The Daily Mail has an article on what many believe is one of the earliest depictions of the Christian cross that was actually slanderous graffiti scratched into the outside wall of a building used to train slaves for battle.
It is believed that the graffiti portraying a donkey on a cross was carved into the wall nearly 1,970 years. It was intended to mock the faith of a Christian man who apparently trained at the facility. Beneath the cross was the words, ‘Alexamenos worships God.’
Inside the complex they found more graffiti that confirm Alexamenos’ faith. It may have been carved into the wall by the Christian man himself and reads that despite the persecution, ‘Alexamenos is faithful.’
At that time, the Christian faith was being mocked and at times severely persecuted by the Romans.
The Daily Mail writes:
It is said to be the earliest and only known image of the Crucifixion – a depiction of human-like figure with the head of a donkey nailed to a cross.
The anti-Christian ‘graffito’ was etched into a plaster wall of an imperial training school for ancient Roman slaves between 50AD and 250AD.
Beneath the cross is ancient Greek text that reads, ‘Alexamenos worships God,’ as a way to mock an individual in the drawing who appears to be dressed like a slave.
There is more in this article on the early depictions of Christ. READ: Is this the earliest drawing of the crucifixion? 1,970-year old carving made at ancient Roman slave school lampoons worshipper of human figure with the head of the donkey that could be anti-Christian graffiti
The ancient Christian apologists, Tertullian, (155 AD -220 AD) even talked about how the Romans commonly portrayed Christ as a donkey as they attacked Christianity.
In his book Ad Nationes, Tertullian wrote:
‘In this matter we are (said to be) guilty not merely of forsaking the religion of the community, but of introducing a monstrous superstition; for some among you have dreamed that our god is an ass’s head,’ — an absurdity which Cornelius Tacitus first suggested.