Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It's Xmas time: Jesus, Masada & Ancient Rome

It's Xmas time: Jesus, Masada & Ancient Rome

As it gets close to Xmas time in Australia I can't help but think of Jesus, Israel & Ancient Rome.  Apart from Xmas feeling "out of season" in Australia as it is based on a winter festival (the winter solstice on December 21st), the hot weather at this time of year down under, reminds of me of Masada.

I suppose it is the Essenes and the Dead Sea Scrolls that also contributes to me thinking of Masada at Xmas time.  The journey from Jerusalem to Masada will take you past the famous cave of the "essene cult", the Hebrew sect that did not want to live under Roman Domination.

Having lived in the old city of Jerusalem, my morning walk consisted of walking past the famous cardo every morning.

The Cardo in the Old City of Jerusalem

I couldn't help but to think of Ancient Rome every morning. I came to despise this, because Ancient Rome belongs in Italy not Israel. As grand as the architecture of Ancient Rome, to me it represented something that felt out of place.


One couldn't help but feel impressed by the Roman Engineering at Masada.  Even thousands of years after its destruction, the stone building would still provide a cool feeling amongst the blazing hot sun of the Middle Eastern desert. But as impressive as this amazing palace of Herod the not so Great was, the question I ask, was the Roman Expansion worth it?

Couldn't the Romans just be contented with living in present day Italy? Did they have to push the Celts all the way to Ireland from the continent. Did they have to try to take over every country and enslave them?

This is the story around Jesus time. It is the battle of the Roman Empire against the World.  

The Roman Empire at its greatest extent under Trajan in AD 117.

This Roman system was out of date 2000 years ago and it certainly is today, yet we still use the absurd Roman Calendar today. A calendar that is technically inaccurate in regards to the interpretation of months (derived from the moon) and the seasons. Days of the month must be equally split alternatively with 29 & 30 days respectively to reflect the 29.5 day cycle of the moon. Why is February only 28 days? 

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