Picked up a copy of extremely well-written history some days ago....and now I am 300 pages into the 418 pages of its story. Written by Simon Baker it is subtitled, "The rise and fall of an empire." (BBC Books - 2006)
What caught my attention is that it is a gripping view of the culture that St. Paul ministered in and gives some space to detailing both Christian and Jewish issues in the Roman empire.
Among some early lessons:
1. Our culture, compared to this one, is gentle, peaceful, wealthy, free and civil.
2. The cruelty and slaughter in war after war are staggering. "One million Gauls were killed and another million were enslaved." And that on just one stage.
3. The fall of Jerusalem 70AD is told in rather unforgettably. Their heroism in the face of the ever-advancing and punishing Roman war machine is breathtaking. Here is heroism.
4. The corruption and intrigue of the emperors and government - Nero, Caligula, the Caesars and clan make me very thankful for the Republicans, the Democrats, the independents, the Tea Party, CNN - need I go on?
A great read....in the real world of yesterday.
(I got my copy at Barnes & Noble)