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Chi-Rho Monogram of Jesus Christ Symbol of Early Christianity on Ancient Roman Coins for Sale Online

Buy authentic ancient Roman coins depicting the Chi-Rho and deal with early Christianity. Fun way to learn about history through looking at real ancient Roman coins for sale connected with early Christian emperors. Feel safe buying ancient coins as they are all guaranteed authentic for a lifetime by a world-renowned ancient coin enthusiast and numismatic expert, Ilya Zlobin. Every coin comes with it's own custom-made, unique certificate of authenticity $50-$100 value, absolutely free, a lifetime guarantee of authenticity, professional research photograph and history. With the service, COA, selection and much more make best value for buying coins online!

The Chi Rho is one of the earliest forms of christogram, and is used by some Christians. It is formed by superimposing the first two (capital) letters chi and rho (ΧΡ) of the Greek word "ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ" =Christ in such a way to produce the monogram. Although not technically a Christian cross, the Chi-Rho invokes the crucifixion of Jesus, as well as symbolizing his status as the Christ.

The Chi-Rho symbol was also used by pagan Greek scribes to mark, in the margin, a particularly valuable or relevant passage; the combined letters Chi and Rho standing for chrēston, meaning "good." Some coins of Ptolemy III Euergetes (r. 246–222 BC) were marked with a Chi-Rho.

The Chi-Rho symbol was used by the Roman emperor Constantine I as vexillum, which is known as Labarum. Early symbols similar to the Chi Rho were the Staurogram (Christliche Symbolik (Menzel) I 193 2.jpg) and the IX Monogram (Christliche Symbolik (Menzel) I 193 4.jpg)

Christian accounts of Constantine's adoption of the Chi-Rho

Missorium depicting Emperor Constantine's son Constantius II accompanied by a guardsman with the Chi-Rho depicted on his shield.

According to Lactantius, a Latin historian of North African origins saved from poverty by the patronage of Emperor Constantine I (r. 306–337) as tutor to his son Crispus, Constantine had dreamt of being ordered to put a "heavenly divine symbol" (Latin: coeleste signum dei) on the shields of his soldiers. The description of the actual symbol chosen by Emperor Constantine the next morning, as reported by Lactantius, is not very clear: it closely resembles a Chi-Rho or a staurogram, a similar Christian symbol. That very day Constantine's army fought the forces of Maxentius and won the Battle of the Milvian Bridge (312), outside Rome.

Emperor Constantine's labarum, a standard incorporating the wreathed Chi-Rho, from an antique silver medal.

Writing in Greek, Eusebius of Caesarea (died in 339), the bishop who wrote the first surviving general history of the early Christian churches, gave two different accounts of the events. In his church history, written shortly after the battle, when Eusebius didn't yet have any contact with Constantine, he doesn't mention any dream or vision, but compares the defeat of Maxentius (drowned in the Tiber) to that of the biblical pharaoh and credits Constantine's victory to divine protection.

In a memoir of the Roman emperor that Eusebius wrote after Constantine's death (On the Life of Constantine, circa 337–339), a miraculous appearance came in Gaul long before the Battle of the Milvian Bridge. In this later version, the Roman emperor had been pondering the misfortunes that befall commanders that invoke the help of many different gods, and decided to seek divine aid in the forthcoming battle from the One God. At noon, Constantine saw a cross of light imposed over the sun. Attached to it, in Greek characters, was the saying "Τούτῳ Νίκα!". Not only Constantine, but the whole army saw the miracle. That night, Christ appeared to the Roman emperor in a dream and told him to make a replica of the sign he had seen in the sky, which would be a sure defence in battle.

Eusebius wrote in the Vita that Constantine himself had told him this story "and confirmed it with oaths" late in life "when I was deemed worthy of his acquaintance and company." "Indeed", says Eusebius, "had anyone else told this story, it would not have been easy to accept it."

Eusebius also left a description of the labarum, the military standard which incorporated the Chi-Rho sign, used by Emperor Constantine in his later wars against Licinius.

Celestial chi

Coin of Magnentius with large Chi-Rho at ecliptic angles and including the Alpha and Omega.

Although modern representations of the Chi-Rho sign represent the two lines crossing at ninety degree angles, the early examples of the Chi-Rho cross at an angle that is more vividly representative of the chi formed by the solar ecliptic path and the celestial equator. This image is most familiar in Plato's Timaeus, where it is explained that the two bands which form the "world soul" (anima mundi) cross each other like the letter chi. Not only did the two legs of the chi remind early Christians of the Holy Cross, "it reminded them of the mystery of the pre-existent Christ, the Logos Theou, the Word of God, who extended himself through all things in order to establish peace and harmony in the universe," in Robert Grigg's words.[8] Hugo Rahner summarized the significance: "The two great circles of the heavens, the equator and the ecliptic, which, by intersecting each other form a sort of recumbent chi and about which the whole dome of the starry heavens swings in a wondrous rhythm, became for the Christian eye a heavenly cross." Of Plato's image in Timaeus, Justin Martyr, the Christian apologist writing in the 2nd century, found a prefiguration of the Holy Cross, and an early testimony may be the phrase in Didache, "sign of extension in heaven" (sēmeion ekpetaseōsen ouranō).

An alternate explanation of the intersecting celestial symbol has been advanced by George Latura, claiming that Plato's visible god in Timaeus is in fact the intersection of the Milky Way and the Zodiacal Light, a rare apparition important to pagan beliefs that Christian bishops reinvented as a Christian symbol.

Later usage

The use of a wreath around the Chi-Rho symbolizes the victory of the Resurrection over death, and is an early visual representation of the connection between the Crucifixion of Jesus and his triumphal resurrection, as seen in the 4th century sarcophagus of Domitilla in Rome. Here, in the wreathed Chi-Rho the death and resurrection of Christ are shown as inseparable, and the Resurrection is not merely a happy ending tucked at the end of the life of Christ on Earth. Given the use of similar symbols on the Roman standard, this depiction also conveyed another victory, namely that of the Christian faith: the Roman soldiers who had once arrested Jesus and marched him to Calvary now walked under the banner of a resurrected Christ.

After Constantine, the Chi-Rho became part of the official imperial insignia. Archaeologists have uncovered evidence demonstrating that the Chi-Rho was emblazoned on the helmets of some Late Roman soldiers. Coins and medallions minted during Emperor Constantine's reign also bore the Chi-Rho. By the year 350, the Chi-Rho began to be used on Christian sarcophagi and frescoes. The usurper Magnentius appears to have been the first to use the Chi-Rho monogram flanked by Alpha and Omega, on the reverse of some coins minted in 353. In Roman Britannia, a tesselated mosaic pavement was uncovered at Hinton St. Mary, Dorset, in 1963. On stylistic grounds, it is dated to the 4th century; its central roundel represents a beardless male head and bust draped in a pallium in front of the Chi-Rho symbol, flanked by pomegranates, symbols of eternal life. Another Romano-British Chi-Rho, in fresco, was found at the site of a villa at Lullingstone (illustrated). The symbol was also found on Late Roman Christian signet rings in Britain.

Gallery

The labarum (Greek: λάβαρον) was a vexillum (military standard) that displayed the "Chi-Rho" symbol, formed from the first two Greek letters of the word "Christ" (Greek: ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ, or Χριστός) — Chi (χ) and Rho (ρ). It was first used by the Roman emperor Constantine I. Since the vexillum consisted of a flag suspended from the crossbar of a cross, it was ideally suited to symbolize crucifixion. The Chi-Rho symbol was also used by Greek scribes to mark, in the margin, a particularly valuable or relevant passage; the combined letters Chi and Rho standing for chrēston, meaning "good."

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