Ancient Roman Wealth
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Ancient Roman Wealth (Revelation 18.10)

"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 of Money

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

Everything Flows to Ancient Rome

Roman SoldiersIf there is anything you cannot see in ancient Roman wealth, then it does not exist and never existed. The 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 ancient Romans. Apicius in the first century AD, a Roman gourmet and lover of luxury, 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

CaligulaIn 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. He was a lover of horses and one particular one which he named "Incitatus." In the light of this excessiveness, Dr William Barclay (1907-1978) asks, "How do our lives reflect the holiness and righteousness of the poor carpenter of Nazareth?"

"Ancient Roman Wealth"
by Ron Meacock © 2017

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