Kicking away the dirt hiding Roman history and finding what lies beneath...have we got the age of Rome all wrong?
Thursday, 12 July 2012
Today is Julius Caesar's birthday, he was born on July 13th, 100BC (or the year 653 if you were Roman). The month July is named after him - if he hadn't been around we'd be calling it Quinember, and we'd probably be using a calendar that alternated between twelve and thirteen months...just like it was before he became Dictator for Life. Yes, this was a man who left a big mark on his time - he was declared a god by his people and a century after his death he was still a divisive world figure. So much so that in 69AD he became one of the most recognised characters from the Book of Revelations and a symbol for all things evil still used today.
Say what? Yep...Julius Caesar is the Second Beast John of Patmos described with the number 666. I know this is a big call, but John admits '666' is a code for a man's name, and well here it is. Julius Caesar was born 653 years after the foundation of Rome. He was born on the 13th. Add the two together...and well, I don't think John - an exiled Roman citizen living in an island cave - was trying to be too tricky. There are other clues in Revelation's Chapter 13 too - namely the grotesque First Beast John says the man '666' controlled.This was a creature with ten horns, seven heads - one of which was mortally wounded - and appeared as a leopard, a bear and a lion. Very bizarre stuff, but let's break it down from the perspective of 69AD. The seven heads represents the seven Caesars to have ruled since Julius (Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Galba and Otho) - the mortally wounded head was Nero, who had committed suicide the year before and had begun the Christian persecutions. The leopard, bear and lion were all furs worn by the various standard bearers who marched at the head of each legion. And the ten horns? This could mean the ten legions Julius Caesar crushed Gaul with...but most likely means the Tenth Legion - Julius Caesar's favourite and also known as Caesar's Legion. In 69AD the Tenth Legion was in Judea putting down the Jewish Revolt, and was most famously involved in the siege of Masada three years later.
So why did John of Patmos include all this in his book? Julius Caesar had been dead for more than one hundred years, right? The best I can tell, John saw all of the legions and subsquent Caesars as a creation of just one man. And this meant every terrible deed committed in the name of Rome was a deed committed in the name of Julius Caesar - a false god to boot. I get the impression John of Patmos didn't like him - but then sitting in a remote cave for two years could leave anyone a little upset. Needless to say he wouldn't be wishing Julius Caesar 'Happy Birthday' today.