S. Martin Shelton

Retired U.S.Navy Captain, Novelist

Archive for the tag “Rome”

Killing Jesus by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard Book Review

Killing Jesus is a history book that details Roman and Israel history of the time—around 44 BC to 30 AD. It is not a religious book.

Of particular interest is the insight into the Roman revolution where Julius Caesar crosses the Rubicon with his army, overthrows the republican Senate, and assume dictatorial power. After Caesar returns from Egypt and his tryst with Cleopatra, Junius Brutus Albinus and sixty of his “Liberators” assassinated him on the “Ides of March.” Following is a brutal civil war and a string of incompetent and brutal dictators that do not tolerate any form of rebellion, no matter how slight. Even one word uttered against the rule of Rome could lead to death by crucifixion.

The history of Jesus is compelling. For once, I’ve understood the sequence of events that lead to his death, the culture of the Jews in Roman occupied Galilee and other nearby provinces, and the strict religious rules of the priest in the Temple in Jerusalem The authors use the old Testament, the four bible stories of Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John and many other sources to ferret the details of Jesus life. What’s critical is the authors pruning and cross checking of many historical resources to form a consensus of what actually happened. The major fault I find with this book is that much of the detail must be conjecture. Clearly no scribe was about to chronicle the many detailed points the authors relate. That’s OK. Most are irrelevant, yet they add coherence to the story.

I recommend Killing Jesus as must read book. Caution, however. Chilling are the scenes that describing the gory details of the tortures and the agonizing slow death of a crucifixion.

Interview with Bill O’Reilly.

Russian Julian Calendar

Imperial Russia used the “old style” Julian calendar that was seriously out of kilter with the solar seasons and religious holidays—in particular Christmas and Easter.   The Russian Orthodox Church had political and religious issues with the Pope in Rome that dated back centuries, and refused to change to Pope Gregory XIII’s Gregorian reform calendar introduced in 1582.

The Julian calendar lagged the Gregorian calendar by 12 days.  For example, Christmas, 25 December 1916 in the Gregorian calendar was 7 January 1916 in the Julian calendar.  On the first of February 1918, Vladimir Lenin ordered the Soviet government to switch to the “new style” Gregorian calendar—so that the USSR would be in synchronization with the rest of the world.


 Julius Caesar, Emperor of Rome. (July 100 BC to 44 BC)

Julius Caesar introduced the Julian calendar in 45 BCE (Before Common Era) to reform the old Roman calendar that was inordinately complex and seriously out of date.  Over the following years, most of the civilized world adopted this calendar—even though it had serious errors.  For example, this calendar introduced a one-day gain every 128 years, or about three days every four centuries as compared to the equinox and the seasons.

I invite you to join the Czar Nicholas’ Christmas ball on the 7th of  January 1917 in the Winter Palace, St. Petersburg, Imperial Russia— set in my historical novel titled St. Catherine’s Crown.   Formal gowns for the ladies and with a tiare russe and gentlemen with white-tie, tails, and miniature medals if you’ve earned them.


Post Navigation