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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Wednesday, October 18, 2006
A bit Of History - Part -I-
Gaius was born in modern day Serbia, his father a famous general, and his mother a mere innkeeper's daughter, whom his father later dumped so that he could marry the step daughter of the Western Roman Emperor.

Growing up privileged in the court of Diocletian, Gaius watched his father become one of the two junior emperors (caesares), but later moved to Roman Gaul and died after falling sick during a campaign against the "Picts." Gaius ascended into this father's "throne" but not without some concerns - technically, Gaius didn't really have the right to succession under the ailing tetrach system, but he struck a deal with the eastern Caesar whereby Gaius named the other Caesar the heir of Gaius' father's throne - and butta-bing-butta-boom! Gaius was granted his father's territories and armies.

Gaius (also known as Galerius) now was in control of one of the largest armies in the Roman world, in fact, Gaius took that army and eventually marched on Rome itself in the summer of 307 A.D. to get his inheritance back. The army was large enough to have take Rome, but the western emperor (Maxentius) managed, by promising large sums of money, to elicit a defection of soldiers from Gaius' army, and into his own - successfully saving his butt, and thwarting Gaius' efforts to gain back the Western Empire.

We can picture Gaius now, several years later, sitting by himself on a hill somewhere in the steppes of the alps. On the other side of the Alps lay Italy - oppressed (according to Gaius' perspective) by the cruel usurper Emperor Maxentius, and if Italy (and therefore Rome) was oppressed, why then it followed that the whole world was being oppressed! If Gaius could defeat Maxentius and deliver Rome from his oppressive rule - well, Gaius wouldn't be just a hero - we would have his own throne back too, er, well the throne that came to him through his Father's relationship with his step mom... Well, it's complicated - but you get the picture.

But there was one big problem - although Gaius had a very big enough army - that hadn't helped him the last time - Maxentius was not only clever, but also known to be a wicked practitioner of magic. Gaius didn't want to take on Maxentius when it was clear that Maxtentius had an unfair advantage - I mean, he was the Emperor and didn't that make Maxentius something of a divine himself? Even if Gaius had a sort of legitimate claim to the throne - could he really take on a wicked (and possibly divine man) sorceror/Emperor? Even with his large army, Gaius wasn't about to mess with Maxentius again - unless he felt equally "supplied" by a divine candy-man.

So we see Gaius here, sitting on the fragrant grass under the blue sky. There below, him at the foot of the great hill, his army is encamped and waiting. Gaius is alone, with his army looking on. He is brooding, thinking, planning. How can he defeat Maxentius? Whom among the fickle gods should he call upon? How many had marched against Maxentius under the protection of this god or that god? Were they not turned away each and every one? Was there not a multitude of graves filled because great men had come against Maxentius with their multitude of Gods? Was their no co-operating deity who could render Gaius invincible?

Gaius remained there contemplating for hours - until finally he decided to pray and seek a God who was willing to go to bat for his cause. While thus engaged Gaius saw something that he interpreted to be a mystical sign - it is very likely that he saw a sun-dog (a halo around the sun), though whatever he actually was originally perplexing and difficult to interpret - such that it was only later in a dream that Gaius determined the sign to be an indication that he was to conquer Maxentius under the banner of the Christian God. Eusebius later described the incident as the conversion of Gaius, and said that Gaius had actually seen a bright cross above the sun itself - with writing on it (no less) that said, "Conquer by this" (though how Gaius would possibly misunderstand such a blatant reference to Christianity is beyond the scope of this brief history). This latter elaboration bears all the markings of your typicaly pagan elaboration - but who can say for sure, certainly there is nothing in the Christianity of scripture to warrant or support such a bizzare vision - but whatever the case - Gaius interpreted whatever he saw as meaning that the Christian God would help him to slaughter Maxentius' army and reclaim his own throne.

That isn't to say that this vision caused Gaius to convert to Christianity - rather it was to say that Gaius called out to whatever powers there were, and promised to some sort of allegiance to whomever would guarentee him a good victory. His handling of the Christian God, seems no different than the way any pagan might appeal to any variety of elemental spirit of false God. That is to say that hia expectation of military victory was not based on a biblical understanding of Christianity, but rather on a pagan understanding of how "gods" react to deals that men make. Gaius wasn't looking to change religious affiliation - he was quite happy with his own sun God (Sol Invictus), and history records that Gaius continued to worship Sol Invictus alongside whatever affiliation Gaius had had with the Christian God. Gaius was willing however, (if the 'God of the cross' would indeed make him invincible in battle) and thereby enable the pursuit of his own glory in retaking his birthright - well, hey - Sol Invictus would certainly understand.

So Gaius Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus (whom we know as Constantine) crossed the alps and attacked Italy - quickly conquering the north before descending on Rome. At the Milvian Bridge, on October 28, 312 A.D. Constantine defeated Maxentius - and became the Western Roman Emperor - Constantine the first.

It was shortly thereafter (313 A.D.) that the Edict of Milan was given - a joint policy (despite the name) between the Eastern Emperor (Licinius) and the Western Emperor (Constantine) that declared that the whole Roman empire would be neutral with regards to religious worship. The edict wasn't binding however, so each Emperor had to make specific edicts for their own Empire. The resulting edicts legislated tolerance and returned any properties that were seized because of religious persecution etc.

Licinius wanted to unite the entire Roman empire (under his own rule of course) and he and Constantine clashed until in 324 A.D. Constantine defeated Licinius and ruled the entire Roman empire.
posted by Daniel @ 12:09 PM  
  • At 3:42 PM, October 18, 2006, Blogger Jim said…

    Great story, can't wait for the movie. :)

    I can't help but see a parallel in the way many of us pray; "Lord, if you do this or that, I will do so and so."

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