Posts Tagged ‘February 14’

Ingrate Expectations

Posted in General, On This Day on February 14th, 2010 by Eugene Finerman – 2 Comments

Claudius IIIf only Saint Valentine practiced what he preached…Roman Emperors have feelings, too. The Emperor Claudius II (268-270) was feeling unappreciated. Coping with barbarian invasions and rebellious governors, the poor fellow didn’t even have time to pick an original name for himself. (Everyone was confusing him with the stammering, limping hero of PBS.) And when Claudius II did manage to defeat the Goths and the Alamanni–delaying for 150 years the Dark Ages and Richard Wagner–did anyone bother to thank him?

No. The pagans were preoccupied with bread, circuses and orgies, and that new monotheist cult refused to make just a few sacrifices in his honor. Even the old monotheist cult was more amenable than that; of course, it took three lost wars, the destruction of Jerusalem and expulsion from Judea to remind the Jews to include a few perfunctory prayers for the Emperor. However, the new cult was dogmatic in its refusal, preferring persecution to courtesy.

That really seemed unfair to Claudius and the Empire. Christianity was an ingrate. Roman roads made it easier for missionaries, and the fresh water from aqueducts ensured that baptisms didn’t cause cholera.

Would it have been too much for Saint Valentine to send the Emperor a thank you note?