Are Ankh And Coptic Cross related ?
The Coptic cross (also known as the ansata cross, Egyptian cross, ankh cross or ekh cross) is characterized by its inverted drop shape in the center of the horizontal arms, which also makes it resemble the shape of a key and in fact it is also called the key of life or key of the Nile.
Its oldest representations are related to the cult of life after death in the time of the pharaohs and it is often depicted in the hands of gods.
The hieroglyph it represents is called ankh, meaning life.
Roman times it is likely that the ankh influenced the symbol of the hand of Venus (or mirror of Venus), a symbol of divinity, later adopted as a symbol of the planet of the same name in astrology; as a symbol of copper in alchemy; and as a symbol of the female sex in biology.
With the imposition of Christianity, and consequent dismissal and persecution of Paganism, all symbols belonging to the sphere of the latter religious form were repressed. Nevertheless, the ankh continued to maintain a certain importance in Egypt given the deep roots the symbol had in the culture there, and it ended up being assimilated by the Coptic Orthodox Church and adopted as the very symbol of Coptic Christianity, given its similarity to the cross and the absence of zoomorphic or anthropomorphic elements, originally repudiated by the Christian religion. Hence the Latin designation crux ansata, or "anxious cross." Even in Christian times it retained its use as an amulet.
Over the years it then evolved and was also used with other meanings and contexts. It is now widely used in the Coptic Church and its representation has changed from its origins.
In 1984 a Coptic cross was given as a gift by the Coptic Orthodox Church and placed on top of the building of the All African Conference of Churches.
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