The Effect of the Race Change
The change of race that took place in Rome and Italy by the 1st century (and further strengthened in the next three centuries until the time of Constantine) is one of the main reasons for explaining why the people of the western part of the Roman Empire accepted the teachings of Simon Magus and his successors so easily. When Simon Magus went to Rome to perform his heretical practices and to submit his teachings to them, he was going among people who were very near in race and temperament to himself. The Rome and Italy of the 1st century were very different in racial make-up than the Latins who were the people of the Republic. As the Cambridge Ancient History puts it:
"What of the enormous change in intellectual outlook and spiritual atmosphere between Augustus and Constantine? Is not the result something more eastern than Greek or Roman in type and temper?"
The answer is plain. It was not the ancient Roman gradually changing his basic temperament. This observable alteration of attitude actually represents a change of race. The later intellectual and spiritual temperament of Constantine’s citizens are really the psychological attributes associated with Semitic easterners. The incoming races from Syria, Asia Minor, Phoenicia and Samaria brought with them their Chaldean Sun-worship and their mystery cults. The early Romans repudiated these eastern religions, but the slaves, who soon became the greater part of the population and freedmen, brought their religions with them. Professor Frank called attention to this change from one type of religion to another.
"It would be illuminating by way of illustration of this change to study the spread of the mystery religions."
Frank, "Race Mixture in the Roman Empire"
What of this change? How did the Romans accept these Chaldean mystery religions? Professor Frank answers:
"May it not be that Occidentals who are actually of eastern extraction, men of emotional nature, are simply finding in these cults the satisfaction that, after long deprivation, their temperaments naturally required?"
Frank, "Race Mixture in the Roman Empire"
Most of the eastern slaves brought their Babylonish religion (now tinged with Hellenistic themes) with them into Italy and other areas of Europe. Then, later, in the first and second centuries of our era, the new Gnostic cults springing up in Syria and Samaria found fertile ground in Italy which had been easternized. These new citizens of Rome were the same type of peoples as those who were bringing in the new cults. Henry Smith Williams, The Historians’ History of the World states:
"Slavery was the most determined enemy of that spirit of conservatism and tradition which had been the strength of the Roman race. The slaves did not spring from the soil of Rome, their recollections and affections were elsewhere, and when they became citizens they did not hesitate to welcome foreign customs and to introduce them into the city. Whilst the statesmen and leading men wore themselves out in trying to preserve what remained of the ancient spirit and old customs, down below, amongst those classes of the populace which were constantly being recruited from slavery, there was a continual working to destroy it. It was thus that, thanks to this secret and powerful influence, new religions easily spread throughout the empire."
Vol. 6, p.365
It was the new, ex-slave population (now the people of the land, the new citizens) who readily absorbed and propagated these pagan mystery cults. Professor Frank says,
"In short, the mystery cults permeated the city, Italy, and the western provinces only to such an extent as the city, Italy and the provinces were permeated by the stock that had created those religions."
Frank, "Race Mixture in the Roman Empire," p.707
And remember, these people who had become the new Roman citizenry in the west were in the main sophisticated people who actually were more educated and more literary minded than the early Latins. Many were of the professional classes: educators, physicians, scribes and writers, scientists of various kinds, business people, manufacturers, traders and marketing people, etc. There was certainly nothing inferior about them though they were temperamentally different from the early Latins. Indeed, it could well be argued that these easterners were actually superior to the early Latins because of the many talents they had in which those of the west did not excel as much. It is evident that the easterners displayed psychological or emotional differences from the old Latin stock, and that is especially why they catered to emotional religions and religious beliefs which the early Latins would not have cared to accept. This is where the main differences lay between the two groups.
It is this fact that is important to our present study. According to the Bible, the majority of the mystery religions had their creation in ancient Babylon. Babylon was looked on as the head of all the Gentile civilizations (Daniel 2). These vast numbers of easterners who had come to Italy to make their new homes were literal Chaldeans from Babylon, Anatolia, Syria, Samaria and Phoenicia. Almost the whole new citizenry of Rome in the 1st century (and onto the 4th century) was Semitic and that was largely of eastern origin or society. Prof. Frank says:
"In the third and fourth centuries A.D., when even the aristocracy at Rome was almost completely foreign, these eastern cults, rather than those of old Rome, became the centers of ‘patrician’ opposition to Christianity. In other words, the western invasion of the mystery cults is hardly a miraculous conversion of the even-tempered, practical-minded Indo-European to an orgiastic emotionalism foreign to his nature. These religions came with their peoples, and so far as they gained new converts, they attracted for the most part people of eastern extraction who had temporarily fallen away from native ways in the western world."
Frank, "Race Mixture in the Roman Empire", p.708
The Bible even has some teaching on these matters. It states, "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then may you do good, that are accustomed to do evil" (Jeremiah 13:23). And: "Has a nation changed their gods, which are no gods?" (Jeremiah 2:11). These are biblical statements to show that racial and religious characteristics of the peoples in the world do not change drastically. People of each race tend to retain the dominant attitudes and temperaments of their forefathers.
The fact is, the later Romans did not change their Latin gods for new eastern ones. Not at all. When Constantine adopted a form of Sun-worship and called it Christianity, the people were ready to accept these eastern religious beliefs. This is because by the 4th century, the people of Rome and Italy were altogether of eastern origin from whence these Babylonish religious beliefs had their origin. Those beliefs that came directly from Babylon and from Samaria and Simon Magus and his successors (and perpetuated by Constantine and his successors under the umbrella of Christianity) had little difficulty in being accepted by the people who now made up the western part of the Empire.
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