Tuesday, June 9, 2020

The Altar of Victory and Robert E. Lee

The Altar of Victory was erected by the Divine Augustus himself in the Roman Senate house.  Raised in commemoration of his victory over Marc Antony and Cleopatra, the altar saw regular use - not least of which was the ceremony where the Senators swore loyalty to the Emperor.  You might say that it was at the beating heart of the Roman political order.

The statue of Victory on a coin issued under Augustus.  Nobody knows what the altar looked like.
The statue of Victory on a coin issued under Augustus.  Nobody knows what the altar itself looked like.

But time and tide waits for no man, and the Roman political order changed over the centuries.  Constantine the Great ended the persecution of the Christians and funded the new religion.  His son Constantius II removed the altar in 357 AD, thinking that the old pagan rituals had no place in the "modern" Rome.  For the next 50 years it was back and forth - restored to the Senate House under one emperor, removed under another.  Finally in 408 AD it disappeared entirely.  "Modern" Rome had won.

We see the same playing out today in Richmond.  Governor Blackface has ordered the statue of Robert E. Lee removed from Monument Avenue in Richmond.  A judge has put a temporary halt to this - it seems that the land was donated to the State decades ago under the provision that the State would protect the statue.  The great grandson of the people who donated the land filed suit to stop the removal.

But like the "Modern Roman's" view of the Altar of Victory, many in Richmond today think that the statue represents an outdated, nay pagan past.  Its presence is a blasphemy against the Revealed Progressive Truth.  We shall see how things play out.


Divemedic said...

The article says that the Governor is confident in his ability to violate the agreement because reasons. So any agreement between the government and the people is not worth the paper it is written on. Important lesson.

Old NFO said...

This is going to be interesting...

Fred said...

The recent transplants to Virginia from Northern states have no cultural connection to Virginia's past and have stewed for at least a generation in anti-Southern sentiment, to be polite. Foreign immigrants have even less and are happy to eliminate America's past to show thier current bona fides to TPTB.

Pachydermis2 said...

The contemporary Altar of Peace has been reassembled from the zillion pieces it had fallen into after being built on a flood prone area on the northern edge of Rome (Campus Marti, actually the Field of Mars). It is really rather ugly, so perhaps the Altar of Victory was also something of a ugly duckling. The Romans were never quite as good at this stuff as the Greeks.


lee n. field said...

"Finally in 408 AD it disappeared entirely." Interesting. Adds more historical context to Augustine's "City of God". A bit of obnoxious civil religion removed in 408. Rome sacked shortly thereafter. Augustine starts writing his book in 413 (so "the innernet" tells me) against the claim that it's "all the Christians' fault".

Rome's fall was shocking. That world crumbled away and mutated into ours. Ours looks shaky.

Pachydermis2 said...

The Fall of Rome indeed was shocking. It had been so dominant for so long that the existence of The Empire was as constant as the sun rising in the east every morning. But under a fair amount of propaganda and cognitive dissonance there are other things to be learned.

The immediate successors to the Western Empire were generally speaking tolerant Gothic leaders who did a better job than the last shadow emperors. Rome did not actually die until a bit later. The eastern half of the Empire fought on and actually had a flicker of greatness under Justinian. They recaptured the Eternal City.

But lacked the power to hold it. Siege after siege. The aqueducts that allowed a city to exist were toppled. It did not take long for there to be nothing left worth fighting over.

Moral of the story? Whether you run the greatest city on earth or a collection of huts Job One is making sure it is not reduced to ashes or to a state of economic beggary that is less dramatic but just as certain. There can be no Higher Vision, nor even bread and circus distractions in a parched ghost town. Or a debris field.


capcha ironically says I should click on fire hydrants. Capcha understands the world more than many of our leaders.

HMS Defiant said...

I wonder if the Commonwealth will sell the statue to a private entity who can install it on private ground.

Antibubba said...

Keep the statue--in a museum. Protect it from those who wish to destroy history, but stop venerating it. Post-Nazi Germany provides an excellent example of how to do this.

Borepatch said...

Antibubba: no.