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AD69 Emperors, Armies and Anarchy, Nic Fields.
AD69 Emperors, Armies and Anarchy, Nic Fields.
AD69, or the Year of the Four Emperors, saw four men take the Roman imperial throne in fairly rapid succession. After the suicide of Nero, the Julio-Claudian dynasty was played out, and power passed away from the family of Augustus. Over the course of the year the aristocrats Galba, Otho, Vitellius and finally Vespasian, seized power, although only Vespasian was able to hold onto it and found a new dynasty. Rather unusually this wasn't a single four-sided civil war, but instead a series of three separate conflicts, one following on from the other.
There are two sides to this book, one positive and one negative. On the negative side the author allows himself to be distracted by regular digressions on modern politics. These come in rather odd places - a sizable rant on parliamentary politicians comes in the middle of a section on Tacitus. There is also a tendency to make assumptions about Roman military life based on the author's own experiences in the Royal Marines. While I'm sure many aspects were indeed similar, it's always dangerous to make that sort of assumption about life 2,000 years ago in a totally different cultural world.
On the positive side the book is generally well organised - each Emperor is dealt with in turn, focusing on events from their point of view, so in most cases the next rebellion arrives quite late in the chapter, and with few details of the actions of the rebel. The author then goes back to the start of the next usurper's story in the following chapter. This is quite an effective technique once you realise what's going on. The main text is supported by a series of generally useful appendices on the Roman Army of the period, followed by a sizable section of notes that actually includes some interesting material as well as references.
Overall this is a good study of a disastrous year in Roman history, but one that would have been better if the author had reined himself in and focused more on the topic.
1 - The Twisted Emperor
2 - The Septuagenarian Emperor
3 - The Hundred Days' Emperor
4 - The Epicurean Emperor
5 - The Emperor Maker
6 - The Fourth Milestone
7 - Conflict with Civilis
8 - The Victorious Emperor
9 - The Eternal Emperors
Epilogue - Winners and Losers
1 - Provinciae Imperii Romani
2 - Principate Army - Origins
3 - Principate Army - Organization
4 - Principate Army - Equipment
5 - What Roman Soldiers Ate
6 - How Many Legions?
7 - Key to Legionary Titles
8 - Artillery Shield of IIII Macedonica
9 - Imperial Succession
10 - The Cult of Iuppiter Dolichenus
11 - Ancient Authors
Author: Nic Fields
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military
AD69 Emperors, Armies and Anarchy, Nic Fields. - History
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With the death of Nero by his own shaky hand, the ill-sorted, ill-starred Julio-Claudian dynasty came to an ignominious end, and Rome was up for the taking. This was 9 June, AD 68. The following year, commonly known as the 'Year of the Four Emperors', was probably one of Rome's worst.
Nero's death threw up a critical question for the Empire. How could a new man occupy the vacant throne in Rome and establish a new dynasty? This situation had never arisen before, since in all previous successions the new emperor had some relation to his predecessor, but the psychotic and paranoid Nero had done away with any eligible relatives. And how might a new emperor secure his legal position and authority with regards to the Senate and to the army, as well as to those who had a vested interest in the system, the Praetorian Guard? The result was that ambitious and unscrupulous generals of the empire fell into a bloody power struggle to decide who had the right to wear the imperial purple.
Tacitus, in his acid way, remarks that 'one of the secrets of ruling had been revealed: an emperor could be created outside Rome'. This was because imperial authority was ultimately based on control of the military. Thus, to retain power a player in the game of thrones had to gain an unshakable control over the legions, which were dotted along the fringes of the empire. Of course, this in turn meant that the soldiers themselves could impose their own choice. Indeed, it turned out that even if an emperor gained recognition in Rome, this counted for nothing in the face of opposition from the armies out in the frontier provinces. It was to take a tumultuous year of civil war and the death of three imperial candidates before a fourth candidate could come out on top, remain there, and establish for himself a new dynasty. Nic Fields narrates the twists and turns and the military events of this short but bloody period of Roman history.
The author has an engaging writing style that brings this period of conflict to vivid life. The year following the demise of the paranoid Nero was one of the most turbulent in the history of Ancient Rome – Most Highly Recommended.
Fields scholarship is solid.
Roman Times Blogspot - Mary Harrsch
Overall, this is a good study of a disastrous year in Roman history.www.historyofwar.org
The author has a very readable style and he has chosen a period in Roman history that provides many twists and turns as Rome emerged from the period of rule by Nero. The result is a fascinating account of a fascinating slice of Roman history.Firetrench
Nic Fields, a former Royal Marine, navigates us through this year of tumult, firstly introducing us to Nero, and then guiding step by step through the subsequent events with an easy and engaging writing style. We appear to meet more people than the cast of Game of Thrones (with about the same mortality rate!) but with the added bonus of this being history, not fiction.Miniature Wargames Magazine
This book is history for mortals, with a hugely entertaining narrative which keeps the reader interested and wanting to know 'what happened next?'.
Nic Fields, is a former Royal Marine Commando turned classical scholar and now full-time military historian and tour guide. Among his many previous works are Warlords of Republican Rome: Caesar versus Pompey (2008), Roman Conquests: North Africa (2010), The Spartan Way (2012), AD 69: Armies, Emperors and Anarchy (2014), God's City: Byzantine Constantinople, and God's Victory: Lepanto 1571 (forthcoming 2020), all published by Pen & Sword.
Book Review: "AD69: Emperors, Armies and Anarchy", Nic Fields[Free review copy supplied by Pen and Sword Books. My usual statement applies. Price 㿅 hardback, or 㾻 digital.]
What we have here is a very nice-looking, circa-250-page hardback, covering the Year of the Four Emperors , in which, in the aftermath of the death of Nero, the position of Roman Emperor was held in fairly rapid succession by Galba, Otho, and Vitellius before settling into the markedly more stable hands of Vespasian. It's where the collection of ways to die in the Imperial purple moves on from the merely suspicious (did he really die of natural causes?) and starts getting interesting: Nero (suicide), Galba (killed by his Praetorians), Otho (suicide), Vitellius (killed by Vespasian's troops). From a wargaming point of view, it's a fabulous excuse for pitting legionary against legionary - witness our WAB campaign day last November , which was themed around this year's events.
There are all the component parts of a really good book in here. It covers the lead up to Nero's death and whole story of AD69, with lots of nice titbits about legionary organisation, ancient sources, some fascinating speculations about various folks' motivation, some interesting parallels to the here and now etc etc. But. and I really hate to say "but", because I so wanted to like this book.
The warning bells rang when the first thing I read after turning over from the contents page is the full captions for all the plates in the middle of the book. Huh? Flicking to the middle, all the photos have short captions as well . Better, surely would have been facing pages of captions and photos? Anything that stops me flicking from the beginning of the book to the middle and back every time I want the details of a photo.
The main text itself covers the whole story, with, it has to be said, an awful lot of editorialising by the author - some of which I find it hard to agree with, some less so. But you reach the word ' FINIS ' on page 99. The next 140 pages are: appendices, several of them fascinating a sprawling list of footnotes a bibliography and a pretty decent index. More than half the book is not the main text. More to the point, a lot of the appendices belong in the main text - for example, Galba's speech after he's made emperor and adopts Piso Licinianus resides for some reason in Appendix 9, as does the lex de Imperio Vespasiani, the law the Senate enacted in the last days of December 69 to bestow power on Vespasian. Many of the footnotes are ten to twenty lines long, many contain valuable and interesting information. Am I really supposed to read with a finger in the appropriate page of footnotes and look up every one as I go? I'll be honest: I didn't read a good third of this book by page count, and that's really not a good thing for a reviewer to be saying.
In short? It's a frustrating book, that you can't read from front to back if you want to get all of its considerable and interesting content in any semblance of a sensible order or context. And that's a crying shame, because the words, the sentences, the paragraphs and the pictures contain individually and severally the ingredients of a really good book on a fantastic period of history, that's fundamentally been put together wrong.
Curiously, I have found S&W books quite irregular in content quality, although I've focused mostly on the IIWW period. I infer from your comments that this may be one of those cases.
Views and opinions expressed here are those of the commenter, not mine. I reserve the right to delete comments if I consider them unacceptable. Unfortunately due to persistent spam from one source, I've been forced to turn on captchas for comments.
AD69 Emperors, Armies and Anarchy, Nic Fields. - History
Use spaces to separate tags. Use single quotes (') for phrases.
With the death of Nero by his own shaky hand, the ill-sorted, ill-starred Iulio-Claudian dynasty came to an ignominious end, and Rome was up for the taking. This was 9 June, AD 68. The following year, commonly known as the 'Year of the Four Emperors', was probably one of Rome's worst. Nero's death threw up a critical question for the Empire. How could a new man occupy the vacant throne in Rome and establish a new dynasty? This situation had never arisen before, since in all previous successions the new emperor had some relation to his predecessor, but the psychotic and paranoid Nero had done away with any eligible relatives. And how might a new emperor secure his legal position and authority with regards to the Senate and to the army, as well as to those who had a vested interest in the system, the Praetorian Guard? The result was that ambitious and unscrupulous generals of the empire fell into a bloody power struggle to decide who had the right to wear the imperial purple. Tacitus, in his acid way, remarks that 'one of the secrets of ruling had been revealed: an emperor could be created outside Rome'. This was because imperial authority was ultimately based on control of the military. Thus, to retain power a player in the game of thrones had to gain an unshakable control over the legions, which were dotted along the fringes of the empire. Of course, this in turn meant that the soldiers themselves could impose their own choice. Indeed, it turned out that even if an emperor gained recognition in Rome, this counted for nothing in the face of opposition from the armies out in the frontier provinces. It was to take a tumultuous year of civil war and the death of three imperial candidates before a fourth candidate could come out on top, remain there, and establish for himself a new dynasty. Nic Fields narrates the twists and turns and the military events of this short but bloody period of Roman history.
Nic Fields, Steve Noon
Published by Osprey Publishing 10/11/2007 (2007)
From: Bahamut Media (Reading, United Kingdom)
About this Item: Paperback. Condition: Very Good. Noon, Steve (illustrator). Shipped within 24 hours from our UK warehouse. Clean, undamaged book with no damage to pages and minimal wear to the cover. Spine still tight, in very good condition. Remember if you are not happy, you are covered by our 100% money back guarantee. Seller Inventory # 6545-9781841761800
Bucellarii (the Latin plural of Bucellarius literally "biscuit–eater",  Greek: Βουκελλάριοι ) were formations of escort troops used in the Roman Empire in Late Antiquity.  [a] They were employed by high-ranking military figures (such as Flavius Aetius and Belisarius) or civil office-holders.   The word is derived from the type of bread rations eaten by these troops, so-called buccellatum.  The term bucellarii came into common use during the reign of Emperor Honorius ( r . 395–423 ). 
According to Jon Coulston, one bucellarii regiment is attested in the Notitia Dignitatum.  The creation of the bucellarii reflected an increase in the "use of armed retinues by public officials" in the Roman Empire.  These armies were, therefore, associated with the decline of imperial authority because they demonstrated that it no longer had the monopoly of violence.   The bucellarius had close ties with its commander, supporting him in his quarrel with other commanders and even against the state. This is shown by the army of Heraclian, which was used in his attempt to seize Italy from Emperor Honorius. 
Coulston notes that the bucellarii provided the best cavalry in 5th and 6th century Roman armies, and were "recruited from Romans, Persians, Goths, and Huns, amongst others".  The recruitment of soldiers of barbarian origin is well-documented as evidenced in the description of the army inherited by Constantius' widow Galla Placida.  The poet Claudian also described the bucellarii as an army of barbarians under the employ military figures, politicians, and warlords such as Stilicho, Aetius, and the praetorian prefect Rufinus. 
The bucellarii generally received the highest salaries and were armed with the best equipment from the empire's factories.  Some sources state that the bucellarii were mercenaries and describe their leaders as soldiers of fortune.  This was particularly the case for the military companies that operated in Italy from the sixth to seventh centuries. 
Published by Osprey Publishing (2015)
From: WorldofBooks (Goring-By-Sea, WS, United Kingdom)
About this Item: Paperback. Condition: Very Good. Noon, Steve (illustrator). The book has been read, but is in excellent condition. Pages are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine remains undamaged. Seller Inventory # GOR009489230
What history books have you bought recently? v.2
[ame="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1781591881/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1"]AD69: Emperors, Armies and Anarchy: Nic Fields: 9781781591888: Amazon.com: [email protected]@[email protected]@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/[email protected]@[email protected]@51vP0PprV-L[/ame]
[ame="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1853141003/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1"]Celtic Battle Heroes: Macbeth, Cuchulain, Boadicea and Fionn MacCumhaill (Heroes & Warriors S.): John Matthews R.J. Stewart: 9781853141003: Amazon.com: [email protected]@[email protected]@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/[email protected]@[email protected]@51c-Ddx95GL[/ame]
Has anyone read it? Thoughts? I noticed it didn't have any reviews on amazon and they were sold out but I found an okay deal on a new one from another of their fenders.
Just wanted to leave a few thoughts on MacDougall's work.
First, my copy had all it's pages
With that out of the way MacDougall's work was in a disadvantaged position with me from the start as I had just finished Lazenby's Hannibal's War in which the depth and detail of Hannibal's campaign MacDougall's work couldn't hope to compete with. With that being said, I enjoyed MacDougall's "observations" at the end of each chapter with him not only being a historian but also a former military officer. This is in contrast to Lazenby even admitting himself at the end of his work that he was an, "arm chair quarterback" with no combat experience and hinting at just what Hannibal would think of his work because of this.
MacDougall on the other hand, though dated, offered perspective from a former military officer. Also his references to how the forces of the Second Punic War couldn't have matched his "modern" 19th century forces and, while although calvary in ancient times often decided the outcomes of battles, they wouldn't stand a chance against an Enfield rifle. It was amusing though I'm sure MacDougall didn't intend it that way.
Also his account of Hannibal taking the offensive at Zama after Scipio's break through of his second line instead of Lazenby's (and others') portrayal of Hannibal waiting and allowing Scipio to regroup seems plausible. Although it would run counter to Hannibal's usual tactic of allowing his infantry to be on the defensive while his calvary decided the battle elsewhere. With his calvary having been swept off the field, perhaps Hannibal realized time wasn't on his side?
In short, it was a quick read with some interesting perspectives. Worth the read though I would recommend it first followed by a more detailed account such as Lazenby's.
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These demons were used to kill a third of mankind (v. 15)
Let me give you one more point, and that is seen in verse 15: "So the four angels were released — they had been prepared for the hour and the day and month and year" and here comes the phrase we haven't dealt with yet: "—so that they might kill a third of mankind."
Most Partial Preterist commentaries try to get around this last statement since it seems exaggerated to them. Was a third of mankind really killed at this time? If you read the premillennial arguments against our position, this is claimed to be a slam-dunk argument against us. And I am not at all satisfied with any of the Partial Preterist replies that I have read so far. So this is a serious issue that deserves at least a few minutes of consideration.
Let me first of all discard some lame arguments that have been used by our own camp. Mullholland suggests that all of humanity is divided up into three groups of unequal size: a group sealed by God, a group judged by God, and a group who is neither sealed nor judged but is given opportunity to repent. So one third of those groups are killed on his interpretation. But that seems forced. It seems to refer to one third of mankind, not one of three very unequal groups. So I am not satisfied with that explanation.
Others in our camp apply this to men in Israel alone. While that is technically possible, it doesn't fit two facts: First, far more than one third of Jews were annihilated throughout the empire. Second, it doesn't seem to fit the context of idolatry of literal idols in verses 20-21. Jews didn't worship idols of wood, stone, bronze, and gold. It seems better to take this as a reference to mankind within the Roman Empire or Mankind in general. We have almost no idea of death figures in China and other parts of the world from this time, so I could not say one way or the other of whether one third of the world's population died. I suspect not.
But there are four arguments as to why this is most probably related to the world of the Roman Empire. First, in the parallel section in chapter 16:14 the demons from the Euphrates go out of the beast's mouth, so that connects it to Nero to Rome. We are not talking about China or North America. Second, he speaks of the kings at the Euphrates, so that is the second connection that would seem to indicate that it is Gentiles, and goes beyond Jews. But the Euphrates is still within the Roman Empire, so it excludes China. Third, he uses the Greek term οἰκουμένης, which is defined in the dictionary as usually applying to the Roman Empire (or the world as an administrative unit under Rome). And last, it speaks of them coming to the land of Israel to wage war at Megiddo. Rome came to Megiddo, but China didn't. And our passage also speaks of the demons coming from the Euphrates - the place where the auxiliary units combined with Vespasian's four legions that were brought to Israel. And the point is that these demons would be unleashed not just upon Israel (which is where many Partial Preterists restrict this demonic activity), but also upon the whole empire during the next three and a half years. This is a covenantal judgment against both Israel and Rome.
But it still brings up the question, "Did one third of mankind in the Roman Empire die between the years AD 67 and 70?" And I believe the answer is "Yes." Now, Futurists will say, "No way. There is no evidence of this massive number of deaths." People like Tim LaHaye have recently been going on a frontal attack against Partial Preterism, and this is one of their arguments. Well, I beg to differ with them - there is evidence.
Part of the problem is that secular scholars are all over the map on what the population of the empire might have been. I have read numerous papers and books studying the demography of that period.  If Gibbon's estimates for the population in the first half of the century are correct (and he has by far the highest estimate at 120 million) then the population was reduced by far more than one third. But others have estimated the Roman population before these years as 83 million (Moreau de Jonnes), 70-90 million (Michael Grant), 70 million (Beloch & Stein), 50-60 million (Finley), 50 million (Duncan, Jones, and McMullen), and 39 million (McEvedy). Well, if you are all over the map like that, it is almost impossible to use demography to prove fulfillment or non-fulfillment. Most people say that it was probably in the 55 million range. But if any of the first four estimates are correct on the size of the population, then liberals have no basis for questioning the inerrant Scriptures. God said that a third would die, and that is good enough for me. But because Premils have recently been bringing this verse up as an objection to Partial Preterism, I do want to deal with it for just a few more minutes to show that there was massive death during this time.
And my chief source of information is Tacitus, a Roman historian who lived during this time. When you read through his five volumes that cover 68-70 AD (they were titled, The Histories), you see language that describes absolute carnage during these years. And the carnage was not just against the Barbarians who had revolted. That was bad enough, but the civil wars had Roman legions fighting against other legions and decimating their numbers. Tacitus speaks of "vast numbers" of Roman soldiers being slain.  Nor were ordinary citizens exempt. Cremona was massacred, as were other regions.
So why don't we read about these things more? Part of the problem is that many establishment scholars tend to doubt the carnage, and my suspicion on why they would doubt what the ancient historians say is because it mars their bright picture of Rome. And they also tend to downplay other significant changes in numbers. For example, on the diminished size of the city of Rome that I just referenced, Whitney Oates says,
On the face of it, this seems impossible. Despite the fact that . the city had suffered severely from disease and pestilence, we have no warrant to conclude that the city had decreased in size by over more than half. We are forced, therefore, to reject such an interpretation. 
And my response is, "Why? Why is the literal interpretation of the facts impossible?" And why do many scholars dismiss the genocides recorded by historians as being real genocides? It is only a hunch, but I think it is because they idolize Rome. For over 1000 years scholars have looked to Rome for the ideal model of a state. So if historians say that Julius Caesar killed one million Gauls in one conflict, and enslaved another one million, it must be hyperbole. Julius Caesar is too much of a hero to engage in genocide. That's a dirty word - at least when it is used to describe Roman atrocities. Were there really one a half million Jews killed in Israel and 3-7 million more killed throughout the empire? They say that Josephus must have been exaggerating. It sounds too much like genocide, and it gets played down. Even Christians have idolized Greece and Rome. But Rome and Greece were demonic to the core and there is no good reason to idolize them. And I like the way Nic Fields pops this illusion in his recent 2014 history book that covers just the year AD 69. He says,
"Historians generally like to encourage us to remember Rome as a glorious font of western civilization. I find it difficult to agree with this proposal. Rather than be dazzled by its so-called glory, Rome is better seen as 'that immense monument of human arrogance'. So from here on abandon any notions about the glory that was Rome or the noble legacy it ostensibly left us."
And I say, "Amen." By the time you finish his book, you will be sickened by Rome and all that it stands for. Rome's brutality during these next few years depopulated a third of the empire.
Who all died? Let's try to add it up the information that we have. Christians continued to die for more than a year - all the way up until June 9 of 68 when Nero died. As I mentioned in a previous sermon, the church was almost exterminated. As much as the church had advanced around the world, to be almost exterminated would hugely impact the world's population. If the Roman Empire was 55 million (as most establishment scholars believe) and if Christians numbered in the multiplied millions (as we have already established), then we are already racking up some significant percentages. Let's just assume a conservative figure of five million Christians. That would be almost 10% of the total population. It would be less if the higher estimates of the first four scholars were followed, but it is still significant. And if you follow the higher estimates, then it is a slam dunk that a third of the population died.
Jews are the next category that adds to this holocaust. They continued to be killed throughout the empire up until early 74. In fact, the lowest figure of Jews killed throughout the empire that could possibly be supported is 4 million (which is what some establishment scholars hold to), but several scholars have demonstrated that it is much closer to the seven million mark. If the Roman population was higher, then this figure would go up as well, because Jews comprised approximately 15% of the entire population  - 10% in the West and 20% in the East.  The Jewish deaths alone would have comprised over 10% of the population and you need to add the Christians to that. So we are already nearing 20%. This would have had a devastating impact upon the population and economy of the empire. And we will deal with that subject in the second half of the book in much more detail.
But the German Batavians were slaughtered in their uprising, and other Barbarian uprisings were brutally suppressed. It is impossible to read through the five volumes of Tacitus' The Histories, without being aware of a massive loss of life. Which, by the way, Fields points out was typical of Rome's armies. Life did not mean much to them.
Then there were Roman legions fighting against other Roman legions in the civil wars of AD 69. The best of the best were up against each other. And they showed no mercy to the legions and the auxiliary armies that supported the losing emperor. Remember that AD 69 was the year of the four emperors, and there was civil war through that whole period. But the Batavians themselves were a powerful military, and they annihilated two Roman legions. Tacitus doesn't give an exact number of legionaries killed, but he says that it was "vast numbers." Two additional legions sided with the Batavians, which means that they were the losing side once Rome stomped on them. So we now have four legions in trouble. We don't have percentages to add, but when Tacitus speaks of huge areas being heaped high with the dead bodies of Roman soldiers, there is something that needs to be added to the percentages we have already seen. It's now higher than 20%.
But non-combatant Roman civilians also died all through the year 69, the year of the four emperors. Tacitus' accounts turn your stomach at the brutality of Roman soldiers against their fellow Roman citizens. It was one of the things that made our founding fathers vow that there would be no standing army in America - they feared what an army could do to its own citizens. And actually, you don't have to look beyond the War Between the States, do you? Armies unleashed upon our own citizens produced absolute carnage.
I'll just give you a tiny paragraph from Field's history book on the year AD 69 to give you a tiny glimpse. He talks about what happened to one town for siding with the wrong emperor. They had already lost many lives during the conflict, but Fields describes what happened to the citizens after the surrender had happened. He says,
In any war it is the civilian caught up in the conflict that suffers the most, and the inhabitants of this affluent town were to be no exception despite a show of surrender, they fell victim to indiscriminate looting, rape and butchery, the most frightful forms of soldier licence, the last vices of war. A holocaust of death and destruction cleaned the entire town. .
The Flavians were now completely out of hand. They roamed unchecked through the town, raping and murdering, looting and destroying, and then they slept drunken on wine and lust and blood. Such was the rape of Cremona. 
And by the way, the statements that Tacitus, Seutonius, Cassius, and others give of the crazy behavior of the Romans fit our interpretation that these demons were unleashed upon Rome. Just as Josephus describes the Jews as being either insane or demon possessed during the years 68-70, Tacitus' descriptions of the mob activities, suicides, mass killings and torture, and the crazed behaviors of barbarians and Romans alike seems to point to a time of demonization amongst the Romans as well.
And we haven't even touched on those killed by plagues and fires during this time. R. Bagnall and B. Frier have pored over 300 census returns filed in Egypt during the first three centuries since the birth of Jesus and tried to come up with Demographic tables and mortality rates for Romans. Their conclusion was that life expectancy from birth for Roman females was between 20-30 years and males was between 22 and 25 years. If that was true, then something devastating must have happened during this time. The huge numbers of widows and orphans alone seems to point to vast numbers of males being killed in the latter part of the first century. So even though we do not have any slam-dunk numbers, neither do those who question this verse being fulfilled. And certainly there is abundant evidence of mass death that seems to credibly approach the 33% mark.
When we get to chapter 11 I will give you evidence of a tidal wave that covered the region of Lycia and a great deal of Egypt. Cassius didn't say how many died, but it must have been an enormous number. So you would have to add that to the numbers.
I'll give you just one more example of statistics that we have. Though the evidence is disputed, there is evidence that the city of Rome declined in its population tremendously between AD 14 and 200, going from 1,250,000 in AD 14  to 570,000 around AD 200. That would be a reduction of the size of the city by 55% in less than 200 years. Now, how much of that happened during these next three years, we do not know. But skeptics need to account for those kinds of things. They point strongly in favor of the Partial Preterist interpretation.
And to those who are still skeptical, I would point to the fact that there was a far worse reduction of the population under later emperors that is impossible to contest, so to dismiss this smaller number of one third as being ridiculous when they do not have any concrete evidence, is simply skepticism, not an argument. Tacitus is definitely on our side on this debate. And that is as much as I will deal with this question.
But let me end with five concluding applications. First, we have seen that you can absolutely trust the numbers and statistics of the Bible. The calendar statistics alone makes you realize that the Bible is inspired and inerrant if you weren't already convinced of that. But we can trust the Bible completely and implicitly.
Second, God is never late. The saints in chapter 6 who were praying for judgment the previous year may have thought that He was late, but He was not. God was prepared down to the hour, day, month, and year. We can trust Him to be there when we need Him.
Third, we cannot trust civil governments to do what they have promised to do - especially if they are led by unbelievers. The book of Revelation makes it unmistakably clear that civil leaders can easily be moved by demons. Even if they want to fulfill their promises, they are limited in what they can do.
Which means fourthly, that we should not entrust too much power to civil governments. The apostle John will more fully address that issue in the second half of the book, where he describes civil governments as beasts and demonic. And in doing that, it is simply following the lead of the book of Daniel, which describes the demonic king Nebuchadnezzar as having "the heart of a beast" (Dan. 4:16). And the beast that Babylon was likened to was its god - a winged lion. It was a demon. So for his government to be described as that beast was to be described as that demon. The demon holds sway over Nebuchadnezzar. And Daniel 7:24 describes the conversion of Nebuchadnezzar in these words:
The first [beast] was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings. I watched till its wings were plucked off and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.
That shows the Christianization of Babylon making it rational. Once Nebuchadnezzar was converted, his empire was no longer described as a beast or as demonic. The only other government not treated as bestial and demonic was the kingdom that the Messiah was prophesied to establish.
And what is the point? The point is that we should desire Christians in office. Whatever good intentions an unbelieving politician might have, he is still under the sway of the wicked one - 1 John 5:19. And this was a truism in early America. They would quote David's statement, "He who rules over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God." Listen to what the first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, John Jay, said:
Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christian rulers for their rulers.”
When you once take the demonic into consideration, voting for an unbeliever doesn't make sense. If even a compromised Christian like King David could be moved by Satan to do a horrible statist thing - the census, think of what Satan can do in moving other politicians.
My last application is that we should bring our prayers before the throne of grace and seek God's mercy for His church. These kinds of culture battles will ultimately be won by spiritual warfare alone. And when we are praying, it is good to keep in mind that God's ultimate goal is righteousness exalting every nation of the world - the kind of righteousness that the nations at the end of this book have. So pray. Make wise use of the golden altar of incense. Amen.
Translation of the Majority Text by Wilbur M. Pickering - The Sovereign Creator Has Spoken. The first word "And" was changed by me to "Then." ↩
My calendar program is the one developed by E. W. Faulstich. The figures can be cross-checked with calculations he has done in his collected writings. ↩
Conybeare and Howson pointed out that Rome had four legions in the neighborhood of the Euphrates. See their Life and Epistles of Paul, p. 603, footnote 2. See also Tacitus, Anals, 4.5 and Josephus, Wars, 3.1.3 3.4.2 5.1.6 6.1.3 7.1.3. See Zuleika Rodgers, Making History: Josephus and Historical Method, (Leiden: Brill, 2006), p. 354. The four legions from the Euphrates were Legio IV (Scythia), V (Macedonia), VI (Ferrata), and X. ↩
Surveys conducted by Israeli archaeologist Yotam Tepper found Roman coins and roof tiles stamped with the name of the Sixth Legion. ↩
Some of the articles I have read are, Raymond W. Goldsmith, "An Estimate of the Size and Structure of the National Product of the Early Roman Empire," (Yale University) Walter Scheidel, "Roman Population Size: The Logi of the Debate," (Stanford University, July 2007) Whitney J. Oates, "The Population of Rome," Classical Philology, vol. 29, no. 2, (April, 1934), pp. 101-116 L. Friedländer, Roman Life and Manners under the Early Empire, trans. A. B. Gough (London: Routledge, 1913), IV, 17‑28 C. Herschel (The Two Books on the Water Supply of the City of Rome of Sextus Julius Frontinus [Boston: Estes, 1899]) Nic Fields, AD 69: Emperors, Armies & Anarchy, (South Yorkshire: Pen & Sword Books Ltd, 2014) Edwin M. Yamauchi & Marvin R. Wilson, "Census," in Dictionary of Daily Life in Biblical & Post-Biblical Antiquity, (Peabody, Massachuesetts: Hendriksen Publishers, 2014) Turchin, P., Scheidel, W., & Spencer, C. (2009). Coin Hoards Speak of Population Declines in Ancient Rome. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 106(41), 17276-17279. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/40485178 Michael Grant, The World of Rome (Cleveland: World Publishing, 1960), http://www.questia.com/read/1506664/the-world-of-rome. ↩
Histories, Book III, says, "the ground was strewn with a vast number of mangled and lifeless bodies." But similar language can be seen all through books I-V. ↩
Paul Barnett, BEhind the Scenes of the New Testament, (Downer's Grove, Ill.: Inter-varsity, 1990), p. 158. ↩
Fields, Dr Nic (2014-03-31). AD69: Emperors, Armies and Anarchy (Kindle Locations 2447-2452 and 2461-2463). Pen and Sword. Kindle Edition. ↩
See calculations at http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Journals/CP/29/2/Population_of_Rome*.html Estimates of the population range from a low of half a million to a high of eight million residents of the city of Rome. 1.25 million was an estimate first established by Gibbon, and is argued for in this essay using a variety of methods. ↩
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