820. Bearing the Cross

John 19:17  •  1 min. read  •  grade level: 10
A cross sufficiently large and strong to hold the body of a man, and long enough to allow a suitable portion to rest in the ground, would be too heavy for any ordinary man to carry. Some have, therefore, supposed that the cross which the condemned bore, according to the Roman law, was merely a miniature representation of the cross on which he was to suffer death; and that he was compelled to carry it to the place of execution to indicate to the spectators in the streets through which he passed the kind of death he was about to suffer. It would thus be a public badge of his shame. Lipsius, however, says that only a part of the cross was borne by the condemned, and that this part was the horizontal beam, which was the lighter of the two pieces of which the cross was composed. The heavier part, the perpendicular, was either planted in the earth before the arrival of the procession, or was ready to be set up as soon as the condemned man arrived with the transverse beam.