillic in the Condominium of Bosnia and Herzegovina, except "within the scope of Serb Orthodox Church
Kosovo Police is the policing law enforcement agency of Kosovo. The Kosovo Police has grown since 1999, in 2004 reached its planned full size of nearly 7,000 officers; as of 2010, it has around 9,000 employees. About 90% of Kosovo Police officers are ethnic Albanians while 10% are ethnic minorities with Serbs, it was created in 1999 in the aftermath of the Kosovo War and subsequent withdrawal of the Yugoslav forces from Kosovo. The establishment of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo included a large international policing component, called the UNMIK Police, they were given two main tasks by UN Security Council Resolution 1244: 1) to establish a new police force. The name for the new police force, "Kosovo Police Service", was chosen by the first international police commissioner, Sven Frederiksen. Recruitment began and former police school premises in the city of Vučitrn were renovated by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, which began to train cadets.
As of February 2008, when Kosovo declared independence, the force became a governmental agency of the Government of the Republic of Kosovo. Before, it was subordinated to the UNMIK Police, the police commissioner retained command authority over both the international police and the Kosovo Police; the bulk of the Kosovo Police are patrol officers. However the force has specialised investigative units in all six regions, including Organised Crime Units, Forensics Units, several others. In addition to those specialist units in the investigative side of law enforcement, every region has a Regional Operational Support Unit, who are trained for times where forced entry is needed on search warrants, as well as acting as front line officers during riot situations, or in times when crowd control is necessary; the Kosovo Police Close Protection unit serves as the body guards for visiting heads of state, for Kosovo's own political leaders. The first ROSU in Kosovo was for Prishtina and called Regional Street Crimes Unit in early 2002, created and led by CIVPOL Chief Angel G.
Queipo and Deputy Chief Jim Renfrow who implemented undercover operations, narcotics interdiction, medium risk arrest warrants, special police tactics to include public disorder units within the ranks of the RSCU. The unit was commanded by CIVPOL Chief Jim Renfrow in the second year and later Peter Willig of Germany took over after Renfrow ended his CIVPOL mission in late 2003; the creation of the RSCU was under the command of Pristina Regional Commander, Superintendent Paul Hamlin. That unit was used to support all regions as needed. Due to successes of that unit and additional responsibilities in the team mission to include support of CPU on high risk principals, the name was changed to ROSU and duplicate units were placed in each region of Kosovo; the idea was to operate each unit as a separate "troop" with a commander reporting to the mission commander similar to how the State Police operate in the United States. The ROSU is still in use today; the Close Protection Unit within the Kosovo Police was established on 21 January 2002.
The main task of the Close Protection Unit is to provide personal protection to VIPs. In addition, the Close Protection Unit provides protection for persons believed to be subject to threats; the Close Protection Unit undertakes tactical operations, escorting delegations, evacuations of both international staff and Kosovo Police officers. The RSCU or Regional Street Crime Unit was formed in May 2001 and was active for duties The Unit was renamed as ROSU and had around 120 Operators trained for: entry teams, surveillance, special tactics driving, VIP protection, VIP buildings, government buildings; this Unit is known as a unit. The Unit took place in operations along Kosovo's border with Serbia when the crossing was blocked and barricaded by local Serbian civilians and MUP members; this KPS special police unit was created in 2003. The start was a standard SWAT unit trained by two American contractors. In March 2005 the "Special Intervention Group – GSI / SIG" project was launched on a low-profile bases as the Elite "CT" & "HR" force of Kosovo Police.
A strict selection policy was followed through several firm tests. It was formed, equipped and trained by a team of UNMIK professional specialised instructors who worked within that field in their native countries "French GIPN", "Egyptian HRF", "German SEK" and "Bulgarian SP OPS" trainers, in addition to "US CPU" trainer, "Danish PT" coach, German GSG-9 operator; that experienced team was led firstly by the French "GIPN" the Egyptian "HRF" Trainer who became the 1st Commander of the GSI. By mid of 2006, due to certain difficulties, the project was converted to a standard "SWAT" police unit level. In September 2006 a brand-new project, ordered by head of UNMIK, was prepared and implemented by French Gendarmerie UNMIK contingent members, following their usual rules of action. One Senior Officer and 4 specialised NCO's from PI, 1 US SWAT instructor as specialised shooting trainor and one Turkish Police officer, intended the program of all different spec
Eparchy of Lipljan
Eparchy of Lipljan known as Eparchy of Gračanica or Eparchy of Novo Brdo is one of the former historical Eastern Orthodox eparchies in the central parts of Kosovo region. Today it is part of Serbian Orthodox Eparchy of Prizren. Eparchy of Lipljan was one of the oldest eparchies in the region. Modern name of the city of Lipljan was derived from the name of its predecessor, the ancient Roman city of Ulpiana; the city was founded in 1st century BC and soon it became one of the most important cities in the Roman province of Moesia and its successor province of Dardania. The ancient Bishopric of Ulpiana was situated near the modern town of Lipljan where the remains of episcopal Basilica dating from the first half of 6th century have been found and excavated; the exact date of the foundation of Bishopric of Ulpiana is not known, but some of the bishoprics in the nearby regions were erected as early as the 4th century. After the Eastern–Western Roman split, the city of Ulpiana with rest of Dardania remained part of the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire.
Up to the beginning of the 6th century, episcopal see of Ulpiana was under supreme jurisdiction of Archbishopric of Thessaloniki, in 535 it was transferred by the decree of emperor Justinian I to newly created Archbishopric of Justiniana Prima. In honor of the Emperor, Ulpiana was named "Iustiniana Secunda". Byzantine rule in that region collapsed at the beginning of the 7th century and the church life was renewed after the Christianization of Serbs. After the successful Byzantine conquests of 1018 and the establishment of imperial rule in Bulgarian and Serbian lands, by the order of emperor Basil II a new and autonomous Archbishopric of Ohrid was created in 1019, under the supreme ecclesiastical jurisdiction the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Imperial charters of 1019 and 1020 mention the Bishopric of Lipljan among eparchies under the jurisdiction of the autonomous Archbishopric of Ohrid; until the beginning of the 13th century, archbishops of Ochrid were titled as metropolitans of all Bulgaria and Serbia.
During 11th and 12th century Byzantines and Serbs fought several battles over the city of Lipljan. Sometime between 1185 and 1195, during the rule of Serbian "grand župan" Stefan Nemanja, Byzantine Empire ceded Lipljan to Serbia, but Eparchy of Lipljan still remained under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Archbishipric of Ohrid; the autocephaly of Orthodox Church in medieval Serbia was established in 1219 by Saint Sava, consecrated as first Serbian archbishop by the Byzantine patriarch residing at that time in Nicaea. Since Eparchy of Lipljan was under the constant jurisdiction of Archbishop of Serbia. During the 13th century, bishops of Lipljan known by name were: Mavrojan, Varnava and Jovan. Eparchy had jurisdiction over counties of Binačka Morava and Topolnica. At the beginning of the 14th century, bishops of Lipljan were Ignjatije. In that time, during the final years of the reign of Serbian king Stefan Milutin, the grand complex of the Monastery of Gračanica was built as the seat for bishops of Lipljan.
In 1346, Serbian Archbishopric was raised to the rank of Patriarchate with its see remaining in Peć. At the same time the Eparchy of Lipljan was raised by title to the rank of Metropolitanate. Bishops of Lipljan kept under their jurisdiction the region of central Kosovo with Gračanica and Novo Brdo. Period from the beginning of 13 century to the end of 14 century was the golden age for Orthodox Church in the region of central Kosovo with many monasteries and churches built by Serbian rulers and local Serbian nobility. In the middle of the 14th century, Bishop of Lipljan was Teodor, second half of the 14th century, metropolitan of Lipljan was Simeon. In the first half of the 15th century, metropolitans of this eparchy were Dositej. In the time of Turkish conquests, in the middle of the 15th century, Serbian Orthodox Church suffered great devastation. Region of Kosovo fell under Turkish rule around 1455. Metropolitan Venedikt of Lipljan had to flee from his eparchy, finding refuge at the Court of Serbian Despot Đurađ Branković in Smederevo.
By the beginning of the 15th century, Eparchy of Lipljan was returned to the jurisdiction of Archbishopric of Ohrid. In the first half of 16. Century, metropolitan of Lipljan was Nikanor. Serbian Patriarchate was renewed in 1557 by patriarch Makarije Sokolović. In that time, Eparchy of Lipljan remained under constant jurisdiction of Serbian Patriarchate. In the second half of the 16th century, metropolitans of Lipljan were Vasilije. In 1614, Metropolitan Pajsije of Lipljan became Serbian Patriarch. After him, Metropolitan of Lipljan was Longin. Two major events of that time tragically impacted Orthodox Church in the region of central Kosovo. During the Austro-Turkish war relations between local Muslims and Christians in European provinces of Ottoman Empire were radicalized; as a result of Turkish oppression, destruction of Churches and Monasteries and violence against non-Muslim civilian population, Serbian Christians and their church leaders headed by Serbian Patriarch Arsenije III sided with Austrians in 1689 and again in 1737 under Serbian Patriarch Arsenije IV.
In the following punitive campaigns, Turkish armies conducted systematic atrocities against local Christian population in Serbian regions, including central parts of Kosovo region, resulting in Great Migrations of the Serbs. One of the consequences of devastation and depopulation in the regions of central Kosovo during austro-Turkish wars was the reorganization of local Serbian eparchies. At the beginning of the 18th century, the old Eparc
A military outpost is detachment of troops stationed at a distance from the main force or formation at a station in a remote or sparsely populated location, positioned to stand guard against unauthorized intrusions and surprise attacks. Outposts can be called miniature military bases based on size and number of troops it houses. Military outposts, most referred to as combat outposts, served as a cornerstone of counterinsurgency doctrine in Iraq and Afghanistan; these permanent or semi-permanent structures located in or near populated areas, enabled military forces to secure key lines of communication or infrastructure, secure and co-opt the populace, assist the government in restoring essential services, force insurgents to operate elsewhere. Combat Outposts were unanimously described in positive terms by defense analysts and military officers as a means through which to carry out its counterinsurgency efforts. Border outpost Observation post Human outpost Military base Screening
The Serbian Empire is a historiographical term for the empire in the Balkan peninsula that emerged from the medieval Serbian Kingdom. It was established in 1346 by King Stefan Dušan, known as "the Mighty", who expanded the state. Under Dušan's rule Serbia was the major power in the Balkans, a multi-lingual empire that stretched from the Danube to the Gulf of Corinth, with its capital in Skopje, he promoted the Serbian Archbishopric to the Serbian Patriarchate. His son and successor, Uroš the Weak, lost most of the territory conquered by Dušan, hence his epithet; the Serbian Empire ended with the death of Uroš V in 1371 and the break-up of the Serbian state. Some successors of Stefan V claimed the title of Emperor in parts of Serbia until 1402, but the territory in Greece was never recovered. Stefan Dušan was the son of the Serbian king Stefan Dečanski. After his father's accession to the throne, Dušan was awarded with the title of "young king". Although this title bore significant power in medieval Serbia, Stefan wanted his younger son, Simeon Uroš, to inherit him instead of Dušan.
However, Dušan had significant support from the major part of the Serbian nobility, including the Serbian archbishop Danilo, some of the king's most trusted generals, such as Jovan Oliver Grčinić. Tensions rose between the king and his son after the battle of Velbužd, where Dušan showed his military capabilities, they seem to have culminated when king Stefan raided Zeta, a province in Serbia where Dušan ruled autonomously, being a tradition of Serbian heirs to rule this province. Advised by the nobility, Dušan marched from Zeta to Nerodimlje, where he besieged his father and forced him to surrender the throne. Stefan was imprisoned in the fortress of Zvečan, where he died. In 1333, Dušan launched a large attack on the Byzantine empire, at the time ruled by the ambitious emperor Andronikos III Palaiologos, with the help of a deserted Byzantine general, Syrgian. Dušan conquered the cities of Ohrid and Kastoria, attempted to besiege Thessalonica in 1334, but was prevented conquering the city by the death of Syrgian, assassinated by a Byzantine spy.
Syrgian was a key figure in Dušan's army, as he had earned a great reputation in Greece, convincing Greek citizens to surrender cities rather than fight Dušan's armies. By 1345, Dušan the Mighty had expanded his state to cover half of the Balkans, more territory than either the Byzantine Empire or the Second Bulgarian Empire in that time. Therefore, in 1345, in Serres, Dušan proclaimed himself "Tsar". On 16 April 1346, in Skopje, he had himself crowned "Emperor of the Serbs and Greeks", a title signifying a claim to succession of the Byzantine Empire; the ceremony was performed by the newly elevated Serbian Patriarch Joanikije II, the Bulgarian Patriarch Simeon, Nicholas, the Archbishop of Ohrid. At the same time, Dušan had his son Uroš crowned as King of Serbs and Greeks, giving him nominal rule over the Serbian lands, although Dušan was governing the whole state, with special responsibility for the newly acquired Roman lands. Tsar Dušan doubled the size of Serbian state, seizing territories in all directions south and southeast.
Serbia held large parts of modern Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moravian Serbia, Zeta, modern North Macedonia, modern Albania, half of modern Greece. He did not fight a single field battle. Dušan undertook a campaign against the Byzantine Empire, attempting to avert a deteriorating situation after the destruction caused by the Fourth Crusade. Dušan swiftly seized Thessaly, Albania and most of Macedonia. After besieging the emperor at Salonica in 1340, he imposed a treaty assuring Serbia sovereignty over regions extending from the Danube to the Gulf of Corinth, from the Adriatic Sea to the Maritsa river up to the environs of Adrianople. Bulgaria had not yet recovered since its defeat by the Serbs at the Battle of Velbazhd, the Bulgarian tsar Ivan Alexander, whose sister Dušan married, became his vassal, between 1331 and 1365, seen just as an alliance from Bulgarian point of view. Dušan thus ruled over the the entire central Balkan peninsula, with only Bulgaria, southern Greece and Thrace escaping his authority.
He gave sanctuary to the former regent of the Byzantine Empire, John VI Kantakouzenos, in revolt against the government, agreed to an alliance. In 1349 and 1354, Dušan enacted a set of laws known as Dušan's Code; the Code was based on the first Serbian constitution, St. Sava's Nomocanon, it was a Civil and Canon law system, based on the Ecumenical Councils, for the functioning of the state and the Serbian Orthodox Church. In 1355, Dušan began military preparations, assembling an army of 80,000 men, an enormous number at that time. Dušan marched towards Constantinople; the Serbian army was proceeding to Constantinople, located 40 miles to the east, when Dušan died of an unknown illness at 46. His expedition ended as well, the army retreated carrying his body. Dušan was succeeded by his son, Stefan Uroš V, called "the Weak," a term that described the empire as it slid into feudal anarchy; the failure to consolidate its holdings after a sudden conquest led to the fragmentation of the empire. The period was marked by the rise of a new threat: the Ottoman Turkish sultanate spread from Asia to Europe and conquered first Byzantine Thrace, the other Balkan states.
Too incompetent to sustain the empire created by his father, Stefan V could neither repel attacks of foreign enemies nor combat the ind
A castle is a type of fortified structure built during the Middle Ages by predominantly the nobility or royalty and by military orders. Scholars debate the scope of the word castle, but consider it to be the private fortified residence of a lord or noble; this is distinct from a palace, not fortified. Usage of the term has varied over time and has been applied to structures as diverse as hill forts and country houses. Over the 900 years that castles were built, they took on a great many forms with many different features, although some, such as curtain walls and arrowslits, were commonplace. European-style castles originated in the 9th and 10th centuries, after the fall of the Carolingian Empire resulted in its territory being divided among individual lords and princes; these nobles built castles to control the area surrounding them and the castles were both offensive and defensive structures. Although their military origins are emphasised in castle studies, the structures served as centres of administration and symbols of power.
Urban castles were used to control the local populace and important travel routes, rural castles were situated near features that were integral to life in the community, such as mills, fertile land, or a water source. Many castles were built from earth and timber, but had their defences replaced by stone. Early castles exploited natural defences, lacking features such as towers and arrowslits and relying on a central keep. In the late 12th and early 13th centuries, a scientific approach to castle defence emerged; this led with an emphasis on flanking fire. Many new castles were polygonal or relied on concentric defence – several stages of defence within each other that could all function at the same time to maximise the castle's firepower; these changes in defence have been attributed to a mixture of castle technology from the Crusades, such as concentric fortification, inspiration from earlier defences, such as Roman forts. Not all the elements of castle architecture were military in nature, so that devices such as moats evolved from their original purpose of defence into symbols of power.
Some grand castles had long winding approaches intended to dominate their landscape. Although gunpowder was introduced to Europe in the 14th century, it did not affect castle building until the 15th century, when artillery became powerful enough to break through stone walls. While castles continued to be built well into the 16th century, new techniques to deal with improved cannon fire made them uncomfortable and undesirable places to live; as a result, true castles went into decline and were replaced by artillery forts with no role in civil administration, country houses that were indefensible. From the 18th century onwards, there was a renewed interest in castles with the construction of mock castles, part of a romantic revival of Gothic architecture, but they had no military purpose; the word castle is derived from the Latin word castellum, a diminutive of the word castrum, meaning "fortified place". The Old English castel, Old French castel or chastel, French château, Spanish castillo, Italian castello, a number of words in other languages derive from castellum.
The word castle was introduced into English shortly before the Norman Conquest to denote this type of building, new to England. In its simplest terms, the definition of a castle accepted amongst academics is "a private fortified residence"; this contrasts with earlier fortifications, such as Anglo-Saxon burhs and walled cities such as Constantinople and Antioch in the Middle East. Feudalism was the link between a lord and his vassal where, in return for military service and the expectation of loyalty, the lord would grant the vassal land. In the late 20th century, there was a trend to refine the definition of a castle by including the criterion of feudal ownership, thus tying castles to the medieval period. During the First Crusade, the Frankish armies encountered walled settlements and forts that they indiscriminately referred to as castles, but which would not be considered as such under the modern definition. Castles served a range of purposes, the most important of which were military and domestic.
As well as defensive structures, castles were offensive tools which could be used as a base of operations in enemy territory. Castles were established by Norman invaders of England for both defensive purposes and to pacify the country's inhabitants; as William the Conqueror advanced through England, he fortified key positions to secure the land he had taken. Between 1066 and 1087, he established 36 castles such as Warwick Castle, which he used to guard against rebellion in the English Midlands. Towards the end of the Middle Ages, castles tended to lose their military significance due to the advent of powerful cannons and permanent artillery fortifications. A castle could act as a stronghold and prison but was a place where a knight or lord could entertain his peers. Over time the aesthetics of the design became more important, as the castle's appearance and size began to refle
A cross is a geometrical figure consisting of two intersecting lines or bars perpendicular to each other. The lines run vertically and horizontally. A cross of oblique lines, in the shape of the Latin letter X, is termed a saltire in heraldic terminology; the word cross is recorded in 10th-century Old English as cros for the instrument of Christ's crucifixion, replacing the native Old English word rood. The word's history is complicated; the English verb to cross arises from the noun c. 1200, first in the sense "to make the sign of the cross". The Latin word was, influenced by popular etymology by a native Germanic word reconstructed as *krukjo; this word, by conflation with Latin crux, gave rise to Old French crocier, the term for a shepherd's crook, adopted in English as crosier. Latin crux referred to the gibbet where criminals were executed, a stake or pole, with or without transom, on which the condemned were impaled or hanged, but more a cross or the pole of a carriage. From this word was derived the Latin verb crucio "to put to death on the cross" or "to put to the rack, to torture, torment" in reference to mental troubles.
The field of etymology is of no help in any effort to trace a supposed original meaning of crux. A crux can be of various shapes: from a single beam used for impaling or suspending to the various composite kinds of cross made from more beams than one; the latter shapes include not only the traditional †-shaped cross, but the T-shaped cross, which the Early Christian descriptions of the execution cross indicate as the normal form in use at that time, the X-shaped cross. The Greek equivalent of Latin crux "stake, gibbet" is σταυρός stauros, found in texts of four centuries or more before the gospels and always in the plural number to indicate a stake or pole. From the first century BC it is used to indicate an instrument used in executions; the Greek word is used in Early Christian descriptions of the execution cross, which indicate that its normal shape was similar to the Greek letter tau. Due to the simplicity of the design, cross-shaped incisions make their appearance from deep prehistory. Of prehistoric age are numerous variants of the simple cross mark, including the crux gammata with curving or angular lines, the Egyptian crux ansata with a loop.
Speculation has associated the cross symbol – in the prehistoric period – with astronomical or cosmological symbology involving "four elements" or the cardinal points, or the unity of a vertical axis mundi or celestial pole with the horizontal world. Speculation of this kind became popular in the mid- to late-19th century in the context of comparative mythology seeking to tie Christian mythology to ancient cosmological myths. Influential works in this vein included G. de Mortillet, L. Müller, W. W. Blake, etc. In the European Bronze Age the cross symbol appeared to carry a religious meaning as a symbol of consecration pertaining to burial; the cross sign occurs trivially in tally marks, develops into a number symbol independently in the Roman numerals, the Chinese rod numerals and the Brahmi numerals. In the Phoenician alphabet and derived scripts, the cross symbol represented the phoneme /t/, i.e. the letter taw, the historical predecessor of Latin T. The letter name taw means "mark" continuing the Egyptian hieroglyph "two crossed sticks".
According to W. E. Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, worshippers of Tammuz in Chaldea and thereabouts used the cross as symbol of that god; the shape of the cross, as represented by the letter T, came to be used as a "seal" or symbol of Early Christianity by the 2nd century. Clement of Alexandria in the early 3rd century calls it τὸ κυριακὸν σημεῖον he repeats the idea, current as early as the Epistle of Barnabas, that the number 318 in Genesis 14:14 was a foreshadowing of the cross and of Jesus. Clement's contemporary Tertullian rejects the accusation that Christians are crucis religiosi, returns the accusation by likening the worship of pagan idols to the worship of poles or stakes. In his book De Corona, written in 204, Tertullian tells how it was a tradition for Christians to trace on their foreheads the sign of the cross. While early Christians used the T-shape to represent the cross in writing and gesture, the use of the Greek cross and Latin cross, i.e. crosses with intersecting beams, appears in Christian art towards the end of Late Antiquity.
An early example of the cruciform halo, used to identify Christ in paintings, is found in the Miracles of the Loaves and Fishes mosaic of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna. The Patriarchal cross, a Latin cross with an additional horizontal bar, first appears in the 10th century. A wide variation of cross symbols is introduced for the purposes of heraldry beginning in the age of the Crusades; the cross mark is used