Jesus as we know him…

It is fairly common knowledge that Jesus Christ was from the Middle East and so would have looked more like the picture on the right than the more familiar depiction on the left.


But what many people do not know is that the images we tend to think of when we think of Jesus, such as these…





….are actually pictures of Cesare Borgia, son of Rodrigo Borgia, Pope Alexander VI, and brother of Lucrezia Borgia. Machiavelli wrote The Prince about Cesare Borgia. Pope Alexander VI had all previous depictions of Jesus destroyed in about 1492, and replaced with images of his son. Henceforth, these have been the images used to depict Christ.

I was never sure why Pope Alexander VI did it, but always assumed it was to place his stamp on everything he could. He, after all invaded many of Italy’s city states, married his children to Spain, Naples and France in order to extend his power, bought the Papacy by means of bribery and corruption, legitimised his children, had multiple mistresses, committed murder. Rumours of orgies and incest also abound.

Having done a search though, I found this, which I think is probably the most likely reason

1492 goes down as the year that the entire planet was hoodwinked by the Roman Catholic Church. During Alexander VI’s term the Christians were fighting the Holy Crusades against the so called infidels. The enemy that the church was fighting was the northward movement of Islam as far up into Europe as Germany. These Middle Eastern Islamics took control of Constantinopole in Turkey and threatened the stronghold that the Roman Empire and in turn the church had on the world at the time. Pope Alexander used the age old tactic of discrediting an opponent to weaken his position. One major obstacle that faced Alexander and the church was the fact that Jesus, who their entire religion was based on was physically the same as the Islamics that they were fighting against. He was represented in all paintings, carvings and sculptures as the dark skinned man of Middle Eastern origin that he was. Nazareth certainly was in the Middle Eastern area that later came under the influence of Islam. How could they possibly convince their constituency of the wickedness of the enemy when their own messiah looked like them? Although the original Christians were certainly Middle Eastern people of color, by the time Alexander ascended to the papacy, Europeans had long taken control of the church. Pope Alexander VI’s solution was to have every image of the real Jesus destroyed and literally had the Vatican gutted and redone. He commissioned Leonardo Di Vinci to recast Jesus in the image of his son Cesare Borgia with the express intent of passing off historical Jesus as European in appearance. To this day, there are armed guards stationed around the clock at the entrances of the catacombs to keep anyone from viewing the original wall carvings of Jesus in his legitimate ethnic representation. (source)

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

4 thoughts

  1. For some context, the word “slave” is derived from Slav, that ethnic group being particularly hammered by the Muslim conquests of southern Europe during the era of expansion that you describe. For example:

    “The enslavement of captives taken when the Ottoman armies raided Christian countries was part of the state system of the Ottoman Empire. After he conquered Constantinople in 1453 Sultan Mehmed wrote to various Muslim rulers boasting of the enslavement of its Christian population. The Ottomans engaged in slave trading from Gibraltar to Central Asia.

    The Balkan Christians of the Ottoman Empire suffered cruelly, particularly under the brutal and bitterly resented child-levy, the devshirme. From the 15th century to the early 17th century the Ottomans would seize a certain proportion of Christian boys from their villages every few years, forcibly convert them to Islam and train them for the elite fighting force known as the Janissaries or for the state bureaucracy. The devshirme was sternly enforced. If any Christian parent tried to prevent the taking of his child he was immediately hanged from his own door frame. It is estimated that between 500,000 and one million boys, from the ages of 8 to 20, were taken in this way. Occasionally, armed uprisings against the system took place, but they were quickly crushed. Some children ran away, only to return and give themselves up when their parents were tortured.

    … Eunuch slaves were in high demand in the Ottoman Empire, principally as guardians of the harems. Prague became an important centre for the castration of European slaves being imported to the Ottoman Empire.”

    The Muslims of the southern European & north African region were already running an established trade in black African slaves long before the sugar and cotton trades in America created a new demand for slave labour.

    Slavery was only abolished in the Muslim stronghold of Saudi Arabia in 1962, and has seen a resurgence in Sudan since the imposition of Islamic rule in 1983.

    So this was about more than “bigotry” or some other simple 21st-century concept, and based on that brutal history, it’s doubtful that people needed much “convincing” through a simple change of appearance.

Leave a Reply