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These tokens known as tesserae, meaning "tile" were used for a great many things over a long history of their existence. They were commonly made of clay with a stamp or marks etched in them for a variety of purposes much like the plastic cards in your modern wallets. They could be used as a ticket for entry to a building or event or as evidence of your personal status as a slave or citizen of a city or state and therefore showing your tight to receive government benefits or protection. They were often evidence of your entanglements under the authority of the world of Rome and its ménage of temples.

If you were registered at birth in Rome in the temple of Saturn you could get a tesserae issued by the state to obtain tutelary benefits. But all tesserae were not the same.


Tessera hospitalis

As a means of identification, or expression of right or privilege the original parties often exchanged or agreed to something in exchange and consummated that agreement upon displaying them. But originally these tokens were created as a record of appreciation or as commemoration of eternal debt of familial appreciation rather than a legal obligation. Such was the tokens of tesserae hospitālēs.

In the Obligations of Hospitium there are obligations imposed by a covenant, and these were of the most sacred character; any failure to regard its provisions was considered sacrilege, bringing upon the offender the anger of Iupiter Hospitālis.

These ties were hereditary, descending from father to son, so that persons might be hospitēs who had never so much as seen each other, whose immediate ancestors even might have had no personal intercourse. As a means of identification, the original parties exchanged tokens tesserae hospitālēs.[1]

The tessera hospitalis was the token of mutual hospitality, and is spoken of under Hospitium, p619A. This token was probably, in many cases, of earthenware, having the head of Jupiter Hospitalis stamped upon it.[2]

When a stranger claimed hospitium, his tessera had to be produced and submitted for examination. If it was found to be genuine, he was entitled to all the privileges that the best-known guest-friend could expect.

"This same systems was used to provide government welfare. It is clear that these are almost precisely the duties and practices devolving upon members of the Roman Empire and its Imperial Cult of Rome as it degenerated from a Republic to a despotic regime of force, persecution and violence.

As history repeats itself we me see a shadow of these same policies in "our own great benevolent societies at the present time, when appealed to by a citizen in distress."[3]

Tessera vs Titulus

There has always been two basic Welfare types in societies throughout history. They often are a key to sealing the fate of society and nations.

These clay tiles that became a titulus in a welfare state were not a new thing to Romans.

A tessera was the ancient Roman equivalent of a theater ticket. Stamped into a clay shard was an entrance aisle and row number for spectators attending an event at an amphitheater or arena. Above the doors of the Colosseum in Rome are numbers corresponding to those stamped into a spectator's tessera.


Tesserae frumentariae[4] and nummariae were tokens given at certain times by the Roman magistrates to citizens, in exchange for which they received a fixed amount of wheat or money.[5] This was the original EBT card[6] to obtain Welfare in the form of free benefits from Benefactors who exercised authority one over the other.

TES′SERA, dim. TESSE′RULA and TESSEL′LA (κύβος), a square or cube; a die; a token. "a small tablet (as of wood, bone, or ivory) used by the ancient Romans as a ticket, tally, voucher, or means of identification[2] "

Tesserae of slaves


The Roman symbol was the eagle, and they used these tiles for centuries for many purposes. But as the citizens became more and more dependent and enfranchised, "The Roman Empire used tiles called tesserae to identify slaves, soldiers, and citizens over 2,000 years ago."[3]

Tessera frumentariae and nummariae were tokens given at certain times by the Roman magistrates to the poor, in exchange for which they received a fixed amount of cornº or money (Sueton. Aug. 40, 42, Nero, 11).

Frumentariae Leges. Similar tokens were used on various occasions, as they arose in the course of events. For example, when the Romans sent to give the Carthaginians their choice of peace or war, they sent two tesserae, one marked with a spear, the other with a Caduceus, requesting them to take either the one or the other (Gellius, X.27). From the application of this term to tokens of various kinds, it was transferred to the word used as a token among soldiers. This was the tessera militaris, the συνθημα of the Greeks. Before joining battle, it was given out and passed through the ranks as a method by which the soldiers might be able to distinguish friends from foes. Thus at the battle of Cunaxa, the word was "Zeus the Saviour and Victory," and on a subsequent engagement by the same troops "Zeus the Saviour, Heracles the Leader" (Xen. Anab. I.8 §16, VI.3 §25).

The soldiers of Xenophon used a verbal sign for the same purpose when they were encamped by night (VII.3 §34). Aeneas Tacticus (c24) gives various directions necessary to be observed respecting the word. Respecting the tessera or watchword in the Roman camp, see Castra, p251A .

This is all to identify if you are loyal, as a member who serves with others within a single body of soldiers or a body politic.

Charagma of servitude

The painting shows a Roman slave market with people wearing clay tablets to identify them and the owner of their labor. Identifying slaves or even a class of a citizen's eligibility for benefits and even a liability for taxes in Rome was often done with a clay plaque made with a charag to produce a "Charagma".
The Greek word Charagma we often translate "mark" in Revelation specifically means a “badge of servitude”.
Beasts in prophecy are generally identified as governments.
In Egypt the Israelites were bound by a different form of servitude as members of the corvee under the care of the Pharaoh but owing 1/5 of their labor. The Mark of the Beast mentioned in Revelation was the badge of servitude of the government of Rome and would be similar in a system that would be an image of that "beast". What is your government issued badge of servitude required by law in almost every country in the world to get work, bank accounts, benefits, even a passport or identification?

"The Roman government under Augustus had already been issuing (inscribed ) Tesserae (tiles) as proof of entitlement to the periodic grain doles.[7]"[8]

In the time of Caligula, there is a record of the people providing what would be called in Greek a charagma. A charagma was required, by the time of Nero, to do business in the market place, but before him, we know that Claudius had exiled many Jews because of their lack of cooperation and trouble making. A marked Tessarae could be required as a passport to even enter the city.

What kind of trouble and what kind of Jew?

Christians for the most part were considered Jews. They claimed a king of the Jews[9] as their king and often did contrary to the decrees of Caesar.[10]

Claudius had exiled many of them from Rome.[11]

The Corban of Conflict

Why would you have one of these state issued charagmas?

So you could get benefits as members of a system of Qorban that provided social welfare.

Caligula, before Claudius in AD 37-41, almost bankrupted the system of Qorban in Rome, and Pontius Pilate took funds out to build an aqueduct at Jerusalem in Judea; by that, Pilate caused a riot.

Those who paid into the emperor's system of Qorban received a certification that they were members of that system. By the reign of Emperor Decius AD 250), those who did not have their proof of sacrifice to Caesar could be excluded from the market place. During this time they had price controls and sales tax and identification was essential for enforcement.

The system of Qorban was at the center of the Roman/Christian conflict. It was also at the center of the conflict between Christ and the Pharisees whose system of Corban made the word of God to none effect.[12]

  • Our modern ideas of religion differ from the meaning of the word in the days the Bible was written. Pure religion was a religion rooted in charity alone.
  • Celsus, a Platonist, writing during the term of Marcus Aurelius, “opposed the ‘sectarian’ tendencies at work in the Christian movement because he saw in Christianity a ‘privatizing’ of religion, the transferal of religious values from the public sphere to a private association.”


Roman Emperor Septimius Severus
  • This persecution which began under the Emperor Septimius Severus:
    • "Severus returned victorious from having vanquished the kings who had taken part with Nigar against him, he published his cruel edicts against the Christians in the year of Christ 202, the tenth of his reign. But the general laws of the empire against foreign religions, and the former edicts of several emperors against the Christians, were a sufficient warrant to many governors to draw the sword against them before that time; and we find that the persecution was very hot in Africa two years before, under the proconsul Saturninus..." [14] See Christian conflict

Christians believed all kinds of things about God and the afterlife etc. Jesus said little about that, but he was clear that you could not be Benefactors like the Gentiles who exercised authority one over the other and forced the contributions of the people.

The position should be clear that the mark or badge of the beast that proves you must bow down and serve the beast comes in many forms. It will make things difficult, so that you can hardly buy or sell in the market place if you do not have the badge of service.

This has happened off and on throughout the ages, and it is happening again.

For a more detailed look at what Revelation really says, go to: http://www.hisholychurch.org/sermon/mark2.php

In Strong’s. “5480 charagma, χαράγμα, khar-ag-mah; did include a graven mark. Strong’s concordance translated mark (8) - graven (1) is defined 1a) a stamp, an imprinted mark: of the mark stamped on the forehead or the right hand as the badge of the followers of the Antichrist; the mark branded upon horses.

A Charagma appeared in many forms and for many purposes, but most often it was to identify someone or something as property or wards and servants who owed service "i.e. stamp (as a badge of servitude)". It could even just be in writing, like a charagmati χαράγματι and serve the same purpose.

Charagma vs CardSee [4]
10/29/2012 A discussion on the thirteenth chapter of the book, The Covenants of the gods, titled Charagma vs. Card. The Charagma is a Greek word that represented the badge of servitude yesterday, whereas the Card is the badge of servitude today. The book of Revelation says that to buy or sell, people will need to have or hold this mark or charagma. Audio


  1. see Rich and Harper, s. v.
  2. Plaut. Poen. V.1.25; 2.87‑99).
  4. Frumentarii Frumentarii were officials of the Roman Empire, originally wheat collectors, who also acted as the secret service of the Roman Empire in the 2nd and 3rd centuries.
  5. Smith, Sir William (1859), A dictionary of Greek and Roman antiquities (2 ed.), Little, Brown, and Co., p. 550 [1]
  6. Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) is an electronic system that allows state welfare departments to issue benefits via a magnetically encoded payment card, used in the United States and the United Kingdom like Rome did with their Tesserae.
  7. Suetonius, Aug. 40.2 42.3
  8. The First Christians in the Roman World: Augustan and New Testament Essays, Page 425, By E. A. Judge. Mohr Siebeck, Jan 1, 2008 - Religion - 786 pages.
  9. Luke 23:38 And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. : John 19:19 ¶ And Pilate wrote a title, and put [it] on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.
  10. Acts 17:7 Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, [one] Jesus.
  11. Acts 18:2 And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them.
  12. Mark 7:11 But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, [It is] Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; [he shall be free]. And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.
  13. Christians as the Romans Saw Them, by Robert Wilken page 125.
  14. The Lives of the Saints. Volume VII: July. 1866. Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73).