The Earliest Image of a Crucified Person?

The Earliest Image of a Crucified Person? March 10, 2021

Roger Pearse on his blog has posted the latest info about a graffito found in a Taberna in Puteoli (the Roman port) of a crucified person, in this case, a drawing of a crucified woman named Alkimila.  Here is the link…


This graffito dates to the period of Hadrian or possible a little later… making it possibly the earliest such image of crucifixion. Several features are worth brief mention— it appears clear that in this case we are talking about a woman being crucified, which surely was exceptional and rare. Possibly she was a slave woman, but with graffiti like this, and the fact that it was found on the west wall of a taberna this could be a sick joke about someone who thought that woman should be executed.  In other words, a fictional reference.  More importantly, like the more famous graffito found in the catacombs in Rome (see my Invitation to the NT for the picture and discussion) we note that again this is not the same thing as someone tied to a stake. There is clearly a cross piece in this picture as in the one in the catacombs.   Here below is the archaeologist’s rendering of the image on the taberna wall. Finally, kudos to my colleague and friend Mark Wilson for pointing out a fine article that deals with this and other examples and mentions of crucifixion.  “Crucifixion as Spectacle in Roman Campania” Author(s): John Granger Cook Source: Novum Testamentum , 2012, Vol. 54, Fasc. 1 (2012), pp. 68-100


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