Darkening Age, 27

Below, excerpts from the final
chapter of Nixey’s book:

‘Moreover, we forbid the teaching of any doctrine by those who labour under the insanity of paganism’.

– Justinian Code

The philosopher Damascius was a brave man: you had to be to see what he had seen and still be a philosopher. But as he walked through the streets of Athens in AD 529 and heard the new laws bellowed out in the town’s crowded squares, even he must have felt the stirrings of unease. He was a man who had known persecution at the hands of the Christians before. He would have been a fool not to recognize the signs that it was beginning again.

As a young man, Damascius had studied philosophy in Alexandria, the city of the murdered Hypatia. He had not been there for long when the city had turned, once again, on its philosophers. The persecution had begun dramatically. A violent attack on a Christian by some non-Christian students had started a chain of reprisals in which philosophers and pagans were targeted. Christian monks, armed with an axe, had raided, searched then demolished a house accused of being a shrine to ‘demonic’ idols. The violence had spread and Christians had found and collected all images of the old gods from across Alexandria, from the bathhouses and from people’s homes. They had placed them in a pyre in the centre of the city and burned them. As the Christian chronicler, Zachariah of Mytilene, comfortably observed, Christ had declared that he had ‘given you the authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all enemy power’.

For Damascius and his fellow philosophers, however, all that had been a mere prelude to what came next. Soon afterwards, an imperial officer had been sent to Alexandria to investigate paganism. The investigation had rapidly turned to persecution. This was when philosophers had been tortured by being hung up by cords and when Damascius’s own brother had been beaten with cudgels – and to Damascius’s great pride, had remained silent…

Damascius decided to flee. In secret, he hurried with his teacher, Isidore, to the harbour and boarded a boat. Their final destination was Greece, and Athens, the most famous city in the history of Western philosophy.

It was now almost four decades since Damascius had escaped to Athens as an intellectual exile. In that time, a lot had changed. When he had arrived in the city he had been a young man; now he was almost seventy. But he was still as energetic as ever, and as he walked about Athens in his distinctive philosopher’s cloak – the same austere cloak that Hypatia had worn – many of the citizens would have recognized him. For this émigré was now not only an established fixture of Athenian philosophy and a prolific author, he was also the successful head of one of the city’s philosophical schools: the Academy. To say ‘one of’ the schools is to diminish this institution’s importance: it was perhaps the most famous school in Athens, indeed in the entire Roman Empire. It traced its history back almost a thousand years and it would leave its linguistic traces on Europe and America for two thousand years to come. Every modern academy, académie and akademie owes its name it.

Since he had crossed the wine-dark sea, life had gone well for Damascius – astonishingly well, given the turbulence he had left behind. In Alexandria, Christian torture, murder and destruction had had its effect on the intellectual life of the city. After Hypatia’s murder the numbers of philosophers in Alexandria and the quality of what was being taught there had, unsurprisingly, declined rapidly. In the writings of Alexandrian authors there is a clear mood of depression, verging on despair. Many, like Damascius, had left.

In fifth-century Athens, the Church was far less powerful and considerably less aggressive. Its intellectuals had felt pressure nonetheless. Pagan philosophers who flagrantly opposed Christianity paid for their dissent. The city was rife with informers and city officials listened to them. One of Damascius’s predecessors had exasperated the authorities so much that he had fled, escaping – narrowly – with his life and his property. Another philosopher so vexed the city’s Christians by his unrepentant ‘pagan’ ways that he had had to go into exile for a year to get away from the ‘vulture-like men’ who now watched over Athens. In an act that could hardly have been more symbolic of their intellectual intentions, the Christians had built a basilica in the middle of what had once been a library. The Athens that had been so quarrelsome, so gloriously and unrepentantly argumentative, was being silenced. This was an increasingly tense, strained world. It was, as another author and friend of Damascius put it, ‘a time of tyranny and crisis’.

The very fabric of the city had changed. Its pagan festivals had been stopped, its temples closed and, as in Alexandria, the skyline of the city had been desecrated; here, by the removal of Phidias’s great figure of Athena…

Despite his success, Damascius had not forgotten what he had seen in Alexandria – and had not forgiven it, either. His writings show a never-failing contempt for the Christians. He had seen the power of Christian zeal in action. His brother had been tortured by it. His teacher had been exiled by it. And, in the year 529, zealotry was once again in evidence. Christianity had long ago announced that all pagans had been wiped out. Now, finally, reality was to be forced to fall in with the triumphant rhetoric.

The determination that lay behind this threat was not only felt in Athens in this period. It was in AD 529, the very same year in which the atmosphere in Athens began to worsen, that St Benedict destroyed that shrine to Apollo in Monte Cassino…

Previous attacks on Damascius and his scholars had largely been driven by local enthusiasms; a violently aggressive band of Alexandrian monks here, an officious local official there. But this attack was something new. It came not from the enthusiasm of a hostile local power; it came in the form of a law – from the emperor himself…

This was the end. The ‘impious and wicked pagans’ were to be allowed to continue in their ‘insane error’ no longer. Anyone who refused salvation in the next life would, from now on, be all but damned in this one…

This was no longer mere prohibition of other religious practices. It was the active enforcement of Christianity on every single, sinful pagan in the empire. The roads to error were being closed, forcefully. Everyone now had to become Christian. Every single person in the empire who had not yet been baptized now had to come forward immediately, go to the holy churches and ‘entirely abandon the former error [and] receive saving baptism’…

‘Moreover’, it reads, ‘we forbid the teaching of any doctrine by those who labour under the insanity of paganism’ so that they might not ‘corrupt the souls of their disciples.’ The law goes on, adding a finicky detail or two about pay, but largely that is it.

Its consequences were formidable. It was this law that forced Damascius and his followers to leave Athens. It was this law that caused the Academy to close. It was this law that led the English scholar Edward Gibbon to declare that the entirety of the barbarian invasions had been less damaging to Athenian philosophy than Christianity was. This law’s consequences were described more simply by later historians. It was from this moment, they said, that a Dark Age began to descend upon Europe…

Free philosophy has gone. The great destruction of classical texts gathers pace. The writings of the Greeks ‘have all perished and are obliterated’: that was what John Chrysostom had said. He hadn’t been quite right, then: but time would bring greater truth to his boast. Undefended by pagan philosophers or institutions, and disliked by many of the monks who were copying them out, these texts start to disappear. Monasteries start to erase the works of Aristotle, Cicero, Seneca and Archimedes. ‘Heretical’ – and brilliant – ideas crumble into dust. Pliny is scraped from the page. Cicero and Seneca are overwritten. Archimedes is covered over. Every single work of Democritus and his heretical ‘atomism’ vanishes. Ninety per cent of all classical literature fades away…

The pages of history go silent. But the stones of Athens provide a small coda to the story of the seven philosophers… The lovely statue of Athena, the goddess of wisdom, suffered as badly as the statue of Athena in Palmyra had. Not only was she beheaded she was then, a final humiliation, placed face down in the corner of a courtyard to be used as a step. Over the coming years, her back would be worn away as the goddess of wisdom was ground down by generations of Christian feet.

The ‘triumph’ of Christianity was complete.

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.’

Darkening Age, 24

In the opening paragraph of chapter 13 of The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World, Catherine Nixey wrote:
 
The flames of damnation began to lick at Roman daily life. In literature of a newly sadistic strain, Christian writers outlined in graphic detail what awaited those who did not comply with the edicts of this all-seeing God. The punishments for sinners were, according to Christian texts, atrocious.

Now regarded as apocryphal, but for a time widely read in Rome, the Apocalypse of Peter revelled in verse after stomach-churning verse on what happened in Hell. In it, the reader is taken on an infernal safari in which the retributions for various misdeeds are pointed out with relish. This Hell is a terrible place; its punishments are grimly apposite. Blasphemers, for example, are found hanging suspended by their tongues, or ‘gnawing their lips’. Adulterers are hung by their ‘feet’—a punishment that doesn’t sound too bad until you realize that in these texts ‘feet’ was a euphemism for ‘testicles’. Those who trusted in their riches are turned on a spit over a fire.

Even children don’t escape. At the edge of a lake filled with the ‘discharge and the stench’ of those who were tortured are babies that are ‘born before time’—a blameless crime one might have thought, but not so here. These babies will cry for eternity, alone.

Published in: on June 4, 2019 at 10:52 am  Comments (1)  

Darkening Age, 23

Below, first words (an epigraph) and last paragraph of Carpe diem (Horace’s Latin words), chapter 12 of The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World by Catherine Nixey:

Let the girl with a pretty face lie supine, Let the lady who boasts a good back be viewed from behind…
The petite should ride horse…

– the Roman poet Ovid advises on
positions for lovemaking, Ars Amatoria, 3

Christian preachers expressed none of Horace’s uncertainty about what tomorrow might bring. On the contrary, they knew precisely what was coming: death and judgement. Followed by Heaven for the fortunate few—and Hell for everyone else. One should therefore be perpetually mindful of the dangers threatened by the next life—and constantly watchful of one’s behaviour in this one.

Eating, drinking and making love were, they warned, the last things that one must do. Merrymaking in this life would not win eternal bliss in the next. ‘You are too greedy of enjoyment, my brother,’ warned the Christian scholar Jerome, ‘if you wish to rejoice with the world here, and to reign with Christ hereafter.’

Published in: on March 27, 2019 at 12:49 pm  Comments Off on Darkening Age, 23  

Darkening Age, 22

Editor’s note: Yesterday I saw a clip of Kevin MacDonald and Richard Spencer, in which both talk about the Jewish question. It might be very strange to say what I’m about to say: but he who, unlike MacDonald and Spencer and their purple pills, is fully aware of the Judeo-Christian question, has taken the red one.

Below, Catherine Nixey talks about the great metamorphosis in the Aryan psyche that occurred when they not only destroyed the white religion (white gods-statues, temples, Greco-Roman texts, laws and culture), but when all whites had to submit to the psyop of the god of the Jews—a programming to the very core of their beings.

Those who have not rejected monotheism with my vehemence are not fully awakened.

______ 卐 ______

 
As the world’s first century of Christian rule drew to a close and the fifth century opened, the effects of this conquest were everywhere to be seen. In Italy, Gaul, Greece, Spain, Syria and Egypt, temples that had stood for centuries were falling, shutting, crumbling. Brambles began to grow across disused ruins, as the mutilated faces of gods looked on silently.

An entire way of life was dying. Writers in the ancient world who had held out against the Christian religion struggled to put their feelings into words. In a bleak epigram Palladas asked, ‘Is it not true that we are dead and only seem to live, we Greeks… Or are we alive and is life dead?’ Their old society was being swept away. The banner of the cross, in Gibbon’s resonant phrase, was being erected on the ruins of the Capitol in Rome.

But, according to some of the most famous preachers of the time, even this was not enough to satisfy the Christian God… He wanted—He demanded—the hearts and minds of every single person within the empire.

And, these clerics threatened, He would know if He didn’t get them. As preachers in the fourth century started to warn their congregations, God’s all-seeing gaze followed you everywhere. He didn’t only see you in church; you were also watched by Him as you went out through the church doors; as you went out into the streets and as you walked round the marketplace or sat in the hippodrome or the theatre. His gaze also followed you into your home and even into your bedroom—and you should be in no doubt that He watched what you did there, too.

That was not the least of it. This new god saw into your very soul. ‘Man looketh on the face, but God on the heart,’ thundered Cyprian, the Bishop of Carthage. ‘Nothing that is done is hidden from God.’ There was, congregations across the empire were warned, no escape: ‘Nothing, whether actually done or only intended, can escape the knowledge of God’—or His ‘everlasting punishment of fire’.

Many Roman and Greek-intellectuals had shown profound distaste for such an involved deity. The idea that a divine being was watching every move of every human being was, to these observers, not a sign of great love but a ‘monstrous’ absurdity…

No, declared the Christian clerics. His attention was a sign of His great love for man. As too was His punishment. For make no mistake, God was not merely a disinterested observer of men’s souls. He would judge them—and He would punish them.

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.

Darkening Age, 20

In chapter 10 of The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World, Catherine Nixey wrote:
 
In Alexandria, Cyril conducted house searches to hunt out works by the loather pagan emperor Julian ‘the Apostate’…

This was a new literary world and a newly serious one. ‘The extent to which this new Christian story both displaced and substituted for all others is breathtaking,’ writes the modern academic Brent D. Shaw… And in the place of humour, came fear. Christian congregations found themselves rained on by oratorical fire and brimstone. For their own good, of course. As Chrysostom observed with pleasure: ‘in our churches we hear countless discourses on eternal punishment, on rivers of fire, on the venomous worm, on bonds that cannot be burst, on exterior darkness’…

Less than a hundred years after the first Christian emperor, the intellectual landscape was changing. In the third century, there had been twenty-eight public libraries in Rome and many private ones. By the end of the fourth they were, as the historian Ammianus Marcellinus observed with sorrow, ‘like tombs, permanently shut’…

As a law of AD 388 announced: ‘There shall be no opportunity for any man to go out to the public and to argue about religion or to discuss it or to give any counsel.’ If anyone with ‘damnable audacity’ attempted to then, the law announced with a threat no less ominous for being vague, ‘he shall be restrained with a due penalty and proper punishment’…

In Athens, some decades after Hypatia’s death, a resolutely pagan philosopher found himself exiled for a year…

What was not ‘of profit ‘ could easily fade from view. The shocking death of Hypatia ought to have merited a good deal of attention in the histories of the period. Instead it is treated lightly and obliquely, if at all. In history, as in life, no one in Alexandria was punished for her murder. There was a cover-up. Some writers were highly critical—even to fervent Christian eyes this was an appalling act.

But not all: as one Christian bishop later recorded with admiration, once the satanic woman had been destroyed, then all the people surrounded Cyril in acclamation for he had ‘destroyed the last remains of idolatry in the city.’ The affected myopia of Christian historians could be magnificent: as the historian Ramsay MacMullen has put it, ‘Hostile writings and discarded views were not recopied or passed on, or they were actively suppressed.’

The Church acted as a great and, at times, fierce filter on all written material, the centuries of its control as ‘a differentially permeable membrane’ that ‘allowed the writings of Christianity to pass through but not of Christianity’s enemies.’

Darkening Age, 19

Note of the Ed.: The main weakness that the Aryan faces before the Jew is the lack of solidarity to even recognise his martyrs. Contrast this attitude with how the Jew commemorates every single historical grievance; for example, when a Greek Seleucid king tried to destroy Judaism centuries before the Common Era.

The parabalani were Christian thugs that blindly obeyed the bishop of Alexandria. Since Aryans fail to honour their martyrs (Agora is a philo-Semitic film—not a good example of honouring an Aryan martyr of Semitic thugs), it would be helpful to imagine the parabalani as the Faith Militant in the TV series Game of Thrones. But this comparison, like the Spanish movie Agora starring non-Aryan Rachel Weisz as Hypatia, is deceiving. The historical parabalani were probably Christian Semites, as suggested in Evropa Soberana’s essay on Judea vs. Rome.

In chapter nine of The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World, Catherine Nixey wrote:

 

______ 卐 ______

 

Hypatia of Alexandria was born in the same city as the parabalani and yet a world away from them. While they spent their days toiling among the filthy and the dying, this aristocratic intellectual spent her days working with abstract mathematical theories and astrolabes. Hypatia was not only a philosopher; she was also a brilliant astronomer and the greatest mathematician of her generation. The Victorians, who became much taken with her, granted her other graces posthumously. One famous painting shows her draped naked against an altar, her nubile body shielded by little more than her tumbling tawny locks. A novel about her by the Reverend Charles Kingsley, author of the children’s novel The Water Babies, is rich in such breathless phrases as ‘the severest and grandest type of old Greek beauty’ and in musings on her ‘curved lips’ and the ‘glorious grace and beauty of every line’…

After razing Serapis the Christians had gone on vicious rampage through the city and its 2,500 shrines, temples and religious sites. Busts of Serapis previously stood in streets, wall niches and above doorways had been removed—’cleansed’. The Christians had ‘so cut and filed [them] away that not even a trace or mention of [Serapis] or any other demon remained anywhere. In their place everyone painted the sign of the Lord’s cross on door­ posts, entrances, walls and columns.’ Later, with bolder finality, crosses were carved in.

The city’s intellectual life had suffered. The final remnants of the Great Library had gone, vanishing along with the temple. Many of Alexandria’s intellectuals had gone too, fleeing to Rome, or elsewhere in Italy, or anywhere they could to get away from this frightening city’…

[For the Christian mind] Hypatia was not a philosopher: she was a creature of Hell. It was she who was turning the entire city against God with her trickery and her spells. She was ‘atheizing’ Alexandria. Naturally, she seemed appealing enough—but that was how the Evil One worked. Hypatia, they said, ‘had beguiled many people through satanic wiles’. Worst of all, she had even beguiled Orestes. Hadn’t he stopped going to church? It was clear: she had beguiled him through her magic’. This could not be allowed to continue.

One day in March AD 415, Hypatia set out from her home to go for her daily ride through the city. Suddenly; she found her way blocked by a ‘multitude of believers in God’. They ordered her to get down from her chariot. Knowing what had recently happened to her friend Orestes, she must have realized as she climbed down that her situation was a serious one. She cannot possibly have realized quite how serious.

As soon as she stood on the street, the parabalani, under the guidance of a Church magistrate called Peter—‘a perfect believer in all respects in Jesus Christ’—surged round and seized ‘the pagan woman’.

They then dragged Alexandria’s greatest living mathematician through the streets to a church. Once inside, they ripped the clothes from her body then, using broken pieces of pottery as blades, flayed her skin from her flesh. Some say that, while she still gasped for breath, they gouged out her eyes.

Once she was dead, they tore her body into pieces and threw what was left of the ‘luminous child of reason’ onto a pyre and burned her.

Darkening Age, 18

Editor’s Note: The recent Occidental Observer article ‘Words Like Violence: The Left’s Total War on Freedom of Speech’ which reproduces a segment of the book of Richard Houck, is good for the normie to wake up to the fact that we are living in the darkest hour of the West. In the comments section of that article, one visitor opined that what Houck wrote is Alt Lite, as the author ‘sounds like he refrains from naming the actual (((enemy)))’.

It is true that without mentioning the subversive Jew the pilgrim from Normieland to National Socialism has not stepped on the stone of Jew-wise white nationalism. But after stepping on white nationalism in his attempts to cross the psychological Rubicon, he still needs to understand why the Jews seized the Western narrative. For this we have to step on the next and last stone before reaching the other side: the Christian question. For example, the above-mentioned text of Houck contains this passage:

It’s incredibly telling that in America, you can freely criticize American foreign policy. Yet if you criticize the foreign policy of Israel, a country on the other side of the planet, groups with hundred-million-dollar budgets immediately lobby Congress to silence you. And our politicians, in an incredible show of cowardice and greed, capitulate. The US State Department even has an entire department called The Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism. Our tax dollars are going to provide programs ensuring that certain foreign peoples are not having their feelings hurt… The absurdity of the situation is incredible. Imagine if there were a massive pro-Russia lobby that made it illegal to disagree with or criticize Russian foreign policy.

So true. But that those who read The Occidental Observer are in the middle of the river is clear. In the Northern American states, the red carpet was rolled out for the Jews in line with the dominant liberal ideology. This was because the type of Christianity that conquered North America has been pathologically philo-Semitic since its beginnings.

But why were the Jews praised by George Washington, who said that the US ‘gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance’? The United States did not originate ethno-suicidal philo-Semitism in the West. Everything began a thousand seven hundred years ago with a history that has been as concealed as the holocaust perpetrated by the Allies during and after the Second World War. I have tried to recreate that time by reproducing passages from the novel by Gore Vidal, Julian, where the correspondence between Priscus and Libanius immerse the reader into the fascinating world of the 4th century of the Common Era.

Libanius, a central character in Vidal’s novel, existed in real life. On chapter 8 of The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World, Catherine Nixey wrote:

 

______ 卐 ______

 

At the end of the fourth century, the orator Libanius looked out and described in despair what he observed. He and other worshippers of the old gods saw, he said, their temples ‘in ruins, their ritual banned, their altars overturned, their sacrifices suppressed, their priests sent packing and their property divided up between a crew of rascals’.

They are powerful words; and it is a powerful image. Yet in the Christian histories, men like Libanius barely exist. The voices of the worshippers of the old gods are rarely, if ever, recorded. But they were there. Some voices, such as his, have come down to us…

For a Christian, reasoning was not shrouded in ambiguity: it was explicitly laid out in the Bible. And the Bible, on this point, was clear. As those thundering words of Deuteronomy had it, toleration of other religions and their altars was not what was required. Instead, the faithful were required to raze them to the ground… To a Christian there were not different but equally valid views. There were angels and there were demons. As the academic Ramsay MacMullen has put it, ‘there could be no compromise with the Devil’. And, as Christians made clear in a thousand hectoring sermons and a hundred fierce laws, objects associated with other religions belonged to the Dark Lord.

Then, some twenty years later, in AD 408, came one of the fiercest pronouncements yet. ‘If any images stand even now in the temples and shrines,’ this new law said, ‘they shall be torn from their foundations… The buildings themselves of the temples which are situated in cities or towns or outside the towns shall be vindicated to public use. Altars shall be destroyed in all places.’