The Cross is one of the most ancient human symbols, and is used by many religions, most notably Christianity. It is frequently a representation of the division of the world into four elements (or cardinal points), or alternately as the union of the concepts of divinity, the vertical line, and the world, the horizontal line (Koch, 1955).
The word cross was introduced to English in the 10th century as the term for the instrument of the torturous execution of Christ (gr. stauros', xy'lon), gradually replacing rood, ultimately from Latin crux, via Old Irish cros. Originally, both 'rood' and 'crux' referred simply to any "pole," the later shape associated with the term being based on church tradition, rather than etymology. The word can nowadays refer to the geometrical shape unrelated to its Christian significance from the 15th century.
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