Semitic tail in National Socialism

In this morning’s post we saw that Karlheinz Deschner used the word ‘Gentiles’ not to refer to the Jewish-Gentile dichotomy, but in the context that Pope Gregory despised unconverted whites, ‘Gentiles’. We also translated a phrase from Deschner’s book like this: ‘And in 598 he ordered Agnelo of Terracina to seek out the tree worshipers and punish them so that “paganism” would not be passed on to others’. Compare that phrase to a poem I collected for On Beth’s Cute Tits:

Not in cold marble stones,
Not in temples dull and dead:
In the fresh oak groves
Weaves and rustles the German God.

Not long ago I ordered fifteen booklets from Third Reich Books: Translations of the Originals. Although I have been quoting the phrases of one of them, yesterday I discovered that another booklet published under the Nazi regime contained a Semitic tail. That caught my attention, but that schizophrenic tail supports the thesis of this site: Without a proper diagnosis of the aetiology of Aryan decline, it will be impossible to elaborate the medicine to save the fair race from its current psychosis.

The booklet I’m referring to is titled ‘Looking East: Germany Beyond the Vistula’ which contains several essays, all very short, but the tail only appears in the first essay written by Erich Maschke: a German historian and professor during the Nazi regime.

The best way to show that even in the Third Reich a Semitic tail lingered is to remember that Christianity forced all whites to worship the god of their ethnic enemies. The ancient Germans, a noble people as Tacitus saw it, were reluctant to worship it. Alas, Maschke was a Christian. For this reason he was blind to the most elemental historical reality. In his short essay Maschke used the pejorative term ‘heathen’ eleven times to refer to the Germans who resisted abandoning the Aryan Gods to worship a Semitic god.

The best way to revalue what Maschke wrote is simply to substitute his term ‘heathen’ for ‘whites reluctant to worship the god of the Jews’. I’ll use italics when replacing Maschke’s Christian Newspeak with Oldspeak:

The Teutonic Order and its Significance in History of East Prussia

Seven centuries have passed since the Knights of the Teutonic Order crossed the Vistula and began the conquest of Prussia and the preaching Christianity; seven centuries since towns and cities rose and German peasants turned with their ploughs the sods which till then the iron had not stirred from their primaeval rest.

Battle is the beginning of Prussian history. The Knights of the Brotherhood were summoned to the aid of a Masovian duke who could no longer defend himself from the Prussians reluctant to worship the god of the Jews. By force of arms must the Brothers subdue or drive out the tribes reluctant to worship the god of the Jews and for their reward the lordship of the land was to be theirs. And yet that was not the real object of the fight which the Knights of 1231 now began. What their aim was can be seen in a letter addressed to the Brotherhood by Pope Gregory IX in the previous year. ‘To win the land from the Prussians’, he writes, ‘go boldly forward, armed with the might of heaven, that with God’s [the god of the Jews] help His kingdom may be established and the fear of Him spread abroad to the uttermost boundaries’. This then was the aim and object of the struggle which seven centuries ago began on the banks of the Vistula, the spreading of the Faith.

Today we are far removed from the belief that faith can be inoculated at the point of the sword but in those times it was considered a matter of course. War against those reluctant to worship the god of the Jews was the highest duty, the greatest sacrifice which a man could offer.

A religious war was not to be confused with a war of conquest. The great English philosopher, John of Salisbury, said of the Brotherhood at this time: ‘Of hardly any others can it be said that they are waging a just war’. It was this belief that inspired the mightiest expression of Western faith, the Crusades to the Holy Land for the liberation of Jerusalem. The expeditions which the Teutonic Knights conducted against those reluctant to worship the god of the Jews in Prussia and Lithuania were also crusades. French and English, Spaniards, Italians and Germans have led such crusades into the Orient; Danes Poles and Bohemians into the districts reluctant to worship the god of the Jews on the east and south-east coasts of the Baltic Sea. To understand many of the most important events in Western history we must be able to appreciate the enthusiastic spirit of Christian self-sacrifice which inspired these crusades and we must not forget that it was this spirit too which inspired the Knights of the Teutonic Order. Their work of conquest in the 13th and 14th centuries is its own justification for it served to spread the Christian belief.

Even those who are not interested in the special conditions of the past will not be able to deny the importance of this forcible Christianising of the Baltic countries of Prussia, Latvia and Estonia. At the beginning of this struggle and their mission the Knights of the Order came into contact, not in Prussia but in the neighbouring country of Latvia, with two determined opponents: Russia and the Eastern Church. It was the arrival of the Germans that decided that this territory should become a part of the Western Church—that is, culturally and politically European—and not Russian Orthodox—that is, Eastern and Asiatic. That the eastern boundary of Europe and the Occident was drawn where it still remains is due largely to the success of these knights in monks’ clothing who appeared on the coasts of the Baltic in the 13th century. Once we have appreciated the importance of the German crusades we are able to understand the belief in their mission and in their task which actuated them. Not for nothing did the Knights wear a black cross on the white robes which covered their armour; not for them was the gay military life of other knights. Even in the Beld they strictly kept the rules that their Order enforced upon them as upon other monks: piety and self-restraint.

Thus it was that the small group of Brothers began, 700 years ago the conquest of Prussia with a consciousness of the importance of their mission. The task would have been impossible but for the help of other crusaders who, urged on by the selfsame zeal, joined the Brothers, not as members of the Order but willing to stake their all in the fight against the peoples reluctant to worship the god of the Jews. From Scandinavia to Bohemia, from the North Sea to the Alps the priests told of the deeds of the German Brothers and preached the crusade against Prussia. Year after year the pious throngs, led by the Knights of the Order, joined in the conquest of the East. Deeper and deeper they penetrated the lands of the towns reluctant to worship the god of the Jews. The Prussian tribes were fought until they were subdued and accepted the Christian faith, for the object of the Order was not destruction but conversion. The survival of so many Prussian place-names in Samland shows that the contention that the Order exterminated the Prussians is contrary to the facts. At the farthest boundaries of the conquered territory strongholds were erected at strategically important points—an impenetrable line of defence for the new Christian overlordship. At first simple defences of earth and stakes grew in the 14th century to buildings of a highly developed type. The largest among them became monasteries with at least 12 brothers. The fortress became a cloister in which the Brothers lived according to the rules of the Order. These monasteries existed as organisation centres under the leadership of a Commander of the Order as soon as the country had begun to reach a higher state of civilisation.

It soon became evident that though the proselytising zeal was the central motive of the crusades and the Brothers, it was not the only thought in their minds. Their manhood, their knighthood made them true leaders of men and aroused in them the desire for the founding and building up of a state and it was this will to statesmanship which was the second principle upon which the Prussia of the future was to rest. Already in the 14th century the chronicler of the Order, Peter von Duisburg, shows how these two ideas of religious and temporal authority were connected in the minds of the Brothers when he concludes the description of each campaign with the words: ‘The land has been won for the Faith and the Brothers’.

The state which was built up after the 13th century on the formerly soil reluctant to worship the god of the Jews became Christian not only in name. This part of the southeast coast of the Baltic developed from a barbaric land into a country where the Church flourished in all the richness which it attained in the late middle ages. Here was no question of Church and State, the country was a Christian state in which religious fervour worked hand in hand with a desire for material well-being. The country of the Order was a worthy example of western civilisation in the middle ages and, situated amid the lands of the towns reluctant to worship the god of the Jews and Christian countries in a far more backward state, developed with a surprising rapidness.

Like the Brothers of the Order the crusaders who came every year to Prussia had also a double motive. They too were zealous Soldiers of the Cross but they too came with their wishes and hopes. The best of these crusaders were seeking new homes. For many of them the expedition into the domains reluctant to worship the god of the Jews became one of colonisation whether they settled down at once in Prussia or returned later with their families, with horse and cart, plough and seeds to visit once more, as peaceful workers on the land, that country whose soil they had first trodden sword in hand.

In the first century of the history of the Order crusade and colonisation were scarcely more than two aspects of the same thing. The colonisation was the peaceful complement of the conquest which had preceded it. In bringing to this thinly settled district, with its mighty forests and impassable swamps, the benefits of a higher western culture, the Knights justified their conquests and ensured their permanency. The Brothers of the Order and the lay crusaders joined in the conquest of the land, the former to rule it and the latter to settle it; they too were missionaries of western civilisation and founders of a well-ordered state which has endured to this day. Crusaders, Brothers and settlers in the 13th and 14th centuries carried the torch of civilisation into a land which, until then, had not known its blessings.

As the Western Church most of the great Orders were European rather than national but there were two exceptions: the Spanish Orders which fought against the Moors, and the Teutonic Order which was predominantly national. Not for nothing was the latter known as The Order of the Brothers of the German Lodge St. Marien Jerusalem. For this reason the state which they founded in Prussia became a part of the German nation and the German Reich, and though the Brotherhood had spread into France, Spain and Greece the first crusaders and settlers in the East were exclusively of German race.

During the 13th century the fight for the distant land reluctant to worship the god of the Jews raged year after year. Gradually, after enormous sacrifices, the land was won and the Faith firmly grounded and the foundation laid for peaceful development in the coming centuries. As the number of crusaders decreased the number of settlers increased. German peasants from Lower Saxony, Thuringia, Meissen and Silesia poured into the land and were followed by German tradesmen who founded new cities which, together with the monastery fortresses of the Order, formed an impregnable bulwark of German life and German culture.

As the work of subduing the towns reluctant to worship the god of the Jews gave place to the tasks of peace, full colonisation the temporal aspect of the Order came, of necessity, more to the fore. More and more must the monk give place to the knight and monastic piety to managerial ability. In the 13th century the Order had been an outpost of Christianity, in the 14th it represented western civilisation in every aspect. The writing of poetry and history became a part of the work of the Order which gradually became a pattern for the whole of Europe. Out of the religious crusades grew a tournament in which the knights of all Europe rode. Led on the broad plains of Prussia, English princes and French counts found their way here. In 1390 Henry of Derby, who later became Henry IV of England, fought in the ranks of the Order against the Lithuanians reluctant to worship the god of the Jews.

A life of knightly jollity flourished in the fortresses of which the finest in the 14th century was the Marienburg, the seat of the Head of the Order. Much more worldly than at the time of its institution the Order yet fulfilled a task important to the whole of Europe. Then it had carried the teachings of Christianity to the East, now it was to be the bearer of the traditions of European knighthood and civilisation.

But not only had religion and chivalry been brought to the Last, trade too began to flourish there. The Prussian merchants, especially those of Danzig which city, with Pommerellen, had joined the Order in 1309, became intermediaries for the rapidly increasing trade between East and West. English merchants too came to settle in Danzig and other cities. The more important Prussian trade centres became members of the Hanseatic League. The corn which grew in such profusion in the new Prussia was shipped to England and Spain.

In one century the religion, culture and trade of the West had taken firm root in soil that once was reluctant to worship the god of the Jews. One century had sufficed to turn Prussia into a completely German land. Further and further penetrated the German settlers and where they went strongholds, cities and villages arose.

Maschke’s essay appears on pages 5-10 of the above-mentioned booklet, originally published in Berlin in 1933 and translated into English by PREUSS in 2003. In future translations of Deschner’s books we will see the tremendous havoc caused by the forced Christianisation of all Germanic peoples.

The Gift

‘The Gift’ is the seventh episode of the fifth season of HBO’s fantasy television series Game of Thrones, and the 47th overall. The beginning of this episode is one of the darkest in the series, but since I promised not to tell the details of Ramsay’s infinite sadism, I won’t do it now.

But I’ll tell another terrible thing from the beginning of this episode. A snowfall falls that is about to spoil Stannis’ plans to invade Winterfell. The witch suggests that he should sacrifice his only daughter, who loves her father so much, so that her god will grant a victory. Stannis asks her ‘Have you lost your mind?’ but in a subsequent episode we’ll see that he ends up obeying her.

In my previous post I said that normies prefer fiction to the incomprehensible facts of the real world, and this example illustrates it. In the real world my father, originally sane, ended up obeying the witch of the house to the point of destroying my teenage life. Sometime later I would find out that exactly the same happened in other families. What distinguishes me most not only from white nationalists but from people in general is that, when some of them suffer similar tragedies, they fail to report them in autobiographies. They are able to sublimate their own tragedy by consuming episodes like this one when a father betrays his little daughter, but they never talk about their own family with real names, as I do.

It’s good to see that scene, Melisandre poisoning Stannis’ soul to sacrifice his daughter, because in today’s West the practice continues. While the sacrifice of the child’s body has been prohibited, parents are allowed to sacrifice his or her mind. When a normie hears that someone has been (pseudoscientifically) diagnosed with schizophrenia, if we decipher the psychiatric Newspeak it means that her parents murdered her soul. But who among the visitors to this site has thoughtfully weighed what I say in Day of Wrath?

But even in this episode with such a dark beginning they managed to film, later, several feminist scenes in Dorne: the absurd argument between Jaime and his teenage daughter and, in the cells, how the very masculinised Tyene mocks Bronn by exposing her breasts. These women can range from seduction to fearsome warriors whenever they feel like it: pure screenwriter shit.

However, from a strictly cinematic point of view, the episode shows us a master scene at the end. I have said that to understand Antifa one must understand the movements that preceded it. And I’m not just referring to the Antifa that Hitler and his people had to deal with before coming to power. I mean what we have been saying about the 4th and 5th centuries of our era, the destroying monks of the Greco-Roman world, and a thousand years later: the most fanatical monks among the Fraticelli. In Game of Thrones the figure of the High Sparrow embodies something of the spirit of at least one of those times.

The scene when the High Sparrow shows Cersei the oldest altar of the Faith of the Seven in King’s Landing must be seen, even in isolation. Actor Jonathan Pryce played this fanatic monk of very mild manners extraordinarily. I mean the dialogue immediately preceding the moment he accuses Cersei because of Lancel’s testimony (this is where the title ‘The Gift’ came from).

I have already said it several times but I must repeat it. If someone wants to flee from reality because of how crude reality is, instead of watching television series they should read two novels by Gore Vidal and Umberto Eco about the 4th and 14th centuries.

Christianity’s Criminal History, 135

For the context of these translations click here

 
Left, Mass of St. Gregory, c. 1490, attributed to Diego de la Cruz, oil and gold on panel (Philadelphia Museum of Art).

From Gregory I, the humble servant of servants, until the 20th century it is well known that the popes had their feet kissed. The peculiarities were regulated by the ceremonial books. But, as we also know, the one who was actually being kissed was not his foot, but God’s. That is why all the emperors, including Charles V, also regularly performed this ugly rite on the portico of St. Peter’s basilica.

It is understood that Gregory’s personal conscience was marked by the origin, career and status of his character. He always made himself respected by both the clergy and the laity. In modern parlance it could be said that he was a Law-and-order type, a person of order, a former prefect of police, a judge of the criminal who strongly insisted on obedience and discipline, especially by monks and nuns, taking a special interest in their morality—or immorality—as well as in the observance of their vow of poverty.

Gregory used to call his clerics and officials, whose influence was decisive in the Roman municipal administration, ‘soldiers of Peter’ and also ‘soldiers of the Roman Church’ (milites beati Petri, milites Ecclesiae romanae). The first monk elevated to the pontifical throne administered the Lateran almost in the manner of a monastery, populating it in any case with monks, whom he elected to high offices. But he, who adopted the humble monastic catchphrase of ‘servant of the servants of God’—which after his death became an official title of the popes—naturally wanted to be ‘the first servant in the Church of God’ (Altendorf).

Gregory never used the name of St. Peter without the tag ‘prince of the apostles’. He strictly forbade subjects (subditi) to dare to pass judgment on the life of prelates or superiors (praepositi). Even if they were unworthy and justly deserved to be censured, they should not be reproached. Rather, one had to voluntarily embrace the yoke of reverence.

 
The man of double standards

Where he had power, Gregory exercised it without regard, very proud of his justice in front of his subordinates. Archdeacon Lorenzo, who for his sake was preferred in the papal succession and who could not hide his disappointment, lost his post. A year later, Gregory burned him in a solemn ceremony and in the presence of all the clergy ‘for his pride and other crimes’.

Yet more significant is the following event. The monk Justus, a doctor at the Monastery of Saint Andrew, who cared for the increasingly ill pope, confessed to brother Copious that he had hidden three gold coins. When Gregory found out, he rigorously forbade anyone to treat Justus, that no one from the monastery should visit him on his deathbed or assist him. And after his death his corpse had to be thrown with the three coins into a dunghill while the assembly shouted: ‘To hell with you and your money!’

With such severity Gregory understood the monastic vow although, personally, everything that he hadn’t given to his monasteries he sold, distributing the money among the poor. As a monk he was so wealthy that in 587 he was able to make another donation to the Monastery of Saint Andrew (to which with the expression of owner he called ‘my monastery’). Furthermore, at least thirteen years after becoming a Benedictine monk, he still possessed many rustic goods.

Undoubtedly, the pope was also a man of compromise and double standards. As hard as he was always with the defrocked monks and nuns, forcing them to return to the monastery, in the case of nobles he could make exceptions.

Venantius, a patrician of Syracuse and probably a friend of Gregory, left his monastery in contempt of the ecclesiastical precept. He took home the beautiful and dominant lady Italica who made him the father of two girls, also becoming the epicentre of a circle of anti-monastic literati. But Gregory didn’t force him to return to the monastery. He only tried with great effort to convince him to do it voluntarily, although in vain. What is more, he aided the children born of that anti-canonical marriage, proving once more—as Jeffrey Richards, his modern and often benevolent biographer says—‘that in Gregory’s image of the world was a law for the rich, and another for the poor’…

One last example about Gregory’s double standards: When Bishop Andrew beat a poor woman who lived off ecclesiastical charity so barbarically that she died shortly after, the pope simply forbade him to celebrate Mass for two months—perhaps to the satisfaction of the bishop himself. On the contrary, Gregory had ‘all carnal sinners’ locked up in the prisons of the monasteries, so that a modern researcher (Grupp) writes that this ‘evokes the old slaveholders’, taking such crowds into those monastic houses of repression that according to the monk John Climacus—a contemporary of Gregory, somewhat younger than him—they ‘could hardly take a step’.

______________

Editor’s note. ‘But, as we also know, the one who was actually being kissed was not his foot, but God’s’.

This means that even proud kings had to symbolically kiss the feet of the god of the Jews, since the god of the New Testament is the same as the god of the Old Testament.

When will American white nationalists see something so obvious? Or is it that they don’t realise that the Christian religion of our parents is somehow connected with the empowerment of Jewry?

Published in: on February 1, 2021 at 1:30 pm  Comments Off on Christianity’s Criminal History, 135  

Christianity’s criminal history, 130

For the context of these translations click here

 

CHAPTER 3

THE SONS OF CLOVIS

‘The successors of the first great Frankish king also protected the Church and the worship; monasticism developed… The remnants of paganism were fought with increasing energy’. —H. H. Anton

 

The division of the kingdom

The kingdom of Clovis was divided almost aequa lance, almost equally, passing in principle to his four sons: all ‘kings of the Franks’; all heirs with the same rights, according to the German rule of succession; all Catholics, except for Theuderic I, with a saint for his mother. And they all also led a life full of hideous cruelties, wars and military campaigns. In the proven tradition of the father they systematically expanded the kingdom and conquered Thuringia (531), Burgundy (533-534) and Provence (537). The aforementioned annexations were joined by numerous raids in search of loot in an extraordinarily troubled time, one of the darkest and bloodiest times in history, brimming with disorder and brutality, fratricides, wars between brothers and betrayals: a race unleashed ‘for power and wealth’ (Buchner), a ‘foolish desire for loot and slaughter’ (Schulze).

But even critical historians bend the knee before the ‘founding of the kingdom’ of the Merovingians, before the bridge they built ‘between Antiquity and the Middle Ages’, before their contribution to the triumph ‘of Catholic Christianity’ to the alliance ‘between throne and altar’. As if all this had not made the story much more gruesome!

The boundaries of the four partitions of the kingdom are not stated with sufficient precision. The one we know best is the inheritance of Theuderic I (reign 511-533). The presumed Hugdietrich of the saga received the lion’s share with the capital, Reims: a territory which would include what later became Austria with its predominantly Germanic population: the entire east, from Burgundy to the Rhineland, and perhaps even as far as the Fritziar and Kassel region, as well as large territories that had belonged to the Alemanni, which was the case in eastern Aquitaine. But each of the sons obtained a part of the Aquitaine lands south of the Loire, which the father had taken over; three of them were exclaves.

Chlothar I (reign 511-561), the youngest of Clovis’ sons, and perhaps not yet twelve years old, the Salic age to reach legal age, obtained mainly the territory of the Salian Franks with the royal cities of Tournai and Cambrai. For the same reason, it included the old Frankish territory between the coast of the English Channel, the Somme and the Carboniferous Forest, with approximately the same borders that it had before the predatory incursions of his progenitor. As the seat of government Chlothar chose Soissons, in the extreme south. Southern and western France corresponded to Chlodomer and Childebert respectively.

Chlodomer (reign 511-524) was around fifteen when his father died and ruled as king of western Aquitaine, the northernmost territory of the middle Loire, at Orleans. And Childebert I (reign 511-558) controlled the coastal lands from the Somme to Brittany; he resided in Paris, the undisputed capital.
 

A saint and murderer

Shortly after the Auvergne rebellion, the Catholic Frankish kings attacked the Catholic kingdom of Burgundy.

Sigismund (reign 516-523), son of the Burgundian king Gundobad, still ruled there. Since 501 Sigismund was viceroy in Geneva. And what the jealous Avitus had not achieved with the father, he obtained with the son. Around the year 500 Sigismund converted from Arianism to Catholicism. Sigismund later introduced Catholicism throughout Burgundy. He was the first German king to make a pilgrimage to Rome…

Sigismund, the murderer of his own son, makes his way as a saint of the Catholic Church! They ended up thanking him for the conversion of the Burgundians to Catholicism. Soon his cult began in the monastery of St. Moritz founded by him. Those with fever had masses celebrated in honour of Sigismund (who allegedly helped against malaria and tertian fever). In the 7th century he also appears as a saint in the so-called Martyrologium Hieronymianum. At the end of the Middle Ages he will be one of the patron saints of Bohemia and even become a fashionable saint. The Archbishop of Prague declared the feast of Sigismund a feast of the archdiocese.

His statue appears on French and German altars as well as in the Freiburg Cathedral; there are churches dedicated to Sigismund and a brotherhood named after him. His relics were requested, which initially rested at St. Moritz. The head was taken to the church of St. Sigismund, although a fragment of it is found in Plozk of the Vistula; in the 14th century a part of the body was deposited in St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague, and another was taken around the same time to Freising, which eventually became the centre of its veneration in Germany.
 

______ 卐 ______

 
Editor’s interpolated note: Regardless of the repulsiveness of relic worship—pieces of decomposed corpses —, what is currently happening in France and Germany has very dark and old historical roots that no one in white nationalism sees for the simple reason that none lives under the weirwood but in the inane present.

It should be obvious that, if these Germanics hadn’t been infected with a cult of Semitic origin, they would have regarded Hermann as a hero who fought against the Romans when the latter were already mongrelising.

Instead, after the Christian takeover these Germanics were forced to worship Catholic monsters. Tell me whom you worship and I’ll tell you who you’ll become. Read pages 23-32 of The Fair Race’s Darkest Hour: the only article by a Jew in that compilation. Even the Nazis translated it to German in the Czernowitzer Allgemeine Zeitung of September 2, 1933.

Now let’s go back to Deschner’s account of how a female ‘saint’ gives orders to murder her grandchildren:
 

______ 卐 ______

 
On the death of Chlodomer, his three brothers, ‘warriors above all and simple gang leaders’ (Fontal) shared the inheritance, ignoring all the rights of the three minor children of the deceased king and without allowing any regime of tutelary government from their mother.

The pious Childebert got, it seems, the lion’s share. He was a true father of the nation, who promoted ecclesiastical institutions, enjoyed dealing with bishops granting them real estate, war spoils and large sums of money while being in constant communication with the ‘Holy See’. And as Childebert and Chlothar, who had married Guntheuc, the widow of Chlodomer, certainly feared that the hereditary rights of Theuderic and Gunthar, Chlodomer’s minor children, would be asserted, Childebert didn’t doubt in encouraging their murder, of which Chlothar ‘was very glad’.

After all, both sovereigns had a saint for their mother, Saint Clotilde, and furthermore, being already a Catholic princess, she had imposed baptism on the children of Clovis, had ‘raised them with love’ and had certainly given them a good Catholic upbringing. And since Clotilde also took care of the education of the minor children of the late Chlodomer, the kings Childebert and Chlothar, who had taken over her nephews, asked Clotilde if she wanted her grandchildren to ‘continue living with their hair cut off [like monks] or if they had to kill them both’. And ‘the ideal figure of the desire for feminine holiness’, the francorum apostle who felt for the two children ‘a singular affection’ (Fredegar), replied: ‘Rather dead than tonsured, if they are not going to reign’…

Chlothar put the knife to the neck first to one and then to the other of his brother’s sons, who cried out in anguish. ‘After they had also dispatched the boys’ servants and educators’ Chlothar mounted his horse ‘and left there’. One of them was ten years old and the youngest seven… Queen Clotilde led such a life that she was venerated by the whole world… ‘Her conduct was always of the utmost purity and honesty: she granted goods to churches, monasteries everywhere to holy places, willingly and supplying them with whatever they needed…’

The third son of Chlodomer, the youngest, named Clodoald, was saved from the carnage and entered the clergy, after allegedly shearing himself. ‘He renounced the earthly kingdom and dedicated himself to the Lord’, Gregory writes beautifully. And Fredegar adds: ‘And he led a dignified life; the Lord deigns to perform miracles on his grave’. Clodoald was the founder of the monastery of Saint-Cloud in Paris, which bears his name, and died around the year 560… Clotaire, the uncle-murderer and the executioner, obtained Tours and Poitiers, with the sanctuaries of the patron saints of France, Martin and Hilary, together with the treasure.
 

Theudebert I, and killer kings

Theudebert [editor’s note: the son of Theuderic I and the father of Theudebald] was the first Frank to call himself Augustus and who felt he was the successor of the Roman Caesars and liked to adopt imperial attitudes like minting gold coins with his image that could be described as illegal. He ordered circus games to be held in Arles in the manner of the emperors and must have even thought of the conquest of Constantinople, cherishing the hope of seizing imperial dignity and world domination through an incursion against Byzantium, something planned jointly with the Gepids and Lombards. Such a man naturally had to be on good terms with the Church…

King Theudebert was a benefactor of the Church, which he ‘exempted from tax obligations and deliberately favoured’ (Zollner) while he did nothing more than bleed his Frankish subjects with taxes in the Roman manner… Very significant is the fact that his finance minister, Parthenius (grandson of Bishop Ruricius de Limoges, the murderer of his wife and her lover), on the death of Theudebert and despite the episcopal protection, was removed in Trier from a church, spat on, beaten and stoned by the enraged people.

Even more criminal and even more devoted to the Church was the family clan, which outlived Theudebert. Chlothar I also fought almost continuously during the last years of his life, without this fact bothering at all and not even attracting the attention of those who preached peace and love of neighbour and enemy. The king, undoubtedly the weakest of the Frankish princes until after the death of Theudebert I (558), took over the entire kingdom. He had nevertheless criticised the growing ecclesiastical wealth, but per his brother’s constitution of 554, he also tried to uproot whatever was left of the indigenous religions of his subjects.

It is true that in a winter campaign (555) against the Saxons he bore the worst of it, but the following year he imposed himself on the association of Saxons and Thuringians and even sent troops against the Ostrogoths of Italy. In 557 he fought again against the Saxons, apparently reluctantly, but ‘he was beaten with such enormous bloodshed, and with such a great multitude of casualties on both sides that no one can calculate or evaluate’ (Gregory). But he managed to beat the Danes and Eutenians…

A year later Clotaire also died, and with him the last of Clovis’ four sons, all of whom—like their father—had lived for robbery, murder and war. Everywhere they had gone in search of relics of martyrs, had taken care of relocating them and had promoted the veneration of the saints. They founded many monasteries and endowed them generously. They awarded large real estate to the clergy and made donations to them. The old annals abound in their praises…

Clotaire I, in whose territory the Church was poorly organised and the victim of special relaxation, perhaps didn’t care about Christianity at all. Anyway, he too became a Christian and a faithful Catholic, who waged war after war and had his closest relatives murdered, including young children, maidens, and even his own son, while personally bankrupting himself with countless concubines and at least six marriages ‘and not always successive’ (Schultze). Despite this, the ecclesiastical author of the 7th century compares this king with a priest, showering him with praise. And it is that, indeed, he worried about the transfer of the remains of martyrs, promoted the veneration of Medard, the patron saint of the royal house and supported the founding of churches and monasteries…

Childebert I showed a very special fervour and devotion to the clergy. The usurper and incestuous erected the Holy Cross and the Spanish proto-martyr Vicente de Zaragoza—whose martyrdom was adorned with great propagandistic displays—a basilica in Paris, which would later become the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. He made a pilgrimage to the cell of Saint Euspicius, in whose honour he also built a church. He made donations of land and large sums of money, including the spoils of his wars for Catholic churches and monasteries, in which he ordered to pray for the salvation of his soul and the prosperity of the Frankish kingdom.

Thus he distributed among the Frankish churches dozens of chalices and numerous patens and gospels, all made of gold and precious stones, and all material that he had stolen in his Spanish war. Childebert made Orleans the ecclesiastical capital of his kingdom. There four national synods met (in the years 533, 538, 541 and 549). All Frankish kings sent their bishops to them (exception made for the one celebrated in 538). In 552 Childebert summoned another national council in Paris. He promulgated a decree against ‘paganism’ that was still alive, mostly in northern and eastern France. He harshly persecuted anyone who erected ‘idols’ in the fields or prevented their destruction by the priests. He forbade even pagan banquets, songs, and dances, though certainly without demanding conversion by force…

Vigil, the murderous pope, described Childebert in 546, as ‘our most glorious son’ and praised his ‘Christian will, pleasing to God’… Pope Pelagius died in 561, the same year that Clotaire I, the last son of Clovis, did. In that same decade, and together with the Franks and the Visigoths, another Germanic people began to play an increasingly important role: the Lombards.

Christianity’s criminal history, 128

For the context of these translations see here

 

VOLUME IV, CHAPTER 1

THE CHRISTIANISATION OF THE GERMANS

‘The introduction of Christianity among the Germans was the most precious gift from heaven’. —Pastoral letter from the German episcopate, June 7, 1934

 

The spread of Christianity in the West

At the end of Antiquity and during the succeeding centuries, Christianity conquered the Germanic world. By armies and merchants it had spread beyond northern Gaul to the Rhine. In the old Rhineland provinces probably there were Christian communities as early as the end of the 3rd century; churches were erected from Constantinian times in Bonn, Xanten, Cologne and, especially, in Trier: the official residence of Caesar since 293. At the end of the 4th century, Christianity was already the dominant religion in some Rhineland areas because ‘the laws of Theodosius, Gratian and Valentinian II imposed its entry into those lands…’

In the late 5th century evangelisation of the Franks began; at the end of the 6th century that of the Anglo-Saxons and the Lombards; in the 9th century the Christianisation of northern Europe was undertaken and, at the end of the millennium, that of the Czechs, Poles, and Hungarians. Since Christianity was no longer a despised religion as it had been in pre-Constantinian times, but the official religion of an empire, the popes no longer trapped some individuals but entire peoples in their net. They also annihilated entire towns ‘leaving neither green nor withered’, as the father of the Church, Isidore, boasts. Such was the case, for example, with the Ostrogoths and the Vandals, of whom the Marseillaise monk Prosperus Tironis provided an insightful picture of the Middle Ages, and who were often the subject of ‘cruel propaganda’ (Diesner).

Conversion methods

The Christianisation of the Germanic peoples—designated in the sources as nationes, gentes, populi, civitates, etc.—not only took place at very different times but also in very different ways. Two typical Christian activities converged in the Germanic mission: preaching and destruction. In Merovingian times, preaching was not the primary instrument of mission. There was a more eloquent method to demonstrate to the pagans the impotence of their Gods and the supreme power of the Christian god: the destruction of the Gentile sanctuaries… Of course it was not only destroyed; often, the so-called Christianisations were ‘simply’ arrived at. In other words, Gentile temples were transformed into Christian churches, expelling evil spirits through rites of exorcism and re-consecrating the buildings. The church transformed and incorporated everything that seemed useful, destroying everything else as a nefarious work of the devil.

An important motive in the conversion of the pagans, and also in the mentoring of those already converted, was without a doubt the constant infiltration of scruples and fears in an alarmist attitude that sowed fear for centuries. Fear, in effect, was ‘the characteristic state of the common man in the Middle Ages: fear of the plague, fear of invasion by foreign armies, fear of the tax collector, fear of witchcraft and magic and, above all, fear of the unknown’ (Richards). The priests of many religions feed on the fear of those whom they lead, and especially Christian priests. It is very significant that St. Caesarius of Arles (died in 542), an archbishop absolutely faithful to Rome, in almost all his propaganda interventions, which number more than two hundred, scares the readers with ‘the final judgment’. Whatever the occasion of his homiletical effusions, he rarely fails to insistently evoke the ‘court of Christ’, the ‘eternal judge’, his ‘harsh and irrevocable sentence’, etc.

The conversions of pagan Germans to Christianity were frequently due to purely material motives, already acting for ‘reasons of prestige’, especially when they came under the tutelage of Christian neighbours. Illustrious Gentiles could be chased ‘like dogs’ from the banquets of their princely courts, because Christians were forbidden to sit at the same table with pagans. It is symptomatic that also among Bavarians, Thuringians and Saxons, the nobility was the first to immediately prostrate themselves before the cross…

Jesus becomes the Germanic broadsword

With its acceptance by the Germans, Christianity was also nationalised and Germanised from the beginning. And not only in epic poems did Christ appear to German eyes as a kind of popular and cantonal king. The Franks were immediately seen as his special courtship, his chosen and preferred people. Warriors clustered around him, just as they clustered around princes. The saint is also now felt as the herald of Christ and god. Traditional Christian concepts are filled ‘with totally new content: Germanic, aristocratic and warrior content’ (Zwolfer). ‘From the religion of patience and suffering, from the flight and denial of the world, the medieval Germans made a warlike religion; and of the Man of Sorrows a Germanic king of the armies, who with his heroes travels and conquers the lands and who must be served through struggle. The German Christian fights for his Lord Christ, as he fights for the landlord he follows; even the monk in his cell feels like a member of the militia Christi’ (Dannenbauer). And naturally the clergy knew how to make the Germans proud of having converted to the Roman cross. In the prologue to the Salic law, the oldest hereditary right of the Franks, the fact of conversion is thus exalted:

Unclean people of the Franks, created by God himself, brave with arms, firm in the covenant of peace, profound in counsel, of great corporal nobility, of uncontaminated purity and superior complexion, bold, prompt and fiery—become to the Catholic faith, free from heresy.

Indeed, according to Christian doctrine, all peoples have been created by god; but flattery is always greatest where it is most needed. In this way the Franks appear here occupying the place of the chosen people of the Bible, of the people of Israel. And in a more recent prologue to the aforementioned Salic law, Christ also appears as the legitimate sovereign of the gens Francorum. He appears ‘personally before the Franks’. He loves those who are far superior to the old world power, ‘the chosen people of a new alliance’. ‘They have defeated the Romans and they have broken the Roman yoke’…

Undoubtedly, many German princes converted for purely political reasons. They worshiped in Christ the ‘strong God’, and especially the superior captain, to whom he granted victory. Thus the Frankish Clovis, Edwin of Northumbria and the Vikings converted—all of whom were baptised after having cast a vow and carried out a slaughter. And just as old Odin was considered a ‘God and lord of victory’ and Wotan (Odin’s name in the south) was considered a warrior God, so Christ is now seen as the same. He occupies the place of the ancient Gods of battle, he is politicised and mythologised, presenting him ‘almost as a national God’ (Heinsius). And from now on it will be a matter of honour for each Christian king to fight ‘the barbarians, who by their very condition as pagans are out of the order of the world’.

The Franks, educated in believing fanaticism, considered it their duty and right to ‘fight for Christ’ (Zollner). And still in the 7th and 8th centuries the Frankish Christians had themselves buried with their weapons, under the old pagan belief of survival after death. On a tombstone found in the Frankish cemetery of Niederdollendorf, near Bonn there is even a risen Christ holding in his right hand the spear, the Germanic sign of sovereignty, instead of the staff of the cross.

It is understandable that the Old Testament, often so bloody, was in tune with the men of the Middle Ages better than the partly pacifist New Testament; and it is understood that the Old Testament kings were exalted by proposing them as models of the Frankish princes, who liked to compare themselves with them. For the historian Ewig, this constitutes a new stage ‘in the Christianisation of the idea of the king’…

Among the Carolingians, decisive victories were frequently attributed to the attendance of St. Peter. ‘But now rest assured’, declares Pepin to the papal legate Serge in the battle against the Bavarians, ‘because due to the intervention of St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles, by divine decree Bavaria and the Bavarians belong to the sovereignty of the Franks’. Even minor achievements, such as the conquest of a fortress or even the discovery of a fountain during the war against the Saxons in 772 are presented as great divine miracles. But when misfortune befell—and it happened so often!—the priests were never troubled. Then the misfortune, the catastrophe, was a punishment from god for little faith and the overflow of vices. With this theology the Church has been deceiving itself until today through vicissitudes of all kinds…
The weed of the past

As a rule the Germans did not convert individually, but rather in a cooperative and tribal way. And that because, unlike the Greeks and educated Romans, the ‘barbarians’ easily accepted the Church’s tutoring without the cultural and historical-religious depth with which their Christian ‘converters’ presented the stories… In a not excessively laborious way, a great many ‘barbarians’ were subdued, who soon revered respectfully all the ‘holy’ priests and monks and were deeply impressed by exorcisms, ceremonies and miracles. With faith they welcomed such strange mysteries, dogmas and with fearful devotion put themselves at the service of that arrogant southern shamanism, seemingly animated only by the desire to make the Church rich and powerful, for the salvation of their souls, out of the horror of fire from hell and longing for paradise.

______ 卐 ______

Editor’s interpolated note: For a clip within a movie
depicting the baptism of an ancient Germanic see: here.

______ 卐 ______

Evangelism took place unevenly, outside the cities at a slower pace, for although the pagan Franks did not usually put up much resistance, from time to time, and especially in the countryside, they stubbornly indulged in the destruction of their town idols. In the religious field, man is especially conservative. And just as the peasants still do today—the inhabitants of the towns remain more firmly in Christianity—, so also at the end of Antiquity and the beginning of the Middle Ages it was the peasants who persisted the longest in paganism. The Germans were mostly peasants, and in Austria the pagan Franks and Germans were more numerous than the native Christians. This religion was an urban religion and since it became a state religion it was also the religion of the feudal and ruling circles, who sought above all their own benefit. For a long time the peasants persisted in their traditional beliefs, in their divinities, and above all in their Gallic triad: the cult of Jupiter, Mercury and Apollo. And even after they had ‘converted’ they returned again and again to the veneration—undoubtedly much more beautiful and coherent—of trees, stones and fountains.

For centuries synods lashed out at pagan customs, from the Council of Valence (374) until well into the 9th century. Only between the synod of Orleans (511) and that of Paris (829) did the canons of at least nineteen episcopal assemblies launched diatribes against the beliefs and practices of peasant paganism, which preserved the tradition with much greater tenacity than the accommodative nobility. The Germans had a natural piety, so to speak, not camouflaged or imposed, but identical to their lifestyle. They had a natural religion with clearly pantheistic features, marked by the worship of the Gods of the forest, the mountain, the fountains, the rivers and the sea, the veneration of the Sun, light, water, trees and springs; deep down, as it has been known today, a thousand times more coherent veneration than the Christian faith in spirits, at whose dictates a technocratic and hypertrophic civilisation has brought nature almost to ruin…
‘Demonstrative destruction’

During the Merovingian period certain problems of the power of the Christian god often came to the fore in evangelisation: on the one hand, ‘miracles’; on the other, the destruction of pagan places of worship. The images of the Gods—through unpunished annihilation—were easily demonstrated as the powerless work of man, while the ‘spiritual’ Christian god reigned untouchable over the clouds of heaven. Besides, the pagan Franks were generally tolerant and did not have a priestly caste as they faced a fanatical ecclesiastical organisation, which did not back down from forced baptisms, although it is true that at least in the beginning it was fair enough for the church that a formal condemnation of the old beliefs was uttered with a confession from the lips of the new faithful. R. W. Southern accurately describes medieval Europe as a coercive society, in which each person triumphed by baptism. But that was not all; soon the demolition of pagan temples and altars began as well…

St. Gal, an uncle of Saint Gregory of Tours and later Bishop of Clermont-Ferrand, being a priest and ‘companion’ of Theuderic I, the eldest son of Clovis, reduced to ashes in Cologne a pagan temple with all the ‘idols’, and only with great difficulty could the king save him from the fury of the peasants… Around 550 Deacon Wulflaicus induced the peasants of the city of Trier to demolish an imposing statue of Diana (originally no doubt of Ar-duinna, the Celtic Goddess), whom the people adored. As he was too weak the peasants did it for him, after he had ceaselessly weakened the will of ordinary people. ‘Well, the other images, which were smaller, he had already smashed them personally’. Without a doubt, miracles also happened there.

Some of the Christian saints known in the fight against paganism became arsonists and robbers. In Tyrol St. Vigilius, Bishop of Trent, worked ‘with fervent zeal for the spread of Christianity’ (Sparber) until one day he destroyed in Rendenatal a highly revered one, which stood on a steep rock, a statue of Saturn. About four-hundred irritated peasants, ‘heathen, stubborn and ferocious’ stoned him. In Italy many dozen churches are dedicated to him. In Monte Cassino St. Benedict (died 543), the ‘father of the western monasticism’, and whose severity caused several assassination attempts against him by his first monks and a Florentine priest, went on rage against the ancient temple of Apollo, the last temple of that God that history remembers. Benedict still found pagans there, cut down their sacred groves and destroyed the sculpture and the altar; but still in 1964 Pope Paul VI named him patron of Europe…

One of the fiercest fighters against paganism in Western Europe was Martin of Tours (died 397). Despite the stubborn resistance sometimes manifested by the peasants, with the help of his henchmen of his monastic horde he razed the temples, tore down the stones of the Druids and cut down sacred oaks, often viciously defended. ‘He trampled on altars and idols’ according to Sulpicius Severus. And yet the saint was ‘a man of admirable meekness and patience; from his eyes radiated a gentle serenity and an imperturbable peace…’ (Walterscheid, with imprimatur). This champion of faith undoubtedly had the best requirements for the annihilation of paganism. He had crowned a storming career in the Roman army (Julian being the emperor) and had started his Christian career as an ejector of demons. Significantly, he believed he saw the devil in the figure of Jupiter, Mercury and even Venus and Minerva, having otherwise the firm conviction that Satan was hiding in the ‘idols’.

Due to his ‘resurrections of the dead’ Martin of Tours became a bishop, later becoming the saint of the Merovingian kings and Carolingian emperors, to end up being the patron saint of the French. Even today 425 villages in France bear his name. The name of an arsonist, a thief, who ruined what was holiest and destroyed all the temples, became the ‘symbol of the Frankish imperial church’ and, even more, ‘an integral part of the imperial culture of the Franks’ (Bosi).

His international fame was owed to the murderous king Clovis, who had enormous veneration for Martin; for his cause he beat a soldier of his own to death, who had caught some hay in the fields of the man of god: ‘Where are our prospects of victory if we offend Saint Martin?’ On their military expeditions the Merovingian princes wore this man’s legendary cloak as a holy relic. Oaths were formulated on it and alliances were made. The place in which the cloak was kept was called capella (diminutive of cape), and the clerical who watched over it capellanus. Such is the origin of the words ‘chapel’ and ‘chaplain’, that with small variations have entered all modern languages… And, as in all the places where Martin of Tours had razed pagan centres of worship he immediately had Christian buildings built on the ruins, including the first Gallic monastery (Ligugé), still considered today as ‘the precursor of Western monasticism’ (Viller Rahner). The destruction of Gentile temples is certified by many ecclesiastical sources.

The monasteries were preferably built on the ruins of destroyed pagan temples. Thus arose, for example, Saint Bavo Church in Ghent, Saint Médard in Cambrai, the monastery of Wulfilaic in Eposium or Fleury-sur-Loire, which occupied the place of an ancient Druid sanctuary of the Gauls. The Martyrium of St. Vincent de Agen, erected as early as the 4th century, evidently stood on a pagan plot of consecrated ground. In Cologne, where perhaps Irenaeus of Lyons preached Christianity, a vast pagan necropolis has been found under the church of Saint Ursula.

Although in the West many temples and many altars were simply removed, among Franks, Saxons and Friesians the Church burned or completely destroyed the pagan sanctuaries, turned the places of sacrifice into cattle gullies and cut down sacred trees… Together, State and Church promoted the spread of the new faith and the annihilation of the old beliefs. Thus King Childebert I states, in a constitution of the year 554 ‘in agreement, no doubt, with the bishops’ (A. Hauck): ‘The pagan idols of the fields and the images dedicated to the demons must be removed immediately, and no one can prevent bishops from destroying them’.

In the following century Pope Boniface V (619-625) spread Christianity throughout England and wrote to Edwin, King of the Angles, in these terms: ‘You should destroy those whom you have hitherto considered Gods, being made of earthly material, with all zeal they must be smashed and shattered to pieces’. And so, shortly thereafter, in 627, Coifi, converted archpriest of Northumbria, broke a spear in a temple.

(Left, the high priest Coifi profanes ‘the Temple of the Idols’, from James William Edmund Doyle’s A Chronicle of England.)

The Concilium Germanicum, the first council convened in 742-743 in the Germanic territory of the Frankish empire, also provided that ‘the people of God should not promote anything pagan, but reject and abhor all filthiness of the Gentiles’.

Darkening Age, 26

Shenoute the Great, a.k.a. Saint Shenoute the Archimandrite (347-465 C.E.), the abbot of the White Monastery in Egypt, is considered a saint by the Oriental Orthodox Churches, and is one of the most renowned saints of the Coptic Orthodox Church.

In ‘Merciful Savagery’, chapter fifteen of The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World, Catherine Nixey wrote:
 

______ 卐 ______

 

Monks—anonymous, rootless, untraceable—were able to commit atrocities with near impunity. ‘Our angels’ some Christians called them. Rubbish, said non-Christians. They were not angels but ignorant, boorish thugs, men in appearance only who ‘led the lives of swine, and openly did and allowed countless unspeakable crimes’. As the author Eunapius wrote with sardonic distaste: ‘in those days every man who wore a black robe and consented to behave in unseemly fashion in public, possessed the power of a tyrant, to such a pitch of virtue had the human race advanced!’ Even a wholeheartedly Christian emperor mutedly observed that ‘the monks commit many crimes’…

For as they went through the door, the monks found themselves in a room whose air was heavy with incense and where the light of numerous lamps glimmered on countless carved surfaces: they were in a chamber full of heathen idols. Here was a statue of the lecherous parricide Zeus; there was one of Zeus’s father, Kronos; there was the deceitful Hecate…

They smashed the statues and threw the broken fragments in. The waters swirled, then swallowed the remnants of Gessius’s paganism without a trace. A nest of Satan had been emptied.

Later, when Shenoute was criticized for breaking and entering into another man’s house, he was utterly intransigent. ‘There is no crime,’ he declared, ‘for those who have Christ.’

The laws of the land may not have mattered to Shenoute. The laws of his monastery were, on the other hand, to be obeyed at all times. And there were a lot of them.

More than five hundred rules circumscribed every aspect of Shenoute’s monks’ lives from the moment they got up, just before dawn, to the moment that they went to sleep, and everything they did in between. There were rules on what the monks wore; what they ate (precious little, mainly bread); when they ate (infrequently); when they prayed (relentlessly); how they prayed (audibly); where they had their hands when they prayed (emphatically, for some reason, not near their ribs); how they slept (alone and without erotic desire); how they washed (infrequently, without looking at one another’s bodies or their own); whether or not they shaved (absolutely not, except with permission, for: ‘Cursed shall be any who shaves himself…’); and even where they defecated. As one rule (that perhaps raises more questions than it answers) explained: if anyone needs to ‘defecate into a pot or a jar or any other vessel… they shall ask the Male Eldest’. Once inside a monastery, the monk’s life was no longer his own…

The monastery even controlled minds—or attempted to. From the moment of waking, monks in Shenoute’s monastery were rarely at rest, their days filled with a punishing regime of physical work and prayer. They were even more rarely silent. Lest their minds wander onto ungodly paths as they performed the tedious basket-weaving that was a monk’s lot, they were encouraged to chant constantly—prayers, or passages of scripture—anything at all. Just as the weaving chained hands, keeping them from sin, so the chanting chained wandering minds. It has been said that the monastery at work would have sounded like nothing so much as a swarm of bees in flight.

Why did people sign up for such an unappealing life? It is possible that they didn’t know the full extent of its austerity when they joined. Monks who entered Shenoute’s monastery were not presented with a comprehensive contract at the door, or read their rights upon arrival. Instead, monastic discipline was more of a revealed religion; the full extent of the White Monastery laws being only slowly explained to each new entrant, little by little, once they were already inside. This may have been less Machiavellian than it sounds: to hear all the laws in one go would have made for a long evening. Nevertheless, by the time monks fully realized the form of their new life they would—now bereft of their money, their land and even their own clothes—have been almost powerless to leave it.

Once a monk had given himself to his new monastic master he had to obey him—or face the consequences. Numerous rules begin with the formulation ‘Cursed be…’ Cursed were those who didn’t give all their wealth to the monastery; cursed were those who shaved without having been ordered to; cursed were those who looked at another monk with desire. If a monk ate, say, the forbidden fruit of cucumber at the wrong time then, the law informed him, ‘he sins’. At least sixty of the rules were devoted to sexual transgressions. Looking desirously at the nakedness of your neighbour while he washed was wrong; as was staring ‘with desirous feeling’ at your own nakedness; those who sat ‘close to one’s neighbour with a filthy desire in their heart’ were also cursed’.

Note that last one: ‘with a filthy desire in their heart’. No sin had been committed. The mere intention of sin was now a sin in itself. In Shenoute’s monastery even thoughts were policed. ‘Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him?’ the Lord had asked. The answer from the White Monastery at least was a resounding no. As this new generation of hard-line Christian preachers constantly reminded their congregations in fierce, hectoring speeches, there was nowhere to hide from the all-seeing eyes of the Lord…

Religious intensity was not new. Greece and Rome had known those who took religion to extremes and who had gone about their lives feeling humbled and crushed by fear of the gods. Generally, though, religious fervour had been a private passion—and it had kept within the confines of the law. But as Christianity gained control, religiosity started to become a public duty and would, with self-righteous pride, overstep the boundaries of the law. Some of the most important thinkers of the era supported such behaviour. If necessary, one must make oneself obnoxious. One must stop at nothing—even harming other people—in the service of the Lord. There is, after all, no crime for those who have Christ.

To punish a sinner violently, to flog them, beat them, make them bleed—this was not to harm them but to help them, by saving them from worse punishments to come. Shenoute worried that if he didn’t beat the monks in his care then he was offending God. Punishments used against erring Christians even in Augustine’s time ranged from the confiscation of property to being barred from church, beatings, and floggings with rods. It is better, said Augustine, ‘with severity to love, than with gentleness to deceive’. This was not cruelty. Did not the shepherd bring wandering sheep back to the flock with his rod? The Church, he wrote, ‘persecutes in the spirit of love’.

This was holy violence. Jesus may have told his followers that they should, when struck by an aggressor on their right cheek, offer him the other, but his fourth- and fifth-century followers were less forgiving. As John Chrysostom explained, if a Christian happens to hear someone blaspheme then, far from turning their own cheek, they should ‘go up to him and rebuke him; and should it be necessary to inflict blows, spare not to do so. Smite him on the face; strike his mouth; sanctify thy hand with the blow.’ Murder committed for the sake of God, argued one writer, was not a crime but actually ‘a prayer’.

Some of Chrysostom and Shenoute’s methods of control would be mirrored, a hundred or so years later, for very similar reasons, in imperial law. When the emperor Justinian came to power in AD 527, he set about reforming the morals of his subjects with a zeal and a legal thoroughness as yet unseen. He had a good incentive: if he did not punish them then, he firmly believed, God would punish him.

Civil officials now found themselves required to enforce laws about what went on in private homes. Church officials found themselves pressed into service as de facto spies. Roman emperors had always used informers—delatores. Now, they were put to the service of the Church. Men of all ranks were required to become informers. Any breach of the laws was to be reported.

Bishops were required to become the emperor’s spies and report back on their fellow officials. If they refused or failed in their duties, then they themselves would be held accountable. Among those whom the clergy were tasked with reporting on were actors, actresses and, as one revealing little law added, prostitutes ‘who wore monastic habits’. The punishments could be terrible. If a nurse aided and abetted an affair of a young woman in her charge, she would be punished by having molten lead poured down her throat. Correction was paramount. Justinian, as the chronicler Procopius put it, was determined to ‘close all the roads which lead to error’.

Darkening Age, 25

Bosch, The Last Judgement
(detail) 1500-05

Editor’s note: Regarding the view of Robert Morgan in the previous post, I disagree in the sense that it is unclear what would have happened to technology if the Third Reich had emerged triumphant. As the bad guys won the war, the use of technology in the West is self-destructing for the fair race.

It is true what Arthur Kemp says: that the use of non-whites after the Aryan conquests has been the primary cause of the decline of empires, due to the eventual miscegenation. But we live in a time when whites have become passionately ethno-suicidal, and that can only be explained by the texts linked in the sticky post. The history of Christianity, one of the two DNA axes of Aryan suicide according to the POV of this site, should be analysed with the same eagerness as white nationalists analyse the Jewish question.

When I talk to the white people, say, with whom I have spoken in England, I see an injured self-image to the degree that it evokes the mass psychosis, in a sector of the population, right after the triumph of Constantine. I refer to the Christian hermits and ascetics whose movement would eventually evolve into monastic orders. The mass psychosis, so well depicted by Hieronymus Bosch, had to do with the introduction of a fear that did not exist in the Greco-Roman world. I refer to the fear of eternal torment: something that, occasionally, persists even on the internet sites of southern nationalists in the US.

To understand what is happening to the white man it is necessary to realise that Kevin MacDonald and his followers fail to diagnose the origin of this tremendous collective guilt. Jews only thrive because of it. That’s why it is essential to tell what really happened to the Aryan psyche after the crushing triumph of Constantine. In chapter 14 of The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World, Catherine Nixey wrote:

 

______ 卐 ______

 

If you had travelled to the great cities in the eastern empire, to Alexandria and to Antioch, in the fourth and fifth centuries, then long before you came to a city itself you would have seen them. At dawn, they emerged from caves in the hills and holes in the ground, their dark robes flapping; their faces gaunt and pale from hunger, their eyes hollow from lack of sleep. As the cocks began to crow, while the city beyond was still slumbering, they gathered in the monasteries and hills beyond and, ‘forming themselves into a holy choir, they stand, and lifting up their hands all at once sing the sacred hymns’. An impressive sight – and an eerie one, their filthy, emaciated figures a living rebuke to the opulence and bustle of urban life below: a new, and newly strange, power in the world.

This was the great age of the monk. Ever since Antony had set out to the desert to do battle with demons, men had flocked after him in imitation. These men were the ideal Christians; the perfect renouncers of all those sinful pleasures of the flesh. And their way of life was thriving: so many had gone out since Antony that the desert was described as a city. And what a strange city this was. You wouldn’t find bathhouses and banquets and theatres here. The habits of these men were infamously ascetic. In Syria, St Simeon Stylites (‘of the pillar’) stood on a stone column for decades, until his feet burst open from the continual pressure. Other monks lived in caves, or holes, or hollows or shacks. In the eighteenth century, a traveller to Egypt had looked up into the cliffs above the Nile and seen thousands of cells in the rock above. It was in these burrows, he realized, that monks had lived out lives of unimaginable austerity, surviving on almost no food and only able to drink by letting down buckets on ropes to draw water from the river when it was in flood.

What was a monk at this time? In the fourth and fifth centuries, the now-ancient tradition of monasticism was only in its infancy and its ways were still being formed. In this odd and as yet uncodified existence, monks turned to the wisdom of their famous predecessors to know how to live. Collections of monkish sayings proliferated. Self-help guides of a sort – but a world away from Ovid. What is a monk? ‘He is a monk,’ wrote one, ‘who does violence to himself in everything.’ A monk was toil, said another. All toil. How should a monk live? ‘Eat straw, wear straw, sleep on straw,’ advised another revered saying. ‘Despise everything.’ Athletes of austerity, these men mortified their flesh in a hundred ways on a thousand days. One monk, it was said, had stood upright in thorn bushes for a fortnight. Another lived with a stone in his mouth for three years, to teach himself to be silent. Some, nostalgic for the tortures of past persecutions, draped themselves in chains and clanked round in them for years…

It is hardly surprising, therefore, that many of the empire’s urban, urbane men found this new breed of men who shunned the civilized life baffling to the point of repellent. To the Greek orator Libanius, monks were madmen, ‘that crew who pack themselves tight into the caves’ and who then ‘claim to converse with the creator of the universe in the mountains’. Their fasts were fiction, he said. These men weren’t starving themselves: they didn’t not eat; they just didn’t grow or buy their own food. When no one was looking, he said, they scuttled into the temples of the loathed pagans, stole those sinful sacrifices and ate them instead. Far from being ascetics they were ‘models of sobriety, only as far as their dress is concerned’. Their vicious and thuggish attacks on the temples weren’t done out of piety, said Libanius. They committed them out of pure greed…

The modern mind would tend towards a more clinical (albeit anachronistic) conclusion: many of these men must have been profoundly depressed.

Starvation was one of the most popular of monkish mortifications – no special equipment was required – but it was also one of the hardest to bear. One monk fasted all day then ate only two hard biscuits. Another lived from the age of twenty-seven to thirty on just roots and wild herbs, then for the next four years on half a pound of barley bread a day and some herbs. Eventually he felt his eyes going dim while his skin became ‘as rough as a pumice stone’. He added a little oil to his diet, then went on as before until he was sixty, to the awe and admiration of his fellow monks. There had been asceticism before – but this went further. Others, like ruminants, lived on all fours, browsing for their food like animals. In some ways hunger helped: a famished monk would be less beset by the demons of fornication or anger than one with a full belly. ‘A needy body,’ as one put it, ‘is a tame horse.’ But thoughts of food became an obsession with these men. In their reading of the Fall, the apple that Eve gives to Adam is not seen as a symbolic representation of sex; it is seen as nothing more, or less, than an apple. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs made monkish flesh.

The monks tormented themselves by what they put on their bodies as much as what they put in them. Some chose to dress in woven palm fronds instead of any softer fabric. To wear the usual coarse monkish habit was regarded, in this extreme world, as being ‘foppishly dressed’. Others, under the desert sun, tortured their skin with abrasive hair shirts. Another dressed in an extraordinary leather costume (that would in a later era have different connotations) that left only his mouth and nose exposed. To be pleasing to the Lord, a monk’s clothes must, it was said, be an offence against aestheticism: a habit should be tatty rather than smart, old rather than new, mended and re-mended and mended again. Anything less was vanity. A monk’s clothes should be such that, if he threw his habit out of his cell for three days, no one would steal it. The monks’ self-sacrifice was unquestionable; their smell must have been unspeakable.

If this sounds like a life lived on the edge of sanity, it was. In the searing heat of the desert day, reality shimmered, flickered and thinned. One monk saw a dragon in a lake; another slew a basilisk. Another saw the Devil himself sitting at his window. Demons appeared then vanished like smoke; meditating monks turned into flames. Watch one monk as he prayed and you would see his fingers turn into lamps of fire. Pray well and you might yourself become all flame. Demons teemed around monks like flies around food. One monk was beset by visions of rotting corpses, bursting open as they decayed. Alone for weeks, months on end in their cells, with nothing more than ageing hard bread to eat and an oil lamp to look at, monks were plagued by more tempting visions of sex, and food, and youth. Some monks lost their minds – if they had ever been in full possession of them. When Apollo of Scetis, a shepherd who later became a monk, spotted a pregnant woman in a field, he said to himself: ‘I should like to see how the child lies in her womb.’ He ripped the woman open and saw the foetus. The child and the mother died.

The reasons for these peculiar practices are hard to fathom. One theory is that Christian domination of the empire had brought many gains; but one of its great losses was that it had become considerably harder to be made a martyr by unsympathetic Roman governors. Deprived of the chance to die in one terrible, glorious, sin-erasing show, these men instead martyred themselves slowly, agonizingly, tormenting their flesh a little more every hour, thwarting their desires a little more every year. These practices would become known as ‘white martyrdom’. The monks died daily in the hope that, one day, after they died, they might live. ‘Remember the day of your death,’ advised one monk. ‘Remember also what happens in hell and think about the state of the souls down there, their painful silence, their most bitter groanings, their fear, their strife, their waiting…’ A terrible enough plight, but the monk had not finished yet; he concluded his cheering list with: ‘the punishments, the eternal fire, worms that rest not, the darkness, gnashing of teeth, fear and supplications…’

Carpe diem, Horace had said. Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you will be dead for eternity. The monks offered an alternative to this view: die today and you might live for eternity. This was a life lived in terror of its end. ‘Always keep your death in mind,’ was a common piece of advice: do not forget the eternal judgement. When one brother started to laugh during a meal, he was immediately reproached by a fellow monk: ‘What does this brother have in his heart, that he should laugh, when he ought to weep?’ How should one live well in this new and austere world? By constantly accusing yourself, said another monk, by ‘constantly reproaching myself to myself.’ Sit in your cell all day, advised another, weeping for your sins.

A hint of desert isolationism started to find its way into pious city life, too. In John Chrysostom’s writings, contact with women of all kinds was something to be feared and, if possible, avoided altogether. ‘If we meet a woman in the market-place,’ Chrysostom told his congregation, herding his listeners into complicity with that first-person plural, then we are ‘disturbed’. Desire was dangerously easy to inflame. Women who inflamed it were not to be relished as Ovid had relished them, but eschewed, scorned and denigrated in writings that made it abundantly clear that the fault of the man’s desire lay with them. In this atmosphere a group of fashionable women with their low-cut necklines were not praised as beauties but excoriated as a ‘parade of whores’.

Eventually, clerical disapproval was reinforced by law. Pagan festivals, with their exuberant merriment and dancing, were banned… If anyone declared themselves an official in charge of pagan festivals then, the law said, they would be executed. John Chrysostom jubilantly observed their decline. ‘The tradition of the forefathers has been destroyed, the deep rooted custom has been torn out, the tyranny of joy [and] the accursed festivals have been obliterated just like smoke.’

How ‘Game of Thrones’ can be used

Further to Robert Hampton’s ‘Woke Christianity’ which reminded me of my ‘On empowering birds feeding on corpses’.

After Game of Thrones (GoT) betrayed the fans’ expectations with a girl killing the Night King, as we saw on this site the last Sundays, tonight we watched the great spectacle of an irrelevant war of the two bitches, where the pyromaniac Queen Daenerys burns the main city of Westeros after they had surrendered.

But if we keep in mind the message of the two articles linked above, after the absolute fiasco of these last episodes we still can use previous seasons of GoT to try to reach normies.

Remember the epigraphs of the second article linked above (‘Christian ethics was like a time bomb ticking away in Europe, a Trojan horse waiting for its season’ & ‘1945 was the year of the total inversion of Aryan values into Christian values’). Our historical season or climax of Christian values is similar to GoT’s ‘Sparrows’, the Faith Militant fanatics who believed in equality for all men (‘We’re all equal in the eyes of the Seven’, a rephrasing of the Christian ‘Every man is equal in God’s eyes’).

Also remember that George R.R. Martin obtained his inspiration from real events of Western history. In the Middle Ages, the Dulcinians were like the Sparrows. Inspired by Franciscan ideals, like today’s antifa they became thugs. As can be read in online encyclopaedias, the ideals of the Dulcinians were:

• The fall of the ecclesiastical hierarchy, and return of the Church to its original ideals of humility and poverty

• The fall of the feudal system

• The creation of a new egalitarian society based on mutual aid, holding property in common and respecting gender equality.

Fra Dolcino (1250-1307) viewed the history of mankind as four epochs:

• The period of the Old Testament

• The period of Jesus Christ and his Apostles characterised by chastity and poverty

• The period of Constantine and the imperial Popes characterised by the decline of the Church due to excessive wealth

• The period of the Apostolics led by Dolcino. Like the ‘Sparrows’ in GoT, this is a period characterised by poverty, chastity and the absence of government.

It is true that for George R.R. Martin war is bad, feudalism and slavery are bad, feminism is good and religion is nuts. But as I have argued, Martin himself subscribes the nutty religion of ‘neo-Franciscanism’, something that is reflected in GoT. In Martin’s novels, after a couple of centuries of disbanding the Faith Militant, the military arm of the Faith of the Seven is restored, this time led by the Sparrows. The physical appearance of the Sparrows resembles, in real history, the violent or Dulcinite faction of the Franciscans.

Curiously, among GoT fans the High Sparrow was one of the most hated witches of the entire show. Hence we can use this character in our discussions with normies when trying to convey that Christian ethics was like a ticking bomb waiting for its season, and that after WW2 this inversion of values was fulfilled.

Just as today’s Woke Christians see Jesus in immigrants, refugees, people of colour, and demeaned women—and therefore the noblest thing, the White Male, must be degraded in order to equalise him with the downtrodden—, in GoT the Sparrows attacked the noblest houses of Westeros: House Tyrell and then Cersei herself, who apparently died in tonight’s show as Queen Cersei (one of the bitches).

Since in real life the Untermenschen cannot be equalised by decree, the only way to equalise them before the White Male is simply by degrading his status throughout the West: precisely what is happening. Westerners ignore that, after seven hundred years, our secular governments are implementing the core of the ideals of Fra Dolcino.

The difference between GoT’s Sparrows and the attempt to deconstruct the White Male in our times is that normies abhor the Sparrows while they accept the degradation of the White Male throughout the West.

The Roman Catholic Church destroyed Fra Dolcino and the Dulcinians in the 14th century when the Church felt threatened by them, just as Queen Cersei destroyed the High Sparrow and his Sparrows in Season 6 of GoT. But in today’s West the ‘Sparrows’ hold power in each Western government, media outlet and university. The only way to destroy them is through a revaluation of all values that not even white nationalists are willing to endorse, let alone enact if they reached power.

It is incredible the level of subjugation of the contemporary White Male before the core of the Gospel message, especially among secular, agnostic and atheist whites.

Published in: on May 12, 2019 at 9:35 pm  Comments (19)  

On empowering birds feeding on corpses

‘Christian ethics was like a time bomb ticking away in Europe, a Trojan horse waiting for its season’. —William L. Pierce

‘1945 was the year of the total inversion of Aryan values into Christian values’. —Joseph Walsh

The articles of The Occidental Observer are academic. But Tobias Langdon’s article yesterday on how the left has begun to devour itself is fascinating.

Yesterday I was also watching Monster Bug Wars. As I dream to exterminate all the arachnids in my Parrishesque paradise, it gives me pleasure to see fights to the death between them. The war that is currently waged on the left, as narrated in Langdon’s article, also gives me pleasure: it is like seeing two different species of spiders fighting to the death: whoever wins devours, still alive, the other.

Langdon’s article deals with the cultural war that transgender men are winning over radical feminists—including mulatto, lesbian and Jewish feminists that one would imagine are, in the inverted epoch of today, the most powerful.

Currently, trans men have begun to place themselves at the top of the pyramid thanks to Orwell’s observation: all men are equal but some are more equal than others. These men only have to declare themselves women and in several states of the US they are allowed to enter their bathrooms, changing rooms and showers. Langdon mentions a tranny, who still has a penis and a couple of balls, who is very interested in the feminine tampons that pubertal girls leave in the baths. Of course: in our sick society he’s untouchable…

Tucker Carlson and the radical feminists complain a lot that trans men are also beginning to dominate women’s sports. The most impressive phrase of the article by Langdon in the Observer is that ‘Stale pale males who were at the very bottom of the victimhood hierarchy have leapt to the very top of it in a single bound, thanks to the superpower of transgenderism’. So true: the radical feminists who dare to criticise these trans men are now being deplatformed from social media with typical accusations that their complaints are ‘hate’.

The whole freak show really looks like the videos of two arachnids fighting to the death with the fittest cocooning the other alive and, after injecting a poisonous cocktail into the beaten spider, sucking its body as a protein shake. Read Landon’s article and then watch a clip of Monster Bug Wars!

A woman commented about Langdon’s article at the Observer: ‘We need no further proof that Satan rules the world…’ I would argue the opposite: at last Christ rules. Why? Because white nationalists have a rather superficial idea of the history of Christianity. Their knowledge of our parents’ religion does not go beyond historical books at the level of those Reader’s Digest books for families of pious Christians that I find in the library my father left behind.

A deeper look beyond the Reader’s Digest level reveals that the reversal of the scale of values that has now maddened the West originated nothing less than in the Gospel. Every time some Christians wanted to apply the Gospel message in its purity, the medieval Church, in all its wisdom, crushed them: they knew how dangerous that would have been for the health of pre-Reformation Europe.

I am not asking white nationalists to read the ten volumes of Karlheinz Deschner on the history of Christianity. If they only read the best historical novel that has been written about the period to which I refer in the previous paragraph, they would realise what I mean. The Name of the Rose of Umberto Eco, contains a passage that throws great light on what happens today with the empowering of trans men: until recently, the most dispossessed creatures of the kingdom of God.

Adso: ‘But you were speaking of other outcasts; it isn’t lepers who form heretical movements’.

William of Baskerville: ‘The flock is like a series of concentric circles, from the broadest range of the flock to its immediate surroundings. The lepers are a sign of exclusion in general. Saint Francis understood that. He didn’t want only to help the lepers; if he had, his act would have been reduced to quite a poor and impotent act of charity. He wanted to signify something else. Have you been told about his preaching to the birds?’

Adso: ‘Oh, yes, I’ve heard that beautiful story, and I admired the saint who enjoyed the company of those tender creatures of God’, I said with great fervour.

William of Baskerville: ‘Well, what they told you was mistaken, or, rather, it’s a story the order has revised today. When Francis spoke to the people of the city and its magistrates and saw they didn’t understand him, he went out to the cemetery and began preaching to ravens and magpies, to hawks, to raptors feeding on corpses’.

Adso: ‘What a horrible thing! Then they were not good birds!’

William of Baskerville: ‘They were birds of prey, outcast birds, like the lepers. Francis was surely thinking of that verse of the Apocalypse that says: “I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven: Come and gather yourselves together at the supper of the great God; that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them…!’’’

Adso: ‘So Francis wanted to incite the outcasts to revolt?’

William of Baskerville: ‘No, that was what Fra Dolcino and his followers wanted [the violent and revolutionary wing of the Fraticelli], if anybody did. Francis wanted to call the outcast, ready to revolt, to be part of the people of God. If the flock was to be gathered again, the outcasts had to be found again. Francis didn’t succeed, and I say it with great bitterness. To recover the outcasts he had to act within the church; to act within the church he had to obtain the recognition of his rule, from which an order would emerge, and this order, as it emerged, would recompose the image of a circle, at whose margin the outcasts remain’.

The dialogue between these two Franciscan monks of the 14th century hits the nail regarding the POV of this site: the two epigraphs that appear at the top of this entry.

The season of the horse of Troy of which Pierce wrote, that is to say the complete inversion of Aryan values into Gospel-inspired values such as those of a St. Francis, has finally arrived. Following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI in 2013, a papal conclave elected the Argentinean Jorge Mario Bergoglio as his successor. As Bergoglio chose Francis as his papal name in honour of St. Francis of Assisi, my father, a great fan of the saint of Assisi, expressed a few words of surprise. He wondered while watching the 2013 ceremony how it was possible that only until the 21st century did an elected pope choose the name of the most beloved saint for Catholics? Short answer: because the Catholic Church was not openly suicidal as it is today.

Since the native language of this Argentinean pope is Spanish, when I hear him speak I understand him better than those who don’t know the language. It really seems to me that, for the first time in the history of the Church, the purest message of the Gospel has reached the Vatican. I remember very well, for example, the occasion when Bergoglio, already Pope, declared that the theme of poverty (the lepers of yore) was at the very core of the Gospel. I also remember his words about homosexuals (Bergoglio is the first pope to use the Newspeak term ‘gay’: a word that was not used to designate them when he and I were children) and the trans men who visited him in the Vatican.

What they say in the forums of white nationalism is false: that the Pope has betrayed his principles. On the contrary: The dream of gathering again the ravens, magpies and birds feeding on corpses has been fulfilled.

When I discovered white nationalism the term used to designate the enemy was the very generic ‘liberalism’. In his Observer article Langdon uses the term currently in vogue, ‘cultural Marxism’. Recently I suggested that the most accurate term would be ‘neo-Christian’. This term includes the scale of values of both Christians and liberals: the last (e.g., the tranny) shall be the first and the first shall be the last. After all, Francis wanted to call the outcast, ready to revolt, to be part of the people of God. If the flock was to be gathered again, the outcasts had to be found again. Francis didn’t succeed… To recover the outcasts he had to act within the church; to act within the church he had to obtain the recognition of his rule, from which an order would emerge, and this order, as it emerged, would recompose the image of a circle, at whose margin the outcasts remain.

Darkening Age, 21

Pieter Coecke van Aelst, Story of Saint Paul: The Burning of the
Books at Ephesus
, designed ca. 1529, woven before 1546 (medium:
wool and silk, woven under the direction of Jan van der Vyst).

 

Editor’s note. Bold-typed emphasis in the last paragraph is mine. In chapter eleven of The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World, Catherine Nixey wrote:

In Egypt, a fearsome monk and saint named Shenoute entered the house of a man suspected of being a pagan and removed all his books. The Christian habit of book-burning went on to enjoy a long history. A millennium later, the Italian preacher Savonarola wanted the works of the Latin love poets Catullus, Tibullus and Ovid to be banned while another preacher said that all of these ‘shameful books’ should be let go, because if you are Christians you are obliged to burn them’…

* * *

Before there had been competing philosophical schools, all equally valid, all equally arguable. Now, for the first time, there was right—and there was wrong. Now, there was what the Bible said—and there was everything else. And from now on any belief that was ‘wrong’ could, in the right circumstances, put you in grave danger.

As Dirk Rohmann has highlighted, Augustine said that works that opposed Christian doctrine had no place in Christian society and had scant time for much of Greek philosophy. The Greeks, Augustine said dismissively, ‘have no ground for boasting of their wisdom’. The Church’s authors were greater, and more ancient. John Chrysostom went far further. He described pagan philosophy as a madness, the mother of evils and a disease.

Classical literature was filled with the incorrect and demonic and it came under repeated and vicious attack from the Church Fathers. Atheism, science and philosophy were all targeted. The very idea that mankind could explain everything through science was, as Rohmann has shown, disparaged as folly. ‘Stay clear of all pagan books!’ the Apostolic Constitutions advised Christians bluntly. ‘For what do you have to do with such foreign discourses, or laws, or false prophets, which subvert the faith of the unstable?’ If you wish to read about history, it continued, ‘you have the Books of Kings; if philosophy and poetry, you have the Prophets, the Book of Job and the Proverbs, in which you will find greater depth of sagacity than in all of the pagan poets and philosophers because this is the voice of the Lord… Do therefore always stay clear of all such strange and diabolical books!’…

An accusation of ‘magic’ was frequently the prelude to a spate of burnings. In Beirut, at the turn of the sixth century, a bishop ordered Christians, in the company of civil servants, to examine the books of those suspected of this. Searches were made, books were seized from suspects and then brought to the centre of the city and placed in a pyre. A crowd was ordered to come and watch as the Christians lit this bonfire in front of the church of the Virgin Mary. The demonic deceptions and ‘barbarous and atheistic arrogance’ of these books were condemned as ‘everybody’ watched ‘the magic books and the demonic signs burn’. As with the destruction of temples, there was no shame in this…

What did the books burned on such occasions really contain? Doubtless some did contain ‘magic’—such practices were popular prior to Christianity and certainly didn’t disappear with its arrival. But they were not all. The list given in the life of St Simeon clearly refers to the destruction of books of Epicureanism, the philosophy that advocated the theory of atomism. ‘Paganism’ appears to have been a charge in itself—and while it could mean outlawed practices it could, at a stretch, refer to almost any antique text that contained the gods. Christians were rarely good chroniclers of what they burned.

Sometimes, clues to the texts remain. In Beirut, just before the bonfire of the books, pious Christians had gone to the house of a man suspected of owning books that were ‘hateful to God’. The Christians told him that they ‘wanted the salvation and recovery of his soul’; they wanted ‘liberation’. These Christians then entered his home, inspected his books and searched each room. Nothing was found—until the man was betrayed by his slave. Forbidden books were discovered in a secret compartment in a chair. The man whose house it was—clearly well aware of what such ‘liberation’ might involve—‘fell to the ground and begged us, in tears, not to hand him over to the law’. He was spared the law but forced to burn his books. As our chronicler Zachariah records with pleasure, ‘when the fire was lit he threw the books of magic into it with his own hands, and said that he thanked God who had granted him with his visit and liberated him from the slavery and error of demons’. One of the books removed from the house in Beirut is mentioned: it is very possible it was not magic but a history by a disapproved-of Egyptian historian.

Divination and prophecy were often used as pretexts to attack a city’s elite. One of the most infamous assaults on books and thinkers took place in Antioch. Here, at the end of the fourth century, an accusation of treasonous divination led to a full-scale purge that targeted the city’s intellectuals. By sheer chance, Ammianus Marcellinus, a non-Christian and one of the finest historians of the era, happened to be in the city; a wonderful piece of luck for later historians and wretched luck for the man himself, who was horrified. As Ammianus describes it,

the racks were set up, and leaden weights, cords, and scourges put in readiness. The air was filled with the appalling yells of savage voices mixed with the clanking of chains, as the torturers in the execution of their grim task shouted: ‘Hold, bind, tighten, more yet.’

A noble of ‘remarkable literary attainments’ was one of the first to be arrested and tortured; he was followed by a clutch of philosophers who were variously tortured, burned alive and beheaded. Educated men in the city who had considered themselves fortunate now, Damocles-like, realized the fragility of their fortune. Looking up, it was as if they saw ‘swords hung over their heads suspended by horse-hairs from the ceiling’.

And, once again, there was the burning of books as bonfires of volumes were used as post-hoc justification for the slaughter. Ammianus Marcellinus writes with distaste that

innumerable books and whole heaps of documents, which had been routed out from various houses, were piled up and burnt under the eyes of the judges. They were treated as forbidden texts to allay the indignation caused by the executions, though most of them were treatises on various liberal arts and on jurisprudence.

Many intellectuals started to pre-empt the persecutors and set light to their own books. The destruction was extensive and ‘throughout the eastern provinces whole libraries were burnt by their owners for fear of a similar fate; such was the terror which seized all hearts’. Ammianus wasn’t the only intellectual to be scared in these decades. The orator Libanius burned a huge number of his own works…

* * *

The Great Library of Alexandria might have attempted to collect books on every topic, but Christianity was going to be considerably more selective…

One surviving Byzantine manuscript of Ovid has been scarred by a series of ridiculous redactions—even the word ‘girl’ seems to have been considered too racy to remain. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Jesuits were still censoring and bowdlerizing their editions of the classics. Individual abbots, far from Umberto Eco’s avenging intellectual ideal, sometimes censored their own libraries. At some point in the fifteenth century, a note was left in a mutilated manuscript in Vienna. ‘At this point in the book,’ it records, ‘there were thirteen leaves containing works by the apostate Julian; the abbot of the monastery… read them and realised that they were dangerous, so he threw them into the sea.’

Much classical literature was preserved by Christians. Far more was not. To survive, manuscripts needed to be cared for, recopied. Classical ones were not. Medieval monks, at a time when parchment was expensive and classical learning held cheap, simply took pumice stones and scrubbed the last copies of classical works from the page. Rohmann has pointed out that there is even evidence to suggest that in some cases ‘whole groups of classical works were deliberately selected to be deleted and overwritten in around AD 700, often with texts authored by [the fathers of the Church or by] legal texts that criticised or banned pagan literature’. Pliny, Plautus, Cicero, Seneca, Virgil, Ovid, Lucan, Livy and many, many more: all were scrubbed away by the hands of believers…

The texts that suffer in this period are the texts of the wicked and sinful pagans. From the entirety of the sixth century only ‘scraps’ of two manuscripts by the satirical Roman poet Juvenal survive and mere ‘remnants’ of two others, one by the Elder and one by the Younger Pliny.

From the next century there survives nothing save a single fragment of the poet Lucan.

From the start of the next century: nothing at all.

Far from mourning the loss, Christians delighted in it. As John Chrysostom crowed, the writings ‘of the Greeks have all perished and are obliterated’. He warmed to the theme in another sermon: ‘Where is Plato? Nowhere! Where Paul? In the mouths of all!’

The fifth-century writer Theodoret of Cyrrhus observed the decline of Greek literature with similar enthusiasm. ‘Those elaborately decorated fables have been utterly banned,’ he gloated. ‘Who is today’s head of the Stoic heresy? Who is safeguarding the teachings of the Peripatetics?’ No one, evidently, for Theodoret concludes this homily with the observation that ‘the whole earth under the sun has been filled with sermons’.

Augustine contentedly observed the rapid decline of the atomist philosophy in the first century of Christian rule. By his time, he recorded, Epicurean and Stoic philosophy had been ‘suppressed’—the word is his. The opinions of such philosophers ‘have been so completely eradicated and suppressed… that if any school of error now emerged against the truth, that is, against the Church of Christ, it would not dare to step forth for battle if it were not covered under the Christian name’…

Much was preserved. Much, much more was destroyed. It has been estimated that less than ten per cent of all classical literature has survived into the modern era. For Latin, the figure is even worse: it is estimated that only one hundredth of all Latin literature remains. If this was ‘preservation’—as it is often claimed to be—then it was astonishingly incompetent. If it was censorship, it was brilliantly effective. The ebullient, argumentative classical world was, quite literally, being erased.