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The cross is said to have been made of four sorts of wood (palm, cedar, olive, and cypress), to signify the four quarters of the globe.

“Ligna crucis palma, cedrus, cupressus, oliʹva.”

We are accustomed to consider the sign of the cross as wholly a Christian symbol, originating with the crucifixion of our Redeemer. This is quite erroneous. In ancient Carthage it was used for ornamental purposes. Runic crosses were set up by the Scandinavians as boundary marks, and were erected over the graves of kings and heroes. Cicero tells us (De Divinatione, ii. 27, and 80, 81) that the augur’s staff with which they marked out the heaven was a cross. The ancient Egyptians employed the same as a sacred symbol, and we see on Greek sculptures, etc., a cake with a cross; two such buns were discovered at Herculaʹneum.

It was a sacred symbol among the Aztecs long before the landing of Cortes. (Malinche.) In Cozumel it was an object of worship; in Tabasco it symbolised the god of rain; in Palinque (the Palmyra of America) it is sculptured on the walls with a child held up adoring it.

“The cross is not only a Christian symbol, it was also a Mexican symbol. It was one of the emblems of Quetzal coatl, as lord of the four cardinal points, and the four winds that blow therefrom.”—Fiske: Discovery of America, vol. ii. chap. viii. p. 250.)

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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Crook in the Lot
Crooked as Crawley
Crooked Sixpence (A)
Crooked Stick (A)
Crop Up (or) Out
Croquemitaine [croak-mit-tain]
Crore (A)
Cross (in heraldry)
Cross (a mystic emblem)
Cross (To)
Cross Buns
Cross-legged Knights
Cross Man (A)

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Christian Traditions
Crux Ansata
Hot Cross Buns