Roman Empire Remembers Peter’s Tainted Legacy

Tacitus, your roamin' Roman reporter

Tacitus, your roamin’ Roman reporter

ROME – 64 AD
By TACITUS, Senior Correspondent

The upstart leader of a pagan religious organization known as “The Way” leaves a mixed legacy behind after his execution.

Simon bar-Jonah, better known by his assumed name “Peter,” was the self-proclaimed leader of the Christians, a fanatical religious group with its origins in Jerusalem. His death by crucifixion demonstrates that the Empire has great toleration but can be pushed too far.

Speaking in Latin to a clandestine gathering of fellow Christians at their secret house church on Saturday evening, Peter said that he planned to flee the Roman authorities and avoid execution. However, he later returned to the city, telling his followers that he ran into their Jesus on the way out and changed his mind. “Quo Vadis” was all they kept saying to one another, some sort of secret code that must transmit more detailed information. Top Roman scholars are seeking to decrypt the message even now.

A rash, head-strong fisherman who seemed to prefer dusty catacombs to the healthy Roman air, Peter, 63, was never elected as head of the rag-tag group, but instead claimed divine appointment from Jesus Himself.

“The mark of every cult leader,” remarked Imperial pundit Sophronius, “is a grandiose claim of divine approval. It serves to curtail legitimate discussion and leads to rigid, autocratic  policies within the cult. That will be the ugly legacy of Peter’s iron rule as the sect’s leader.”

A notoriously polarizing figure, Peter spent much of his papacy in the shadow of his predecessor, Jesus. It is likely, even if not ultimately provable, that Peter’s failure to live up to Jesus’ legacy led to a severe inferiority complex, no doubt influencing his decision to return to Rome and be executed.

Peter’s papacy was tainted by intra-Apostolic scandal during the time of Jesus as well as a public humiliation by a Christian rival known as Paul, who also claimed divine appointment. Peter’s narrow vision led to the continuing division between Jewish and Gentile Christians, and his poor handling of administrative affairs was well known even within the cult’s circles. It should be noted that many critics saw these failings as moral failings.

Peter’s death plunged the tiny Christian sect into frantic speculation about his successor, and had already provoked contradictory opinions about his time as leader from within the Christian fringe.

But to the Roman Empire, Peter will be quickly forgotten as just one more upstart revolutionary of a flash-in-the-pan religion, no more relevant to the everyday Roman citizen’s life than Jesus Himself was.

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Got plans this evening? Why not head on over to the Coliseum for Gladiator Gaffes! That’s right, tonight Flavius will go head-t0-head with Marcus–and Christians get caught in the middle!–in this all new episode of the popular gladiatorial series. Hilarity will ensue. Free bread and cheese for all. Children under twelve receive a free “Execute Him” pin, with working Imperial thumbs-down action, while supplies last.

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22 Responses to Roman Empire Remembers Peter’s Tainted Legacy

  1. Matt says:

    “He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him.” (John 1:10) The City of Man tries to explain away the City of God and fails miserably. Some things never change. Love it – very witty post!

  2. Great idea, Devin!

    People still try to judge us by what we do, rather than looking to the One who came for us sinners.

    We are all in the same boat. We just happen to know where the Bread line is.

  3. Devin Rose says:

    This is of course a satire on the ridiculous reporting done by the media, notably the FoxNews and NYTimes articles, on Pope Benedict’s retirement. The fact is that the Church and St. Peter’s legacy outlasted and outshone the Roman Empire, so whatever the Roman pundits and critics thought about Christianity was moot. The same goes with what the media and even our country think about Pope Benedict.

  4. Funny and so true. It is a given for the secular, liberal mass media that they will report this very wrong. The only question, should we care, is how much of it is due to malice and how much due to ignorance. Unlike some of their other reporting, I think this time will mostly be attributable to ignorance.

  5. Kevin Heldt says:

    Excellent job, Devin! You have a real gift for satire.

  6. PMG says:

    Wow, it’s like I’m listening to the 1st Century CNN (Carthaginian Network News, that is)

    It’s painful to listen to the news slumber over themselves. Fox’s Brett Behr, in his round table said we were coming in to the “lentil” season.

    Sheesh !

  7. PMG says:

    Should have said “stumble” over themselves, not slumber.

    Dang autocorrect!

  8. Devin Rose hits one out of the park…uhhhh I mean Coliseum…with this great piece. I needed some levity after all the very serious sense of loss many of us indeed feel. Good stuff!

  9. Very clever, Devin! Not too heavy-handed or vicious. I tip my hat to you, sir!

  10. “…with working Imperial thumbs-down action, while supplies last.”

    Oh wow, you have outdone yourself Devin. This is great!
    Yeah that tiny sect must have withered and disapeared after Peter was killed, oh wait.

    I was so happy when I heard what B16 is doing. Not that I want to see him go, but it just further shows what the papacy is… an office. It really is not a man but an office, and when we have a “former pope” hanging around NOT having the keys in hand, this will become ctystal clear. So cool.

  11. Brilliant, very well done, great points

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  13. Imrahil says:

    Ermmm… I wonder what this Coliseum is… perhaps the place where Emperor Nero has set up his colossal statue? (Did I say his? Strange coincidence… I meant the Sun-God, of course! the Sun-God!)

    But I’ve never heard that there were any gladiators… there is not even an amphitheater there! Sure, the place would look awesomely fit for one. But then there’s so much the Emperor has to pay for… wives, for one thing. (I’m glad that this is an anonymus internet combox, or I wouldn’t have said so!)

    And Flavius? Excuse me, but I’d bet that the noble family of the Flavii, who contributes with two successful generals, father and son, to our Emperor’s household, has nothing, nothing, to do with any execution!