Romans 16 – Commendations and Greetings & The Erastus Inscription

This is the last chapter of the Book of Romans so tomorrow we’ll start with…

Romans 16
Commendations and Greetings

1 I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea:

“Cenchrea” – a port located about 6 miles east of Corinth on the Saronic Gulf.

2 That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.

3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus:

“Priscilla and Aquila” – close friends of Paul who worked in the same trade of tent making.

4 Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.

Cenchrea was the port for Corinth on the eastern side of the isthmus, and remains of the ancient harbor are visible in the water today.

Paul had his hair cut here because of a vow, and then set sail from the harbor, concluding his 18-month stay in Corinth (on his second journey; Acts 18:18).

5 Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my well-beloved Epaenetus, who is the first fruits of Achaia unto Christ.

6 Greet Mary, who bestowed much labor on us.

7 Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.

8 Greet Amplias my beloved in the Lord.

9 Salute Urbane, our helper in Christ, and Stachys my beloved.

10 Salute Apelles approved in Christ. Salute them which are of Aristobulus’ household.

“Aristobulus” – perhaps refers to the grandson of Herod the Great and brother of Herod Agrippa I.

11 Salute Herodion my kinsman. Greet them that be of the household of Narcissus, which are in the Lord.

12 Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labor in the Lord. Salute the beloved Persis, which labored much in the Lord.

“Tryphena and Tryphosa” perhaps sisters, even twins, because it was common for such persons to be given names from the same root.

Corinth, or Korinth was a city-state (polis) on the Isthmus of Corinth, the narrow stretch of land that joins the Peloponnesus to the mainland of Greece, roughly halfway between Athens and Sparta.

The modern town of Corinth is located approximately 3.1 mies northeast of the ancient ruins.

Since 1896, systematic archaeological investigations of the Corinth Excavations by the American School of Classical Studies at Athens have revealed large parts of the ancient city, and recent excavations conducted by the Greek Ministry of Culture have brought important new facets of antiquity to light.

“Persis” – Persian woman.

13 Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.

14 Salute Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren which are with them.

15 Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which are with them.

16 Salute one another with a holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.

17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

16:17-20 – a theological application of the story o0f man’s fall (Gen 3).

“Them which cause divisions and offenses” – Paul is not specifically speaking of certain people, but anyone that preaches anything contrary to Jesus Christ. 

This includes religions that say their faith is in Jesus, but alters His teachings, such as the Catholics do.

18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

19 For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.

20 And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

21 Timotheus my workfellow, and Lucius, and Jason, and Sosipater, my kinsmen, salute you.

Corinth today is a city and former municipality in Corinthia, Peloponnese, Greece.
Located about 48 miles southwest of Athens, Corinth is surrounded by the coastal townlets of (clockwise) Lechaio, Isthmia, Kechries, and the inland townlets of Examilia and the archaeological site and village of ancient Corinth.

22 I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord.

23 Gaius mine host, and of the whole church, saluteth you. Erastus the chamberlain of the city saluteth you, and Quartus a brother.

“Gaius” – usually identified with Titius Justus, a God-fearer, in whose house Paul stayed while in Corinth.

“Eratus” – at Corinth archaeologists have discovered a reused block of stone in a paved square with the Latin inscription” “Eratus, commissioner of public works, bore the expense of this pavement.”

24 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:

27 To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.

The Erastus Inscription

Erastus was a 1st century Christian who worked with Paul. The earliest mention of him is in Acts 19:22.  Paul, at Ephesus on his third missionary journey around 53-55 A.D., “sent two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia.”

In 1929, among the excavated ruins of ancient Corinth was discovered an inscription on a marble paving stone bearing the name of Erastus.
The inscription read: ERASTVS. PRO. AED. S. P. STRAVIT, which is an abbreviation of ERASTUS PRO AEDILITATE SUA PECUNIA STRAVIT.

The inscription translates as “Erastus, in return for his aedileship, laid this pavement at his own expense.” The office of aedilis was the commissioner of public works and, for this reason, a high ranking public offical belonging to the Roman ruling class in a city.

Then, in Rom 16:23, Paul wrote (probably from Corinth around the year 57) that “Erastus, who [was] the city’s director of public works,” sent greetings.

Finally, in 2 Tim 4:20, when Paul was writing from prison in Rome toward the end of his life (around 66-67), he gave a status report on his coworkers, including the statement that “Erastus stayed in Corinth.”

It appears that Erastus was a resident of Corinth and, if so, most likely became a believer as a result of Paul’s 18-month ministry in that city on his second missionary journey, around 50-52 A.D.

In 1929 an inscription was discovered at Corinth mentioning an Erastus who may have been the same one referred to in the New Testament.  Located in a paved area northeast of the theater and dated to the mid-1st century A.D., it reads:

“Erastus in return for his aedileship laid [the pavement] at his own expense.”

An aedile, an elected official, was a city business manager responsible for such property as streets, public buildings and markets, as well as for the revenue gleaned from them. 

He was also a judge who decided most of the city’s commercial and financial litigation. In addition, an aedile was responsible for the public games taking place within a city.

Thus, Paul’s term “director of public works” in Romans 16:23 probably describes Erastus’s position as an aedile. Some have argued that since the Greek word Paul used, oikonomos, may not have been the exact equivalent of the Latin aedile.

Erastus may have held a lower position at the time of Paul’s writing. On the other hand, it is possible that Paul first encountered Erastus while he was discharging his fiscal responsibilities and thus perceived him primarily in this role.

Also, Corinth was distinctive in that the games there were run not by the aedile but by a different set of officials.

Thus, the aedile at Corinth basically functioned as a city treasurer (the rendering used in some translations, such as the NASB).

…the Book of 1 Corinthians.

Romans 15 – Paul’s Reason for Writing & Roman Monsters

Bust of Zeus
Greek mythology, almost identical to Roman mythology (and Paul was in the middle of it all) is the body of myths and teachings that belong to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices.

It was a part of the religion in ancient Greece. Modern scholars refer to and study the myths in an attempt to throw light on the religious and political institutions of Ancient Greece and its civilization, and to gain understanding of the nature of myth-making itself.

Greek mythology is explicitly embodied in a large collection of narratives, and implicitly in Greek representational arts, such as vase-paintings and votive gifts.

Greek myth attempts to explain the origins of the world, and details the lives and adventures of a wide variety of gods, goddesses, heroes, heroines, and mythological creatures.

These accounts initially were disseminated in an oral-poetic tradition; today the Greek myths are known primarily from Greek literature.

Mankind has always been amazed at bizarre things, such as the false gods/goddesses, and make-believe monsters. 

They keep such things alive as long as possible, but things that are not true or are bad will not last.

These myths have been around for centuries upon centuries, but why since they are untrue?

Tomorrow we’re going to look at an item that is not false and existed during the time of Paul, we’ll look at…

Romans 15
Paul’s Reason for Writing

1 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.

“Not to please ourselves” – not that a Christian should never please himself, but that he should not insist on doing what he wants without regard to the scruples of other Christians.

2 Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification.

3 For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.

“Christ pleased not himself” – He came to do the will of the Father, not His own will.

4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

Here Paul defends his application of Ps 69:9 to Christ.  In so doing, he states a great truth concerning the purpose of Scripture: It was written for our instruction, so that as we patiently endure we might be encouraged to hold our hope in Christ.

5 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:

“To be likeminded” – not that believers should all come to the same conclusions on the matters of conscience discussed above, but that they might agree to disagree in love.

6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

7 Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.

8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:

9 And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.

Prometheus (1868 by Gustave Moreau).
The myth of Prometheus first was attested by Hesiod and then constituted the basis for a tragic trilogy of plays, possibly by Aeschylus, consisting of Prometheus Bound, Prometheus Unbound, and Prometheus Pyrphoros.

10 And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people.

11 And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people.

12 And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust.

13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

“God of hope” – any hope the Christian has comes from God.

14 And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.

15 Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God,

16 That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.

17 I have therefore whereof I may glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God.

“I have therefore whereof I may glory” – Paul wasn’t boasting of his own achievements but of what Christ had accomplished through him.

18 For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed,

19 Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.

Amor Vincit Omnia (Love Conquers All), a depiction of the god of love, Eros. By Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, circa 1601–1602.

20 Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation:

21 But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand.

22 For which cause also I have been much hindered from coming to you.

23 But now having no more place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come unto you;

24 Whensoever I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you: for I trust to see you in my journey and to be brought on my way thitherward by you, if first I be somewhat filled with your company.

“To be brought on my way thitherward by you” – Paul wanted to use the Roman church as a base of operations for a mission to Spain.

25 But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints.

“Minister unto the saints” – Paul wanted to present the gift personally to the Jerusalem church.  The gift needed interpretation.  It was not merely money; it represented the love and concern of the Gentile churches for their Jewish brothers and sisters.

The Roman poet Virgil, here depicted in the fifth-century manuscript, the Vergilius Romanus, preserved details of Greek mythology in many of his writings.

26 For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.

27 It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things.

28 When therefore I have performed this, and have sealed to them this fruit, I will come by you into Spain.

29 And I am sure that, when I come unto you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.

30 Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me;

31 That I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judaea; and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints;

32 That I may come unto you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed.

33 Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

Roman Monsters

Roman mythology is very similar to the Greeks. As noted yesterday, they had the same ideas but different names for the Gods and Goddesses. Below is a list of the most common Roman monsters.

Centaur

Considered savage and violent, these beings are half man and half horse. They live in the mountains and forests, their food is raw flesh, and their behavior is bestial.

The centaurs are known for their drunkenness and lust and are often portrayed as followers of Dionysus, god of wine.

Two centaurs, Chiron and Pholus, were not the brutal beasts as their lineage destined, but rather were hospitable, charitable, and loved their fellows, shunning violence.

Centaurs are known for their battling against Heracles and were featured in some legends concerning abductions.

Nessus had given Dejanira, the wife of Heracles, a small bottle filled with his own blood, telling her that if she ever found that her husband ceased to love her, she could restore his affection by using it.

However, this blood was poison to the touch and in some legends destroyed Heracles.

A version of this story can be found in Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

Cerberus

Cerberus is the watchdog of the realm of Hades, generally described as being a three-headed dog with a serpent tail, and on his back innumerable snakes’ heads.

He is believed to be the son of Echidna and Typhon, brother of Orthrus, the monstrous dog of Geryon, of the Hydra of Lerna, and of the Nemean lion.

Chained in front of the gates of the Underworld, he terrorizes souls upon their entering. You can catch a glimpse of him in Virgil’s Aeneid, Book VI (Aeneas’ journey into the underworld) and in Dante’s Inferno.

In other stories, Cerberus was bested by men such as Heracles and Orpheus. He stops barking if you throw him some bread soaked in wine.

“To give a sop to Cerberus” means to present someone who is likely to cause trouble with a gift in order to keep him quiet, but this works best on dogs.

Chimaera

This monster is a legendary beast taking its shape from both a goat and a lion.

Some stories say that it had the hindquarters of a snake and the head of a lion on the body of a goat. Others claimed that it had two heads, one goat and one lion, and it breathed fire.

This being was brought up by Amisodares, the king of Caria at Patera.

The king of Lycia, Iobates, commanded Bellerophon to kill it since the monster made many raids on his kingdom; with the help of Pegasus, the winged horse, Bellerophon succeeded.

The Chimaera often appears in architecture, although the monster is usually greatly changed from the form known to classical mythology.

Cyclops

These beings are giants with one enormous eye in the middle of their forehead. In Hesiod, the three sons – Arges, Brontes, and Steropes – of Uranus and Gaea, the personifications of heaven and earth, were Cyclopes.

They were thrown into the underworld by their brother Cronus, one of the Titans, after he dethroned Uranus. Zeus released the Cyclopes from the underworld and they gave him the gifts of thunder and lightning.

In Alexandrine poetry, the Cyclopes were considered merely as subordinate spirits: smiths and craftsmen who made the weapons for the gods. They forged Zeus’ lightning bolts. In Homer’s Odyssey, the Cyclopes are shepherds from Sicily.

They are lawless, savage and cannibalistic. They fear neither gods nor humans. In Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus is trapped in the cave of the Cyclops Polyphemus, a son of Poseidon.

In order to escape from the cave Odysseus blinds him, incurring further wrath from Poseidon. Ovid portrays Polyphemus as a bit of a moron in love.

Echidna

Half woman half snake, known as the “Mother of All Monsters” because many of the more famous monsters in Greek myth were mothered by her. Hesiod’s Theogony described her as:

[…] the goddess fierce Echidna who is half a nymph with glancing eyes and fair cheeks, and half again a huge snake, great and awful, with speckled skin, eating raw flesh beneath the secret parts of the holy earth.

And there she has cave deep down under a hollow rock far from the deathless gods and mortal men. There, then, did the gods appoint her a glorious house to dwell in: and she keeps guard in Arima beneath the earth, grim Echidna, a nymph who dies not nor grows old all her days.

She is most likely the mother of all monsters. She had the head of a beautiful nymph and body of a snake.

Gorgons

A female creature. The name derives from the ancient Greek word gorgós, which means “dreadful”.

While descriptions of Gorgons vary across Greek literature and occur in the earliest examples of Greek literature. 

The term commonly refers to any of three sisters who had hair made of living, venomous snakes, as well as a horrifying visage that turned those who beheld her to stone.

Traditionally, while two of the Gorgons were immortal, Stheno and Euryale, their sister Medusa was not, and she was slain by the demigod and hero Perseus.

Gorgons were a popular image in Greek mythology, appearing in the earliest of written records of Ancient Greek religious beliefs such as those of Homer, which may date to as early as 1194–1184 B.C.

Because of their legendary and powerful gaze that could turn one to stone, images of the Gorgons were put upon objects and buildings for protection.

An image of a Gorgon holds the primary location at the pediment of the temple at Corfu, which is the oldest stone pediment in Greece, and is dated to c. 600 BC.

Griffin

The griffin is a fascinating mythical creature whose roots reach from western Europe to the Eastern edges of India and beyond.

In any mythology, the griffin is portrayed as a mix between an eagle and a lion. In all cases, this creature is shown as having the head of an eagle and the body of a lion, but from there the other specific features are in debate.

The most common portrayal of the griffin in mythology is a creature with the body and regal, kingly mythical creature who commanded deep respect.

Griffin mythology reads a lot like dragon mythology in that griffins were thought to be very wise and wily characters who spent a good deal of time seeking out and guarding gold and treasures.

Other legends have the griffin as a trickster, much like the Sphinx, who would challenge people with riddles in a contest of wits. The winners would get to keep their lives and treasures, and the losers…wouldn’t. 

Harpies

Harpies are birds with the heads of women, long claws, faces pale with hunger, and they leave behind filth and stench. They were originally sent by Zeus/Jove to torment a blinded soothsayer, Phineas.

Driven away by the heroes of the Argonaut expedition, they took refuge on an island on which that Aeneas lands in Virgil’s Aeneid, Book III. Aeneas and his men see goats and oxen first, and so slaughter a batch and plan a barbecue, being sure to say grace:

“Then call the gods for partners of our feast” (a line that echoes Ovid, Metamorphoses, Book XV – in a section describing Pythagoras’ vegetarian doctrine!).

The Harpies “snatch the meat, defiling all they find, and parting leave a loathsome stench behind.”

In other words, every time Aeneas tries to get the picnic going, the Harpies crap all over the food. So they prepare an all-out war with the birds.

Hydra

This monster was also the spawn of Echidna and Typhon, a snake with numerous heads that were sometimes said to be human as well. It was brought up near the source of the river Amymone in order to provide a test for Heracles.

The breath of the Hydra was so venomous that anyone who approached it would die, even if the monster was sleeping. Heracles thought to destroy it by cutting off its heads, but as soon as he did so more heads grew in their place.

Therefore Heracles seared the bleeding necks of the monster with a torch in order to prevent growth that way.

According to some legends one of the heads was immortal, but Heracles cut it off anyway and buried it deep in the earth.

Heracles also dipped his arrowheads in the Hydra’s blood and made them extremely poisonous. The term hydra is commonly applied to any complex situation or problem that continually poses compounded difficulties.

Lamia

Somewhat vampirical, this was a female monster who was thought to steal children and drink their blood.

She was thought to have a woman’s head and breasts, but a serpent’s body.

In some accounts she was one of Zeus’ lovers who bore him children.

Hera, in fits of jealousy, caused each child that was born to die. In despair, Lamia became a monster jealous of mothers more fortunate than herself.

So she devoured their children. Female spirits which attached themselves to children in order to suck their blood were also called Lamiae.

 

 

 

Medusa

Once a beautiful woman, Medusa was the child of Phorcys and Ceto. Of the three sisters, the gorgons, Medusa was the only mortal. Their hair was a mass of serpents; they had huge tusks, hands of bronze, and golden wings enabling them to fly.

Anyone who encountered their gaze was turned to stone immediately from a horrible fear and loathing. Poseidon was the only immortal not fearful of Medusa since he fathered a child with her.

Medusa was defeated by Perseus, who managed to chop off her head by looking at her through a looking-glass, which was most likely a bronze shield. This story can be found in Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

Athena made use of Medusa’s head by fixing it to the center of her shield or her aegis. People of today sometimes call a person a gorgon, meaning that her aspect is so stern and forbidding that it almost turns one to stone.

There is a Freudian explanation for the “horror” image of the Medusa head, but it may make more sense as an image of a justifiably enraged woman.

Minotaur

The Minotaur was a beast that had the body of a man and the head of a bull. Legend has it that King Minos of Crete tried to cheat Poseidon by begging for a beautiful white bull for sacrifice to the gods.

However, when Minos got hold of this bull he put it in with his own herds. Very angry, Poseidon caused Minos’ wife to fall in love with the bull and become its lover. The Minotaur was the result of this weird union.

The Labyrinth was built in order to house the beast and each year he was fed with seven boys and seven girls who were the tribute exacted by Minos from Athens.

Theseus was able to defeat the Minotaur with the help of Ariadne, King Minos’ daughter.

She gave him a skein of thread and a sword so that he might kill the monster and then retrace his steps back through the labyrinth.

Pegasus

One of the best known mythological creatures in Greek mythology. He is a winged divine stallion usually depicted as pure white in color. He was sired by Poseidon, in his role as horse-god, and foaled by the Gorgon Medusa.

He was the brother of Chrysaor, born at a single birthing when his mother was decapitated by Perseus.

Greco-Roman poets write about his ascent to heaven after his birth and his obeisance to Zeus, king of the gods, who instructed him to bring lightning and thunder from Olympus.

Friend of the Muses, Pegasus is the creator of Hippocrene, the fountain on Mt. Helicon. He was captured by the Greek hero Bellerophon near the fountain Peirene with the help of Athena and Poseidon.

Pegasus allows the hero to ride him to defeat a monster, the Chimera, before realizing many other exploits. His rider, however, falls off his back trying to reach Mount Olympus. Zeus transformed him into the constellation Pegasus and placed him up in the sky.

Hypotheses have been proposed regarding its relationship with the Muses, the gods Athena, Poseidon, Zeus, Apollo, and the hero Perseus.

The symbolism of Pegasus varies with time. Symbol of wisdom and especially of fame from the Middle Ages until the Renaissance, he became one symbol of the poetry and the creator of sources in which the poets come to draw inspiration, particularly in the 19th century.

Pegasus is the subject of a very rich iconography, especially through the ancient Greek pottery and paintings and sculptures of the Renaissance.

Personification of the water, solar myth, or shaman mount, Carl Jung and his followers have seen in Pegasus a profound symbolic esoteric in relation to the spiritual energy that allows to access to the realm of the gods on Mount Olympus.

Sphinx

This monster was said to have the face of a woman; the chest, feet, and tail of a lion; and wings of a bird. It was thought that the Sphinx was the child of Echidna and Orthrus, but it was also said to be fathered by Typhon.

This monster was sent to Thebes by Hera to punish the city for the crime of Laius, who had been guilty of loving Pelops’ son. The Sphinx devoured every mortal who passed by within reach, but it would ask passers-by this riddle:

“What is it that has four feet in the morning, two at noon, and three at night?” If they couldn’t solve the riddle they died. Only Oedipus was able to solve it: humans crawl on all fours in infancy, attain bipedal status, and late in life walk with a cane.

In despair the Sphinx threw itself from the top of a rock and killed itself.

In ancient Egypt, sphinxes were statues representing deities, with the body of a lion and the head of some other animal or of man, frequently a likeness of the king.

 

The Nemean Lion

A vicious monster in Greek mythology that lived at Nemea. It was eventually killed by Heracles.

It could not be killed with mortal weapons because its golden fur was impervious to attack. Its claws were sharper than mortal swords and could cut through any armor.

Nowadays lions are not part of the Greek fauna (or the fauna of Europe whatsoever).

However according to Herodotus, lion populations were extant in Ancient Greece, until around 100 B.C. when they were extinct.

The lion is usually considered to have been the offspring of Typhon (or Orthrus) and Echidna; it is also said to have fallen from the moon as the offspring of Zeus and Selene, or alternatively born of the Chimera.

The Nemean lion was sent to Nemea in the Peloponnesus to terrorize the city. The horrendous lion was killed by Heracles. Hera raised the lion and set it in the region of Nemea, where it ravaged the land, devoured people, and ate the herds.

The legends state that no weapon could penetrate the lion’s pelt. Therefore, Heracles strangled the lion in the cave it lived in and flayed it. He then clad himself in its skin and used the head as his helmet.

…the Erastus inscription.

Romans 14 – The Weak and the Strong & Roman Gods & Goddesses

Relief panel from an altar to Venus and Mars depicting Romulus and Remus suckling the she-wolf, and gods representing Roman topography such as the Tiber river and Palatine Hill.
The Roman mythological tradition is particularly rich in historical myths, or legends, concerning the foundation and rise of the city.

How could you keep track of all the below gods?  I’m glad I only have You.  And the sad thing is that none of their gods were even real.

All, or most, fiction stories/myths has the evil guy so tomorrow we’ll look at…

Romans 14
The Weak and the Strong

1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.

“Him that is weak in the faith” – probably Jewish Christians who were unwilling to give up the observance of certain requirements of the law, or possibly their gods and goddesses.

2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.

3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.

4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

“Another man’s servant” – God’s.  A Christian must not reject a fellow Christian, who is also a servant of God.

Twelve principal deities (Di Consentes) corresponding to those honored at the lectisternium of 217 BC, represented on a 1st-century altar from Gabii that is rimmed by the zodiac.

5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.

7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.

8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.

9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.

10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.

Three goddesses on a panel of the Augustan Ara Pacis, consecrated in 9 BC; the iconography is open to multiple interpretations.

12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

13 Let us not therefore judge one another anymore: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.

14 I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

15 But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.

“Charitably” – love is the key to proper settlement of disputes.

16 Let not then your good be evil spoken of:

17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

18 For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.

Roman relief depicting a scene of sacrifice, with libations at a flaming altar and the victimarius carrying the sacrificial axe.

19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

20 For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.

21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor anything whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.

22 Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.

“Have it to thyself before God” – a strong Christian is not required to go against his convictions or change his standards.  Yet he is not to flaunt his Christian freedom but keep it a private matter.

23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

“Whatsoever” – the matters discussed above, namely, conduct about which there can be legitimate differences of opinion between Christians.

Roman Gods and Goddesses

There were many Roman gods and goddesses, probably thousands. The ancient Romans believed that gods lived everywhere – in trees, under a bush, by the side of the road, in a burrow, in a flower, in a stream, under the bed, and perhaps even in the stove in your house.  

There was even a deity who lived inside the latch that opened the door to each home. 

Below is a list of the, let us say, the more popular gods and goddesses.

Apollo-God of the Sun

Greek name: Apollo-Son of Jupiter-Brother of Diana

Apollo was the god of the sun. Each day he drove his chariot of fiery horses across the sky to give light to the world. Apollo had a son called Phaethon, who was human.

Phaethon nagged at Apollo to let him borrow the sun chariot and fly across the sky. Finally Apollo agreed.

Phaethon proudly drove the sun chariot up into the sky, but then he lost control of the horses. The sun chariot dived towards the earth, burning everything.

Finally Jupiter had to stop him with a thunder bolt. Apollo was also the god of music, and played the lyre.

His most famous temple was at Delphi in Greece, see right. There, his priestess would prophesy the future. But she wasn’t easy to understand.

One day, a great king asked the priestess if he should invade a nearby kingdom.

She said, “If you do this, a great kingdom will be destroyed.” He thought that she meant he would be successful, and so started the war. He lost disastrously. It was his own kingdom that got destroyed!

Bacchus-God of Wine

Greek name: Dionysos-Son of Jupiter

Bacchus was the god of wine. He was accompanied by Maenads, or wild dancing women, see right. They carried the thyrsus, a staff of giant fennel, covered with ivy leaves, with a pine cone on top.

There is a wonderful description of a Bacchanalia, or feast in honor of Bacchus, in Prince Caspian, one of the Narnia books, by C.S. Lewis.

Bacchus was also the god of the theatre, since the first plays in Greece were performed in his honor.

There were tragedies, serious stories about heroes and gods, and comedies, which laughed at politicians and were often very rude!

 

Ceres-The Earth Goddess

Greek name: Demeter-Relations: Mother of Proserpine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Proserpine-Goddess of the Underworld

Greek name: Persephone-Daughter of Ceres-Wife of Pluto

Ceres was the Earth goddess and goddess of corn. She carried the cornucopia, a horn full of vegetables and fruit. Her daughter was Proserpine.

Pluto fell in love with Proserpine, and carried her off to the Underworld. Ceres searched everywhere, but couldn’t find her. Eventually Ceres refused to let the plants grow any more, and everyone begun to die of hunger.

So Pluto admitted he had Proserpine, but said she could only go back home if she had eaten none of the food of the Dead.

Proserpine had eaten almost nothing, as she was so sad at being kept underground, but she had eaten six seeds from a pomegranate.

This means that she could go home, but had to return to her husband for six months every year.

When this happens, Ceres stops everything growing, and winter comes.

 

Cupid-God of Love

Greek name: Eros-Son of Venus

Cupid was the mischievous little god of love. His weapon was a bow, and anyone hit by one of his arrows fell madly in love.

Cupid once scratched himself with one of his own arrows by mistake. He was looking at a woman called Psyche, and fell in love with her.

He knew that his mother Venus would be angry, so he hid Psyche away and told her that she must never try to look at him.

Psyche thought that she had been captured by a hideous monster, and, of course, couldn’t resist taking a peep.

She was enchanted by the first sight of her handsome husband, and while playing with his arrows, scratched herself as well.

So now they were both desperately in love with each other, see right. Venus drove Psyche away, and she had many adventures before she was allowed to stay with Cupid, and Venus became reconciled to being a mother-in-law!

 

Diana-Goddess of the Moon

Greek name: Artemis-Day of the Week: Monday- Daughter of Jupiter-Sister of Apollo

Diana was the goddess of the moon. Her twin brother Apollo was the god of the sun.

Diana carried a bow and arrows. She was the goddess of hunting. Once she was bathing in a forest pool. A hunter called Actaeon spied on her.

So Diana turned him into a stag and he was chased by his own hunting dogs.

She helped women in child-birth, because her mother Leto gave birth to her and her twin brother so easily.

Flora-Goddess of Flowers

Greek name: Goddess of growth-Mother of Mercury

In the Middle Ages, people went out Maying on the first of May. They would go to the fields and woods, collecting flowers and enjoying the sunshine.

This might have been in honor of Maia, the goddess of May, or Flora, the goddess of flowers. Today, we still have the first Monday in May as a holiday. Sometimes people dance round a maypole.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Janus-God of Doors

Janus kept the gate of Heaven, so he became the god of doors and gates. He was very important, because a house is only as strong as its doors.

His temple in Rome had its doors thrown open in times of War, and closed in times of Peace.

They were usually open! The Emperor Augustus closed the doors of the temple, since he brought peace to the Roman Empire.

Janus had two faces, one looking forwards and one looking back, since a door can let you in, or let you out.

The first month of the year is named after him. In January, we look back at the last year, and forward to the next.

Juno-Queen of the Gods

Greek name: Hera-Wife of Jupiter-Mother of Mars-Mother of Vulcan

Juno was the wife of Jupiter and queen of the gods. She was the goddess of women and marriage. Her bird was the peacock.

The Romans believed that every man had a spirit that looked after him all his life. This was called his genius.

Some people believed each man had both a good genius and a bad genius. Women didn’t have a genius, they had a juno instead.

 

 

 

Jupiter-King of the gods

Greek name: Zeus-Son of Saturn-Grandson of Uranus-Husband of Juno-Brother of Neptune-Brother of Pluto    

The eagle was his messenger. His weapon was the Thunderbolt (thunder and lightning).

All other gods were terrified of him, although he was a little scared of his wife Juno!

Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto were the three sons of Saturn. They divided up the world between themselves.

Jupiter took the air, Neptune had the sea and Pluto ruled under the earth, the home of the Dead.

 

Maia-Goddess of Growth

Greek name: Mother of Mercury

On the right, this is a picture of Flora, the goddess of flowers, rather than Maia, the goddess of Growth, but they were similar goddesses.

In the Middle Ages, people went out Maying on the first of May. They would go to the fields and woods, collecting flowers and enjoying the sunshine.

This might have been in honor of Maia, the goddess of May, or Flora, the goddess of flowers.

Today, we still have the first Monday in May as a holiday. Sometimes people dance round a maypole.

Mars-God of War

Greek name: Ares-Son of Jupiter-Father of Romulus and Remus

The Romans were great soldiers and thought Mars, the god of War, was very important. They said that he was the father of Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome.

When Romulus and Remus were babies, they were left to die. But they were found by a mother wolf, who suckled them. Romulus gave his name to Rome.

The Campus Martius or field of Mars, was next to the river Tiber in in ancient Rome. It was used to train soldiers and hold horse races.

March was called after Mars because that was when the soldiers started fighting again after winter.

Here is a painting of Mars and Venus. Mars is fast asleep. The little fauns with goats legs are playing with his armor.

One of them is just about to blow his horn very loud in Mars’s ear. I wonder what will happen next!

Mercury-Messenger of the Gods

Greek name: Hermes-Son of Jupiter-Son of Maia-Mercurial means light-hearted and active.

Mercury was the god of travelers. He had a winged hat and sandals, so he could fly. He carried a staff which also has wings and two snakes winding round it.

He was also the god of thieves. When he was only a few days old, he stole the cows of Apollo. Mercury made special shoes for the cows and made them walk backwards, so no-one could follow their tracks.

Eventually Apollo noticed that Mercury was playing a new musical instrument called a lyre, strung with cow-gut and worked out that Mercury had stolen his cows.

Apollo was furious with Mercury, but thought the lyre was wonderful.

So they agreed that Mercury could keep the cows and Apollo would get the lyre.

Mercury was also the god of science and business. I think that he’s the god of the Internet as well!

Minerva-Goddess of Wisdom

Greek name: Athene-Daughter of Jupiter

Minerva was the goddess of wisdom. Her symbol was the owl. Her Greek name was Athene, and Athens was her city.

She had a strange birth. One day, Jupiter had a bad headache. Nothing would cure it. Eventually Vulcan split open Jupiter’s head.

Out jumped Minerva in armor with shield and spear! Jupiter felt much better afterwards. Don’t try this at home.

Minerva was the goddess of arts and crafts. She was particularly good at weaving. Once a woman called Arachne wove a beautiful picture.

Minerva tried to find something wrong with it. When she couldn’t, she tore it up and turned Arachne into a spider. The spider still weaves beautiful webs.

Minerva helped the hero Perseus to kill the gorgon Medusa, who was a monster with snakes instead of hair. Anyone who looked at a gorgon turned to stone!

But Minerva told Perseus to look at Medusa’s reflection in a polished shield.

That way he could cut the head off without looking directly at the gorgon. He gave the head to Minerva, who put it on her shield, so it would turn her enemies to stone.

Neptune-God of the Sea

Greek name: Poseidon-Son of Saturn-Grandson of Uranus-Brother of Jupiter and Pluto

Neptune was the god of the sea. He carried a trident, which had three prongs. He rode a dolphin or a horse.

When the sea is rough enough to show white tops to the waves, these are called sea horses. On the right, the back half of the seahorse is a fish.

It may seem strange that Neptune was not a more important god, since the Roman Empire was based on the Mediterranean. But the Romans were poor sailors.

When Julius Caesar invaded Britain, it was considered an astounding adventure, even though he was just crossing the English Channel.

Neptune was the god of earthquakes. He was called the Earth-shaker. He was also the god of horses and horse-racing.

The Romans loved watching horse-racing and had great race tracks for chariot racing, such as the Circus Maximus. You can see the ruins of the Circus Maximus in Rome today, see left.

Pluto-God of Death

Greek name: Hades-Son of Saturn-Brother of Jupiter and Neptune-Husband of Proserpine

Pluto was the god of the Dead. Romans were afraid to say Pluto’s real name because they were afraid he might notice them and they would die.

Pluto sometimes got confused with the Greek god, Plutus, the god of wealth. This is not surprising, since the names sound alike, and also wealth, like gold, silver or jewels, are found underground, where Pluto ruled.

The metal Plutonium is radio-active. It was discovered soon after the planet Pluto. It is not only used for nuclear bombs, it is deadly by itself. It deserves to belong to the god of Death!

When someone died, they travelled down to the Underworld. First, they had to cross the River of the Dead, called the Styx.

Everyone was buried with a coin, to pay the ferryman, Charon.

Then they had to get past Cerberus, a fierce dog with three heads, which would only let the Dead through. Finally they had to come before the Judges of the Dead.

The only living man to fight Cerberus was Hercules, the strongest man in the world. He had to bring Cerberus back from the Underworld. (He let it go afterwards.)

The moon of planet Pluto is called Charon, after the ferryman over the Styx.

Saturn-God of Time

Greek name: Cronos-Son of Uranus and Gaia-Father of Jupiter-Father of Pluto-Father of Neptune

Saturn was god of Time and his weapon was a scythe. He is called Old Father Time.

Saturn ruled the gods before Jupiter. Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto were his children. They represent Air, Water and Death, the three things that Time cannot kill.

The Romans had a mid-winter festival in honor of Saturn, called the Saturnalia. It lasted seven days, and there was much merrymaking.

Public business was suspended and schools were closed. Parents gave toys to their children and there was a public banquet. That is why we eat so much at Christmas, give presents and go to parties.

Uranus and Gaia-Parents of Saturn

Greek name: Uranus and Gaia are Greek names-Parents of Saturn

Uranus was god of the sky and Gaia was goddess of the earth.

Uranus was a shadowy figure right at the start of time. He came before Saturn, who came before Jupiter. He was not worshipped by the Romans, so there is no picture of him.

Uranus was the sky, and his wife Gaia was the earth. They had many children, including giants. They had a violent argument and split up. Ever since the earth and sky have been apart.

Uranium is a radio-active metal used for nuclear power. It was called after the planet Uranus, as it was discovered about the same time.

Venus-Goddess of Love

Greek name: Aphrodite-Daughter of Jupiter-Mother of Cupid

Venus was born in the sea and first came to shore at Cyprus, floating on a scallop shell.

There was a Golden Apple with “For the Fairest” written on the side. Venus, Juno and Minerva all wanted it. They decided to let a man, Paris, judge between them. They were all so beautiful that he couldn’t make his mind up.

So Juno said she would make him powerful. Minerva said she would make him wise. Venus offered him Helen, the most beautiful woman in the world. He chose Venus, and Helen.

Unfortunately Helen was married to someone else, and when Paris carried her off to his home at Troy, her husband came with his allies to get her back.

Paris and all his family were killed and Troy was destroyed. One of the few Trojans to survive the Trojan War was Aeneas, the son of Venus. He went to Italy, and was the ancestor of the Romans.

What would you choose from Power, Wisdom and Love? (I’d choose Wisdom.)

Vesta-Goddess of the Home

Greek name: Hestia- Sister of Jupiter

Vesta was the goddess of the hearth, the center of the Roman home.

She was a quiet well-behaved goddess, who didn’t join in the arguments and fights of the other gods.

She was protector of the sacred flame, which was supposed to have been brought from Troy to Rome by the hero Aeneus.

The flame was relit every March 1st and had to be kept alight all year. If this flame ever went out, disaster would fall on Rome.

The flame was kept alive by the Vestal Virgins. These priestesses were chosen when they were as young as six years old. They had to stay as priestesses for thirty years, and were not allowed to marry.

In Roman homes, every day, during a meal, a small cake was thrown on the fire for Vesta. It was good luck if it burnt with a crackle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vulcan-The Smith God

Greek name: Hephaestus-Son of Jupiter

Vulcan was the smith of the gods, and made Jupiter’s thunderbolts. His smithy was in the volcano Etna, in Sicily, where you can see fire from his forge.

Once, he made Jupiter angry, and Jupiter threw him out of Heaven. Vulcan fell to Earth and broke both legs, which made him lame.

This picture from a Greek vase shows him in a sort of winged wheel-chair.

He made women of gold to help him in his smithy – possibly the first robots!

…Roman monsters.

Romans 13 – Be Subject to the Higher Power of God & Romans in Scotland

Gnaeus Julius Agricola (June 13, 40 – August 23, 93) was a Gallo-Roman general responsible for much of the Roman conquest of Britain.
Written by his son-in-law Tacitus, the De vita et moribus Iulii Agricolae is the primary source for most of what is known about him, along with detailed archaeological evidence from northern Britain.

That ends this study, but in the religion section we didn’t touch more on their gods so tomorrow we’ll look at…

Romans 13
Be Subject to the Higher Power of God

1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

“High powers” – the civil rulers, all of whom were probably pagans at the time Paul was writing. 

Christians may have been tempted not to submit to them and to claim allegiance only to Christ.

2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

“Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise” – Paul is not stating that this will always be true but is describing the proper ideal function of rulers. 

When civil rulers overstep their proper function the Christian is to obey God rather than man.

God tells us to obey the laws of the land we live in, but not if the laws made by man are against God.

4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

“The sword” – the symbol of Roman authority on both the national and international levels.  Here we find the Biblical principle of using force for the maintenance of good order.

5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.

“For conscience sake” – civil authorities are ordained by God, or at least He allows them to be in office, and in order to maintain a good conscience Christians must duly honor them.

6 For this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.

An aerial view of Inchtuthil in its setting. The fortress stood on the plateau surrounded by trees at center right.
Inchtuthil (known to the Romans as Pinnata Castra (meaning “Fortress on the wing”) and Victoria) is the site of a Roman legionary fortress situated on a natural platform overlooking the north bank of the River Tay southwest of Blairgowrie, Perth and Kinross, Scotland.

It was built in 82 or 83 A.D. as the advance headquarters for the forces of governor Gnaeus Julius Agricola in his campaign against the Caledonian tribes.

Positioned at the head of one of the main routes in and out of the Scottish Highlands, it was occupied by Legion XX Valeria Victrix and covered a total area of 53 acres.

7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.

8 Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

“But to love” – to love is the one debt that is never paid off.  No matter how much one has loved, he is under obligation to keep on loving.

“One another” – includes not only fellow Christians but all people, even politicians.

9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.

“Salvation” – the full realization of salvation at the second coming of Jesus Christ.

12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.

“The night” – the present evil age then and now.

Nineteenth century sketch of Calgacus delivering his speech to the Caledonians.
According to Tacitus, Calgacus was a chieftain of the Caledonian Confederacy who fought the Roman army of Gnaeus Julius Agricola at the Battle of Mons Graupius in northern Scotland in A.D. 83 or 84.

“Is far spent the day is at hand” – a clear example of the New Testament teaching of the “nearness” of the end times (see Matt 24:33; 1 Cor 7:29; Phil 4:5; Jas 5:8-9; 1 Pet 4:7; 1 Jn 2:18).

These texts do not mean that the early Christians believed that Jesus would return within a few years (and thus were mistaken). 

Rather, they regarded the death and resurrection of Christ as the crucial events of history that began the last days.

Since the next great event in God’s redemptive plan is the second coming of Jesus Christ, “the night,” no matter how long chronologically it may last, is “almost gone.”

Nobody knows when Jesus is coming back, but I have feeling that He will return in my lifetime, but don’t quote me on that.

13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.

14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

Romans in Scotland

Trimontium is the name of a Roman fort at Newstead, near Melrose, Borders, Scotland, close under the three Eildon Hills (whence the name trium montium).
It was an advance post of the Romans in the Roman province of Valentia. The fort was identified by Ptolemy in his Geography.

Trimontium was occupied by the Romans intermittently from 80 to 211. The fort was likely abandoned from c. 100-105 A.D. until c..140 A.D.

At the height of the Roman occupation of the fort, no more than 1500 soldiers and a smaller civilian population lived in the settlement.

How Do We Know About Romans in Scotland?

Mostly from finds made by archaeologists. For example, in 1905 archaeologists found a Roman fort at Newstead, near Melrose in the Borders. The Romans called this fort Trimontium (“three mountains”).

The topmost remains of the fort date from the 140s A.D. when the Antonine Wall was built. Underneath were the remains of an older fort, probably built around 80 A.D. Forts protected Roman military roads.

Recent finds show that the Romans went as far north as Inverness. However, they did not stay and build towns like they did in Roman Britain (England and Wales).

First Outposts

Early evidence for the Romans in Scotland is the Gask Ridge. This earth-bank defense in Perthshire dates from around 70 A.D.  It was made before Hadrian’s Wall or the Antonine Wall and is further north.

The Gask Ridge is about 20 miles long. The Romans set up forts and watch towers along it.

In 79 A.D. the Roman general Agricola sent ships to explore the Scottish coast. He was preparing to invade Scotland. To protect their army, the Romans built forts like Trimontium near Melrose.

Scotland’s Biggest Roman Fort

Inchtuthil (its Roman name was Victoria) is the biggest Roman fortress in Scotland. On the banks of the River Tay near Blairgowrie, it was built around 83 A.D. by soldiers of the 20th Legion.

More than 5,000 legionaries were based here, to guard the way to the Highlands.

The fortress was huge! Its outer wall stretched 7 miles. Inside were 64 barrack rooms for soldiers, a hospital, and a headquarters building with a shrine to the gods.

Inchtuthil fortress was abandoned after only four years. The 20th Legion marched back south.

Melrose (Scottish Gaelic: Maol Ros) is a small town and civil parish in the Scottish Borders, historically in Roxburghshire.
It is in the Eildon committee area.

Melrose is the location of Melrose Abbey, re-founded for the Cistercian order by David I in the early 12th century, one of the most beautiful monastic ruins in Great Britain.

It is the site of the burial of the heart of Scottish king Robert the Bruce. An excavation was led to find a sealed casket, but it was not opened, and it was actually discovered by high school students involved in the dig.

The casket was placed in a sealed lead cylinder, and was then re-buried in the abbey back at its proper resting place.

Battle in the North

Roman soldiers fought the Caledonian tribes in Scotland. These tribes included the Picti or “painted people” as the Romans called them.

The biggest battle was in 84 A.D.  The Roman historian Tacitus says it was at Mons Graupius.

No one knows exactly where this was, but it was possibly in the Grampian Mountains in the north of Scotland.

Led by a chief named Calgacus, the Caledonians had about 30,000 warriors. The Roman army led by Agricola was probably smaller, but the Romans won.

Soon after, Agricola went back to Rome.

Why Didn’t the Romans Conquer Scotland?

Some experts think the Romans marched as far north as Cawdor, near Inverness. There are remains of a Roman fort here. But the Romans did not stay in the north.

In the 160s A.D., they abandoned the Antonine Wall, making Hadrian’s Wall the northern frontier of Roman Britain. The last big Roman army campaign in Scotland was in 208-210.

There are Roman remains (such as bath-houses, roads and forts) in southern and central Scotland. But the Romans never settled the north.

Their main concern was to protect Roman Britain from attacks by northern tribes. Such attacks increased in the 300s A.D.  

Farmland from Gask Ridge
The Gask Ridge is the modern name given to an early series of fortifications, built by the Romans in Scotland, close to the Highland Line.

Modern excavation and interpretation is pioneered by the Roman Gask Project and directors Birgitta Hoffmann and David Woolliscroft.

The Gask Ridge system was constructed sometime between 70 and 80 CE.

Construction on Hadrian’s Wall was started 42 years after completion of the Gask Ridge (from 122 to 130 CE), and the Antonine Wall was started just 12 years after completion of Hadrian’s Wall (from 142 to 144 CE).

Although the Gask Ridge was not a wall, it may be Rome’s earliest fortified land frontier.

The fortifications approximately follow the boundary between Scotland’s fertile Lowlands and mountainous Highlands, in Perth and Kinross and Angus.

The later Hadrian’s Wall and Antonine Wall were further south, and, by taking advantage of the heavily indented coastline of Great Britain, were considerably shorter.

The Roman army left Britain in 410 A.D.

Fun Facts:

Scotland takes its name from a tribe from Ireland whom the Romans called “Scoti”. The Antonine Wall took between 8 and 12 years to build.

At Inchtuthil people found 750,000 iron nails, buried by the Romans to stop the Caledonians getting them.

Picti is Latin for ‘painted people’. The Picts liked tattoos and body-painting.

The Roman general Agricola was actually born in France.

 

Not all Tacitus wrote may be true; he was married to Agricola’s daughter. So he wrote only nice things about the Roman general.

The 20th Legion built Hadrian’s Wall and the Antonine Wall.

Emperor Antoninus never saw the Antonine Wall. He never left Rome.

The Caledonians threw short spears, and held long spears to jab at the enemy.

Caledonians had small shields and long swords (says Tacitus).

One nasty Roman weapon was a weighted dart, tossed high in the air to fall on an enemy’s head!

The Roman fort at Mumrills is as big as 3 soccer pitches.

Bones dug up at Mumrills Fort include ox, sheep, pig, deer and wolf.

Near Falkirk, builders making a supermarket dug up bones, jewels and Roman coins from Camelon Fort.

The name Calgacus probably means “swordsman”.

Roman soldiers in Scotland included people from as far away as Bulgaria.

…Roman Gods and Goddesses.

Romans 12 – Christian Conduct & Religion

After the reign of the Emperor Augustus (27 B.C. to A.D. 14), the emperor was also considered to be a god and he was worshipped on special occasions.
Each god had a special festival day which was usually a public holiday. This holiday gave people the opportunity to visit the temple for whichever god was being celebrated.

At this temple, priests would sacrifice animals and offer them to the god.

We’ll end this study tomorrow with…

Romans 12
Christian Conduct

1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

Scriptures like this is probably where lunatics came up with the great idea of sacrificing people, they were doing it for God.

12:1-16:27 – Paul now turns to the practical application of all he has said previously in the letter.  This does not mean that he has not said anything about Christian living up to this point.

Chapters 6-8 have touched on this already, but now Paul goes into detail to show that Jesus Christ is to be Lord of every area of life.  These chapters are not a postscript to the great theological discussions in chapters 1-11.

In a real sense the entire letter has been directed toward the goal of showing that God demands our action as well as our believing and thinking.  Faith expresses itself in obedience.

The Parthenon in Athens, Greece, was built for the goddess Athena in 447–432 B.C. and remained devoted to her cult for nearly a thousand years.
Later serving as a Christian church and then as an Islamic mosque under the Ottoman Empire.

“Reasonable Service” – not merely ritual activity but the involvement of heart, mind and will.  Not just a bunch of chatting and moaning like the Muslim’s do.

“Acceptable” – to God, not necessarily to us.

“Will of God” – what God wants from the believer here and now.

2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

1 Jn 2:15-17 explains what Paul is saying very clearly.

3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

“Measure of faith” – the power given by God to each believer to fulfill various ministries in the church (see vv. 4-8).

Etching of G. Doré of the River Styx.
The Styx is a river in Greek mythology that formed the boundary between Earth and the Underworld (often called Hades which is also the name of this domain’s ruler).

The rivers Styx, Phlegethon, Acheron, and Cocytus all converge at the center of the underworld on a great marsh, which is also sometimes called the Styx.

The important rivers of the underworld are Lethe, Eridanos, and Alpheus.

The gods were bound by the Styx and swore oaths on it. The reason for this is during the Titan war,

Styx, the goddess of the river Styx, sided with Zeus. After the war, Zeus promised every oath be sworn upon her.

4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:

5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;

7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;

8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.

“Without dissimulation” – true love, not pretense.  In view of the preceding paragraph, with its emphasis on social concern, the love Paul speaks of here is not mere emotion, but is active love.  You show love expecting nothing in return.

10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another;

11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.

14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.

“Bless them which persecute you” – Paul is echoing Jesus’ teachings in Matt 5:44; Lk 6:28.

Charon as depicted by Michelangelo in his fresco The Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel.

15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

“If it be possible…live peaceably” – Jesus pronounced a blessing on peacemakers and believers are to cultivate peace with everyone to the extent that it depends on them.

The term “possible” does not mean if you can get along with someone you have the right to throw down with them.  It means that if you can’t get along them move along. 

As Paul says in 1 Cor 7:7-9, he thinks it would be best to stay single, but if you are unable to sustain from sex then get married.

19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

“Heap coals of fire on his head” – doing good to one’s enemy, instead of trying to take revenge, may bring about his repentance.

21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

Religion

What kind of gods did Romans worship?

At first, Romans believed in many different gods and goddesses. These gods were like people, but with magical powers. The Roman gods were part of a family.

Ancient Roman religion and beliefs implied rigorous processions such as the one shown aboverof a sacrificial ceremony in front of the Pantheon.
Notice the word “Suovetaurilia” at the top left – implying the sacrifice of a pig a sheep and a bull.

People told stories or myths about them. Each god or goddess looked after different people or things.

Why did the Romans borrow new gods?

The Romans often borrowed new gods from people they conquered. They hoped these new gods would make them stronger.

They borrowed gods from Egypt, for example, such as the goddess Isis.

Roman soldiers worshipped Mithras, a god from Iran. A soldier going on a journey might ask Mercury (god of travel) for help, as well as Mithras the soldiers’ god and he might also make a sacrifice to Neptune (the sea god) if he had to travel by ship!

What went on a Roman temple?

People worshipped the gods in special buildings called temples. Inside the temple was a statue of a god. Priests looked after the temple.

People went there to make sacrifices or offerings of food, flowers or money.

Sometimes the priest killed an animal, such as a bull, as part of the sacrifice ceremony. Some Emperors said they were gods too, so everyone had to make a sacrifice to the Emperor.

The apotheosis (transformation into gods) of Antoninus Pius and his wife Faustina; sculpted relief, c. 161 A.D.
Another element in the Roman state religion was what is generally referred to as the imperial cult. This cult regarded emperors and members of their families as gods.

On his death, Julius Caesar was officially recognised as a god, the Divine (‘Divus’) Julius, by the Roman state.

And in 29 B.C. Caesar’s adopted son, the first Roman emperor Augustus, allowed the culturally Greek cities of Asia Minor to set up temples to him.

This was really the first manifestation of Roman emperor-worship.

Romans also had gods at home. They believed in household spirits that protected the family. They had miniature temples, or shrines, in their homes.

The family would make offerings of food and drink to the household gods, and pray for good luck and protection.

Did Romans believe in life after death?

The Romans believed that a person’s spirit went to the underworld after the person died. To get there, the dead needed to cross the River Styx.

The dead person’s family would leave a coin on the dead body, to pay the ferryman, whose name was Charon.

Some of these old beliefs changed when Christianity was made the official religion of the Roman Empire by the Emperor Constantine in the 4th century A.D.

Before then, Christians got into trouble because they refused to worship the emperor as a god. Some Christians were arrested and put to death.

Fun Facts:

During the Saturnalia holiday, rich Romans were supposed to wait on their slaves.

Neptune, the sea god, had a son called Triton who was half-man, half-fish.

The Romans believed people called soothsayers or augurs could tell what the gods wanted and foretell the future by cutting open dead animals and looking at the insides.

…Romans in Scotland.

Romans 11 – The Remnant of Israel & Family and Children

Roman couple joining hands; the bride’s belt may show the knot symbolizing that the husband was “belted and bound” to her, which he was to untie in their bed (4th century sarcophagus).
Marriage in ancient Rome was a strictly monogamous institution: a Roman citizen by law could have only one spouse at a time.

The practice of monogamy distinguished the Greeks and Romans from other ancient civilizations, in which elite males typically had multiple wives.

Greco-Roman monogamy may have arisen from the egalitarianism of the democratic and republican political systems of the city-states. It is one aspect of ancient Roman culture that was embraced by early Christianity, which in turn perpetuated it as an ideal in later Western culture.

We’re almost done with this study of the Romans, tomorrow we’ll take a short look at…

Romans 11
The Remnant of Israel

1 I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.

2 God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying,

3 Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.

4 But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.

5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

“Remnant” – as it was in Elijah’s day, so it was in Paul’s day.  Despite widespread apostasy, a faithful remnant of Jews remained, as it is today too.

6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded

8 (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.

9 And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumbling block, and recompense unto them:

11:9-10 – the passage from Ps 69:22-23 was probably originally spoken by David concerning his enemies; Paul uses it to describe the results of the divine hardening.

10 Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.

11 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.

A group portrait of a mother, son and daughter on glass (c. 250 A.D.), once thought to be the family of Valentinian III.

12 Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?

13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:

14 If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.

15 For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?

16 For if the first fruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.

The first half of this verse is a reference to Num 15:17-21.  part of the dough made from the first of the harvested grain (first fruit) was offered to the Lord.  This consecrated the whole a batch.

17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;

18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.

Vindolanda was a Roman auxiliary fort just south of Hadrian’s Wall in northern England.
Located near the modern village of Bardon Mill, it guarded the Stanegate, the Roman road from the River Tyne to the Solway Firth.

“Thou bearest not the root, but the root thee” – the salvation of Gentile Christians is dependent on the Jews, especially the patriarchs (e.g., the Abrahamic covenant).

19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in.

20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not high-minded, but fear:

21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.

22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.

23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again.

24 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?

25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

Women’s names took the feminine form of their father’s family name: thus, Claudia Severa came from the family of the Claudii, while her friend Sulpicia Lepidina was from the Sulpicii.

“Mystery” – the so-called mystery religions of Paul’s day used the Greek word (mysterion) in the sense of something that was to be revealed only the initiated. 

Paul himself, however, used ti to refer to something formerly hidden or obscure but now revealed by God for all to know and understand.

26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes.

29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

30 For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:

31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.

32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

Wood writing tablet with a party invitation written in ink, in two hands, from Claudia Severa to Lepidina.

34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?

35 Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?

36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen.

Family and Children

What was life like for a Roman family?

Life for women in Roman times was often hard. The mother was less important than the father in the family. The father had the power of life or death over everyone.

Knucklebones, or Jacks, is a game of very ancient origin, played with usually five small objects, originally the “knucklebones” (actually the astragalus: a bone in the ankle, or hock of a sheep, which are thrown up and caught in various ways.

Modern knucklebones consist of six points, or knobs, proceeding from a common base, and are usually made of metal or plastic.

The winner is the first player to successfully complete a prescribed series of throws, which, while of the same general character, differ widely in detail.

The simplest consists in tossing up one stone, the jack, and picking up one or more from the table while it is in the air; and so on until all five stones have been picked up.

Another consists in tossing up first one stone, then two, then three and so on, and catching them on the back of the hand.

Different throws have received distinctive names, such as riding the elephant, peas in the pod, and horses in the stable.

As with many children’s playground games, the game is known by a wide variety of names including astragaloi, hucklebones, dibs, dibstones, jackstones, chuckstones, five-stones jackrocks, onesies, jax, kugelach, batu seremban, or snobs.

When a new baby was born it would be laid at its father’s feet – if the father picked the baby up it would live, but if he ignored the baby it would be taken away to die.

Women were expected to run the home, cook meals, and raise children. If they were wealthy, women were lucky; they had slaves to do the work.

Many girls were married at the age of 14. Marriages were often arranged between families. A man could divorce his wife if she did not give birth to a son.

Many women died young (in their 30s), because childbirth could be dangerous, and diseases were common.

Did Romans go to school?

Most children in Roman times did not go to school. Only quite rich families could afford to pay a teacher. Most schools were in towns.

Not many girls went to school, but some were taught at home by tutors, who were often educated slaves.

Boys from rich families learned history, mathematics, and literature at school, to prepare them for jobs in the army or government.

In poor families, girls and boys had to work, helping their parents.

What did Romans write with?

For short messages and at school, Roman wrote on soft wax tablets using a pointed metal stylus.

To use the tablet again, or rub out a mistake you smoothed the wax over with the blunt end of the stylus.

For important letters the Romans used a metal pen dipped in ink. They wrote on thin pieces of wood or on specially prepared animal skins.

Books did not have pages, they were written on scrolls made from pieces of animal skin glued together and then rolled up.

We know that Roman women wrote letters because some of their letters have survived. One was found at Vindolanda, a fort near Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland.

It is a birthday party invitation from Claudia Severa to her friend Sulpicia Lepidina and was written about 100 A.D.

What did Romans eat?

Poor Romans ate bread, vegetable soup, and porridge. Meat was a luxury, unless they lived in the countryside and could go hunting or fishing.

A Roman lamp, made in the shape of a foot. It would have been filled with oil.
Production of oil-lamps shifted to Italy as the main source of supply. Molds used. All lamps are closed in type.

Lamps produced in large scale in factories. The lamp is produced in two parts, the upper part with the spout and the lower part with the fuel chamber.

Most are of the characteristic Imperial Type. It was round with nozzles of different forms (volute, semi-volute, U shaped), with a closed body and with a central disk decorated with reliefs and its filling hole.

Poor people’s small homes had no kitchens. So they often took food round to the baker, to cook in his oven.

Many people bought takeways, such as sausages or fried fish, from food-shops.

Rich Romans had food cooked at home in the kitchen by slaves. Most ate a light breakfast and a snack at mid-day – perhaps bread and cheese, or boiled eggs and salad.

They ate dinner in late afternoon, with a starter, a meat course (such as hare, pig, beef, goat, chicken, fish or pigeon) followed by fruit or nuts. Ice cream was a treat.

Lettuce was served at the end of a meal because Romans believed it helped you sleep.

What were Roman toys like?

Roman children had some toys very like ones we play with today – such as toy soldiers, rattles, balls, doll’s houses, carts and pull-along animals on wheels.

Even poor children had board games, using pebbles for counters, and wooden dolls.

Some dolls had moveable arms and legs. Roman children had ivory letters to practice their spellings with. Favorite Roman pets were dogs, birds and monkeys.

A Roman pull-along toy – a pottery horse and rider on wheels.

Fun Facts:

Some Romans liked to eat snails fattened on milk, peacocks’ brains and flamingos’ tongues.

At dinner, slaves gave guests small hot bread rolls to wipe their plates clean.

Roman flour contained a lot of dust and bits. This made bread so coarse that it wore down people’s teeth.

Romans liked fun foods, such as a roast hare with bird’s wings stuck on, to look like a flying horse!

…religion.

Romans 10 – The Gentile Challenge & Roads and Places

Calleva Atrebatum (or Silchester Roman Town) was an Iron Age oppidum and subsequently a town in the Roman province of Britannia and the civitas capital of the Atrebates tribe.
Its ruins are beneath and to the west of the Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin, which is just within the town wall and about 1 mile (1.6 km) to the east of the modern village of Silchester, in the English county of Hampshire close to the boundary with Berkshire.

Reading is some 9 miles (14 km) north-east and Basingstoke is 5 miles (8.0 km) south.

Tomorrow we’ll look a bit closer at the personal things of the Romans; we’ll take a look at…

Romans 10
The Gentile challenge

1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they might be saved.

2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.

3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth.

“Christ is the end of the law” – although the Greek word for “end” (telos) can mean either (1) “termination,” “cessation,” or “(2) “goal,” culmination,” “fulfillment,” it seems best here to understand it in the latter sense.

Christ is the fulfillment of the law (see Matt 5:17) in the sense that He brought it to completion by obeying perfectly its demands and by fulfilling its types and prophecies.

The Christian is no longer “under the law” (6:15), since Christ has freed him from its condemnation, but the law still plays a role in his life.  He is liberated by the Holy Ghost to fulfill its moral demands.

5 For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.

“The man which doeth those things shall live by them” – Lev 18:5 speaks of the righteousness to which Israel was called under the Sinai covenant. 

Some understand Paul’s purpose in quoting it here as describing the way of obtaining righteousness (“shall live”) by keeping the law.

Calleva Atrebatum Some of the extensive ruins of the Roman town walls of Calleva Atrebatum.

Others think that the reference is to Christ, who perfectly fulfilled the law’s demands and thus makes salvation available to all who believe in Him (see Heb 5:9).

6 But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:)

10:6-7 – the purpose of the Old Testament quotation is to explain the nature of the righteousness that is by faith.

It does not require heroic feats such as bringing Christ down from heaven or up from the grave.

Deut 30:12-13 in its original context refers to the law, and Paul here applies the basic principle to Christ.

7 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)

8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;

Public baths originated from a communal need for cleanliness.
The term public is not completely accurate, as some types of public baths are restricted depending on membership, gender, religious affiliation, or other reasons.

As societies have changed, public baths have been replaced as private bathing facilities became more commonly available.

Public baths have also become incorporated into the social system as meeting places.

As the title suggests public bathing does not refer only to bathing. In ancient times public bathing included saunas, massages and relaxation therapies.

Members of the society considered it as a place to meet and socialize.

Public bathing could be compared to the spa of modern times.

“The word is night thee” – in the Old Testament passage the “word” is God’s word as found in the law. 

Paul takes the passage and applies it to the gospel, “the word of faith” – the main point being the accessibility of the gospel. 

Righteousness is gained by faith, not by deeds, and is readily available to anyone who will receive it freely from God through Christ.

9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

“Confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus” – the earliest Christian confession of fait (cf. 1 Cor 12:3), probably used at baptisms. 

In view of the fact that “Lord” is used over 6,000 times in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament) to clear that Paul, when using this word of Jesus, is ascribing deity to him.

And yes, if you are wondering, God wants you to confess  your sins to Him audibly, but in private.

10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

“No difference between the Jews and the Greek” – there is no difference between people, we are all the same in the eyes of God. 

Diocletian’s Palace is a building in Split, Croatia, that was built by the Roman emperor Diocletian at the turn of the fourth century A.D.
Diocletian built the massive palace in preparation for his retirement on 1 May 305 A.D.

It lies in a bay on the south side of a short peninsula running out from the Dalmatian coast, four miles from Salona, the capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia.

The terrain slopes gently seaward and is typical karst, consisting of low limestone ridges running east to west with marl in the clefts between them.

After the Romans abandoned the site, the Palace remained empty for several centuries.

In the 7th century, nearby residents fled to the walled palace in an effort to escape invading Slavs.
Since then the palace has been occupied, with residents making their homes and businesses within the palace basement and directly in its walls.

Today many restaurants and shops, and some homes, can still be found within the walls.

13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.

19 But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.

20 But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.

21 But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.

Roads and Places

How did people travel in Roman Britain?

In Roman times people travelled on land on horseback, in carts pulled by oxen, or walking. Before the Romans, Britain had no proper roads.

The Romans were famous for their roads. Some Roman roads exist to this day, nearly 2000 years after they were made.
Roman roads were superbly made. Why did the Romans put so much effort into building roads?

At the peak of Rome’s development, no fewer than 29 great military highways radiated from the capital, and the Late Empire’s 113 provinces were interconnected by 372 great road links.

The whole comprised more than 400,000 km of roads, of which over 80,500 km were stone-paved.

In Gaul alone, no less than 21,000 km of road are said to have been improved, and in Britain at least 4,000 km.

The courses, and sometimes the surfaces of many Roman roads survived for millennia. Some are overlaid by modern roads.

The Roman soldiers built good roads. All the roads they built were remarkably straight.

The Romans knew that the shortest distance from one place to another is a straight line, but their roads did zigzag sometimes, to make going uphill easier.

The Romans built their roads on foundations of clay, chalk and gravel.

They laid bigger flat stones on top. The road sloped from the middle to ditches on either side, so rain water drained off.

What was it like in Roman Britain?

Most of Roman Britain was wild, with forests and hills where few people lived.

Away from the towns, people lived in villages of round wooden houses with thatched roofs, much as they had before the Romans arrived.

Some wealthy Romans lived in villas. Villas were large farms with a big house for the owners. Servants and farm workers lived in small wooden houses.

Villas had rooms with painted walls and mosaic floors, baths and central heating. Most of the Roman villas found by archaeologists are in the south of England.

What were Roman towns like?

The Romans built towns in Britain, with walls and gates to let people in and out.

Pompeian “beehive” oven

Before the Romans came, people lived in villages, though some big settlements were like towns but with only wooden buildings.

Roman builders used stone, brick and tiles. Some Roman towns were built at Celtic places.

For example, Calleva Atrebatum was a Roman town built on a settlement of the Atrebates tribe. Its modern name is Silchester.

Roman towns were neatly laid out. Streets crisscrossed. There were shops, workshops, houses and yards for animals.

People gathered in the market and meeting area, the forum. The basilica was both a law court and town hall.

Many Roman towns had public baths; open to everyone, and an amphitheater.  By 100 A.D., London was the biggest town in Roman Britain.

Is Manchester a Roman town?

Reconstruction of the garden of the House of the Vettii at Pompeii.
In Pompeii one of the most famous of the luxurious residences (domus) is the so-called House of the Vettii, preserved like the rest of the Roman city by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 A.D.

The house is named for its owners, two successful freedmen: Aulus Vettius Conviva, an Augustalis, and Aulus Vettius Restitutus.

Its careful excavation has preserved almost all of the wall frescos, which were completed following the earthquake of 62 A.D, in the manner art historians term the “Pompeiian Fourth Style.”

If a place-name has ‘chester’ or ‘cester’ in it (from castrum, the Roman word for a fort), it’s almost certainly Roman.

Many towns grew up close to or on the site of a Roman fort. Examples are Chester, Gloucester, and Manchester. You can probably find more.

What were the finest Roman homes?

The biggest and grandest Roman homes were villas and rulers’ palaces. The governor of Britain had a palace in London.

Another palace was beside the sea, at Fishbourne (near Chichester in West Sussex).

Archaeologists have uncovered the ruins. The house had about 100 rooms, an underfloor heating system, and lots of mosaics. You can still see some today.

Fun Facts:

When they built a road across boggy ground, Roman engineers put down bundles of sticks and sheepskins as foundations, to stop the road sinking.

The heavy goods vehicle of Roman Britain was a four-wheeled cart pulled by up to eight oxen. 

The Romans buried their dead along roads out of town. The idea was that ghosts would not find their way back to their old homes.

A perfect masonry and tile cooking platform, complete with a tiny candle niche.

Roman towns had public lavatories (for men). There were large pottery jars at street corners for men and boys to ‘wee’ in. The jars were emptied at night.

Urine was a useful chemical. It was used to bleach cloth. Romans also used urine to make toothpaste!

The finest Roman homes had glass windows, but because the glass was thick and usually a greenish color, it can’t have been very light inside.

…family and children aspect.

Romans 9 – God’s Righteousness and Mercy & Roman Defense of Britain

Hadrian’s Wall was a defensive fortification in Roman Britain, begun in 122 A.D. during the rule of emperor Hadrian.
In addition to its military role, gates through the wall served as customs posts.

A significant portion of the wall still exists and can be followed on foot along the Hadrian’s Wall Path. It is the most popular tourist attraction in Northern England and was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.

Hadrian’s Wall was 80 Roman miles or 117.5 km (73.0 mi) long; its width and height were dependent on the construction materials which were available nearby.

East of the River Irthing, the wall was made from squared stone and measured 3 metres (9.8 feet) wide and 5 to 6 metres (16 to 20 feet) high, while west of the river the wall was made from turf and measured 6 metres (20 feet) wide and 3.5 metres (11 feet) high.

This does not include the wall’s ditches, berms and forts. The central section measured eight Roman feet wide (7.8 ft or 2.4 m) on a 10-foot (3.0 m) base.

Some parts of this section of the wall survive to a height of 10 feet.

Tomorrow, still in the study of Rome, we will look at…

Romans 9
God’s Righteousness and Mercy

1 I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,

2 That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.

3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:

4 Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;

“Israelites” – the descendants of Jacob (who was renamed Israel by God).  The name was used for the entire nation, then of the northern kingdom after the nation was divided, the southern kingdom being called Judah.

During the Intertestamental period and later in New Testament times, Palestinian Jews used the title to indicate that they were the chosen people of God. 

Its use here is especially relevant because Paul is about to show that, despite Israel’s unbelief and disobedience, God’s promises to her are still valid.

5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.

6 Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:

“Word of God” – his clearly stated purpose, which had not failed, because “they are not all Israel which are of Israel.” 

Paul is not denying the election of all Israel (as a nation) but stating that within Israel there is a separation, that of unbelieving Israel and believing Israel.

Physical descent is no guarantee of a place in God’s family, faith is the only guarantee.

7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.

8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.

“Children of the flesh” – those merely biologically descended from Abraham.

The Picts were a group of Late Iron Age and Early Medieval Celtic people living in ancient eastern and northern Scotland.
We know something about where they lived and what their culture was like from the geographical distribution of brochs, Brythonic place name elements, and Pictish stones.

Picts are attested to in written records from before the Roman conquest of Britain to the 10th century, when they are thought to have merged with the Gaels.

“Children of God” – see v. 4.  Not all Israelites were God’s children.  The reference is to the Israel of faith in Jesus Christ.

9 For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sara shall have a son.

10 And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac;

11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)

“Neither having done any good or evil” – God’s choice of Jacob was based on sovereign freedom, not on the fulfillment of any prior conditions.]

“Not of works, but of him that calleth” – before Rebekah’s children were even born, God made a choice – a choice obviously not based on works.

12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.

13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

“Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated” – equivalent to “Jacob I chose, but Esau I rejected.” 

In vv. 6-13 Paul is dealing with national election – he is portraying the nation Israel (Jacob) over the nation Edom (Esau).

Paul’s intention is evident in light of the problem he is addressing: How can God’s promise stand when so many who comprise Israel (in the Old Testament collective sense) are unbelieving and therefore cut off?

14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.

15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

Wallsend is an area in North Tyneside, Tyne and Wear, Northeast of England. Wallsend derives its name as the location of the end of Hadrian’s Wall.
It has a population of 42,842 and lies 3.5 miles east of Newcastle City Center.

In Roman times, Wallsend hosted the fort Segedunum. This fort protected the eastern end of Hadrian’s Wall.

Paul denies injustice in God’s dealing with Isaac and Ishmael, and Jacob and Esau, by appealing to God’s sovereign right to dispense mercy as He chooses.

16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.

18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?

20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?

21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor?

The analogy between God and the potter and between man and the pot should not be pressed to the extreme.  The main point is the sovereign freedom of God in dealing with man.

22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:

The Antonine Wall is a stone and turf fortification built by the Romans across what is now the Central Belt of Scotland, between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde.
Representing the northernmost frontier barrier of the Roman Empire, it spanned approximately 63 kilometres (39 miles) and was about 3 metres (10 feet) high and 5 metres (16 feet) wide.

Security was bolstered by a deep ditch on the northern side. The barrier was the second of two “great walls” created by the Romans in Northern Britain.

Its ruins are less evident than the better known Hadrian’s Wall to the south.

Construction began in 142 A.D. at the order of Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius, and took about 12 years to complete.

No one can call God to account for what He does.  But He does not exercise His freedom of choice arbitrarily, and He shows great patience even toward the objects of His wrath. 

In light of 2:4, the purpose of such patience is to bring about repentance.

23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,

24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

25 As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.

9:25-26 – in the original context these passages from Hosea refer to the spiritual restoration of Israel.  

But Paul finds in them the principle that God is a saving, forgiving, restoring God, who delights to take those who are “not my people” and make them “my people”.

Paul then applies this principle to Gentiles, whom God makes His people by sovereignly grafting them into covenant relationship.

26 And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.

27 Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:

9:27-29 – the two passages from Israel indicate that only a small remnant will survive from the great multitude of Israel’s. 

God’s calling includes both Jews and Gentiles, but the vast majority are Gentiles, as v. 30 suggests.

28 For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.

Septimius Severus, also known as Severus, was Roman Emperor from 193 to 211. Severus was born in Leptis Magna in the province of Africa.
As a young man he advanced through the cursus honorum—the customary succession of offices—under the reigns of Marcus Aurelius and Commodus.

Severus seized power after the death of Emperor Pertinax in 193 during the Year of the Five Emperors.

After deposing and killing the incumbent emperor Didius Julianus, Severus fought his rival claimants, the generals Pescennius Niger and Clodius Albinus.

Niger was defeated in 194 at the Battle of Issus in Cilicia. Later that year Severus waged a short punitive campaign beyond the eastern frontier, annexing the Kingdom of Osroene as a new province.

Severus defeated Albinus three years later at the Battle of Lugdunum in Gaul.

29 And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrah.

30 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.

9:30-32 – a new step in Paul’s argument: the reasons for Israel’s rejection lay in the nature of her disobedience – she failed to obey her own God-given law, which in reality was pointing to Christ.

She pursued the law – yet not by faith but by works.  Thus the real cause of Israel’s rejection was that she failed to believe.

31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.

“Law of righteousness” – the law that prescribed the way to righteousness.  Paul does not reject obedience to the law but righteousness by works, the attempt to use the law to put God in one’s debt.

32 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone;

“Not by faith’ – the failure of Israel was not that she pursued the wrong thing (i.e., righteous standing before God), but that she pursued it by works in a futile effort to merit God’s favor rather than pursuing it by faith.

“That stumbling stone” – Jesus, the Messiah.  God’s rejection of Israel was not arbitrary but was based on Israel’s rejection of God’s way of gaining righteousness (faith).

33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumbling stone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

Roman Defense of Britain

Hadrian was Roman Emperor from 117 to 138. He re-built the Pantheon and constructed the Temple of Venus and Roma.
He is also known for building Hadrian’s Wall, which marked the northern limit of Roman Britain.

Hadrian was regarded by some as a humanist and was philhellene in most of his tastes.

He is regarded as one of the Five Good Emperors.

Hadrian was born Publius Aelius Hadrianus to an ethnically Italian family, either in Italica near Santiponce (in modern-day Spain).

His predecessor Trajan was a maternal cousin of Hadrian’s father.

Trajan never officially designated an heir, but according to his wife Pompeia Plotina, Trajan named Hadrian emperor immediately before his death.

Trajan’s wife and his friend Licinius Sura were well-disposed towards Hadrian, and he may well have owed his succession to them.

Why did Hadrian build his wall?

After the Romans invaded southern Britain, they had to defend it. They built roads, so that soldiers could march quickly to deal with trouble.

 They also built three very large army forts, and lots of smaller camps, for soldiers to live in. At first these forts were built of wood, later they were built of stone.

Scotland was not part of Roman Britain, although in 84 A.D., the Romans won a big battle against the Picts who lived in Scotland.

In 122 A.D. the Emperor Hadrian ordered his soldiers to build a wall between Roman Britain and Scotland.

The wall ran from Wallsend in the east to Bowness on the Solway Firth. You can still walk along parts of Hadrian’s Wall today.

In 140 A.D., the Romans added another wall further north. It’s called the Antonine Wall.

In the 3rd century A.D. there was fighting along Hadrian’s Wall. Emperor Septimius Severus had to come to Britain to fight tribes invading from Scotland.

Although his soldiers won the battles, he got sick and died at York in 211 A.D.

Why did the Romans build roads?

Roman soldiers needed to march from one part of the country to another quickly. So the Romans built roads.

Roman roads were made from stones, and were better than muddy tracks for travel on foot or in carts.

So they made travelling around Britain easier for everyone. You can still see the remains of some Roman roads today.

How did Roman Britain defend itself?

Britain was on the edge of the Roman Empire. People living outside the empire sometimes tried to attack Roman Britain.

Some were pirates in ships. The Romans kept a navy to defend Britain. They also built forts on the coast.

Soldiers kept watch at the forts, and fought any enemies who tried to land in Britain.

The forts are called Saxon Shore forts, because many of the people attacking Britain at this time were Saxons. The Saxons were people living in north Germany.

The Romans also had to defend Hadrian’s Wall, against attacks by Picts and other tribes These people lived in northern Britain, outside the Roman part. Soldiers sent to defend the wall lived in forts and camps.

The Mausoleum of Hadrian, usually known as Castel Sant’Angelo (English: Castle of the Holy Angel), is a towering cylindrical building in Parco Adriano, Rome, Italy.
It was initially commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his family. The building was later used by the popes as a fortress and castle, and is now a museum. The Castel was once the tallest building in Rome.

Fun Facts:

The Saxon Shore fort at Portchester was so big that hundreds of years later people built a whole castle in just one corner of it!

Roman soldiers would build a camp, with a ditch and a wall of wooden stakes at the end of a long day’s march!

Roman ships had pointed rams at the front end (prow). This was for smashing holes in other ships.

Sailors in the Roman navy wore blue, just like sailors today. Most soldiers wore red tunics.

Most Roman ships had oars as well as sails. The biggest ships had more than 150 oars, with one or two men working each oar.

…roads and places.

Romans 8 – Life in the Spirit & Invasion

Gaul is a historical name used in the context of Ancient Rome in references to the region of Western Europe approximating present day France, Luxembourg and Belgium, but also sometimes including the Po Valley, western Switzerland, and the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the west bank of the Rhine.
In English, the word Gaul may also refer to an inhabitant of that region, although the expression may be used more generally for all ancient speakers of the Gaulish language.

Tomorrow, still in the war zone area, we’ll look at…

Romans 8
Life in the Spirit

1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

“Condemnation” – the law brings condemnation because it points out, stimulates and condemns sin.  But the Christian is no longer “under the law” (6:14).

2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

“”The law of the Spirit of life” – the controlling power of the Holy Ghost, who is life-giving. 

Paul uses the word “law” in several different ways in Romans – to mean, e.g., a controlling power (here); God’s law (2:17-29; 9:31; 10:3-5); the Pentateuch (3:21); the Old Testament as a whole (3:19); a principle (3:27).

“Law of sin and death” – the controlling power of sin, which ultimately produces death, death from God.

3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

Julius Caesar
51 BCE: The conquest of Gaul effectively completed, Caesar set up an efficient provincial administration to govern the vast territories; he published his history The Gallic Wars.

The Optimates in Rome attempted to cut short Caesar’s term as governor of Gaul and made it clear that he would be immediately prosecuted if he returned to Rome as a private citizen (Caesar wanted to run for the consulship in absentia so that he could not be prosecuted).

Pompey and Caesar were maneuvered into a public split; neither could yield to the other without a loss of honor, dignity, and power.

“Could not do” – the law was not able to overcome sin.  It could point out, condemn and even stimulate sin, but it could not remove it.

“It is the likeness of sinful flesh” – Christ in His incarnation became truly a man, but, unlike all other men, was sinless.

4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

“Righteousness of the law” – the law still plays a role in the life of a believer – however, not as a means of salvation but as a moral and ethical guide, obeyed out of love for God and by the power that the Spirit provides.

This is the fulfillment of Jer 31:33-34 (a prophecy of the new covenant).

5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

5:5-8 – two mind-sets are described here: that of the sinful nature and that of the Spirit.  The former leads to death, the latter to life and peace. 

The sinful nature is bound up with death, hostility to God, insubordination and unacceptability to God (and these are not just acts of violence, but also acts of greed, selfishness, and the like).

6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

“He is none of his own” – if a person does not possess the indwelling Holy Ghost, he does not possess Christ either.  The Christian is indwelt by the Spirit as a result of his justification.

10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.

Emperor Claudius
The Roman conquest of Britain was a gradual process, beginning effectively in 43 A.D. under Emperor Claudius, whose general Aulus Plautius served as first governor of Roman Britain (Latin: Britannia).

Great Britain had already frequently been the target of invasions, planned and actual, by forces of the Roman Republic and Roman Empire.

In common with other regions on the edge of the empire, Britain had enjoyed diplomatic and trading links with the Romans in the century since Julius Caesar’s expeditions in 55 and 54 BC, and Roman economic and cultural influence was a significant part of the British late pre-Roman Iron Age, especially in the south.

13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

“Son’s of God” – God is the Father of all in the sense that He created all and His love and providential care are extended to all.  But not all are His children. 

Jesus said to the unbelieving Jews of His day, “Ye are of your father the devil (Jn 78:44).

People become children of God through faith in God’s unique Son (see Jn 1:12-13) and being led by God’s Spirit is the hallmark of this relationship.

15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.

20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,

Clent King Cogidubnus,
A Client King is typically used of non-Roman rulers who enjoyed Roman patronage, but were not treated as equals.

Romans called such rulers rex sociusque et amicus ‘king, ally, and friend’ when the Senate formally recognized them.

Braund emphasizes that there is little authority for the actual term “client king.”

21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

“First fruits of the Spirit” – the Christian’s possession of the Holy Ghost is not only evidence of his present salvation but is also a pledge of his future inheritance – and not only a pledge but also the down payment on that inheritance.

“Adoption” – Christian’s are already God’s children, but this is a referenced to the full realization of our inheritance in Christ.

24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?

“By hope” – we are saved by faith, not hope; but hope accompanies salvation.

“With groanings which cannot be uttered” – in v. 23 it is the believer who groan’s; here it is the Holy Spirit.  Whether Paul means words that are unspoken or words that cannot be expressed in human language is not clear – probably the former.

There are some things in life that no one can understand without experiencing them, for example, only a:

pregnant woman truly understands child birth,

prisoner understands incarceration,

The Atrebates (singular Atrebas) were a Belgic tribe of Gaul and Britain before the Roman conquests.
Atrebates comes from proto-Celtic ad-treb-a-t-es, ‘inhabitants. The Celtic root is treb- ‘building’, ‘home’ (cf. Old Irish treb ‘building’, ‘farm’, Welsh tref ‘town’, Middle Breton treff ‘city’, toponyms in Tre-, Provençal trevar ‘to live in a house or in a village’), which has been linked to the root of English thorpe, ‘village’.

Edith Wightman suggested that their name may be intended to mean the people of the (inland) earth to contrast with that of the neighboring coastal Morini, “people of the sea.”

drug addict understands the power that drugs have over them (it’s not quite the same as your average addiction), etc.

This is the same as the groanings of the Holy Ghost, only a believer that is close to God can understand.

25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

Fishbourne Roman Palace is in the village of Fishbourne, Chichester in West Sussex.
The large palace was built in the 1st century A.D., around thirty years after the Roman conquest of Britain on the site of a Roman army supply base established at the Claudian invasion in 43 A.D.

The rectangular palace surrounded formal gardens, the northern half of which have been reconstructed.

There were extensive alterations in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, with many of the original black and white mosaics being overlaid with more sophisticated coloured work, including the perfectly preserved dolphin mosaic in the north wing.

More alterations were in progress when the palace burnt down in around 270, after which it was abandoned.

31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

33 Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.

34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

“Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature”if you truly love God, nothing can take you away from Him.  That does not mean you will not sin and do things that you know He doesn’t want you to do. 

The power of sin (Satan) is tremendous and it attacks our desires and we do fail and of course, we feel horrible afterwards. 

Why God allows that is not for us to question, all we need to know is that God still loves us and forgives us.  As Paul ad stated in 7:15-25 to 8:1).

Invasion

Roman Britain about 410

What was Britain like before the Romans?

Before the Romans invaded, Celts lived in Britain. There were lots of different tribes ruled by kings or chiefs. Chiefs often fought one another.

A chief would lead his warriors into battle in chariots pulled by horses. For defense against enemies, they built forts on hilltops. These hill-forts had earth banks and wooden walls.

In Celtic Britain there were no towns. Most people were farmers living in villages. They made round houses from wood and mud, with Thatched roofs.

There were no roads. People travelled by boats on rivers, or along muddy paths. Some British Celts crossed the sea to trade with other Celts in the Roman Empire.

Why did the Romans invade?

The Romans ruled Gaul (Gallia they called it). Today it’s France. In 55 B.C. the Roman General Julius Caesar led his army across the sea from Gaul to Britain.

He wanted to make Britain part of Rome’s empire. The British Celts fought bravely, and Caesar soon went back to Gaul.

A Celtic shield, found in the River Thames (London). It’s too fine for use in battle.
Perhaps it was thrown in the river as a gift to the gods.

Celtic Britain (The Iron Age – 600 BC – 50 AD)

The Iron Age is the age of the “Celt” in Britain.

Over the 500 or so years leading up to the first Roman invasion a Celtic culture established itself throughout the British Isles. Who were these Celts?

For a start, the concept of a “Celtic” people is a modern and somewhat romantic reinterpretation of history. The “Celts” were warring tribes who certainly wouldn’t have seen themselves as one people at the time.

The “Celts” as we traditionaly regard them exist largely in the magnificence of their art and the words of the Romans who fought them.

The trouble with the reports of the Romans is that they were a mix of reportage and political propaganda.

It was politically expedient for the Celtic peoples to be coloured as barbarians and the Romans as a great civilizing force. And history written by the winners is always suspect.

Next year, in 54 B.C. the Romans came back. This time Caesar had 30,000 soldiers. They were surprised to see chariots.

The Romans had stopped using chariots in battles. Caesar captured a Celtic hill-fort. Then, again, he went away. He did not think Britain was worth a long war, and he wanted to get back to Rome.

Nearly a hundred years later, in 43 A.D., the Romans returned. Emperor Claudius sent an army to invade Britain. The army had four legions.

This time the Romans conquered the southern half of Britain, and made it part of the Roman Empire.

How did the British fight back?

Some Celts made friends with the Romans, in return for keeping their kingdoms. Their leaders were called “client kings”. They agreed to obey Roman laws, and pay Roman taxes.

One client king was Cogidumnus, the ruler of the Atrebates of southern Britain. The Roman palace at Fishbourne (West Sussex) was probably built for him. He was a “Roman Briton”.

Other British leaders fought the Romans. At Maiden Castle (a hill-fort near Dorchester in Dorset) archaeologists found evidence of a battle which the Romans had won.

Buried on the site were the skeletons of young men, some of which had cut marks of Roman swords on the bones.

The best British leader was Caratacus, but he was beaten in 51 A.D. The Romans took him as a prisoner to Rome, but treated him well.

Fun Facts:

After winning a battle the Celts would chop off the heads of their enemies, and take them home.

The palace at Fishbourne had about 100 rooms. Most rooms had floors made of mosaics, with pictures and patterns made of hundreds of tiny stones.

When the Romans arrived, they found some Britons kept sacred geese. Nobody was allowed to eat the birds.

The Romans had their own favorite story about geese saving the city of Rome. The geese cackled when enemies tried to climb the city walls, and warned the Roman guards.

…Roman defense of Britain.

Romans 7 – Married to Christ & Roman Remains

From its earliest foundation the Roman city of Londinium was almost certainly surrounded by some kind of fortification.
As well as providing defense, the construction of a stone wall represented the status of the city.

Using the evidence of excavated coins, archaeologists have dated the construction of the first stone city wall to between 190 and 225 A.D.

The wall was about 2.5 miles long, enclosing an area of about 330 acres; it originally included four city gates with an additional entrance into the legionary fortress at Cripplegate.

In front of the eastern face of the wall was a ditch, which was up to 6 feet deep and 16 feet across.

This section of the wall stood close to the south-east corner of the ditch, now lying inside the bailey of the Tower of London.

It is built of rubble (mostly Kentish ragstone) bound in a hard mortar, and faced on either side by roughly squared ragstone blocks.
At every fifth or sixth course the wall incorporates a horizontal band of red Roman tiles, intended to ensure the courses remained level over long stretches of masonry.
This gives the wall its distinctive striped appearance. This section shows signs of medieval alteration, particularly in its upper portions, and its original height is unknown; but at about 35 foot above present ground level it is one of the tallest surviving sections parts of the circuit.

The wall was originally built without the external D-shaped bastions or turrets which can be seen in several places around the city: these were added in the 4th century AD, almost certainly as emplacements for catapults or stone-throwing engines.

One of these bastions, immediately to the north of the standing section of wall, has been found to incorporate reused stonework. This includes parts of a monument bearing the inscription of Julius Alpinus Classicianus, procurator of Britain, who was responsible for the reconstruction of London after the chaos of Boudicca’s rebellion of 60 A.D. and its violent aftermath.

The dismantling of this monument indicates the urgency with which the wall was strengthened in the later Roman period. The reconstructed Classicianus monument is now displayed in the British Museum, although a replica can be viewed on the site.

Tomorrow we’ll look at… 

Romans 7
Married to Christ

1 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?

2 For the woman which hath a husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.

3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.

4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.

“Dead to the law” – the law’s power to condemn no longer threatens the Christian, whose death here is to be understood in terms of 6:2-7.  There, however, he dies to sin; here he dies to the law.  The result is that the law has no more hold on him.

5 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.

“In the flesh” – a condition, so far as Christians are concerned, that belongs to the past – the unregenerate state.

“By the law” – the law not only reveals sin; it also stimulates it.  The natural tendency in man is to desire the forbidden thing.

6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.

8 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.

9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.

“I was alive…once” – Paul reviews his own experience from the vantage point of his present understanding.  Before he realized that the law condemned him to death, he was alive. 

Reference is to the time either before his bar mitzvah or before his conversion, when the true rigor of the law became clear to him (see Lk 18:20-21; Phil 3:6).

10 And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.

11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.

“Ordained to life” – as it worked out, law became the avenue through which sin entered – both in Paul’s experience and in that of mankind.  Instead of giving life, the law brought condemnation; instead of producing holiness, it stimulated sin.

12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.

“The law is holy” – despite the despicable use that sin made of the law, the law was not to blame.  The law is God’s and as such is holy, righteous and good.

King Arthur is a legendary British leader of the late 5th and early 6th centuries, who, according to medieval histories and romances, led the defence of Britain against Saxon invaders in the early 6th century.

13 Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.

14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.

“I allow not” – I do not understand.  The struggle within creates tension, ambivalence and confusion.

16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.

“I consent unto the law that it is good” – even when Paul is rebellious and disobedient, the Holy Spirit reveals to him the essential goodness of the law.

17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

“No more I that do it” – not an attempt to escape moral responsibility but a statement of the great control of sin can have over a Christian’s life.

The Latin word basilica has three distinct applications in modern English. The word was originally used to describe an open, Roman, public court building, usually located adjacent to the forum of a Roman town.

18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.

“In me dwelleth no good thing” – a reference to man’s fallen nature, as the last phrase of the sentence indicates.  Paul is not saying that no goodness at all exists in Christians.

19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.

20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.

22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:

St Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City

23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

“Another law” – a principle or force at work in Paul preventing him from giving obedience to God’s law.

“Law of my mind” – his desire to obey God’s law.

24 O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

Roman Remains

What happened to Roman Britain?

From the 2nd century A.D. Roman Britain found itself under attack from people who lived outside the Roman borders.

Honorius was the Western Roman Emperor from 395 to 423.
He was the younger son of emperor Theodosius I and his first wife Aelia Flaccilla, and brother of Arcadius, who was the Byzantine Emperor from 395 until his death in 408.

Even by the standards of the rapidly declining Western Empire,

Honorius’ reign was precarious and chaotic. His reign was supported by his principal general,

Flavius Stilicho, who was successively Honorius’s guardian (during his childhood) and his father-in-law (after the emperor became an adult).

Stilicho’s generalship helped preserve some level of stability, but with his execution, the Western Roman Empire moved closer to collapse.

The Romans thought these people were not civilised and called them barbarians. The Roman army and navy defended Britain.

By the 5th century A.D. barbarian tribes were attacking other parts of the Roman Emperor Honorius decided that the Roman legions in Britain were needed elsewhere.

He sent a letter to the people of Britain telling them the soldiers had to leave.

They must fight the Anglo-Saxons and invaders on their own. In 410 A.D. the last Romans left.

Did people go on living in Roman towns?

The Anglo-Saxons and other newcomers settled in Britain and set up new kingdoms. They were farmers, not townspeople. Roman stone buildings were not used or repaired. They slowly crumbled away.

People took away stones to build farmhouses or churches. People built new wooden towns inside the old Roman ones.

Many Roman towns kept at least parts of their walls until the Middle Ages. Part of London’s Roman Wall is still standing!

What did the Romans leave behind?

The Roman army left Britain over 1,500 years ago. They left behind a changed country.

Britain had roads and towns. It had new plants and animals, such as parsley, sweet chestnut and chickens. Measurements (miles, feet and inches) still used by many people come from the Romans.

The Romans also introduced Christianity to Britain. Many churches are still built using designs like a Roman Basilica.

How did the Romans change the way we speak and write?

The Romans wrote their history, their literature and their laws. Before the Romans conquered Britain, very few people in Britain could read or write.

Stories and knowledge were passed on by word of mouth. From Roman times onwards, people in Britain wrote things down.

Educated people wrote in Latin, but later wrote books in their own languages, English and Welsh, for example. The English and Welsh languages changed because of the Romans.

The term Anglo-Saxon is a relatively modern one. It refers to settlers from the German regions of Angeln and Saxony, who made their way over to Britain after the fall of the Roman Empire around 410. A.D.
Romans, Anglo-Saxons and Vikings’ is the longest British period in the primary history curriculum, lasting a thousand years – a millennium.

It is also the most formative period in British history, when the country experienced several waves of invasion, including the last invasion to have been successful, in 1066.

It both begins and ends with an invasion: the first Roman invasion in 55 B.C. and the Norman invasion of William the Conqueror in 1066.

Add in between were the Anglo-Saxons and then the Vikings.

Many words in English and Welsh have links to Latin. ‘Pedestrian’ is one. See if you can find some more….

How can we find out more about the Romans?

In Britain, there are archaeological sites and museums. Some are at places you can visit, where the Romans actually lived.

In museums and site exhibitions, you can see, and sometimes touch, objects and buildings made by Roman people.

You can walk round the ruins of a Roman fort, or a Roman baths, or what was once the dining room of a Roman villa.

Fun Facts:

Some people believe that King Arthur (of the Knights and Round Table) was a Roman-British general who fought the Saxons.

The calendar we use dates from Roman times. The old Roman calendar had 10 months, not 12.

Julius Caesar organised a new calendar in 45 B.C. He made the New Year start in January, not March.

…Invasion.