Darkening Age, 3

In the chapter ‘The Invisible Army’ of The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World, Catherine Nixey talks about how, once the Christians seized the Weltanschauung of the Roman Empire, a demonological hysteria arose that led Christians to a state of virtual paranoia.

It is curious how Christians today ignore fundamental aspects of the history of their religion. When not long ago I told a friend about the demons that persecuted St Anthony the Great (251-356), I found out that he knew nothing about the subject: something so popular throughout Christendom that the ‘temptations of St Anthony’ permeated European imagination for centuries.

Saint Anthony was the founding father of the monastic life: one of the most influential men in Christianity. As a teenager I saw images like this painting by Grünewald. I knew that the demons (temptations) that the ascetic fought were sexual thoughts that he, who had taken a vow of chastity, had to fight.

The case of St Anthony, which Nixey details in the first chapter of her book, was not isolated. My ignorant Catholic friend, who did not know the history of this very influential man, could think that all that lies now in the remote past.

Not really. When I was a teenager my mother used to come to my room with holy water while I slept because she thought the devil had gotten into me. My sister was terrified to see, in puberty, the movie The Exorcist on the big screen because she believed that the devil really existed.

Decades later, when my brother wanted to divorce, my father wrote him a letter saying that the devil was hanging around tempting them to divorce. My mother even summoned her children on one occasion to tell us that, recovering from an operation, she had committed the blunder of challenging the devil so that he would not mess with her children, and that the devil had insinuated her presence in front of her. A priest scolded her: the devil should never be challenged: only ignored. More recently, some nuns told my mother that the noises they heard in their monastery were angry demons due to the saintly work of the nuns.

This is not the place to narrate how the Catholicism at home was a fundamental factor in the destruction of my adolescent life. I would just like to point out that, in Nixey’s chapter, it is described how, once the classical culture was destroyed, the Europeans were under perpetual attack by Satan and his fearsome soldiers, the demons. Their aim, in European imaginary, was to drag them all to damnation.

Currently a residue of this paranoia is only seen in the most traditional Christian families.

Darkening Age, 2


 
INTRODUCTION

Athens, AD 532

‘That all superstition of pagans and heathens should be annihilated is what God wants, God commands, God proclaims.’

— St Augustine

This was no time for a philosopher to be philosophical. ‘The tyrant’, as the philosophers put it, was in charge and had many alarming habits. In Damascius’s own time, houses were entered and searched for books and objects deemed unacceptable. If any were found they would be removed and burned in triumphant bonfires in town squares. Discussion of religious matters in public had been branded a ‘damnable audacity’ and forbidden by law. Anyone who made sacrifices to the old gods could, the law said, be executed. Across the empire, ancient and beautiful temples had been attacked, their roofs stripped, their treasures melted down, their statues smashed. To ensure that their rules were kept, the government started to employ spies, officials and informers to report back on what went on in the streets and marketplaces of cities and behind closed doors in private homes. As one influential Christian speaker put it, his congregation should hunt down sinners and drive them into the way of salvation as relentlessly as a hunter pursues his prey into nets.

The consequences of deviation from the rules could be severe and philosophy had become a dangerous pursuit. Damascius’s own brother had been arrested and tortured to make him reveal the names of other philosophers, but had, as Damascius recorded with pride, ‘received in silence and with fortitude the many blows of the rod that landed on his back’. Others in Damascius’ s circle of philosophers had been tortured; hung up by the wrists until they gave away the names of their fellow scholars. A fellow philosopher had, some years before, been flayed alive. Another had been beaten before a judge until the blood flowed down his back.

The savage ‘tyrant’ was Christianity. From almost the very first years that a Christian emperor had ruled in Rome in AD 312, liberties had begun to be eroded. And then, in AD 529, a final blow had fallen. It was decreed that all those who laboured ‘under the insanity of paganism’—in other words Damascius and his fellow philosophers—would be no longer allowed to teach. There was worse. It was also announced that anyone who had not yet been baptized was to come forward and make themselves known at the ‘holy churches’ immediately, or face exile. And if anyone allowed themselves to be baptized, then slipped back into their old pagan ways, they would be executed.

For Damascius and his fellow philosophers, this was the end. They could not worship their old gods. They could not earn any money. Above all, they could not now teach philosophy. The Academy, the greatest and most famous school in the ancient world—perhaps ever—a school that could trace its history back almost a millennium, closed.

It is impossible to imagine how painful the journey through Athens would have been. As they went, they would have walked through the same streets and squares where their heroes—Socrates, Plato, Aristotle—had once walked and worked and argued. They would have seen in them a thousand reminders that those celebrated times were gone. The temples of Athens were closed and crumbling and many of the brilliant statues that had once stood in them had been defaced or removed. Even the Acropolis had not escaped: its great statue of Athena had been torn down.

Little of what is covered by this book is well-known outside academic circles. Certainly it was not well-known by me when I grew up in Wales, the daughter of a former nun and a former monk. My childhood was, as you might expect, a fairly religious one. We went to church every Sunday; said grace before meals, and I said my prayers (or at any rate the list of requests which I considered to be the same thing) every night. When Catholic relatives arrived we play-acted not films but First Holy Communion and, at times, even actual communion…

As children, both had been taught by monks and nuns; and as a monk and a nun they had both taught. They believed as an article of faith that the Church that had enlightened their minds was what had enlightened, in distant history, the whole of Europe. It was the Church, they told me, that had kept alive the Latin and Greek of the classical world in the benighted Middle Ages, until it could be picked up again by the wider world in the Renaissance. And, in a way, my parents were right to believe this, for it is true. Monasteries did preserve a lot of classical knowledge.

But it is far from the whole truth. In fact, this appealing narrative has almost entirely obscured an earlier, less glorious story. For before it preserved, the Church destroyed.

In a spasm of destruction never seen before—and one that appalled many non-Christians watching it—during the fourth and fifth centuries, the Christian Church demolished, vandalized and melted down a simply staggering quantity of art. Classical statues were knocked from their plinths, defaced, defiled and torn limb from limb. Temples were razed to their foundations and burned to the ground. A temple widely considered to be the most magnificent in the entire empire was levelled.

Many of the Parthenon sculptures were attacked, faces were mutilated, hands and limbs were hacked off and gods were decapitated. Some of the finest statues on the whole building were almost certainly smashed off then ground into rubble that was then used to build churches.

Books—which were often stored in temples—suffered terribly. The remains of the greatest library in the ancient world, a library that had once held perhaps 700,000 volumes, were destroyed in this way by Christians. It was over a millennium before any other library would even come close to its holdings. Works by censured philosophers were forbidden and bonfires blazed across the empire as outlawed books went up in flames.

Fragment of a 5th-century scroll
showing the destruction of the Serapeum
by Pope Theophilus of Alexandria

The work of Democritus, one of the greatest Greek philosophers and the father of atomic theory, was entirely lost. Only one per cent of Latin literature survived the centuries. Ninety-nine per cent was lost.

The violent assaults of this period were not the preserve of cranks and eccentrics. Attacks against the monuments of the ‘mad’, ‘damnable’ and ‘insane’ pagans were encouraged and led by men at the very heart of the Catholic Church. The great St Augustine himself declared to a congregation in Carthage that ‘that all superstition of pagans and heathens should be annihilated is what God wants, God commands, God proclaims!’ St Martin, still one of the most popular French saints, rampaged across the Gaulish countryside levelling temples and dismaying locals as he went. In Egypt, St Theophilus razed one of the most beautiful buildings in the ancient world. In Italy, St Benedict overturned a shrine to Apollo. In Syria, ruthless bands of monks terrorized the countryside, smashing down statues and tearing the roofs from temples.

St John Chrysostom encouraged his congregations to spy on each other. Fervent Christians went into people’s houses and searched for books, statues and paintings that were considered demonic. This kind of obsessive attention was not cruelty. On the contrary: to restrain, to attack, to compel, even to beat a sinner was— if you turned them back to the path of righteousness—to save them. As Augustine, the master of the pious paradox put it: ‘Oh, merciful savagery.’

The results of all of this were shocking and, to non-Christians, terrifying. Townspeople rushed to watch as internationally famous temples were destroyed. Intellectuals looked on in despair as volumes of supposedly unchristian books—often in reality texts on the liberal arts—went up in flames. Art lovers watched in horror as some of the greatest sculptures in the ancient world were smashed by people too stupid to appreciate them—and certainly too stupid to recreate them.

Since then, and as I write, the Syrian civil war has left parts of Syria under the control of a new Islamic caliphate. In 2014, within certain areas of Syria, music was banned and books were burned. The British Foreign Office advised against all travel to the north of the Sinai Peninsula. In 2015, Islamic State militants started bulldozing the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud, just south of Mosul in Iraq because it was ‘idolatrous’. Images went around the world showing Islamic militants toppling statues around three millennia old from their plinths, then taking hammers to them. ‘False idols’ must be destroyed. In Palmyra, the remnants of the great statue of Athena that had been carefully repaired by archaeologists, was attacked yet again. Once again, Athena was beheaded; once again, her arm was sheared off.

I have chosen Palmyra as a beginning, as it was in the east of the empire, in the mid-380s, that sporadic violence against the old gods and their temples escalated into something far more serious. But equally I could have chosen an attack on an earlier temple, or a later one. That is why it is a beginning, not the beginning. I have chosen Athens in the years around AD 529 as an ending—but again, I could equally have chosen a city further east whose inhabitants, when they failed to convert to Christianity, were massacred and their arms and legs cut off and strung up in the streets as a warning to others.

Darkening Age, 1

PROLOGUE

Palmyra, c. AD 385

‘There is no crime for those who have Christ.’

—St. Shenoute

The destroyers came from out of the desert. Palmyra must have been expecting them: for years, marauding bands of bearded, black-robed zealots, armed with little more than stones, iron bars and an iron sense of righteousness had been terrorizing the east of the Roman Empire.

Their attacks were primitive, thuggish, and very effective. These men moved in packs— later in swarms of as many as five hundred—and when they descended utter destruction followed. Their targets were the temples and the attacks could be astonishingly swift. Great stone columns that had stood for centuries collapsed in an afternoon; statues that had stood for half a millennium had their faces mutilated in a moment; temples that had seen the rise of the Roman Empire fell in a single day.

This was violent work, but it was by no means solemn. The zealots roared with laughter as they smashed the ‘evil’, ‘idolatrous’ statues; the faithful jeered as they tore down temples, stripped roofs and defaced tombs. Chants appeared, immortalizing these glorious moments. ‘Those shameful things,’ sang pilgrims, proudly; the ‘demons and idols… our good Saviour trampled down all together.’ Zealotry rarely makes for good poetry.

In this atmosphere, Palmyra’s temple of Athena was an obvious target. The handsome building was an unapologetic celebration of all the believers loathed: a monumental rebuke to monotheism. Go through its great doors and it would have taken your eyes a moment, after the brightness of a Syrian sun, to adjust to the cool gloom within. As they did, you might have noticed that the air was heavy with the smoky tang of incense, or perhaps that what little light there was came from a scatter of lamps left by the faithful. Look up and, in their flickering glow, you would have seen the great figure of Athena herself.

The handsome, haughty profile of this statue might be far from Athena’s native Athens, but it was instantly recognizable, with its straight Grecian nose, its translucent marble skin and the plump, slightly sulky mouth. The statue’s size—it was far taller than any man—might also have impressed. Though perhaps even more admirable than the physical scale was the scale of the imperial infrastructure and ambition that had brought this object here. The statue echoed others that stood on the Athenian Acropolis, well over a thousand miles away; this particular version had been made in a workshop hundreds of miles from Palmyra, then transported here at considerable difficulty and expense to create a little island of Greco-Roman culture by the sands of the Syrian desert.

Did they notice this, the destroyers, as they entered? Were they, even fleetingly, impressed by the sophistication of an empire that could quarry, sculpt then transport marble over such vast distances? Did they, even for a moment, admire the skill that could make a kissably soft-looking mouth out of hard marble? Did they, even for a second, wonder at its beauty?

It seems not. Because when the men entered the temple they took a weapon and smashed the back of Athena’s head with a single blow so hard that it decapitated the goddess. The head fell to the floor, slicing off that nose, crushing the once­ smooth cheeks. Athena’s eyes, untouched, looked out over a now-disfigured face.

Mere decapitation wasn’t enough. More blows fell, scalping Athena, striking the helmet from the goddess’s head, smashing it into pieces. Further blows followed. The statue fell from its pedestal, then the arms and shoulders were chopped off. The body was left on its front in the dirt; the nearby altar was sliced off just above its base.

Only then does it seem that these men—these Christians—felt satisfied that their work was done. They-melted out once again into the desert. Behind them the temple fell silent. The votive lamps, no longer tended, went out. On the floor, the head of Athena slowly started to be covered by the sands of the Syrian desert.

The ‘triumph’ of Christianity had begun.

Nixey & Heisman

Today, as I finished reproducing my extracts from the first volume of Kriminalgeschichte, I would like to clarify something.

There was a time when I wanted to add to my excerpts the hundreds of footnotes that appear in Karlheinz Deschner’s book but I changed my mind: mere excerpts do not require the notes, especially in a blog. However, I must point out that there are bibliographical references in a book that the English speaker can read in his native language.

I am referring to Catherine Nixey’s The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World: an elegant book published last year in Britain and available this year, in addition, by an American publisher.

Deschner was an obsessive scholar who worked to the nitty-gritty, nose-to-the-grindstone level throughout his life. Although The Darkening Age is not as monumental as Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums, I will reproduce Nixey’s preface and the third part of her Introduction. It is vital that English speakers know that we are not inventing a black history of Christianity. Some of the main references that support what we have been saying with the translations of Deschner and Evropa Soberana, also appear in Nixey’s book.

What is more, if you search you will find that even The Reader’s Digest which publishes copiously illustrated books for the simple, and very Christian, American families acknowledges the facts. For example, the image below shows a crowd of Christians who, encouraged by Pope Theophilus of Alexandria, destroyed the temple of Serapis in 391.

I scanned that image from pages 242-243 of the translation from English into Spanish of After Jesus (The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc., 1992). What we see in the illustration represents the first dark hour of the West: the era that saw the destruction of ancient knowledge in the Library of Alexandria. Now we are living the second dark hour, when the enemy attacks directly your DNA so that the West cannot recover again, not even after a dark age as it did in the Renaissance.

That’s why I call ‘darkest hour’ to our times.

About the first dark hour, of the authors I have quoted and will continue to quote, Soberana, Deschner and Nixey are gentiles. But yesterday almost midnight a commenter called my attention to Suicide Note, a book of almost two thousand pages of Mitchell Heisman (1975-2010). I began to leaf through the Suicide Note chapter on how the Christians installed Semitic malware in the psyche of the Romans to move them to commit ethnic suicide.

I was fascinated and continued reading until almost two in the morning today. However, when I wanted to inquire about the author via Google, I discovered that Heisman was a Jew who committed suicide upon finishing the book!

Of the German Deschner, the English Nixey and the Spaniard Soberana, only the latter awoke about the Jewish question. It is really curious that, although neither Deschner nor Nixey took the red pill, an American Jew did take it.

The PDF of Suicide Note is available online for anyone who wants to read the whole thing. Tomorrow I’ll start reproducing those passages that elucidate what we have been saying about the Christian problem. Of course: I have to place the star of David after the author’s name. It is very rare for a Jew to say anything about the psyop that his tribe applied to the Aryan since the origins of Christianity. One of them is Heisman✡.

Trouble is that most white nationalists still don’t want to see what even a kike saw just before blowing his brains…

Warm from the press

The late Karlheinz Deschner was the mature scholar. He spent decades of his life preparing his ambitious Criminal History of Christianity, published in ten volumes beginning in 1986, with the final volume appearing in 2013. He started to write Criminal History at 62 and finished it at 89.

He who doesn’t want to approach the subject in German can order a copy of The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World, a book by Catherine Nixey recently released by Macmillan.

In his book review of The Darkening Age Peter Thonemann writes: ‘Statues were smashed, temples toppled and manuscripts burnt, as the early Christians tried to wipe out all traces of classical civilisation…’

What happened in the century we were born—the perpetration of the Hellstorm Holocaust on Germans and then the (((chutzpah))) of blaming the victims for the perpetration of an holocaust!—has a long history. A new constellation of authors are providing a powerful corrective to our view of early Christians persecuted by evil pagans, showing that in fact it triumphed through wholesale barbarity.