Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
The Gaelic Maundeville (Author: John Maundeville)

paragraph 10

This is the reason that the Jews made Christ's Cross of four trees, for they trowed that the Lord's body would be left on the Cross so long as it held together, and therefore they made of cedar the part of the Cross that was in the ground, for cedar doth not decay in water or in earth.


And the part that was above to Christ's head, and against which His body was stretched, that was of cypress, because of the goodness of its odour, so that when the body of Christ should decay thereon, as they thought it would, it might not do harm to those that should pass near it, by the badness of its smell. The tree that was athwart the Cross, against which His arms were stretched and into which the nails were driven, it was of palm, because in the Old Testament it was ordained that whosoever should gain victory in battle over his enemies should have a crown of palm put round his head; and it seemed to the Jews that they had gained a victory over Christ by putting Him to death—and it was not so, but He gained the victory over Jews and devils, and harrowed hell. And the piece that was up over His head, and on which the titles were written, was of an olive-tree, so that it might be a sign of peace, as the history relates when Noah let the culver out of the Ark he brought it back again with its branch of olive as a sign of peace between God and men; and it is thus the Jews thought, that they themselves would have peace after putting God's Son to death, and they said that from Him came every strife which they had so long as he was alive.