Monday, May 5, 2014

Roman Notes

The word spreads about the risen Jesus
  • Paul is instrumental in telling the world about Jesus' life, death, resurrection, and message
  • He travels far and wide: Cyprus, Anatolia, Athens, Corinth, Macedonia, Rome, Jerusalem, and maybe even Spain and Britain
  • He writes letters to many of those he spoke to- these epistles are part of the New Testament
  • if not the efforts of Paul, it is likely that Jesus remains an obscure preacher, instead of the central figure of the world's largest religion
Caligula- good start
  • in addition to being Germanicus' son, he was Tiberius' adopted grandson and great- nephew- putting him next in line for emperor
  • he started of well: granting bonuses to those in the military, declaring treason trials a thing of the past, and made government spending a matter of public record
  • all in all, the first seven months of Caligula's reign were "completely blissful" (according to the historian Philo) 
bad finish for Caligula 
  • he began to fight with the Senate 
  • he claimed to be  god, and had statues displayed in many places- including the Jewish temple in Jerusalem(sacrilege) 
  • other examples of cruelty and insanity: he slept with other men's wives and bragged about it, indulged in to many spending and sex, and even tried to make his horse a consul and a priest (at least that's what the critics said)  
  • assassinated by his own aids, AD 41 (pg. 28) 
Next in line: Claudius
  • ostracized by his family because of his disabilities (limp, slight deafness, possible speech impediment- thought to be cerebral palsy or polio) he was the last adult male in his family when Caligula was killed
  • he rose to the occasion: he conquered Britain; he built roads, canals, and aqueducts, he renovated the Circus Maximus
  • Had an awful marriage to Messalina, who was quite often unfaithful to him, even plotting to seize power for her lover Silius through a coup- so Claudius had them killed 
Meanwhile- religious troubles
  • Christianity and Judaism: monotheistic
  • romans had many gods, plus at times the emperor was viewed as a god
  • AD 66: a group of Jews called the Zeolots tried to rebel, but Roman troops put them down and burned their temple ( except for one wall)
  • the western wall today is the holiest of all Jewish shrines
  • half a million Jews died in the rebellion 
Persecution of Christians
  • Romans were harsh toward those who would not worship the emperor
  • especially Christians who were viewed as followers of a new, upstart religion (cult)
  • often used for "entertainment" purposes in the Colosseum (thrown to the lions etc.)
  • despite the opression, Christianity grew quickly- by AD 200 , around 10 percent of the people in the Roman empire were Christians 

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