British Royalty: Founders of the Roman Church
R oyal Soap. You couldn't make it up. If you took the story of the establishment of the Christian church at Rome to MGM, they'd throw it out as incredible. In the midst of a bloody war, the two ruling families intermarry. One minute, it's the whole Roman Empire against Christianity, the next minute, the Emporer adopts his fiercest enemy's daughter. Only God could pull strings that big. It's a real life Soap Opera, better than Dynasty or Dallas. There'll be a short quiz later, so be thinking about what God was accomplishing with all of the amazing events that follow. Even though our Royal Soap Opera is acted out by real people, there was still a Director. This subject is so much fun! You'll see.
The information on this page was taken mainly from R.W. Morgan's "Did the Apostle Paul Visit Britain?", and George F. Jowett's, "Drama of the Lost Disciples." I'll be freely switching from one book to the other, interweaving paragraphs as we look at a roughly one hundred year period of time. Starting with the Roman war against England in 53 BC, headed by Julius Caesar, to 62 AD and the death of Paul outside Rome.
In all the solid essentials of humanity, British ancestry will compare to great advantage with the best eras of Greece or Rome. In war the Briton, after the Julian invasions, walked the streets of Rome the only freeman in Europe, pointed at as the exception to the world
'Invictus Romano Marte Britannus'
For ninety-seven years no Roman again ventured to set foot on the island, and when the eagle of Romulus once more expanded its pinions to the stormy winds of ocean it was when no other enemy, unconquered, confronted its gaze from the Euphrates to Gibraltar, and the forces of the whole empire were ready to follow its leading against the solitary free nationality of the West
Augustus sent ambassadors to Britain demanding the restoration of the three Reguli of the Coritani, or Coraniaid, Dumno, Belaunus, and Jernian, to their estates, confiscated for treason. Tenuantius, the son of Caswallon, a mild, pacific monarch, had sent his two sons, Cynvelin and Llyr (Lear), to be educated at Rome, where they were brought up with his nephews in his palace by Augustus himself, who made a rule, as Suetonius informs us, of teaching the younger branches of his family in person. Cynvelin subsequently served in the German campaigns under Germanicus. He had now succeeded his father, and received the Roman ambassadors with courtesy, but peremptorily rejected the interference of a foreign potentate in the affairs of the island. Augustus moved half the disposable forces of the empire to the Gallic harbors on the Channel, but he never entertained serious intentions of an invasion.
A conference with the imperial friend and tutor of his youth was solicited. The result was the triumph of British diplomacy, a much rarer success than that of British arms. Not only did the emperor abandon his demands, but the heavy duties previously levied on British goods were reduced to a very light tariff (Strabo lib. iv.C. 5). Friendly relations were restored, British nobles again took up their residence at Rome, and were to be seen dedicating their offerings at the shrines of the Capitol.
The infancy, childhood. and youth of the future emperor, Claudius, were spent under the strictest state of surveillance. He was regarded as but one remove from an idiot. "He is as imbecile as my son Claudius" was an ordinary phrase in his mother Livia's mouth when she wished to imply an extraordinary degree of stupidity. His appearance did not belie his character. Tall and full in person, and possessed, when seated, of the external show of dignity, in motion his knees shook, his head perpetually trembled, his tongue stuttered, his laughter was outrageously violent, and his anger marked by profuse foaming at the mouth. Cruel and bloodthirsty by nature, as indeed every Roman was, he insisted on being present whenever any criminal was put to the torture. He never failed to give the sign of "no quarter" against disabled gladiators, and delighted with a horrible voracity to gloat over the dying expression of their faces. He sat from morning to night, neglecting the ordinary hours of refreshment, at the bestiaria or combats of wild beasts, and yet personally was the rankest and most contemptible of cowards.
Whatever the deficiencies of the Emperor himself might he, at no time were the great offices of state fiIled by men of higher administrative capacity, or better able to wield the vast military resources of the empire. Aulus Plautius a general who emulated the Scipios in the rigor of his discipline and the rapidity of his marches, was appointed to the command of the army of invasion.-
Early in the war, a battle was fought in which King Guiderius fell. He was succeede d on the throne by his brother Arviragus, but the national emergency requiring the establishment of the pendragonate, or a military dictatorship, Caradoc was unanimously elected to that high office, Arviragus giving his vote first in his favour and consenting to act under him.
It tells well for the abilities of Caradoc that in this first battle as pendragon he was able to hold his ground for two days of incessant fighting against three such generals as Plautius, Vespasian, and Geta. Undismayed, he collected his forces again, and Plautius, on attempting to follow him, was so roughly handled that messages were sent to Rome for instructions and reinforcements. Claudius himself immediately quitted Rome, and passing through Gaul landed at Richborough, with the second and fourteenth legions, their auxiliaries, and a cohors of elephants brought over for the express purpose of neutralizing the British chariot charges.
Tacitus, the Roman historian, writing of the Claudian campaign that lasted for nine years, except for one brief six months' pause, dismally wrote that, although Rome hurled at the British the greatest army in her history, it failed prevail against the military genius of Caractacus and the reckless fierceness of the British warrior. May drawn battle were fought and the fames Legions of Rom frequently suffered defeat with terrible slaughter. On occasions when the British suffered severe reverses Tacitus said, "She fierce ardor of the British increased."
After two years of ceaseless warfare Claudius, recognizing the futility of the struggle and the terrible drainage on his finest Legions, took advantage of a reverse against Caractacus, at Brando Camp, AD 45, to seek peace through an armistice. A six-month truce was declared in which Caractacus and Arviragus were invited to Rome do discuss the possibilities for peace. The facts that followed prove that Claudius went to great lengths to come to satisfactory terms with the obstinate British leaders.
Hoping to clinch the peace the Emperor Claudius offered to Arviragus, in marriage, his daughter, Venus Julia. And, amazing as it appears, they were married in Rome during the truce period, AD 45.
Here we have the strange instance of a Christian British king becoming the son-in-law of the pagan Roman Emperor Claudius, who had sworn to exterminate Christianity and Britain.
Surely one is justified in asking would the Emperor of a nation, then the most powerful in the world, high in culture and intellectual pursuits, have sacrificed his natural daughter in marriage to by the wife of a "crude barbarian," just for the sake of peace? Impossible.
During the six months' truce while Caractacus and Arviragus were at Rome discussing peace terms and the latter was getting married, Aulus Plautius, the Roman Commander, remained in Britain maintaining the truce on behalf of Rome. During this interval another strange alliance took place in Britain. Gladys (Celtic for Princess), the sister of the British war lord Caractacus, was united in marriage to the Roman Commander-in-Chief, Aulus Plautius! Again we witness the amazing spectacle of a member of the Silurian royal family, a Christian, married to a Roman pagan.
Gladys had been personally converted by Joseph of Arimathea, together with her niece, Eurgain, Guiderius, Arviragus and other members of the British aristocracy. Like her father, the ex-King and present Arch Druid, she was devoutly religious, completing her religious instruction a Avalon and in association with the Bethany women. Considering all this, one is immediately intrigued by this unusual situation. It is made more exciting as we realize that her brother and husband were wartime opponents.
The marriage of Gladys and Plautius is brought into the Roman limelight by Tacitus in his Annals, wherein he relates with humor the peculiar circumstances and results of a Roman trial in which Gladys, the wife of Plautius, is accused of being Christian. On her marriage Gladys took the name of Pomponia, according to Roman custom, which was the name of the Plautium clan. Later the name Graecina was added, so that she is thereafter known as Pomponia Graecina Plautius. The added name was a distinctive academic honor conferred upon her in recognition of her extraordinary scholarship in Greek.
Another amazing puzzle-piece in this unusual royal scenario is Pomponia's trial. Tacitus informs us: "Pomponia Graecina, a woman of illustrious birth, and the wife of Plautius, who, on his return from Britain, entered the city with the pomp of an ovation, was accused of embracing the rites of a foreign superstition. The matter was referred to the jurisdiction of her husband. Plautius, in conformity to ancient usage, called together a number of her relations, and in her presence, sat in judgment on the conduct of his wife. He pronounced her innocent." And got away with it!
Towards the end of the campaign in the autumn of AD 52, the battle which terminated the career of Caradoc in the field was fought close to the confines of the Teme and the CIune in Shropshire. The Roman victory was complete. The wife of Caradoc and his daughter Gladys fell into the hands of the conquerors, and were conveyed to the castra at Urechean (Uriconiun, Wrekin). Caradoc himself took refuge at her repeated solicitations, at Caer Evroc (York), with Aregwedd, or Aricia, the Cartismandua of Tacitus, queen of the Brigantes, and grand-niece of the infamous traitor in the Julian war, Mandubratius, or Avarwy. Here by her orders, with hereditary treachery, he was seized while asleep in her palace, loaded with fetters, and delivered to Ostorius Scapula.
We learn from the contemporary Roman reporters that Caractacus was the first captive kingly enemy not cast into the terrible Tarpeian dungeons. Why? The Roman conquerors were never noted for their clemency. They delighted in humiliating their adversaries, satiating their bestial nature in the most feindish forms of torture. Tthe greater the renown of their unfortunate victim the less chance he had of escaping the horrors and incarceration of the Tarpeian. Neither Caradoc nor any member of the British royal family was subject in the least to any physical indignities.
On the day of Caradoc's trial Tacitus tells us that his daughter Gladys refused to be separated from her father, though it was against the Roman law for a woman to enter the Senate. Voluntarily she walked by the side of Caractacus, up the marble steps into the Senate, as brave and as composed as her father.
The report continues, the Pendragon stood before the Emperor full chest, a noble figure, fearless, calmly defiant, unconquered in spirit. The Senate was crowded to capacity and here again we note another breach of Roman law in the presence of another woman. History tells us that the great Queen Agrippira sat on her throne, on the far corner of the Dais, a fascinated witness to the most famous trial in Roman history.
This man who should have been the most hated as the leader of the Christian army drew admiration from all sides as he stood poised before his sworn enemy, the Emperor Claudius.
Such was the fame of the gallant Christian Briton Caractacus.
As the trial proceeded he spoke in a clear voice, trenchant with the passion of righteous vigor, as he vindicated the rights of a free man. He replied to his prosecutors with words that have lived down through the ages. Probably it is the only episode in this great Christian warrior's life that is remembered by posterity. Free men the world over may read his epic address with blood-warming pride as the pen of Tacitus worded it.
In the words of Tacitus, Caractacus addressed the Senate:
'Had my government in Britain been directed solely with a view to the preservation of my hereditary domains, or the aggrandizement of my own family, I might long since have entered this city an ally, not a prisoner: nor would you have I disdained for a friend a king descended from illustrious ancestors, and the dictator of many nations. My present condition, stript of its former majesty, is as adverse to myself as it is a cause of triumph to you. What then? I was lord of men, horses, arms, wealth; what wonder if at your dictation I refused to resign them? Does it follow, that because the Romans aspire to universal domination, every nation is to accept the vassalage they would impose? I am now in your power - betrayed, not conquered. Had I, like others, yielded without resistance, where would have been the name of Caradoc? Where your glory? Oblivion would have buried both in the same tomb. Bid me live. I shall survive for ever in history one example at least of Roman clemency.'
The preservation of Caradoc forms a solitary exception in the long catalogue of victims to this dastardly and nefarious policy; nor can it be accounted for, considering the inflexibility of Roman military usage, in any other way than by an immediate and supernatural intervention of Providence.
The life of Caradoc was spared, on condition of his never bearing arms against Rome again. A residence of seven years in free custody at Rome was imposed upon him. His father Bran was accepted as one of the hostages, and he was allowed the full enjoyment of the revenues of the royal Silurian domains, forwarded to him by his subjects and council.
Twenty years after the Crucifixion, the trial and pardon of the British royal captives took place, in the year AD 52
Peter first went to Rome twelve years after the death of Jesus, in the year AD 44, eight years after Joseph and his Bethany companions arrived in Britain and two years after the Claudian campaign of persecution began against Christian Britain. Paul did not arrive at Rome until AD 56. This is the date given by St. Jerome, and considered the most authentic. This does not mean that there were not Christians in Rome before the two Apostles arrived, or even before the British Silurians came as captives. There were a number of them present and they are scripturally referred to as 'the Church'. This must not be taken too literally. It did not refer to a material institution; it was a spiritual body in Christ. The number of Christians then at Rome were unorganized, treading in fear. They met secretly in small groups at the homes of various converts to worship, though most of them went underground. The Tiberian and Claudian ban that inflicted death on all who professed the faith was still in effect.
Following the pardon of Caractacus, a close relationship developed between the two former enemies and their households evolving into a startling climax. Claudius greatly admired the character and extraordinary beauty of Gladys, the daughter of Caractacus. It grew into a deep paternal affection with the result that Emperor Claudius adopted Gladys as his own daughter, a girl who was an exceptionally devout Christian!
The Emperor was well aware of the strong Christian convictions of Gladys, and what strikes one forcibly is the fact that the record states that the terms of her adoption did not require her to recant from her faith.
Gladys was not to remain long under the royal roof. The year after her adoption was to see a beautiful romance destined to culminate later in heartbreaking tragedy. In her teens, Claudia was betrothed and married. In the year AD 53, she became the wife of Rufus Pudens Pudentius, an epochal event history could well make as momentous.
Pudens, as he is most commonly referred to, was a Roman Senator and former personal aide-de-camp to Aulus Plautius. Pudens went to Britain with the Commander-in-Chief at the commencement of the Claudian campaign AD 42.
What could be a stranger circumstance than that of the British Pendragon Caractacus permitting his favorite daughter to become adopted by the remorseless enemy who had brought about his defeat at Clune and see his sister and daughter married to Plautius and Pudens, the leaders he had opposed in battle for nine long years?
Claudia was seventeen years of age when she married Rufus Pudens. The nuptials did not take place at the Imperial Palace of her adopted father, as one might expect, but at the palace of her natural father, the Plautium Britannicum, a Christian household. It was a Christian marriage performed by the Christian Pastor, Hermas, which proves that Pudens was already a Christian convert. It is interesting to note that they continued to live at the Plautium Britannicum; interesting because Pudens was an extremely wealthy man, owning vast estates in Umbria, but he chose to live at the Place of the British, where their four illustrious children were born.
The first Christian Church at Rome, known first as the "Titulus," is now called St. Prudentiana. Here the nuptials of Claudia and Rufus Pudens Prudentinus were celebrated AD 53. Four children were the issue of this marriage-- St Timotheus, St. Novatus, St. Prudentiana, St. Praxedes. Of the sons of Caradoc, Cyllinus and Cynon returned to Britian, the former succeeding on his death to the Silurian throne. The second, Lleyn, or Linus, remained with his father, and was subsequently, consecrated by St. Paul first bishop of the Roman Church.
We now see residing at the Plautium Britannicum the High Priest Bran, King Caractacus and the Queen, his wife; his daughter, the Princess Eurgain and her husband, Salog, lord of Salisbury; her brother, the immortal Prince Linus, now a Christian priest; The Emperor's adopted daughter, Claudius, and her husband the Senator Pudens; his mother, Priscilla; Pastor Hermas, kinsman of Pudens. Cyllinus and Cynon, the eldest and youngest sons of Caractacus had already returned to Britain. There were other members of the Pudens' Christian household dedicated to the faith but those mentioned are the important figures to remember. The talented sister of Caractacus, the ex-Princess Pomponia Graecina, and her influential husband Aulus Plautius, resided nearby. All were spiritually confirmed Christians except Caractacus and Bran, who were soon to experience the laying on of hands by St. Paul, climaxing their confirmation in the faith in the same manner as is performed by the Priesthood today in the Church of the Anglican Communion.
The palace, indeed, of the British King formed a focus and rendezvous, and perhaps the safest they could frequent, for the poets and authors of Rome. Nor did it cease to be so on return to his native country; it continued to be the residence of Pudens and Claudia and their children. Some conception may be formed of its size and magnificence from the number of servants who constituted its ordinary establishment. These, as we learn from the Roman Martyrology, were two hundred males and the same number of females, all born on the hereditary estates of Pudens, in Umbria.
St. Jerome places Paul's arrival in Rome at AD 56. He writes, "St. Paul went to Rome in the second year of Nero." Nero succeeded Claudius as Emperor. AD 56 being the preferred date, it allows eight years of contact with Rome in which St. Paul did not reside in his personal home. This fact supports the statements of the contemporary writers who state that St. Paul had his abode with the Pudens. There is a special and particular reason as to why he would prefer to reside with the Pudens at the British Palace, apart from its Christian environment.
Startling as if may be to the reader, facts will prove that living with the Pudens family was the mother of St. Paul and that Claudia Britannica was the sister-in-law of the Apostle to the Gentiles.
St. Paul, writing in his Epistles to those of Rome prior to his coming, says, 'Salute Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.'
Some have sought to suggest that the woman was St. Paul's spiritual mother. This is entirely out ruled by the facts. A spiritual mother, or father, was one who had converted another. As we all know, Christ had converted Paul on the road to Damascus, and Paul had not been to Rome since before the Judean persecution of Christ's followers, AD 33.
Were Rufus and Paul half-brothers--the latter, the elder, by a Hebrew, the former, the younger, by a second marriage with a Gentile, a proselyte Roman? This mother was a Christian living with Rufus, and is termed also his mother by St. Paul. When at Rome, Paul spent most of his time in the palace of Rufus, though he had also his own hired house. The children of Claudia and Pudens, as we learn from the Roman Martyrologies, were brought up on Paul's knees, and we find in the last scene of his life preceding his martyrdom, the only salutations sent by him to Timothy to be those of Eubulus, Claudia, Linus, and Pudens--the same family evidently ministering and attending to him to the last.
Pudens was converted before St. Paul came to Rome, and by some other Christian than Paul. Hermas Pastor appears at this very early date to have been the pastor at the Titulus, which constituted the place of meeting for the Gentile Church, or church of the uncircumcision. The Hebrew Church, or Church of the circumcision, met at the House of Aquila and Priscilla.
Thus twenty-five years had elapsed before his arrival at Rome, an Apostle of Christ. By deduction, Pudens must have been in his late twenties when he married the seveteen-year-old British Princess, and at the time of St. Paul's salutation he must have been near his mid-thirties, which shows a long separation between 'his mother and mine'.
From all this we realize that St. Paul and Rufus Pudens Pudentius were half-brothers, each having the same mother. In turn, this made the British Princess Gladys, the Emperor Claudius' adopted daughter, now known as Claudia Britannica Rufina Pudens Pudentius, sister-in-law to the Apostle of the Gentiles! And lastly, through Gladys' adoption, St. Paul is the half-brother-son-in-law (if there can be such a thing) to the Emperor Claudius!! Now you see why I call this page "Royal Soap."
Christianity was first introduced into Britain by Joseph of Arimathaea, AD 36-39; followed by Simon Zelotes, the apostle; then by Aristobulus, the first bishop of the Britons; then by St. Paul. Its first converts were members of the royal family of Siluria--that is, Gladys, the sister of Caradoc, Gladys (Claudia) and Eurgen his daughters, Linus his son, converted in Britain before they were carried into captivity to Rome; then Caradoc, Bran, and the rest of the family, converted at Rome. The two cradles of Christianity in Britain were Ynys Wydrin, 'the Crystal Isle,' translated by the Saxons Glastonbury, in Somersetshire, where Joseph settled and taught, and Siluria, where the earliest churches and schools, next to Ynys Wydrin, were founded be the Silurian dynasty. Ynys Wydrin was also commonly known as Ynys Avalon, and in Latin "Domus Dei," "Secretum Dei."
There! Didn't I tell you that would be fun? That's a better story than any Payton Place. But, remember the quiz I mentioned at the beginning? Did you get an answer? I asked you to be thinking about what God was accomplishing with all of these amazing events. Here's the answer: God's Protectorate.
God always has a backup plan. You might even say God is a Backup Plan. All these unusual events accomplished one very important over-riding goal. The advancement, preservation of Christianity; which translates into bringing God's message of His coming Kingdom to the world . The Christians are the ones who are doing that. And that should be no surprise. The Christian nations of the world are the Israelites, the Lost Tribes. Those folks have always worked for God, getting out His Word.
The whole purpose of starting up a world population group with Abraham was to send the message around the world. You need a lot of kids to do a job as big as that.
Well, when it comes to His word, God makes sure that all the bases are covered. So He sets up Protectorates ahead of time, to make sure His plan comes out the other side of any adversity. He sent Joseph to Egypt to get a place ready for the family when they fled the famine. He set up Esther so she would have the King's ear and be able to save her people from old Haman's Holocaust. He sent Daniel to rule Babylon to make it easier for the captive Jews. On a wider scale, He sent the tribe of Dan, as the Phoenecians, all across Europe to scout out the route to be taken when the Lost Tribes made their migrations to northwest Europe and the British Isles, centuries later. Why not set up a Protection Zone at Rome?
Maybe you noticed that those were pretty rough times in Rome. Life was held very cheaply in the heart of Satan's dominion. If Christianity was to survive, it would only be accomplished by efforts of kingly proportions.
It's interesting that instead of grease to lubricate these historical events, God used soap.
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