CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION AND NERO'S 64AD FIRE (PART 1)
I'm going to post this in 4 parts covering the Fire & ChristianPersecution, St. Peter in Rome, the evidence found in the excavation of the tomb area and websites.
This just makes things easier when I or someone else might have something to add at a later date like 'Part 2 Peter in Rome' then say abible quote is added.
I believe that this is the tomb of St. Peter and that his bones were found there.
There is no rock solid evidence to support this though, if there were you would be reading about it from a published author with alot of letters after their name instead of a poorly written post on a messageboard.
Only believe in the facts like from the Pagan writers and the excavation reports.
But the theory/belief/legend/whatever that Peter was killed and buried at Rome's Vatican Hill is up too you to believe or disbelieve that possibility.
No one should be 100% convinced nor can anyone say that it's also 100% not true IMO that would show extreme bias.
Instead go into this at 50/50 use logic and common sense without bias.
If you believe that there was a Divine Saint called Peter or just an historical person named Peter remember one thing...he had to die and beburied somewhere!
And there is major undisputed archaeological evidence that ~90yrs afterhis presumed death in Rome the Roman Christians marked and worshippedhis grave. Regards, Walter
I am an Atheist so I have no religious or faith-based bias to this site, I am just a Rome (city) ancient history buff and this site IMO is partof that history.
I believe there was an historical Jesus who started a very small cult following that was still part of Judaism. This following grew after his death (~30-33AD) within the Jewish communities and less than 20yrs later it caused religious strife in the Jewish community in Rome.
SUETONIUS 'CLAUDIUS' (~49/50AD) "Since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome".
The name Chrestus is a common name and most scholars believe it should be Christus (Christ) and was just misinterpreted (oral to written) and the Jews are fighting over the Messiah claim by Jesus' followers.
So we have a Pagan writer with access to Imperial archives who wrote 'The Twelve Ceasars' that places Christians in Rome roughly halfway between the death of Jesus and the 64AD Fire.
In 64AD we have the 'Great Fire of Rome' during Emperor Nero's reign. He needs a scapegoat when rumors start that he had ordered the fire set to clear away a large tract of land in order to vastly expand his palace (which he does).
Nobody cares about these very strange Christians plus the fire started in a small Jewish section where Jewish-Christians would have to alsolive.
SUETONIUS 'NERO' (Suetonius has an extreme bias when writing about Nero and other Emperors). Suetonius doesn't tie the Christians and the Fire together but places 100% of the blame on Nero but he does record the Christian persecutionby Nero. "During his reign many abuses were severely punished and putdown...[snip]  Punishment was inflicted on the Christians, a class of men given toa new and mischievous superstition.
TACITUS on the Fire and the Christians; "But all human efforts, all the lavish gifts of the emperor, and thepropitiations of the gods, did not banish the sinister belief that theconflagration was the result of an order.
Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt andinflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for theirabominations, called Christians by the populace.
Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of ourprocurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thuschecked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the firstsource of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous andshameful from every part of the world find their centre and becomepopular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then,upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so muchof the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. [SNIP]"
Ok so now we have 2 Pagan sources for a Christian persecution.Tacitus who was a child in Rome at the time of the Fire and Suetoniuswho was born 5yrs after the Fire.Both have access to archives and with actual 1st hand accounts espTacitus but also Suetonius who went to Rome to be educated as a youngman within 25yrs of the Fire, he was also very good friends with 'Plinythe Younger'.
Now to place the city's refuges at the Circus where St. Peter waskilled. We have Nero's Imperial Gardens, a Circus (a chariot racetrack on thefringe of the Gardens) and the Vatican Hill which at this time is adesolate snake infested area used as a cemetary for the poor with simplein-ground burials. So Gardens [G], Circus (), Vatican Hill /\ [G]()/\ all alongside each other.
TACITUS "To relieve the unhappy people, wandering in distress without a place ofshelter, he opened the field of Mars, as also the magnificent buildingsraised by Agrippa, and even his own *IMPERIAL GARDENS*.
He ordered a number of sheds to be thrown up with all possible'despatch, for the use of the populace. Household utensils and all kinds of necessary implements were broughtfrom Ostia, and other cities in the neighbourhood. The price of grain was reduced to three sesterces. For acts like these, munificent and well timed, Nero might hope for areturn of popular favour."
Nero actually did a good job for the people after the Fire and theGardens are just one location for the burnt-out refuges.
But this location has an added bonus, it has a Circus were the 'refuge mob' canbe entertained with death which they enjoy dearly. In the Circus Maximus (which burnt down in the fire) more than chariot races would take place, everything that the future Colosseum would havewas also done in the Circus (gladiators, animal fights, executions,etc).
So killing Christians as criminals in Nero's Circus before the crowdswould be standard operationing procedure.
And below is the rest of Tacitus' statement that I [Snipped] from above.
"Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished,or were ***nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, toserve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired. ***Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a showin the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of acharioteer or stood aloft on a car. Hence, even for criminals (i.e. Christians) who deserved extreme andexemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it wasnot, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man's cruelty,that they were being destroyed."
So we have proof by a Pagan source who was alive and lived in Rome atthat time although not likely an actual eyewitness to the fact thatChristians were killed in Nero's Circus.But his writings will be read by others who lived thru this era and hehas absolutely no reason to lie about it. Now we have as fact this event and a belief that one of the Christianswas St. Peter who was buried in a simple earth grave just outside thisCircus. From the spina (center barrier of the racetrack (|) ) where his andother crucifixions would have taken place a high school outfielder couldthrow a baseball from there to Peter's grave if the Basilica wasn't inthe way.
Bribing the guards for a body wasn't unheard of or later retriving thebody from a mass burial pit is also possible. If either was done burying the body ASAP would be a must to avoiddetection and very likely arrest and a place in the next day'sentertainment. Also the Romans were good about allowing the Jews to bury their dead thesame day as their crucifixion in their homeland but I don't know if thiswas the case here? Anyway this is probably the worst location (malaria, snakes, barrenwasteland) outside of the City's Walls to *claim* that this is the graveof your religious leader and Apostle of Jesus unless there was a verygood reason to make that claim?
St. Peter's Tomb at the Necropolis Scavi Fact or Fiction?
CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION AND NERO'S 64AD FIRE (PART 1)
- 1 "The Roman Guy" for tours?
- 2 How to get from airport to Venice city
- 3 Trip around Spain
- 4 Trieste as a day trip?
- 5 Euro Train
- 6 Home from Rome - a trip report
- 7 Castle "ruins" Tirol, Austria, Bavaria, Switzerland ?
- 8 2 weeks in UK to visit my daughter at Queen Mary Univ Dec 15-28 2013
- 9 a week in Ireland over New year's
- 10 Planning 4 nights S / SE of London for my parents in their late 60s
- 11 Spain - Andalucia
- 12 Alps/countryside off the beaten path suggestion - daytrip near Zurich
- 13 One more last question on Bayeux
- 14 New to Fodors: Please help with beginning stages of husband/wife trip
- 15 banger rally around europe?
- 16 Question-- York & North York Moors
- 17 Spain Train Reservations - Seat assignment
- 18 5 days in Granada - Seville?
- 19 Honeymoon Travel Advice Needed!
- 20 Backpacking Europe beginners questions!
- 21 Revised itinerary needs approval
- 22 Turkey Experts: Need Itinerary help - mostly with order of trip
- 23 Crete - trip report - 3 weeks May 2013, a great and surprising trip!
- 24 Weekend in Lake Bled?
- 25 Scotland this summer - some initial planning questions