St. Peter's Tomb In Rome?

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St. Peter's Tomb In Rome? Poetic Justice 2/1/13 7:18 PM
This is a post I made for a European travel forum (Fodor's) where this
limited underground tour is popular.
And I figured I'd throw it out there here for whatever wraith it will
bring:-).
Regards, Walter


I believe that this is the tomb of St. Peter and that his bones were
found there.
There is no rock solid evidence to support this though, if there were
you would be reading about it from some scholar with alot of letters
after their name instead of a poorly written post on Usenet:-).


***I Want You Only To Rely On The FACTS From The Pagan Writers And The
Excavation Reports.***

But the theory/belief/legend/whatever that Peter was killed and buried
at Rome's Vatican Hill is up too you to believe or disbelieve that
possibility.

No one should be 100% convinced nor can anyone say that it's also 100%
not true IMO that would show extreme bias. Instead go into this at 50/50
use logic and common sense without bias.

If you believe that there was a Divine Saint called Peter or just an
historical person named Peter remember one thing...he had to die and be
buried somewhere!

And there is factual archaeological evidence that ~90yrs after his
*presumed death and burial in Rome* the Christians marked (shrine
complex) and worshipped this particular grave.
The grave's walls were also twice repaired *in* that ~90yr timespan
(shored-up with bricks).

I am an Atheist so I have no religious or faith-based bias to this site,
I am just a Rome ancient history buff and this site is part of that
history.
I personally believe there was an historical Jesus who started a very
small cult following that was still part of Judaism.
This following grew after his death within the Jewish communities and
~20yrs later it caused a religious conflict in the Jewish community in
Rome and that's where we start.


EARLY CHRISTIANS IN ROME, NERO'S FIRE AND PERSECUTION (PART 1)

SUETONIUS 'CLAUDIUS' (~49/50AD)
"Since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of
Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome".

Chrestus was a common name then but most scholars believe it should be
Christus (Christ) and it was just ***misinterpreted and the Jews are
likely fighting over the Messiah claim made by the Jewish followers of
Jesus.

So we have a Pagan writer with access to the Imperial Archives who wrote
'Lives of Ceasars' (De Vita Caesarum) that places Christians in Rome
roughly halfway between the death of Jesus and the 64AD Fire.


In 64AD we have the 'Great Fire of Rome' during Emperor Nero's reign.
He needs a scapegoat when rumors start that he had ordered the fire set
to clear away a large tract of land in order to vastly expand his palace
(which he does).

Nobody Pagan or Jewish cares about this very small minority cult, now
add to that the fact that the fire started in the small Jewish section
~SE of the Circus Maximus.
These early Christians are mostly/all Jews and would also have to live
in the Jewish areas within Rome.


SUETONIUS 'NERO'
Suetonius has an extreme bias when writing about Nero and other
Emperors.
Suetonius doesn't tie the Christians and the Fire together as he places
100% of the blame on Nero.
But he does record the Christian persecution by Nero.

"During his reign many abuses were severely punished and
putdown...[snip]
[45] Punishment was inflicted on the Christians, a class of men given to
a new and mischievous superstition."


TACITUS on the Fire and the Christians;
"But all human efforts, all the lavish gifts of the emperor, and the
propitiations of the gods, did not banish the sinister belief that the
conflagration was the result of an order.

Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and
inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their
abominations, called Christians by the populace.

Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme
penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our
procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus
checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first
source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and
shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become
popular.

Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then,
upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much
of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind." [SNIP]


Ok so now we have 2 Pagan sources for a Christian persecution.
Tacitus who was a child in Rome at the time of the Fire and Suetonius
who was born 5yrs after the Fire.
Both have access to texts and/or archives of this recent period and
possibly actual 1st hand survivor accounts esp Tacitus but also
Suetonius who went to Rome to be educated as a young man within 25yrs of
the Fire, he was also very good friends with 'Pliny the Younger'.


Now to place the city's fire refuges at the Circus where St. Peter was
allegedly killed.
 We have Nero's Imperial Gardens, a Circus (a chariot racetrack on the
fringe of the Gardens) and the Vatican Hill which at this time is a
desolate snake infested area used as a cemetary for the poor with simple
in-ground burials.
So Gardens [G], Circus (), Vatican Hill /\ [G]()/\ all alongside each
other.


TACITUS "To relieve the unhappy people, wandering in distress without a
place of shelter, he opened the field of Mars, as also the magnificent
buildings raised by Agrippa, and even his own *Imperial Gardens*.
He ordered a number of sheds to be thrown up with all possible despatch,
for the use of the populace.
Household utensils and all kinds of necessary implements were brought
from Ostia, and other cities in the neighbourhood.
 The price of grain was reduced to three sesterces.
For acts like these, munificent and well timed, Nero might hope for are
turn of popular favour."


Nero actually did a good job for the people after the Fire and his
Gardens are just one location for the burnt-out refuges.
But this location has an added bonus, it has a Circus were the 'refuge
mob' can be entertained with death which they enjoy dearly.
In the Circus Maximus (which burnt down in the fire) more than chariot
races would take place, everything that the future Colosseum would have
was also done in the Circus (gladiators, animal fights, executions,
etc).

So killing Christians as criminals in Nero's Circus before the crowds
would be 'just another day at the races'.


And below is the rest of Tacitus' statement that I [Snipped] from above.

"Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished,
or were *Nailed to Crosses*, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to
serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired.
Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was *Exhibiting A Show
In The Circus*, while he mingled with the people in the dress of a
charioteer or stood aloft on a car.

Hence, even for criminals (Christians) who deserved extreme and
exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was
not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man's cruelty,
that they were being destroyed."


So we have proof by a Pagan source who was alive and lived in Rome at
that time although not likely an actual eyewitness to the fact that
Christians were killed in Nero's Circus.

But his writings will be read by others who lived thru this era and he
has absolutely no reason to lie about it.


Now we have as fact this event took place with a *belief* that one of
the Christians killed was St. Peter who was buried in a simple earth
grave just outside this Circus.

From the spina (center barrier of the racetrack (|) ) where his and
other crucifixions would have taken place a high school outfielder could
throw a baseball from there to Peter's grave if the Basilica wasn't in
the way.


Bribing the guards for a body wasn't unheard of or later retriving the
body from a mass burial pit is also possible.
If either was done burying the body ASAP would be a must to avoid
detection and very likely arrest and a place in the next day's
entertainment.

Also the Romans were good about allowing the Jews to bury their dead the
same day as their crucifixion in their homeland but I don't know if this
was the case here?

Anyway this is probably the worst location (malaria, snakes, barren
wasteland) outside of the City's Walls to *claim* that this is the grave
of your religious leader and Apostle of Jesus unless there was a very
good reason to make that claim?
----------------------------------------------
*** Christus to Chrestus;
Soldier at the scene could have changed it thinking the Jews he is
asking have mispronounced the common name Chrestus? Or as the report
moves up the chain of command orally it eventually gets written down to
present to the Emperor, then into an official decree and then into the
archives?
With a possibility of flipping back and forth between Greek and Latin
both orally and written?
  --------------------------------------------


PETER IN ROME(?) PART 2

"Jesus was a marginal Jew leading a marginal movement in a marginal
province of a vast Roman empire.
 The wonder is that any learned Jew or pagan would have known or
referred to him at all in the first or second centuries"

Now what written proof should we expect from this small minority
religion in Rome that has an even smaller break-away cult following with
regards to St. Peter?

Even the earliest written proof that there was a *single* Gospel written
(out of many) is ~125AD and that small parchment piece of St. John's
Gospel would fit in the palm of your hand.

Also consider the bibical claim that Peter had escaped Roman
imprisonment in Jerusaleum he is very possibly a fugitive from Roman
authority and keeping a very low profile in Rome.
To use the Hippie-era term "He went underground".

Of course I don't believe that an Angel aided in the escape but it's
possible that he was a wanted man who fled that city to avoid arrest and
the story was embellished by later NT writers?

St. Peter had to die somewhere and the early Christians claimed it was
in Rome vs anywhere else.

They also claim an *exact* location and timeframe (Nero's Circus during
Nero's persecution).


IMO if all the evidence and tradition was for a non-religious historic
figure we would very likely be claiming we found where this event had
taken place.

But there is often a stigma attached to believing in any bibical site
even if based only on non-bias information and evidence.

IME with a couple of 'Born Again' Christians they wouldn't even look at
any evidence based possibly on their bias against the Catholic Church.

In 'History/Archaeological' Newsgroups Atheists (like myself) or those
who don't believe in organized religion refused to look at any evidence
as their mind was already made-up that it could not have happened
<period>.

But to their credit actually putting Peter in Rome is a tough sell based
on the lack of evidence.


Here one must look at what some scant written evidence hints at,
Christian tradition and if it sounds plausable to you.

This is the best we can do and remember he had to be somewhere.


In St. Peter's First Epistle the end reads:
"The church that is in Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you:
and so doth my son Mark" (5:13).

The real Babylon is in ruins and it's a fact that early Christians
referred to Rome as Babylon.

Mark is St. Mark who is Peter's scribe (Peter is likely illiterate) and
"son" is just a term of endearment (Mark is younger) or perhaps they are
posing as father and son to avoid suspicion?

There is some hinted evidence here mostly based on early Christian
writings but here I am only concerned with anything written before
~154AD.
Because by then the 'Red Wall' and the 'Trophy of Gaius' had been built
over the alleged St. Peter's grave and Christians have now marked this
grave with a large shrine and wall that is visible in sections today
which is the archaeological proof. (If they had marked the grave before
that with anything it would have been removed or destroyed when the
Shrine was constructed).


In these letters or writings there would be no reason to mention St.
Peter's martyrdom and burial place *if* it was common knowledge to all
parties concerned.
(Like; On the way to Houston I am stopping in Dallas to visit 'Dealey
Plaza'. I would not have to explain why to an American of my
generation.)


www.newadvent.org/cathen/11744a.htm
(Section 'Activity and death in Rome; burial-place') Use the website if
you're interested, as it has Links to the actual later passages. The
commentary though is Catholic so with a religious bias.



THE TOMB OF ST. PETER(?) PART 3

Use this website for the long detailed excavation report with diagrams.
www.saintpetersbasilica.org/Necropolis/JW/TheBonesofStPeter-1.htm OR
http://tinyurl.com/tbosp
You can start at Section 3 or 4 if you like.


But 1st you have to know the places that they talk about (Red Wall,
Trophy of Giaus, Wall G, etc) and these websites have photos, videos,
diagrams and info.

So start here, the 1st and the 3rd website mainly deals with what this
post is about.
A couple of things are wrong IMO but they are just minor points. (1)
www.culturaltravelguide.com/saint-peters-basilica-vatican-necropolis OR
http://tinyurl.com/8kkcf77 (2)
www.culturaltravelguide.com/roman-mausoleums-saint-peters-basilica OR
http://tinyurl.com/8qsk8uy (3)
www.culturaltravelguide.com/real-tomb-saint-peter-under-saint-peters-basilica
OR http://tinyurl.com/8copxlv

Also be sure to watch the 4min video on the grave in Part 3.


It's very good but I don't know about the timeline they use
'100AD-145AD'.
I could be wrong but I haven't come across any actual dates for the 1st
(and 2nd) 'low wall' that shored-up the grave so it might be pre-100AD.

Also 145AD would be the earliest, the time-span is 145AD-161AD which is
why I use ~154AD, it splits the difference plus it's 90yrs after 64AD.


The official excavation report is very long and detailed so I'd like to
just summarize the timeline and locations from the original grave to the
bones being placed in the 'Graffiti Wall' while only using the facts.

This hopefully even though I'm a terrible writer will make it easier for
anyone that is interested in this site.

The timeline will be from the ~64AD burial to an unknown date between
~250AD when roughly the 'Graffiti Wall' was added and Constantine build
the 1st St. Peter's Basilica (319-322AD).

Somewhere in that timeframe an elderly man's bones that were originally
in that earth grave (soil samples are an exact match) were placed into a
marble-lined repository (niche) in the Graffiti Wall.

The niche was then plastered over like the Wall and hidden with no
plaque or inscription marking this new grave/tomb location.


1st go here for a diagram of the 'Red Wall Complex [Scroll-down to> 8.
Plan of the second-century red wall complex]
www.saintpetersbasilica.org/Necropolis/JW/TheBonesofStPeter-6.htm OR
http://tinyurl.com/dotrwc


Now I am only interested in the enclosed Courtyard (~26ft x 12ft).
Unlike the other areas in this complex its purpose is a Fact.

You have a 1stC grave with a large Shrine (Trophy of Gaius) build over
it, the floor is tiled and the area is enclosed by a high wall and
*possibly* a roof.

Christians meet in each others homes for services and this is attested
too by a Pagan letter to an Emperor pre-dating this Complex.

[A Theory of Mine?] This complex is *very likely* the 1st structure
build where Rome's Christians worshipped together making it the 1st
Church in Rome and possibly the 1st in the Christian World?


Now go to this model of the Shrine and Wall
www.culturaltravelguide.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/model-rotated-trophy.jpg
OR http://tinyurl.com/gtrophy

Now in the later half of the 1stC none of those structures are there and
that 1stC groundlevel is maybe a foot or so beneath the Shrine.

We have proof that this was an area for simple in-ground poor-person's
graves with likely just some large bricktiles leaning against each other
to form an inverted V over the length of the grave marking it. This is
very common.

The Fact is nearby graves basically right next to our grave of interest
bricktiles were found from Emperor Vespasian's era (69-79AD) and also a
small oil lamp from the same era.
So it's possible now to date our grave of interest to the later half of
the 1stC based on the surrounding evidence and 64AD fits into that
timeframe.


Now from that time to the Red Wall and Shrine construction (~154AD) this
simple earthen grave had been shored-up twice at different times over
the decades with a low brick wall.

These fixes were needed due to the ground level rising because it's on a
hillside slope with soil erosion from the rain.
So the Fact is that someone or somepersons are maintaining this
gravesite. Not unusual but worth noting.


[CLAIM, not fact] In the 'Liber Pontificalis' (Book of Popes) it's
stated that Pope Anacletus built an Oratory over this grave ~90AD?


Now ~154AD the Christians have enjoyed a few decades of realitive peace
in Rome, Christianity is still illegal but they are basically being left
alone.
Like a "Don't ask, Don't tell" policy.

And it seems they are now confident enough to built this walled-in
courtyard with a shrine over this humble grave.

The shrine isn't square to the grave because this isn't a wide open
space any more, large above-ground Pagan tombs have encroached on this
area, so they must square-off with them to form this rectangular
couryard.

But in the base/floor of this Shrine there is a stone inset trapdoor
(for want of a better word) that outlines the offset grave exactly [\\]
by 11deg.

So the Fact is the Shrine is directly related to the grave below without
a doubt.


~250AD the Red Wall develops a long vertical crack right next to the
Shrine, to save the wall from collapse and shrine damage a short
buttress wall is built to support the Red Wall ___||___ .

This buttress wall is known to us as the 'Graffiti Wall' and it is about
to make history!


Now either when it was 1st built or in the timespan leading up to
Constantine (or by possibly Constantine himself but very unlikely) there
was a marble-lined repository/niche (3.5ft x 1ft x 10in) built into this
brick Wall.
This niche was then plastered over just like the bricks in both the Red
Wall and this Wall, it's now completely hidden from sight!

This shows the added 'Graffiti Wall' and its niche. That person in the
model throw's off the scale though, see how the shrine's columns support
a shelf, that shelf is 6ft high from the base of the shrine.
www.culturaltravelguide.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/model-grafitti-wall-north.jpg
OR http://tinyurl.com/mgwnj


Now somewhere in this timeframe the grave is dug-up and not refilled.
A man's skeleton is removed with a few animal bones which were either in
the soil of the original grave or any number of reasons because of this
location (like erosion).
But that isn't important, what is important is that the skeleton they
removed is from 1 *single* person, a robust man, ~5'7" and ~60-70yrs
old.

Not all the bones in this skeleton are accounted for but all sections of
the body are represented to some degree *except* both ankle and foot
bones.


[THEORY that I have heard before]
This would this would be consistant with a person whose ankles were
nailed to an upright beam of a cross later after death the feet were
cut-off at the ankles.
Because the arms were most likely tied (history seems to favor that
method) to the removable crossbeam.
So they would just cut-off above the nailed ankle and remove the
crossbeam, untie and drag the body away.
Add another cut to the ankle's remains and it would free it from the
nail, grab the nail and wiggle it free.
Also crucifixion nails are valuable items and sold as good luck charms.
It is also very possible that as the day's entertainment in Nero's
Circus neared the end the crucified victims were wearing clothes that
were covered in tar/pitch and set alight.
This was very common in these blood sports venues and a Pagan writer
Tactius mentions Nero doing this with Christians in his Gardens next
door (cited earlier).
Also they have found both ankles of a 1C Roman Jewish crucifixion (near
Jerusaleum) where each ankle was seperately nailed to each side of the
upright post.


So again, somewhere in this timeframe the skeletal remains taken from
this grave end-up hidden in the Graffiti Wall's niche and remain there
until the 20C.

We know this because in the 1960's soil samples taken from those bones
*exactly* matched the soil from that grave and even soil samples from
the surrounding graves were a mismatch.

So the Fact is, this elderly man was once buried in that earth grave in
the 1C-AD.


Now in ~250AD when this Graffiti Wall was built Christians are again
being persecuted even to the point of not being allowed burials or
visiting Christian graves.

Perhaps fearing the bones would be taken and destroyed forever by the
Pagans they were secretly hidden in the wall's niche?

Or perhaps it was done decades later for the same reasons?

Or Constantine had them placed them there when he built the Basilica?
This seems to be the accepted theory but there are no facts or claims to
back it up.

Personally I don't think Constantine knew about the bone's location
because if he had I believe he would have put them in a beautiful
elaborate coffin and placed it in a more honorable location (like
beneath or on the new Basilica's altar).

Remember Constantine is either a new Christian convert or his accepting
of Christianity had a purely political motive?
Plus he didn't get baptised which is the 1st step to becoming a
Christian until he was on his deathbed.

So it's possible that the Pope didn't trust him completely or perhaps he
feared that the Pagans might one day regain complete power again.


Or the secret hidden location was never passed-on to a following Pope
perhaps there were only an original few that knew the secret location
and in the following 70yrs only a single Pope, a sudden death and the
secret goes to his grave?

It's very unlikely we will ever know the reason the bones were removed
and hidden but the Fact is those bones from that 1C grave match the age
and sex of St. Peter and the timeframe is in the ballpark.

So either the early Christians are right and this is the grave of St.
Peter or decades later they just happened to pick a gravesite to worship
where by coincidence a 60-70yr old male just happens to be buried?

[CONCLUSION; Read this section on the Bones & Theory. But skip the
examination results from the other bones found randomly in the larger
*Courtyard* excavation of 3 adults & 1 40ish male]
www.saintpetersbasilica.org/Necropolis/JW/TheBonesofStPeter-8.htm OR
http://tinyurl.com/tbept

Now to avoid confusion when reading the excavation report remember there
are two seperate piles of bones that were discovered here.

The bones in the Graffiti Wall which were discovered by accident when a
small piece of the Graffiti Wall's plaster had fallen off and the hidden
niche was exposed during the excavations.

But they were secretly taken out of the niche and stored away by the
Vatican's overseer of the excavations and unknown to the archaeologists
for years.


The 2nd pile of bone was when the archaeologists got into the original
grave which was an open cavity beneath the
Shrine.

The grave was empty except where the underground Red Wall's brick
foundations cut across the grave, when they built this section ~154AD
they arched over the grave by making an inverted V which made a niche.

In this niche archaeologists found a pile of BONES in the GRAVE that
were placed there in ancient times!!!
Needless to say they were overjoyed at the discovery except later when
the bones are examined they discover the bone remains (none are
complete, just bits and pieces) are of 2 50ish males and an elderly
woman.
And not of a man fitting St. Peter's older age.


Now the Graffiti Wall's bones are stored in the Vatican unknown to the
archaeologists.

The Vatican overseer who secretly removed them figured they were from
some early Christian like a Pope who had himself entombed near the grave
generations after St. Peter's death.


Now about the multiple person's bones found in the grave's niche? Who
knows?

Perhaps they ended up mingled in the grave site's area thru erosion as
the report suggests.

Guessing! Maybe any bones found when building the Red Wall & Shrine
complex were placed there figuring they were earlier Christians.


But I've always wondered maybe they were a decoy?
Any Pagans breaking into the grave to destroy St. Peter's remains would
find a pile of bones and think he had found them and leave the cemetary
happy.

Remember just small bits and pieces of those person's skeletons remained
even the archaeologists didn't realize they had found multiple persons
until the scientists examined the bones.


Bottomline Hard Facts;

Pagan writer Tactius states that Christians were killed in the Circus of
Nero by Nero.
St. Peter if alive would have been in his 60's when this happened.

St. Peter's Basilica southern side is built over part of this Circus.

The Basilica's main altar is built over a 1stC grave of a man in his
60's.

Early Christians worshipped this grave site as St. Peter's proven by the
building of the Red Wall and Shrine Complex
~154AD roughly 90yrs after St. Peter's believed death in the Circus.


What cannot be factually proven is;

Was St. Peter in Rome ~64AD?

Was he killed in the Circus of Nero?

Was he buried in that 1stC grave beneath St. Peter's Basilica?


So we have the facts for the 'When', 'Why' and the 'How' but you must
decide if the 'Who' is Fact, Fiction, Possible or Impossible. Regards,
Walter

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Also I would like to add this theory into the mix although it doesn't
add anything to my 64-154AD main timeline of interest.

[The PETROS GRAFFITO Fragment Theory]

"PETROS ENI literally "Peter is within" in a tomb or grave context
"Peter is buried in here."

Ok this is not a fact it's a theory based on this partial graffito but
if you take all of the other evidence into account it seems very likely.

1st the location; The graffito is on the *large* 'Red Wall' ~2ft from
the floor, so a person would have to be on their knees to write it.

It just so happens to be in the exact section where the 'Graffiti Wall'
was abutted to the 'Red Wall' and to be more exact it is *exactly* where
the marble-lined hidden niche with the bones abutts the Red Wall.

That section is 12in x 10in [X] and in that less than 1 sq/ft area there
is vertical crack in the Wall's plaster which likely narrows down the
writeable surface area even more.

So either that graffito was there before the Graffiti Wall was built
(unlikely).

Or just before the Graffiti Wall's niche tomb was plastered over and
hidden a person on his knees reached in and hastily scratched that
"Peter is within" graffito into the Red Wall's plaster?
That someone religious ID'ed this hidden tomb of their Saint seems alot
more likely to me?


2nd; What survives in this plaster fragment are the definite 1st 3
letters in Greek for PETROS (Peter) with the 4th letter which is a Greek
P for our Latin R in petRos as a *possible* match because only part of
the vertical line survives and not the top section. ENI (within, here)
in the 2nd line.

Best to let the 'Theory' website below explain this line.

Bottomline; What are the odds of finding this kind of partial evidence
*there* inside a secret hidden unmarked tomb niche that ancient
Christians placed what they firmly believed were St. Peter's bones?

Even though the graffito is partial and somewhat cryptic the evidence
seems to support her theory IMO?

[GRAFFITO PHOTO]
www.culturaltravelguide.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/petros-eni-saint-peter-tomb-349x420.jpg
OR
http://tinyurl.com/8qtn79v

[PETROS GRAFFITO THEORY]
Professor Margherita Guarducci is the Italian archaeologist and author
who worked for years on decipering the St. Peter's Basilica Necropolis
graffiti and this is her theory.

Scroll down to "10 The Peter Theory" and then scroll down a few
paragraphs to the paragraph starting with "During the evening..." which
is her Graffito Theory.
http://saintpetersbasilica.org/Necropolis/JW/TheBonesofStPeter-8.htm OR
http://tinyurl.com/8bqzd4l

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  

BACK-UP LINKS
"The Bones of Saint Peter" by John Curran
www.ucd.ie/cai/classics-ireland/1996/Curran96.html OR
http://tinyurl.com/4wrrl2
On the excavation;
(Part 1) http://lonelypilgrim.com/2012/05/14/the-tomb-of-st-peter/ OR
http://tinyurl.com/9ny5ntb
(Part 2) http://lonelypilgrim.com/2012/05/15/the-grave-of-st-peter/ OR
http://tinyurl.com/9tkfnkh
(Part 3) http://lonelypilgrim.com/2012/05/17/the-bones-of-st-peter/ OR
http://tinyurl.com/9dh76c5

Re: St. Peter's Tomb In Rome? Martin Edwards 2/2/13 3:02 AM
On 02/02/2013 03:18, Poetic Justice wrote:
> And there is factual archaeological evidence that ~90yrs after his
> *presumed death and burial in Rome*  the Christians marked (shrine
> complex) and worshipped this particular grave.

Less than 90 years after Frank Nitti's suicide a film showed Eliott Ness
throwing him off a building.  Some time after that a tv series showed a
character called Brett Maverick meeting two different Billy the Kids on
different occasions.

--
Myth, after all, is what we believe naturally.  History is what we must
painfully learn and struggle to remember.  -Albert Goldman
Re: St. Peter's Tomb In Rome? Poetic Justice 2/2/13 9:55 AM
>And there is factual archaeological
>evidence that ~90yrs after his *presumed
>death and burial in Rome* the Christians
>marked (shrine complex) and worshipped
>this particular grave.

Martin Edwards wrote;

>Less than 90 years after Frank Nitti's
>suicide a film showed Eliott Ness throwing
>him off a building. Some time after that a
>tv series showed a character called Brett
>Maverick meeting two different Billy the
>Kids on different occasions.

OK?

I used this scenario 1st in '06 and detailed it last summer for my posts
on Fodor's about this site.
I'd even tell you the name of the street and city if it wasn't 'my
mother's maiden name':-).

But 1st there are 2 choices;

The grave's location is passed-on within the Christian community for
90yrs and twice during this period it is maintained by shoring-up the
sides with bricks.

Or sometime within those 90yrs someone out of the clear blue says "Hey,
this is St. Peter's grave". And later "lets build an elaborate shrine
and enclose it".

And he gets all Rome's Christians to believe this and the money to build
it.
Even though there must have been an oral history on whether this event
happened or didn't happen that was passed-on or not passed-on.
 
True story but with alittle poetic license.

 I was born in 1954, my mother's family all lived on the same street and
when they started naming streets they named it after her family (a small
but *growing* family related community).

 In 1959 my great-grandfather pointed to a very small 1 room house now
used for a storage shed as the house he was born in in 1895.

So growing-up his parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins who
witnessed his birth told him the location.

My grandfather and his brothers and sisters as children would also be
told by 1st hand surviving relatives by 1918+.

 My mother would get this info 2nd hand ~1937 and I would later get it
3rd hand from her but also 2nd hand from my great-grandfather.

 90yrs later in 1985 my grandfather is still alive although not a
witness to his father's birth location he was given the location 2nd
hand by those who were.

His brothers and sisters would also likely pass-down the location to
their children and grandchildren.

Bottomline; 118yrs later I still have 2nd hand info from my
great-grandfather 54yrs ago of this location.
If I chased down distant cousins that I don't know, it's likely that
many of them also know this location 2nd, 3rd or 4th hand.
Also 81yrs later I can point to the house (and kitchen) on that street
where my mother was born from 1st hand info (grandmother and
grandfather).

So even if there were *only* 2 Christians present at the death of Peter
who later buried him, that location would spread like wildfire within
hours/days inside the close-knit Rome Christian community.

And they would take their children there to pray with them and in turn
their children would take their children there.
 Add in later converts who would have access to the original witnesses
for decades.

 If a grave location was indeed claimed and visited right after Peter's
death it would be impossible to 'get the toothpaste back in the tube'
after that.

unk...@googlegroups.com 2/2/13 11:43 AM <This message has been deleted.>
Re: St. Peter's Tomb In Rome? Christopher Ingham 2/2/13 2:24 PM
There is of course no incontrovertible evidence that Peter was ever
in
Rome, and the total silence by the sources contemporary to
Peter (the gospels, etc.) on his presence there would suggest that he
never was. It is the widespread attestations of second- and third-
generation (post-apostolic) sources, however, which are the strongest
support for the claim that Peter died in Rome, as they presumably
should reflect authentic historical memory. The Petrine legend
becomes
more embellished in later sources. In trying to ascertain what may or
may not be true about Peter, one can only piece together the diverse
clues in the literature and try to assess the reliability of each
source, which results in any number of conclusions – none definitive

ranging from maximalist to minimalist.

Christopher Ingham
Re: St. Peter's Tomb In Rome? Poetic Justice 2/2/13 6:00 PM
Christopher Ingham wrote;

>There is of course no incontrovertible
>evidence that Peter was ever in Rome,

Yes, that is the hard to sell part:-).

>and the total lack of silence by the
>sources contemporary to Peter (the
>gospels, etc.) on his presence there would
>suggest that he never was.

I'm not a big gospel reader but how many of the 4 mentions the other
aposles where-abouts decades after the crucifixion?

How many, if any letters or texts by his contemporaries survived and if
so would have luckily had a Peter in Rome or martydom connection?

We do have this though and Babylon is definitely Rome, I know it is
mentioned in other parts of the Bible.
Any reason not to believe it?

>In St. Peter's First Epistle the end reads:
>"The church that is in Babylon, elected
>together with you, saluteth you: and so
>doth my son Mark" (5:13).

>It is the widespread attestations of
>second- and third- generation
>(post-apostolic) sources, however, which
>are the strongest support for the claim
>that Peter died in Rome, as they
>presumably should reflect authentic
>historical memory.

But I didn't want to rely on them as they could be just reporting the
religious myth.

And I wanted to stick with the physical evidence.
A grave dateable to around the middle part of the last half of the 1C.
And the Shrine complex marking this grave as St. Peter's by the
Christians.

>The Petrine legend becomes more
>embellished in later sources. In trying to
>ascertain what may or may not be true
>about Peter, one can only piece together
>the diverse clues in the literature and try
>to assess the reliability of each source,
>which results in any number of
>conclusions – none definitive – ranging
>from maximalist to minimalist.

Again I tried to pass on any literature except the Peter passage *which
does put him in Rome* and just the archaeolgical evidence.

(1) Christian tradition claims Peter is killed in the Circus of Nero
after the 64 Fire.

Tactitus wrote that Christians were killed in the Circus of Nero after
the 64 Fire.

(2) Christian tradition claims Peter was buried just outside the Circus.

Archaeological evidence from ~154 proves the Christians marked *a*
grave, *if* they had marked it earlier that evidence was removed in the
154 building.
Plus that grave is somewhat dateable to a 64AD timeframe.

(3) Peter was a elderly man in 64AD and Christian tradition claims he
was crucified in the Circus of Nero.

Scientific evidence of the bones shows that a robust male 60-70yrs old
*was buried in that grave the Christians marked in 154AD*.

Oddly none of the 40-something foot bones were found.
www.saintpetersbasilica.org/Necropolis/JW/TheBonesofStPeter-10.htm

One possiblity is; There is proof (1stC ~Jerusaleum) that the ankles
were nailed to the upright beam in crucifixions.

And cutting-off a dead criminals feet would make getting the body down
easier (esp if they were set aflame at the end of the games) plus after
a day full of blood and guts what's a couple of feet in the sand?
Regards, Walter

Re: St. Peter's Tomb In Rome? Martin Edwards 2/3/13 12:41 AM
On 02/02/2013 19:43, Christopher Ingham wrote:
> There is of course no incontrovertible evidence that Peter was ever in
> Rome, and the total lack of silence by the sources contemporary to
> Peter (the gospels, etc.) on his presence there would suggest that he
> never was.

There is no evidence outside the Bible and Christian tradition that he
existed at all.
Re: St. Peter's Tomb In Rome? Christopher Ingham 2/3/13 9:42 AM
On Feb 2, 9:00 pm, paradisel...@webtv.net (Poetic Justice) wrote:
> Christopher Ingham wrote;
>
> >There is of course no incontrovertible
> >evidence that Peter was ever in Rome,
>
> Yes, that is the hard to sell part:-).
>
> >and the total lack of silence by the
> >sources contemporary to Peter (the
> >gospels, etc.) on his presence there would
> >suggest that he never was.
>
> I'm not a big gospel reader but how many of the 4 mentions the other
> aposles where-abouts decades after the crucifixion?
>
> How many, if any letters or texts by his contemporaries survived and if
> so would have luckily had a Peter in Rome or martydom connection?
>
> We do have this though and Babylon is definitely Rome, I know it is
> mentioned in other parts of the Bible.
> Any reason not to believe it?
One would expect to find reference to Peter’s Roman residence in Acts
or Romans, but there is none. Mark, the only gospel to come from Rome
itself, hints at the martyrdom of James and John, but has nothing to
say about Peter dying a martyr’s death. Paul speaks of several
meetings with Peter, all in Jerusalem – except for one in Antioch. And
while Babylon is generally thought to be most commonly a metaphor for
Rome in the Christian scriptures, in reference to Peter it may mean
nothing more than his being in any city, physically separated (= in
exile) from Jerusalem. (Do you see the hazard of using a riddle as
evidence?)
>
> >In St. Peter's First Epistle the end reads:
> >"The church that is in Babylon, elected
> >together with you, saluteth you: and so
> >doth my son Mark" (5:13).
> >It is the widespread attestations of
> >second- and third- generation
> >(post-apostolic) sources, however, which
> >are the strongest support for the claim
> >that Peter died in Rome, as they
> >presumably should reflect authentic
> >historical memory.
>
> But I didn't want to rely on them as they could be just reporting the
> religious myth.
But since there are no contemporary sources for Peter’s death in Rome,
these second- and third-hand accounts by default become the strongest
evidence one is likely to find, as there is still “living” memory in
this time frame, and a “false fact” of one source is likely to be
identified as such by others.  Doubtless legendary accounts were also
arising at this time, but all in all the second-century sources are
unanimous in placing Peter’s death nowhere else but Rome.
You have a "Poetic" way of putting things.:-)

A_tropaion_of Peter in the Vatican datable to c. 150 is first reported
by Gaius in 200. It may have been a commemorative monument rather than
a tomb, but by the time of Constantine in the fourth century it was
definitely believed to be Peter’s tomb. The mid-twentieth century
excavations of the site revealed the bones of three individuals: a
woman of 70-75 years, and two men 50-60 years old. It’s possible that
these bones were found in the course of construction of the tropaion
and hastily reinterred. Thus the archaeological evidence is
inconclusive in regard to Peter.

The earliest hint that Peter was crucified is in John. If Peter was
executed in Rome, then the Neronian persecution would be the most
likely time this occurred – but, once again, it is not established
that Peter was in fact ever in Rome. The accounts of his being
crucified upside down stem from a late second-century apocrypha, and
are unreliable.

For all we know, Peter died in in bed in Jerusalem about 55 CE.

Christopher Ingham
Re: St. Peter's Tomb In Rome? Poetic Justice 2/3/13 10:02 AM
>There is of course no incontrovertible
>evidence that Peter was ever in Rome,
>and the total lack of silence by the
>sources contemporary to Peter (the
>gospels, etc.) on his presence there would
>suggest that he never was.

Martin Edwards wrote;
 
>There is no evidence outside the Bible
>and Christian tradition that he existed at >all.

True, so based on your evidence requirements for the Apostles can I
assume that you believe St. James the brother of Jesus existed?

It has the Bible, Christian Tradition and Josephus as evidence.

>"According to leading Josephus scholar
>Louis H. Feldman, the authenticity of this
>passage "has been almost universally
>acknowledged" by scholars." (Feldman,
>"Josephus," Anchor Bible Dictionary, Vol.
>3, pages 990-91).


"But the younger Ananus who, as we said, received the high priesthood,
was of a bold disposition and exceptionally daring; he followed the
party of the Sadducees, who are severe in judgment above all the Jews,
as we have already shown.
 As therefore Ananus was of such a disposition, he thought he had now a
good opportunity, as Festus was now dead, and Albinus was still on the
road; so he assembled a council of judges, and brought before it the
brother of Jesus the so-called Christ, whose name was James, together
with some others, and having accused them as lawbreakers, he delivered
them over to be stoned." Jewish Antiquities 20.9.1

Re: St. Peter's Tomb In Rome? George 2/3/13 11:05 AM
Inside 10 years after the railyards next where I live were bulldozed
no-one could remember where the turntable was situated or, when they
began to build houses on the site as to why there were areas of pollution.
I was able to explain (after a bit of digging and research some 50 years
later) how everything there was situated.

People remember what they think is the truth
Re: St. Peter's Tomb In Rome? Christopher Ingham 2/3/13 11:53 AM
You have to admit that most people retain some accurate memory. What
the average ratio of accurate to inaccurate memory is I don’t know.
But regardless, I said that it is the best evidence in this case (in
view of the lack of any other), which is not the same as saying that
it is compelling evidence.

Christopher Ingham
Re: St. Peter's Tomb In Rome? Poetic Justice 2/3/13 1:04 PM
Christopher Ingham wrote;

>One would expect to find reference to
>Peter's Roman residence in Acts or
>Romans, but there is none.

On the flipside there is a bunch of info in Acts about Paul, arrest, 2yr
imprisonment, journey to Rome, shipwreck, 2yrs in Rome under house
arrest but then *nothing*.
Was he executed? Or released to live out his life preaching, traveling
and later die a natural death?
Ignatius in ~110 says he was martyred but doesn't say where.
That's a major point to leave out of the Bible for one of their major
players esp after recording in detail the events leading up to this?

>Mark, the only gospel to come from Rome
>itself, hints at the martyrdom of James
>and John, but has nothing to say about
>Peter dying a martyr's death.

Or of Paul's Rome imprisonment and possible martyrdom?
Nor does he mention his mentor's death anywhere?
I'm just saying that using the Bible as a non-source for evidence seems
to be very unreliable.

>Paul speaks of several meetings with
>Peter, all in Jerusalem – except for one in
>Antioch.

And we all know how that one turned out:-).
Was Paul ever in Rome before his ~60AD house arrest under Nero where he
and Peter were both in the city and could have met?
If not, they are likely still at odds with each other plus popping-by to
see Paul while under Nero's house arrest might not be a good idea?

>And while Babylon is generally thought to
>be most commonly a metaphor for Rome
>in the Christian scriptures,

Which it does seem to be but also for the Roman Empire in general.

>in reference to Peter it may mean nothing
>more than his being in any city, physically
>separated (= in exile) from Jerusalem.

Or possibly meaning any other city under Roman rule?

>(Do you see the hazard of using a riddle
>as evidence?)

Yes, But;
(1) It does in all likelyhood mean Rome.
(2) As you said "Mark, the only gospel to come from Rome itself," also
places Mark in Rome.

So we need a city where Peter and Mark have a following (church) and
tradition and later sources names that city as Rome.

>but all in all the second-century sources
>are unanimous in placing Peter's death
>nowhere else but Rome.

I think the "nowhere else" is the major selling point for a Rome
location.

>A_tropaion_of Peter in the Vatican datable
>to c. 150 is first reported by Gaius in 200.
>It may have been a commemorative
>monument rather than a tomb,

It's definitely not a tomb. It's a shrine over an a dirt grave with an
11deg off-set trapdoor with the grave below.

>but by the time of Constantine in the
>fourth century it was definitely believed to
>be Peter's tomb.

I think in 154 when they built the elaborate shrine and walled-in this
area they definitely believed it was Peter's grave:-).

>The mid-twentieth century excavations of
>the site revealed the bones of three
>individuals: a woman of 70-75 years, and
>two men 50-60 years old.

Yes that is what they found, but there is a "but" coming:-).

>It's possible that these bones were found
>in the course of construction of the
>tropaion and hastily reinterred.

That is what I also thought was a good possibly.

>Thus the archaeological evidence is
>inconclusive in regard to Peter.

And here's the "but":-), you have to read the entire excavation report
as the 2nd bone find happens later.

The archaeologists entered the grave under the shrine from the side.
They found an empty open (not filled-in with dirt) grave.
Where the 'Red Wall' crossed-over the grave there was a niche with that
small pile of 3 person's bones.
The men's bones were younger than Peter should be so it couldn't be him.

The bones that are of 1 robust male person 60-70yrs old with soil
remains that exactly match the open dirt grave beneath the shrine were
found in a secret hidden niche in the 'Graffiti Wall'.
That is the archaeological evidence of a man of Peter's age that was
once buried in that dirt grave.

>The accounts of his being crucified upside
>down stem from a late second-century
>apocrypha, and are unreliable.

I'm certain if the crucifixion in the Circus did happen I doubt they
were taking requests that day:-).

>For all we know, Peter died in in bed in
>Jerusalem about 55 CE.

Hopefully not! If his tomb was ever found it would be hell trying to
move St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican there along with some possible
minor problems with the locals:-). Regards, Walter  

Re: St. Peter's Tomb In Rome? Poetic Justice 2/3/13 1:56 PM
george152 wrote;
But here the location is a grave (~2m x .75m) most likely marked somehow
probably with large cheap bricktiles over it like this /\ as was common
in these cheap Roman in-ground burials.

This is a pauper's cemetery and you don't want someone coming along
digging up the grave of the person you buried so you would logically
mark it somehow even if with only rocks.

This grave was twice repaired in the 90yr span before the shrine was
built over it and if there was anything there before it was removed
during the 154AD construction.

If indeed this was Peter's grave it would be *the* major religious site
to visit by Rome's Christians for decades and decades and not lost.

But say the grave's location was lost in those years what are the odds
of the one they randomly pick to build a shrine over 90yrs later once
contained the bones of a male 60-70yrs old?
Male/female is 50/50 and a poor person in 1C Rome living to 60-70 would
tilt the odds farther. Regards, Walter  

Re: St. Peter's Tomb In Rome? John Ritson 2/3/13 2:44 PM
A society with short life expectancy (Rome's was about 30) does not
generally mean that the grim reaper killed off most people around their
30th birthday. What it typically means is massive child mortality (I
have seen figures claiming a 36% chance of death in the first year in
Rome), and the few who survived infancy might well live into their 60's.

The classic example of the fallacy was an anti-anti-smoking campaign in
France which dismissed health warnings by pointing out (quite correctly)
that smokers (very unlikely to be infants) had a life expectancy
actually higher than the population as a whole's life expectancy at birth.

Re: St. Peter's Tomb In Rome? Peter Jason 2/3/13 2:51 PM
On Sun, 03 Feb 2013 08:41:13 +0000, Martin Edwards
<big_m...@yahoo.co.uk> wrote:

>On 02/02/2013 19:43, Christopher Ingham wrote:
>> There is of course no incontrovertible evidence that Peter was ever in
>> Rome, and the total lack of silence by the sources contemporary to
>> Peter (the gospels, etc.) on his presence there would suggest that he
>> never was.
>
>There is no evidence outside the Bible and Christian tradition that he
>existed at all.

Here's Noah's Ark
http://www.news.com.au/travel/news/life-sized-replica-of-noahs-ark-unveiled/story-e6frfq80-1226534118850

Re: St. Peter's Tomb In Rome? Poetic Justice 2/3/13 5:05 PM
John Ritson wrote;

>A society with short life expectancy
>(Rome's was about 30) does not generally
>mean that the grim reaper killed off most
>people around their 30th birthday.

No, of course not:-).

>What it typically means is massive child
>mortality (I have seen figures claiming a
>36% chance of death in the first year in
>Rome),

And I believe it's around 50% to age 5.

>and the few who survived infancy might
>well live into their 60's.

Let's have them survive to age 15 in 15AD.

They must be male and poor as I mentioned in my post.

And let's split the difference of my 60-70yr old person at 65.

They live in an overcrowded insula in a neighborhood with poor
sanitation (garbage, chamberpots emptied, rats, vermin, etc) and
disease.

And have somewhat of a poor diet nutrition-wise.

With a likely higher risk of death (fire, crime, work
injury-->infection, no medical care) than a wealthy patrician.

Of those poor males who were 15 in 15AD what percentage do you think are
still vertical in 65AD?
 Regards, Walter

Re: St. Peter's Tomb In Rome? Martin Edwards 2/3/13 11:33 PM
If they find a kangaroo skeleton in it the fat will really be in the fire.
Re: St. Peter's Tomb In Rome? Martin Edwards 2/3/13 11:37 PM
In the West Midlands Museum, Sandwell, UK, there is a reconstructed
tramway and some reconstructed buildings depicting a typical nineteenth
century townscape of the region.  At least one visitor has claimed to
remember the whole district, including tramway.
Re: St. Peter's Tomb In Rome? Martin Edwards 2/3/13 11:39 PM
On 03/02/2013 21:56, Poetic Justice wrote:
60-70 was very old for a poor person of the era.  It may be that the
deceased was simply remembered for longevity.
Re: St. Peter's Tomb In Rome? John Ritson 2/4/13 2:19 AM
According to "Frier's Life Table for the Roman Empire" life expectancy
for a 15-year old was 45.
About 17% of 15-year olds would have made it to 65.

"to 65 = .93 x .92 x .91 x.89 x .88 x .86 x .83 x .79 x .75 x .67 = 17%"
(cumulative chances of not dying by the end of a five-year period)

26% would have made it to 60.

Most of the population were poor. There might need to be an adjustment
for being male (increased chance of violent death, zero chance of death
in childbirth).
Re: St. Peter's Tomb In Rome? Poetic Justice 2/4/13 7:22 AM
Martin Edwards wrote;

>60-70 was very old for a poor person of
>the era. It may be that the deceased was
>simply remembered for longevity.

So much so that 90yrs later they build an elaborate shrine over the
grave and walled-in the area?

And then ~100yrs after that the wall developes a large crack and they
build a large buttress wall against it?

Also I'm still curious about your thoughts on St. James the brother of
Jesus as he would have been a contemporary of St. Peter who we have no
proof of outside the Bible and Christian tradition?
Regards, Walter

Re: St. Peter's Tomb In Rome? George 2/4/13 11:11 AM
On 04/02/13 20:37, Martin Edwards wrote:
> On 03/02/2013 19:05, george152 wrote:
>> Inside 10 years after the railyards next where I live were bulldozed
>> no-one could remember where the turntable was situated or, when they
>> began to build houses on the site as to why there were areas of
>> pollution.
>> I was able to explain (after a bit of digging and research some 50 years
>> later) how everything there was situated.
>>
>> People remember what they think is the truth
>
> In the West Midlands Museum, Sandwell, UK, there is a reconstructed
> tramway and some reconstructed buildings depicting a typical nineteenth
> century townscape of the region.  At least one visitor has claimed to
> remember the whole district, including tramway.
>
Yup. It's amazing how in spite of evidence to the contrary people make
such claims and then a few become 'experts' with local knowledge.
Re: St. Peter's Tomb In Rome? Martin Edwards 2/5/13 3:13 AM
I've read Eisenman, but I'd need to look it up again.  Anyway, I cannot
see that his existence would prove St Peter's.  Billy the Kid existed.
Did Brett Maverick exist?
Re: St. Peter's Tomb In Rome? Christopher Ingham 2/5/13 5:36 AM
I don’t think that trying to make sense of the complicated chronology
and disposition of the tropaion and surrounding constructions and
remains in the Vatican cemetery is helpful in attempting to establish
Peter’s presence or death in Rome, primarily because the graphic
reconstructions by the archaeologists who investigated the area in the
mid-twentieth century – who clearly had a desire to find the remains
of the apostle Peter – have been much criticized for the great amount
of conjectures they contain that are not clearly identified as such
and are therefore misleading and in many instances clearly wrong. R.
Ross Holloway gives a detailed analysis of the tomb based on
archaeological and litereary analyses (_Constantine and Rome_, New
Haven. Yale Univ. Press, 2004, pp. 120-55) and concludes that
“archaeology cannot settle the so-called Petrine question” (155).
“Whether this shrine covered Peter’s grave or merely a cenotaph (a
fictitious tomb), or whether it simply commemorated his martyrdom, are
questions the historian of architecture may well leave open”  (John B.
Ward-Perkins,_Early Christian and Byzantine architecture_, 4th ed.,
New Haven, Yale Univ. Pres, 1986, p. 32).

What is clear is that beginning at least with Clement of Rome in c. 95
(_Letter to the Corinthians_, chap. 5) or perhaps earlier it was
believed that Peter was executed in Rome. Assuming for argument’s sake
that Peter died in Rome, it would seem most likely (to me) that the
mid-second century Vatican tropaion was erected as a commemorative
monument to Peter at the site of the mass grave of Christians who had
been executed at the Circus of Nero, while the body of Peter was
actually interred (along with Paul’s) in the catacombs of San
Sebastiano on the Via Appia (under unknown circumstances; by law
anyone could claim an executed person’s body and arrange its burial)
and subsequently (mid-third century) removed to the site of the
tropaion in the Vatican. The_Liber pontificalis_reports that Pope
Cornelius (251-53) “took up the bodies of the holy apostles Peter and
Paul from the catacombs; [... he] took the body of St. Peter and put
it near the place where he was crucified [...] on the Mons Aureus, in
the Vatican of the palace of Nero on the 29th of June.”
The_Chronographus anni 354_of Filocalus states when the feast day of
Sts. Peter  and Paul was instituted: “Month of June, the 29th. Of
Peter in tha Catacombs, of Paul at the Via Ostiensis, in the
consulship of Tuscus and Bassus [= 258 CE].” Filocalus’ datum is an
abbreviation of an entry in Jerome’s_Martyrology_: “June 29th, at Rome
the anniversary of the Holy Apostles, of Peter in the Vatican, Via
Aurelia, of Paul on the Via Ostiensis, both in the catacombs, who
suffered under Nero; consulship of Tuscus and Bassus.”

Christopher Ingham
Re: St. Peter's Tomb In Rome? Poetic Justice 2/5/13 1:57 PM
Christopher Ingham wrote;

>I don't think that trying to make sense of
>the complicated chronology and
>disposition of the tropaion and
>surrounding constructions and remains in
>the Vatican cemetery is helpful in
>attempting to establish Peter's presence
>or death in Rome,


Remember I'm just trying to prove with evidence that a Christian
persecution under Nero took place in his Circus after the 64 Fire.

 And that ~154 there is archaeological evidence that Christians
*believed* that it happened and he was buried at the location they
marked.

Actually placing Peter in Rome, his martyrdom, grave and bones I've
always said was circumstantial but that I personally believed it was
very likely.

>primarily because the graphic
>reconstructions by the archaeologists who
>investigated the area in the mid-twentieth
>century – who clearly had a desire to find
>the remains of the apostle Peter – have
>been much criticized for the great amount
>of conjectures they contain that are not
>clearly identified as such and are
>therefore misleading and in many
>instances clearly wrong.

Which is why I only stressed what can be seen today by a tourist, the
Shrine, Red Wall and the Graffiti Wall with its niche where the bones
were found.

I believe the archaeologists report that the Red Wall enclosed an area
with a tiled floor.

Beyond that their conjectures of what the other areas (rooms, holes in
walls, doorways, etc) are I didn't use.

As far as their desire to find the bones and the tomb, that was the only
reason for their excavation.

And what did they find?

A mid-1C shrine over an empty grave that was directly beneath and
centered on Constantine's Basilica altar and the later 16C Basilica's
altar.

And later the bones of an elderly man that was secretly hidden in a
niche right next to the grave and shrine.
And dirt on the bones matches the dirt in the empty grave.

>R. Ross Holloway gives a detailed
>analysis of the tomb based on
>archaeological and litereary analyses
>[snip] "archaeology cannot settle the
>so-called Petrine question".

No it can't and never will unless the impossible happens like a 1C 1st
hand parchment is found detailing the event and even then?

>"Whether this shrine covered Peter's
>grave or merely a cenotaph (a fictitious
>tomb), or whether it simply
>commemorated his martyrdom, are
>questions the historian of architecture
>may well leave open." (John B.
>Ward-Perkins [snip])

It's definitely over a grave in a 1C cemetery that was twice shored-up
before the shrine was built.

With a cenotaph there would be absolutely no reason to dig an empty dirt
grave 1st and then later put an off-set trapdoor accessing the empty
grave from the shrine's base?

>Assuming for argument's sake that Peter
>died in Rome, it would seem most likely
>(to me) that the mid-second century
>Vatican tropaion was erected as a
>commemorative monument to Peter at the
>site of the mass grave of Christians who
>had been executed at the Circus of Nero,
It's built over a single grave with no evidence or tradition of a mass
grave.

>while the body of Peter was actually
>interred (along with Paul's) in the
>catacombs of San Sebastiano on the Via
>Appia

One of the many Christian legends that was likely just from a problem in
the timeframe used by later authors?
Like Peter was in Rome for the last 25yrs of his life, Or he arrived in
Rome during Nero's reign.  

 Although the bones might have been placed there for a short time a few
decades later (see below).

>(under unknown circumstances; by law
>anyone could claim an executed person's
>body and arrange its burial)

Would that cover criminal non-Roman citizens during a persecution who
are accused of burning Rome? Roman justice was harsh for arsonists even
if they were citizens.

 Or in the criminal crucifixions of non-citizens outside the City Gate
of Rome where I've read(?) that the bodies were left to rot away?

Or in the Games' executions of non-citizens?

>and subsequently (mid-third century)
>removed to the site of the tropaion in the
>Vatican.
>The_Liber pontificalis_reports that Pope
>Cornelius (251-53) "took up the bodies of
>the holy apostles Peter and Paul from the
>catacombs; [... he] took the body of St.
>Peter and put it near the place where he
>was crucified [...] on the Mons Aureus, in
>the Vatican of the palace of Nero on the
>29th of June."

Don't scholars generally believe that the later author misplaced that
event's timeframe?

And this was the actually the return of Peter and Paul's bones that were
temporarily placed in the catacombs during either most likely Valerianus
(~258) or Diocletian's Christian persecution for safety?


Plus using the Liber Pontificalis opens up a big can of worms here:-).

 As it puts Peter buried near where he was crucified, Palace of
Nero/Vatican.

And 4 of the next 5 popes being buried 'near Peter at Vatican'. And
bunch more after that.

Plus the 4th one (Anecletus) buried near Peter also built a sepulchral
monument over Peter's grave.


And in the 2C 'Acta Petri et Pauli' says that Peter and Paul remains
were moved outside the city for 1yr 7mo while their sepulchres were
being built and that their original graves were near Pagan tombs (like
Peter's)?

Hopefully I got that right as I only relied on a scholar's commentary of
that source?
>The_Chronographus anni 354_of Filocalus
>states when the feast day of Sts. Peter
>and Paul was instituted: "Month of June,
>the 29th. Of Peter in tha Catacombs, of
>Paul at the Via Ostiensis, in the
>consulship of Tuscus and Bassus
>[= 258 CE]."
>Filocalus' datum is an abbreviation of an
>entry in Jerome's_Martyrology_: "June
>29th, at Rome the anniversary of the Holy
>Apostles, of Peter in the Vatican, Via
>Aurelia, of Paul on the Via Ostiensis, both
>in the catacombs, who suffered under
>Nero; consulship of Tuscus and Bassus."
258 CE is the Valerianus persecution when it is widely believed the 2
saint's bones were temporarily moved there.

In the 4C a church to Peter and Paul was built at the catacombs for that
reason (Basilica Apostolorum) could that possibly be what they are
refering too? Regards, Walter

Re: St. Peter's Tomb In Rome? Poetic Justice 2/5/13 5:58 PM
>Also I'm still curious about your thoughts
>on St. James the brother of Jesus as he
>would have been a contemporary of St.
>Peter who we have no proof of outside the
>Bible and Christian tradition?

Martin Edwards wrote;

>I've read Eisenman, but I'd need to look it
>up again.

Ok this is pretty 'cut and dry', we all rely on experts for most
information that we use.

I trust what the scientists say is the speed of light in a vacuum as my
only other option is to go to a university, study that field, get funds
and build a lab to measure it for myself.

So if this statement is true;

>"According to leading Josephus scholar
>Louis H. Feldman, the authenticity of this
>passage "has been almost universally
>acknowledged" by scholars." (Feldman,
>"Josephus," Anchor Bible Dictionary, Vol.
>3, pages 990-91).

Would you accept that it backs-up the NT's accounts for this person?

Or do you have an honest agenda that believes the NT accounts, Jesus,
apostles, etc are all fabricated myths and it's not like you would be
alone in this belief if so?

I stated right off the bat that I was an Atheist who looked at the
overall picture (including the myth theory) and came to conclude that
there was an historic Jesus.

So what I was really trying to see was 'are you on any specific
bandwagon', I know you're definitely not riding on the Christian one:-)?

>Anyway, I cannot see that his existence
>would prove St Peter's.

I'm getting that bandwagon vibe again:-).

Ok, Jesus and apostles no proof outside of the NT which doesn't mean
that they didn't exist.

So if an outside source (Josephus) was proof for another apostle who is
the brother of Jesus you couldn't see any possible tie-in there?

*If* it proved the leader and 1 related apostle existed as the NT claims
wouldn't it follow that it's very likely the other apostles existed
also?

Plus alot of Josephus scholars firmly believe that the other Jesus
section was originally his but now it's just a *major* embellishment by
the later Christians.

>Billy the Kid existed. Did Brett Maverick
>exist?

I really don't understand this ~100yrs later movie connection you use
here?

Something contemporary with Billy the Kid would be a better example.

I'm guessing that somewhere in the factual story there is a named or
nicknamed person for whom no records exist for?

Billy the Kid definitely existed so there would be no reason not to
believe that that person didn't exist?

Just like there are a slew of minor players around the Emperors in
ancient texts and that is there only mention with no other records or
inscriptions about them.
Regards, Walter

Re: St. Peter's Tomb In Rome? Poetic Justice 2/5/13 6:44 PM
I wrote;

>Plus alot of Josephus scholars firmly
>believe that the other Jesus section was
>originally his but now it's just a *major*
>embellishment by the later Christians.

www.bede.org.uk/Josephus.htm

Re: St. Peter's Tomb In Rome? Peter Jason 2/5/13 9:09 PM
On Mon, 04 Feb 2013 10:19:28 +0000, John Ritson
<j.ri...@hotmail.co.uk> wrote:

>On 04/02/2013 01:05, Poetic Justice wrote:
>> John Ritson wrote;
>>
>>> A society with short life expectancy
>>> (Rome's was about 30) does not generally
>>> mean that the grim reaper killed off most
>>> people around their 30th birthday.
>>
>> No, of course not:-).
>>
>>> What it typically means is massive child
>>> mortality (I have seen figures claiming a
>>> 36% chance of death in the first year in
>>> Rome),
>>
>> And I believe it's around 50% to age 5.
>>
>>> and the few who survived infancy might
>>> well live into their 60's.
>>
>> Let's have them survive to age 15 in 15AD.
>>
>> They must be male and poor as I mentioned in my post.
>>
>> And let's split the difference of my 60-70yr old person at 65.
>>
>> They live in an overcrowded insula in a neighborhood with poor
>> sanitation (garbage, chamberpots emptied, rats, vermin, etc) and
>> disease.
>>
>> And have somewhat of a poor diet nutrition-wise.
>>
>> With a likely higher risk of death (fire, crime, work
>> injury-->infection, no medical care) than a wealthy patrician.
>>
>> Of those poor males who were 15 in 15AD what percentage do you think are
>> still vertical in 65AD?
>>   Regards, Walter
>>
>According to "Frier's Life Table for the Roman Empire" life expectancy
>for a 15-year old was 45.
>About 17% of 15-year olds would have made it to 65.
>
>"to 65 = .93 x .92 x .91 x.89 x .88 x .86 x .83 x .79 x .75 x .67 = 17%"
>(cumulative chances of not dying by the end of a five-year period)
>
>26% would have made it to 60.
>
>Most of the population were poor. There might need to be an adjustment
>for being male (increased chance of violent death, zero chance of death
>in childbirth).

The Oxyrynchus papyri gives a direct view on some
of this.
Re: St. Peter's Tomb In Rome? Martin Edwards 2/6/13 7:04 AM
On 06/02/2013 01:58, Poetic Justice wrote:
> So if an outside source (Josephus) was proof for another apostle who is
> the brother of Jesus you couldn't see any possible tie-in there?

James is *not* the James of the original twelve disciples (there is a
potential thread here as to whether that is the same thing as an
apostle, but one thing at a time).  Acts supplies a dead sus scenario
where he is executed, then introduces the other James without saying who
he is or what he had been doing in the meantime.  Your suspicion is
correct that I currently swing with the mythicists, but I am open to
argument.
--
Myth, after all, is what we believe naturally.  History is what we must
painfully learn and struggle to remember.  -Albert Goldman
Re: St. Peter's Tomb In Rome? Martin Edwards 2/6/13 7:12 AM
On 05/02/2013 21:57, Poetic Justice wrote:
> Remember I'm just trying to prove with evidence that a Christian
> persecution under Nero took place in his Circus after the 64 Fire.

This is not at issue: it is in Tacitus.  He does not, though, say who
they were or what they believed.  As late as the third century Hadrian
seems to have believed that they were the same people as the Serapists.
  No, I didnt think that up myself.  For this and other fascinating
gobbets see Robert M. Price: Deconstructing Jesus.

--
Myth, after all, is what we believe naturally.  History is what we must
painfully learn and struggle to remember.  -Albert Golelievedman
Re: St. Peter's Tomb In Rome? Poetic Justice 2/6/13 11:29 AM
>So if an outside source (Josephus) was
>proof for another apostle who is the
>brother of Jesus you couldn't see any
>possible tie-in there?

Martin Edwards wrote;

>James is *not* the James of the original
>twelve disciples (there is a potential
>thread here as to whether that is the same
>thing as an apostle, but one thing at a
>time).

You are right, I just assumed he was an apostle.

But he is listed as a player among the apostles and does head the Church
in Jerusalum.

So to rephrase it, he is a contemporary player among the apostles, leads
a/the major Christian church of the time and brother to Jesus based on
the NT and Josephus.
 
>Acts supplies a dead sus scenario where
>he is executed, then introduces the other
>James without saying who he is or what
>he had been doing in the meantime.

The NT is full of inconsistencies.

>Your suspicion is correct that I currently
>swing with the mythicists, but I am open
>to argument.

Well our bandwagons are headed in roughly the same directions just on
different paths:-).
Regards, Walter

Re: St. Peter's Tomb In Rome? Poetic Justice 2/6/13 1:28 PM
>Remember I'm just trying to prove with
>evidence that a Christian persecution
>under Nero took place in his Circus after
>the 64 Fire.

Martin Edwards wrote;

>This is not at issue: it is in Tacitus.

So why this?

>He does not, though, say who they were
>or what they believed.

[Tacitus]

>Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the
>most exquisite tortures on a class hated
>for their abominations, called 'Chrestians'
>by the populace.
>Christus, from whom the name had its
>origin, suffered the extreme penalty during
>the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one
>of our procurators, Pontius Pilate, and a
>most mischievous superstition, thus
>checked for the moment, again broke out
>not only in Judaea, the first source of the
>evil, but even in Rome, where all things
>hideous and shameful from every part of
>the world find their center and become
>popular.

If this was later embellished in any way it certainly wasn't by a
Christian.

As I said earlier Suetonius places all the Fire's blame on Nero but he
also has a bias for other Emperors by putting then in a bad light. But
he does somewhat back-up the Christian persecution claim.

>"During his reign many abuses were
>severely punished and putdown...[snip]
>[45] Punishment was inflicted on the
>Christians, a class of men given to a new
>and mischievous superstition."


>As late as the third century Hadrian
>seems to have believed that they were the
>same people as the Serapists.

Actually 117-138AD.

>No, I didnt think that up myself.

What Hadrian "seems to have believed" about this small strange cult in
the Roman Empire at its peak that he rules over is very trivial.

The author seems to me to be nit-picking to back-up his claims in this
instance?

>For this and other fascinating gobbets see
>Robert M. Price: Deconstructing Jesus.

I googled him and he seems rational, not a fanatic and states his case
well.

And I somewhat agree with him here;

>"There may once have been an historical
>Jesus, but for us there is one no longer. If
>he existed, he is forever lost behind the
>stained glass curtain of holy myth. At least
>that's the current state of the evidence as
>I see it."

I see a charismatic holyman who gets a small loyal following which
happens all the time, past and present.

After his death his loyal followers continued on with what seems to be a
message many want to believe.

Miracle myths are told either during his life or later formed which
makes great PR for their growing cult.

That these myths mirror many Pagan myths (Egyptian, Greek, Roman, etc)
which is bound to happen with *so many* Gods and Goddess' and their
stories.

I'm sure you could even find a Pagan 'walks on water' story out there
somewhere:-).

I just don't see it as proof that a group of men ~30AD made-up a
fictional story using existing myths and then devoted their lives to
preaching and converting others to it?

Hell of alot easier to have a long established religion that's awaiting
a messiah and then a charismatic person just steps into that role?
Regards, Walter

Re: St. Peter's Tomb In Rome? JTEM 2/10/13 11:31 PM
Martin Edwards <big_mart...@yahoo.co.uk> wrote:

> Poetic Justice wrote:
>
> > And there is factual archaeological evidence that ~90yrs after his
> > *presumed death and burial in Rome*  the Christians marked (shrine
> > complex) and worshipped this particular grave.
>
> Less than 90 years after Frank Nitti's suicide a film showed Eliott Ness
> throwing him off a building.  Some time after that a tv series showed a
> character called Brett Maverick meeting two different Billy the Kids on
> different occasions.

There is a grave with clear evidence for
veneration.  The problem is that we would
expect no less for any early church leader
(their "Pope"), and history is brimming with
examples of people venerating any old remains
they find as those of some religious figure.

So the point does stand:  There is a grave,
the grave and remains were clearly venerated.

At this point the question here is how you
might go about "Proving" it one way or
another.  And, no, not to some rigid degree
of certainty.  But, what would prove it in
court?

You can break it down even further:  Civil
as opposed to criminal court.  In a civil
court trial one need only established a
preponderance of the evidence.

All this means is that there's more evidence
in support of one side of the case than the
other.

I would agree that the evidence as it now
stands appears to be inconclusive.  But what
would change that?  What kind of test?

Carbon dating to the correct period?

A DNA test establishing a middle eastern
lineage?

What?




Re: St. Peter's Tomb In Rome? Martin Edwards 2/11/13 3:17 AM
Good question and a good post.  Are you suffering from multiple
personality disorder?

--
Myth, after all, is what we believe naturally.  History is what we must
painfully learn and struggle to remember.  -Albert Goldman
Re: St. Peter's Tomb In Rome? Poetic Justice 2/11/13 1:22 PM
JTEM wrote;

>There is a grave with clear evidence for
>veneration.

Yes, dateable to 146-161AD.

>The problem is that we would expect no
>less for any early church leader (their
>"Pope"),

Yes it's human nature.
But note the other following *early* Popes in my 90yr timeframe have no
marked graves or shrines.
 

>and history is brimming with examples of
>people venerating any old remains they
>find as those of some religious figure.

In this case it seems very possible that it wasn't a "find" as it was a
known site.

Any evidence that this grave was marked earlier would have been
destroyed when they build the shrine and complex.

Plus this is one of the worst locations outside the City Walls to
randomly pick to bury your Pope unless there was a good reason too at
that time?

A rocky snake infested slope prone to malaria.

I recall 1 of the 'Year of the 4 Emperors' had his troops there that
were devastated by malaria?

And why bury your Pope right next to Nero's Circus in a pauper's
cemetary without reason?

>[Snip] I would agree that the evidence as
>it now stands appears to be inconclusive.
Definitely.

>But what would change that?

Nothing I can think of.

Even if an inscription was found in the unexcavated section of grave
(otherside of Red Wall) or an original 1C text I doubt either could be
Carbon Dated where the 90yr timespan could be narrowed down to an exact
decade?


>What kind of test?
>Carbon dating to the correct period?

There are 7 graves around this grave dating to the 1C and 2C and one has
a 1C oil lamp in it.

And one grave (Called 'theta' 0) definitely dates to the correct period.
It's dated to the reign of Vespasian (69-79) by the brickstamps used in
the large tiles that marked this grave by forming a /\ over the grave as
was commonly done in these in-ground pauper's graves.

This later grave is butted against Peter's(?) grave [:::::][:::::] at
the same off-set 11deg.
http://saintpetersbasilica.org/Necropolis/Pic/scavi-Aedicula-area-f11-tp.jpg
OR
http://tinyurl.com/b7ubdlu


>A DNA test establishing a middle eastern
>lineage?


A few teeth survive which I believe is the best for DNA? But the Church
will not allow any type no matter how minor destruction of the remains.

>What?

Just the evidence we have to go on.

It definitely seems to be a 1C grave that the Shrine complex is built
over.

The bones that were in that grave are of a male 60-70yrs old.

We have a 90yr window where a 1C pauper's grave of an old man that was
twice maintained becomes the elaborate and expensive St. Peter's shrine
complex.

Let's push the living memory of Rome's Christian community to 100AD if
this 64AD circus crucifixion of Peter actually did happen.

Did the Christians sometime after 100AD make-up the Peter in Rome and
crucifixion myth and choose that spot as his grave?

Then there are small oddies like this;

In 1 of the 7 graves a person who couldn't afford a cremation or a
sarcophagus is buried in a pauper's dirt grave in clothes with golden
threads? Regards, Walter

--------------------------------------------------

"It was only with much difficulty that the diggers were able to extend
their probe even a short way beneath the white-tiled courtyard that lay
spread in front of the red wall.


Their persistence brought its reward when they succeeded in finding at
least seven graves, of a simpler type, dating to the late first and
early second centuries.
Revealingly, all seven lay crowded close round that of Peter.

There could be no doubt that they had been carefully placed and angled,
even crossing and lying atop one another, in order to be as near as
possible to the apostle's body.


In one of the seven, as Kirschbaum reported, the corpse had "dwindled to
a few centimeters of brownish-yellow remains, with here and there the
gleam of golden threads, which let us form our conclusions as to the
precious garments of the dead man and his social status." Here was the
body of an early pope, the archaeologists felt sure, probably one of the
ten who had reigned after Peter up to the mid-second century (all of
whom had also been martyred).


Two of the graves, the earliest and the nearest to Peter, showed that
same misalignment noted by Kirschbaum as he lay in the chamber (now
computed to be exactly eleven degrees from the right angle)."

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