Metroblog

A one-time school project gone terribly, terribly wrong.

18 July 2006

Oh--Almost Forgot

Today is Hunter Thompson's birthday. He will spend it dead. Only a little different from the way in which he most assuredly spent other birthdays.

This is his 68th birthday. He will remain 67.

And also, from The Writer's Almanac:
Today is believed to be the anniversary of the fire that burned Rome in 64 A.D., while the emperor Nero supposedly played his fiddle. In fact, Nero wasn't even in Rome when the fire broke out. He was thirty-five miles away at his holiday villa on the coast, and his own palace was one of the buildings that burned.

Nero apparently decided that the fire needed to be blamed on someone else. And so he chose a tiny new religious group called the Christians. He had Christians crucified in the streets and burned at the stake. The religion of Christianity was only a few decades old when Nero chose to single it out. The historian Tacitus later argued that Nero's persecution of the Christians went too far, and that it had the unintended effect of making people sympathize with the Christians. It's possible that Nero's decision to blame Christians for the fire gave them the publicity they needed to help spread their ideas.

A little more than two hundred years after Nero picked the Christians as his scapegoat, the emperor of the Roman Empire himself converted to Christianity, and it became the dominant religion of Europe for more than 1,500 years.


Perhaps Israel would care to pay attention?

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