Rome — from Republic to Empire
I placed this short history of Rome prior to the reading and notes for a reason. Two things may become obvious: First, that the Roman Empire had a lot more to do with the history of the early churches than you may have previously considered, and had everything to do with the development of the apostate churches; and Second, that you should consider that both Daniel and Revelation deal with the destruction of Judaea and the fall of Jerusalem.
The city of Rome was supposedly prophesied to have been founded by the twins Romulus and Remus, 749 years prior to the birth of Jesus. That is accepting the year 1 AD as the year of Jesus’ birth. (One Anno Domini (“year of the Lord”) – or 1 BCE: (Before the Current Era – which was coined about a century ago but rarely used until the last thirty years or so). I grew up with, prefer and will continue to use BC and AD. I consider the change to BCE to be just another way to remove any mention of Jesus out of secular history). Nonetheless, it seems that Jesus life was important enough to be quickly aligned to the Julian calendar, yet no one had bothered to jot down the actual year and day for either his birth or death. As listed: Jesus’ birth year was given by the earliest known non-biblical sources as 749 AU (Anno Urbis – Latin for “year of the city”). Unfortunately, they were wrong. To most Jesus was an obscure person borne to an insignificant family, in a small village, within a very poor country. Though heralded by prophecy and the heavenly host, it passed largely unnoticed to scholars, kings and commoners alike.
Modern theories (and some older ones too) rightly suggest (as the scriptures state), that Jesus was born prior to the death of Herod the Great (BC 4). With that noted, either theory offers at most a maximum error of about two and one-half, to three and one-half years. The birth of Christ is mentioned in two Gospels, and the text could easily be transposed onto the back of a small index card. Thereby, it is apparent that it is not upon the birth of Jesus where we ought to place emphasis, but rather on his teaching, his death and resurrection. (We are told to celebrate the last two of those mentioned, but are nowhere told in the Scriptures to celebrate His birth. That notion came along much later.) So, it seems the birthdate passed unrecognized along with the date of his death, except to note that he died during the Jewish Passover, in the term of the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, although the year remains unknown. His crucifixion likely occurred between 31 and 33 AD.
Rome had been was a republican system of city-states much as Greece had been prior to the Macedonian Empire. During this time (and particularly for the 100 years preceding the forming of the empire), Rome began to systematically conquer their neighbors and adjacent countries, notably those from whom they perceived any sort of threat. As they had perfected the armies use and were the inventors or masters of the most advanced military machines of the day – the siege tower, catapult, trebuchet, and ships of war such as the quinqueremes (five oar sections), triremes (three sections), with the largest: the hexaremes as flagships, they subjugated or subdued all they encountered. By the time of the Antonine emperors, Rome ruled most of Europe, to the north into Scandinavia, the Balkans, all of Asia Minor, the Mid-East, much of Mesopotamia and Persia, the bulk of the sub-continent of India, and the upper third of the African continent: in short – the known colonized world, except for the Far East. They controlled the entire Mediterranean world.
The consolidation of power began with the formation of the First Triumvirate (Latin: Triumvir) of Gaius Julius Caesar, Marcus Licinius Crassus, and Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus. Struggles for power ensued and other intrigues continued for several years during which Crassus and Pompey were eventually defeated. Pompey was Caesar’s son-in-law. When Pompey was captured by the Parthians, Caesar sent word for them to dispatch his daughter’s husband – who was one of the remaining obstacles who stood in his way to invading Rome and establishing a dictatorship.