The Viking Age is a period in European history Northern European and Scandinavian history, following the Germanic Iron Age. It is the period of history when Scandinavian Norsemen explored Europe by its seas and rivers for trade, raids and conquest. In this period, the Norsemen settled in Norse Greenland and present-day Faroe Islands, Norway, Normandy, England, Ireland, Isle of Man, the Netherlands, Ukraine, Russia and Italy. Viking travellers and colonists were seen at many points in history as brutal raiders. Many historical documents suggest that their invasion of other countries was retaliation in response to the encroachment upon tribal lands by Christian missionaries, by the Saxon Wars prosecuted by Charlemagne and his kin to the south, or were motivated by overpopulation, trade inequities, the lack of viable farmland in their homeland. Information about the Viking Age is drawn from what was written about the Vikings by their enemies, primary sources of archaeology, supplemented with secondary sources such as the Icelandic Sagas.
In England, the beginning of the Viking Age is dated to 8 June 793, when Vikings destroyed the abbey on Lindisfarne, a centre of learning on an island off the northeast coast of England in Northumberland. Monks were killed in the abbey, thrown into the sea to drown, or carried away as slaves along with the church treasures, giving rise to the traditional prayer—A furore Normannorum libera nos, Domine, "Free us from the fury of the Northmen, Lord."Three Viking ships had beached in Weymouth Bay four years earlier, but that incursion may have been a trading expedition that went wrong rather than a piratical raid. Lindisfarne was different; the Viking devastation of Northumbria's Holy Island was reported by the Northumbrian scholar Alcuin of York, who wrote: "Never before in Britain has such a terror appeared". Vikings were portrayed as wholly bloodthirsty by their enemies. In medieval English chronicles, they are described as "wolves among sheep"; the first challenges to the many anti-Viking images in Britain emerged in the 17th century.
Pioneering scholarly works on the Viking Age reached a small readership in Britain. Linguistics traced the Viking Age origins of rural proverbs. New dictionaries of the Old Norse language enabled more Victorians to read the Icelandic Sagas. In Scandinavia, the 17th-century Danish scholars Thomas Bartholin and Ole Worm and Swedish scholar Olaus Rudbeck were the first to use runic inscriptions and Icelandic Sagas as primary historical sources. During the Enlightenment and Nordic Renaissance, historians such as the Icelandic-Norwegian Thormodus Torfæus, Danish-Norwegian Ludvig Holberg, Swedish Olof von Dalin developed a more "rational" and "pragmatic" approach to historical scholarship. By the latter half of the 18th century, while the Icelandic sagas were still used as important historical sources, the Viking Age had again come to be regarded as a barbaric and uncivilised period in the history of the Nordic countries. Scholars outside Scandinavia did not begin to extensively reassess the achievements of the Vikings until the 1890s, recognising their artistry, technological skills, seamanship.
Until the history of the Viking Age had been based on Icelandic Sagas, the history of the Danes written by Saxo Grammaticus, the Kievan Rus's Primary Chronicle, Cogad Gáedel re Gallaib. Today, most scholars take these texts as sources not to be understood and are relying more on concrete archaeological findings and other direct scientific disciplines and methods; the Vikings who invaded western and eastern Europe were pagans from the same area as present-day Denmark and Sweden. They settled in the Faroe Islands, Iceland, peripheral Scotland and Canada, their North Germanic language, Old Norse, became the mother-tongue of present-day Scandinavian languages. By 801, a strong central authority appears to have been established in Jutland, the Danes were beginning to look beyond their own territory for land and plunder. In Norway, mountainous terrain and fjords formed strong natural boundaries. Communities remained independent of each other, unlike the situation in lowland Denmark. By 800, some 30 small kingdoms existed in Norway.
The sea was the easiest way of communication between the outside world. In the eighth century, Scandinavians began to build ships of war and send them on raiding expeditions which started the Viking Age; the North Sea rovers were traders, colonisers and plunderers. Many theories are posited for the cause of the Viking invasions. At the time, England and Ireland were vulnerable to attack, being divided into many different warring kingdoms in a state of internal disarray, while the Franks were well defended. Overpopulation near the Scandes, was influential. Technological advance like the use of iron, or a shortage of women due to selective female infanticide had an impact. Tensions caused by Frankish expansion to the south of Scandinavia, their subsequent attacks upon the Viking peoples, may have played a role in Viking pillaging. Harald I of Norway had displaced many peoples; as a result, these people sought for new bases to launch counter-raids against Harald. Vikings would plant crops after the winter and go raiding as soon as the ice melted on the sea return
Uppsala is the capital of Uppsala County and the fourth-largest city in Sweden, after Stockholm and Malmö. It had 168,096 inhabitants in 2017. Located 71 km north of the capital Stockholm it is the seat of Uppsala Municipality. Since 1164, Uppsala has been the ecclesiastical centre of Sweden, being the seat of the Archbishop of the Church of Sweden. Uppsala is home to Scandinavia's largest cathedral – Uppsala Cathedral. Founded in 1477, Uppsala University is the oldest centre of higher education in Scandinavia. Among many achievements, the Celsius scale for temperature was invented there. Uppsala was located a few kilometres north of its current location at a place now known as Gamla Uppsala. Today's Uppsala was called Östra Aros. Uppsala was, according to medieval writer Adam of Bremen, the main pagan centre of Sweden, the Temple at Uppsala contained magnificent idols of the Norse gods; the Fyrisvellir plains along the river south of Old Uppsala, in the area where the modern city is situated today, was the site of the Battle of Fyrisvellir in the 980s.
The present-day Uppsala was a port town of Gamla Uppsala. In 1160, King Eric Jedvardsson was attacked and killed outside the church of Östra Aros, became venerated as a saint in the Catholic Church. In 1274, Östra Aros overtook Gamla Uppsala as the main regional centre, when the cathedral of Gamla Uppsala burnt down, the archbishopric and the relics of Saint Eric were moved to Östra Aros, where the present-day Uppsala Cathedral was erected; the cathedral is built in the Gothic style and is one of the largest in northern Europe, with towers reaching 118.70 metres. The city is the site of the oldest university in Scandinavia, founded in 1477, is where Carl Linnaeus, one of the renowned scholars of Uppsala University, lived for many years. Uppsala is the site of the 16th-century Uppsala Castle; the city was damaged by a fire in 1702. Historical and cultural treasures were lost, as in many Swedish cities, from demolitions during the 1960s and 1970s, but many historic buildings remain in the western part of the city.
The arms bearing the lion can be traced to 1737 and have been modernised several times, most in 1986. The meaning of the lion is uncertain, but is connected to the royal lion depicted on the Coat of Arms of Sweden. Situated on the fertile Uppsala flatlands of muddy soil, the city features the small Fyris River flowing through the landscape surrounded by lush vegetation. Parallel to the river runs the glacial ridge of Uppsalaåsen at an elevation around 30 m, the site of Uppsala's castle, from which large parts of the town can be seen; the central park Stadsskogen stretches from the south far into town, with opportunities for recreation for many residential areas within walking distance. Only some 70 km or 40 minutes by train from the capital, many Uppsala residents work in Stockholm; the train to Stockholm-Arlanda Airport takes only 17 minutes, rendering the city accessible by air. The commercial centre of Uppsala is quite compact; the city has a distinct town and gown divide with clergy and academia residing in the Fjärdingen neighbourhood on the river's western shore, somewhat separated from the rest of the city, the ensemble of cathedral and university buildings has remained undisturbed until today.
While some historic buildings remain on the periphery of the central core, retail commercial activity is geographically focused on a small number of blocks around the pedestrianized streets and main square on the eastern side of the river, an area, subject to a large-scale metamorphosis during the economically booming years in the 1960s in particular. During recent decades, a significant part of retail commercial activity has shifted to shopping malls and stores situated in the outskirts of the city. Meanwhile, the built-up areas have expanded and some suburbanization has taken place. Uppsala lies south of the 60th parallel north and has a humid continental climate, with cold winters and warm summers. Due to its northerly location, Uppsala experiences over 18 hours of visible sunshine during the summer solstice, under 6 hours of sunshine during the winter solstice. Despite Uppsala's northerly location, the winter is not as cold as other cities at similar latitudes due to the Gulf Stream. For example, in January Uppsala has a daily mean of −2.7 °C.
In Canada, at the same latitude, Fort Smith experiences a daily mean of −22.4 °C. With respect to record temperatures, the difference between the highest and lowest is large. Uppsala’s highest recorded temperature was 37.4 °C, recorded in July 1933. On the same day Ultuna, which lies a few kilometres south of the centre of Uppsala, recorded a temperature of 38 °C; this is the highest temperature recorded in the Scandinavian Peninsula, although the same temperature was recorded in Målilla, Sweden, 14 years later. Uppsala’s lowest temperature was recorded in January 1875, when the temperature dropped to −39.5 °C. The second-lowest temperature recorded is −33.1 °C, which makes the record one of the hardest to beat, due to the fact that temperatures in Uppsala nowadays goes below −30 °C. The difference between the two records is 76.9 °C. The warmest month recorded is July 1914, with a daily mean of 21.4 °C. Since 2002 Uppsala has experienced 5 months where the d
The term "runestone style" in the singular may refer to the Urnes style. The style or design of runestones varied during the Viking Age; the early runestones were simple in design, but towards the end of the runestone era they became complex and made by travelling runemasters such as Öpir and Visäte. A categorization of the styles was developed by Anne-Sophie Gräslund in the 1990s, her systematization is today a standard. The styles are RAK, Fp, Pr1, Pr2, Pr3, Pr4 and Pr5, they cover the period 980-1130, the period during which most runestones were made; the styles Pr1 and Pr2 correspond to the Ringerike style, whereas Pr3, Pr4 and Pr5 belong to what is more known as the Urnes style. Below follows a brief presentation of the various styles by showing sample runestones according to Rundata's annotation. RAK is the oldest style and covers the period 980-1015 AD, but the Rundata project includes the older runestones in this group, as well as younger ones; this style has no dragon heads and the ends of the runic bands are straight.
This style is from the period c. 1010/1015 to c. 1040/1050, when Pr3 appeared. It is characterized by runic bands. In the styles called Pr1, Pr2, Pr3, Pr4 and Pr5, the runic bands end with animal heads seen in profile; this style is contemporary with FP dated to c. 1010- c. 1050 when it was succeeded by Pr3. This style is only somewhat younger than the previous style and it is dated to c. 1020- c. 1050, it was succeeded by Pr3. This style succeeded FP, Pr1 and Pr2 and is dated to c. 1050- c. 1080. This style appeared somewhat c. 1060/1070 and lasted until c. 1100. This style was the last one, it appeared c. 1080/1100 and lasted until c. 1130. This style is used by the Rundata project; the style is common in western Södermanland and it is characterized by bordered crosses. Norse art Runemaster Anglo-Saxon art Rundata Edberg, Rune. Runriket Täby-Vallentuna – en Handledning Fuglesang, Signe Horn. Swedish Runestones of the Eleventh Century: Ornament and Dating, Runeninschriften als Quellen Interdisziplinärer Forschung.
Göttingen. Pp. 197–218 Sawyer, Peter.. The Oxford Illustrated History of the Vikings. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-285434-6
Uppsala Cathedral is a cathedral located between the Uppsala University Main Building and the River Fyris in the centre of Uppsala, Sweden. A church of the Lutheran Church of Sweden, Uppsala Cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of Uppsala, the primate of Sweden; the current archbishop is Antje Jackelén and the current bishop is Ragnar Persenius. The cathedral dates to the late 13th century and at a height of 118.7 metres, it is the tallest church in the Nordic countries. Built under Roman Catholicism, it was used for coronations of Swedish monarchs for a lengthy period following the Protestant Reformation. Several of its chapels were converted to house the tombs of Swedish monarchs, including Gustav Vasa and John III. Carl Linnaeus, Olaus Rudbeck, Emanuel Swedenborg, several archbishops are buried here; the church was designed in the French Gothic style by French architects including Étienne de Bonneuil. It is in the form of a cross formed by the transept. Most of the structure was built between 1272 and 1420 but the western end was completed only in the middle of the 15th century.
Twin towers were built shortly afterwards on the west end of the church. High spires were added but after a fire in 1702, they were adorned with low helms by Carl Hårleman in 1735, they were redesigned by Helgo Zetterwall who undertook substantial changes to the building in the 1880s. The cathedral's principal construction material is brick but the pillars and many details are of Gotland limestone; the vaults were all built according to the original 13th-century plan although some of them were erected as late as around 1440. In addition to the artwork in the funeral chapels, several of the church's older furnishings can be seen in the Treasury Museum. In 1702, many features were destroyed in a major fire. During the renovation work carried out in the 1970s, many of the medieval frescoes, whitewashed over after the Reformation were uncovered and restored. At the end of the Viking Era, the pagan temple at Gamla Uppsala, about 5 kilometres to the north of today's Uppsala, was replaced by a Christian church.
Although the exact date of its construction is not known, in 1123 Siward was ordained Bishop of Uppsala by the Archbishop of Bremen-Hamburg. It is however uncertain if Siward assumed office, as he had been expelled and was in Germany in the early 1130s; the catalogue of bishops mentions Severeinus as the first bishop, he may have been the replacement for Siward. Henrik, ‘Finland's Apostle’, was the fourth bishop. In 1164, Sweden became an archbishopric under the control of Lund; the first archbishop was the Cistercian monk Stefan of Alvastra. After the cathedral in Gamla Uppsala was damaged by fire in 1204, the Chapter sought permission from the Holy See to move the building to a larger site. Pope Alexander IV granted this request in 1258 on condition. At a meeting in Söderköping in September 1270, Archbishop Fulco Angelus and the cathedral chapter decided the site should be in Östra Aros. Formal authorization of the move was issued in 1271 by Bishop Carolus of Västerås whom the Pope had appointed to oversee the case.
About 1272, work began on building a new cathedral in Östra Aros near the Fyris River to the south. It was constructed on the site of the earlier stone church dedicated to the Holy Trinity, located exactly where the cathedral's chancel now stands, it was here that Sweden's patron saint Eric Jedvardsson had attended mass before he was murdered in 1160. The name of Uppsala was kept, the surrounding town Östra Aros soon changed its name accordingly; the relics of Saint Eric, the treasure of Uppsala, were moved from Gamla Uppsala to the new site in 1273, along with the formal move of the archbishopric. The church was designed by French architects although the name of the author of the detailed initial plans who supervised work until 1281 has not been recorded. In 1287, a promissory note drawn up by the provost of Paris covers the expenses to be incurred by master builder Étienne de Bonneuil and his assistants in travelling to Sweden to work on the construction of a cathedral at Uppsala. Étienne is credited with work at the east and south chapels of the chancel, the transepts and the south portal, although in most of his work he appears to have meticulously followed the plans of his predecessor.
Progress was slow as a result of the plague and many financial difficulties. It was not until the end of the 14th century that work on the initial plans was completed, thanks in particular to the contribution of the master builder Nikolaus från Västerås who began construction of the nave; when consecrated in 1435 by Archbishop Olaus Laurentii, the cathedral still was not complete. It was dedicated to Saint Lawrence cherished in all of Sweden at that time, it was completed over the following decades. Although there are no documentary records of the consecration, there are several references from the same period to the cathedral's chapels, including their altars which were dedicated to the Holy Cross, to the Virgin Mary or to other saints; the last main component of the cathedral, the towers, were built between 1470 and 1489. The cathedral was damaged by fire on several occasions during the great fire of 1702 which destroyed much of the city. Restoration work was not completed until the middle of the century.
The church was not the regular place of worship of laypeople until the Reformation. It was reserved for official services of the Catholic Church hierarchy; the parish churches in Uppsala were the Holy Trinity Church or
A runestone is a raised stone with a runic inscription, but the term can be applied to inscriptions on boulders and on bedrock. The tradition began in the 4th century and lasted into the 12th century, but most of the runestones date from the late Viking Age. Most runestones are located in Scandinavia, but there are scattered runestones in locations that were visited by Norsemen during the Viking Age. Runestones are memorials to dead men. Runestones were brightly coloured when erected, though this is no longer evident as the colour has worn off. Most Runestones are found in present day Sweden; the tradition of raising stones that had runic inscriptions first appeared in the 4th and 5th century, in Norway and Sweden, these early runestones were placed next to graves. The earliest Danish runestones appeared in the 8th and 9th centuries, there are about 50 runestones from the Migration Period in Scandinavia. Most runestones were erected during the period 950-1100 CE, they were raised in Sweden, to a lesser degree in Denmark and Norway.
The tradition is mentioned in both Ynglinga saga and Hávamál: For men of consequence a mound should be raised to their memory, for all other warriors, distinguished for manhood a standing stone, a custom that remained long after Odin's time. —The Ynglinga saga What may have increased the spread of runestones was an event in Denmark in the 960s. King Harald Bluetooth had just been baptised and in order to mark the arrival of a new order and a new age, he commanded the construction of a runestone; the inscription reads King Haraldr ordered this monument made in memory of Gormr, his father, in memory of Þyrvé, his mother. The runestone has three sides. On one side, there is an animal, the prototype of the runic animals that would be engraved on runestones, on another side there is Denmark's oldest depiction of Jesus. Shortly after this stone had been made, something happened in Scandinavia's runic tradition. Scores of chieftains and powerful Norse clans consciously tried to imitate King Harald, from Denmark a runestone wave spread northwards through Sweden.
In most districts, the fad died out after a generation, but, in the central Swedish provinces of Uppland and Södermanland, the fashion lasted into the 12th century. There are about 3,000 runestones among the about 6,000 runic inscriptions in Scandinavia. There are runestones in other parts of the world as the tradition of raising runestones followed the Norsemen wherever they went, from the Isle of Man in the west to the Black Sea in the east, from Jämtland in the north to Schleswig in the south; the runestones are unevenly distributed in Scandinavia: Denmark has 250 runestones, Norway has 50 while Iceland has none. Sweden has as many as between 2,500 depending on definition; the Swedish district of Uppland has the highest concentration with as many as 1,196 inscriptions in stone, whereas Södermanland is second with 391. Outside of Scandinavia, the Isle of Man stands out with its 30 runestones from the 9th century and early 11th century. Scattered runestones have been found in England, Ireland and the Faroe Islands.
With the exception of the runestone on Berezan', there are no runestones in Eastern Europe, due to a lack of available stones and the fact that the local population did not treat the foreigners' stones with much respect. Runestones were placed on selected spots in the landscape, such as assembly locations, bridge constructions, fords. In medieval churches, there are runestones that have been inserted as construction material, it is debated whether they were part of the church location or had been moved there. In southern Scania, runestones can be tied to large estates that had churches constructed on their land. In the Mälaren Valley, the runestones appear to be placed so that they mark essential parts of the domains of an estate, such as courtyard, grave field, borders to neighbouring estates. Runestones appear as single monuments and more as pairs. In some cases, they are part of larger monuments together with other raised stones. However, although scholars know where 95% of all runestones were discovered, only about 40% were discovered in their original location.
The remainder have been found in churches, bridges, graves and water routes. On the other hand, scholars agree that the stones were not moved far from their original sites. In many districts, 50% of the stone inscriptions have traces of Christianity, but, in Uppland, which has the highest concentration of runic inscriptions in the world, about 70% of the 1,196 stone inscriptions are explicitly Christian, shown by engraved crosses or added Christian prayers, only a few runestones are not Christian. Scholars have suggested that the reason why so many Christian runestones were raised in Uppland is that the district was the focal point in the conflict between Norse paganism and the newly Christianized King of Sweden, it is possible that the chieftains tried to demonstrate their allegiance to the king and to display their Christian faith to the world and to God by adding Christian crosses and prayers on their runestones. What speaks against this theory is the fact that Norway, Götaland did not have any corresponding development in the runestone tradition.
Moreover, not a single runestone declares. Additionally, the runestones appear to show. According to another theory, it was a social fashion, popular among
A runemaster or runecarver is a specialist in making runestones. More than 100 names of runemasters are known from Viking Age Sweden with most of them from 11th century eastern Svealand. Many anonymous runestones have less securely been attributed to these runemasters. During the 11th century, when most runestones were raised, there were a few professional runemasters, they and their apprentices were contracted to make runestones and when the work was finished, they sometimes signed the stone with the name of the runemaster. Many of the uncovered runic inscriptions have been completed by non-professional runecarvers for the practical purposes of burial rites or record-keeping. Due to the depictions of daily life, many of the nonprofessional runecarvers could have been anything from pirates to soldiers, merchants, or farmers; the layout of Scandinavian towns provided centers where craftspeople could congregate and share trade knowledge. After the spread of Christianity in these regions, the increase in runic literacy that followed, runes were used for record-keeping and found on things like weapons and coins.
Most early medieval Scandinavians were literate in runes, most people carved messages on pieces of bone and wood. However, it was difficult to make runestones, in order to master it one needed to be a stonemason; some attributions were given to runic "skalds", or poets, indicating that many of the runemasters were authors of skaldic poetry and oral tradition who had connection to royalty by way of documenting their deeds and offering counsel. A number of historians have theorized that there may be a connection between the word erulaR in the proto-Scandinavian priesthood and the old Norse title "jarl"; this suggests that it is possible that those who were versed in runic arts formed their own secular upper class of learned runemasters. This claim is corroborated by the geographical distribution of runestones throughout Eastern Norway, but there is not enough linguistic or philological evidence to support it. Whether or not a linguistic link can be made, however, it is that the runemasters in Norway during the Viking Age would have formed an upper class due to their portrayal in ruins as near the top of the social hierarchy but still subservient to the chieftain.
Towards the middle of the 11th century, the practice of carving runes that depict figures in Norse mythology decreased, instead traditional religious imagery began to hybridize with Christian imagery. This continued with the increasing prominence of runestones that accompanied the rise of Christianity. Runemasters began to document the indulgences offered by the Catholic Church in exchange for public works projects such as the construction of bridges and roads, a donation to a church, or the beginning of a pilgrimage. Many of the runic inscriptions carved during this time were done so "for the pleasure of God," or to insure the safe passage of one's soul. Runes were erected by long-distance explorers seeking to document their visits or memorialize their fallen comrades. Runecarvers on commission or on their own carved gravestones more than anything else. In addition, memorial runes could provide additional details about an individuals death with more accuracy than oral tradition. Additionally, based on the runic texts recovered, it appears that the families who raised runestones had as many as six sons, but only one to two daughters.
This is most due to the practice of female infanticide, common in Iceland during the introduction of Christianity. Notable runemasters of the 11th to early 12th centuries include: Åsmund Kåresson Balle Fot Frögärd i Ösby Gunnborga Halvdan Öpir Torgöt Fotsarve Ulf of Borresta Visäte
The Christian cross, seen as a representation of the instrument of the crucifixion of Jesus, is the best-known symbol of Christianity. It is related to the crucifix and to the more general family of cross symbols, the term cross itself being detached from the original Christian meaning in modern English; the basic forms of the cross are the Latin cross with unequal arms and the Greek cross with equal arms, besides numerous variants with confessional significance, such as the tau cross, the double-barred cross, triple-barred cross, cross-and-crosslets, many heraldic variants, such as the cross potent, cross pattée, cross moline, cross fleury, etc. John Pearson, Bishop of Chester wrote in his commentary on the Apostles' Creed that the Greek word stauros signified "a straight standing Stake, Pale, or Palisador", but that, "when other transverse or prominent parts were added in a perfect Cross, it retained still the Original Name", he declared: "The Form of the Cross on which our Saviour suffered was a simple,', by whose Procurator he was condemned to die.
In which there was not only a straight and erected piece of Wood fixed in the Earth, but a transverse Beam fastned unto that towards the top thereof". There are few extant examples of the cross in 2nd century Christian iconography, it has been argued that Christians were reluctant to use it as it depicts a purposely painful and gruesome method of public execution. A symbol similar to the cross, the staurogram, was used to abbreviate the Greek word for cross in early New Testament manuscripts such as P66, P45 and P75 like a nomen sacrum; the extensive adoption of the cross as Christian iconographic symbol arose from the 4th century. However, the cross symbol was associated with Christians in the 2nd century, as is indicated in the anti-Christian arguments cited in the Octavius of Minucius Felix, chapters IX and XXIX, written at the end of that century or the beginning of the next, by the fact that by the early 3rd century the cross had become so associated with Christ that Clement of Alexandria, who died between 211 and 216, could without fear of ambiguity use the phrase τὸ κυριακὸν σημεῖον to mean the cross, when he repeated the idea, current as early as the apocryphal Epistle of Barnabas, that the number 318 in Genesis 14:14 was interpreted as a foreshadowing of the cross and of Jesus.
His contemporary Tertullian rejected the accusation of Christians being "adorers of the gibbet". 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; the crucifix, a cross upon which an image of Christ is present, is not known to have been used until the 6th century AD. The oldest extant depiction of the execution of Jesus in any medium seems to be the second-century or early third-century relief on a jasper gemstone meant for use as an amulet, now in the British Museum in London, it portrays a naked bearded man whose arms are tied at the wrists by short strips to the transom of a T-shaped cross. An inscription in Greek on the obverse contains an invocation of the redeeming crucified Christ. On the reverse a inscription by a different hand combines magical formulae with Christian terms; the catalogue of a 2007 exhibition says: "The appearance of the Crucifixion on a gem of such an early date suggests that pictures of the subject may have been widespread in the late second or early third century, most in conventional Christian contexts".
The Jewish Encyclopedia says: The cross as a Christian symbol or "seal" came into use at least as early as the second century. Accordingly the Christian Fathers had to defend themselves, as early as the second century, against the charge of being worshipers of the cross, as may be learned from Tertullian, "Apologia," xii. xvii. and Minucius Felix, "Octavius," xxix. Christians used to swear by the power of the cross Catholics, Orthodox Catholic, Oriental Orthodox, members of the major branches of Christianity with other adherents as Lutheranism and Anglicans, others make the Sign of the Cross upon themselves; this was a common Christian practice in the time of Tertullian. The Feast of the Cross is an important Christian feast. One of the twelve Great Feasts in Orthodox Catholic is the Exaltation of the Cross on September 14, which commemorates the consecration of the basilica on the site where the original cross of Jesus was discovered in 326 by Helena of Constantinople, mother of Constantine the Great.
The Catholic Church celebrates the feast on the same day and under the same name, though in English it has been called the feast of the Triumph of the Cross. Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Anglican bishops place a cross before their name when signing a document; the dagger symbol placed. In many Christian traditions, such as the Methodist Churches, the altar cross sits atop or is suspended above the altar table and is a focal