Mancunium Rising

Mamucium or Mancunium is the name of the Roman city we now call Manchester. At a site called Castlefields, remains of the Roman fort can still be seen, and a 1980s’ partial reconstruction gives the visitor an idea of scale. Too often, stone foundations offer too little to the imagination; a good quality reconstruction can really assist the understanding.

Similar rebuilds can be seen at Mount Grace Priory in North Yorkshire, whereat a Carthusian cell (more like a two-storey apartment) can be enjoyed and inspected. Like nearly everyone else who visits Castlefields, or at least those under the age of 14, I enjoyed imagining legionaries and auxiliaries calling down to each other, making coarse Latin quips from behind the parapets, or troubling a native merchant with redtape.

Yet scripture speaks of a re-building of Rome and its empire. It need not be geographically mirroring the old, for the Holy Roman, Tsarist Russia, Napoleonic France, Nazi Germany and Byzantium all aped ancient Rome without necessarily conforming to its historical borders. The first century combination of pagan spirituality and unlimited political power will likely return in the person and government of the Man of Sin. The feet and toes of Daniel’s vision were of both iron and clay, an empire that will be both strong and unstable, ancient and new. I do not envisage the old forts being rebuilt, but Rome shall rise again. The spirit of the old emperors with their cult of the state and hatred of all opposition is going to return. And so too its Conqueror, the Lord Jesus. 

Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. Daniel 2:35