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Wednesday, October 26 2011

The Politics Of Rome

The English word "monarch" originated from a compound Latin word, monos, meaning alone, and arche, meaning rule. Literally, but never in real life, a "monarch" is a "mono-ruler." In politics, a male monarch is often called a king ("king" originated from an Anglo-Saxon word meaning kin, or race), while a female monarch is a queen (from an Anglo-Saxon word meaning wife).

The English word "republic" originated from a compound French word, re, meaning of, and public, meaning the public, or the people. A republic is usually headed by a "president," from a compound Latin word meaning one who temporarily sits in charge of others i.e. a system where, in theory, practically anyone can become president (and sometimes does, to the eventual detriment of the nation) for a specified period of time.

While most nations have established definitions of monarchs and presidents, and monarchies and republics, there is no definition that fits all - historically, or in the present day. Some monarchs simply succeed a royal parent, while other monarchs have been appointed, or even elected, by the people (although all monarchs are democratic in that they must have sufficient support of the people to remain as their monarch). Some presidents are elected, while others seize power and remain as long as they are able to do so. Some presidents behave like monarchs, while some monarchs behave like presidents. Both systems are as subject to Godly humility as they are vulnerable to Satanic arrogance.

Monarchs and presidents are both interested in maintaining their, and their nation's, sovereignty. "Sovereign" is from a compound Latin word that means super over, as in self rule. The opposite is "foreign," from a Latin word meaning far rule, as in being ruled by those who are far away.

Nations can be transformed from a monarchy (a "sole ruler") to a republic ("ruled by the public"), however the result of what form the republic takes can be as extreme as the perceived differences between a monarchy and a republic. A republic can take the form of "people rule" through dog-eat-dog capitalism (where socialists are called "liberals"), or "people rule" through socialism (where capitalists are called "liberals"). As well, some nations politically oscillate from monarchy to republic, republic to monarchy - as happened to ancient Rome.

"And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed"

The ancient Roman republic is generally regarded to have begun around 500 BC, replacing the in-effect monarchy that existed by the conquering founders. The government was democratic, term-limited and based upon a principle that no individual or area of government could rule absolutely (a term that some have come to call "checks and balances").

The Assassination of Julius Caesar Various offices of government were established by and for the Roman republic. Some examples:

A consul was a magistrate of the highest rank. A praetor was a civil law administrator who could also command local or provincial armed forces. A censor conducted the census of the people, and was in charge of the Senate membership. A tribune represented specific tribes of people; it was also a term used for a high-ranking military officer. A plebeian was a term used for a representative of the "common" people. A dictator was appointed with near-absolute power, for a limited time, to deal with specific national threats or emergencies. Julius Caesar (at a time when "Caesar" was merely a family name) became such a "dictator" during Rome's wars.

It was Julius Caesar's role of "dictator" that resulted in his assassination in 44 BC. The murder took place in the Roman Senate, by Roman senators, led by Marcus Brutus and Gaius Cassius, who resented that Caesar had taken their "democratic" authority from them - in effect, making himself a king. The irony of Caesar's assassination, in supposed defense of the republic, was that it marked the end of the Roman republic and the establishment (or re-establishment if one goes back to 500 BC) of a Roman monarchy - Roman kings who, as the military power of Rome grew, became emperors. "Imperialism" is from the Latin word which means empire-ism.

The first such Roman Emperor was Octavian, the adopted son and great-nephew of Julius Caesar. Octavian was later known as Caesar Augustus ("Caesar" was by then morphing from a family name to a political title). He is recorded in the Holy Bible for his calling the census that resulted in Jesus Christ fulfilling the prophecy of His being born in Bethlehem (see also Why Did The Magi Come?).

"2:1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. 2:2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 2:3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

2:4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 2:5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 2:6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn." (Luke 2:1-7 KJV)

Caesar Augustus reigned during about the first half of the human lifetime of Jesus Christ. Tiberius Caesar ruled for the other half (see the Fact Finder question to see what eventually happened to both of them).

"3:1 Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, 3:2 Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. 3:3 And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; 3:4 As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying,

The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight [see The Path To Glory and The Strait Gate]. 3:5 Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; 3:6 And all flesh shall see the salvation of God." (Luke 3:1-6 KJV)

Fact Finder: What happened to many of the Roman imperial rulers during the "New Testament" era?
See Whatever Happened To Those Romans?


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This Day In History, October 26

901: King Alfred the Great (known as "Alfred the Great"), Saxon king of Wessex, died. An actual battlefield king, and scholar, Alfred fought the invading Danes and formed England's first navy.

1440: Gilles de Rais, French marshall who fought for Joan of Arc, was hanged for Satanism and the murders of 140 children. His crimes inspired the tale of "Bluebeard."

1825: The Erie Canal opened, linking southern Lake Erie to the Hudson River, and then to the Atlantic, thereby allowing the U.S. to bypass the British-controlled lower St. Lawrence (the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959 by the governments of Canada and the U.S. opened ports on all of the Great Lakes to ocean shipping).

1863: The Red Cross was established in Geneva, Switzerland.

1905: Sweden and Norway signed a treaty of separation; Oscar II abdicated as king of Norway, and was replaced by Prince Charles of Denmark, who became King Haakon VII.

1918: Germany's supreme commander General Erich Ludendorff resigned in protest of the terms to which the German government agreed to for the First World War armistice. This set the stage for his later support for Adolf Hitler (see Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion) who claimed that Germany did not lose the war on the battlefield, but rather was "stabbed in the back" by the politicians (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars).

1942: U.S. and Japanese naval forces engaged in the Battle of Santa Cruz. The Japanese suffered a greater number of ships lost, but the U.S. aircraft carrier Hornet was sunk. Beginning with the attacks on Pearl Harbor, aircraft carriers were the means of the Pacific war - an era now gone. In any war between the major military powers in the Pacific today (i.e. the U.S., Russia, China), aircraft carriers, and their entire accompanying battle groups, would be instantly destroyed by nuclear missiles.

1978: Smallpox was declared eradicated in the world.

1984: Surgeons in California transplanted a baboon heart into a 10 day old baby girl, nicknamed "Baby Fae"; she died a few days later.

1994: Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty aimed at ending 46 years of conflict.

1997: Alan Goodman, 53, was released from an Israeli prison after serving 16 years of a life sentence for a 1982 shooting spree on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem in which an arab guard was killed and 8 Muslims were wounded. Upon his release, the U.S. born former Israeli soldier was sent to the U.S.





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