Piscis, Pisciculi, and Vesica Piscis
Piscis, Pisciculi, and Vesica Piscis The fish is a hieroglyphic of Jesus Christ, very common in the remains of Christian art, both primitive and medieval. The origin of it is as follows: From the name and title of our blessed Lord, Ι᾿ησοῦς Χριστός, θεοῦ Υἱός, Σωτήρ-Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Savior-the early Christians, taking the first letter of each word, formed the name ΙΧΘΥΣ, piscis, a fish. SEE INSCRIPTIONS. Hence Christians came to be called Pisciculi, little fishes, with reference to their regeneration in the waters of baptism. The Vesica Piscis, which is the figure of an oval, generally pointed at either end, and which is much used as the form of the seals of religious houses, and to enclose figures of Jesus Christ or of the saints, also has its rise from this name of Christ, though some say that the mystical Vesica Piscis has no reference except in its name to a fish, but represents the almond, the symbol of virginity and self-production. Clement of Alexandria, in writing of the ornaments which a Christian may consistently wear, mentions the fish as a proper device for a ring, and says that it may serve to remind the Christian of the origin of his spiritual life. See Riddle, Christian Antiquities, p. 185; Siegel, Christl. Alterthümer (see Index in vol. 4). SEE ICHTHUS.