La croce

Come il quadrato, il cerchio, il triangolo e altri simboli… anche la croce è uno di quei segni primitivi fondamentali che ricorrono in tutta la storia dell’umanità.

A volte definita “segno dei segni”, la croce è usata anche in matematica come segno positivo, segno di addizione.

A causa della crocifissione di Gesù Cristo è stata adottata come simbolo fondamentale del Cristianesimo.

Ripercorriamo la sua storia

La croce è un simbolo che in diversi ambiti e contesti prende vari significati. In matematica è usata per il segno di addizione e, decussata, per il segno della moltiplicazione.

Una curiosità: il 10 per i romani si indica con una crocetta, così come nella notazione cinese.

Oggetti o segni cruciformi sono reperiti in molte culture dell’antichità, in vari contesti culturali, matematici, astronomici.

Sono innumerevoli i ritrovamenti antichi, dall’epoca della pietra fin alle grandi civiltà del passato. Ornamento o riferimento a una filosofia, firma di qualche sapiente o simbolo sacro… si ritrova in tutti i materiali e i molti contesti diversi.

Il simbolo di Odino, nella civiltà norrena, era una croce sovrapposta ad un cerchio. Questo simbolo sopravvive nella cosiddetta “Croce Celtica”. L’Anck, o chiave della vita, è la celebre “croce egizia”. Il Tau è considerato dai popoli mesopotamici il simbolo del dio Tammuz, divinità a cui facevano riferimento i riti della fertilità e della rinascita primaverile.

La versione antica più diffusa e conosciuta è la svastika, vecchia di millenni, il cui nome deriva da un’espressione sanscrita che significa “felicità”. Nella cultura e nella religione Indù è associato al sole quando i bracci piegano verso destra. Nel Buddhismo cinese rappresenta l’idea di infinito contenuta nel cuore di Buddha. La versione arrotondata dei celti, diffusa in Irlanda, rappresenta il sole. Aveva dunque molti millenni  di storia prima che i nazisti pagani scegliessero una versione moderna della croce uncinata come emblema del loro partito.

Un altro esempio della trasmissione di insegne non cristiane orientali sono i tamgas, privilegi illustrati degli antichi Sarmati (popolo antagonista dei Persiani e dei Romani per quindici secoli, parte di quei barbari dalle tradizioni zoroastriste iraniane di perduta memoria). I tamgas (frecce e segmenti incrociati in modo vario) ricomparvero fra i simboli tribali dei turchi che nell’alto medioevo avanzarono nel vicino oriente. Per questa via si pensa che abbiano influenzato il sistema araldico islamico che i Crociati occidentali avrebbero poi trovato in Terrasanta, copiato nelle miniature e nei pavimenti cosmateschi nelle basiliche d’Italia (il pavimento del presbiterio del Battistero di Pisa e un esempio magnifico di questa contaminazione).

Questi simboli hanno una somiglianza straordinaria con i contrassegni che emersero successivamente nel sistema araldico, davvero unico nel suo genere, della Polonia. Di conseguenza, gli studiosi sono stati tentati di prendere in seria considerazione un’affermazione comune a proposito dei nobili polacchi: il fatto, cioè, che discendano dagli antichi Sarmati. La loro cosiddetta ideologia Sarmata, i loro  clan araldici e la loro notevole tradizione cavalleresca sono stati correlate collegate cavalieri delle steppe di cui, da molto tempo, si è perduta ogni traccia. Un’ipotesi sostiene che il collegamento della Polonia con i Sarmati si può spiegare grazie alla leggenda degli alani (una delle tribù dei Sarmati) scomparsi nei boschi dell’Europa orientale nel IV secolo d.C..

Tornando alla croce, i simboli possono suscitare le emozioni più profonde. Quando nel 1863 fu fondata la Croce Rossa internazionale, pochi europei capirono che il suo emblema non era altro che un simbolo universale di compassione. Di volta in volta dovete essere sostituita con una mezzaluna rossa, con un leone rosso o con una stella rossa.

Allo stesso modo la croce cristiana innalzata ad Auschwitz, dove un tempo c’era campo di concentramento nazista, causò aspre controversie specialmente fra coloro che non sapevano che le vittime del campo comprendevano sia un gran numero di cristiani che gli ebrei. Nel 1993, nove anni di accuse di accordi violati si conclusero con la creazione di un centro commemorativo ecumenico.

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