“Born in the Purple”

“Thou shalt have no gods before me!”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thou_shalt_have_no_other_gods_before_me

Julius Caesar conspired to be the KING OF ROMANS. He was going to murder the Senate, and dissolve the Republic. The Senate made Herod the Great KING OF THE JEWS. This is real history. Biblical scholars are hard pressed to find the REAL JESUS. I have been trying for thirty years.

Today, the President of the United States is in India throwing flower petals about, while HIS SENATE launched his National Shame the Vagina and the Democrats with what they believe is a SURE EVIL SIN, the killing of unborn babies in their mother’s womb. Not able to explain why THE SON OF GOD, failed His Father’s mission, our two party Democratic System is being used to separate Good from Evil. If you are a Republican Christian your are free of Sin. Trump has been titled The Second King Cypress who will build another temple. He and Mitch O’Connell are the second coming of Emperor Constantine and Paul of Tarsus – the REAL FOUNDERS OF CHRISTIANITY! By titling Jesus KING OF ROMANS AND JEWS – alas we have a HISTORIC JESUS who is a contender for the title EMPEROR-KING OF THE WORLD.

Putin’s approval rating by WHITE CHRISTIANS is souring. Does he want to Wear the Purple?

Being kin to Ian Fleming via Elizabeth Taylor, is another connection to mystery writers, including Thomas Pynchon. Dan Brown wrote non-Biblical non-Historical mystery romance novels. Anthony, Caesar, and Cleopatra were for real! I am kin to Shakespeare! I put these three on a Holy Stage – along with Pontius Pilate! Did he wear the purple?

Que Elizabeth ‘Rose of the World’ faux mother of………?

John Presco

Play both videos at the same time and know our Democracy is hanging by a purple thread.

Parthian invasion and Roman intervention[edit]

After Julius Caesar was murdered in 44 BCE, Quintus Labienus, a Roman republican general and ambassador to the Parthians, sided with Brutus and Cassius in the Liberators’ civil war; after their defeat Labienus joined the Parthians and assisted them in invading Roman territories in 40 BCE. The Parthian army crossed the Euphrates and Labienus was able to entice Mark Antony’s Roman garrisons around Syria to rally to his cause. The Parthians split their army, and under Pacorus conquered the Levant from the Phoenician coast through the Land of Israel:

Cleopatra (the VIIth of that name, by the way) was the hereditary ruler who originally co-ruled with her father and then brothers. She held the titles of both Queen and King of Egypt once she was crowned sole ruler and placed on the throne by Julius Caesar.  Their son, Caesarion, briefly held the title ‘King of Egypt’ in addition to ‘King of Kings’ after Anthony claimed for Egypt the Eastern portion of Rome’s holdings during his rebellion.

Anthony’s titles on Egyptian coinage in this period relate to his conquest of Armenia and show no official domination over Egypt–that was wholly the perview of Cleopatra.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herodian_Kingdom_of_Judea

Despite this background of war, there was plenty of scope for an emperor to get on with the things he thought were important, such as art, literature and theology – this last one being a particular Byzantine speciality. Constantine Porphyrogenitus was one such emperor. He made a name for himself as a scholar, writing books, and as an artist.

The Colour Purple

Porphyrogenitus means ‘born to the purple’ and we’ll have to take a little digression to understand the significance of this.

Since the start of the Roman Republic, purple was a special colour. Normal attire for rich Romans in the early days was a plain white toga, which was a bit like a large sheet. Senators, on the other hand, had their togas dyed purple as a special honour. The dye known as Tyrian Purple came from a rare type of sea-snail known as a murex. It was a rich maroon colour, described as the colour of clotted blood.

With the establishment of the Roman Empire, the emperors adopted the purple robes of the senators, and purple ever afterwards was the imperial colour.

Fashions changed over the centuries, and the artwork of the period shows that the Byzantines no longer wore the plain white of the early Romans. Their clothes were multicoloured, and rich people would have much brocade and many jewels attached to their clothes: but purple was still considered the imperial colour. The emperor wore a lot of purple, including purple shoes embroidered in gold with a two-headed eagle – a symbol of his rule over both church and state. When an emperor was crowned, he was said to ‘take the purple’.

https://www.bethinking.org/bible/paul-constantine-christianity

https://joelipa.wordpress.com/beyond-writing-220/history-195/classifying-the-conversions-of-paul-and-constantine/

When Julius Caesar returned to Rome he appointed 300 of his supporters as members of the Senate. Although the Senate and Public Assembly still met, it was Caesar who now made all the important decisions. By 44 BC Caesar was powerful enough to declare himself dictator for life. Although in the past Roman leaders had become dictators in times of crisis, no one had taken this much power.

Caesar began wearing long red boots. As the ancient kings used to wear similar boots, rumours began to spread that Caesar planned to make himself king. Caesar denied these charges but the Roman people, who had a strong dislike of the kingship system, began to worry about the way Caesar was dominating political life.

Rumours began to spread that Julius Caesar planned to make himself king. Plutarch wrote: “What made Caesar hated was his passion to be king.” Caesar denied these charges but the Roman people, who had a strong dislike of the kingship system, began to worry about the way Caesar made all the decisions. Even his friends complained that he was no longer willing to listen to advice. Finally, a group of senators decided to kill Caesar.

Even some of Caesar’s closest friends were concerned about his unwillingness to listen to advice. Eventually, a group of 60 men, including Marcus Brutus, rumoured to be one of Caesar’s illegitimate sons, decided to assassinate Caesar.

Plans were made to carry out the assassination in the Senate just three days before he was due to leave for Parthia. When Julius Caesar arrived at the Senate a group of senators gathered round him. Publius Servilius Casca stabbed him from behind. Caesar looked round for help but now the rest of the group pulled out their daggers. One of the first men Caesar saw was Brutus and was reported to have declared, “You too, my son.” Caesar knew it was useless to resist and pulled his toga over his head and waited for the final blows to arrive.

At Caesar’s funeral, Mark Antony was chosen to give the eulogy. During his speech, he removed the toga from Caesar’s body to show the crowd the stab wounds, pointing at each one naming with men who had struck the blows. However, Cicero later commented: “Caesar subjected the Roman people to oppression… Is there anyone, except Mark Antony who did not wish for his death or who disapproved of what was done?… Some didn’t know of the plot, some lacked courage, others the opportunity. None lacked the will.”

https://spartacus-educational.com/ROMmarkantony.htm

Mark Antony also published Caesar’s will which revealed that he had left 300 sesterces to every man in Rome. Caesar also stated in his will that his impressive gardens were to become parks for the people who lived in the city. This action helped Mark Antony to gain political influence over the people of Rome.

Classifying the Conversions of Paul and Constantine

Perhaps the two most crucial religious conversions in the history of Christianity were those of the Apostle Paul and the Emperor Constantine. In both cases, influential elites embrace the Christian faith and, by their resulting zeal, convince countless others to do the same. While these conversions ensured the success of Christianity in the late Roman Empire, the nature of the two conversions is very different. Paul’s radical and instantaneous change of heart very closely resembles the so-called “Nock-style” conversion; on the other hand, Constantine’s gradual embrace of Christianity fits the slow conversion preferred by modern history scholar Alan Segal.[1]

As related in his innovative book Conversion: The Old and the New in Religion from Alexander the Great to Augustine of Hippo,A.D. Nock’s model of conversion is extremely narrow and involves more than simply changing one’s religious practices.[2] According to Nock, for true conversion to occur, a distinct and profound experience must lead to a “reorientation of the soul…a turning which implies a consciousness that a great change is involved, that the old was wrong and the new is right.”[3] The ideal exemplification of such conversion is that of Paul of Tarsus.

Born a Pharisee, Paul had a reputation of being one of the most ruthless persecutors of Christians, whom he saw as a threat to Jewish beliefs. After consenting to the stoning of Steven, Acts relates how “Saul, meanwhile, was trying to destroy the church; entering house after house and dragging out men and women, he handed them over for imprisonment.”[4] Believing he was doing God’s will, Saul was proceeding to Syria to continue his persecution when he underwent Nock’s all-important “reorientation of the soul.” According to Acts, after being blinded by a bright light and hearing Christ’s voice, Paul comes to believe in Jesus as the Messiah.[5] Thus a merciless persecutor of Christianity becomes arguably its most important missionary.

Upon examination, the details of Paul’s conversion could hardly fulfill the requirements for a “Nock-style” conversion more exactly. After his conversion, Paul is never the same. Judging solely by actions, one could argue that Paul and Saul were two completely different people. Proof of this permanent, radical change can be seen throughout the rest of the Acts, as Luke makes it abundantly clear the pains Paul took to spread the name of Jesus. Moreover, the moment of change is traceable to one specific moment, namely the encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus. Indeed, no better evidence exists than that of Nock himself. “[Conversion] is seen at its fullest in the positive response of a man to the choice set before him by the prophetic religions.”[6]

Constantine’s conversion, on the other hand, is the epitome of Segal’s model. While not rejecting the possibility of conversion as “a radical change of life-style” as advocated by Nock, Segal refuses to limit the boundaries of authentic conversion to this narrow notion.[7] By examining Jewish patterns of conversion between sects and to Christianity, Segal concludes that not only can conversion occur gradually, but its slow pace is most often its defining characteristic. In contrast to Nock’s insistence on a suitable background for the conversion, Segal limits his focus solely to the idea of changing beliefs and the social and political consequences as a result.[8]

At first glance, Constantine’s conversion could also appear to fit Nock’s model. Like Paul, Constantine had a vision after which he began praying to the Christian God. In this sense, both Paul and Constantine had the radical experience required by Nock. However, the similarities end here. Constantine does not undergo a complete “reorientation of the soul”; on the contrary, he invokes the Christian God to help him continue doing what he was attempting to do before—defeat his enemies and capture the imperial throne. Although professing a belief in Christianity, Constantine’s actions are the same before and after his conversion. In both cases Constantine desires power; even as emperor he does not hesitate to use force to eliminate opposition.[9] Consequently, Constantine’s failure to completely change his life following his profound emotional experience disqualifies him from the narrow criteria of a “Nock-style” conversion.

Because Segal is concerned only with the idea of a change in beliefs, however, his definition confirms Constantine’s conversion as much as Nock’s denies it. While it would be unfair to accuse Constantine of using Christianity solely as a political tool, there is no doubt that victories in the name of the Triune God provided some incentive to convert. However, because Segal’s model already includes such political and social implications, the sincerity of Constantine’s conversion cannot be questioned. As such, if Constantine were to explain that the motive behind his promotion of Christianity was a repayment of divine favor, this is a view Segal would have to accept. Finally, Constantine’s deathbed baptism decades after first learning about Christianity represents a gradual conversion if there ever was one.

Just as Paul’s conversion cannot be classified according to Segal’s definition, Constantine’s conversion cannot fit Nock’s model. Differences in conversion speed, lifestyle changes, and political consequences make the two classifications mutually exclusive. Although there are differences in these regards, it is the conversions’ effects that are ultimately important. Both Paul and Constantine became zealous promoters of their new faith. By their passionate witnesses, these two men left an indelible mark on the Christian world.


[1] A.D. Nock (1902-1963), Harvard Professor of History of Religion, developed a popular model of religious conversion, as did Barnard College Professor of Religion Alan Segal (1945- ).

[2] According to Nock’s model of conversion, very few conversions actually occur. Nock argues that in most cases a change in religious beliefs is not a result of conversion but rather of adhesion or enculturation.

[3] A.D. Nock (1933), p.7.

[4] After his conversion, Saul changed his name to Paul which, according to Christian tradition, represents his new life in Christ. The stoning of St. Steven, a deacon of the Christian Church and its first martyr is related in Acts 8:1. Saul’s persecution and imprisonment of Christians is a New American Bible (NAB) translation of Acts 8:3.

[5] Acts 9:3-18 NAB

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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