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The royal baby

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Everybody knows that the Prince William and Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, are going to have a royal baby. Everybody knows because it’s in all the news headlines, blathered on all the talk shows, and texted over multitudes of cell phones. There’s even the sad ordeal of an Australian radio prank gone wrong. The only baby more famous this Christmas season is Jesus himself. But that wasn’t always the case. 

They say that Jesus was born at a time of great peace, the Pax Romana, but don’t let that fool you. It was with a great deal of bloodshed that Rome expanded in a meteoric rise to power. The Republic covered from North Africa to England and from Spain to India. Over one-quarter of the world's population lived and died under its auspices. And plenty of them died. The Pax Romana was built on blood.   

Take Sulla as an example. The prominent general returned from fighting a campaign abroad to fight another civil war at home. Contrary to Roman law, he brought his army into the city while still armed, and the seven hills became red with blood. Once his military opponents were defeated, Sulla turned his attention to politics. He enacted large-scale purges called “proscriptions.” Anyone appearing on his lists could be killed for a reward and their property confiscated, no questions asked, no crime committed. Many in Sulla's faction took the opportunity to settle old scores, or just to get rich. 

Roman generals from Pompey to Crassus, Lepidus to Mark Antony, and finally even Julius Caesar followed Sulla's example. They ruled the empire for their own benefit with violence and intimidation. In the course of that century, civil wars were fought that spread across the entire empire. The republic passed from the ruthless hands of one ambitious general to another. 

The one who emerged supreme was Octavian. The 19-year old gathered together an army, marched on Rome, and took the city hostage. He too followed Sulla’s example, counting the famous orator Cicero among the multitudes of his own “proscriptions” against his opponents. Through multitudes of murders and more horrific wars, Octavian positioned himself as the Principate, or the Leading Citizen; the emperor of the Roman world.  He was renamed as Caesar Augustus, and he ushered in that great peace of Rome. It is ironic, though, that this peace was established with so much of the blood of her own people, ending perhaps the deadliest century ever of the Mediterranean world.

It was during the reign of Augustus that Jesus was born. But Jesus brought a different kind of rule and a different kind of peace. Instead of shedding the blood of others to cement his own power, he shed his own blood on that cross to give others peace. And he wasn’t like Prince William and Kate Middleton. There were no headlines, no talk shows, and no radio pranks. The world took absolutely no notice of his birth at all. The royal king of all kings was born with perfect humility.

Bruce Meyer
Bruce Meyerhttp://www.dominsions.com
Bruce Meyer writes about the relationship between the physical universe and the pursuit of spirituality.

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