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Rome and Babylon (1)

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12 Assyrian Identity

05 Scientific knowledge and scholarly lore

5th century CE
Roman Empire
Christian-Roman philosophers and scholars

Orosius, Historia adversus Paganos 2.3:
Ninus reigned for fifty-two years and, as I have said, was succeeded by his wife Semiramis. In the middle of her reign after ruling forty-two years, she established Babylon as her capital. Babylon thus had almost reached the one thousand one hundred and sixty-fourth year from her foundation, when she was robbed of her wealth and deprived of both king and kingdom by the Medes under Arbatus, the king of the Medes and the prefect of Babylon as well. The city herself, however, flourished for some time afterward. In like manner, after an equal number of years, that is, almost one thousand one hundred and sixty-four years after her foundation, Rome, too, was invaded, but in this case by the Goths under Alaric, king of the Goths and count of Rome. … Indeed the hidden decrees of God have preserved to so great an extent the parallelism between the histories of the two cities that at Babylon, Arbatus, the prefect of that city, usurped the rule, while at Rome, Attalus, the prefect of Rome, attempted to seize control of the government. … one God has directed the course of history, in the beginning for the Babylonians and in the end for the Romans; and that they may also know that it is only because of His mercy that we live at all, and that if we live in misery it is because of our own uncontrolled passions. Mark well how similar were Babylon and Rome in their origin, how similar in power, in size, in age, how similar in good and in evil. Yet how different were their decline and fall. For while Babylon lost her rule, Rome retains her rule; the one was left desolate by the murder of her king, the other is secure with her emperor unharmed.

Source (list of abbreviations)
Orosius, Historia adversus Paganos 2.3


Raymond 1936, 74-75Raymond, Irving W. Seven Books of History against the Pagans. The Apology of Paulus Orosius. New York: Columbia University Press 1936.

Amar Annus

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