I have proposed a Roman Christian connection to North America for many years based on artifact evidence. However, I simply did not have what I felt were ample answers to explain why this was so - the artifacts that I had studied gave some assistance, but not enough. This changed when I obtained Roman votive artifacts (discovered in Florida after Hurricane Irma in 2017). After studying those objects and other prehistoric artifacts from North America (as well as Europe and Asia), additional ancient Roman artifacts, and European artifacts from the late Renaissance, I believe I now have the answers.
To begin with, I have some evidence that appears to show that the Roman Emperor Tiberius may have been a historical scholar with a focus on paleontology, referencing Augustus's museum on the Isle of Capri. Along with this he may have laid the groundwork for the first Roman expedition to North America that would take place under the reign of Vespasian/Titus (although it appears that some time earlier Nero had sent an exploratory expedition of sorts). With that in mind, it is possible that the years during which there is little recorded concerning Commodus, he may also have been busying himself with laying the groundwork for further exploration of North America. My research shows that although that expedition was a state secret, everything suggests that the expedition to North America circa 71 to 75 AD was Vespasian's and Titus's actual greatest achievement. Titus was the first biological heir to become emperor of Rome; Commodus was the second to achieve that. Everything associated with Titus may have impressed Commodus, including the gladiator games (Titus had opened the Colosseum in Rome) and the appearance that Titus was directing the first expedition to North American from Rome.
Besides a Roman military expedition to North America under Vespasian (possibly under Legion II Adiutrix and/or Legion IX Hispania) and Antoninus Pius (under Legion I Italica), my most recent research shows that Emperor Commodus had sent two expeditions. Like the others, besides being under legionary command, they appear to have been under a senior naval command of the Praetorian Fleet at Misenum. The goals of the expeditions were at least partly to investigate the similarity between the story of Jesus and the Celtic (Gaulish) god Esus. Esus is associated with an axe, a tree, an elephant (although according to my findings, the elephant symbol was originally a mammoth) and human sacrifice. Iconography suggests that Esus was connected to the felling of a tree. (Although the modern Christmas tree tradition is from 16th century Germany, it was likely based on an earlier tradition; Esus's tree felling should be considered a possible origin). The god's ancient imagery is known from two monuments; one of those was dedicated by a guild of boatmen to Jupiter and was found on a river island in Paris. Note that because of their profession, it may imply that there was a nautical tradition associated with Esus. The human sacrifice attributed to Esus was mentioned in the Berne Commentary notes written on a manuscript from the 10th C. AD. These marginal notes/commentaries referenced classical Latin writings from the 1st C. AD, including Lucan's Roman epic poem "De Bello Civili" (also known as "Bellum Civile" or the "Pharsalia") and Virgil's "Eclogues" and "Georgics". Lucan's "Bellum Civile" has a mention of Esus as part of a triad (Taranis as Jupiter, Teutates as Mercury, and Esus as Mars) involved in druidic human sacrifices. Human victims were sacrificed to Esus by being tied to a tree and flogged or stabbed to death, and their body parts were hung on the tree. The human victims of Taranis were killed by burning, and the sacrifices made to Teutates were drowned. According to my findings, via the Gauls, certain Romans likely associated Esus with North America, as a western land of the dead and place where resurrection could occur. Esus "may" have been associated with the later Norse god Forseti, who was a son of Balder, therefore a grandson of Odin. Like Esus, Forseti is thought to be associated with the axe; that symbol may or may not explain the countless Norse era axe pendant artifacts that are found throughout the lands the Norse had lived in or traveled to. Most scholars think they are connected to Thor (there seem to be just as many axe pendants as there are of Thor's hammer Mjolnir) or Odin, but they may in fact represent Forseti. Also another god that should be considered in relation with a study of Esus is the Dacian god Zalmoxis.
There are five core artifacts I have selected for verification of my claims; all are associated with the mammoth and the frog, which is a symbol of transformation/rebirth. Interestingly, researchers have discovered that frog eggs and tadpoles are often found in the muddy water that pools in elephant footprints.
I have given these five artifacts ("The Five") the following names:
1. "Baby M", from Northern Florida is a baby or juvenile mammoth tooth that was sculpted over 11,000 years ago. The tooth is carved in the shape of a baby mammoth's head (with ears that are like wings). Among other images, the engravings show a frog, a pointed hat, an archer’s bow sheath, and a woman's face in profile. Most importantly, it depicts a human baby surrounded by a group of onlookers, apparently connected to a celestial event. It should be noted that when a baby elephant is born in the wild, the herd will congregate around the baby. It can be expected that it was the same with mammoth herds. Such an image can be seen in Jesus' nativity scene, with stable animals taking the place of mammoths or elephants.
2. "The Da Vinci Comb", from Eastern Europe is a Roman mammoth bone comb, reworked in the 16th C. AD by Renaissance artisans that appear to have been connected to, or influenced by the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II's court or intellectual/artistic circle. On both sides is the shape of an elephant or mammoth; on the back it shows a large, stylized frog's face. The carving on it shows an image which resembles Leonardo Da Vinci's painting "The Last Supper", but this is just at a glance, as there is much, much more of importance. When seen with the right lighting and at the right angle - one can see inscriptions and images of Commodus and Esus. It also appears to show a whole intrigue concerning individuals of the late 16th C. AD, likely from Rudolf II's circle. Other artifacts suggest a connection to the Englishman John Dee. Further study of this comb may show that Rudolf II as well as John Dee are included with the many hidden representations.
3. "Esus's Toe", from northern Florida, is a mammoth toe bone that was painted by someone at least 11,000 years ago. This is because animals are depicted on it that are thought to have gone extinct 11,000 years or so ago (give or take), as in a mammoth, a smilodon, and a short-faced bear. There is also a frog on it. The paint appears to have been heavily coated with resins that are fossilized. The depictions show a tree and when the object is turned upside down, an individual on a pole being speared. When put on one side it shows among other things several hafted axes. The symbolism appears to be similar to the much later (and from another continent) Celtic god Esus.
4. "The Cannon Cross", from Eastern Europe is a mammoth bone cross pendant that was worked in the 16th C. AD by Renaissance artisans that appear to have also been connected to, or influenced by, the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II's court or his intellectual/artistic circle. The cross is also made to appear as a cannon and a guitar. The images included here with "The Five" show the side which represents a guitar. A mammoth head with a frog is depicted on top. It appears that crosses like this were being made due to Rudolf II's Long Turkish War, as they have a mixture of Latin and Eastern European influences with various military themes; then perhaps they were made for mercenaries against the Ottoman Empire in that war.
5. "The Big Fish", is a fossil fish in sandstone from a collector who purchased it from a New York fossil dealer. Research shows it is from the Green River formation in Wyoming, that it was possibly initially worked by ancient Native Americans, but definitely worked or reworked as votive for a Roman auxiliary of a previously unknown unit named "Cohors Equitata Sagittariorum" Armenia. The votive indicates they were attached to Legion VI Victrix. Among other things, the front of the artifact was sculpted in the shape of an Armenian archer’s helmet; also the fossil fish itself has been slightly re-worked in antiquity. The other side has most of the Roman letter inscriptions. Among other things, some of the engravings/inscriptions show a dedication to Diana the Roman huntress goddess associated with archery (most likely she was seen as a protectress of the cohort) but with hints that the goddess was combined with an ancient Native American goddess of the same function. When held upside down, there is a dedication to the god Esus. There is a small painted area near the object's tip that shows what appears to be ancient Native American worship of that god. There is also a mammoth and a frog on it. In my upcoming posts which will include more details about each of these objects, I will validate that not only did the Romans put their art and inscriptions on this artifact, but that they had been to the Green River formation in Wyoming.
Once the complete postings of "The Five" is complete, I will post a sixth artifact which will have a bit more focus on European validation of Commodus's expeditions. Like the others, it also has the mammoth/frog symbolism. It is a Roman comb made from mammoth bone showing a gladiator combat with nautical themes between the ghost of Commodus and a Legatus of Legion VI Victrix, or the ghost of an officer of that legion who is representing the Roman Senate.
More connections among mammoths, Romans, and Christians: The Roman word "Caesar" is thought to be a cognomen for "hairy," perhaps suggesting a mammoth? Julius Caesar claimed an ancestor killed an elephant in battle. Caesar's axe-wielding legionaries of the Legion V Alaudae cut down opposing war elephants at the battle of Thapsus; the V Alaudae was recruited by Caesar in Gaul (although the axes gave a tactical advantage to the Roman Gallic legionaries against elephants in a battle, this does appear coincidental with the theme of Esus).
With all this I have made a few breakthroughs by studying late Renaissance artifacts reworked from antiquity. After studying certain Roman artifacts more in depth, it is now evident to me that in certain symbolism, the extinct mammoth was known to the Romans; that the mammoth, not just the elephant, was associated with Julius Caesar, as well as with Christ and the crucifixion (at least in imagery as a figure on a crucifixion cross can somewhat resemble a mammoth head/full mammoth from the front) and a mammoth hunt. Other key symbols related to these themes include Longinus (either on foot or mounted, the piercing of the side of Christ by Longinus could be seen the same as a spearing as in a mammoth hunt), and Roman soldiers dicing. The Romans used mammoth bone for some of their dice. Furthermore, there is a painted mammoth and mastodon carpal bone pair from a famous site in Florida in my collection that appears to have been used for some type of prehistoric gaming or divination. The elongated crucifixion crosses seen in some paintings from the Renaissance through the 19th century are also related to this theme as they can look very much like the front of a mammoth head/full mammoth from the front.
Copyright 2020 David X. Kenney