Quarter 3– Week 1: Republic to Empire. The End of the Roman Republic: Rather than happening all at once, the death of the Roman Republic was the result of civil wars and family feuds taking place over almost a hundred years. The accession of Julius Caesar as dictator for life in 44 BC was the .... ID: 765069
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Quarter 3– Week 1: Republic to Empire. The End of the Roman Republic: Rather than happening all at once, the death of the Roman Republic was the result of civil wars and family feuds taking place over almost a hundred years. The accession of Julius Caesar as dictator for life in 44 BC was the culmination of a long line of events in which consuls acted unlawfully. During many of these events, the motivation of the consuls was to achieve peace and social stability. The result is a lesson for us that "the ends never justify the means."
Quarter 3– Week 1: Republic to Empire. Review: Julius Caesar and the End of the Republic Universal Theme Four: The Captivity of God's People (c. 1000 BC- 50 BC). In our reading for last week, Julius Caesar consolidates his power and becomes the sole ruler of Rome. However, his reign as Caesar does not last long. The Romans do no want a king. Brutus and other senators conspire to assassinate Caesar in order to restore the Roman Republic. While they are successful in taking Caesar's life, the attempt to restore the Republic is unsuccessful. Brutus acts unlawfully in order to restore the rule of law. In doing this, Brutus becomes the tyrant that he hates in Caesar, and ushers in a fifteen year long period of instability and civil war. At the end of this period in 27 BC, Octavian becomes the sole ruler of Rome. History knows this as the beginning of the " Pax Romana ."
Events: Third Servile War (Gladiator War): Made famous by the movie "Spartacus," starring Kirk Douglas (1960), this war began in 73 BC, when seventy-eight gladiators broke out of their quarters and armed themselves from a nearby butcher shop in Capua. The historian Appian records that their army grew and reached 70,000 men (Bauer, 681) . Crassus and Pompey defeat the army of Spartacus. The Rise of Crassus, Pompey, and Caesar: Pompey and Caesar become known for the commands of their armies and their expansion of Roman territory. Pompey and Caesar create an alliance by marriage when Caesar's daughter Julia is given to Pompey as a wife. Crassus enters into the picture through financing the efforts of Pompey and Caesar.
Jerusalem becomes part of the Roman province of Palestine In 66 BC, Pompey conquers the Syrian holdings of the Seleucid Empire, which was dying out. He visited the Temple, and even looked into the Holy of Holies (Bauer, 683) . Jerusalem would now be a part of the province of Palestine. The Hasmonean kings would no longer rule. Instead, Pompey appointed a High Priest who would govern Palestine on behalf of Rome. This man would report to the Roman governor who oversaw the whole of Syria. Here marks the beginning of the arrangement that was in place when Jesus was tried, in which the High Priest worked closely with the Herodians , who were "client kings" overseen by Pilate, the governor.
The First Triumvirate of Ancient Rome 60 to 58 BC Gaius Julius Caesar Marcus Licinius Crassus Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus
The Death of Spartacus by Hermann Vogel (1882) Spartacus, a Thracian slave and gladiator, led the most successful of the slave uprisings, the Third Servile War, 73-71 BC. Crassus crushed the rebellion but Pompey got much of the credit, crucifying 6,000 of the captured slaves.
Caesar crossing the Rubicon. 49 BC. The phrase " crossing the Rubicon " is today often used as an idiom to mean passing a point of no return.
Beware the Ides of March The Ides of March (March 15), 44BC: Julius Caesar is assassinated—stabbed 35 times.
Quarter 3– Week 1: Republic to Empire. Universal Theme Five: The Liberation of God's People (50 BC—300 AD). The conquest of the world by the Roman Empire appears to be anything but liberation. The Jews of Jesus' day looked for a Messiah who would expel the Romans from Israel, be seated on David's throne, and rule a kingdom "of this world," that is, a powerful geo-political empire that would be comparable to the Israel of David and Solomon. However, this is not what Jesus came to do. Jesus came as a liberator, but not to liberate people from oppressive political regimes. Rather, He came to deliver us "from this present evil age" (Gal. 1:4). Jesus came to set us free from the tyranny of the world, the flesh, and the devil. He came not to
build a kingdom of this world, but the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ethnic Jews are invited to become citizens of this Kingdom through repentance from sin and faith in Jesus Christ alone, as are people from all nations. God sent Jesus to redeem a people for His own possession (1 Pet. 2:9) of every tribe and tongue and nation under heaven; a kingdom that would transcend all earthly kingdoms. This is foolishness to the Greeks and a stumbling block to the Jews (1 Cor. 1:23). Jesus came, not in power, but in weakness. He came, not to overthrow the kingdoms of this world by armed force, but to trample down death by death. "For the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many" (Mt. 20:28). He came "to seek and save that which was lost "(Luke 19:10).
In the epoch of the Caesars, we see the consolidation of the world's political power in the hands of one, or of a few. But we also see the triumph of Christianity. In obedience to the Great Commission, the Church takes the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world. God draws men, women, and children to Himself, and the nations are discipled . Within generations, the Christian faith takes the world by storm, so much so that the Roman emperors would bow the knee to the Lord Jesus Christ, and seek to rule as His vice-regents, rather than following the despotic examples of the earlier Caesars. This is a lesson for Christians today. The Early Church shows us that the power of the gospel does not depend on getting the right man in the White House, or a Christian congress, or a Christian judiciary. Rather, the Early Church
succeeded in taking the gospel to the world precisely because they were devoted to the spread of the gospel, instructing people in the Scriptures, and living out their faith in community. The gospel is "the power of God unto salvation for all who believe" (Rom. 1:17). It has a divine force all its own, that is not dependent on power politics. The Church is not to be like the world, but to influence the world by being not of this world. Events: Octavian consolidates his power and becomes Emperor of Rome in 27 BC. In 40 BC, Herod the Great is named Procurator of Palestine. He restores and expands the 2nd Temple. Jesus is conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary, lives a sinless life, suffers under Pontius Pilate, is crucified, suffers all the pains of hell upon the cross, dies, and is buried. On the third day He rose again
from the dead. After forty days, He ascends into heaven, where He is seated at the right hand of God. In confirmation of His enthronement and coronation as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, He sends the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Beginning at Jerusalem, the disciples take the gospel to Judea, Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth. Augustus has difficulty finding an heir. When Augustus dies in 14 AD, Tiberius is named Emperor. Following Tiberius, the emperors get more and more incompetent. In succession Caligua , Claudius, Nero, Galba, Vespasian, Titus, Otho , and Vitellius become Emperor. As Christianity gains converts, persecutions under Claudius and Nero increase. Jerusalem and the Temple are destroyed in AD 70, signaling the replacement of the Old Covenant sacrificial system with the once for all, perfect sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The Second Triumvirate of Ancient Rome, 43 BC to 33 BC
The Empire as Divided Among the Second Triumvirate
Augustus Caesar (27 BCE – 14 CE) was the name of the first and, by most accounts, greatest emperor of Rome . Augustus was born Gaius Octavius Thurinus, on 23 September 63 BCE. He was adopted by his great-uncle Julius Caesar in 44 BCE, and then took the name Gaius Julius Caesar. In 27 BCE the Senate awarded him the honorific Augustus ("the illustrious one"), and he was then known as Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus. (https://www.ancient.eu/augustus/)
The Praetorian Guard Equal parts secret service, special forces and urban administrators, Rome’s Praetorian Guard was one of the ancient world’s most prestigious military units. These handpicked soldiers are most famous for serving as the sworn bodyguard of the Roman ruler, but they were also used as a Jack-of-all-trades force in the service of the Empire. Guardsmen fought alongside the legions on campaign, put down uprisings, pacified rioters and served as security at gladiator shows and chariot races. As their influence grew, they also played a pivotal role in the intrigue and double-crossing that blighted imperial Rome. Explore eight facts about the men-at-arms who protected—and sometimes murdered—the Roman emperor. (http://www.history.com)
In 31BC at the Battle of Actium , off the western coast of Greece, Roman leader Octavian wins a decisive victory against the forces of Roman Mark Antony and Cleopatra, queen of Egypt. Before their forces suffered final defeat, Antony and Cleopatra broke though the enemy lines and fled to Egypt, where they would commit suicide the following year.
Meanwhile in Palestine… Herod the Great, named a tetrarch by Mark Antony in 41BC and appointed by the Roman Senate as King of the Jews in 40/39 BC, dies in 4AD. Augustus divides Palestine among Herod’s three sons: Herod Antipas (Galilee), Archelaus (Samaria and Judea), and Philip, the northern areas AD6—Augustus removes Archelaus from rule because of his extreme cruelty and replaces him with a Roman procurator (an imperial official). Judea’s procurator at the time of Jesus’ public ministry was Pontius Pilate
Caesar Augustus’ (Octavian’s) Last Day On [Augustus’] last day, he asked for a mirror so that he could arrange his hair, as though for an audience. “When the friends he had summoned were present,” Seutonius writes, “he inquired of them whether they thought he had played his role well in the comedy of life.” When they agreed, he quoted (almost as his last words) two lines from a popular drama: Since the play has been so good, clap your hands And all of you dismiss us with applause. In the last moments of his life, he could finally admit the truth that no one in Rome had dared to speak: his role as protector of the Republic had been playacting, and his refusal to accept the title of emperor had been nothing but pretense, all done for the sake of the audience. (Bauer, p. 711)
From Tiberius to Vespasian Tiberius (14 - 37 AD) : Augustus’ stepson (later adopted) not his favorite choice for a successor, he was made co-proconsul and princeps in AD 13. He sought to preserve the Empire but was aloof, not well respected, and “in his last years… became a tyrannical [and perversely self-indulgent] recluse, inflicting a reign of terror against the major personages of Rome”. In was during Tiberius’ reign that Jesus conducted his public ministry and was crucified under the procuratorship of Pontius Pilate. Caligula (37 - 41 AD) : Son of Tiberius’ nephew, Caligula’ rule started well but quickly disintegrated into brutality, immorality, and disrespect—for people and institutionsand unbridled autocracy. In 39AD he fired both consuls and forcefully dissolved the senate. By 40AD he decreed that
From Tiberius to Vespasian (Cont’d) he be worshiped as a god, however the would-be god was soon murdered by the Praetorian Guard. Claudius (41 - 54 AD): Caligula’s uncle, he seized power with support of the Praetorian guard, was initially merciful to Caligula’s enemies but would execute many of his opponents. Though he did conquer Britain and declared his adopted stepson Nero his heir, he accomplished little else and was poisoned by his own wife, Agrippina. Nero (54 – 68 AD) : The most infamous of the early emperors, Nero came to power virtually as in a monarchy. His early years were marked by concessions to the Senate and relative virtue but 59 AD he begin to decline quickly through self-indulgence, cruelty, treason trials, and “insanity” (Bauer, 728) . Nero, to shift blame from himself, blamed Christians for the terrible fire of Rome (64 AD—the
From Tiberius to Vespasian (Cont’d) phrase ‘Nero fiddled while Rome burned’ comes from Nero’s behavior during the fire) and carried on cruel, torturous persecution of Christians, whom he hated (Peter and Paul were martyred under Nero). Nero’s relinquishing of Armenia to the Parthians, and increasingly cruel and bizarre behavior led to the Praetorian guard’s move to oust Nero in favor of Galba. Nero, fleeing for his life, died ignominiously. Galba (68-69 BC) : Galba, an experienced soldier, became princeps and im [ erium, but soon fell out of favor with the Praetorian guard, who switched their allegiance to Otho, a Roman governor whose wife Nero stole and later murdered.The comings and goings of emperors at this time prove the words of Bauer, p. 731:
From Tiberius to Vespasian (Cont’d) The real power of the princeps lay in the imperium, the supreme command of the army. And to keep the imperium, the ruler of Rome needed the support of the Praetorian Guard. The Republic had become an empire, and the empire was now run by something like a secret junta: a band of powerful soldiers who could put up or remove a figurehead ruler, but who held the real power themselves. Galba refused too buy the loyalty of the soldiers who supported him so was killed by them. The Praetorian Guard then proclaimed Otho imperator . Otho (January – April, 69 AD): Otho was confirmed by the Senate as imperator and princeps . He was defeated by Vitelius at the Battle of Cremona and commited suicide, though probably much better qualified than Vitellius.
From Tiberius to Vespasian (Cont’d) Aulus Vitellius (July – December, 69 AD) : The commander favored by the large military in Germany to be imperator who defeated and succeeded Otho . Vitellius was “shrewd and unprincipled,” angering the military when he replaced the Praetorian Guard with his own hand-picked troops. Soon troops from the east gave support to the distinguished general Vespasian, governor of Syria. A brief war, seriously affecting Rome, insued, with Vespasian’s supporters defeating Vitelius’ troops. For the sake of peace, the Senate declared Vespasian princeps even though he had remained in Palestine to conclude the siege of Jerusalem (see Bauer, pp. 732-34—Zealots, Titus, etc.). Vespasian (69 - 79 AD): Vespasian was a capable military leader and ruler. He restored order and relative peace to the Empire. Jerusalem was destroyed under his rule-70AD.