Sodom – “City of God”

In the year 410 CE, less than a century before the Fall of the Roman Empire in the West, Rome was sacked by the Visigoths, the first time the Eternal City was taken by a foreign invader in over 800 years. Citizens throughout the Empire were completely shocked by the news, and tried to explain how something so unthinkable could happen. Many believed that it was because so many Romans by this point, including the emperors themselves, had abandoned the old pagan gods in favor ofChristianity, and that without the protection the gods provided in return for their worship, the city and its empire were vulnerable to doom and destruction.

In response to these accusations that Christianity was to blame, St. Augustine, a bishop and rhetorical master in the school of Cicero, wrote a work called “City of God.” In it he explained first that the pagan gods had nothing to do with Rome’s fortunes, but more importantly, it’s not the earthly City of Man that really matters, but the City of God, the community of the Christian faithful. The City of Man consists of those devoted to carnal pleasures and bestial impulses, ruled by Satan, while the City of God is of those who forego those pleasures to attain divine truth. Eventually, Augustine predicts, history will end in the victory of the City of God.

The German thrash metal band Sodom have their own take on Augustine’s so-called “City of God,” and see the world in the wake of the triumph of Christianity as anything but a paradise. In this song off their 2006 self-titled album, Sodom write of the “Emperor’s sacrifice,” which could allude to Jesus as emperor of the City of God, in opposition to the Roman emperors of the City of Man. The world is a dystopia ravaged by those who kill and are killed in the name of faith, to bring about the so-called Kingdom of God on Earth, the New Jerusalem, the City of God.

“Silent calls of solitude, Waiting for decline
Delivered from their passion to spill the blood tonight
Laughing dead corruption, the truth is just a fake
Undying hate is buried into a nameless grave

Don’t be afraid! Don’t run away!

Their past has been divided: Emperor’s sacrifice
The dead will take the reign blessed by the guns

City of God!

Crawling deep into your soul – a life that fades away
Balanced on the edge of scorn for whom you gonna pray
Terror without pity, insane and tearing minds
All wars could be forgotten when life is so unkind

Don’t be afraid! Don’t run away!

Their past has been divided: Emperor’s sacrifice
The dead will take the reign blessed by the guns

City of God! City of God!!!

Don’t be afraid! Don’t run away!

Their past has been divided: Emperor’s sacrifice

City of God!!!

The dead will take the reign blessed by the guns

City of God!!!”

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