Ancient Roman Wealth
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Ancient Roman Wealth
(Revelation 18.10)
Page 250

"Terrified at her torment, they will stand far off and cry, 'Woe! Woe to you, great city, you mighty city of Babylon! In one hour your doom has come!'" (Revelation 18.10)✞

Love Money

Roman MoneyMany great ships arrived in Rome from all around the world at every hour and at every season of the year. Rome was like some great factory for luxurious cargoes from the Indies and Arabia, with clothing from Babylon and ornaments from far flung lands. Everything flowed into ancient Rome. Wealth, merchandise, cargoes, the products of foreign lands, precious metals from mines and the results of every art that is and has been ended up there. Everything that was produced and everything that grew came to Rome.

To Ancient Rome

Roman SoldiersThe money spent on such "luxuries" was colossal. One of Nero's freedman regarded a man with $1,252,000 as a pauper in comparison with other Romans. Apicius a Roman connoisseur of good food and lover of luxury in the first century AD is said to have squandered $2,000,000, and committed suicide when he had only $200,000 left because he could not live on such a pittance! Apicius compiled a cookery book in the 4-5th centuries AD called "The Art of Cooking." It is the oldest surviving collection of recipes from antiquity. Pliny (23-79 AD) wrote, "Apicius, the most gluttonous gorger of all spendthrifts, established the view that the flamingo's tongue has a specially fine flavor."

Money to Squander

CaligulaThe Emperors in particular were renowned for their extravagance. In one day, the Emperor Caligula (12-41 AD) spent $200,000 which were the revenues from three provinces. In a single year, he ran through the equivalent of $40,000,000! The Emperor Nero declared that the only use of money was to squander it, and in a few years, he squandered $36,000,000! At one of his banquets, the Egyptian roses alone cost $70,000. Caligula was a lover of horses and one particular one which he named "Incitatus" meaning "swift" or "at full gallop." Incitatus was given a marble stall, an ivory manger, a jeweled collar and even a house. In the light of these excesses by the Emperors we need to examine as Christians our own wealth and luxurious lifestyles. Dr William Barclay (1907-1978) the eminent theologian and broadcaster asked, "How do our lives reflect the holiness and righteousness of the poor carpenter of Nazareth?"

"Ancient Roman Wealth"
by Ron Meacock © 2018

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