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Old 06-10-2013, 02:55 AM   #21
steve_bnk
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steve_bnk and Duvduv
Could you open another thread, if you want to go on with Noah and Gilgamesh?
Thanks in advance.
No problem. apologies.

http://www.freeratio.org/showthread....04#post7477804
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Old 06-10-2013, 06:43 AM   #22
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Fine, Steve. Thank you.
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Old 06-10-2013, 11:19 AM   #23
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Augustine attributes this apparent act of benevolence to divine protection but is it possible these "barbarians" were already christians (Arians?) to begin with? Susan Bauer writes in her book,The History of the Medieval World: From the Conversion of Constantine to the First Crusade, that the Visigoth who led sack of Rome was in fact led by an Arian christian general named Alaric. Bauer writes that Alaric gave orders before the sack of Rome to not destroy any Christian temples. If this is correct, then Augustine's argument of any direct divine providence involved during the sack of Rome is greatly weakened.
The key name for this event is Ulfilas (ca. 310-383), arian bishop of the Visigots.

About Alaric, Wiki mentions that he was an Arian Christian. BTW, the french history knows of another Alaric, arian king of the Visigots in Gaul, Alaric II (484-507) who was defeated by Clovis I, king of the Franks, at Vouillé, near Poitiers. In 507, Clovis was still a pagan. But he had married a Catholic princess of Burgundy, Clotilde (Chlothild). A french joke says that after the battle, Clovis had "embraced the cult of Clotilde"? For a french speaker, culte (cult) can be heard as cul (=ass)... which can be also embraced.

You write that "Augustine's argument of any direct divine providence involved during the sack of Rome is greatly weakened". How can you ???
On the contrary, it was the divine providence who sent Ulfilas to the Visigots, leading to their conversion to Christianity. Yes, the divine providence made a small mistake about Arius, I must confess.
You're right, Augustine's point remains regardless whether the Visigoths were Arian or not. Returing to the Quadi, Ammianus Marcellinus gives the following account of the curious reaction of the Emperor Valentinian upon hearing the Quadi protesting their innocence in a certain matter;

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. After this event ambassadors arrived from the Quadi, with humble supplications, entreating peace, and oblivion of the past: and that there might be no obstacle to their obtaining this, they promised to furnish a body of recruits, and some other things which would be of use to the Roman state.

2. And after they had been received, and had obtained permission to return with the grant of an armistice which they had solicited (but in truth, our want of supplies and the unfavourable season of the year prevented us from harassing them any longer), they were, by the influence of Equitius, who became security for their good behaviour, admitted into the council-chamber. When introduced they seemed quite overcome by fear, bowing down to the ground; and on being ordered to unfold their message, they urged all the customary pretences and excuses, confirming them by an oath; assuring the council that whatever offence had been committed against any of our people, had not been done by the consent of the nobles of the nation, but only by some foreign banditti who dwelt on the borders of the river; they added further, as a fact quite sufficient to establish the truth of their allegations, that the fortress which had been begun to be built both unjustly and unreasonably, had inflamed the savage temper of those rude men to a great pitch of ferocity.

3. By this speech the emperor was excited to most vehement wrath; and as he began to reply to it he grew more indignant, reproaching the whole nation in bitter language, as unmindful of kindness, and ungrateful. But after a time he became pacified, and inclined to a milder |565 view of the case, when suddenly, as if he had been stricken from heaven, his breathing and his voice ceased, and his countenance appeared blood-shot, and in a moment the blood burst forth, and a deadly sweat broke forth over his whole body; and to save him from falling down in the sight of a number of low-born persons, he was led by his servants into one of the private chambers in the interior of the palace.


4. When he was placed on his bed, breathing with difficulty, though the vigour of his intellect was not as yet at all diminished, he recognized those who stood around, having been collected by the chamberlains with great promptitude, to prevent any of them being suspected of having murdered him. And as on account of the fever which was racking his bowels it was necessary to open a vein, yet no surgeon could be found, because he had dispersed them all over different districts to cure the soldiers among whom a dangerous pestilence was raging.

5. At last, however, one was procured; but though he punctured a vein over and over again, he could not produce a single drop of blood, while all the time his bowels were burning with the intensity of his fever; or (as some fancied) because his limbs were wholly dried up, in consequence of some of the passages, which we now call hemorrhoidal, wore closed up and crusted over through the severity of the cold.

6. The emperor, from the exceeding violence of his agony, felt that the moment of his death was at hand; and attempted to say something, and to give some orders, as was indicated by a sobbing, which shook his whole frame, a gnashing of the teeth, and a series of violent gestures with his arms, resembling those of boxers with the caestus: at last he became exhausted, and covered all over with livid spots, and after a severe struggle he expired, in the fifty-fifth year of his age, having reigned twelve years all but a hundred days.

http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/am..._book30.htm#C6
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Old 06-10-2013, 01:58 PM   #24
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An excellent series of posts. A reminder that a lot of supposed serious ancient history ain't that at all. Sober history or mythology/ideology? The idea of a Roman general having his own Egyptian mage on the battlefield is most certainly amusing and not the sort of standard idea of the behavior of a competent Roman general.

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The Spartans took loads of carts into battle, filled with animals to sacrifice to the gods - Robin Lane Fox. Why would not a Roman general do likewise?
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Old 06-10-2013, 02:06 PM   #25
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And the Emperor Julian says some very positive stuff about Marcus and the gods.

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=i...satire&f=false
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Old 06-14-2013, 08:11 AM   #26
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The First Apology of Justin Martyr also documents this event.

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Epistle of Marcus Aurelius to the Senate, in Which He Testifies that the Christians Were the Cause of His Victory.152

The Emperor Caesar Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, Germanicus, Parthicus, Sarmaticus, to the People of Rome, and to the sacred Senate greeting: I explained to you my grand design, and what advantages I gained on the confines of Germany, with much labour and suffering, in consequence of the circumstance that I was surrounded by the enemy; I myself being shut up in Carnuntum by seventy-four cohorts, nine miles off. And the enemy being at hand, the scouts pointed out to us, and our general Pompeianus showed us that there was close on us a mass of a mixed multitude of 977, 000 men, which indeed we saw; and I was shut up by this vast host, having with me only a battalion composed of the first, tenth, double and marine legions. Having then examined my own position, and my host, with respect to the vast mass of barbarians and of the enemy, I quickly betook myself to prayer to the gods of my country. But being disregarded by them, I summoned those who among us go by the name of Christians. And having made inquiry, I discovered a great number and vast host of them, and raged against them, which was by no means becoming; for afterwards I learned their power. Wherefore they began the battle, not by preparing weapons, nor arms, nor bugles; for such preparation is hateful to them, on account of the God they bear about in their conscience. Therefore it is probable that those whom we suppose to be atheists, have God as their ruling power entrenched in their conscience. For having cast themselves on the ground, they prayed not only for me, but also for the whole army as it stood, that they might be delivered from the present thirst and famine. For during five days we had got no water, because there was none; for we were in the heart of Germany, and in the enemy's territory. And simultaneously with their casting themselves on the ground, and praying to God (a God of whom I am ignorant), water poured from heaven, upon us most refreshingly cool, but upon the enemies of Rome a withering153 hail. And immediately we recognised the presence of God following on the prayer-a God unconquerable and indestructible. Founding upon this, then, let us pardon such as are Christians, lest they pray for and obtain such a weapon against ourselves. And I counsel that no such person be accused on the ground of his being a Christian. But if any one be found laying to the charge of a Christian that he is a Christian, I desire that it be made manifest that he who is accused as a Christian, and acknowledges that he is one, is accused of nothing else than only this, that he is a Christian; but that he who arraigns him be burned alive. And I further desire, that he who is entrusted with the government of the province shall not compel the Christian, who confesses and certifies such a matter, to retract; neither shall he commit him. And I desire that these things be confirmed by a decree of the Senate. And I command this my edict to be published in the Forum of Trajan, in order that it may be read. The prefect Vitrasius Pollio will see that it be transmitted to all the provinces round about, and that no one who wishes to make use of or to possess it be hindered from obtaining a copy from the document I now publish.

152 [Spurious, no doubt; but the literature of the subject is very rich. See text and notes, Milman's Gibbon, vol. ii. 46.]

http://www.tertullian.org/fathers2/A...m#P3959_754048
Although footnote 152 states the above letter is spurious, Tertullian also mentions an alleged letter by Marcus Aurelius concerning this event.

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CHAP. V.

To say a word about the origin of laws of the kind to which we now refer, there was an old decree that no god should be consecrated by the emperor till first approved by the senate. Marcus AEmilius had experience of this in reference to his god Alburnus. And this, too, makes for our case, that among you divinity is allotted at the judgment of human beings. Unless gods give satisfaction to men, there will be no deification for them: the god will have to propitiate the man. Tiberius accordingly, in whose days the Christian name made its entry into the world, having himself received intelligence from Palestine of events which had clearly shown the truth of Christ's divinity, brought the matter before the senate, with his own decision in favour of Christ. The senate, because it had not given the approval itself, rejected his proposal. Caesar held to his opinion, threatening wrath against all accusers of the Christians. Consult your histories; you will there find that Nero was the first who assailed with the imperial sword the Christian sect, making profess then especially at Rome. But we glory in having our condemnation hallowed by the hostility of such a wretch. For any one who knows him, can understand that not except as being of singular excellence did anything bring on it Nero's condemnation. Domitian, too, a man of Nero's type in cruelty, tried his hand at persecution; but as he had something of the human in him, he soon put an end to what he had begun, even restoring again those whom he had banished. Such as these have always been our persecutors,--men unjust, impious, base, of whom even you yourselves have no good to say, the sufferers under whose sentences you have been wont to restore. But among so many princes from that time to the present day, with anything of divine and human wisdom in them, point out a single persecutor of the Christian name. So far from that, we, on the contrary, bring before you one who was their protector, as you will see by examining the letters of Marcus Aurelius, that most grave of emperors, in which he bears his testimony that that Germanic drought was removed by the rains obtained through the prayers of the Christians who chanced to be fighting under him. And as he did not by public law remove from Christians their legal disabilities, yet in another way he put them openly aside, even adding a sentence of condemnation, and that of greater severity, against their accusers. What sort of laws are these which the impious alone execute against us--and the unjust, the vile, the bloody, the senseless, the insane? which Trajan to some extent made naught by forbidding Christians to be sought after; which neither a Hadrian, though fond of searching into all things strange and new, nor a Vespasian, though the subjugator of the Jews, nor a Pius, nor a Verus, ever enforced? It should surely be judged more natural for bad men to be eradicated by good princes as being their natural enemies, than by those of a spirit kindred with their own.

http://www.earlychristianwritings.co...tullian01.html
And this event was also depicted in the Column of Marcus Aurelius which was completed some time in the late second century.

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