A new beginning, p.1
A NEW BEGINNING
By Graham Francis Sealby
Copy write © 2013, Graham Francis Sealby
Table of Contents
Interlude 9CE to CE
Interlude 16CE to 22CE
Interlude 23CE to 28CE
List of Characters
About the Author
Rome and the Roman world lay exhausted after years of bloody and turbulent Civil War. Octavian, Caesars’ nephew and heir, had prevailed and was now facing the task of restoring the empire and securing its boundaries.
Gradually, the Roman peace – the Pax Romana - was accepted as a stabilizing force amongst nations who were often at war with each other. And there were many benefits to Roman rule. Roads were built linking settlements where once were only rough tracts. Public baths, libraries, and Sports arenas were available for the enjoyment of all. Trade flourished. Greek became a common language.
The empire, by Octavian’s time, was divided into Provinces, some being governed directly from Rome and others under the rule of Client Kings. Rome was a tolerant master for as long as taxes were paid and her legions respected, she tended not to interfere in the internal affairs of each province.
Octavian – soon to be called Augustus - was well aware that peace encouraged trade and therefore the growth of wealth. As provinces grew prosperous, the Roman tax base increased. Some provinces, such as Aegypt, were more important than others were. Aegypt was regarded as the breadbasket of Rome and it became vital to maintain regular shipments of grain to feed the growing population of the city.
Except for skirmishes with barbarian tribes on the fringes of empire, the Roman world settled down to enjoy the fruits of the Pax Romana.
Except that is, for the province of Palestine. The Jewish people of Palestine held strong religious ideals and a yearning for both spiritual and political freedom. And they were a disgruntled lot. Over time, they had split into factions each differently interpreting religious dictates as set down by their god, Yahweh.
Occasionally, rebellious leaders would arise, and being victorious, would usher in a short period of freedom for the whole Jewish population. Such periods were often short lived and the populace would then be subject to foreign domination. But the memory of such liberty would never be forgotten; and in a way became a commonly shared yearning for ultimate and long-lasting freedom.
Octavian – now called Augustus – appointed a Client King know as ‘Herod the Great’ to rule the Provence of Palestine and for a short time he held Jewish aspirations in check - but not for long.
On his death, the Province was apportioned between his sons who ruled primarily over Israel in the north and Judea in the south. As this story begins there was mounting discontent particularly in Judea, so much so that Rome dismissed Herod’s son Archelaus as Kinglet and assumed direct rule with the appointment of a Governor.
Whilst semblance of order in the north was maintained under Herod Antipas the protectorate of Judea was seething with discontent. The people groaned under heavy taxation, from both Rome and their own temple priests. The latter had adopted a luxurious lifestyle much at odds with the situation of the populace. There was deep and angry resentment.
So the stage was set for a spark of freedom to ignite into the flames of discontent and so free the common people from the twin yokes of Rome and their own religious leaders.
Now read on . . . .
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