I have to admit that I love history. I always enjoy reading articles online about historical figures and I also bought a book on ancient Rome filled with interesting stories about what went on there centuries ago. Some of the stories are quite fascinating, while some of them are quite sordid. But my interest in historical events is not only limited to ancient Rome. Sometimes I also read up on other historical figures from other countries and also religious people. These figures have gained fame, wealth and yes, notoriety throughout time. Some of them can even be considered the greatest people to have graced the earth and have gathered a huge legion of followers even centuries after their deaths. People like these have touched many lives in both positive and negative ways. More importantly though, the lives of these men and women can serve as lessons from which we can all learn. So here I am about to write a brief account of the lives of some selected historical figures and what we can learn from them.
Julius Caesar: He was Rome's greatest general and perhaps most famous figure. Some might even call him a military genius for he won many battles. He launched a bloody civil war with former colleague Pompey and won. Later, Caesar made himself Dictator for life. This did not go down too well with some of his so called friends. These "friends" lead by Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus thought that he was getting too powerful so they spun a deadly plot to have him eliminated. On the ides of March 44 BC, Caesar was brutally assassinated in front of a horrified Senate by a gang of conspirators lead by Brutus and Cassius who were all armed with daggers. What can we learn from Caesar's experience? Always be careful of whom you make your friends or you might end up getting stabbed in the back.
Marie-Antoinette: The daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor Francis I, she married Louis in 1770 to strengthen the French-Austrian alliance. At a time of economic turmoil in France, she lived extravagantly and encouraged her husband to resist reform of the monarchy. In one episode, she allegedly responded to news that the French peasantry had no bread to eat by callously replying, "Let them eat cake." The increasing revolutionary uproar convinced the king and queen to attempt an escape to Austria in 1791, but they were captured by revolutionary forces and carried back to Paris. In 1792, the French monarchy was abolished, and Louis and Marie-Antoinette were condemned for treason. On 16 October 1793, roughly nine months after Louis was executed by guillotine, Marie-Antoinette met a similar fate. What can we learn from this? Sometimes if we allow our powerful positions to get the better of us, we may end up losing our heads.
Jesus Christ: Considered by many to be the greatest person who ever lived. He came to the Jewish people in Roman-occupied ancient Palestine in about 30 AD as the promised Messiah and preached a message of peace and love for your fellowman including your enemies. He performed many miracles including healing the sick and raising the dead and touched the lives of many people. Soon he began to attract a legion of followers. The Jewish authorities at the time saw him as a threat and plotted to have him killed because they thought that he was disobeying the Jewish traditions at the time with his new teachings. One of Jesus' followers, Judas Iscariot eventually went against him and conspired with the Sanhedrin to have Jesus arrested. Judas was paid thirty pieces of silver to lead them to Jesus. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Judas identified Jesus by giving him a kiss of betrayal. Jesus was then apprehended, found guilty of crimes he didn't commit and handed over to the Romans to be crucified. Overcome with remorse because he betrayed innocent blood, Judas tried to give the money back to the Jewish authorities who refused to accept the "blood money." Unable to handle the fact that he conspired against his master, Judas went and hung himself. What can we learn from this? If you go against Jesus, you can kiss your life good-bye.