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Old 04-04-2011, 07:35 AM   #1
Oceliane
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Origin of the Grail Cross / Cruciform Sword design?

Greetings everyone!

Does anyone knows the origin of the cruciform sword design? I have always wondered if this was a sign who already existed before the movie...


According to IndyProps.com, "This cross is based on a fourteenth century design similar to the tri-bar cross of the Orthodox Christians."

So, if I correctly understood, they just took a symbol who already existed, and re-used it for the movie. But... what is its origin?

I'm a student in history of arts, and I'll soon have a speech essay about the depictions of the Grail in medieval illuminated manuscripts, and... well... it would be a shame to not include anything from TLC.
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Old 04-04-2011, 08:27 AM   #2
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Hello, Oceliane.

First, welcome to the Raven!!

I'm sure others will chime in, but basically, the Brotherhood cross was, in fact, created for the movie. It takes one style of ancient cross, and changes the top bar to represent the curve of the Holy Grail.

Most orthodox crosses look like this:



It's easier to explain if you look at it as a crucifix.



The top bar represents the "King of the Jews" sign nailed to the cross. The bottom bar represents a footrest. As for the angle, the angle of the footrest represents the judgment of the two thieves. One rejected Christ and went to hell. The other asked Christ to remember him, and heard the words, "I tell you the truth. Today you will be with me in paradise." He chose...wisely.

Now, not all three bar crosses have a slant on the bottom bar. The Greek Catholic cross is very similar, but with all three bars parallel.



Hope this helps!
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Old 04-04-2011, 09:23 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goodeknight
It takes one style of ancient cross, and changes the top bar to represent the curve of the Holy Grail.
Nice post, goodeknight. A symbol of the Grail is obviously present in the design but the curved bar could also double as a representation of a sword's hilt (hence: Cruciform Sword). Yes? No?

@Oceliane: Welcome to The Raven. Where the whip-cracking never stops!
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Old 04-04-2011, 02:10 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoo
A symbol of the Grail is obviously present in the design but the curved bar could also double as a representation of a sword's hilt (hence: Cruciform Sword). Yes? No?

Not really representative of a sword's hilt/crossguard. If you Google "cruciform sword" you'll get a mix of Brotherhood images from Last Crusade, and cruciform swords like this one:



I own this sword, and love it. I bought it to use as an expensive machete, so I abuse it terribly, and it's held up nicely.

The crossguard is straight, so it looks very cross-like. That's the standard for cruciform swords.

I've never seen a crossguard that sweeps back toward the grip. In fact, they usually are curved in the opposite direction, away from the pommel and grip. That way they catch the opponent's blade. Curved the other way, the blow would slide down the blade, and be deflected into your arm.

Check out this drawing:



Middle is the straight crossguard of a textbook cruciform sword. Top sword has a crossguard that catches the opponent's blade. Bottom sword has an "S" shaped crossguard. The top portion catches the blade. The bottom deflects it away from the body. (You have to imagine someone holding it to get the idea.)
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Old 04-04-2011, 03:27 PM   #5
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@goodeknight: This is all fine & good but you're forgetting one thing...the representation of the sword hilt/grail cup depends on how one looks at it.

Turn the image upside down (180 degrees) and you'll see the sword hilt with a different perspective. If you don't agree, then where is the SWORD in the image? (Are you saying that there is NO symbol of a sword in the image?)

According to Mr. Goodeknight, it's the 'Brothers of the Cruciform Sword' without a sword!
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Old 04-04-2011, 05:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoo
@goodeknight: This is all fine & good but you're forgetting one thing...the representation of the sword hilt/grail cup depends on how one looks at it.

Turn the image upside down (180 degrees) and you'll see the sword hilt with a different perspective. If you don't agree, then where is the SWORD in the image? (Are you saying that there is NO symbol of a sword in the image?)

According to Mr. Goodeknight, it's the 'Brothers of the Cruciform Sword' without a sword!
Well I have to say that Goodeknight makes a pretty strong case. If he is correct, that means one of two things. Some creative licence was taken in the symbol's design, or perhaps the artist that came up with it was simply unversed in the finer points of sword design. The other possibility is that when what's-his-face spills the line about "the brotherhood of the cruciform sword" that he wasn't actually referring to the symbol itself being a cruciform sword, just a symbol to back up his words.
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Old 04-05-2011, 05:13 AM   #7
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I see the curved bowl of the Grail cup as distinct from the sword pattern.

If a sword is in there, then it follows the Landsnechkt pattern with the horizontal blades:



But the cross is really this,



with the upper bar transformed into the Grail bowl. So, it's likely a cross designed specifially for the Brotherhood in TLC.
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Old 04-05-2011, 07:24 AM   #8
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I do get your reasoning, Stoo. I guess you could see just a sword hilt in the design. I don't think that's the case, though. It would be a very odd looking and disproportionate sword with a honkin' pommel.



I don't think the symbol is meant to be that literal. Perhaps I am wrong.

I'll also add -- it would be great to have a cruciform sword like this one with a Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword symbol on the pommel.



I know you can do some acid etching on steel, but I've never tried it.

Last edited by Goodeknight : 04-05-2011 at 07:32 AM.
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Old 04-05-2011, 07:50 AM   #9
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The cross in the Great Seal on the floor of the Temple marking the boundary of Immortality is the only one that incorporates the shape of a sword.

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Old 04-05-2011, 10:46 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Indy's brother
...when what's-his-face spills the line about "the brotherhood of the cruciform sword"...
"what's-his-face"?!?
Quote:
Originally Posted by goodeknight
The crossguard is straight, so it looks very cross-like. That's the standard for cruciform swords.
You'll have to pardon my ignorance, goodeknight. To be honest, I never knew that 'cruciform sword' was an actual term outside of "Last Crusade"! I see your point (pun intended).
Quote:
Originally Posted by goodeknight
I do get your reasoning, Stoo. I guess you could see just a sword hilt in the design. I don't think that's the case, though. It would be a very odd looking and disproportionate sword with a honkin' pommel.
If you recall, I said that it "could" be a hilt. I wasn't sure and have always wondered if it was both a cup AND a hilt. Now that you've mentioned actual cruciform swords, I'm only seeing a Grail.
Quote:
Originally Posted by goodeknight
I know you can do some acid etching on steel, but I've never tried it.
There is a guy in Sorrento, Italy that does acid etching. Costs a pretty penny, though. (Since we're talking swords, I have a sabre from India with some etching on the blade.)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Montana Smith
If a sword is in there, then it follows the Landsnechkt pattern with the horizontal blades:
That's the style I was thinking of.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Montana Smith
So, it's likely a cross designed specifially for the Brotherhood in TLC.
Undoubtedly. As a lover of well-designed logos, I think this one is pretty nifty!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocket Surgeon
The cross in the Great Seal on the floor of the Temple marking the boundary of Immortality is the only one that incorporates the shape of a sword.
Must take a look because I can't picture the seal offhand.
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Old 04-05-2011, 04:26 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoo
"what's-his-face"?!?

I was in a rush and wasn't confident in my memory of the spelling "Kazim". How many demerits does that get me?
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Old 04-13-2011, 03:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocket Surgeon
The cross in the Great Seal on the floor of the Temple marking the boundary of Immortality is the only one that incorporates the shape of a sword.

Rocket Surgeon... you are amazing. I never noticed there was a second design for the grail cross! Thank you so much!



(here is a crappy attempt at flipping the screenshot and distorting the image to have a half-decent pic to work with...)

However, it looks more as if it was either a rapier, which was NOT used during the first crusade, or... a nail, almost like if it was done by cuneiform writing.

The Grail cross takes here all its meaning if we consider the one on the Great Seal as a combination of the Grail and a nail: the Christ was nailed to a cross, and his blood has been taken in the grail.

Anyway, I'll show theses two grail crosses to my teachers, and ask for their feedback... I'll keep you updated, but I'm almost sure this design existed, or at least a close version of it. the grail cross is, to my eyes, a combination of a maltese cross and a grail symbol, and not a modification of the orthodox cross...
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Old 04-13-2011, 04:20 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oceliane
Rocket Surgeon... you are amazing. I never noticed there was a second design for the grail cross! Thank you so much!



(here is a crappy attempt at flipping the screenshot and distorting the image to have a half-decent pic to work with...)

However, it looks more as if it was either a rapier, which was NOT used during the first crusade, or... a nail, almost like if it was done by cuneiform writing.

The Grail cross takes here all its meaning if we consider the one on the Great Seal as a combination of the Grail and a nail: the Christ was nailed to a cross, and his blood has been taken in the grail.

Anyway, I'll show theses two grail crosses to my teachers, and ask for their feedback... I'll keep you updated, but I'm almost sure this design existed, or at least a close version of it. the grail cross is, to my eyes, a combination of a maltese cross and a grail symbol, and not a modification of the orthodox cross...

Sword, nail, cross, grail, I see it all here. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that given this image of this version, I'm convinced that all of these elements were intentionally incorporated into this. The "hilt" looks unusually tapered into the blade to be completely disregarded as a nail. Also, if Jesus were an avid golpher, I could be persuaded to believe that there is a golf tee in there too.
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Old 04-13-2011, 06:22 PM   #14
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hmmm... true.

The Nail / Tee:



The Cross / The Cruciform Sword:



The Cup:

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Old 04-14-2011, 07:40 AM   #15
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Wonderful work with the screen grab!! Really like how you manipulated it to get a good front on angle of the symbol. Yes, the center post is most definitely a nail.







This is a pic of a crucifixion nail discovered on an island off the coast of Maderia. The island was said to have been held by Templar knights. The article states:

"Christopher Macklin of the Knights Templar of Britannia said the discovery was "momentous".

He said the original Knights Templar may have thought it was one of the nails used in Christ's crucifixion.

The nail was found together with three skeletons and three swords.

One of the swords had the Knight Templar's cross inscribed on it."


Article link: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/news...ion-found.html

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oceliane
the grail cross is, to my eyes, a combination of a maltese cross and a grail symbol, and not a modification of the orthodox cross...
Nail symbol, and grail symbol, yes, but still, Oceliane, it's a modification of the orthodox cross.
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Old 04-14-2011, 07:44 AM   #16
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And as a teaser, let me say simply that I will soon have a tantalizing update on the Brotherhood's symbol. (As soon as Photobucket gets fixed)

Stay tuned....
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Old 04-14-2011, 08:49 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Indy's brother
I was in a rush and wasn't confident in my memory of the spelling "Kazim". How many demerits does that get me?
As many demerit points as I get for not knowing what the Great Seal looks like.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oceliane
Rocket Surgeon... you are amazing. I never noticed there was a second design for the grail cross! Thank you so much!
Indeed. Hats off to Rocket!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oceliane
(here is a crappy attempt at flipping the screenshot and distorting the image to have a half-decent pic to work with...)

However, it looks more as if it was either a rapier, which was NOT used during the first crusade, or... a nail, almost like if it was done by cuneiform writing.
Don't sell yourself short, Oceliane, because your image is not crappy at all. Nice job and nice catch on the NAIL! As for the rapier resemblance, I doubt it's meant to be a rapier since (somebody correct me if I'm wrong) aren't rapiers renaissance weapons and not mediæval ?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oceliane
...but I'm almost sure this design existed, or at least a close version of it. the grail cross is, to my eyes, a combination of a maltese cross and a grail symbol, and not a modification of the orthodox cross...
It was most likely created for the movie. It pretty much is a modification of the Orthodox cross with the aesthetics of the Maltese. Either way, it's a great design (and even better now that the incorporation of a nail has been pointed out)!
Quote:
Originally Posted by goodeknight
And as a teaser, let me say simply that I will soon have a tantalizing update on the Brotherhood's symbol. (As soon as Photobucket gets fixed)

Stay tuned....
Colour me intrigued, goodeknight. What a great thread this has turned out to be!
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Old 04-14-2011, 10:37 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoo
What a great thread this has turned out to be!

No kidding! My interest in the cruciform sword symbol has never been so piqued! Good work Goodeknight and Oceliane. And Jesus Christ, Rocket: GOOD EYE! Also, I since neglected to say so in previous posts, Welcome to The Raven Oceliane.
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Old 04-15-2011, 01:43 AM   #19
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Now the nail has been pointed out, it's hard to see the main bar of the cross as anything else.

Though the other brotherhood cross is a nail with two heads.

If you read too much into the two heads thing, it brings up the idea of Janus.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wikipedia
In ancient Roman religion and mythology, Janus is the god of beginnings and transitions,[1] thence also of gates, doors, doorways, endings and time. Most often he is depicted as having two heads, facing opposite directions: one head looks eastward and the other westward. Symbolically they look simultaneously into the future and the past, back at the last year and forward at the new.

...

The function of god of beginnings has been clearly expressed by numerous ancient sources, among them most notably perhaps by Cicero, Ovid and Varro.[22] As a god of motion he looks after passages, causes the startings of actions, presides on all beginnings and since movement and change are bivalent, he has a double nature, symbolised in his two headed image.[23]He has under his tutelage the stepping in and out of the door of homes,[24] the ianua, which took its name from him,[25] and not viceversa.[26] Similarly his tutelage extends to the covered passages named iani, and foremostly to the gates of the city, including the cultual gate of the Argiletum, named Ianus Geminus or Porta Ianualis from which he protects Rome against the Sabins.[27] He is also present at the Sororium Tigillum, where he guards the terminus of the ways into Rome from Latium.[28] He has an altar, later a temple near the Porta Carmentalis, where the road leading to Veii ended, as well as being present on the Janiculum, a gateway from Rome out to Etruria. [29]

The connexion of the notions of beginning (principium) and movement and transition (eundo), and thence time, has been clearly expressed by Cicero.[30] In general, Janus is at the origin of time as the guardian of the gates of Heaven: Jupiter himself moves forth and back because of Janus's working.[31] In one of his temples, probably that of Forum Holitorium, the hands of his statue were postured so as to show number 355, later 365, symbolically expressing his mastership over time.[32] He presides over the concrete and abstract beginnings of the world,[33]such as religion and the gods themselves,[34] he too holds the access to Heaven and other gods: this is the reason why men must invoke him first, regardless of the god they want to pray or placate.[35] He is the initiator of the human life,[36] of new historical ages, and economical enterprises: in myth he first minted coins and the as, first coin of the libral series, bears his effigy on one face.[37]

Because of his initial nature he was frequently used to symbolize change and transitions such as the progression of past to future, of one condition to another, of one vision to another, the growing up of young people, and of one universe to another. He was also known as the figure representing time because he could see into the past with one face and into the future with the other. This is also one of the explanations of his image with two heads looking in opposite directions.[38] Hence, Janus was worshipped at the beginnings of the harvest and planting times, as well as marriages, deaths and other beginnings. He was representative of the middle ground between barbarity and civilization, rural country and urban cities, and youth and adulthood. Having jurisdiction on beginnings Janus had an intrinsic association with omens and auspices.[39]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janus

Okay, so that's all very likely far too deep to be anything in the background of The Last Crusade, but the notion of transition is a central theme in the film: through obession with the Grail, the change in relationship between a father and son.
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Old 04-15-2011, 10:53 AM   #20
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Click on the link for a short video from the "Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archaeology" Exhibit website which very briefly touches on the similarity between the Cruciform Sword symbol and the Maltese Cross.

Not much substance but figured it was worth posting here (if only to keep this conversation going).

http://www.indianajonestheexhibition...orm-sword.html

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Old 04-15-2011, 11:50 AM   #21
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You know, another point of interest would be to decipher the writing around the ring......

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Old 04-15-2011, 11:58 AM   #22
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There is two levels of writing! One around the cross, in the metallic part, and right around the metallic part, in stone...

I would say it is easier to start with the writing in stone, it is written in a more readable alphabet. I'll try to get more screenshots as soon as possible.
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Old 04-15-2011, 12:21 PM   #23
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According to the Indiana Jones Wiki:

Quote:
It would be unlikely for an eleventh century figure to be able to communicate in 20th-century English, as depicted in the film, even if the French knight knew the English language of his day. The First Crusade lasted from 1096-1099, which in linguistic history marks the very end of the Old English period and the beginning of Middle English, either of which would be quite unintelligible to a speaker from the 20th century. In fact, even the French of that time period (the knight's presumed native tongue) would sound strange to a modern speaker of French.

So the grail knight is an eleventh century frenchman. It would stand to reason that the text is in 11th century french, but I can't find anything yet to substantiate the language. I'll be digging through that for awhile as I wait for more screenshots from you.
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Old 04-15-2011, 12:46 PM   #24
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I believe the writing on the Grail tablet, the shield, and the trapped floor (Word of God) were all in Latin. Presumably, the writing on the seal would be the same.
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Old 04-15-2011, 01:28 PM   #25
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The grail tablet is in latin:

Quote:
The Grail Tablet text is a combination of original Latin Psalms, retranslated scripture, and invented passages. The prop masters took the English psalm text and retranslated it into Latin word by word which would result in a very 'rough' effect to anyone who would try to read Latin. The tablet was made by prop manufacturer Paul Robins.

So.....it might stand to reason that this is simply latin. Or one of many variants of it. What I can't figure is the seemingly etruscan "F" (which would actually be a "w") just above the 3 o'clock mark on the inner ring. It looks like a backwards "F". Also, going counter-clockwise from there, there are two (?) characters between the "R" and the "K" (or K, then R if reading from left to right) that I can't identify at all.

Anyone here know anything about Latin?

EDIT: I'd been working on this post for over an hour while searching the net for latin alphabets, goodeknight, I wasn't ignoring your post.
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