While there is some discussion among scholars as to how Jesus actually was executed, it is thought to be by some that Jesus actually was executed on an stake rather than on a two-beamed cross. The Roman method of execution at that time was by impaling the criminal on an upright stake.
The original language words used in the Bible for the cross, are stavros, and xlyon. Stavros means “upright pale or stake,” and xlyon means, tree. Therefore in accurate translations of the Bible, where the King James Version, and others, read that Jesus was crucified, some more careful Bible translations read that Jesus was “impaled”. Similarly, where some translations read that Jesus Christ was killed on a cross, others read perhaps more accuately, according to the original Greek meanings of the noun, that Jesus died upon a “tree” or upon a “stake”.
One reference on this subject asserts, “A tradition of the Church which our fathers have inherited, was the adoption of the words “cross” and “crucify”. These words are nowhere to be found in the Greek of the New Testament. These words are mistranslations, a “later rendering”, of the Greek words stauros and stauroo.” Origin of Cross The cross had been a symbol of paganism for centuries before Christ and it was Constantine, a pagan ruler, who first melded the symbol of the cross with Christianity. Eventually, like many customs, the cross became a fixed part of Christianity and also a symbol, viewed by many, as of idolatry.
from the early part of the 20th century, The Two Babylons, provides evidence that the origin of the cross stems from the worship of the Egyptian God Tammuz, represented by a “T”, the cross later being assimilated by and its ecclesiastical system.
These are two other references on the origin of the cross: Dr. Bullinger, in the Companion Bible indicates, “crosses were used as symbols of the Babylonian Sun-god … It should be stated that Constantine was a Sun-god worshipper … The evidence is thus complete, that the Lord was put to death upon an upright stake, and not on two pieces of timber placed at any angle.” p.162 The Encyclopaedia Britannica, states concerning the cross, “In the Egyption churches the cross was a pagan symbol of life borrowed by the Christians and interpreted in the pagan manner.” Jacob Grimm, in his Deutsche Mythologie, says that the Teutonic (Germanic) tribes had their idol Thor, symbolised by a hammer, while the Roman Christians had their crux (cross). It was thus somewhat easier for the Teutons to accept the Roman Cross.” 11th edition, vol. 14, p. 273. Both quotes are from Albatross.org
See also: Jehovah’s Witnesses headlines (official site of Jehovah’s Witnesses, not associated with this article) . http://www.albatrus.org/english/religions/pagan/was_jesus_crucified_on_cross.htm