Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day

The Origins of Rome

History and legend blend irretrievably together when we attempt to explain the origins of Rome. Leaving aside what tradition tells, long before the city was founded, the peninsula of Italy was inhabited by many different groups of people. Some of whom were from the interior of Europe, who crossed the Alps and settled, some in the north, were the case of the Etruscans and the Umbri. Others, the Latinos, occupied and settled in the valley of the Tiber River. The Samnites settled in the hills and valleys of the south of the peninsula. Later, they would also enter through the Alps, Celtic peoples (the Romans called them Gauls).

The Etruscans settled, the penetrated to the very heart of the country, beginning approximately from the 6th century BC. They ended up forming a wide league of cities, some large and with good seaports which allowed for their expansion. The Etruscans formed a higher class within the population, where they obtained their resources from various sources: livestock, agriculture and mining. They also had a textile and metallurgical industry. Socially, they were given an advantage due to their knowledge of Greek, both culturally and in the military, sporting and religious fields.

Politically, the Etruscans headed in two directions.

Across the sea they nurtured some friendship with Phoenicians and Carthaginians who thanked the Etruscans' pirate tactics against common enemies. At that time it was known that the Etruscans were more pirates than merchants. With those who did not entrust them with their affections, they could turn to their neighbor, the Greeks for fair treatment. Continued battles to control maritime domains towards Etruscans and Greeks did not imped the relationships with third parties.

This was the panorama at sea, by land the Etruscan advancement was constant, their ambition led them to Po valley in the north and Campania in the south. They completely occupied the Valley until the Celts appeared in the 5th century BC.

Their incursions and movements to the south were mostly successful, only partly halted by the political and economic position and situation, also cultural, of two italic peoples on the peninsula, the Samnites and the Latino-Faliscan. The Samnites, making close contacts with the Greeks, learned a lot from them, to fight, to perfect their weapons, building and fortification. Trade also with the Greeks, enriched them. These Samnites managed to put a limit on Etruscan expansion to the south.

Lazio was another destabilizing element for the Etruscans. It was their situation on the peninsula that gave them have access to the sea by an Italic people. The only rivals of Lazio were the Volsci, a mountain tribe of the Apennines that separate the Lazio from Campania, their encounters were bloody and continuous. They acted as an independent state without being incorporated, neither by Etruscans nor Greeks, apart from their connection to the sea was of vital importance for their developments, both of the Lazio and of the Latin people. The entire civilizing current from Greece, Etruria and Carthage, contributed in raising the economic and social level of both Lazio and Latino-Faliscan.

City Foundation

The first vestiges of foundations in Rome appear in the hills of Lazio, where life was prosperous, rich and rewarding. It is in these hills that the institutions that made the backbone for Rome were founded. It must be considered that all these beginnings are not definitive, producing swings over the course of the years. It was possible that there were also two foundations, one by the Latinos on Palatine Hill and one by the Sabines in the Quirinacon. According to local tradition, the belief was preserved that the Palatine, or, in other words, the primitive Rome, was a colony of two Latin cities in the vicinity; Alba and Lavinium. Surely such a location was chosen because the only point of the lower Tiber that offered facilities to cross from the left bank to the right, from Latin to the Etruscan soil, was secured. In front of the Palatine there is a small island on the Tiber that made it easy to build a wooden bridge there.

All these communities that were grouped together and exercised as such a unit that they acquired a great and emerging force as a city and as a people.

Our knowledge of the history of Rome in the preceding centuries, at the beginning of its foundation, the 8th, 7th and first half of 6BC, is undoubtedly imperfect. Various indications and various conjectures of various historians, make it clear that there no single explanation for the final constitution of the city.

According to history, the origins of Rome date back to 753 BC. In order to protect the Tiber from the Etruscan threat, seven Latin villages in the Lazio region formed a confederation. But its strategic and commercial value attracted the Etruscans, who imposed their dominance over the villages that originated the authentic foundation. The city was walled, its streets were planned and the marshy valleys that surrounded it were curated through the drainage channels, and joined the banks of the Tiber with a bridge until it finally became a true city. With the consequent economic development Rome, grew rapidly, mainly due to two causes: proximity to Erutria and access to the mouth of the Tiber, thanks to the latter, trade with the outlying communities entered and departed on Phoenician and Greek ships. Together with economic development, a dominant aristocracy, a social order, based on blood ties and hermetism, was allowed to develop. The Etruscan upper class, dominant against villages and settlements is organized and intervened in the early governance of the city with the beginning of the monarchical era. Until, finally, it emerged as the Rome we now recognize.


Canon Muratori

The Muratorian fragment also called Canon Muratori, is the oldest known cast or index of the New Testament books. It was discovered by Ludovico Antonio Muratori (1672–1750), father of Italian historiography, in Latin from the 8th century, originating from Bobbio Abbey and discovered in the Ambrosian Library in Milan.

The fragment contains 85 lines, written in a Latin full of Sermo Vulgaris expressions (common latin), which is at times difficult to fully understand. It is partially destroyed at the beginning, missing the first – or at least the first few lines, which probably refer to the Gospels of Matthew and Mark.

The era of writing must be fixed in the second half of the 2nd century (ca. 170), an extreme in which most scholars agree. The author is no doubt, to the author of the Pius I, bishop of Rome (140—155), in the lines. 74-76: "Pastorem uero nuperrime temporibus nostris in Urbe Roma Hermas conscripsit, sedente cathedra Urbis Romae ecclesiae Pio Episcopo fratre eius;" (Very recently, in our times, in the city of Rome, Hermas wrote – the Pastor-, sitting as bishop in the Chair of the Church of Rome his brother Pio). Pius I ruled the Church from 140 to 150.

Translation of the fragment:

… in these, however, he was present, and so he wrote them down.

The third book of the gospel: according to Luke.

After Christ's ascension, Luke the physician, whom Paul had taken with him as a legal expert, wrote in his own name agreeing with [Paul's] opinion. However, he himself never saw the Lord in the flesh, and therefore, as he could continue… he began to tell it from the birth of John.

The fourth gospel is of John, one of the disciples.

When his co-disciples and bishops encouraged him, John said, "Fast with me for three days from today, and whatever was revealed to us, let us tell each other." Tonight it was revealed to Andrew, one of the apostles, that John should write everything in his own name, and that they should review it. Therefore, although different beginnings are taught for the various books of the gospel, it makes no difference to the faith of believers, for in each of them everything has been declared by a single Spirit, concerning their nativity, passion, and resurrection, their association with his disciples, his double advent — his first in humility, when he was despised, which has already passed; his second in real power, his return. No wonder, therefore, that John presented the details so constantly separately in his letters as well, saying of himself: "What we have seen with our eyes and heard with our ears and touched with our hands, these things have written." Because in this way he pretends to be not only a spectator but one who listened, and also one who wrote in an orderly manner the wonderful facts about our Lord.

The Acts of all the Apostles have been written in a book. Addressing the excellent Theophilus, Lucas includes one by one the things that were done before his own eyes, which he clearly shows by omitting Peter's passion, and also Paul's departure from the City to Spain.

As for Paul's letters, they themselves show those who want to understand from where and for what purpose they were written. First he [wrote] to the Corinthians forbidding divisions and heresies; then to the Galatians [prohibiting] circumcision; to the Romans he wrote extensively about the order of the scriptures and also insisting that Christ be the central theme of the scriptures. It is necessary for us to give a well-argued report of all of these since the blessed Apostle Paul himself, following the order of his predecessor John, but without naming him, writes to seven churches in the following order: first to the Corinthians, second to the Ephesians, thirdly to the Philippians, in fourth place to the Colossians, fifth to the Galatians, in sixth place to the Thessalonians, and in seventh place to the Romans. However, even if [the message] is repeated to the Corinthians and Thessalonians for their reproof, a church is recognized as spread throughout the world. For John also, though he writes to seven churches in the Revelation, yet he writes to all. In addition, [Paul writes] a [letter] to Philemon, one to Titus, two to Timothy, in love and affection; but have been sanctified for the honor of the Catholic Church in regulating ecclesiastical discipline.

It is said that there is another letter on Paul's behalf to the Laodiceans, and another to the Alexandrians, [both] falsified according to the heresy of Martion, and many other things that cannot be received in the Catholic Church, since it is not appropriate for the poison to mix with honey.

But the letter of Judas and the two superscribed by the name of John have been accepted in the Catholic [church]; Wisdom also, written by Solomon's friends in his honor. John's Revelation we also receive, and Peter's, which some of ours do not allow to be read in the church. But the Pastor was written by Hermas in the city of Rome quite recently, in our own day, when his brother Pius occupied the bishop's chair in the church of the city of Rome; therefore it can be read, but it cannot be given to the people in the church, nor among the prophets, for their number is complete, nor among the apostles at the end of time.

But we don't receive any of the writings of Arsinoes, or Valentinus or Metiades at all. They have also composed a psalm book for Marcion [these we reject] along with Basilides [and] the Asian founder of the Catafrigios.


Ways to Help Preserve Nature

Sometimes I am given pause to ask; "What can I do to contribute to nature conservation?"

Here are some of the things that I have on my list to answer that question:

  1. Recycling
  2. Use less water
  3. Lower heating consumption
  4. Get around on the road, by bike or by bus, better than by car
  5. Turn off unused devices
  6. Eating less meat and few industrial products
  7. Eating natural things that occur near my home and without pesticides
  8. Buy fair trade