The Rebirth of Venus (From the classic oil-on-canvas, The Birth of Venus, by William-Adolphe Bougereau, 1879 (Musee d'Orsay, Paris))
Concepts from Judas in Love, by James Foley:
...They survived adversity, not prosperity.
This is how Nathaniel explained it:
“When a person or family or nation or civilization grows powerful and rich, it is inevitably exposed to temptations—above all, temptations of the flesh. With wealth comes leisure and opportunity. The opportunity to obtain fine food, fine wine, fine intoxicants of all kinds…and the most intoxicating intoxicant of them all—fine lovers, fine women. In an age of wealth, Venus is Reborn.
“This Return to Paganism can be carefree. Let the devil worry! Kiss tomorrow goodbye! Just party…party…party! Party 24/7! Yet wealth, that brings pleasure, brings danger, even disaster or death. Witness the 27 Club. Today as in ancient Rome, Venus is reborn in a party paradise of erotic pleasure.”
It's like the sixties are the future, in the Age Before Punk Rock. Around midnight on July 3rd, 1969, Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones will be found dead at the bottom of his swimming pool. He's twenty-seven years old. And on that same date two years later, Jim Morrison will die, also twenty-seven.
And three years after that, Jim's longtime girlfriend Pamela Courson will die. Another victim of the rock-n'-roll fast life. Like Brian and Jim, she's twenty-seven years old at the time of her death.
And there are other renowned members of the 27 Club—Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse…and, before them, the greatest of them all, Robert Johnson. They will pay the price for early wealth or fame.
Well, Rome wasn't built in a day. The early Romans had been poor, brave, stalwart farmers and workers--hard-working and hard-fighting. Now the Roman Empire is immensely rich and powerful. The hard work can be done by slaves, and the defense of the frontier can be left to barbarian recruits. What looms now is a life of almost perpetual partying. Bacchus is king and Venus is reborn. Julius Caesar even claims descent from Venus.