Denomination: Bronze Prutah Date: 132 – 130BC
Description: Lily/ Anchor
The Anchor as a Symbol in Early Christianity:
The cross first appeared openly as Christian symbol sometime in the fourth century after Constantine I the Great recognized Christianity as one of the official religions of the Roman Empire. Since Christians were persecuted before this time overtly Christian symbols could not be openly displayed. One of the symbols employed by the early Christian community in this period was the anchor. The use of the anchor in the Christian catacombs of Rome is evidence of this.
Why was the anchor a popular symbol? It was a well known symbol and decorative motif all over the Eastern Mediterranean. By the nature of things anchor will both familiar and important in a coastal region.
The anchor as an image recalls the hope in salvation, as stated in Hebrews 6:19, "which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enter within the veil".
The anchor bears a certain similarity to the cross. Whether, the anchor served as a cryptic cross or not is impossible to say with any certainty.
Many rings and gemstones made before the cross was openly displayed depict the anchor juxtaposed with fish. Jesus told the apostles, "Follow me and I will make you fishers of man".
Everything above taken together implies that the anchor was deliberately used in place of cross, as an early Christian symbol.