Sunday, December 19, 2010

Caesar Augustus

Caesar Augustus
Statues like this were in every
city in town of the empire
3 Degrees

Caesar to Jesus to Saint Peter to JPII

Caesar Augustus was the first Caesar of the Pax Romana, two centuries of peace that blessed the Roman Empire.  Sure there was Nero and Caligula, but every institution that lasts is going to have its stinkers.  It's Christmastime, and we don't need to mention Nero's fondness for flaming Christians on a stick.  Let's keep the post cheery.  

Caesar Augustus was arguably the greatest political mind in history.  He attained his office at the age of 30 and reigned for over 40 years.  Busts were made of him in his youthful prime.  These images of him never changed.  He was adored and revered by the citizens of Rome as a young, vibrant ruler.  This image is retained by Caesar Augustus to this day.  For the complete BBC program on a bust of Caesar Augustus click here.  To view the head of Caesar Augustus click here.
Saint Luke tells us that Caesar Augustus was emperor when Jesus was born.  Below are two accounts of the nativity story from Luke.  The Charlie Brown version and the original King James Version from 1611.  

Luke 2:1-12
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. ([And] this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this [shall be] a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

"Render unto Caesar…" is the beginning of a phrase attributed to Jesus in the synoptic gospels, which reads in full, “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s” (“Ἀπόδοτε οὖν τὰ Καίσαρος Καίσαρι καὶ τὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ τῷ Θεῷ”) (Matthew 22:21).  Perhaps Jesus was holding a coin that bore the head of Caesar Augustus.  No doubt, these coins were still in circulation when Jesus came of age.  

The home of Caesar Augustus was recently excavated.  Let's take a tour.

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