Saturday, December 20, 2008
The symbol has been used by the church itself at least as far back as the 15th Century, when typesetters employed it with the newly invented Gutenberg press.
When fused with the second letter of Christ's name in Greek, Rho (P), it is called the labarum, a sort of sacred monogram symbolizing Jesus Christ. This ligature is said to have originated with Constantine I, who reportedly dreamed the symbol before the pivotal Battle of the Milvian Bridge (312). He ordered his soldiers to paint it on their shields, and when they emerged victorious from the battle, Constantine converted, becoming the first Christian Roman emperor.
But all this has little to do with the true meaning of Xmas. For that, you need look no farther than this year's magnificent Postal Service Christmas stamp. It is taken from a painting by the Italian master Sandro Botticelli which hangs in the Cleveland Museum of Art. The Virgin and Child With the Young John the Baptist was painted around the same time the holy "X" was first being inserted by frugal German typesetters into Gutenberg's invention.
What does "Xmas" truly mean? Click to enlarge and feast your eyes--you'll be brought as close as you can come to an answer.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Eros, the winged cherub, fluttered just over her shoulder, while standing beside her was the goat-god Pan, doing his best to seduce her.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
"Our democracy is self-destructing, because it abused the right to freedom and equality, because it taught people to consider impudence as a right, illegality as freedom, rudeness as equality and anarchy as happiness."
Monday, December 8, 2008
What is often overlooked in the play is the fact that it is, in essence, a story of revenge. I was reminded of this by the wave of riots currently raging across Greece following the fatal shooting of a 15-year-old boy by police.
The police claim the boy was shot after their squad was attacked by a gang of youths. Despite this, riots have been spreading across the country and appear to be growing more violent.
"The fury is understandable," said the interior and public order minister, Prokopis Pavlopoulos. "What can't be understood is raw violence."