[lit-ideas] How Catholic is the Roman

  • From: Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 15 Apr 2014 17:08:41 -0400 (EDT)

Depending on which Roman we are talking about, I presume?  ---- My  last 
post today!
Or; how Roman is the Catholic?
O felix Roma -- O Roma nobilis

The Divine Potestas of the Emperor

In a message dated 4/15/2014  2:52:16 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, 
lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx quotes in "The  Theodosian Code" from Heather, The 
of the Roman Empire.

Heather  writes: "[Dec. 25]  438 [d.C.], a new compendium of recent Roman 
Law, the  "Codex Theodosianus" was presented to the assembled senators in the 
old imperial  capital [of Rome]."

Heather goes on: "All senatorial meetings were fully  minuted and the 
minutes passed on to the emperor ... The Praetorian Prefect of  Italy, Glabrio 
Faustus, who presided, and in whose palatial home the senators  had gathered, 
open[s] the meeting by formally introducing the [thing] to the  assembly. 
... After reminding the [Roman senators] of the original edict that  had 
established the law commission, [Fausto] present[s] the Code to [the Roman  
senators]." "In response, the assembled senators let rip at the tops of their  
[and in a sort of Wagnerian harmony complete for full-male chorus]  

Augusti Augustorum maximi Augustorum 
Augusti Augustorum maximi  Augustorum
Augusti Augustorum maximi Augustorum
Augusti Augustorum maximi  Augustorum
Augusti Augustorum maximi Augustorum
Augusti Augustorum maximi  Augustorum
Augusti Augustorum maximi Augustorum
Augusti Augustorum maximi  Augustorum

This reminds me of Grice, "Do not be more informative than is  required."

DEUS gave [ye] to us!  DEUS save [ye] for us!’ x 27 
As Roman  Emperors, pious & felicitous, may [ye] rule for many years x 22 
For the  good of the human race, for the good of the Senate, for the good 
of the State,  for the good of all 
x 24 times
Our hope is in [ye], [ye] are our  salvation x 26  
May it please our Augustuses to live forever x 22  
May [ye] pacify the world and triumph here in person x 24  times

Heather: "The great and good of the Roman world were speaking  with one 
voice in praise of their imperial rulers in the city that was still its  
symbolic capital.  Only slightly less obvious . . . is the second message:  the 
confidence of the senators in the Perfection of the Social Order of which  
they and their emperors were symbiotic parts.  You can’t have complete  Unity 
without an equally complete sense of Perfection. . . And, as the opening  
acclamations make clear, the source of that Perfection was, straightforwardly,  
God, the Christian deity."

---- Well, it's not like they are saying that  "Jesus" "gave [ye] for us". 
"Deus" is a rather abstract notion, as most Roman  philosophers (including 
Plotinus) would testify!

Heather: "By 436, the  Senate of Rome was a thoroughly [religious] body.  
At the top end of Roman  society, the adoption of [one specific religion] 
thus makes no difference to the  age-old contention that the Empire was God’s 
vehicle in the world.... The same  message was proclaimed at similar 
ceremonial moments all the way down the social  scale, even within Church 
... Many Christian bishops, as well as  secular commentators, were happy to 
restate the old claim of Roman imperialism  in its new [ultra-religious] 
clothing. ... Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea was  already [giving a sermon], as 
early as the reign of Constantine, that it was no  accident [in the good old 
Aristotelian sense of the word] that God had been  incarnated in Jesus Christ 
during the lifetime of Augusto, the first Roman  emperor."

He possibly argued, "We'll let pass that small detail that  it did NOT 
happen in Rome."

Heather: "Despite the earlier history of  persecutions, went [Eusebio's 
sermon], this showed that Christianity and the  Empire were destined for each 
other, with God making Rome all-powerful so that,  thorough it, all mankind 
might eventually be saved."

This reminds me of  the Hymn of the Vatican, to a tune by Gounod! -- in ps. 
Nice tune! (Italian:  "Roma immortale"). 

Heather: This ideological vision  [implicated], of course, that the 
emperor, as God’s chosen representative on  earth, should wield great religious 
authority within Christianity. ... As early  as the 310s, within a year of the 
declaration of his new Christian allegiance,  bishops from North Africa 
appealed to Constantine to settle a dispute that was  raging among them. ... 
This established a pattern for the rest of the century.  ... Roman emperors 
were not intimately involved in both the settlement of Church  disputes and the 
much more mundane business of the new religion’s  administration.  To 
settle disputes, emperors called councils."

Helm  comments: "This code is shot through with what the Reformers later 
would see as  heresy."

And I agree! I like a heresy!

"You do not trust in a  political leader for salvation. The book of 
Ephesians indeed says that Christ  “gave some to be apostles, some to be 
some to be evangelists, and some  to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’
s people for works of service . .  .”   I don’t find any precedent in the 
New Testament for this sort of  devotion to an emperor, but this is part of 
the age-old debate between  Protestants and Catholics."

It may to to revise similar religious  attitudes in pre-Christian Rome. As 
I recall, one emperor said that he came from  Giove, while his friend, the 
governor of a province, merely descended from Mars.  And surely there is a 
hierarchy there. Note that in Virgil's Aenead, the  religious point (even if 
pre-Christian) is clearly made by Marte being involved  in the ancestry of 
Rome's founder. From Wikipedia:

"Rhea Silvia conceives  the twins [Romolo e Remo] by the god Mars."

Helm: "Protestants won’t  believe it unless they can find it in the Bible, 
but Catholics"

or  Roman-Catholics if you must. I think the Anglican church uses 
'Catholic' without  the qualification "Roman-Catholic" with a different, 
meaning,  'kat'holos' (?)
I think the Anglican Credo (The 39 Articles) goes, inter alii, "We believe  
in one Church, catholic..." -- This may be High Church or High Anglicanism, 
 rather than what High Anglicans call Low Anglicanism (closer to the spirit 
of  the Bible -- and its letter -- rather than Canterbury). 

"rely upon  tradition as well as Scripture and since their tradition has 
grown up in Rome,  the investiture of the Pope with great authority seems only 
fitting. Theodosus  II was of course the Eastern emperor, but Heather 
assumes that the same sort of  thing was going on in Valentinian III in the 
 It is called the  Theodosian code rather than something more 
all-encompassing because only this  one example has survived."

God point.  

Helm adds:  And

"What about “the Holy Roman Empire”?"

Indeed. I suppose the  implicature is that Nero's empire was unholy. Indeed 
'sacro' vs. 'profano' was  the old Roman distinction -- with 'profano' 
being 'in front of the sacred  place'? "Heathen" must have a different 
and meaning!

Helm:  "There is this interesting from Wikipedia:  The precise term Holy 
Roman  Empire was not used until the 13th century, but the doctrine of 
translatio  imperii ("transfer of rule") was fundamental to the prestige of the 
emperor, the  notion that he held supreme power inherited from the emperors of  

and ultimately from God. The references to God feature large in  accounts 
of the British monarchy and some formulae used in the USA, too, no?  This 
"God" may be understood as _abstract_. 

Helm goes on:

"The office of Holy Roman Emperor was  traditionally elective, although 
frequently controlled by dynasties. The German  prince-electors, the highest 
ranking noblemen of the empire, usually elected one  of their peers as "King 
of the Romans""

Indeed, and Wikipedia Italiana  has a full list down to the end of monarchy 
in Rome in the 1940s! In ps-1 below  I list the kings which counted as 
being members of the "HOLY Roman  Empire".
Helm: "and he would later be crowned emperor by the Pope; the tradition of  
papal coronations was discontinued in the 16th century. The empire never  
achieved the extent of political unification formed in France, evolving 
instead  into a decentralized, limited elective monarchy composed of hundreds 
sub-units, principalities, duchies, counties, Free Imperial Cities, and 
other  domains.  The power of the emperor was limited, and while the various  
princes, lords, and kings of the empire were vassals and subjects who owed 
the  emperor their allegiance, they also possessed an extent of privileges 
that gave  them de facto sovereignty within their territories. Emperor Francis 
II dissolved  the empire in August 1806 after its defeat by Napoleon at the 
Battle of  Austerlitz."
The Italian Wikipedia notes that as far as Italy is concerned, the Holy  
Roman thing ended in 1556, but there's a note to the effect that the thing had 
 claims to the Italian territory up to 1648. It's in ps-1. 
It all ended democratically when the (majority -- if not GREAT majority)  
Italians decided that, under new notice, they can do without a king (and when 
 the former king went into exile).
Wikipedia reads:
"La storiografia prevalente non ha mai preso in considerazione tali  
dichiarazioni e ha dato scarso peso alle rimostranze monarchiche sui 
strettamente formali degli eventi compresi nel periodo fra il 10 e il 18 
giugno  1946." -- June 18 1946 taken as the standard date.
At any rate, he died, with 'descendency', if that's the word -- Maria Pia,  
Vittorio Emanuele, Maria Gabriella, and Maria Beatrice --, in Ginevra, 
March 18  1983)
ps. 1
Il Regno d'Italia parte del Sacro Romano Impero 

Dal 963 la penisola italiana fu parte del Sacro Romano Impero e gli  
imperatori furono anche re d'Italia (con l'eccezione del caso dell'ultimo Re  
d'Italia di origine carolingia Arduino d'Ivrea). Nel 1806 l'impero collassò  
sotto la pressione militare di Napoleone Bonaparte e fu formalmente disciolto 
il  6 agosto.
I)  CASA Ottoniana sassone.

Ottone I il Grande, re 936, imperatore 962  -973 
Ottone II, imperatore 973 - 983 
Ottone III,  re 983, imperatore 996 - 1002 
Intermezzo dell'italico Arduino d'Ivrea, re 1002-1004 
Enrico  II, re 1004, imperatore 1014 - 1024
(nel primo decennio contrastato da Re  Arduino d'Ivrea) 

II)  CASA salica-franca
 Corrado II, re 1024, imperatore 1027 - 1039 
Enrico  III, re 1039, imperatore 1046 - 1056 
Enrico IV, re 1056,  imperatore 1084 - 1106 
Enrico V, re 1115, imperatore 1111 -  1125 

III) CASA Supplimburgo
Lotario II di Supplimburgo, re  1125, imperatore 1133 - 1137 

IV) CASA Staufen o Hohenstaufen
 Corrado III, re 1138 - 1152 
Federico I Barbarossa, re  1152, imperatore 1155 - 1190 
Nota: i titoli di Re dei Romani e di Re di  Germania sono equivalenti.
Enrico VI di Svevia  Re dei  Romani, Aquisgrana 1169
Re d'Italia, Milano 1186
imperatore, Roma  1191 1186 1197
Ottone IV di Brunswick  Re dei  Romani, Aquisgrana 1198
Re d'Italia, 1209
imperatore, Roma  1209 1209 1218
Federico II di Svevia  Re dei  Romani, Magonza 1212
imperatore, Roma 1220
Re d'Italia (per diritto di  successione da Ottone IV, ma mai incoronato  
ufficialmente) 1220 1250

V) CASA  Lussemburgo
Enrico VII di Lussemburgo  Re dei Romani,  Aquisgrana 1308
Re d'Italia, Milano 1311
imperatore, Roma  1312 1311 1313
Ludovico il Bavaro  Re dei Romani,  Aquisgrana 1314
Re d'Italia, 1327
Imperatore, Roma  1328 1327 1347
Carlo IV di Lussemburgo  Re dei  Romani, Aquisgrana 1347
Re d'Italia, 1355
Imperatore, Roma  1355 1355 1378
Venceslao di Lussemburgo  La  raffigurazione della pretesa incoronazione
di Venceslao, raffigurata nel  Duomo di Monza,
è ritenuta un falso  storico. 1378 1419
Sigismondo di Lussemburgo  Re  dei Romani, Aquisgrana 1410
Re d'Italia, 1431
imperatore, Roma  1433 1431 1437

VI) Casa Asburgo
Federico III d'Asburgo  Re dei  Romani, Aquisgrana 1440
Re d'Italia, 1452
imperatore, Roma  1452 1452 1493
Carlo V d'Asburgo  Re dei Romani,  Aquisgrana 1519
Re d'Italia, Bologna 1530
imperatore, Bologna  1530 1530 1556
Carlo V fu l'ultimo imperatore a essere incoronato  Re d'Italia.
 L'impero ha continuato a rivendicare il territorio in Italia fino  alla 
Pace di Vestfalia del 1648.

To a tune by Gounod (He thought the previous hymn just wasn't neither  
melodious nor rhythmical enough). 

O felix Roma – o Roma nobilis:
Sedes es Petri, qui Romae effudit  sanguinem,
Petri cui claves datae sunt regni caelorum.
Pontifex, Tu  successor es Petri;
Pontifex, Tu magister es tuos confirmans  fratres;
Pontifex, Tu qui Servus servorum Dei,
hominumque piscator, pastor  es gregis,
ligans caelum et terram.
Pontifex, Tu Christi es Vicarius super  terram,
rupes inter fluctus, Tu es pharus in tenebris;
Tu pacis es vindex,  Tu es unitatis custos,
vigil libertatis defensor; in Te potestas.
Tu  Pontifex, firma es petra, et super petram
hanc aedificata est Ecclesia  Dei.

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