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The Roman Peace
What the people thought of Rome in the centuries that followed the crucifixion,
before the "man of sin" was set up in 538AD:-
A quote from
Cultural life from the Antonines to Constantine.
ancient/ Greek and Roman Civilizations: ancient/ Rome: THE LATER ROMAN EMPIRE: Religious and cultural life in the 3rd century.
Latin literature enjoyed its "Silver Age" under the Antonines, with the majority of great authors, such as Tacitus, Juvenal, and Pliny the Younger, having begun their careers under Domitian. They had no heirs: after Tacitus, Roman history was reduced to biography.
The period when the comment below was written,
was the "Age of the Antonines" (the 1st - 3rd centuries AD).
Toynbee wrote that it was the time
"... which Gibbon [the great historian 1737-1794] long afterwards was to adjudge the period when the human race attained its highest point of felicity [bliss]."
An abridgment of Volumes VII -X
hostile Greek men of letters, writing in the Age of the Antonines, which Gibbon long afterwards was to adjudge the period when the human race attained its highest point of felicity.
"There is no salvation in the exercise of a dominion divorced from power. To find oneself under the dominion of one's superiors is a "second best" alternative; but this "second best" proved to be the best of all in our present experience of the Roman Empire. This happy experience has moved the whole World to cleave to Rome with might and main. The World would no more think of seceding from Rome than a ship's crew would think of parting company with the pilot. You must have seen bats in a cave clinging tight to one another and to the rocks; and this is an apt image of the whole World's dependence on Rome. In every heart today the focus of anxiety is the fear of becoming detached from the cluster. The thought of being abandoned by Rome is so appalling that it precludes any thought of wantonly abandoning her."
"There is an end of those disputes over sovereignty and prestige which were the causes of the outbreak of all the wars of the past; and, while some of the nations, like noiselessly flowing water, are delightfully quiet - rejoicing in their release from toil and trouble, and aware at last that all their old struggles were to no purpose - there are other nations which do not even know or remember whether they once sat in the seat of power. In fact we are witnessing a new version of the Pamphylians myth (or is it Plato's own?). At a moment when the states of the World were already laid out on the funeral pyre as the victims of their own fratricidal strife and turmoil, they were all at once presented with the [Roman] dominion and straightway came to life again. How they arrived at this condition they are unable to say. They know nothing about it, and can only marvel at their present wellbeing. They are like sleepers awakened who have come to themselves and now dismiss from their thoughts the dreams that obsessed them only a moment ago. They no longer find it credible that there were ever such things as wars . . . . The entire Inhabited World now keeps perpetual holiday .... So that the only people who still need pity for the good things that they are missing are those outside your empire if there are any such people left .... "
Aristeides, P. Aelius (A.D. 117-189): In Romam.
This quaint scepticism on the question whether there were in fact any people worth mentioning outside the Roman Empire is characteristic, and is our justification for calling such institutions universal states. They were universal not geographically but psychologically. Horace, for example, in one of his Odes, tells us that he does not bother about 'the threats of Tiridates'. The King of Parthia no doubt existed, but he simply did not matter. In a similar vein the Manchu Emperors of the Far Eastern universal state assumed in their diplomatic dealings that all governments ....
Some points to notice on that page
"This happy experience has moved the whole World to cleave to Rome with might and main. The World would no more think of seceding from Rome than a ship's crew would think of parting company with the pilot...
"In every heart today the focus of anxiety is the fear of becoming detached from the cluster....
"The thought of being abandoned by Rome is so appalling that it precludes any thought of wantonly abandoning her...."
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