Advent conspiracy 7: Pax Romana…

Lord of Lords.

Saviour.

Prince of Peace.

It may be a suprise to some that these titles – which we know so well as religious descriptors of Jesus Christ that have been sung through generations – were borrowed from an earlier historical figure, known first as the Emperor Augustus.

In the year 34 BCE, Augustus defeated Mark Anthony and Cleopatra in the Battle of Actium, and this Victory ushered in a period know as the Pax Romana, defined this way;

The Pax Romana (Latin for ‘Roman peace’) is a roughly 200-year-long timespan of Roman history which is identified as a period and as a golden age of increased as well as sustained Roman imperialism, relative peace and order, prosperous stability, hegemonial power, and regional expansion, despite several revolts and wars, and continuing competition with Parthia. It is traditionally dated as commencing from the accession of Augustus, founder of the Roman principate, in 27 BC and concluding in 180 AD with the death of Marcus Aurelius, the last of the “Five Good Emperors“.[1]

Wikipedia

In other words, the first advent of Jesus happened right in the middle of the Roman peace, wihch was really no peace at all. Not for those oppressed by an expansionist unequal empire.

It was in to this world that the Prince of Peace arrived as total contrast to the Prince of Peace.

I have been thinking about how my lifetime has been lived in peace. Sure, just as during Pax Romana, there have been wars and skirmishes happened all the time away somewhere else, but these cost me almost nothing. However, just as during the Pax Romana, a different kind of peacelessness has been gathering. It might be understood as the end of the Pax Britanica and the beginning of the Pax Americana.

In total conttast to the Pax Christi.

This Advent, we need the upside-down principles of the empire of the Prince of Peace to disturb us still.

Peace to the world

.

After war came peace

But after peace came profit

And after profit came wealth

And after wealth came inequality

And after inequality came accumulation

And after accumulation many were left with nothing

.

And with nothing there is no peace at all

After the war came peace

But after peace came empire

And after empire came corporation

And after corporation came globalisation

And after globalisation came exploitation

And after exploitation came exhaustion

And those who are exhausted feel no peace

.

After the war came peace

But after the peace came aspiration

And after aspiration came property

And after property came debt

And after debt came foreclosure

And after foreclosure came homelessness

And without a home, there is no peace

.

After the war came peace

But after the peace came consumption

And after consumption came more consumption

And consumption became the only thing that counted

And after consumption came obsolescence

And after obsolescence came more consumption

For without consumption, there is no peace.

.

After the war came peace

But after peace we lost our unity

And for unity we need an enemy

And because of the enemy we need a leader

And great leaders need a great army

And a great army needs a war

And with war there is no peace

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