> I enlarged the image of the eagle side of the coin until it began
> to degrade. What it looks like to me is more like an ankh with
> a single thinner line crossing at the intersection.
It is certainly not an ankh - see links below
> Hard to know what it might have meant to the people to whom
> the coin was "new".
Yes, this is an important question - if it meant "God" or "Eternal Time" or both - "The God-Eternal Time" then we are on a right track
The original meaning of this pre-Christian symbol is still disputed, but the version existing is:
quoting Frank C. Higgins "Ancient Freemasonry" (1919):
"A still more wonderful symbol of these old cosmic speculations is found in the famous monogram X P, “chi rho,” which is the origin of the name of the modern city near which the pyramid stands – Cairo. [Corrupted by the Arabs to “El Kahiryeh”] This monogram, although placed on the labarum, or standard, of Constantine the Great, in accordance with a vision, appears on Egyptian coins of the Ptolemies and on Indian coins several hundred years B.C. It is the old Sanskrit word “Rch,” meaning “light,” and the Egyptian derivative meaning “Ch R” or Horus, the animating spirit of the earth, “Horus of the Pole” and “Horus of the Two Horizons”, so he is called".
"Higgins’ statement that the word Chi-Rho derives from the ancient Egyptian “Ch R” for Horus, is significant and supports the belief that Jesus “the Christ” was based on the pagan Horus “the KRST” – the son and reincarnation of Osiris the ‘resurrection god’.
...The epithets given to Horus – “of the Pole” – “of the Two Horizons” as mentioned in the quote by Higgins, shows a connection between the shamanic/pagan ‘resurrection god’ (e.g., Osiris, Horus,) and the earth’s axis, as well as the rising and setting positions of the sun as it moves back and forth between its extreme solstice points on the horizon".
Regarding the coins:
The Catholic Encyclopedia reports [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10488a.htm
] that the Greek letters XP combined in a monogram occur on pre-Christian coins (e. g. the Attic tetradrachma and some coins of the Ptolemies).
These examples are:
You may find the resolution better on some of these images
> I can say with reasonable certainty that the Late Roman/early
> Church people used Chi-Rho to represent Christ
Most probably yes - they took the symbol of God which existed before which fitted very well with their belief of God (J.C. or X P) and simply used it afterwards implying their meaning of J.C. as savior
Now the original meaning and origin of this symbol is lost among Christians
However those who first decided to incorporate it into a new emerging religion most probably were very well aware of its original meaning - can't prove that, of course
Regarding late Romans - if [majority of] legionaries were Christianized by the time they started to use Chi-Ro on their shields so they also might have not been aware of its origin
> Holding your first two fingers slightly separated and vertically, does
> that mean "V" as Churchill meant, V for Victory, or as the deaf hand
> spelling means just the letter V, or does it mean "peace" as the hippies
> in the 60s used it, or both? ...generally speaking, it can mean any of
> those things, depending on context today.
The example with letter "V" is not exactly appropriate since it is not religious/occult/esoteric symbol and hence does not have such significance
Context defines the meaning - yes, but occult/esoteric symbols are much more stable and long-lasting; less dependent on context (if disregarding profanation, or out-of-usual (esoteric) -contexts usage)
Vindex est Venturus!
ToDR 115 yf, ONA