E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Cross (a mystic emblem)
may be reduced to these four:
The Greek cross (+), found on Assyrian tablets, Egyptian and Persian monuments, and on Etruscan pottery.
The crux decussta (x), generally called St. Andrews cross. Quite common in ancient sculpture.
The Latin cross (†), or crux immissa. This symbol is also found on coins, monuments, and medals, long before the Christian era.
The tau cross (), or crux commissa. Very ancient indeed, and supposed to be a phallic emblem.
The tau cross with a handle (♀) is common to several Egyptian deities, as Isis, Osiris, etc.; and is the emblem of immortality and life generally.
Everyone must bear his own cross. His own burden or troubles. The allusion is to the law that the person condemned to be crucified was to carry his cross to the place of execution.
Get on the cross. Get into bad ways; not go straight.
Its hard lines to think a fellow must grow up and get on the cross in spite of himself, and come to the gallows foot at last, whether he likes it or not.Boldrewood: Robbery Under Arms, chap. viii.
The judgment of the cross. An ordeal instituted in the reign of Charlemagne. The plaintiff and defendant were required to cross their arms upon their breast, and he who could hold out the longest gained the suit.
On the cross. Not on the square, not straightforward. To get anything on the cross is to get it unfairly or surreptitiously.