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After many postings on the absolutism of the so called revealed religions, like Christianism, Islam and Judaism, that declare themselves as the only true religions and the only legitimated depositary of the truth, I like to present to you instead the enlightened liberality of the old Roman Pagan world, that allowed everybody freedom of choice among many of the cults present at that time in the Roman Empire... this was the revolutionary greatness and wisdom of our Pagan ancestors, a dream of freedom and reciprocal respect among differences, which is instead in danger today with the aggressive politics and blind dogmas of the contemporary major religions. A real risk for Neopagans to become burnt at the stake of ignorance, bigotism, absolutism in the name of a puppet like God controlled by the spiritual Leaders for their obscure purposes!...

Then I will say Viva Rome! ... and too bad that after thousands of years of human evolution, a large part of people living on this planet didn't reach a dignified independence and freedom of thinking from the "heretical" and despotical leaders of these so called revealed religions.
Leaders that just for orgasm of power and greed, manipulated and still manipulate the thoughts of many enlightened souls that were the founder of those religions!

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Yes Jen...
We need to think that Rome was NOT only the city of egomaniacs Pagan emperors ( many of them by the way were not just crazy and depraved, as generally depicted by Christian anti-Pagan fake propaganda, but also great man when not heroes!...), but the immortal centre of ancient Paganism.

Why this city was chosen by the Fathers of the Church as the capital of Christianism, with the building of Christ's Basilica on Vatican hill, on top of an ancient Pagan Sanctuary dedicated to the cult of Magna Mater?... Cause this city has an hidden force that vibrates and reverberate in this planet! That's the magical power within this sacred soil...

Rome still today the powerful centre of this planet magical force and will always be! ... If we can reconnect physically, mentally, spiritually with Her power, which is connected with the symbolic source of the superior cosmic powers ( what we called the Gods ), just by geographical "favorite by Gods" strategical location, we have a winner Omen-Power liaison that translates in a superpowerful tool and exceptional base to build our new Neopagan world!

Then again... Viva Roma!
I'm please to add to my previous post that a powerful kick was felt in Rome a few hours after my posting!... It was an earthquake 2.1 Richter scale with an epicenter in the city of Rome and guess where? A few meters from the center of Vatican City, exactly where is located the "Christianized" monument-tomb of emperor Hadrian now called "Castel Sant'Angelo", after which the Roman Catholic Church built a medieval castle on top of the monument, as a usual "weird" renowned Christian practice to build on top of sacred Pagan monuments!... who knows why?... maybe to exorcize the Pagan Demons that are still dancin' through the eons!.... maybe... maybe.. Returning to the little quake, in this natural phenomenon, probably my "distorted" vision of an old Roman Pagan can easily perceive, as my Pagan ancestors Etruscan-Romans Aruspex ( clairvoyants ) did in similar cases, a powerful Omen: the quake followed my posting about Rome and the Vatican and since the epicenter of the quake was centered exactly in the Vatican city area, I can see in that a "divine" sign! What kind of sign then?... well it can be described like the feet of the Gods kicking in the ass the "sleeping" Roman Catholics!... Good sign I will say.... really good... It is up to you to believe or not, since for me the Omen is clear!.... I also provide below a link to an Italian official website for earthquake info, so that you can control the accuracy and truth of this post... The quake has happen on 2009-05-12 at 12:44:55. PM, exactly two hours after my previous post ( the one above this one... ). I like to add that quakes with Rome as the epicenter are really really extremely rare...
http://www.ingv.it/ ps. ... if somebody of you can jump with a different interpretation of the Omen please don't mind to post it...

Sure Donna,

the Earth is an amazing marvelous living planet!... a cosmic entity with all the corresponding ties! ...and YEAH! this quake was really well placed in front of the heart of Vatican!!... ( well thanks to the Gods was just a sign and no real damage occurred!...)

Anyway regarding Omens instead, we can interpret those Signs in many ways! That's part of the game and of the art of Aruspicinia ( the art of interpreting Omens )... what is important from the aruspex or clairvoyant perspective is also to discover the subject for which the Omen is directed and to interpret the "range" and deepness of the self contained message.

Believe or not, this is not the first major Omen I got connected, in a way, to this site ( www.neopagan.com ) and my re-creation of a new Neopagan movement...

It seems that the Cosmic Energies are tuned in to my vision here! It is surely a good sign and a confirmation for me!!....

Some closed mind pagans, from past experiences, thinks superficially that I'am an egomaniac and fanatical spirit, but they just don't get my vision and goals!... in order to better clarify then: obviously I'm not implying to have a monopoly of truth here, nor to be the only one "favored" Pagan site of this Earth... not at all!
This will be an heretical and absurd statement...

But surely I think that Neopagan.com will contribute to the advent of a new unified Paganism and a new type of world.... hopefully a world that will see a new Golden Age for the benefit of our Planet and all humanity!
Rome was a remarkable civilization. Atheism was illegal though. This is one of the reasons the early Christians were persecuted - they weren't willing to burn incense to the Divine Emperor. This marked them as atheists.
Another religion the Romans didn't like was that of the Gauls, where Ceasar did his best to destroy Druidry. The Romans had a different attitude though when they occupied Britain.
Rome also got more liberal as it got older, until after the crisis of the 3rd century, which was an economic one and a social one (the population of free born Romans was too small). This time (about 280 ce) people began to be bound by law to follow the occupation of their fathers. This marked the beginning of the end of Roman liberalism.
Im not sure Gawaine about your analysis and perspective...
In general regarding the persecutions of the Christians Wikipedia says "...The Great Persecution is considered the largest. Beginning with a series of four edicts banning Christian practices and ordering the imprisonment of Christian clergy, the persecution intensified until all Christians in the empire were commanded to sacrifice to the gods or face immediate execution...."... in fact they were commanded to sacrifice to the Gods not to the Emperor as you said.

But more in general as for Caesar in Gaul or regarding Jesus Christ, the Romans watched to foreign cults, messiahs, druids &co with an halo of superiority due to the Roman knowledge and "genius". The Romans already had many sorcerers and magicians or Messiahs, so that the others, at their eyes, were nothin' more of unappealing replicas of the Romans oldest one models.
Many times the Romans considered those wanna be Messiahs as impostors, charlatans, man just not trustable...This also is really evident in the long diatribe of the philosopher Porphyry, Plotinus' disciple, against the Christians and their credo.
The Roman Porphiry saw the Christians and Christianism as a faith for children, compared to the variety and deepness of concepts of the Pagan cults and philosophy. So that i dont think that they were considered atheists rather than "eretics", traitors, naive dreamers and so on... since they believed ( the Christians ) in Jesus and in God....

As you also pointed out, Rome had a long story so that many different "Rome" has seen in history.

I like also to add that my personal perception-interpretation of Rome is that of a continue "source of power" that flows from the Gods towards us. Then what the Roman Emperors did, good or bad, is out of my focus and of no interest.
It is also to be said that many of our historical sources are faked up by the Christians church's fathers under Constantine the Great and beyond him, so that become uncertain the judgement of many historical facts...
One of the "sources" you cite "wikipedia" is a Jewish publication so that rules out any unbiased accounts that site might offer, especially since monotheistic religions are not about to portray the Religio Romana in a flattering light. Archaeologists have already established that many of the so called persecutions did not take place. There is no evidence, for instance that Christians were ever fed to the lions in the great Coliseum.

The Christians in Rome were viewed as anarchists, rebels intent on destroying the Roman Empire and undermining authority. It was only because of a great deal of tolerance that they were even allowed to remain in Rome since they defied and in fact opposed the powers that be. In our present day, if individuals existed whose sole purpose was to dismantle and destroy our government and structure, they would surely be in prison and we know the fate of condemned traitors here. They are still executed. Also I have to ask the logical question, if Christians had such a hard time of it in Rome, why did they stay? They were free to come and go as they pleased, no one forced them to stay. Surely such horrendous conditions would have urged even most simple minded of followers to flee to avoid the consequences.

Rome, itself and the Roman Empire was a religious state, however it was extremely tolerant of other religions provided that the Religio Romana was respected and honored to a small degree. All that was asked of these rogue religious groups is that they light a candle for the Empire, for the Emperor (his genius) as the Guardian and Protector of the Roman world. That the Christians refused to display this small token of respect, combined with their bizarre behavior and their intent on defying Roman authority is what singled them out as a rebel group, intent on malice and treason. The Romans themselves showed respect to foreign deities, always treading carefully so as not to offend them. They expected the same in return. The ruling authority was intimately intermingled with the Gods, so one could not insult one without insulting the other. You are right that history is muddled with inaccuracies and unpopular emperors were certainly vilified in much the same way that politicians are vilified today. I think given the conservative nature of the Romans, they would be aghast at the goings on of our so called Christian society today. They did after all have virtues they aspired to, in fact worshipped, even though they may not have always succeeded in exhibiting them.

But most important is that the Gods of the ancient world still exist today, no matter whether they have been maligned, abandoned, ridiculed, attacked or condemned. Our refusal to honor them has not removed them, but merely rendered them less influential for the time being. However, in spite of the oppressive and intolerant dominance of Christianity, the pagan Gods are still markedly prevalent in our culture and society. That alone speaks volumes of their illustrious past and renown.

I'm not sure if anyone had a chance to read "Celsus on the True Doctrine: A Discourse Against the Christians" by Hoffman, but it is very entertaining and enlightening reading. Celsus presents the Christians as hypocritical and bizarre rival cults, heavily steeped in superstition and magic, all vying for power and each with their own recipe for salvation. I found it to be quite an entertaining read. Celsus gives a Roman pagan's perspective on Christianity and Judaism, and after reading this, one can easily see why the Romans had so many problems with both of them.

The stark irony of Christianity is that when Rome finally became what they considered a "God-like" state, it fell, in fact all of Europe fell into the Dark Ages. Europe did not recover fully until the Renaissance when, coincidentally, a renewed interest in Roman classicism and mythology manifested itself. If we can take away anything from Rome's history, it is that the European Gods, the indigenous Gods of Italia, were almighty and powerful enough to create the greatest Empire in the world. They are still evident everywhere, in all that we see and every facet of our lives. They have endured and they will always be, no matter whether we acknowledge them or not. The Gods exist, all one has to do is honor and respect them to benefit from their generous gifts, gifts that the world today desperately needs.
Dear Cassandra,

Your posting came unexpected by me, cause generally there is a vast anti-Roman sentiment in the world and also, unfortunately, even in this Pagan community.
I'm so used to hear any kind of "bull" at this regard that I'm surprised when I read the opposite...
This is also against our best interest of Pagan folks since Rome represented, wheter we like it or not, the apogee of ancient Paganism and the symbol of what is the essence of Paganism.

I like to thank you then for your wise and erudite remarks.

Among many many many issues, it is true that whether they weren't "saints", many figures of Roman Emperors were largely badly depicted based on fake legends... It is a long issue about manipulated historical documents and related issues, which by the way is of an extreme importance from our modern Pagan perspective!
I will go back to that shortly.

I like to add to your mention of Celsus also the heroic figure of Porphiry, Plotinus disciple. This philosopher fought strongly against the rising of Christianism.
By reading him you will understand many issues about Christianism and the development of contemporary major religions.
If history has a say, it would say this, "All cities eventually fall, while even great civilizations collapse, for Time can crumble even the Pyramids to the ground. Time out stands everything. For mankind with not be missed when it is gone."


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