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Part 2. the kairos the messiah.r.2


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An analysis of the Graeco-Roman historical and cultural background of the Christian Gospel. The restructuring of the Roman Empire by Augustus and the reign of Herod the Great are examined as the context of the coming of Christ.

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Part 2. the kairos the messiah.r.2

  1. 1. 1Part 2: The First NativityKairos of the Messiah’s First Advent.Sons and Heirs 4:1 I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from aslave, though he is the owner of everything, 2 but he is under guardians andmanagers until the date set by his father. 3 In the same way we also, when we werechildren, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. 4 But when thefullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying,“Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heirthrough God. (Galatians 4:1-7, English Standard Version, online. Galatians + 4. Emphasis on v. 4, the author’s –JDR).Birth of John the Baptist Foretold 5 In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of thedivision of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her namewas Elizabeth. 6 And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly inall the commandments and statutes of the Lord. 7 But they had no child, becauseElizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years. 8 Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty,9 according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the templeof the Lord and burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were prayingoutside at the hour of incense. 11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lordstanding on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And Zechariah was troubledwhen he saw him, and fear fell upon him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not beafraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bearyou a son, and you shall call his name John. 14 And you will have joy and gladness,
  2. 2. 2and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great before the Lord. And hemust not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, evenfrom his mothers womb. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to theLord their God, 17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turnthe hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of thejust, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” 18 And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man,and my wife is advanced in years.” 19 And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. Istand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you thisgood news. 20 And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day thatthese things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will befulfilled in their time.” 21 And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they werewondering at his delay in the temple. 22 And when he came out, he was unable tospeak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he keptmaking signs to them and remained mute. 23 And when his time of service wasended, he went to his home. 24 After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and forfive months she kept herself hidden, saying, 25 “Thus the Lord has done for me in thedays when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”(Luke 1:1–25, English Standard Version online. See references above).
  3. 3. 3I. The Historical Setting of the World:Pax Romana. Such were the various forms of relief suggested by human planning. Then means were taken to propitiate the gods. The Sybilline books were consulted, and prayers were offered, as the books prescribed, to Vulcan, to Ceres, and to Prosperine. Juno was supplicated by the matrons, first on the Capitol, and afterwards at the nearest point upon the sea coast, from which water was drawn to sprinkle the temple and the image of the goddess; banquets to the goddess and all-night festivals were celebrated by married women. But neither the aid of men, nor the emperor’s bounty, nor the propitiary offerings to the gods, could remove the grim suspicion that the fire had been started by Nero’s order. To put an end to this rumor, he shifted the charge on to others, and inflicted the most cruel tortures upon a group of people detested for their abominations, and popularly known as ‘Christians’. This name came from one Christus, who was put to death in the prinicipate of Tiberius by the Procurator Pontius Pilate. Though checked for a time, the detestable supersition broke out again, not in Judea only, where its mischief began, but even in Rome, where every abomination and shameful iniquity, from all the world, pours in and finds a welcome. First those who acknowledged themselves of this sect were condemned, not so much on the charge of arson, as for their hatred of the human race. Their death was turned into an entertainment. They were clothed in the skins of wild animals and torn to pieces by dogs; they were crucified or staked up to be burned, to serve the purpose of lamps when daylight failed. Nero gave up his own gardens for this spectacle; he provided also games, during which he mingled with the crowd, in the garb of a charioteer. But guilty as these people were and worthy of direst punishment, the fact that they were being cut off for no public good, but only to glut the cruelty of one man, aroused a feeling of pity.1 (Tacitas, Annals 15:44) The media often report some new discovery or publication which, it is claimed, finally proves that Jesus was, after all, nothing but a magician, a freedom fighter or a devout mystic. Television or newspaper features appear, quoting the opinions of scholars to the effect that Jesus was not really the supernatural figure Christians had believed him to be. These matters are seldom presented in a balanced way by allowing scholars who hold orthodox beliefs an opportunity to respond. Only the sensationalist opinions tend to be reported. The cumulative effect has been that many people think the New Testament thas been effectively discredited. I believe many readers will be surprised at the wealth of solid historical information to be found with the New Testament and the degree to which the New Testament story can be reconstructed. The data is, of course, uneven in its distribution. At some points we are able to plot the movements of Jesus and Paul with pinpoint accuracy as to both time and place. At other times, however, a whole decade is passed
  4. 4. 4 over in silence. That, however, is the nature of all evidence from antiquity, not merely the New Testament . . . .2Augustus and the Establishment of the Pax Romana As one closes the sacred pages of the Hebrew Scriptures, at least in the last historicalnarratives of that older Testament, the reader is to assume that Judea as well as the remainder ofWestern Asia were part of the ancient Persian empire, of which Daniel, ch. 6 ff. speaks. The lastmonarch specifically named is “Darius the Persian,” who is also referred to in Nehemiah 12:22 .According to many scholars, this is probably Darius II (423 – 405 B.C.) or, perhaps, Darius III(336 – 331 B.C.), the last king of Persia (who was conquered by Alexander the Great). But afteralmost four silent centuries, we encounter a new world culture and empire in the NewTestament. According to F.F. Bruce, a totally new situation the existed: When we open the New Testament, we find another world dominating the Near East and indeed the whole Mediterranean area. The New Testament writings, from first to last, are set in the context of the Roman Empire. The story which they tell, from the closing years of the pre-Christian era to the end of the first century A.D., presupposes throughout the dominating presence of the Roman power. The Third Evangelist connects the birth of Jesus with a decree issued by the first Roman Emperor Augustus, ‘ that all the world should be enrolled ’(Luke 2:1). Jesus grew to manhood in a land where the propriety of paying to Rome a tribute which it imposed was a live political and theological issue; it was a Roman magistrate who sentenced him to death and it was by a Roman form of execution that the sentence was carried out. The most prominent character in New Testament history after Jesus himself is Paul, a Roman citizen by birth, who carried the Christian message from its Palestinian homeland throughout the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire until he reached Rome itself; our last certain view of Paul see him living there in house-arrest for two years, at liberty to urge the Christian way of salvation on all who came to visit him. Nor does the New Testament stop there; it carries the story forward to the following decades in which Roman law set its face against Christianity, so that a man was liable to suffer ‘as a Christian’, without its being necessary to produce evidence of positive criminal action on his part. The Roman Empire is presented, in the powerful imagery of John’s Apocalypse, as a seven-headed monster, waging war against the people of God and all who refuse to pay it divine honours, but doomed to go down in defeat before ‘the patience and faith of the saints’ as they win through to final victory ‘by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony’ (Rev. 13:10; 12:11).3 Thus, we come to the controversial matter of our present chapter, the so-called PaxRomana. Undoubtably, for first and second century Jews and Christians, this “peace” was
  5. 5. 5externally and forcibly imposed and the everyday universal superintendence of this immenseclassical imperial bureauracy was something less than always either blessed or benign. Yet, inthat over-ruling providence of God in which both Christians and Jews believe, there were manyimportant positive aspects to the pacification and empire-building of the masters from the greatItalian city on the Tiber. Indeed, that it was both the right chronological and existential moment inhuman history for God to send His Son forth into history to redeem both Israel and the nationscannot be doubted by any Christian who has received the Gospel and experienced Christ towhom it bears witness. But let the term itself first be defined in a more or less neutral way. Pax Romana is ahistorical description for the long period of relative tranquility extending to the entireMediterranean world as conquered or annexed by the Roman Empire in the first and secondcenturies A.D. or actually from about 27 B.C. to about 180 A.D., or from the official beginning ofEmperor Augustus’ reign until the beginning of the imperial control of Marcus Aurelius. Thishistorical setting can be readily linked to the Apostle’s Paul’s expression in Galatians 4:4: ὅτε δὲἦλθεν τὸ πλήρωα τοῦ χρόνου, lit., “ but when it had come – the fullness of the time. ‘’ The Greekword chronos is used about 53 times in New Testament and in the majority of cases it designatessome kind of measured or calendrical time, although about 19 times it is used in an abverbialway, with miscellaneous denotations, or even not separately translated. Sometimes theologianshave contrasted chronos with kairos, another Greek designation, which occurs in about 87 placesin the New Testament and indicates a special time, an appointed occasion, observed season,unique opportunity, or due time. Probably, since “the fullness” (τὸ πλήρωα) precedes the word,the whole phrase is to be understood as similar to kairos, because a particular era or moment inhuman history is Divinely chose for the Messiah to appear in history. So, the question remains:Why is the particular moment of the Messiah’s birth so important and how is it related to PaxRomana ? The phenomenon which historians call Pax Romana was first identified by the rationalisthistorian Edward Gibbon in his classic nineteenth century work, The Decline and Fall of theRoman Empire. This term was proposed for that period of moderation and relative cessation
  6. 6. 6from foreign wars under Augustus and his successors. James T. Dennison, Jr. in a chapelsermon preached a few years ago offers a good basic summary of the notion: The Age of Augustus was celebrated by the poets (especially Virgil) as a new era – the dawn of the age of gold. The empire was expanding in every area: law, culture, arts, humanities, military might, religious revival. The economy boomed, the temples were full–any and every new cult had opportunity to erect a temple in Rome. Reform was in 4 the air–reform of manners–reform of religion–reform of the republic. In one sense the Pax Romana was a relative cessation of the traumatic civil strife thataffected Roman society in Italy and a temporary mild reduction of its foreign wars in Gaul, theupper Danube, North Africa, the Eastern Mediterranean, the Asia Minor, and Syria-Palestine. Itwas not so much an era of natural peace as a time of momentary pacification by numerouspowerful Roman legions sent to all parts of the world. Although, from another perspective, thestory of Pax Romana actually began with a bloody and violent assassination. On the cool misty morning of March 15, 44 B.C., Emperor Julius Caesar was brutallyassassinated by several members of the Roman Senate including Brutus and Cassius. Just onemonth before, Caesar had proudly declared himself dictator of the Roman world. Now, in thewake of his political execution, a new Roman triumvirate was formed by three other Romanleaders in order to punish the perpetrators: the trio of Mark Anthony (a consul), Lepidus (a highassembly official), and Octavian (the grand-nephew of the murdered emperor). Until 37 B.C.,there was relative calm in the Roman world, even though a major battle had transpired whenAnthony and Octavian’s legions decisively defeated those of Brutus and Cassius at the Battle ofPhilippi in 42 B.C. These days were perilous ones, however. Even that great ancient statesmanand philosopher Cicero was publicly executed for his sympathies to the fallen republicanconspirators and had his head severed and his hands cut off to be placed for public view in theRoman Forum. Then, even the bonds and pledges of alliance with the new triumvirate began tobreak and fray in 37 B.C. The cause of this disintegration of the three power players was due tothe vicissitudes of human passion and the complications of an extra-marital romance. MarkAnthony was not only Octavian’s political ally but also his brother-in-law. He had formed amarriage contract with Octavian’s sister, Octavia. Yet, while attending to his duties in the East,he had met the seductive Cleopatra in Taursus and formed a second marriage contract with her
  7. 7. 7(previously Cleopatra had formed an cohabitative alliance with Julius Caesar and had a child bythe late emperor whom she named Caesarium). Thus, after a number of political and personaldisagreements, Octavian and Anthony came into open conflict in 32 B.C. and this eventually ledto the defeat of Anthony’s legions at the Battle of Actium in 31 B.C. And, as all schoolboysknow, Anthony fled to Egypt where he committed suicide, soon to be followed by princessCleopatra who took an asp to her bosom. Following the milestone victory at Actium, Octavian Caesar became the sole master ofthe Roman world and actually realized the dream of his great-uncle Julius. He would be ruler ofthe Roman Empire for the next forty-five years, until 14 A.D. Despite his highly questionableroute to this supreme power, he made the most of the opportunity and was quite successful inreforming almost every major Roman institution. He was the main contributor to the idea of PaxRomana because he helped to establish the Roman Empire on a rational and ordered basis. Sincehis reforms set the patterns of the Imperium for the next two centuries and thus the first majorera of this period of history, a period of unbelievable creativity, is called the Augustian Age. On January 13, 27 B.C., the confident and ever-victorious Octavian appeared before theRoman Senate and declared his supreme authority. At this same time, Octavian changed hisname to Augustus Caesar (in Latin, Imperator Caesar Divi Filius Augustus). The Senate hadalready been brought into compliance with the Emperor’s wishes and its total number had beenreduced from about 1000 to 800 members. Most of the senators were voluntarily solidsupporters of Augustus, or else had been hand-picked for their loyalty to the new centralpower. Ironically, Augustus also declared that he had just restored the Republic (even thoughthe Roman Empire was now a virtual dictatorship). Augustus was promised an immediate tenyears rule (but this was a mere formality). For now Augustus controlled all the legions whichwere obliged to defend the Senate and the Roman people. Each senator took a solemn oath ofallegiance to the new Emperor as imperator, the One who was the will of Rome. Later, in 23 B.C.,Augustus was also granted the authority of tribune (tribunicia potestas) for life. Thus, Augustushad supreme veto power and could deal directly with the people of Rome.5 Because many of Augustus’ reforms were practical and sensible, he became larger than
  8. 8. 8life to most of the Roman people. Some then began to speak of the Emperor as hero, and otherswent further to describe Augustus as a god. The changes that he made were compromisesbetween traditional Republican values and the new imperial reality. The propaganda praisedthe old traditions, but the economic, political, and social realities were rapidly changing. Thus,while Augustus’ reforms saved the new Empire, the traditional institutions, the Roman Senatein particular, became an empty shell of the past. The historic ideas of representative governmentand hard old Roman virtues were being systematically undermined. All the historic republicaninstitutions now would be united in one person – the Emperor himself. Professor F.F. Brucedescribes the situation quite well: In January, 27 B.C., Octavian, having established peace throughout the Roman world, ‘handed the republic back to the Senate and the people of Rome.’ He himself was acclaimed as princeps, chief citizen of the republic, and among other honors was given the name Augustus, by which he was thenceforth known. In fact he retained all the reins of power in his own hands, but he knew the psychological and diplomatic value of restoring the forms and nomenclature of the old republican regime. When he handed the republic back to the Senate and people of Rome, he handed back the provinces, many of which were at the time administered directly responsibility for the administration of some of the most important of these provinces. It is often said that he administered directly those provinces which required the presence of a standing army, while the more peaceful provinces came under the jurisdiction of the Senate. This is roughly true, though not completely so. Augustus was commander-in-chief of the Roman army, so provinces which required Roman arms either for external defense (along the Rhine, Danube and Euphrates frontiers) or for internal security were more conveniently administrated Asia and Achaia) which were nominally under the control of the Senate and were governed by proconsuls appointed by that body were none the less really under the control of Augustus and his successors. Neither the Senate in appointing a proconsul, nor the proconsul in administering his province, could afford to ignore the will of the princeps. Those provinces which required legionary troops to be posted in them (like Galatia and Syria) were administered by an imperial legate, the legatus pro praetore. For the sixty years following A.D. 6, when Judea became a Roman province, it was garrisoned not by legendary but by auxiliary troops, and was garrisoned not by legionary but by auxiliary troops, and was governed by an officer or lower rank than an imperial legate – by a member of the equestrian order, the praefectus or procurator.6 Augustus was an able administrator and to deal with his four major problems hepursued the following steps to secure and organize his empire: Firstly, the frontiers, especiallyin the north and east were consolidated against attack by barbarians. This meant that he
  9. 9. 9extended his borders to the Rhine and Danube rivers and no further to heavily bolster theoutposts that remained. Secondly, he ordered a reduction in the size of the army and theremainder were stationed in the provinces. He provided a cash payment to those soldiers whohad served for more than twenty years, thus securing their loyalty to the Roman state and not totheir generals. The army was removed from Rome where they could be tempted to a meddle incivic affairs. Additionally, he created a special army supremely loyal to himself, e.g., thePraetorian Guard. This was an elite force of over 9,000 soldiers charged specifically with thedefense of Rome and the Emperor. The Praetorians were to be from Italy only and receivedhigher wages than the average Roman legionnaire. During the reign of Augustus this workedwell, since these troops were new and fiercely devoted to the Emperor. But in the decades andcenturies to come, the leaders of the Praetorian Guard had the power to make or break even thepower of the emperor. Thirdly, the Emperor and the Senate (by his insistence) providedsubsidies to farmers and free grain and other necessities to the masses of Rome (hence, awelfare “state” began to emerge in later times). Fourthly, in the home provinces near Rome,Augustus entrusted the Senatorial class with formal powers, creating a new senatorialaristocracy. Even though real power was being quickly lost by the Senate, they were made tofeel like the old Republic still endured. Thus, for a time the reforms or Augustus Caesarstabilized the economy and political structure of the Mediterranean world. The empire with itsprovinces seemed self-sufficient and the Emperor was the apparent ruler of the civilized world(i.e., the oecumene). There were, though, dangerous if yet unseen flaws in the virtually perfect imperial orderof things. Economically, the system was based on a network of mutually interdependent areas.If one province fell, it could hurt the whole Empire. Moreover, the vast system of slave laborwas also showing signs of deterioration. Slaves with no future for freedom had no motivation towork. Furthermore, the number of slaves had been reduced since many slave families had wontheir freedom by manumission. As a result, manpower was drained off the farms. At the sametime Rome and other Latin cities became more crowded with unemployed men and womenwho would follow whatever leader and whatever cause brought them bread and shelter.Pedagogues and conniving politicians could influence the Senate and, eventually, the election of
  10. 10. 10new emperors. Author Steve Kreis has offered a provocative summary of the Roman Peacewhich lasted from Augustus to the time of Marcus Aurelius in the late second century A.D.: In general, the Augustan system worked fairly well, in fact, it lasted more than 200 years. It provided a material and political base of cultural achievement that rivaled the Greeks under Pericles. This is the age of the Pax Romana, the Roman Peace. But the Augustan reforms were not limited to political, economic and social issues alone. They also envisioned a fundamental change in Roman culture itself. Augustus tried to turn Rome into a world capital and taught the Romans to identify their destiny with the destiny of all mankind. They were the chosen people who would bring peace and stability to a violent and changing world.7The Jews and the Coming of Pax Romana For one to appreciate the overall impact of the later Pax Romana on the Jews andPalestine, it is necessary to recall the earlier historical waves of the expanding Hellenisticempire of Alexander the Great (334-323 B.C.). This vast domain, however, was divided into fourdynastic kingdoms by Alexander’s main generals (the details are actually a bit more complex,but a thorough general history is not being presented here): After Antigonus was killed in battlein Asia, the Macedonian Empire was split into the following areas and rulers: (1) Syria and AsiaMinor controlled by Seleucius; (2) Egypt and its vicinity ruled by General Ptolemy; (3) Thraceunder the dominion of Lysimachus; and Macedonia and Greece under Cassander, the son ofAntipater. Neither the Macedonian nor the Thracian kingdoms endured into the first century B.C.,but Seleucid and Ptolemaic dynasties were significant for almost two and a half centuries andeach of these powers fought over control of Palestine and hence the Jewish nation.8 The Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt was founded by Ptolemy I in 323 B.C., with its capital inAlexandria, while the Seleucid dynasty originated in Syria created by Seleucus I in 312 B.C.,with its capital in Antioch. Judea remained under the overlordship of the Ptolemies under 198B.C. But that year marked a change of times and suzerainities. Because the armies of Seleuciawon a victory at Panieon (near the sources of the Jordan River, later known as CaesareaPhilippi), for the next fifty years Judea was required to live under the rulers of Seleucia.
  11. 11. 11 In earlier times, Judea had lived in relative peace and freedom – having a large measureof political and religious autonomy. Professor Bruce describes it thusly: The country was controlled by imperial governor, and the people had to pay taxes to the imperial exchequer; but Judea itself – which consisted of a restricted area radiating but a few miles from Jerusalem–was organized as a temple-state, whose constitution was laid down in the priestly law of the Pentateuch. The high priest, as head of the internal administration of the tiny Jewish state. There were were many Jews outside Judea came directly under the jurisdiction of the high priest. The high priest was always drawn from the ancient family of Zadok– the Zadok who had been chief priest in the earlier Temple built by King Solomon about 960 B.C. 9 It was thus providentially inevitable, if one accepts the prophetic visions of Daniel 7 and8 as real forecasts of world history, that the Seleucid rulers of Judea (the last of the Bronzekingdom of the Hellenistic Alexander) should clash with the new emerging power in theAegean world – the Romans. And so in 190 B.C. at the battle of Magnesia the Seleucid armieswere crushed by the powerful legions of the republic of Rome. As peace followed, the terms ofthe Peace of Apamea (188 B.C.) not only gave away the Seleucids’ wealthy provinces in westernAsia Minor, but also enforced a heavy tribute upon them, which was to be paid in twelveannual installments. As the history of these times progressed, the periods of payment of theseindemnities had to be extended by new owners for several years because of the difficulty of thesubservient rulers in raising the tribute money. This financial hardship, spurred on by pagan Hellenistic dislike of the non-cosmopolitanculture and religion of Jews, led to both economic suffering and military conflict. It happenedlike this: Jason, the brother of the Zadokite high priest Onias III, offered the new Seleucid kingAntiochus IV (175-163 B.C.) a hefty cache of gold if he would make him high priest in hisbrother’s place. Antiochus was only too happy to accept the generous bribe, because Jason (aliberal Hellenized Jewish leader) was quite ready to expedite the process of Hellenization of theJewish nation. A few years later (171 B.C.), Menelaus, an even more zealous Hellenizer, who didnot even belong to the Zadokite priestly family, offered the king a still larger endowment if hewould make him high priest in Jason’s place. Antiochus was overjoyed to nominate the newcandidate, which brought an end to the genuine Zadokite priestly line as ministers in Jerusalem.
  12. 12. 12 During this era (170 – 167 B.C.), Antiochus IV began to exhibit his maniacal egotism andadopted the unbelievable epithet “Epiphanes” (implying he was the incarnate manifestation ofthe Olympian Zeus). He was also perhaps trying to compensate for his father’s dynastic lossesin the Aegean realm by the Roman forces by annexing Egypt to the Seleucid dominions. Yet, onthe brink of his success he was powerfully checked by Roman intervention in the conflict (168B.C.). Meanwhile, the news of this political and military check on Antiochus’ ambitionsprompted the people of Judea to oust the despised Menelaus for the more highly favoreddeposed Jason. This act made the proud Antiochus furious and he quickly planned to punishthe offending rebels. When he returned from Egypt, he assaulted Jerusalem as enemy city,demolishing its outer walls and later looting the Temple treasury. But the visceral sources of Antiochus’ rage was more than political, he wished to ensurethe absolute loyalty of Judea, the southwestern frontier of his empire. His advisors then urgedhim to abolish the Temple constitution, ban the distinctive practices of the Jewish faith, andrecreate Jerusalem as an Hellenistic city in which only the thorough-going assimilationists inJudea would have citizenship. Other Jews were to be killed or enslaved. The Temple, once moreunder the leadership of Menelaus, was turned over to the cult of Olympian Zeus, locallyidentified with the Syrian deity Ba’al Shamen, “ the lord of heaven.”10 In one of the milestoneeras of Jewish history, the people of God suffered three years of a blasphemous sacrilege – fromDecember, 167 B.C., to December, 164 B.C. – this “appalling sacrilege” or “abomination ofdesolation” transpired.11 Enter into the record of history the aged Mattathias, of the Hasmonaean family, whodemonstrated for all time that some Jews valued loyalty to their ancestral faith aboveeverything in this world; there were stalwart men, who so loved the Old Testament Scripturesthat they refused to submit to royal pagan decrees and willingly suffered martyrdom. But inMattathias’ case, he and his sons took up arms against Antiochus’ harsh regime. He and his fivesons were to become legendary Jewish guerilla fighters, who fought (with God’s help) against anumber of larger and better equipped royal armies and eventually defeated them. Antiochus,who had vast designs to conquer lost provinces beyond the Euphrates, found it highly
  13. 13. 13impractical to forever bog down all his armies in the Judean struggle. Thus, he saw the wisdomof making a truce with the Jewish insurgents. He was forced then to remove the ban on theformer practice of the Jewish religion, and the worship of the God of Israel was resumed in thepurified Temple according to the ancient Hebrew ritual (164 B.C.).12 Unfortunately, while the Hasmonaeans had faithfully struggled to recover religiousliberty for the Jewish nation, the next generation (following Mattathias Maccabaeus and theolder son’s deaths) had to continue to preserve this accomplishment (and, for the next twentyyears, were aided by the frequent dynastic rivalry and civil strife among their more powerfulSeleucid neighbors). Finally, genuine national autonomy was actually won under SimonMaccabaeus, the last of that family in ca. 142 B.C. However, when national sovereignty wassecured under Simon (who succeeded his brother Jonathan after the latter was taken prisonerand executed in 143 B.C.), the popular Jewish assembly happily decreed that he not only betheir military leader, but that he should also be a ‘ high priest for ever, until a trustworthyprophet should arise ‘ (I Maccabees 14:41). This unsatisfactory situation came about because theonly suitable remaining Zadokite candidate for the high-priesthood had departed to Egyptabout twenty years before, to assume the leadership of the new Jewish temple at Leontoplis.13 The Jews and Judea thus went on for over a century, and for about seventy-five years orson, the Jewish leaders and people remained stubbornly independent. While the originalHasmonaean rulers experienced prosperity and the support of their countrymen, eventuallybecame divided among themselves. Once more, Professor Bruce has a precise and fast-pacedexposition of this prelude to the era of Pax Romana as it affected the people of Israel: . . . The Hasmonaeans, who had so recently been hard put to secure bare survival for their nation, now saw undreamed - of the opportunities of expansionopening before them. Simon’s son, John Hyrcanus (134-104 B.C.), overran Idumea, Samaria, and part of Galilee and them to his realm; his sons Aristobulus I (104 – 103 B.C.) and Alexander Janneaus (103 – 76 B.C.), who took over the title ‘king’ continued their father’s conquering enterprise until the kingdom of Judea, extended from the Mediterranean seaboard on the west into Transjoradan on the east, was nearly as large as the united monarchy of David and Solomon. These kings, however, were unprincipled characters, aping the ways of minor Hellenistic rulers, but lacking any redeeming pretensions to Hellenistic culture. Janneaus in particular, as he besieged and destroyed one Hellenistic city after another on the
  14. 14. 14 perimeter of his kingdom, showed himself a complete vandal. Nor had his vandalism the excuse that it was the product of zeal for the God of Israel against the idolatries of the heathen; of all the high priests of Israel, some of whom did little to adorn their sacred office, none was unworthier than he. He showed no concern for anything but personal power and military conquest; in his unquenchable thirst for this way of life he hazarded his nation’s independence more than once, exhausted the national wealth, and forfeited the respect and goodwill of the best elements in the nation. At his death in 76 B.C. he was succeeded as civil ruler by his wife Salome Alexandra (her Jewish name Salome is an abbreviation of Selom–S!iyyon, ‘peace of Zion’). Her elder son, Hyrcanus II, a man singularly lacking in the characteristic family ambition, became the high priest; her younger son, Aristobulus II, whose excess of ambition amply compensated for his brother’s deficiency, was given a military command. Her reign of nine years was remembered a brief golden age; her death in 67 B.C. followed by civil war between the partisans of her two sons. While Hyrcanus was completely unambitious, he was used as a facade by the gifted Idumean politician Antipater, who saw how useful Hyrcanus could be to the promotion of his own ambitions. Antipater saw clearly that the path of wisdom for a man with his ambitions was to co-operate with the Roman power, which at this juncture was establishing itself in Western Asia. His opportunity came with Roman occcupation of Judea in 63 B.C. The pretext for this occupation was the civil war between the two Hasmonaean brothers. Each of them invoked the support of the Roman general Pompey, who, in the course of reorganizing Western Asia, was at that time reducing Syria to the status of a Roman province. He intervened very readily, but Aristobulus and his followers soon found themselves opposing him, and their opposition led to his occupation of Jerusalem in the spring of 63 B.C., followed by the three months’ seige and storming of the well-fortified Temple area. Judea lost her independence, and became subject to Rome. 14 During the era of General Gnaeus Pompeius (Pompey) several wars were fought byRoman armies in Asia Minor and Syria. Perhaps the most important and extensive conflict wasthat between Rome and Pontus, ruled by Mithridates VI (134 to 63 B.C.). Mithridates wasdoubtless one of the Roman Republic’s most formidable and successful enemies, who engagedthree of the prominent generals from the late Roman Republic in the Mithridatic Wars: LuciusCornelius Sulla, Lucullus and Pompey. King Mithridates came to power as a boy of thirteen years of ages in ca. 120 B.C. andwas heir to a kingdom which had once been a satrapy of the Persian Empire. Geographically itsborders stretched along the southern shore of the Black Sea (from whence Pontus derived itsname) from the lower Halys eastwards to Colchis. In the 4th century B.C., Alexander the Greathad incorporated it into his vast empire, but because of the intermittent wars between hissuccessors, the kingdom regained its independence. Furthermore, in 133 B.C. when Attalus III,
  15. 15. 15last king of Pergamum, bequeathed his kingdom to the Senate and people of Rome, MithridatesV of Pontus (father of the later Mithradates) acted as an ally of the Romans. Indeed, he aidedthem in their war against Aristonicus, half-brother of Attalus, who imagined that he could claimthe kingdom of Pergamum for himself. For Mithradates’ assistance to the Rome, he wasrewarded with part of the territory of Phyrgia. Mithradates VI took over his father’s kingdom when the elder was assassinated in 120B.C. But the Romans took advantage of the youth of this ruler to reclaim the valuable Phrygianprovince once more. Still, in a a few years Mithradates was able to console himself for his lossby extending his power to the east into Armenia. While he dared not interfere with his westernand southern neighbors (Bithynia, Galatia and Cappadocia) which lay clearly within Rome’ssphere of influence, he could extend his rule eastward into Armenia and also east and northalong the coast of the Black Sea and to occupy part of the Crimea. An intelligent fellow he thenallied himself with Tigranes, the king of Armenia and even pledged his daughter to the latter inmarriage. He also embraced in political friendship the rulers of Armenia and the distantParthians. His outstanding statesmanship and martial energy vastly increased his power in thewhole of Asia beyond other rulers and made him far more formidable than any of the warringclaimants of the crumbling Seleucid Empire. Even the Romans began to view the Ponticmonarch as a serious challenge. Mithradates clashed with Rome and its legions when he endeavored to place his ownpuppets on the thrones of Cappadocia and Bithynia. Immediately, the Roman-sponsored kingof Bithynia, acted with Rome’s full support to invade the territory of territory of their newchallenger. Initially, the king sent envoys to protest in Rome, but that overture proved pointless.So, acting on his own counsel, he invaded both Cappadocia and Bithynia in 88 B.C. and overrunthem. In the process, he decisively trounched a Roman army in the region. Thus, for a time, hewas master of virtually the whole province of Asia. Since the provincials hated their Romanmasters so thoroughly (having lived under their full dominion for over forty years), they gladlyaided the armies of Pontus. And, when Mithradates ordered the cities of Asia to put to death allRoman and Italian citizens in residence, the new allies readily cooperated with him to massacreover 80,000 persons. Even dissatisfied Athenians and patriots in other Greek cities saw this as
  16. 16. 16an opportunity to throw off the Roman yoke. Many therefore welcomed Mithradates as a newliberator. The war between Rome and Mithradates persisted for nearly a quarter of century andhad three distinct stages. First, the famous General Lucius Cornelius Sulla was sent out in 87B.C. to fight and he defeated the Pontic armies in Greece and brought back the Greek cities totheir Roman allegiance; then he carried the war on to Asia itself. In 84 B.C. his legions hadseveral victories and he compelled Mithradates to give up all his conquests in the Romanprovince and imposed an indemnity on him. Second, fighting once against broke out between King Mithradates and the Romanforces in Asia Minor, but it reached a crisis when the Romans re-annexed Bithynia, the countryjust west of Pontus, into the Roman Empire in ca. 75 B.C. This spurred the frustrated ruler toinvade Bithynia as a champion of a prince of a former royal house who now claimed the throne.By this time, Sulla had retired from active life, and thus a new general, Lucius Lucullus, wassent out to battle the Pontic forces. Initially, Lucullus was successful in driving the armies ofMithradates out of Asia Minor and even pursuing him into Armenia. However, whileMithradates and his forces remained intact in their mountain fortresses, Lucullus’s wearytroops mutinied, and the campaign failed. Thus, by 67 B.C., Mithradates was once again inpossession of his domain in Pontus still again. It took a third brilliant and determined general, Gnaeus Pompey, to finish the struggle tothe end. The Roman Senate gave Pompey unlimited command over all the Roman forces in theeast and full authority. This was a good choice because the year before this same leader hadachieved great notoriety for purging the eastern Mediterranean from the pirates who infested itand attacked merchant ships carrying grain to Rome then threatened by famine. Pompey hadaccomplished this remarkable feat in three months and now the Senate had bestowedextraordinary powers upon him to carry out a new mission (the Manilian Law, 66 B.C.). After hehad arrived in Asia and assumed command form Lucullus, he vigorously pursuedMithradaties. Mithradates was driven from Pontus once more, but this time his son-in-law inArmenia refused him safe haven there. So, he withdrew to his Crimean dominions and twoyears later (65 B.C.) committed suicide.
  17. 17. 17 Now all of Asia Minor was at the mercy of Pompey. Even Tigranes of Armenia had toacknowledge Pompey as his conquerer, and was confirmed as king of Armenia. Yet, he still hadto surrender to Rome the territories he had taken in Cappadocia, Cicilia, and Syria. Now,Pontus was a new Roman province. Furthermore, in 64 B.C., Syria was also made a clientprovince of Rome. This spelled the absolute end of the Seleucid kingdom, and this havingcollapsed, the neighboring principalities (once ruled by Syria), including Judea, were obliged toconcede Roman sovereignty.The Negative Aspects of Pax Romana Anyone who has (like the author) enjoyed the old Hollywood movies about ancienttimes and the Roman Empire, will recognize that Roman generals and Roman soldiers werefrequently cruel and unjust and that they had a high tolerance for violence against others. Thestory of the mass crucifixion of six thousand slaves along the Appian Way under the leadershipof Spartacus is one historic example.15 Another illustration that comes to mind is well illustratedby the classic epic movie Ben Hur, based on the late 19th century novel by Lew Wallace. Thenarrative takes place in the early decades of the first century A.D. and is set in Judea. Theprotagonist, Prince Judah ben Hur, a wealthy Jerusalem merchant and a Jewish patriot is playedby Charlton Heston. The antagonist, is the Roman military tribune, Messala, played by StephenBoyd. Messala, a childhood friend of Judah ben Hur, arrives in Jerusalem, as the commander ofthe Roman garrison there. While the two initially are happy to be re-united, soon theirrespective political and religious convictions bitterly divide them. Messala believes in the gloryof Rome and its imperial power, while Ben-Hur is devoted to his faith and the freedom of theJewish people. Messala asks Ben-Hur for names of Jews who criticize the Roman government;Ben-Hur counsels his countrymen against rebellion but refuses to name names, and the twopart in anger . Later, during a parade held for the new Judean governor, Judea Valerius Gratus, a tilefalls from the roof of Ben-Hurs house and startles the governors horse, which throws Gratusoff, nearly killing him. Although Messala knows it was an accident, he condemns Ben-Hur to
  18. 18. 18the galleys, and imprisons his mother and sister, to intimidate the restive Jewish populace bypunishing the family of a known friend and prominent citizen. Ben-Hur swears to return andtake revenge. En route to the sea, he is denied water when his slave gang arrives at Nazareth.Ben-Hur collapses in despair, but a local carpenter named Jesus gives him water and renews hiswill to survive. Thus far the story of Ben Hur. One can see even from this historically imperfectmovie with a definite Christian bias, that the Romans were not particularly merciful not evenconsistently just. Life under Pax Romana usually meant grinding submission for thoseconquered nations under the sway of Rome’s legions. That the Romans, especially the legionaires, had a strong inclination to cruelty andrapacity is accepted by most historical investigators. The evil reputation of the Romans allowedtheir enemies (who were often not that less cruel) an opportunity for effective propaganda. Theancient Roman writer Sallust (Gaius Sallustius Crispus; 86-35 B.C.) quotes an excellent examplefrom a letter of Mithridates of Pontus written to Arsaces XII, king of Parthia (c.69): The Romans have from old known but one ground for waging war with all nations, peoples and kings – inverterate lust of empire and wealth . . . Do you realize that they leave nothing that do not lay their hands on – homes, wives, land, power ? that they are a gang of men with no fatherland or ancestry of their own, swept together of old to be a plague to the whole world ? No law, human or divine, can stand in their way; they uproot and drag off their ‘friends’ and ‘allies’, whether they live near at hand or far away, whether they are weak or strong; they treat as their enemies all men, and especially all kingdoms, that refuse to serve them as slaves. 16 The Jewish dissidents and radical separatists in the Qumran viewed the Romans as thequintessential pagans. There is hint of the Roman rapacity and viciousness in the famousHabakkuk Commentary from the Dead Sea Scrolls collection. This is from a document whichscholars believe was written shortly before the Roman occupation of Judea by Pompey in 63B.C. While the Old Testament Habakkuk accurately named the Chaldeans as the invaders ofJudea, in the Qumran writing Habakkuk’s Chaldean invaders are reinterpreted as the “Kitti’im”or “Kittim”, which is a thinly disguised reference to the Romans (cf. with Daniel 11:30). The textreads as follows:
  19. 19. 19 Their fear and terror are on all the nations, and in the council all their device is to do evil, and with trickery and deceit they proceed with proceed with all peoples . . . . They trample the earth with all their horses and their beasts; from afar they come, from the coastlands of the sea, to devour all peoples like an eagle, and there is no sating them. With wrath and anger and fury of face and impetuous of countenance they speak with all peoples. . . . They scorn great ones, they despise mighty men, of kings and princes they make sport, and they mock at a great people . . . . They sacrifice to their ensigns, and their weapons of war are their objects of worship. . . . They apportion their yoke as their tribute, the source of their sustenance, on all peoples, to lay waste many lands year by year . . . . They destroy many with the sword – youths, men in their prime, and old men; women and little children, and on the fruit of the womb they have no compassion.17 Yet in their reading of the inscrutable judgments of God, the Qumran theologians sawthe Romans (i.e., the Kittim) as executors of Yahweh’s wrath against the corruptedHasmonaeans, who had usurped the high priest’s holy office and unique privileges of theZadokites. Surely, as the decades of the iron Roman rule lingered on, the people of Qumran andthe Jews in general, must have felt that the Divine punishment was harsh indeed. Anotherreflection of the sectarian interpretation of the Roman presence in Israel may be found in thePsalms of Solomon (ca. 50 B.C.), although the rationale is different: here the Hasmonaeans areDivinely punished not for their offense against the Zadokite high-priesthood, but because thatthey “ laid waste the throne of David ” (Cf. Psa. Sol. 17:8). Here is the full pericope in context: But thou, O God, wilt cast them down, and remove their seed from the earth, For there has risen up against them a man alien to our race. According to their sins wilt thou recompense them, O God; So that it befalls them according to their deeds. God will show them no pity; He has sought out their seed and let none of them go free. Faithful is the Lord in all his judgments Which he accomplishes on earth. (Psa. Sol. 17:8-12) Professor Bruce explains this pericope thusly: “ The man ‘alien to our race’ is Pompey, inwhose triumphal procession Aristobulus II and his sons, with many other Jews of noble birth,were led as captives in 61 B.C. But, like the Qumran commentator, the psalmist deplores thesavagery of the Romans. ”18 Still the Qumran writer was no fan of the brutality andheartlessness of the Romans:
  20. 20. 20 The lawless one laid waste our land so that none inhabited it, They destroyed young and old and their children together. In the heat of his anger he sent them away to the west, And exposed the rulers of the land unsparingly to derision. Being an alien, the enemy behaved arrogantly And his heart was alien from our God (Psa. Sol. 17:13-15) The most blasphemous and shocking deed of General Pompey and his Roman legionsoccurred when he captured the Temple complex in Jerusalem, and insisted on forcing his wayinto that holy sanctuary, even into the holy of holies, where the altar of God was bathed in theinvisible glory of God. This contemptuous act of a pagan soldier was viewed by all the Jews asan outrageous sacrilige. It comes as no surprise, then, when fifteen years later (ca. 48 B.C.), thatPompey himself eventually met an awful and tragic doom; when fleeing from the armies ofvictorious Caesar, he is assassinated in butcherous style as he sets foot on the Egyptian shore.Many religious leaders and most of the common people of Judea who remembered hissacreligious insult viewed this punishment as Divine justice , the eventual nemesis ofblasphemer. Once more, the writer or writers of the Psalms of Solomon recites the theme of justicein respect to the vicious excesses of Pompey: I had not long to wait before God showed me the insolent one slain on the mountains mountains of Egypt, Esteemed less than the least, on land or sea, His body tossed this way and that on the billows with much insolence, With none to bury him, since he had rejected God with dishonour.19 Once Pompey had conquered the Jewish nation, Hyrcanus II was confirmed as the highpriest in Jerusalem. Thus, he was the figurehead leader of Judea. But since the nation was aconquered tributary of Rome, the Judean government had no control over the nearby Greekterritories nor Samaria (even though the Hasmonaean rulers had conquered these areas in theirearlier extension of the kingdom of Israel). Still, from the time of Pompey’s hegemony, bothJudea and Syria became Roman territories and became important bases of Rome’s sphere ofinfluence on their Eastern frontier. Moreover, they were key areas from which imperial politicsand the relations of Rome with the ancient empires of Egypt and Parthia were carried on.Ironically, Antipater (a Idumean) remained the real power behind Hyrcanus’s throne. As thedecades after 63 B.C. progressed, the wily Antipater craftily played his cards, increasingly
  21. 21. 21making himself the ally and agent of Rome. Indeed, on one occasion, he demonstrated his valueto Julius Caesar when the latter was besieged in the palace quarter of Alexandria in the winterof 48-47 B.C. Later, Caesar reciprocated by making Antipater a tax-free Roman citizen with theofficial title of procurator of Judea. This status allowed him to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem,which Pompey had earlier destroyed in war. Also, in appreciation of Antipater’s services,Judea’s tribute to Rome was reduced and a number of other important concessions were madeto the Jews. Herod and Pax Romana: An Uneasy Relationship. Now, we return to that immensely crucial historical episode mentioned earlier in thischapter, the assassination of Caesar in 44 B.C. This event was a tragic blow to the Jewsthemselves, but saavy Antipater was willing to support whatever Roman governor whohappened to be sent to the East. Yet, even after he was himself murdered in 43 B.C., his sonsPhasael and Herod carried on their father’s policy as partisians of Caesar. Now Caesar’s legacywas being promoted by Octavian, who was Caesar’s adopted son, and by his admirer, MarkAnthony. At the famous Battle of Philippi in 42 B.C. Anthony’s legions decisively defeated theanti-Caesarian armies of Brutus and Cassius, in which Phasael and Herod provided support.Now that the eastern part of the empire came under Anthony’s dominion, Phasael and Herodwere appointed joint-tetrarchs of Judea. World events were in a flurry in the late decades of the first century B.C. and in 40 B.C.the armies of the Parthian empire overran the provinces of Syria and Judea. The Parthians nowplaced the Hasmonaean Antigonus (son of Aristobulus II) as the ruling priest-king of Judea.Herod’s brother Phasael himself was captured and killed, but Herod managed escape to Romewhere the Senate, at the direction of Mark Anthony and Octavian, declared him to be thelegitimate king of the Jews. From the Roman point of view this was no great matter, they hadsimply rewarded a client-king in Palestina. Yet, for the Jews, this was a calamity; a paganizedhalf-Idumean (a descendent of their ancient mortal enemies, the Edomites) now sat on David’sthrone in Jerusalem.
  22. 22. 22 For Herod, the reconquest of Judea was a difficult struggle, and by October, 37 B.C.,Jerusalem came into Herod’s control. It had required the aid of Roman troops, however, andthree long months of warfare. For poor Antigonus things turned out tragically; he was sent inchains to Anthony’s camp at Antioch and there executed according to Herod’s bequest.However, Herod’s rule of thirty-three years began with violence and ended with more violenceand infamy. Such circumstances were an ill omen if he ever hoped to gain the goodwill of theJews. While he attempted to ingratiate himself with the people of Jerusalem by choosingMariamme, the Hasmonaean princess, as his new queen, this failed to favorably impress theJews, especially the devout.20 So, in the three decades preceding the Nativity of Jesus, Herod would display the traitsof both a capable yet ruthless administrator. Throughout the entirety of his reign, his Romanoverlords more than once had reason to regret the day that they entrusted Herod with power.Nevertheless, Herod consistently upheld the interests of Rome both at home and the Easternprovinces, and himself found no contradiction between the goals of Rome and his ownkingdom – generally. Historians sometimes offer a partial defense of Herod’s harshness byobserving that integration into the Roman sphere of influence would best serve to preserve theJews’ political and religious freedom. This conclusion, however, is debatable in light of the nexteighty or ninety years of history in the first century A.D. Another interesting conincidence (or perhaps the design of Providence) was Herod’sfear of the political ambitious of Cleopatra in Egypt; during his early reign he was anxious thatEgypt might endeavor to reassert the power of the Ptolemies in his new kingdom. During thistime, Mark Anthony was his close friend, but he worried about Cleopatra’s amorous influenceover General Anthony. Cleopatra had already had a son by Julius Caesar, and now she was theparamour of Anthony; and her ancestors had held control over Judea in earlier times. In fact,she had already used her seductive influence to gain revenues from some of the richest parts ofHerod’s Judea, especially Jericho and the adjacent territories. There is also evidence that shemanipulated the strife between Herod and the king of the Nabatean Arabs, on his Easternborder. From the very start Herod’s kingdom not only faced internal instability but externalinsecurity.
  23. 23. 23 The most immediate threat to Herod’s security, however, came from within his ownfamily. His mother-in was Alexandra, the daughter of Hyrcanus II, and cousin of the latelyexecuted Antigonus. Hyrcanus himself, the genuinely legitimate high-priest, had been renderedincapable of resuming the high-priesthood because his contestant (the late Antigonus) hadordered his ear cropped off the sword. However, the next rightful candidate in the Hasmonaeansuccession was the teenage Aristobulus III (only seventeen). At Alexandra’s insistence, youngAristobulus was appointed as high priest by Herod in 36 B.C. But in a not so unpredictablemanner, Aristobulus III drowned in a mysterious bathing accident; Herod was widelysuspected of having arranged this tragedy because of his political paranoia. Apparently, themother-in-law had no delusions about Herod’s responsibility, and quickly sent messengers whoconveyed her indignant charges to Anthony and Cleopatra. Cleopatra was herself convinced byher friend Alexandra and she persuaded Anthony to inquire into the alleged crime. At thispoint an incensed Anthony summoned Herod before him at Laodicea in North Syria. However,Herod made a reasonable defense, and Anthony acquited him of the charge of murder. He thenstated to Cleopatra that “ one must not inquire too closely into the actions of a king, lest heceases to be a king. ”21 History was moving on toward another denouement, however. Mark Anthony andCleopatra were becoming more and more suspicious in Octavian’s eyes (especially sinceAnthony had abandoned his sister Octavia and taken to the bed of Egyptian Cleopatra). As hasalready been observed, hostility between the two great Roman leaders came to a head at theBattle of Actium in Western Greece in 31 B.C. There the legions of Anthony, supported byCleopatra’s Egyptian troops, were roundly defeated by Octavian’s forces. Afterwards, Anthonyand Cleopatra both fled to Egypt and late each committed suicide in the next year. This leftOctavian (soon to become Augustus) the sole master of the Roman world and it was to him thatHerod had to now appeal for the authority to continue his reign. The story of Herod’s beingsummoned to meet Octavian in Rhodes is well known. Herod came fearfully but determined tomaintain his throne and kingdom. His intrepidation arose from the fact that he was an intimatefriend of Anthony, who was Octavian’s latest enemy. But when he met with the future emperor,he did not try to hide his friendship with Anthony in any way, but simply pleaded with
  24. 24. 24Octavian to believe that he would now be as loyal to him as he had in the past been loyal toAnthony. Obviously, Octavian was impressed with Herod’s skill if not his sincerity; moreover,he saw that the present interests of Rome would be well served if Herod remained as king ofthe Jews and his ally in the East. Octavian thus granted Herod’s petitions for clemency, and hewas to keep his little kingdom for a time. Herod also was able to secure Cleopatra’s old claimsin the Jericho region and even a number of Greek cities on the Mediterranean coast and cities inthe TransJordan. According to the latest version of Wikipedia, the following is the current consensus onthe chronology of the Herodian rule in Judea:30s BCE : Map of Judea and Other Provinces of the Levant:
  25. 25. 25Judaea under Herod the Great.30s BCE39–37 BCE – War against Antigonus. After the conquest of Jerusalem and victory over Antigonus, Mark Antony executes Antigonus.36 BCE – Herod makes his 17-year-old brother-in-law, Aristobulus III of Israel, high priest, fearing that the Jews would appoint Aristobulus III of Israel in his place.35 BCE – Aristobulus III is drowned at a party, on Herods orders.32 BCE – The war against Nabatea begins, with victory one year later.31 BCE – Israel suffers a devastating earthquake. Octavian defeats Mark Antony, so Herod switches allegiance to Octavian, later known as Augustus.30 BCE – Herod is shown great favour by Octavian, who at Rhodes confirms him as King of Israel.20s BCE29 BCE – Josephus writes that Herod had great passion and also great jealousy concerning his wife, Mariamne I. She learns of Herods plans to murder her, and stops sleeping with him. Herod puts her on trial on a charge of adultery. His sister, Salome I, was the chief witness against her. Mariamne Is mother, Alexandra, made an appearance and incriminated her own daughter. Historians say her mother was next on Herods list to be executed and she did this only to save her own life. Mariamne was executed, and Alexandra declared herself Queen, stating that Herod was mentally unfit to serve. Josephus wrote that this was Alexandras strategic mistake; Herod executed her without a trial.28 BCE – Herod executed his brother-in-law, Kostobar (husband of Salome, father to Berenice) for conspiracy. The same year he held a large festival in Jerusalem, as Herod had built a Theatre and an Amphitheatre.27 BCE – An assassination attempt on Herod was foiled. To honor Augustus, Herod rebuilt Samaria and renamed it Sebaste.25 BCE – Herod imported grain from Egypt and started an aid program to combat the widespread hunger and disease that followed a massive drought. He also waives a third of the taxes.23 BCE – Herod built a palace in Jerusalem and the fortress Herodion (Herodium) in Judea. He married his third wife, Mariamne II, the daughter of high priest Simon.22 BCE – Herod began construction on Caesarea Maritima and its harbor. The Roman emperor Augustus grants him the regions Trachonitis, Batanaea and Auranitis to the northeast. Circa 20 BCE – Expansion started on the Temple Mount; Herod completely rebuilt the Second Temple of Jerusalem (see Herods Temple).10s BCECirca 18 BCE – Herod traveled for the second time to Rome.14 BCE – Herod supported the Jews in Anatolia and Cyrene. Owing to the prosperity in Judaea he waived a quarter of the taxes.
  26. 26. 2613 BCE – Herod made his first-born son Antipater (his son by Doris) first heir in his will.12 BCE – Herod suspected both his sons (from his marriage to Mariamne I) Alexander and Aristobulus of threatening his life. He took them to Aquileia to be tried. Augustus reconciled the three. Herod supported the financially strapped Olympic Games and ensured their future. Herod amended his will so that Alexander and Aristobulus rose in the royal succession, but Antipater would be higher in the succession.Circa 10 BCE – The newly expanded temple in Jerusalem was inaugurated. War against the Nabateans began.First decade BC[E]9 BCE – Caesarea Maritima was inaugurated. Owing to the course of the war against the Nabateans, Herod fell into disgrace with Augustus. Herod again suspected Alexander of plotting to kill him.8 BCE – Herod accused his sons by Mariamne I of high treason. Herod reconciled with Augustus, who also gave him the permission to proceed legally against his sons.7 BCE – The court hearing took place in Berytos (Beirut) before a Roman court. Mariamne Is sons were found guilty and executed. The succession changed so that Antipater was the exclusive successor to the throne. In second place the succession incorporated (Herod) Philip, his son by Mariamne II.6 BCE – Herod proceeded against the Pharisees.5 BCE – Antipater was brought before the court charged with the intended murder of Herod. Herod, by now seriously ill, named his son (Herod) Antipas (from his fourth marriage with Malthace) as his successor.4 BCE – Young disciples smashed the golden eagle over the main entrance of the Temple of Jerusalem after the Pharisee teachers claimed it was an idolatrous Roman symbol. Herod arrested them, brought them to court, and sentenced them. Augustus approved the death penalty for Antipater. Herod then executed his son, and again changed his will: Archelaus (from the marriage with Malthace) would rule as king over Herods entire kingdom, while Antipas (by Malthace) and Philip (from the fifth marriage with Cleopatra of Jerusalem) would rule as Tetrarchs over Galilee and Peraea (Trans- jordan), also over Gaulanitis (Golan), Trachonitis (Hebrew: Argob), Batanaea (now Ard-el-Bathanyeh) and Panias. As Augustus did not confirm his will, no one received the title of King; however, the three sons did attain rule of the stated territories. 22 Judea and Pax Romana Unlike the proconsuls of Asia and Africa who were normally ex-consuls of Rome, or likethe proconsuls of the senatorial provinces (who were usually ex-praetors), or even the prefect ofEgypt, a direct appointee of the princeps, a number of the Eastern territories of Rome weregoverned in Rome’s interest by native dynasties of “client kings.” For our purposes here, the
  27. 27. 27one with which we are most concerned is that of Judea under the Herods, so ruled from 40 A.D. 6 and again from A.D. 41 to 44. But other examples of Roman peace (or pacification)existed in various places. Cappadocia, for example, was governed by a native dynasty untilTiberius annexed most of it as a province on the death of its aged king, Archelaus, in A.D. 17.Then there was Commagne, which lay southeast of Cappadocia and north of Syria. The king,Antiochus III, had died around the same time as Archelaus; the Roman authorities thus addedhis kingdom to the province of Syria. Yet, about twenty years later (37 A.D.), under EmperorGaius Caligula, it was restored to his son, Antiochus IV, who was allowed to add to it awestward extension going toward eastern Galatia, and also include a coastal strip betweenPamphylia and Cilicia. He temporarily lost possession of his kingdom in ca. 40 A.D., butClaudius ironically restored it to him when the latter entered into his reign as Roman emperorin 41 A.D. Antiochus thereafter reigned several years as a friend and ally of Rome. Such was to be the case in many of the provinces in the East (in Asia and Syria and Judea)and likewise in the case of many large barbarian and semi-barbarian territories in the West (inGaul, Tarraconensis, Lusitania, Baetica, Mauretania, Raetia, Noricum, Germania, Belgica,Pannonia, Dalmatia, Dacia, Moesia, Thracia, and even Britannia). And the lives of millions ofsubjected peoples of numerous European, African, Semitic, and Asiatic peoples wouldsuccessively come under the domination of the Roman Caesars: Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius,Nero, Vepasian, Titus, Domitian, Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and MarcusAurelius. From the time of vivacious Augustus until the stoic Marcus Aurelius, Rome ruled thecivilized world and established Roman order and law either by the gentle persuasion ofpolitical pressure or by sheer force of arms. There was peace, regularly interrupted naturally byvarious fierce local wars eventually dominated by the ever powerful and numerous Romanlegions. In the map below, one can surmise something of the extent of the Roman organizationof the civilized world in that time following the era of Christ:
  28. 28. 28Positive Aspects of Pax Romana Despite the negative side of Pax Romana, there were beneficial characteristics to the vastRoman empire and the order imposed by Rome’s mighty legions. This must not be overlookedwhen one considers the Divine preparation for the Gospel and ponders how God used thehistorical circumstances of the classical world to provide for the relatively rapid evangelism ofthe Near Eastern and Western world during the first two centuries. There are at least four
  29. 29. 29aspects of the ancient Roman Empire that should be reckoned as positive factors for the birthand growth of the Christian faith: 1. The political unity of the Roman Empire did produce a certain economic and political stability, notwithstanding its many faults. This encouraged trade between large cities and regions. 2. The military and trade routes meant relatively easy access to large numbers of people (both by land and sea). 3. The universal use of Greek as a result of former conquests aided communication. 4. The cosmopolitan atmosphere of the Empire – mixed cultures – enabled easier cross-cultural evangelism e.g., Jews who were culturally Greek (Barnabus from Cyprus, Paul the Roman citizen) were able to bridge cultures. The political unity of the Roman Empire arose not only from the political order imposed bya vast bureacracy of Roman officials and numerous military garrisons spread over the entireancient civilized world, but from the fact that Roman officials encouraged local andinterprovincial industry and trade. Not only did the various Roman legates, tribunes, andgovernors encourage local crafts and all lucrative commerce, but under Roman supervisionmultitudes of foreign nations began to develop a sense of human unity under a universal law.Until this time (with the possible exception of the ancient Persians) no empire had created sucha since of the solidarity of mankind and so never before had any empire created an enviromentfavorable to reception of the Gospel. The truth of this assertion is intuitive because the Gospel(cf. Romans 3-8 ) itself declares the unity of the human race under Adam’s sin with its Divinepenalty and at the same time the Divine remedy for that sin in Christ. The salvation offered inthis message invites men from every tongue, nation, and race to become a part of one universalliving family, which is the Christian church, the Body of Christ. No ancient empire in either the East or West, not even that of Alexander the Great, hadgiven to men such a sense of their unity in a political organization. The Romans indeed believedthat their peculiar destiny was to establish a sense of political unity and order in the world. Theuniversal application of Roman law to all citizens within the empire was daily enforced uponboth native and foreign subjects and regular appeal was made to the impartial justice of Romancourts. This tradition of universal and impartial law grew out of the early Roman tradition inthe customs of the early monarchy. These principles had been codified in the historic Twelve
  30. 30. 30Tables, which became an essential part of every schoolboy’s education. As the Roman legionsconquered new territories, Roman governors and scholars quickly realized that the greatprinciples of Roman law were also part of the laws of the all the nations being joined to theempire. These local laws or traditions were incorporated into the Latin praetos peregrinus, thebureaucrat entrusted with duty of handling cases in which foreigners were involved. This newacquaintance with legal principles and systems of foreign nations enriched the Romanjurisprudence. This expansion of the law codes and principles of justice had a definitephilosophical impact on Roman thinkers. They reasoned that the early Greeks had been correctin their concept of a universal law whose principles were written into men’s nature (i.e.,conscience) and that aspirations of the heart were observable by right reason. 23 Another process which helped nurture this idea of unity was the extension of Romancitizenship to non-Romans. Ironically, this practice began shortly before the time of Christ andwas climaxed in 212 A.D. when Emperor Caracalla admitted all freemen into the privilege ofRoman citizenship. Since the Roman empire (e.g., Pax Romana) eventually included the wholeMediterranean world, this practically meant that all men were under one system of law andcitizens of one vast earthly kingdom. Imperfect as the practice of Roman law was, it did have anemphasis on the dignity of the individual and the notion of Roman citizenship implied theavailability of justice which fused men into a greater political unity even though they haddiverse racial and cultural histories. This helped to prepare men to understand that theuniversal Savior of sin came to remove the penalty of death from all and to admit one into thesociety of the redeemed. The Apostle Paul thus reminded the people of the church at Philippithat they were now members of the commonwealth of heaven through Jesus Christ (Philippians3:20). The common system of Roman law and order made free movement possible throughoutthe empire for most all of its citizens and its respected allies. Previous to the reign of CaesarAugustus (27 B.C. – A.D. 14) it would have been much more difficult for messengers of theGospel to travel the Mediterranean and even in the East, because the world was divided intosmall jealous kingdoms, isolated cities, and remote irascable tribes. With the extension of thePax Romana however, the empire was built and thus unity was created and stabilized for
  31. 31. 31convenience of travel and the spread of new ideas and goods. Pompey, for example, had sweptthe pirates out of the Mediterranean, and later Roman legions kept the peace and secured theroads of Asia, Africa, and Europe. Such a relatively peaceful and ordered international scenemeant that Christian apostles and missionaries could move from one country to another andone region to another with safety and freedom from fear or geographical obstacles.24 An excellent illustration of the unifying effect of Roman law and the political security ofRoman rule is found in the highly advanced Roman postal system. Rev. Michael R. Jones haswritten a fine brief summary of this ancient service – ahead of its time and almost modern: The Roman postal system was the most advanced in the Western world up until that time. Postal carriers followed routes that allowed riders on horseback to cover up to 170 miles in a day and averaged 100 miles a day. This system used roads that lasted well into the 9th century before in the west and even longer in the East where the Byzantine Empire and the Islamic empire centered in Baghdad absorbed the system into their own postal services. While it was not always so reliable, it was still the most advanced the ancient world had seen and was second only to China’s. This postal service allowed the apostles to correspond with others from one end of the Empire to the other. Such an advanced system not only made it possible for the apostles to correspond, it also almost guaranteed such correspondence since it was an easy and reliable method of long-distance communication. The letters written provide the basis for not only for the scholar’s and historian’s understanding of the ancient church, they are also the foundation of the Christian’s theology and, despite some scholarly objections to the contrary, are still the best source for the theology of the apostles and the early church.25 As has been indicated by the second bullet point earlier, the epitome of Roman peaceand security is seen wonderful system of Roman roads and safe sea lanes on the Mediterranean.Dr. George P. Fisher, distinguished Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Yale a little over acentury ago provided this unforgettable description: . . . . Friedlander, in his learned discussion of this topic, has pointed out, that at no time down to the beginning of the present century, has it been possible to make journeys with so much ease, safety, and rapidity, as in the first centuries of the imperial era. The motives and occasions of travel were quite as various then as now. The Empire brought peace to the world. It was a new condition of mankind. The constant employment of nations had been war. The ancient writers dwell with rapture upon the reign of tranquility which now prevailed. The security of the traveller and . . . facility of intercourse are a common theme of congratulations of writers from one end of the Empire to the other. The majesty of Rome, as Pliny proudly declares, was the shield of the wayfarer in every place. Epicetetus, and the Alexandrian Philo are especially fervid in
  32. 32. 32their remarks on this subject. They dilate on the busy appearance of ports and marts. “Caesar,” writes the Stoic philosopher, “ has procured us a profound peace; there areneither wars, nor battles, nor great robberies, nor piracies; but we may travel at all hours,and sail from east to west. ” The vast territory subject to Rome was covered with anetwork of magnificent roads; which moved in straight lines, crossing mountains andbridging rivers, binding together the most remote cities, and connecting them all withthe capital. The deep ruts, worn in the hard basaltic pavement, and still visible in placesfar from the metropolis, show to what extent they were used. Five main lines went outfrom Rome to the extremities of the Empire. These, with their branches running inwhatever direction public convenience required, were connected at the sea-ports withroutes of maritime travel. A journey might have been made upon Roman highways,interrupted only by brief trips upon the sea, from Alexandria to Carthage, thencethrough Spain and France, and northward to the Scottish border ; then back throughLeyden, Cologne, Milan, eastward by land to Constantinople and Antioch, and thence toAlexandria; and the distance transversed would have exceeded 7,000 miles. The travellercould measure his progress by the milestones all along these roads; and maps of theroute, giving distances from place to place, with stopping-places for the night, facilitatedhis journey. Augustus established a system of postal conveyances, which were used byofficers, couriers, and other agents of the government; but private enterprise providedsimilar means of travel for the public generally. In the principal streets of large citiescarriages could be hired, and one could arrange for making a journey, in Italy at least, bya method resembling the modern post, or vetturino. The fact that so extensive territorieswere united under one government gave rise to a great deal of journeying from one partto another. Magistrates, and official persons of every sort, were travelling to and fromtheir posts. There were frequent embassies from the provinces to Rome. Large bodies oftroops were transferred from place to place, and thus became acquainted with theregions remote from their homes. A stream of travel flowed from all directions to thecapital; but there was also lively intercourse between the several provinces. “ Greek scholars, ” says Friedlander, “ kept school in Spain; the women of aRoman colony in Switzerland employed a goldsmith from Asia Minor; in the cities ofGaul were Greek painters and sculptors; Gauls and Germans served as the body-guardsof a Jewish king at Jerusalem; Jews were settled in all the provinces. ” The Empire gave anew impetus to commerce. There was everywhere one system of law, free trade with thecapital, and uniformity in coins, measures, and weights. In the reign of Claudius, anembassy came to Rome from a prince from the island of Ceylon, who had been struckwith an admiration for the Romans by finding that the denairii, though stamped with theimages of different Emperors, were of just the same weight. In ancient times, mercantiletransactions could not, as now, be carried forward by correspondence. Hence merchantswere commonly travellers, visiting foreign markets, and negotiating with foreign produ–cers and dealers, in person. Horace frequently refers to the unsettled, rambling lifecharacteristic of merchants. Pliny describes them as found in a throng upon everyaccessible sea. In an epitath of a Phyrigian merchant, accidentally preserved, he is madeto boast of having sailed to Italy, round Cape Malea, seventy-two times ! The pirates, who before the time of Pompey and Caesar, had renderednavigation so perilous, had been swept from the Mediterranean. The annexation of Egyptenabled Augustus to establish a new route of commerce with the East, by way of the Nileand the Arabian Gulf. Roman merchants visited every land. They had their ports fortrade in Britain, and on the coast of Ireland. They bought amber in the first century, from
  33. 33. 33the shores of the Baltic. They went with their caravans and vessels to Ethiopia and India.The increase of luxury in capital stimulated trade. Whatever could gratify the palate wasbrought from all quarters to the markets of Rome; and the same was true of themultiform products of art and mechanical skill. 26 The Ancient Roman Road System27
  34. 34. 34 The third bullet point earlier observed was that the universal use of Greek as a result offormer conquests aided communication in the Roman Empire. The Romans were heavilyindebted to the earlier culture of the Greeks. From the time of the early conquests of Rome inthe first century B.C. until the era of the further extension of the Empire at the end of the secondcentury, the common language of the realm was not the official Latin, but Greek, known as theKoine . This was the language of the common working people, the language of the market placeand the port, and even the language of many of the learned of that time. Such a circumstancewould prove invaluable to the early Christian missionaries who would find by it an open doorto preach the Gospel to the multitudes of various peoples flung throughtout the Roman world.It was no accident that the New Testament itself, the founding document of Christianity, wouldbe written in this universal language of the day. The esteemed late Professor Everett F. Harrison(who taught at both Dallas and Fuller Seminaries) commented on this unique circumstance : . . . . An Aramaic New Testament would have comparatively few readers outside the nation Israel. On the other hand, if the message of the Christian faith could be sent forth in the Greek tongue, which had become the truly international language of the day, the Word could penetrate almost everywhere in the Graeco-Roman world . . . . In his [Gods’s] providential overruling he gave the devout Hebrew heart a Greek tongue in order to make itself intelligible to the world. . . . .28 Scholars differ much on the precise details, but most Greek philologists and his-toriansof Greek culture tentatively agree that the Greek language had its beginnings in ca. 1500 to 900B.C. This period is called the formative period of Greek and during this time Greece wasdivided up into three separate states and distinct languages : (1) Sparta, which spoke the Doricdialect; (2) Athens, which spoke the Ionic dialect; (3) and Thebes, which spoke the Aeolic dialect.Still later came the period of classical Greek from about the mid-tenth century until ca. 322 B.C.This is sometimes called Attic Greek, and it was the ruling dialect. Attic Greek, an Ionic dialect,was the language of the philosophers, of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. It was one of the greatliterary languages, for through it the deepest and most complex thoughts of man werecommunicated. Classical Greek was the language of Athens in her “Golden Age,”; it was thelanguage of the historian Thucydides and the great political thinker, Demosthenes. In time,however, the language began to break down — especially as Greek began to be spoken broadly
  35. 35. 35as a second language by foreign peoples. The late Princeton and Westminster professor ofGreek and New Testament (as well as theology), J. Gresham Machen has a wonderful accountof how this occurred: Various causes contributed to make the Attic dialect dominant in the Greek- speaking world. First and foremost must be put the genius of the Athenian writers. But the political and commercial importance of Athens was also not without its effect. Hosts of strangers came into contact with Athens through government, war and trade, and the Athenian colonies also extended the influence of the mother city. The Athenian Empire, indeed, soon fell to pieces. Athens was conquered first by Sparta in the Peloponnesian wax, and then, in the middle of the fourth century before Christ, along with the other Greek cities, came under the domination of the king of Macedonia, Philip. But the influence of the Attic dialect survived the loss of political power; the language of Athens became also the language of her conquerors. Macedonia was not originally a Greek kingdom, but it adopted the dominant civilization of the day, which was the civilization of Athens. The tutor of Philips son, Alexander the Great, was Aristotle, the Greek philosopher; and that fact is only one indication of the conditions of the time. With astonishing rapidity Alexander made himself master of the whole eastern world, and the triumphs of the Macedonian arms were also triumphs of the Greek language in its Attic form. The empire of Alexander, indeed, at once fell to pieces after his death in 323 B.C.; but the kingdoms into which it was divided were, at least so far as the court and the governing classes were concerned, Greek kingdoms. Thus the Macedonian conquest meant nothing less than the Hellenization of the East, or at any rate it meant an enormous acceleration of the Hellenizing process which had already begun. When the Romans, in the last two centuries before Christ, conquered the eastern part of the Mediterranean world, they made no attempt to suppress the Greek language. On the contrary, the conquerors to a very considerable extent were conquered by those whom they conquered. Rome herself had already come under Greek influence, and now she made use of the Greek language in administering at least the eastern part of her vast empire. The language of the Roman Empire was not so much Latin as it was Greek . Thus in the first century after Christ Greek had become a world language. The ancient languages of the various countries did indeed continue to exist, and many districts were bilingual – the original local languages existing side by side with the Greek. But at least in the great cities throughout the Empire—certainly in the East—the Greek language was everywhere understood. Even in Rome itself there was a large Greek-speaking population. It is not surprising that Pauls letter to the Roman Church is written not in Latin but in Greek. But the Greek language had to pay a price for this enormous extension of its influence. In its career of conquest it experienced important changes. The ancient Greek dialects other than Attic, although they disappeared almost completely before the beginning of the Christian era, may have exerted considerable influence upon the Greek of the new unified world. Less important, no doubt, than the influence of the Greek dialects, and far less important than might have been expected, was the influence of foreign languages. But influences of a more subtle and less tangible kind were mightily at
  36. 36. 36 work. Language is a reflection of the intellectual and spiritual habits of the people who use it. Attic prose, for example, reflects the spiritual life of a small city-state, which was unified by an intense patriotism and a glorious literary tradition. But after the time of Alexander, the Attic speech was no longer the language of a small group of citizens living in the closest spiritual association; on the contrary it had become the medium of exchange for peoples of the most diverse character. It is not surprising, then, that the language of the new cosmopolitan age was very different from the original Attic dialect upon which it was founded. This new world language which prevailed after Alexander has been called not inappropriately "the Koine." The word "Koine" means "common"; it is not a bad designation, therefore, for a language which was a common medium of exchange for diverse peoples. The Koine, then, is the Greek world language that prevailed from about 300 B.C. to the close of ancient history at about A.D. 500. 29 To this also may be added the explanation of Dr. Gerald Stevens, a contemporary Greekscholar: However, the use of Greek by non-Greeks altered the language. A continual meta– morphosis transformed the ancient native dialects within the new world order of Alex– ander. The fine nuance of meanings within the sophisticated Attic Greek began to blur. Grammatical principles were “broken” (as English are told not to split infinitives but do all the time). This second-language Greek became the common tongue of all, which we call koine Greek. The New Testament Greek basically is this koine Greek, but also includes literary Greek, as well as unusual forms to Semitic influence. 30 The last point to be addressed we have already hinted at, i.e., the cosmopolitan nature ofthe Roman Empire with its blended cultures. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (onlineedition) gives a brilliant summary of the cosmopolitan character of the Roman Empire whichparticularly emphasizes its Stoic universalizing philosophical ethos : Stoic cosmopolitanism in its various guises was enormously persuasive throughout the Greco-Roman world. In part, this success can be explained by noting how cosmopolitan the world at that time was. Alexander the Greats conquests and the subsequent division of his empire into successor kingdoms sapped local cities of much of their traditional authority and fostered increased contacts between cities, and later, the rise of the Roman Empire united the whole of the Mediterranean under one political power. But it is wrong to say what has frequently been said, that cosmopolitanism arose as a response to the fall of the polis or to the rise of the Roman empire. First, the polis fall has been greatly exaggerated. Under the successor kingdoms and even — though to a lesser degree — under Rome, there remained substantial room for important political engagement locally. Second, and more decisively, the cosmopolitanism that was so persuasive during the so-called Hellenistic Age and under the Roman Empire was in fact rooted in intellectual developments that predate Alexanders conquests. Still, there is no