Roma Aeterna— Part One

What was the Rome of Paul’s day like. My trip last week to Rome, Pompey, Herculaneum and other spots just confirmed to me once again that the Romans were the technological genius’s of their age. Just an hour or two of studying the gigantic aqueducts which brought water into the city will leave you in awe of Roman engineering. Above you see a wonderful recreating of the city as it was in the late first century, with over a million people living on top of one another. It was the largest city in the Mediterranean, probably the largest city on earth at the time. And over 50% of the population were slaves. Slaves of all sorts doing all sorts of jobs little and large, important and menial.

And the dream of Empire was not so much that of Julius Caesar’s but rather his adopted heir— Octavian, seen here on horseback.

Not only is the task of conquering the world and setting up an empire an enormous task, running it has to be just about as difficult. And yet today when you look at the ruins in the Roman forum, you realize once more that the tale Daniel told in Dan. 1-7 of the rise and fall of beastly empires is a tale that would apply one day to Rome as well. Indeed it is a tale that applies to all empires under the sun, except of course the Dominion of God. In this series of posts I will be dealing with Rome/ Italy ancient and modern. There will be in addition a series of posts on the Vatican Visit. Stay tuned for all things Italia.

  • Marie Allen

    Dr. Ben, Can you find any signs of Junia/Andronicus or Priscilla/Aquila or Phoebe in the ruins and records?

  • Jon Altman

    That’s because Daniel was written during the Maccabean revolt, when Rome was already rising.

  • BenW3

    Jon we do not know that Daniel was written during the Maccabean revolt. That would be the latest possible dating, and it is probably wrong. Some scholars think there is an allusion to Antiochus Epiphanes, but even that is debatable since the allusion is quite vague. Even if the book were written early in the Maccabean period, there was no Roman Empire on the rise yet. That’s from Augustus’ time. Frankly most Daniel scholars think the book is a composite one composed over a long period of time, including some of it as early as the 6th century B.C. BW3

  • BenW3

    Marie there has been some suggestion that Priscilla was connected with the Priscillan gens in Rome, perhaps as a freedwoman of that family, but otherwise you will only find a record of those four in my novel— Roma Aeterna. BW3

  • Jon Altman

    The Romans were already “big footing” their way around the Mediterranean by the time of the Maccabean revolt. Certainly, Alexander the Great had shown how an Empire could be established, if not fully sustained.

  • pastordt

    Looking forward to this!