I know many of you were disappointed that the emphasis did not stay on the Roman Period after the summer break. However, in order to better understand the Roman Period we really needed to go back and deal with the one stretch of history that had not been previously explored here.
It was very much a surprise to me that the Persian Empire had much bearing on the Roman Age at all. The influence was in fact profound. We're going to find out that New Testament figures such as Peter, James, Paul, Silas, Barnabus, and even Jesus (and others) patterned themselves very much after Persian Period notables, namely, Cimon "the illiterate" general of Athens, Artaxerxes "the Mindful", "itinerant" Tissaphernes, "enduring" Aegisilus, "faithful" Pharnabazus, and "anointed" Prince Cyrus.
We have already seen how earlier royal history interprets later royal history, and vice versa. This is the case, because royals of every generation were aware of their family history and tradition and consciously engaged in role playing. By the Roman Era there was an enormous "cloud of witnesses" that hovered over them, a "packed house" of spectators consisting of all of the royal persons that had preceded them (to use the relevant Pauline metaphors).
Royal culture ultimately nearly collapsed under the weight of the burden of honoring/exploiting that legacy in every successive generation. Christianity in essence simplified life for the royal family. No longer was it necessary to satisfy every precedent that was set by their ancestors. It was "commonly agreed upon" that in Christ all had been fulfilled, once and for all.
© Charles N. Pope, US Library of Congress. All rights reserved.