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pel. The custom was practised in the conversion of the Britons, and continued many centuries. When St. Botulf went to found his monastery in the wilderness of Lincolnshire at about the middle of the seventh century, ‘he and his companions, before they did anything else, planted the standard of the cross, and set up the ensign of heavenly peace in the cross of Christ." In the life of St. Willibald it is written that it was the ancient custom of the Saxon nation, on the estate of some of their nobles and great men to erect, not a church, but the sign of the Holy Cross, dedicated to God, beautifully and honorably adorned, and erected on high for the common use of daily prayer." Some of the crosses that remain to this day give evidence of serving as a place of general worship, with a bowl hollowed out of a stone upon the base for holding the sacred water, the remainder of the stone serving in all probability for an altar.'
This custom of raising the standard cross was doubtless introduced from Rome, and practised by missionaries of the faith generally. For example, Boniface complained of a Gallic bishop, Adalbert, who went about among the Franks, and 'seduced them with divers falsehoods, so that by setting up crosses in the fields and pulpits, he made all the people come together thither and forsake the public churches.' Naturally, in order to attract the most attention and draw the largest crowd, the missionary selected for planting the cross the places of resort and the most conspicuous situations. So crosses became frequently associated with wells and markets.
These first crosses set up by the missionaries were doubtless crude and frail, but later, especially where there was no church built and the cross had to serve for a place of worship, permanent and highly decorated stones were set up for the purpose. These early standard crosses served also to consecrate the ground for the site of the church (according to the custom in the early church of Rome), whenever a church was built beside it to take its place as a centre of worship.
*Ecclesiologist 8, 228. * Ibid.
* Cutts, Parish Priests, p. 24. * Boniface, Opera 1. 117; cf. p. 122.
6. Oratory Crosses. Nor was the cross merely for public worship and the preaching of the Word; it was also a shrine for private supplication. On the highways and at cross-roads, especially in Cornwall, crosses were erected for the benefit of travelers. Some, evidently, were for the purpose of getting the prayers of wayfarers for the soul of the deceased to whom the cross was erected as a memorial, or for the one who erected the cross himself. For example, one cross is inscribed,
Alcne prepared this cross for his soul." Other stones served for an entire family; for example,
E. and G. wrought this family stone for Ælfric's soul and for themselves. These oratory crosses were erected, evidently, as a work of merit.
However, the divisions that we have followed are arbitrary at best. Almost any one of the crosses might have the functions of any or all of the rest, and there is no doubt that many of them served more purposes than one.
The larger of these crosses were generally set up on three steps, symbolical of the Trinity, on which worshipers might kneel. The side of the cross which had the symbol of Christ incised, or bore the image carved, faced the west, with arms pointing north and south. Thus the worshiper turned his face to the east, and the ancient traditions of the position of Christ in the crucifixion were also preserved.
After the Norman conquest these stone crosses
* Brit. Arch. Journ. 42. 313. · Brit. Arch. Journ. 42. 313.
* e. g. the memorial cross of Cuthbert became a graveyard cross at Durham. See above.
broken up and used for building material, whenever they were conveniently to hand. The survivors of this Norman ruthlessness had to suffer, beside the ordinary ravages of time, the iconoclastic zeal of the Puritans, so that it is a marvel that so many beautiful examples of the Anglo-Saxon cross-monument exist to-day.'
(d) The Cross in Other Arts Before concluding this discussion of the cross in AngloSaxon art, we should give at least a passing mention to the arts of illumination and of jewelry.
Naturally, the cross was constantly employed as a motive in the designs of the illuminated page. It appears constantly, now conspicuously, now in all sorts of disguises. Sometimes it is used merely in the border of a picture, and again it occupies the full space of the design. Of the latter, a most beautiful example is that given in a facsimile in Plate 12 of Westwood's Irish and Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts, a page taken from one of the most beautiful illuminations ever done in England, the Lindisfarne Gospels. It is wholly Celtic in character, and probably was done by Irish artists; at any rate, it came from an ancient seat of Irish culture.
According to the facsimiles which I have examined, the picture of the crucifixion on manuscripts belong to a late period, either the end of the tenth or the eleventh century. An Irish manuscript of the ninth century pictures the Crucified swathed in a conventional garment from head to foot, following the older style of the full tunic, with head erect and arms at right angles to the body. Further, the wound is on the left side.
In the later Anglo-Saxon illuminations, however, a newer style is seen; the head inclines slightly to the right, the body is clothed only in a short tunic extending from the waist to the knee. The wound is on the right side, and the
*For a list of interlaced stone remains, compiled by J. R. Allen and G. F. Browne, see Brit. Arch. Journ. 41. 351.
· Westwood, Irish and A.-S. MSS.
arms are not stretched in a perfectly straight line from the shoulders. In all of these Christ is alive, though wounded; indeed, the early idea seems to have been that his wound was made before death, and, in fact, was the cause of death. He does not wear a crown of thorns, but has always a halo, which is sometimes cruciform.
The custom of representing the Savior as dead was a later fashion, imported from the East. Kraus cites, as a first example in Europe, a manuscript belonging to the year 1060. But in Westwood's collection is a facsimile of a dead Christ upon the cross in an Anglo-Saxon manuscript attributed by him to the end of the tenth century. However, this custom was not generally followed for some two or three hundred years afterwards, when the transition from symbolism to realism had become complete.
Of the cross in jewelry little need be said. The cross invariably appears on rings with inscriptions, as the cross always accompanied inscriptions. It occurs also on a talismanic ring with a runic charm, perhaps with an added usefulness for good luck. But it was also employed for decorative purposes, notably in the 'Minster Lovell Jewel.'* Ito appeared also on the base of drinking bowls, and the like. The cruciform fibulæ that belong to the Anglo-Saxon period seem to me of no significance in this connection, because the fibulæ of pagan times were often of the same shape.
Although the remains of the Anglo-Saxon goldsmith's art are scanty at best, it is interesting for our purpose to see that, few as they are, they also reflect the veneration for the cross.
8 Plate 43
* For excellent facsimiles of Anglo-Saxon jewelry, see the AngloSaxon Review, Dec., 1900, p. 170; June, 1900, p. 755.
Archæologia 50, pt. 2, p. 406.
(a) Theological Mysticism The custom of searching for allegorical and prophetic types in Scripture was zealously practised by AngloSaxon scholars, especially by Bede. The birth of Eve from the side of the sleeping Adam symbolized the birth of the Bride—. e., the Church—from the pierced side of Christ as he slept the sleep of death. Noah's drunkenness, curiously enough, was a prophecy of the crucifixion, and the laughter of Ham prefigured the taunts of the Jews.' Cain, leading Abel out to slay him, was a prophecy of the Jews' leading Christ outside the city, and all the details of the murder of Abel are made to correspond with the details of the crucifixion.' Mount Tabor suggested the cross, because the name is interpreted as 'coming light,' and therefore 'by name and position is pleasing to the mysteries of the life-giving cross.'
Of the direct references to the cross there are a great many; only a few characteristic ones need be quoted here. First, as to the wood of the cross. The association of the tree of life with the cross is found all through the AngloSaxon literature of the cross, and also in the sacramentaries. Bede, in his hymn on the passion of St. Andrew, says of his being raised upon the cross : ‘Levatur in vitæ arborem.' In the Benedictional of Ethelwold it is written: 'Deus noster vos perducat ad arborem vitæ, qui eruit de lacu myseriæ, ipse vobis aperiat ianuam paradysi qui congregit portes inferni, Amen.'
But the tree of knowledge of good and evil is also paralleled with the cross. Bede expounds the words, 'the cool of the day' (Genesis 3. 8) as follows: ‘Doubtless in the same hour in which the first man touched the tree of pre
1 Bede 1. 79.
* Ibid. 8. 22.
a Ibid. 7. 126.
3 Ibid. 7. 75. • Ibid. 1. 97.