A very early image generally thought to be a representation of Jesus is the Alexamenos graffito, a unique piece of wall graffiti near the Palatine hill in Rome. The inscription has been ascribed dates ranging from the 1st to the 3rd centuries AD. It was apparently drawn by a Roman soldier to mock another soldier who was a Christian. The caption reads, in Greek, "Alexamenos worships [his] God", while the image shows a man raising his hand toward a crucified figure with a donkey's head. This seems to refer to a Roman misconception that the Jews worshipped a god with the form of a donkey, so that the image would be at once anti-Semitic and anti-Christian. Photo courtesy of Paul Smith

A very early image generally thought to be a representation of Jesus is the Alexamenos graffito, a unique piece of wall graffiti near the Palatine hill in Rome. The inscription has been ascribed dates ranging from the 1st to the 3rd centuries AD. It was apparently drawn by a Roman soldier to mock another soldier who was a Christian. The caption reads, in Greek, “Alexamenos worships [his] God”, while the image shows a man raising his hand toward a crucified figure with a donkey’s head. This seems to refer to a Roman misconception that the Jews worshipped a god with the form of a donkey, so that the image would be at once anti-Semitic and anti-Christian. Photo courtesy of Paul Smith