Pax Romana = The Roman Peace 31 B.C. to AD 180 A period of peace and prosperity in the ancient world.
In many ways the Pax Romana was an artificial peace. Rome had won her empire and her peace by war and had to maintain it by force. Even today a false or forced peace is referred to as a Pax Romana. Is there such a thing as Pax Americana?
Ironically, during the Pax Romana, the Prince of Peace entered the world. He secured a true and lasting peace for mankind.
John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
Octavian defeated Antony @ Battle of Actium in 31 B.C. In 27 B.C. he announced that he planned to restore the Roman Republic. Senate. Princeps – “First citizen”
In reality, Octavian held all the power (monarch) and the Republic was a sham. Head of the army Title of Emperor Caesar Augustus – title of divinity, reserved for Roman gods.
Economic Prosperity Agriculture Growth of trade Roman currency became the standard Elimination of Mediterranean piracy Greek then Latin - the universal language International Trade: India, China, Africa
Other benefits under Augustus Government stability Honesty & efficiency Qualified officials Police and fire service Postal service Building programs (roads, temples, aqueducts, coliseums, etc) Attempted to restore virtue and morality
o Census to be taken every 14 years o Purpose to see how much taxes each province should be paying. o “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed (“registered.” ) Luke 2:1
Augustus Caesar left no designated successor. Most of his successors had a family connection to Julius Caesar. Almost all were morally decadent and corrupt. The Roman people were also corrupted. Bread & Circuses
Tiberius 14-37 Caligula 37-41 Claudius 41-54 Nero 54-68 Vespasian 69-79 Titus 79-81 Domitian 81-96 Trajan 98-117 Hadrian 117-138 Antonius Pius 138-161 Marcus Aurelius 161-80
A melting pot of ancient culture Influenced heavily by Greek culture Greeks’ eye for beauty vs. Roman eye for usefulness. Greeks’ contributions to art & philosophy Roman contributions to law & politics
System of Justice Citizens had equal rights before the law.
Many modern European countries and the United States include many principles based on Roman law.
Some Roman Legal Principles Justice is applied to all citizens equally. Liberty is invaluable (cannot place a price on it) Freedom is beloved above all things. The burden of proof is on the accuser, not the defender. In deciding penalties, the age and inexperience of the guilty should be taken into account. Evidence is needed to convict a person, not just an accusation.
More Roman Legal Principles A witness’ credibility is important and should be weighed. The person in possession has the stronger case in a dispute. Each person is responsible for himself and not the actions of his kinsmen.
Cicero – master of Latin prose Virgil – “the Homer of Rome,” wrote the Aeneid, which exalted Rome as the ideal state. Horace – the “Poet of the Augustan Age” Ovid – poet who wrote of mythology and love. Metamorphoses – collection of 200 myths of the ancient world.
Livy – historian who wrote a lengthy history of Rome based on unreliable legends, but championed the traditional virtues and patriotism of the Roman people as the foundation of Rome’s greatness.
The Romans could not have built their big cities without aqueducts. Some Roman cities wouldn't have existed at all. Romans sometimes built cities on dry plains, which would not have been possible without the transported water. With the water, they could have their baths, their fountains, and their drinking water.
Epicureans believed happiness rested in the virtues of simple pleasure & peace of mind. This belief was corrupted to a seeking pleasure as the greatest good and became an excuse for the worse excesses of behavior.
Stoicism teaches that the highest good is the pursuit of the virtues of courage, dignity, duty, simplicity of life, and service to fellow men. All of these virtues are Christian virtues, but without Christ they are empty. “Good behavior doesn’t make one good in the sight of God.”
Christianity was born under the Roman Empire. Why then?
Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. 4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born [a] of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.a
From where do we get most of our knowledge about Jesus?
John 3:16-17 New International Version (NIV) 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
How did the Jews respond to the arrival of the Messiah?
John 8:56-59 "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad." 57 The Jews therefore said to Him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?" 58 Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am." 59 Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the temple." John 8:56-59
John 10:27-36John 10:27-36, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. 29 "My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. 30 "I and the Father are one." 31 The Jews took up stones again to stone Him. 32 Jesus answered them, "I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?" 33 The Jews answered Him, "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God." 34 Jesus answered them, "Has it not been written in your Law, 'I said, you are gods'? 35 "If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), 36 do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God'?"
How did the Romans respond to the arrival of this “King of the Jews?” John 18:28-29 Matthew 27:54
_______________ was the Roman governor in Judea at the time of Jesus’ arrest. (Pontius Pilate) _______________ was the Roman Emperor at the time of Jesus’ death. (Tiberius)
What was proven when Jesus rose from the dead? His life and death constitute the turning point of history.
What is the “gospel?” God sent his son Jesus to life a sinless life and to die in the place of sinful humans so they may be forgiven of their sins.
What is the “Great Commission?” “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” Matthew 28:18-19
What were the conditions that were favorable for the spread of Christianity? 1. Jerusalem – center of Judaism. 2. Many Jews believe. 3. New believers are persecuted. 4. Christians scatter and take their message. 5. Roman roads. 6. Latin/Greek – common languages.
The early Christians took their call to teach others about Jesus very seriously and under the early leaders such as Paul Christians went out as missionaries or messengers to tell others of Christ.
The common Greek language allowed them to tell others easily without having to translate. The Roman roads allowed the missionaries to travel with relative ease.
The Destruction of ________________ in 70A.D. also led to the dispersion of the Jews and Christians from the area of Palestine. This caused people to separate Judaism and Christianity in their minds.
Simple Met in private homes or synagogues Read Scripture, pray, sing Partake of the Lord’s Supper (Communion)
Let me go over with you again exactly what goes on in the Lord's Supper and why it is so centrally important. I received my instructions from the Master himself and passed them on to you. The Master, Jesus, on the night of his betrayal, took bread. Having given thanks, he broke it and said, ”This is my body, broken for you. Do this to remember me.” After supper, he did the same thing with the cup: ”This cup is my blood, my new covenant with you. Each time you drink this cup, remember me.” What you must solemnly realize is that every time you eat this bread and every time you drink this cup, you reenact in your words and actions the death of the Master. You will be drawn back to this meal again and again until the Master returns. You must never let familiarity breed contempt.
Why were Christians persecuted in the Roman Empire? Charged with being disloyal because they refused to worship the emperor as god. They were “weird” and didn’t participate in Roman cultural events (pagan festivals, gladiator games, etc.) The Romans were afraid of the rapid growth of the Church.
The Christians were blamed for many of the evils that plagued the empire. The fire that burned Rome. Earthquakes, etc.
At first, persecution was _______ and confined to __________ ____________. Sporadic Small areas Nero - persecutor Polycarp - persecuted
Later persecution became more widespread throughout the empire as the Romans hoped that persecution would cause Christians to recant and others to fear converting to Christianity. Destroying churches Burning Scriptures Execution
Emperor Constantine publicly embraces Christianity. In the Edict of Milan 313 AD, he declares Christianity legal.
Rome went from being the persecutor of the Church to a protector of the Church. Property which had been confiscated from Christians was restored. Sunday became a legal holiday. The Roman government gave funds for building churches. The Roman government encouraged people to become Christians.
The Government and the Church are now tied together. Is this a good idea?
Decline in purity of the Church as people joined because it was fashionable to do so. Pagan ideas, practices, and heresies entered the Church. Arianism – denied the Deity of Christ Monasticism – people wanted to separate themselves to live holy lives
John 17:14-16 (New International Version) 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.
Church developed hierarchical structure. Followed the political and geographic divisions of the Roman empire Parish, Diocese, Bishop, Archbishop, Patriarchates Patriarchs – bishops of the most important cities
Political disorder Inefficiency Waste Unstable leadership
Economic troubles Cost of maintaining the army Expenses of a large government bureaucracy Increasing tax burden Reduction of silver content in coins – devaluation of currency-> inflation Trade deficit
Moral decay Greed Government provided free food and amusement (bread & circuses) Family life disintegrated Superstition
Reforms of Diocletian & Constantine Reorganized government Supreme authority of emperor Established a co-emperor – called augustus Divided empire into east and west Each co-emperor assistant – called caesar Set price controls (maximum prices) New gold & silver coins
The reform attempts led to greater government control and regulation. Also increased the problems. System of joint rule fell apart Constantine – moved capital to Byzantium, later Constantinople. Empire permanently divided in 395 A.D. under Theodosius I.
Germanic peoples: Angles, Saxons, Franks, Vandals, Goths Called “barbarians” by the Romans because they did not share in Greek & Roman culture.
Germanic tribes, such as the Visigoths, fled into Roman territory. Roman mistreatment led the Visigoths to rebel and kill the emperor at the Battle of Adrianople in 378 A.D. defeating the Roman legions
Alaric led the Visigoths into the Italian peninsula to plunder the city of Rome in 410 A.D. The Visigoths settled in Spain.
The Franks moved into northern Gaul and later shaped France. The Angles and Saxons went to Britania. Attila the Hun also invaded Rome but was repelled.
Later the Vandals, another Germanic tribe, raided and pillaged Rome. The very word “vandal” became associated with the destruction of property. (vandalism) 476 A.D. Roman rule ended with the establishment of a non-Roman as emperor in the west.
The Eastern Empire, however, endured for another 1,000 years.