Propaganda Coup: The Roman Empire is Not Dead
Michael James Scharen
September 17, 2021

The Romans were brilliant, cunning, and cruel. Uprisings were constant in the 1st Century C.E. culminating in the Jewish Wars of 68-73 C.E. Ten percent of the Empire practiced Judeaism or a form of it. This was a people and religion which rejected Roman Gods and authority from their first meeting. How could Rome allow this to continue?

There is no reason to believe the Romans saw Christianity as a threat. The evidence strongly suggests that Christianity was entirely an invention of Rome or rather the Flavians Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian and continued onward from there as a great propaganda coup. From the time of the Maccabees, Judea was a hotbed of non-conformity and tax revolt. They overthrew the Seleucids and had their own government for over a century before the Romans showed up. Taxes, incitement over insults to their religion by being required or strongly encouraged to worship Roman gods, desecration of temples and numerous other slights by the occupiers ground away in Judea. Overthrow of the Seleucids was in part a reaction against the Hellenization of Judea as so much of the rest of the Mediterranean had undergone and was contrary to Jewish laws and society. Uprisings occurred on and off throughout Roman domination of Judea but there were no Roman legions in Judea at the time Jesus was supposedly walking around. This did not happen until the time of Nero.

Fig.1 - Constant uprisings all around the Mediterranen. An entire legion was wiped out in Judea and there were not enough soldiers to keep the people down.

Enforcers came in the form of the co-opted Herod family who had ruled throughout and were in league with Rome to preserve their privileges. One of the Herods had married an offshoot of the Maccabees in an attempt at some legitimacy. Further, there was no great pacifist movement in Judea to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s. This appears to be a convenient jibe against tax revolt. Turn the other cheek has a strong — put down your arms — pacifist message. According to Dr. Robert Eisenman who pried the Dead Sea Scrolls loose from the Dominican Order in Jerusalem, the predominant feeling in Judea was one of militancy and revolt. The Messiah was the imagined military leader who would kick the Romans and anyone else out who wished to dominate the Jews. The Essenes were not a monkish isolationist band, but another of the many rebel groups such as the derisively named Sicarii — after their daggers by the Romans — in this slight against them for wanting to be free. The name Judas Iscariot is another play on the sicarii — a sort of knife to the back. The feeling was not only in Judea but it is estimated that 10% of the Roman Empire was made up of Jews who had branched out around the Mediterranean, to Alexandria, to Rome, Greece, Spain and other parts of North Africa and Anatolia.

It is easy to see how the Romans would recognize this as a threat especially since one entire Roman legion was wiped out in Judea early in the revolt of 68 to 73 C.E. They could not afford to have this spreading around the Empire. It is not difficult to imagine that the fire of Rome under Nero may not have been set by Christians but by Messianic believers. Nero would have had no qualms about throwing rebels to the lions. Historians working for the Flavians would purposely misconstrue believers in the militant Messiah with believers in the main pacifist character of their new invention called Christianity. To picture Nero serving these martyrs up to the lions served two purposes. First, it puts distance between the old line of rulers — the Julians — and the new line — the Flavians, namely Vespasian and Titus. Second, by setting up these Christian Martyrs as devoted followers of the Messiah (Vespasian) this would set the tone for the rest of the Empire to worship the Emperor as both a religious and secular savior. Yes, substituting Vespasian for the Messiah was part of the plan to show how misguided the rebels were all along. The true savior was Vespasian fighting the evil rebels. It is just too bad that he and Titus (mostly through Tiberius Alexander) had to destroy Judea in order to save it. It was Josephus — later Flavius Josephus — who proclaimed that it was prophesy which told how Vespasian would save Judea from herself. No doubt this was due to the fact that he had nowhere to go and was kept a prisoner of Vespasian for two years after his defeat in the field. Josephus, the historian and reluctant soldier, had led men against the Romans early on. He said what he had to say, no doubt, to survive. Josephus went much further as we shall see. There is speculation that perhaps he might have been a spy all along. Josephus had spent much time in Rome and was rumored to have bedded Nero’s wife.

Several Jewish revolts had been put down in Egypt which had a very high Jewish population. Egypt was the breadbasket of the entire Empire which Julius Caesar understood by securing her first in his fight against Octavian. Economics and food supplies matter. Who controlled Egypt controlled the Empire. Fortunately for the Romans of Vespasian’s time, the Alexanders, a prominent and very rich Jewish family were their puppets in Egypt and Alexandria. Tiberius Alexander, Flavius Titus’ leading general, had been Procurator — the lead Roman tax collector — in Judea. Philo of Alexandria had been attempting to reconcile Judaism with Greek and Roman Stoicism. This means that the Alexanders had a lot to lose. Vespasian had holed up in Egypt after Nero’s death in ’68 in the year of the four Emperors, building up a following and keeping that breadbasket secure. To further his godliness, the story goes that he went into the Temple of Serapis (also an annex of the library of Alexandria) to commune with this deity made up by Greek and Egyptian rulers from the Ptolomys onward. Mix the gods — mix the people — was state policy in those days. Religion and government had always been synonymous. This is why there was such insistence by the Romans to put the likenesses of their gods and Emperors into the Temple in Jerusalem. Upon coming out of the temple, Vespasian proclaimed, “I am Serapis!” to the crowd. He then proceeded to cure a man’s blindness with his spittle and to mend a lame man who could then walk again. It sounds like a familiar story.

As alluded above, the great story tellers (historians) through which Christianity proclaims to be supported would be among others, Suetonius, Tacitus, and Josephus (or Flavius Josephus after adoption by Vespasian). This explanation of Christianity draws from author and classics scholar Joseph Atwill: Caesar’s Messiah who did extensive and exhaustive analysis of both Josephus’ work Wars of the Jews and the New and Old Testaments along with others such as James Valiant: Creating Christ and Robert Eisenman: James — the Brother of Jesus. Researching Caesar’s Messiah, Atwill was struck by the typology he encountered in those passages. Typology refers to a style of writing including what is borrowed from other works such as the Old Testament. He notes that the New Testament or specifically the Gospels basically follows the military campaign of Vespasian and later his son Titus’ through the Holy Land beginning in Galilee and on to Jerusalem. There is even a pause outside of Jerusalem where the savior was to be lauded. (Titus paused while Jerusalem was under siege in order to starve the rebels who were also fighting each other inside the walls.)

Several passages in the New Testament read as dark satire for the rebel Jews. For instance, how would one come across a man with a herd of pigs when eating pork was forbidden? The demons cast into the pigs were an analogy for rebels. Rebels were demons that had to be dealt with harshly.

In the Wars of the Jews, Josephus alludes to battles with rebels on the Sea of Galilee whereby large numbers of rebels were consigned to the water — dead. In removing these great numbers of corpses, the Roman soldiers were noted as being fishers of men.

n even more gruesome satire, it was noted that mothers in the Siege of Jerusalem had resorted to eating their own children. Whereby the sacrament of taking the body and blood of the savior was derived.

The name Mary does not appear in the Old Testament, but only in the New and so much so as to be confusing in the Gospels. The name Mary means rebel. This is something that should be obvious to most scholars and either it is not or it is ignored.

The term Gospels originally meant not Good News of the Savior but Good News of Military Victory. This was now good news of Vespasian and Titus’ victories. Vespasian was the Savior.

There is little resemblance if any between Christianity and Judaism. How could a devout and scholarly Jew who argued with rabbis be the leader of the Christian pork eating religion? There seems to be evidence in the New Testament and according to Robert Eisenman that perhaps it was Josephus as Paul who argued with James, a traditionalist Jew and rebel leader in Jerusalem. And perhaps the changing of dietary laws and other practices was an attempt to get more Romans enamored by Judaism already to get on board. There certainly is much derision of the Jewish religion in the New Testament and Jews have suffered ever since. Rabbinical Judaism itself was an invention alongside of Christianity. It had to be purged of any Messianic ideas and it had to conform with the wishes of the Herods and Alexanders so as to not make waves.

There is the reverse prophesy in backdating the time of the Savior by 40 years to 30 C.E. The number 40 shows up over and over, i.e. 40 days and 40 nights, 40 years in the Wilderness, then Jesus’ 40 days in the desert. Forty years was also considered to be a generation. Jesus prophesied that in a generation the Temple would be pulled down so that not one stone stands upon another. No doubt this was written after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 C.E. and given credence as prophesy to prop up the new religion of State worship.

Josephus had told the story of how he had been once been shipwrecked on his way to Rome. The story was remarkably like that for Saul of Tarsus or Paul in the New Testament. Was this autobiographical? Are Saul and Josephus really the same person? Is Josephus also Joseph of Arimathea? Josephus full name was Josephus Bar Mathias which sounds very much like Joseph of Arimathea. In the Wars of the Jews, there were rebels crucified during and after the Siege of Jerusalem where Josephus was present. In one instance, there were three rebels that had been crucified and two had died. Josephus recognized them and was given dispensation to take them down and care for the one who had lived. Perhaps he had set himself up in the Gospels as a great benefactor and perhaps his friend did not die.

There were no Roman Legions in Judea at the time of the alleged savior in 30 C.E. Judea was controlled by local garrisons under the puppet Herods.

Headdresses of various type other than laurels were worn by Roman Emperors and notables. Julius Caesar wore a crown of thorns for his funeral. Perhaps this was another association with the deified Caesar. The Imperial Cult was very prominent about the Empire. This was where local gods had been worshiped and now Roman gods and Emperor effigies were placed alongside of them in their melding of Church and State. This melding of the ruler with the deity became ingrained in people for over a thousand years and is still with us today. In Europe, to take the head of a King was sheer horror for most people, especially those closest to the Crown. Yes, a handful did meet this fate in Charles I of England, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, and Tsar Nicholas II and his whole family. At each of those occasions there was severe trepidation even by those who were doing the deed. Even today, there are many Americans who believe their leaders are chosen by God or who still have a secret or not so secret reverence for the British Royal Family no matter how decadent any of them are. A deity must be invoked as a last unarguable line of defense as there are no logical, moral, or ethical reasons for peaceful human beings to be involuntarily lead by anyone. Then after that person is done, by what logic is that person so wise as to choose his/her successor? Or by what logic is are the offspring of that person empowered or capable of taking up this mantle of arbitrary power? By what logic can a bunch of strangers, in secret, choose someone to rule over you against your consent? The very idea is absurd on it’s face.

A pacifist tax paying religion such as Christianity as State Propaganda seems very plausible in light of what we know of politics, power, and human behavior both then and now. We are continuously bombarded by propaganda any time we turn on a commercial broadcast, look at social media, or even in conversations with our friends and relatives. Power does what it does to maintain itself, which means lying, recruiting dupes, or resorting to brute force. The Roman Empire and all governments resort to this constantly and why? The reason is because none of those things by itself is sufficient to maintain power over other people and their property. Propaganda is used to gain true believers. Social indoctrination causes people to comply either out of fear of being ostracized by those around them or of being attacked physically or financially by the State. Worst of all we have the dread of being ratted out by our fearful neighbors who are only putting off their own fate. There are more of us than there are of them. Government is the greatest exhibit of Organized Crime known to Man. The Roman Empire never died.