First Europeans In The New World Wanted To Convert Natives Into Christianity According To 500-year old Cave Paintings

Admin | Published 2016-07-19 12:48

Cave drawings discovered on a remote Caribbean island reveal how some of the earliest Europeans talked with indigenous people about religion.

A large collection of early colonial inscriptions written within a cave system in Mona Island has been found by archaeologists from the British Museum and the University of Leicester. 

They include more than 30 historic inscriptions, including phrases in Latin and Spanish such as 'God forgive you', as well as dates and Christian symbols.

Indigenous iconography, such as depictions of ancestral figures (pictured), covers the walls, ceilings, and alcoves in 10 chambers and interconnecting tunnels over some 6500 square metres

    What The Paintings Show  

Three major phrases are found in the caves. They include the phrases 'God forgive you' and 'God made many things', written in Latin.

The third Latin inscription, Verbum caro factum est, is a direct quotation from the Vulgate version of the bible, the Gospel of John 1:14 and translates to 'And the Word was made flesh [and dwelt among us]'.

As well as the phrases, crosses are found throughout the cave system.

They appear alone and also in direct association with names and phrases, and most often in association with indigenous iconography.

The cave walls also bear a series of dated and named individuals.

These include Myguel Rypoll 1550, Alonso Pérez Roldan el Mozo 1550 August, and Alonso de Contreras 1554.

Other sixteenth century visitors include an individual named Bernardo, who wrote his name after the inscription 'verbum caro factum est', and an anonymous visitor in February 1554.

The researchers say that the nature of these drawings gives us an idea of the tone and personal context of this first encounter.

The results have been published in a paper, in Antiquity.

The inscriptions were made by people dragging their fingernails through the soft surface of the walls and ceilings. One of the inscriptions was an IHS Christogram that uses the first three letters of Jesus in the Greek alphabet to reference Jesus Christ

Despite its small size (50 square kilometres), and seemingly isolated position halfway between the newly named islands of Hispaniola and Puerto Rico, Mona Island plays a crucial role in the establishment of the first European towns and the globalisation of the Caribbean

These indigenous iconographies from Cave 18 show depictions of ancestral beings and anthrozoomorphic (animal-like) figures

In addition to the Christian symbolism and religious phrases, the cave walls also bear a series of dated and named individuals.

These include Myguel Rypoll 1550, Alonso Pérez Roldan el Mozo 1550 August, and Alonso de Contreras 1554.

Other sixteenth century visitors include an individual named Bernardo, who wrote his name after the inscription 'verbum caro factum est', and an anonymous visitor in February 1554.

The findings are on the island of Mona, which lies on the Atlantic route from Europe to the Americas, and was recorded by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage in AD 1494

The particular cave in this study is home to more than 30 inscriptions, including named individuals, phrases in Latin and Spanish and dates. This inscription reads 'Plura fecit deus or 'God made many things'

As well as the phrases, crosses are found throughout the cave system. The crosses are usually placed in dominant positions over cave entrances or on high walls

Several names were found to be inscribed in the caves, including a 'Captain Francisco Alegre' who wrote his name prominently in one of the chambers

One of the inscriptions the researchers found within the cave reads 'Dios te perdone', which is the Spanish for 'God forgive you'

At 19 square miles (50 square kilometres), Mona is the third-largest island of the Puerto Rican archipelago, after the main island of Puerto Rico and Vieques

source - dailymail.co.uk

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