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The vertical one was always in situ, it was at the site.It would have been used and re-used and re-used again, many, many times, over many years.Program Transcript This program was first broadcast on 04/04/2004.Rachael Kohn: In mediaeval times fragments of the true cross were the most sought-after relics in Christendom, but most were fakes.Theres one by Michelangelo, if those people who painted them knew two fragments in the Middle Ages or had access to the inscription for example, you just dont know that.
Carsten Thiede: The cross as such, theres two bars or beams, the vertical and the horizontal one, when you look at the actual crucifixion of Jesus or any Roman crucifixion for that matter, what the person to be crucified would have carried to the site of the crucifixion was not the complete cross, it was just the horizontal beam, the horizontal bar.Rachael Kohn: Now how did Helena come to acquire this Titulus, the inscription at the head of the cross?Carsten Thiede: Well she went to Jerusalem on her pilgrimage to the Holy Land and from the New Testament everyone knew, even in those days the Gospels had all been published, had been accessible before for 300 years by the time of her pilgrimage, so she made inquiries.Today, one scholar believes hes found the real thing. Carsten Pieter Thiede is a papyrologist, and hes known for his claim to have found the earliest fragment of the Gospel of Matthew in the Bodleian Library.Now he believes hes discovered a piece of the true cross in a church in Rome, where its been kept for the past 1700 years.
Rachael Kohn: And isnt that attested by various paintings that have commemorated this famous pilgrimage?