At this point I take the opportunity to digress and ramble about some odd coincidences which I am sure must have been studied by others….somewhere.
Christian persecutions are also closely associated with the catacombs. Underground labyrinths used as both burial complexes as well as hiding places. The catacombs grew in use during the persecutions of the second to fourth centuries by which time Christianity became a tolerated religion and they fell into disuse. In them, it is not unusual to find symbols of the fish carved into the wall or a piece of marble.
Early Christian symbolism used the fish possibly because of its Greek name: “ichthus” which was a mnemonic meaning for “Jesus Christ God’s Son (and) Saviour” – something like Iesu Christos Theou Uios Soter. I think the Jews may have also had a special meaning for the fish. Certainly Christ’s miracle of the feeding of the five thousand (with fish) is also brought to mind. I also have a feeling that at about the time of Christ the Spring equinox had the sun moving from Aries into Pisces and the keen eye for astrology is sure to have given rise to the concept that a new age was about to dawn….
Earlier on we mentioned the Myrmillon gladiator – the fisherman – so called because of the symbolic fish on his gladiator helmet and his sparring partner the Retiarius. We also mentioned the ancient religious undertones of the gladiator fight as a sacrifice to quench the blood/soul thirst of the grim reaper. There were also ancient Roman festivities which involved the sacrifice of fish in stead of human souls….Perhaps this is a coincidence worth further investigation? Ancient Roman and Christian religion seems to curiously abound with Fish!
Gladiators: |Rise and Fall of the Gladiators | The Gladiatorial shows |Ancient Roman Gladiators | Training | Gladiator fights | After the Gladiatorial fights | Types of Gladiator | More types and Classes of Gladiator | Commodus | Julius Caesar and the Gladiators | Christian martyrs and the Colosseum | Gladiators, Christians and Fish | Christians against the Circus and Colosseum | End of the Gladiators |