Ancient/Medieval slurs for Christians? (Used by Romans, specifically)

Well, we all know that christianity wasn’t thought too highly of in the Roman Empire for quite awhile. (What with all the lion-feeding, and whatnot. :wink: )

My question is…Did the Romans have any common slurs or insults that were applied to christians, or Jesus himself, that we know of? I think I remember hearing that “The Nazarine” was used in the miniseries I, Claudius, to refer to Jesus…but I haven’t seen the series myself, so I don’t know for certain. (Or even that it was intended to be a slur by the characters using it.)

That’s…it, I think. Can anyone help me out?

OTOH, the “body and blood” rite of Communion led to stories among Romans that Christians were cannibals. I can’t find a reliable cite for this with a quick google, though.

I may be rembering this wrong, but I think the name ‘Christian’ was intended to be derogatory, but became “their word”. It puts a whole new spin on the c-word concept,doesn’t it?

I can’t tell you that you’re wrong cause I don’t know where you got your info, and I don’t have any cites to refute it, but this seems unlikely to me. If “Christos” (sorry I don’t know how to make my keyboard write Greek letters) is Greek for “Anointed one” than the “Chistians” would be the People “of the Anointed one”. I can’t see this being a slur.

From the Annals of Rome, by Tacitus:

bienville I am suspecting that this may be something I learned in Sunday School as a child, which may have been erroneous, or misremembered.

I’ve seen pictures of a second-century graffito of a crucified donkey with the words, “Alexamenos Worships His God,” obviously to rag someone for being Christian.
Link here.

According to the link, it was believed by many that Christians worshipped an ass, so that could have given rise to all sorts of slurs.

Lion Chow?


The one I’ve seen referred to most often was “atheist” (because they refused to worship the Roman/Greek pantheon). I’m frequently tempted to start using it again. :wink: