sacrifice pt 2: …and a hand

Porsena’s men never did take our city, but they did surround her. After the stand at the Sublician Bridge, the bronze-clad ogres decided to surround us with siege works.

Now as you remember a siege camp is a dreadful place. Men sit around, waiting for the enemy to starve, while themselves starving in boredom. On the other side of the camp, in Rome herself, the men were also bored and not a little desperate. So one young man, Gaius Mucius, hatched a daring plan: to steal into the Clusian camp alone and murder dread Porsena. But fearing that the City Fathers would charge him with desertion were he found beyond the Roman lines, he informed them of the plan. With the City Fathers’ blessing he tucked a knife inside his robe and sneaked into the Clusian camp. Continue reading “sacrifice pt 2: …and a hand”

on a boat (with Jesus)

‘As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”’ – Mark 4:35-41 (NLT)

When it comes to telling people about Jesus, one overarching idea is this: don’t focus on what’s wrong, focus on what’s right. Or in more specialised terms: the truth is not anti-heresy, the truth is the truth. Continue reading “on a boat (with Jesus)”

sacrifice pt 1: a buttock for Rome…

[This is the first of four parts in the penultimate chapter, titled Sacrifice.]

Now laws and oaths, as I have said, are hungry. Some gave their lives to uphold them, others gave slightly less. But laws and oaths are hungry.

Tarquin’s shadow came to Rome for the third and final time just one year after Brutus was slain. After his defeat at the forest of Arsia the old tyrant fled to Clusium. There he begged King Porsena to help him retake the seven hills. Now in your day King Porsena’s name is but a memory, but at that time it was a fearful name. King Porsena’s wisdom and military power were the stuff of legend. So you can imagine the fear which gripped our city! Finally Tarquin, through much effort, persuaded Porsena to march on Rome. The fearful Clusian army marched out, thousands in their gleaming armour, rumbling toward our city. Continue reading “sacrifice pt 1: a buttock for Rome…”

law pt 3: the oath of Brutus

Now this Brutus who had accompanied Collatinus to his house was a strange one. He became a great man, yet his early life had been one of trouble. His real name was Lucius Junius, and not many remember that he was King Tarquin’s nephew.

Now the proud King had a vicious streak in him, and among the many people he murdered was a brother of young Lucius. So Lucius, not wanting to draw unwanted attention, pretended from then on to be a harmless idiot – so gaining the nickname Brutus. Continue reading “law pt 3: the oath of Brutus”

law pt 1: the wolves’ law

[This is the beginning of the next chapter, called Law, containing three parts]

In the rocky land of Greece, men loved to quarrel: farmers, heroes, kings, cities. No two cities hated each other more than Argos and Sparta.

Proud Argos bred farmers and traders. The land was rough, but food came in from beyond the sea and from the sweat of good men working the soil. They ruled the plains of southern Greece. Continue reading “law pt 1: the wolves’ law”

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