To the commission chosen to superintend the sacrifices. From Aurelia Ammonous, daughter of Mystus, of the Moeris quarter, priestess of the god Petesouchos, the great, the mighty, the immortal, and priestess of the gods in the Moeris quarter. I have sacrificed to the gods all my life, and now again, in accordance with the decree and in your presence, I have made sacrifice, and poured a libation, and partaken of the sacred victims. I request you to certify this below.
- Certificate of required sacrifice to Emperor Decius, 250 AD
|Haec pictura ab Wikipedia|
Quite frankly, even in the 3rd century that state apparatus was pretty effective. There were surprisingly few armed rebellions against Roman rule - the fighting was mostly civil war style battles between rival claims to the Imperial throne.
What held this vast and diverse population together was not a shared history or common language, but rather a shared acceptance of Roman political institutions as, if not just, then at least a damned sight better than the alternative. Key to this acceptance was recognition of the office of Emperor as the head of the Roman world.
This is an enormously important point, and you really can't understand the remarkable success of the Roman Empire without knowing a bit of the official state propaganda about the office of the Emperor. Patrick Wyman goes into this in some depth in episode 5 of his great Fall Of Rome podcast: Just How Screwed Up Was The Late Roman Empire?
You can't understand the persecutions of the Christians without understanding the propaganda about the Emperors. The persecutions weren't about religion at all; instead, they were a mandatory, public acknowledgement of acceptance of that Imperial propaganda. It was a matter of state security, you might say, and it's not accidental that you didn't see these persecutions during the height of the empire (Trajan through Marcus Aurelius), but rather during the difficult years of the third century when it looks for a while that things might fall apart.
The fly in the ointment, as you well know, is that the Christians did see this as religious, and a lot of martyrs filled out the list of saints. Their clinging to their
We see this happening today. Roseanne Barr's show was canceled because she sent out a supposedly racist tweet. Disney's stated reason for killing their top show doesn't have a lot of credibility, because they also canceled Tim Allen's Last Man Standing show a year back. It was their second most popular show at the time, and he hadn't made any comments like she did. It was just here today, and gone tomorrow.
And does anyone remember Brendan Eich, the former head of the Mozilla Foundation? Gone, because he donated to a political campaign as a private citizen. Beyond these shores, we see more of the same. Tommy Robinson has been jailed in England because he speaks HateFacts™. The EU just tried to keep a nationalist Italian government from forming - the reaction to the Italian election was so dictatorial that even George Soros tried to wave the EU off. Seventy percent of College students support suppression of free speech on Campus.
It's all quite strange, unless you think about the Decian Persecutions. The Global Elites are feeling threatened all over, just like the Roman Emperors did in 250 AD. The elections of Donald Trump, Brexit, and populist revolts across western Europe show that the "glue" holding together the current Western Progressive Empire is breaking down. The diverse populations that once accepted the rule of the Global Elite are now restive, and questioning the legitimacy of that elite.
And so the people must sacrifice to the Emperor or pay the consequences.
That means publicly mouthing the required platitudes about globalism, progressivism, diversity, and the rest of the pantheon of Imperial propaganda - this is to demonstrate the citizen's allegiance to the anointed rulers.
And those who don't - who, say, have a popular TV show that showcases conservative or libertarian or populist ideas running counter to that propaganda? They have to go. The elites must make an example of them, to influence weaker minds that might be wavering from full public support of the official Imperial propaganda.
It won't work, of course, any more than it worked for Decian or his successors. What it did then was to harden the resolve of the persecuted Christians and build support for them among their non-Christian neighbors who were revolted at the senseless cruelty of the persecutions. It is doing this today, as the legitimacy of the global elite and its imperial propaganda is rejected by a growing number of Deplorables, world wide. We know this because we see the persecutions, which are a result, not a cause.
The Dinosaurs sniff a change on the wind, and roar their defiance.
UPDATE 10 June 2018 16:08: Lots of examples of official and unofficial persecution here.