Christianity’s criminal history, 129

For the context of these translations click: here

 

CHAPTER 2

CLOVIS, FOUNDER OF THE GREAT FRANKISH EMPIRE

‘One of the most outstanding figures in universal history’. —Wilhelm von Glesebrecht, historian

‘And it is certain that he knew himself to be a Christian, and a Catholic Christian, something that is manifested over and over again in the various performances of his reign’. —Kurt Aland, theologian

 
The Rise of the Merovingians

The original land of the Franks, whose name was associated at the beginning of the Middle Ages with the concepts of ‘brave’, ‘audacious’ and ‘daring’, was in the Lower Rhine. These people, which lacked a unitary leadership, arose probably from the coalition of numerous small tribes throughout the 1st and 2nd centuries c.e., between the rivers Weser and Rhine. They are mentioned for the first time just after the first half of the 3rd century, when they fought fierce struggles against the Romans that would continue throughout the 4th and 5th centuries. The Franks settled on the right bank of the river and then breached the Roman line of defence of the Rhine, which some had probably already overcome before by infiltrating the border region. They advanced on Xanten, that the Roman population had evacuated towards 450, having occupied it later by the small Frankish tribe of Chatuarii. They then entered the territory between the Rhine and the Moselle; the Franks took Mainz and Cologne, a city that, on occupying it definitively around 460, became the centre of an independent Frankish state, immediately on the left bank of the great river. Little by little they annexed more territory. During the first half of the 5th century they conquered the city of Trier four times and the Romans recovered it as many times, until in 480 it became definitively owned by the Franks. The number of its inhabitants, from about 60,000 in the 4th century, dropped to a few thousand in the 6th century.

The invaders founded small Frankish principalities in Belgium and northern France, each subject to a kinglet or little king. As early as 480 the entire Rhenish region between Nijmegen and Mainz, the Maas territory around Maastricht, as well as the Moselle valley from Toul to Koblenz, belonged to the Frankish territory. The Romans allowed the Franks to settle on the condition that they rendered certain military services as foederati (allies) and they became their most loyal comrades in arms of all Germans, although they were generally torn apart amid fierce tribal strife. But in the end it was the Merovingians who bid for all of Roman Gaul…

King Childeric died in 482. Almost twelve hundred years later, in 1653, a doctor from Antwerp discovered his tomb at Tournai, endowed with such wealth and sumptuousness that it far surpassed the more than 40,000 tombs of the Merovingian period uncovered by archaeologists. At the death of Childeric in 482 he was succeeded by Clovis I (466-511), aged sixteen and apparently an only child. Allied with different sister tribes, Clovis expanded the Salic territory around Tournai, which was insignificant and reduced to a small part of northern Gaul in Belgium Secunda, though he continued the plunder, assassinations and wars, increasingly widespread over the regions from the Roman province to the left bank of the Rhine.

Such attacks reached first as far as the Seine, then as far as the Loire and finally as far as the Garonne, bringing the Gallo-Romans under the rule of the Franks. Even then, that was called ‘having the Franc as a friend, and not as a neighbour’.

Such a bellicose people, over which the reputation of disloyalty also floated, was attractive to the Christian clergy from the beginning. The Arians, and even more so the Catholics, sought to win over their leader. In fact all the notable princes of that time in the West were Arian or heathen. Thus, as soon as Clovis was appointed King of Tournai, he was addressed by the Bishop of Reims, St. Remigius, a man of ‘eminent science’ and resurrector of the dead, according to the praise of Bishop Gregory who simultaneously highlights both traits…
 

A great bloodbath and the first date in the history of the German Church

Clovis soon passed from Soissons to Paris, which became the most important city and, at least since the 7th century, the true epicentre of the Frankish kingdom, in which almost all the Merovingian kings are also buried…

The Alemanni (or Suebi), first named in 213, had emigrated from the Elbe region and probably by the end of the 2nd century had made themselves strong in the Main region through various incorporations of German emigrants and soldiers. The name ‘Alemanni’ would mean what anyone who knows some German can still understand today: all males (alie Manner). The Alamanni, who were pressing on the Rhine and the line of fortifications on the frontier of the Roman Empire, broke in 406, accompanied in part by Vandals and Alans, dispersing through Gaul and Hispania.

When they tried to advance north-west from there, they clashed with the Franks, and in particular with the Francorans, who dominated the Moselle region. They had already allied with the Burgundians in 475 against the Alemanni, without clearly prevailing around 490 in a battle near Cologne, where the local kinglet Sigobert was wounded in one knee. Reason enough for Clovis to attack: in around 496-497 the Alaman king of unknown name died on the battlefield of Toibiacum. Clovis advanced into the German territory of the right bank of the Rhine and annihilated a good part of its still pagan inhabitants.

It is true that a decade later, around 506, they rose again; but again they suffered a bloody defeat, probably near Strasbourg, the Alaman king dying in battle again. Pursued by the Franks, they fled south to the pre-Alpine regions: Raetia Prima (province of Chur) and Raetia Secunda (province of Augsburg): territories under the influence of the Ostrogoth king Theodoric, who restrained his brother-in-law Clovis and who settled to the fugitives in Retia, Pannonia and northern Italy. But in the southern part of the Rhenish Hessen, in the Palatinate and the basins of the Main and Neckar the Alemanni were victims of the direct arrogance of Clovis. And from there the Franks later spread eastward to the Saale, the Upper Main and almost to the Bavarian Forest…

King Clovis had himself baptised in Reims with great pomp and with the assistance of numerous bishops. According to some, it ran annus 496-497, according to others 498-499; while according to some researchers, who put the war against the Alemanni in 506, we should think of the years 506-508. ‘It is the first date in the history of the German Church’ (Kawerau). Curiously, the event is linked to a great bloodbath and constitutes one of the most important events of the early Middle Ages.

The baptism of Clovis was a great feast. Streets and churches sparkled with their ornamentation. The baptismal church was filled with a ‘heavenly fragrance’, to the point that the attendees believed they were transferred ‘to the pleasant perfumes of paradise’.

Clovis was venerated as a saint in France.

Gregory of Tours refers that the king ‘advanced to the baptismal bath like a new Constantine’, and the comparison is terribly accurate, ‘to purify himself in the clean water of old leprosy and the dirty stains, which he had from ancient [pagan] times’. And Remigius, ‘the saint of God’, spoke to him with eloquent words: ‘Sigambrer, meekly bend your neck and worship what you burned and burn what you worshiped (adora quod incendisu, incende quod adorasli)’.

Who was this saint, who so arrogantly incited persecution, as did his colleague Avitus in his time? St. Remigius, like most of the prelates of that time (and not only of then), was of ‘illustrious’ lineage, and already at the age of twenty-two promoted to bishop of Reims. His older brother, Principius, was also bishop (of Soissons) and a saint too (their relics were to be burned by the Calvinists in 1567). Remigius, the apostle to the Franks, preached Catholicism to pagans and Arians with fervent zeal, something that clearly developed a ‘radical war’ (Schuitze), in which, according to a council of Lyon, ‘smashed the altars of idols everywhere and vigorously spread the true faith with many signs and miracles’…

Catholic Clovis made his own converts, pagans or Arians, so that the entire house of the Franks ended up being Catholic. Henceforth, a close ‘alliance between monarchy and episcopate’ (Fleckenstein) was created. The princes of the Church occupy the position of honour in the surroundings of Clovis and exert the maximum influence over him, especially Avitus and Remigius. And naturally the clergy are generously rewarded with the war spoils of the Merovingian. He rewards the prelates with largesse and splendour through foundations and donations of land… Since then ‘monarchy and church acted together for the further spread of Christianity’ (Schultze)…

From the research that we have today, it can well be argued that in reality the conversion of Clovis was a political, as that of Constantine had been before. Unlike the other Germanic peoples, the king and his people accepted Catholicism because it provided in advance a link between the conqueror and the Gallo-Romans who were subjected or who were to submit; linkage that did not occur in the rest of the Germanic kingdoms. Clovis, a sympathiser of the Church from an early age, became a Catholic to subdue the Arian Germanic tribes and win over neighbouring Gaul more easily with his strong majority of Roman Catholics…
 

Are we to free ourselves from a moralistic assessment of history?

After Clovis had won the war against the Visigoths with the help of the Francorans, between 509 and 511, the last years of his life, he achieved royal dignity over them. In any case, it forced the fusion of the Francorenan tribes with the Salian Franks.

He first instigated Chlodoric, son of King Sigobert of Cologne, to get rid of his father. ‘Look, your father has grown old and is limping with a crippled leg’. Sigobert ‘the Lame’, a former companion of Clovis, had limped since the battle of Toibiacum against the Alemanni, in which he had been wounded. At the hands of a hired assassin the prince eliminated his father in the beech forest. Through a delegation, Clovis congratulated the parricide and through it, he crushed his skull. The German historian Ewig describes all this with an elegant expression, too elegant we would say, of ‘diplomacy of intrigues’. After the double act, Clovis went to Cologne, the residential city of Sigobert, solemnly proclaimed his innocence in both crimes and, joyfully welcomed by the people, seized the ‘kingdom and the treasures of Sigobert’ (Gregory).

Then he fell on the Salian kings, with whom he was related. Such was the case, for example, of a Frankish king, Chararic, who had not once fought against Syagrius. With tricks Clovis seized him and his son. Later he locked them up in a monastery, had their hair cut off (the tonsure was a sign of the loss of royal dignity), forced Chararic to be ordained a priest and his son a deacon, and after having them beheaded he took over their treasures and kingdom.

Another relative, King Regnacar of Cambrai, his first cousin, was defeated by Clovis after having won over his entourage with a great amount of gold, which later turned out to be fake. After the battle, he mocked Regnacar, who was led into his presence in chains and who in 486 had helped him in the war against Syagrius: ‘Why have you humiliated our blood to that point and allowed yourself to be put in chains? You’d be better off dead!’ And he smashed his head off with an ax. They had also arrested Richar, the king’s brother: ‘If you had helped your brother, we would not have taken him prisoner’, Clovis rebuked him and killed him with another blow. ‘The named kings were close blood relatives of Clovis’ (Gregory of Tours). He also had their brother, Rignomer, liquidated in the vicinity of Le Mans. ‘Clovis thus strengthened his position throughout the Frankish territory’, to quote again the historian Ewig, thus summarising the existing situation.

The victims of Clovis’ consolidation of power throughout the Frankish territory were, it seems, several dozen Frankish cantonal princes. The tyrant had them murdered, seized their land and wealth, without ceasing to complain that he was alone:

‘Woe to me, now I find myself as a stranger among strangers and none of my relatives could help me, if calamity befalls me!’ But this was not meant because he was sorry for their death, but by cunning, in case perhaps there was still someone he could kill.

Such is the comment of St. Gregory, for whom Clovis was a ‘new Constantine’, and who embodied ‘his ideal of the ruler’ (Bodmer) and to whom he frequently appeared ‘almost like a saint’ (Fischer). Without shame the famous bishop adds:

But day after day God brought down his enemies before him and he increased his kingdom, because he walked with a right heart in His presence and did what was pleasing to His divine eyes.

This, as the context shows, also applies to Clovis’ murders of relatives. All is holy in the extreme, even the extreme crimes!

Such, then, was the primus rex francorum (Salic law), the king who ruled following to the letter the words of St. Remigius at his baptism: ‘Worship what you burned and burn what you worshiped’. Such was the Catholic king, that no longer tolerated any pagan vestige, although he commanded almost like an absolute tyrant and was bursting with hypertrophic brutality and rapacity, showing himself cautious and cowardly in front of the strongest and mercilessly crushing the weakest; the king who did not back down from any treachery and cruelty, who waged all his wars in the name of the Christian and Catholic God; the king who, with a sovereign power like few others and at the same time as a good Catholic, combined war, murder and religious piety, who ‘began his Christian reign with all premeditation on December 25’, who with his booty built churches everywhere, then he splendidly endowed and prayed in them, who was a great devotee of St. Martin, who carried out his ‘wars of the heretics’ against the Arians of Gaul ‘under the sign of an intense veneration of St. Peter’ (K. Hauck), and whom the bishops at the National Council of Orleans (511) exalted as ‘a truly priestly soul’ (Daniel-Rops).

That was Clovis. A man who, hearing the passion of Jesus, seems to have said that had he been there with his Franks, no such injustice would have been committed against the Lord. In the words of the old chronicler, he was as ‘an authentic Christian’ (christianum se verum esse adfirmat—Fredegar). And as the current theologian Aland also says: ‘And it is certain, and again and again he manifests it in the different performances of his reign, that he felt of himself as a Christian, and certainly a Catholic Christian’. In a word, that man who made his way ‘with the ax’ to climb the absolute rule of the Franks—as Angenendt graphically puts it—was no longer simply a military king, but thanks precisely to his alliance with the Catholic Church became the ‘representative of God on earth’ (Wolf). A man who, in the company of his wife St. Clotilde, finally found his last resting place in the Parisian Church of the Apostles, which was later called Sainte Geneviéve, when he died in the year 511, just turning forty: a great criminal, devious and ruthless, who established himself on the throne and, according to the historian Bosi, ‘a barbarian, who civilised and cultivated’.

The theologian Aland qualifies Clovis as akin to Constantine and euphemistically says that both were men of power, violent sovereigns and believes that justifiably: ‘Such rough times could only be controlled by such men’. But is it tough times that make tough men? Or is it not rather the other way around? One and the other are intimately united. And already St. Augustine had corrected the stupid accusation of the times: ‘We are the times; which are we, that’s the way the times are’. Aland wants to leave open the question of whether Constantine and Clovis were Christians:

Because both the sons of Constantine and Theodosius were rulers, of whose Christian confession there can be no doubt, and yet committed perfectly comparable acts of blood. If we want to understand them, we must free ourselves from such a moral assessment of history. Well, who among us whose people have a history of 1,500 years behind under the sign of Christianity, can say that he is Christian? Luther speaks of Christianity, which is always being made and which is never finished.

The Merovingian chroniclers glorify Clovis mainly for two reasons: for his baptism and his many wars. He became a Catholic demolishing and depredating everything around him he could destroy or prey. And thus, from an insignificant territorial principality, he created a powerful German-Catholic imperium, sealed in France the alliance between the throne and the altar, and became the chosen instrument of God who day after day struck down his enemies before him— :

because before God he walked with an upright heart, doing what was pleasing to His eyes.

—according to the enthusiastic praise of the bishop, St. Gregory.

As long as history is viewed in this way, as long as it remains outside of its ‘moral’ valuation and the vast majority of historians continue to crawl before such hypertrophic beasts of universal history with respect, reverence and admiration… history will continue to unfold as it does.

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’.

March of the Titans

The following sentences of March of the Titans: The Complete History of the White Race by Arthur Kemp caught my attention:

Flamboyance and ferment – France

The history of France is bathed in blood. Millions of White Frenchmen have been slaughtered in what seems like an endless array of wars, military adventures and natural disasters.

• His [Clovis I] most significant deed was his conversion to Christianity in 496 AD—without this conversion it is doubtful that Christianity would ever have taken hold on the European mainland. He initiated the practice of converting White pagans by the sword when he invaded the Visigoth Empire in 507 AD, causing them to flee south into Spain.

• After fighting off the non-White Muslim invaders to the south, Charlemagne then proceeded to launch a bloody war of extermination against the Saxon and other pagan German tribes under his control. The full story of this process—which saw the last paganism on the western part of the continent of Europe exterminated—has already been recounted in chapter 17 of this book which deals with Christianity. Suffice to say here that after killing thousands of pagans, Charlemagne managed to create a virtually uniform Christian kingdom—even if many of his subjects only paid lip service to the new religion.

• They were all of the same Germanic stock, but the wholesale slaughter of those Whites who were not Christians, or refused to become Christians, unquestionably had an impact upon White numbers and quality in these regions. This was particularly the case with the leadership element of these Germanic tribes. Usually the biggest, bravest and strongest members of these tribes (the original Germanics actually voted for their chiefs), were the first to be targeted for execution by the Christian “missionaries”. As such the Germanics lost entire generations of their best sorts to the Christian sword.


After recounting the history of Joan of Arc, Kemp writes on the French expansion under King Francis I (1515-1547):

• France continued to be a powerful nation, and although engaging in the slave trade along with some other European nations, did not follow the path of Spain and especially Portugal in importing non-White slaves into France itself. Only a very small number of Black slaves were ever taken back into France, but they were so rare that they were of curiosity value only.


What most Westerners are all too blind to recognize is the devastating effects of the French Revolution, about which Kemp has a subsection titled, “The Reign of Terror—Nordics Targeted:

The French Revolution soon took a sub-racial undertone—often it was enough to have blond hair to be declared a noble and be beheaded. This was taken to an extreme under a bloodthirsty period known as the “reign of terror” and led to civil and foreign wars for ten years.

During this period, revolutionary tribunals and commissions beheaded close on 17,000 people—when the numbers of Frenchmen who died in prison or who were shot out of hand is added in, the victims of the Reign of Terror totaled approximately 40,000.

colhaze5

Of those executed, approximately 8 percent were nobles, 6 percent were members of the clergy, 14 percent belonged to the middle class, and 70 percent were workers or peasants charged with draft dodging, desertion, hoarding, rebellion, and various other “anti-revolutionary” crimes.

One step taken by the new French Republic was the official emancipation of the French Jews, and for the first time they were allowed to participate fully in public office in France. For this reason French and European Jewry became outspoken supporters of the revolution.

Striving to establish a “Republic of Virtue,” the leaders of the revolution stressed devotion to the republic and instituted measures against corruption and hoarding—two trademarks of the Church. This led directly to the November 1793 closing of all churches in the Commune of Paris, a measure soon copied by authorities elsewhere in France. A non-Christian cult was established, known as the Cult of Reason, with its main center being the then desanctified Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

Although the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars did not result in the importation of any large numbers of non-Whites into France, huge numbers of White Frenchmen, both nobles and commoners, lost their lives in the period from 1789 to 1815, with the Napoleonic Wars alone resulting in the deaths of over a million White Frenchmen—a huge slice of the population at that time, possibly as much as 35 per cent of all able bodied Frenchmen of all ages. The French Revolution itself had dealt a serious blow to the Nordic element of French society, as Nordic features were associated with nobility and made immediate targets for the revolutionary mobs. This led to a denordicization of the French population which is still evident today in the relatively small number of blonds amongst the modern French population.


After explaining how the Second Republic’s constitution created a presidential republic with a parliament elected by universal male suffrage—one of the greatest blunders that with time would provoke the suffrage for women and non-whites—, Kemp writes about white suicide:

By 1919, the French population had been battered by more than two centuries of major wars, and had started to go into a serious decline. The French government then started allowing French speaking Black Africans and non-White Algerians into France, mainly for use as labor, but also as army troops, in order to make up population shortfalls. In this way the German territory of the Rhineland was occupied by Black French troops, creating much anger amongst the Germans and becoming a political issue in the latter country.

mulatos-franceses

French women with non-white blood


According to official French statistics, some three million North African Arabic mixed race and African Blacks, all from the French colonies, immigrated into France itself during the period 1919 to 1927. (This figure is probably an underestimation, as it does not take into account illegal immigration, which probably accounted for a least half a million more).

Although the majority of Frenchmen did not integrate with this non-White influx, a significant minority did, creating the inappropriately named “Mediterranean” look associated with the French in certain areas. This integration process did not however reach anywhere near the level of the Spanish, and was certainly nowhere near the Portuguese example. Nonetheless, it is possible to see the traces of the large Black influx in a minority of modern Frenchmen to this day.

Who we are, 21

The following is my abridgement of chapter 21 of William Pierce’s history of the white race, Who We Are:

Mighty Saga of the Northmen
Ninth and 10th Centuries: Viking Triumphs in Western Europe
Purest White Heritage Survives in North Atlantic
Land Scarcity, Spirit of Heroism Impelled Vikings
Christianity, Lack of Northern Solidarity Bring End to Viking Age

 

Just as it was the Northmen who, by imposing order on Europe’s eastern frontier in the second half of the first millennium, stiffened that frontier and made Russia a White racial bulwark against the non-White hordes of Asia, it was also the Northmen who, in the same era, pushed Europe’s western frontier westward across the great, unknown Ocean Sea, opening up new lands for settlement by succeeding generations of our race.

Called many names—Danes, Geats, Norsemen, Rus, Swedes, Varangers—they are best known to us by the name which is also used to characterize both the age in which they flourished and the way of life of many of them: Vikings. Like two great waves of raiders, conquerors, and colonizers before them, the Goths and the Anglo-Saxons, they came from the Nordic heartland: southern Sweden and Norway, the Danish peninsula, the adjoining portion of northern Germany, and the nearby North Sea and Baltic islands.

They are of special interest to us in our endeavor to understand who we are, not so much because most of us have Viking forebears (although a great many people with immediate roots in Ireland, Scotland, England, and northwestern France, as well as in Scandinavia, do), but because they give us a clearer, more detailed picture of that pure essence of Indo-Europeanism of Whiteness—which is the common heritage of all of us, whether our recent ancestors were Germans, Celts, Balts, or Slavs, than we can obtain from a study of any other European people.

German in language like the Goths and the Anglo-Saxons, the Vikings retained other aspects of Germanic culture which those earlier emigrants from the Nordic heartland had already lost by the dawn of the Viking Age. In particular, the Vikings held to their Indo-European religion and world view longer than any of the other Germanic peoples. They also remained hardier, fiercer in battle, and more venturesome than those who had been softened by the more civilized living to the south.

The Vikings not only serve us as an especially useful epitome of Whiteness at a time when our survival demands a renewal of the best of our old values and strengths, but they also provide us with a clear reminder of the danger inherent in one of our most lethal weaknesses: excessive individualism and lack of racial solidarity. A study of the Vikings acquaints us with both the best and the worst (or, in this age, the least affordable) of the characteristics of our race.

A tenth-century Viking narrative poem, Rigsthula (Song of Rig), provides a fanciful account of the origins of the Scandinavian population. In it a traveler named Rig (i.e., “king”) is given lodging at three dwellings. At each he manages to impregnate the woman of the house before he leaves, thereby fathering three sons.

The first woman is old and wrinkled, and she dwells in a hovel. The son she bears for Rig is dark, stooped, and ugly. He is named Thrall, and from him is descended the race of serfs and slaves, the hewers of wood and the carriers of water.

The second woman is younger, better looking, better housed, and more industrious. Her son by Rig is a sturdy, light-eyed boy, and is given the name Karl. From Karl is descended the race of free peasants and craftsmen.

The third woman is young, tall, blond, and lovely, and the house in which she lives is large and magnificent. She bears Rig a son who is strong and straight of limb, white of skin, fair of hair, light of eyes, and quick of mind. He is named Jarl (Earl), and he quickly learns the magic of the runes and the mastery of weapons. He hunts, rides, fights, and fears no man. From him is descended the race of kings and lords of the earth.

Rig himself is identified with the Norse god Heimdall, the whitest of all the gods and the father of all mankind. Rigsthula reminds us of the ancient Aryan religious work, the Rigveda, which, more than 20 centuries earlier, also gave a fanciful account of the origins of the races. It is clear that Rig’s descendants via Thrall represent the dark, round-headed element in the Scandinavian population, and that this element was at some time in the past held in a servile status by a largely Nordic ruling class.

Scandinavian mythology may also reflect racial memories of early contacts between Nordic invaders and Cro-Magnon natives, in the numerous references to “frost giants.”

In any event, by the dawn of the Viking Age a general mixing had taken place. Thralls may still have been darker, on the average, than the free farmers or the nobility, but one could find Nordic slaves, largely the consequence of the Viking policy of enslaving prisoners of war, and one could also find darker elements among the wealthy and powerful, as evidenced by the names of such leaders as Halfdan the Black (ninth-century king of a Viking realm in southern Norway). By far the dominant racial element among the Vikings, however, was Nordic.

To the north of the Northmen, in Norway, Sweden, and Finland, were the Lapps, a very primitive race which lived a nomadic life and gained its sustenance primarily from the reindeer of the forest and tundra. The sixth-century historians Jordanes and Procopius describe the Lapps as being culturally little above the beasts on which they preyed.

Both racially and linguistically the Lapps were closely related to the Finno-Ugric tribes to the east. They were short, predominantly dark (although today some Lapps are blond, apparently having absorbed Nordic genes), broad-nosed, and extremely round-headed. They were certainly partly, and perhaps wholly, responsible for the dark element among the Vikings, although there was little mixing between Vikings and Lapps during the Viking Age, because of their entirely different lifestyles. The mixing must have taken place during the prehistoric period, perhaps shortly after the proto-Germans arrived in Scandinavia and before they had driven the ancestors of the Lapps further north.

The isolation by terrain and climate of many Viking communities did not prevent the Vikings from having a remarkable unity of culture, language, and spirit but it certainly did not encourage political unity. Viking individualism seemed to be inimical to a sense of racial solidarity. While more subjective races to the south were often drawn together by the perceived need for mutual support in the face of a hostile world, Vikings were much more inclined to face the world as individuals.

Their loyalty and sense of community seldom extended beyond the fighting band to which they belonged—or, at most, to that limited region of Norway or Denmark or whatever which they considered “home”—and they would as gladly, or almost as gladly, hew down the Vikings of a rival band as a monastery full of trembling priests in some southern land. Within the band, however, the Viking ethos demanded a solidarity as uncompromising as that of the other Germanic peoples of their time.

On the Continent too the ninth century was a period of growing pressure from the north. A Frankish chronicler writes:

The number of ships increases; the endless flood of Vikings never ceases to grow bigger, Everywhere Christ’s people are the victims of massacre, burning, and plunder. The Vikings overrun all that lies before them, and none can withstand them. They seize Bordeaux, Perigueux, Limoges, Angouleme, Toulouse; Angers, Tours, and Orleans are made deserts. Ships past counting voyage up the Seine…. Rouen is laid waste, looted, and burned. Paris, Beauvais, Meaux are taken; Melun’s stronghold is razed to the ground; Chartres occupied; Evreux and Bayeux looted; and every town invested.

Just as in England and Ireland, however, Vikings who at first came only to seize women and gold later came to seize land as well. This process reached its climax early in the 10th century when a Viking band wrested away from the West Franks a substantial piece of territory in northwestern France, south of the lower Seine. In 911 the Frankish king Charles the Simple, the great-great-grandson of Charlemagne, gave legal sanction to this conquest by recognizing the Viking leader Ganga-Hrolf as his vassal and confirming the latter in the ownership of the land which his band had already seized.

Ganga-Hrolf (i.e., Hrolf the Ganger or Ralph the Walker, so named because he was too large to be carried by any horse), called Rollo by the French, in turn submitted to baptism and settled down to the task of enlarging and consolidating his domain. He was the first Duke of Normandy, as his land came to be known, after its Nor(se)man conquerors.

First White American. In the year 986 the Viking Bjarni Herjulfsson, sailing from Norway to Greenland, missed his intended destination and instead found himself off the coast of a previously unknown land: North America. Bjarni did not land, but he carried the news of his sighting back to Greenland.

Leif, the son of Eric the Red, bought Bjarni’s ship from him and set out to see the new land for himself. He established a small settlement at a place he called Vinland, on the island of Newfoundland, but he only spent one winter there.

A few years later another Greenland Viking, Thorfinn Karlsefni, made a determined effort to establish a permanent Viking presence in America. He fitted out three longships and recruited 160 men and women to accompany him on the westward voyage. They built a community in North America which they called Straumfjord, and in 1004 Thorfinn’s wife Gudrid bore him a son, Snorri, there: the first native White American.

Unrelenting attacks by Indians—Skraelings to the Vikings—made life very difficult for Thorfinn’s American colonists, however, and after three years they abandoned their settlement and returned to Greenland.

Had the Vikings’ weapons been technologically superior to the bows and arrows of the Skraelings—as Columbus’ firearms were—then White history in America would have begun 500 years sooner than it did. As it was, the individual superiority of the Viking warriors in battle could not make up for the enormous numerical advantage enjoyed by the hordes of Red men who opposed them.

In 1962 archaeologists excavated the ruins of what is believed to have been Straumfjord, near the present Newfoundland village of L’Anse aux Meadows.

In Greenland too, with is utterly inhospitable environment, the Viking presence did not last. Initially there were no hostile Skraelings in Greenland—in fact, the first Eskimos did not arrive on the island until nearly 400 years after the Vikings—but the total lack of trees, metal ores, and other natural resources, together with the scarcity of farmland, kept the White population down to a maximum of 3,000 persons, scattered among some 300 farms.

Ironically, it seems to have been piracy which was the undoing of the Greenland Vikings. Although they were Christianized shortly after the year 1,000 and gave up their warlike ways and the raiding of other lands for gold and women, there was still a strong demand for blond slave girls in Moorish Spain and North Africa and in the Turkish lands to the southeast. The demand was met by pirates recruited in England and Germany by Jewish middlemen, who began raiding the island settlements of the North Atlantic in the 14th century.

Purest Cultural Heritage. Iceland—which suffered its last attack by White-slaving pirates as late as the 19th century—and the other Viking islands survived the raids, but Greenland did not.

Today these North Atlantic islands, of which Iceland with its quarter-million inhabitants is the most significant, preserve the Viking cultural heritage in its purest form. The modern Icelandic and Faroese languages are nearly identical to the Old Norse spoken by the Vikings, while English and the other Germanic languages have undergone great changes during the last 1,000 years. In folkways as well, many Viking traits have been preserved in the islands, especially in Iceland and the Faroes. There has even been a return to the Viking religion by some Icelanders in recent years.

Racially, Iceland does not present quite as pure a picture as one might wish, for the ninth-century Viking settlers were not all jarls and karls; they brought their thralls along with them as well. Despite this lapse, their descendants today are biologically closer to the original Viking stock than the population of any other country. This racial quality is reflected not only in the tallest average statute in the White world, but in the highest literacy rate (100 per cent) as well.

Not only do all Icelanders read and write, but a far higher proportion of them are authors than is true for any other country. And, despite her tiny population, which is able to support only a single university, Iceland is able to boast a larger per capita Nobel Laureate quota than any other nation on earth.

Iceland is outstanding in another respect as well: alone among the White nations of the world it does not bear the curse of non-White minorities; it has no Blacks, no Jews, no Vietnamese, no Mexicans. Iceland has not been invaded for the last 1,000 years, except during the Second World War, when the country was occupied by American troops. The bulk of the foreigners withdrew after the war, and Icelanders insisted that future U.S. troops sent to man the air base which the United States was allowed to maintain on the island include no non-Whites.

icelandic sagasThe greatest debt that the White race owes to Icelanders is for their preservation of the Norse literary heritage: the Viking sagas. While church officials in other European countries were rounding up and burning all the pre-Christian books they could lay their hands on during the Middle Ages, Icelandic scholars were busy writing down the sagas which still existed only in oral form and transcribing, annotating, and expanding those which had been put into writing earlier.

Even where we must use extreme caution in drawing historical data from the sagas, they give us a clear and unambiguous picture of the Viking ethos and the Viking world view, of Viking attitudes, beliefs, feelings and temperament.

Fortunately, when it is Norse history we want we have the records of the Vikings’ literate Frankish and English cousins to supplement and clarify the semi-legendary material of the sagas. From these records we can also gain a good deal of insight into some of the external forces and circumstances which raised the curtain on the Viking Age in the eighth century and then lowered it in the 11th.

One of the forces was certainly the tide of Christendom which was rising over Europe from the south during the eighth century. The Franks had become Christianized during the sixth century, after their king, Chlodwig (Clovis), accepted baptism, but the Saxons, the immediate neighbors of the Northmen, rejected the alien religion from the Levant and held to their ancestral ways, as did the Northmen themselves, of course.

Genocidal Evangelism. Beginning in 772, a year after he became sole king of the Franks upon the death of his brother Carloman, Karl, later known to the French as Charlemagne, son of Pepin the Short and grandson of Karl the Hammer, waged a 32-year campaign of genocidal evangelism against the Saxons. The campaign began with Karl’s destruction of the Irminsul, or World Pillar, the Saxon equivalent of the Norse World Ash, Yggdrasil, located in the Saxons’ most sacred grove, at Eresburg (on the site of the present Marburg), and it became bloodier, crueler, and more intolerant as it wore on.

In 774, at Quierzy, Karl issued a proclamation that he would kill every Saxon who refused to accept the sweet yoke of Jesus. Henceforth a contingent of Christian priests accompanied the Frankish army on its expeditions against the Saxons, and in every Saxon village those who refused to be baptized by the priests were slaughtered on the spot.

Karl’s savagery reached a peak in the tenth year of the evangelism: in 782, at Verden on the Aller, with the blessing of the Church, he had 4,500 Saxon nobles beheaded. Twelve years later, in 794, he introduced a policy under which every third Saxon was uprooted from his land and forced to resettle among Franks or other Christianized tribes.

Fairly early in this campaign, in 777, one of the most prominent of the Saxon chieftains, Widukind, took shelter among the Danes and appealed to their king, Sigfred, for assistance against the Franks. Although the Danes were wary of becoming involved in a full-scale war against the formidable Karl, they and the other Northern peoples were put on their guard, and they became increasingly indignant over the Frankish suppression of the Saxons’ religion.

Karl’s brutal campaign against the Saxons undoubtedly helped raise a certain consciousness in the North of the spiritual and cultural differences which separated Scandinavia from those lands which had fallen under the yoke of the Christian Church.

The internal forces leading to the eruption of the Vikings from their Northern fjords were even stronger than the external ones. Among the former was a very high birthrate specifically among the most active and aggressive of the Northmen, the result of their customary practice of polygyny.

According to the 11th-century German ecclesiastical historian, Adam of Bremen, every Swede of more than average substance kept two or three wives, while the nobility had no limit to the number of women they allowed themselves. For example, Harald Fairhair, the Norwegian warrior who unified Norway in the ninth century and became its first king, had as many as 40 sons by some accounts, at least nine of whom are known to history; and Harald’s son Erik Bloodaxe had at least eight sons who grew to manhood.

In the capitalistic South such a practice may have meant only that the cleverest and crookedest paper-shufflers—i.e., the richest men—would have more progeny, on the average, than honest workingmen, but in the hard living North, where every man’s mettle was tested almost daily by his environment and by his fellows, it was marvelously eugenic: the strong, the able, and the aggressive had proportionately more children than they would have had in a monogamous society.

Another interesting eugenic contrast between North and South is provided by the Christian practice of clerical celibacy. Although there were many periods during the Middle Ages in which violations were commonplace, as early as the fourth century the Church began insisting on total celibacy for the higher clergy. With the growing incidence of monasticism after the sixth century, a greatly increased portion of the population of Christian Europe was subjected to the rule of celibacy.

In the Middle Ages the clerical life was not, as is often the case today, simply a refuge for those who could succeed at nothing else; it was usually the only route to scholarship—and often the only route to literacy as well—and it attracted many able and intelligent men, whose genes were then lost to their race. For a thousand years, until the Reformation, there was a selective draining away of Christian Europe’s intellectual vitality.

A Mighty Hive. The high birthrate among the most active and energetic elements of the population in the Northern countries led to land-hunger and the drive for external conquests. In the words of 17th-century English statesman and writer Sir William Temple: “Each of these countries was like a mighty hive, which, by the vigor of propagation and health of climate, growing too full of people, threw out some new swarm at certain periods of time that took wing and sought out some new abode, expelling or subduing the old inhabitants and seating themselves in their rooms.” This state of affairs also held long before the Viking Age, of course.

In addition to the generalized effects of a high birthrate, two other consequences of polygyny which bore on the rise of viking as a way of life were the large numbers of second, third, fourth, and later sons in the families of Norse landholders—sons left without inheritance and without land, unless they could wrest it away from someone else—and a shortage of women.

The most popular way to solve the latter problem was to go on a raid and carry off women from Ireland, England, or France, although there was also a heavy traffic in Slav slave girls from the Rus realms. The Hrafnsmal tells of life in Harald Fairhair’s court: “Glorious is their way of life, those warriors who play chess in Harald’s court. They are made rich with money and fine swords, with metal of Hunaland and girls from the east.”

The political consolidation which began taking place in Scandinavia in the ninth century served as an especially strong impetus to Viking colonizers. As mentioned earlier, the Vikings were extremely individualistic, extremely resentful of any encroachments on their freedom of action. After Harald Fairhair won a great sea victory at Hafrsfjord over the Viking chieftains of western Norway in 872, many of them left Norway with their households and their followers and settled in Iceland and the smaller islands of the North Atlantic rather than submit to Harald’s rule.

A century later, political consolidation having been achieved, Scandinavian monarchs began to realize the policy advantages in bringing their people into the same religious camp as their neighbors to the south. The first to take the step was Denmark’s Harald Bluetooth, son of King Gorm the Old. In 965, fifteen years after Gorm’s death, Harald allowed himself to be baptized, and then he undertook the forcible conversion of the rest of the Danes: a move which did not sit well with many and led to further emigration and turmoil in the North. It also led eventually to Harald’s deposition and banishment.

The Last Viking. The coming of Christianity to the Viking world eventually meant the end of that world, but it did not change the Viking ethos immediately, as is evidenced by the life of a man who was certainly one of the most remarkable of all the Vikings, and the last of the truly great ones: Harald Sigurdsson, who, after he became king of Norway, was also known as Harald Hardraada (Hard Ruler) and Harald the Ruthless.

His deeds are the subject of one of the most fascinating of the Viking sagas (King Harald’s Saga), which we would be inclined to dismiss as an unusually imaginative work of heroic fiction, were it not solidly confirmed by the historical record.

The Vikings’ fighting spirit had been sapped by Christianity, but an even larger factor in their demise was their inability to keep in check their quarrels among themselves, combine their forces against outsiders, and thus match the growing power of kings in more unified lands than their own. Excessive individualism took its final toll.

Published in: on December 21, 2012 at 5:33 pm  Comments Off on Who we are, 21  
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Civilisation’s “The Skin of our Teeth”

For an introduction to these series, see here.

Below, some indented excerpts of “The Skin of our Teeth,” the first chapter of Civilisation by Kenneth Clark, after which I offer my comments.

Ellipsis omitted between unquoted passages:


I am standing on the Pont des Arts in Paris.

What is civilisation? I don’t know. I can’t define it in abstract terms—yet. But I think I can recognize it when I see it; and I am looking at it now.

If I had to say which was telling the truth about society, a speech by a Minister of Housing or the actual buildings put up in his time, I should believe the buildings. But this doesn’t mean that the history of civilisation is the history of art—far from it. Great works of art can be produced in barbarous societies.

Whatever its merits as a work of art, I don’t think that there is any doubt that the Apollo embodies a higher state of civilisation than the mask. They both represent spirits, messengers from another world—that is to say, from a world of our own imagining. To the Negro imagination it is a world of fear and darkness, ready to inflict horrible punishment for the smallest infringement of taboo. To the Hellenistic imagination it is a world of light and confidence, in which the gods are like ourselves, only more beautiful.

It is not my intention to insult white nationalists. But what they ignore is that, presently, with their rock music and media tastes they themselves, like the overwhelming majority of the white population are, spiritually, far closer to the Negro mask than to the Apollo of Belvedere. For Lord Clark it would have been unthinkable to consider civilised the popular forms of cultural expression such as heavy metal and the movies that today are watched even by white nationalists throughout the West.

As we saw in some of my latest entries, other self-destructing forms of cultural expression already occurred in the times of the fall of the Roman Empire. Clark said:

The same architectural language, the same imagery, the same theatres, the same temples—at any time for five hundred years you could have found them all round the Mediterranean, in Greece, Italy, France.

What happened? It took Gibbon six volumes to describe the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, so I shan’t embark on that. But thinking about this almost incredible episode does tell one something about the nature of civilisation. It shows that however complex and solid it seems, it is actually quite fragile. It can be destroyed. What are its enemies? Well, first of all fear—fear of the supernatural, which means that you daren’t question anything or change anything. The late antique world was full of meaningless rituals, mystery religions, that destroyed self-confidence.

Unlike Gibbon and Nietzsche, before his TV audience Clark didn’t dare to point the finger at Christianity. But later in the program, Clark spoke about Islam:

In a miraculously short time—about fifty years—the classical world was overrun [by the Muslim conquests]. Only its bleached bones stood out against the Mediterranean sky. The old source of civilisation was sealed off, and if a new civilisation was to be born it would have to face the Atlantic.

But something very odd happened to Man’s self-image in the early medieval world facing the Atlantic in what today is Ireland. According to Clark:

The subject of Mediterranean man was man. Two hundred years have passed—perhaps a little more—and man has almost vanished.

Crude as this imago hominis may be when compared to the Apollo, presently some white nationalists advertise their blogs with soft-porn pics of semi-nude women: something far more degrading for the divine human figure than the image of 8th century insular art in the Echternach Gospels.

To my mind—and, like Clark, I must say that this is only my personal view­—, the imago hominis only means a psychogenic regression in Man’s understanding of himself compared to the Greeks and the Romans. However, the white nationalists’ soft porn spits on the avatar of God, even if I don’t believe in the existence of a personal god.

After the above image chosen by Clark for the first episode of his program, in the following pages of the book version Clark mentions how St. Gregory destroyed entire libraries of the classical world (I quoted part of it in my recent antichristian series, here), and on the next page he states that even in those obscure days the Europeans fought strenuously against their enemies:

All great civilisations, in their early stages, are based on success in war. The Romans were the best organised and most ruthless fighters in Latium. So it was with the Franks. Clovis and his successors not only conquered their enemies, but maintained themselves by cruelties and tortures remarkable even by the standards of the last thirty years.

Without Charles Martel’s victory over the Moors at Poitiers in 732, western civilisation might never have existed, and without Charlemagne’s tireless campaigns we should never have had the notion of a united Europe.

Charlemagne was the first great man of action to emerge from the darkness since the collapse of the Roman world. The old idea that he saved civilisation isn’t far wrong. On the whole, our whole knowledge of ancient literature is due to the collecting and copying that began under Charlemagne.

If we compared ourselves with the franks, what could it be said about present-day nationalists? Many of them don’t even let our most serious fighter discuss in their forums (by “serious fighter” I mean someone who’s actively planning a revolution). Didn’t the Führer say that those who want to live, let them fight, and that those who do not want to fight in this world of eternal struggle do not deserve to live? Do whites and white nationalists deserve to live? If so, where are the Charles Martels in today’s islamized Europe, in America’s mexicanized states?

I am not proposing to do something stupid in a world which media is a hundred percent dominated by the Enemy. But at least be prepared for the tough, revolutionary times that are coming after the dollar crashes.