I happened on this rather interesting documentary, which suggests that the New Testament Gospels were written as propaganda for the Flavian emperors. Despite the rather irritating Hollywood-style biblical music in the background, I was fascinated by the parallels drawn between the Jesus story and events in the lives of the father-and-son emperors, Vespasian and Titus.
My favorite story about Vespasian (not in this doco) relates to his death from a bowel illness. After a particularly prolific bout of diarrhea, he reportedly said "I think I'm becoming a god."
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