The House that Rome Built
Rome was a vast and powerful empire. It was modern both in the sense of industry as well as law, and what it built still lasts albeit as a shadow of its former glory. But the things that Rome failed to build or rather began to build all too late, would be one part of a whole world of social and ethical problems that would lead to the eventual collapse of the empire.
It is well known that the practice of slavery, homosexuality, and abortion was ‘normal’ ; that ultimately adult pleasure came before the good of children; and that the glory of Rome and its leaders came before the glory of husband and wife. But with all this the house that Rome built still appeared amazingly strong while in reality it was more and more hollow and childless within. This was the result of the Pax Romana, the peace of Rome that brought comfort to many.
To its credit Rome did try at least for a time to change its fate. For example, in an effort to curb the rampant practice of older males taking on much younger and vulnerable male lovers Rome would eventually pass the Lex Scantinia which seems aimed at prohibiting men from seducing the boys of well to do families. There also seems to have been an attempt to rebuild a dwindling population that had suffered much from pestilence, battle, abortion and lifestyle. Through its Lex Iulia et Papia Rome would enact a series of regulations that favoured men and women financially and otherwise for having more than two children, while penalizing those couples who had none. Needless to say, these laws came on too little and too late to alter the deeply held passions and wants of the Romans. They would find ways to circumvent these laws and so the house that Rome built collapsed into ruin.
At this point if I was of the satirical type then I would write quite candidly and humorously about the similarities we can find in our own time with Rome. I would expound upon the hypocrisy of a generation that shouts for human rights while stifling the voices of our smallest citizens. I would poke fun at cultures that believe that progress is to be found in having fewer people but more seals. I would name people and places and examples to highlight that we are not too far from what Juvenal the satirist saw in his beloved Rome. But I do not tend towards satire.
I am a Christian. I am only interested in the cure, not the disease. I want to know how I can build my house on the rock; because only that can save our civilization.