Julian, 55

During the weeks that followed, we saw each other every day. Yet I came to know the Hierophant no better. On any subject not connected with the mysteries, he refused to speak. I gave up talking to him, accepting him as what he was: a palpable link with the holy past but not a human companion.

I need not describe the celebrations which precede the initiation, since they are known to everyone. Though I may not describe the mysteries themselves, I can say that in this particular year more people took part in the festivities than usual, to the chagrin of the Galileans.

The whole business takes nine days. The first day was hot and enervating. The proclamation was made and the sacred objects brought from Eleusis to the Eleusinion, a small temple at the foot of the acropolis where—among other interesting things—there is a complete list of Alcibiades’ personal property, seized when he profaned the mysteries one drunken night by imitating on a street corner the Hierophant’s secret rites. The sacred objects are contained in several jars tied with red ribbons. They are put in the Eleusinion, to be returned to Eleusis during the main procession, which is on the fifth day.

On the second day, we bathed in the sea and washed the pig each of us had bought for sacrifice. I chose the beach at Phaleron, and nearly lost the pig I had bought for six drachmae. It is an amazing sight to watch several thousand people bathing in the sea, each with a squealing pig.

The third day is one of sacrifice, and a long night.

The fourth day is sacred to Asklepios; one stays at home. On the fifth day the procession starts from the Dipylon Gate to Eleusis.

It was a lovely sight. An image of the god Iacchos, son of Demeter, is borne in a wooden carriage at the procession’s head. This part of the ceremony is sacred to him. Though all are supposed to walk to Eleusis, most of the well-to-do are carried in litters. I walked. My bodyguards complained, but I was exalted. I was crowned with myrtle and I carried not only the sacred branches tied with wool but also, according to tradition, new clothes in a bundle on a stick over my shoulder. Macrina accompanied me.

The day was cloudy, which made the journey pleasanter than it usually is at that time of the year. All told, there were perhaps a thousand of us in the procession, not counting the curious, which included a number of Galileans who shouted atheist curses at us.

On the outskirts of Athens, just off the main road, Macrina pointed to a complex of old buildings. “That is the most famous brothel in Greece,” she said with her usual delight in such things. “The shrine of Aphrodite.” Apparently, people come from all over the world to visit the shrine, where for a price they enjoy the “priestesses”. They pretend it is religion. Actually, it is mass prostitution. I could not disapprove more.

Just beyond the shrine there is an old bridge. Here the ordeal begins. On the bridge’s parapet sit men with faces covered by hoods. It is their traditional function to remind important people of their faults and to condemn their pride. I consoled myself by remembering that Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius had preceded me on this bridge. If they had survived humiliation, so could I.

“It won’t be bad.” Macrina tried to be reassuring. “They’re much too frightened of Constantius.” But I recalled how Hadrian had been jeered for his love of Antinoüs, and Hadrian was a reigning emperor, not mere cousin to one. I was sweating as we reached the bridge. All eyes were upon me. The hooded men—at least thirty of them—had just finished tormenting a local magistrate. They turned now to me. Macrina held my arm tight. Heart beating fast and eyes cast down, I walked slowly over the bridge. The jeering and curses were formidable. At first I tried not to listen, but then I recalled that this humiliation is an essential part of the mysteries: to rid oneself of pride. I listened. I was accused mostly of falseness and pretension. I was not a true scholar. I was a poseur. I looked like a goat. I was a coward and afraid to serve in the army (this was unexpected). I hated the Galileans. This made me nervous indeed but happily, it was said only once. After all, my tormentors were of the true religion and not apt to hold my dislike of the Galileans against me.

Finally, the bridge was crossed. The ordeal ended. Feeling purged and relieved (the worst is never so bad as one fears), I walked the rest of the way to Eleusis, with Macrina grumbling at my side. I’m afraid she taunted me quite as much as the men on the bridge. But as I drew closer to the mysteries, I was filled with such a sense of expectancy that nothing could disturb my mood.

It was night when we arrived at Eleusis. The city is a small one on the Saronic Gulf, with a view of the island of Salamis. Like most cities whose principal source of revenue is strangers, Eleusis is full of inns and cookshops and tradesmen eager to sell copies of sacred objects at ridiculously high prices. It is a wonder that any place remains sacred, considering the inevitable presence of those whose livelihood depends on cheating strangers. I am told that Delphi is even worse than Eleusis; while Jerusalem—which is of course “sacred” to the Galileans—is now a most distressing place to visit.

Torches blazed in every street of the town. Night was like day. Innkeepers solicited us, and at every street corner, men told of places to eat. Even vice was proposed, which shows how debased the local population is, for they should know better than anyone that during the pilgrims’ three days in Eleusis, they must fast, remain continent, and touch neither the body of one dead nor that of a woman who has just given birth; eggs and beans are also forbidden us, even after the first day’s fast.

Macrina and I followed the crowd to where the mysteries are enacted. Homer has described how the original temple was at the foot of the acropolis, in much the same spot as the present temple, or Telestrion, as it is called. This night everything was illuminated in honour of the Great Mysteries.

The entrance to the sacred enclosure is through a gate, even more noble than the Dipylon at Athens. We entered, passing through a roped-off section where guards and priests made sure that we were indeed initiates, remarkable by our dress and certain signs. The gate is so cunningly arranged that anyone looking through can see no more than a few yards of the sacred way; any further view of the Telestrion is broken by the large blank wall of the Ploutonion, a temple built over the original passage to Hades from which Persephone appeared.

Eyes smarting from torch smoke, Macrina and I ascended the sacred way, pausing first at the Kallichoros Well. I was overcome with awe, for this is the same well described by Homer. It is old beyond memory. It was here in the time when the gods walked the earth that the women of Eleusis danced in honour of Demeter.

Roman copy of Demeter after a Greek original from the
4th century BC. Compare it with the Roman mudblood kid
already at the beginning of the Christian Era in my previous post.

The opening of the well is several steps below the main terrace, and faced with magnificent marble. Near it stands a large basin containing sacred water. I bathed my hands and began to know Demeter and her grief. I was so moved that I almost neglected to pay the priestess the one drachma for the experience.

Next we entered the Ploutonion, which is set in a rocky hollow of the acropolis. The elmwood doors were shut to us, but the altar outside, cut in living rock, was illuminated.

Finally we came to the long stoa of Philon, which fronts the Telestrion. Beyond this blue-paved portico the blank façade of the holiest building on earth is set against the acropolis, which provides its fourth wall. There are greater and more splendid temples in the world, but there is none which quite inspires one’s reverence in the way the Telestrion does, for it has been holy since almost the first day of man, a creation of that beautiful lost world when the gods, not beleaguered, lived among us, and earth was simple and men good.

Since we were not yet initiates, we could not enter the Telestrion. At this point we were joined by two priests who led us to the house where the Eumolpidae have lived for a thousand years. We were to spend the night there. The Hierophant, however, did not join us. On this night of nights, he fasted and meditated.

Macrina and I sat up until dawn. “You must be admitted to the mysteries.” I scolded her, as I had done before.

But she was perverse. “How can I? I’m not one thing or the other. I don’t like the Christians because they are cruel. I don’t like the mysteries and all the rest because I don’t believe anything can help us when we are dead. Either we continue in some way, or we stop. But no matter what happens, it is beyond our control and there is no way of making a bargain with the gods. Consider the Christians, who believe there is a single god…”

“In three parts!”

“Well, yours is in a thousand bits. Anyway, if by some chance the Christians are right, then all this”—she gestured towards the Telestrion—“is wrong, and you will go to their hell rather than to your Elysium.”

“But the Galileans are wrong.”

“Who can say?”

“Homer. Thousands of years of the true faith. Are we to believe there was no god until the appearance of a rabble-rousing carpenter three hundred years ago? It is beyond sense to think that the greatest age of man was godless.”

“You must argue with the Twins,” said Macrina; then we spoke of matters which I shall not record.

Published in: on February 17, 2019 at 12:01 am  Comments (2)  
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Julian, 54

The Temple of Demeter by Joseph Gandy (1818). It gives us an idea
of the site at Eleusis that the Christians would destroy after Julian.

 
The Hierophant entered the reading room. He is a short plump man, not in the least impressive to look at. He saluted me gravely. His voice is powerful and he speaks old Greek exactly the way it was spoken two thousand years ago, for in the long descent of his family the same words have been repeated in exactly the same way from generation to generation. It is awesome to think that Homer heard what we still hear.

“I have been busy. I am sorry. But this is the sacred month. The mysteries begin in a week.” So he began, prosaically.

I told him that I wished to be initiated into all the mysteries: the lesser, the greater, and the highest. I realized that this would be difficult to arrange on such short notice, but I had not much time.

“It can be done, of course. But you will need to study hard. Have you a good memory?”

I said that I still retained most of Homer. He reminded me that the mysteries last for nine days and that there are many passwords, hymns and prayers which must be learned before the highest mystery can be revealed. “You must not falter.” The Hierophant was stern. I said that I thought I could learn what I needed to know in a week, for I do indeed have a good memory; at least it is good when properly inspired.

I was candid. I told him that if I lived, it was my hope to support Hellenism in its war with the Galileans.

He was abrupt. “It is too late,” he said, echoing Prohaeresius. “Nothing you can do will change what is about to happen.”

I had not expected such a response. “Do you know the future?”

“I am Hierophant,” he said simply. “The last Hierophant of Greece. I know many things, all tragic.”

I refused to accept this. “But how can you be the last? Why, for centuries…”

“Prince, these things are written at the beginning. No one may tamper with fate. When I die, I shall be succeeded not by a member of our family but by a priest from another sect. He will be in name, but not in fact, the final Hierophant. Then the temple at Eleusis will be destroyed—all the temples in all of Greece will be destroyed. The barbarians will come. The Christians will prevail. Darkness will fall.”

“For ever?”

“Who can say? The goddess has shown me no more than what I have told you. With me, the true line ends. With the next Hierophant, the mysteries themselves will end.”

“I cannot believe it!”

“That alters nothing.”

“But if I were to become Emperor…”

“It would make no difference.”

“Then obviously, I shall not become Emperor.”

I smiled at this subtlety, for we had got around the law forbidding prophecy.

“Whether you are Emperor or not, Eleusis will be in ruins before the century is done.”

I looked at him closely. We were sitting on a long bench beneath a high latticed window. Lozenges of light superimposed their own designs upon the tiled floor at our feet. Despite his terrible conviction, this small fat man with his protuberant eyes and fat hands was perfectly composed. I have never known such self-containment, even in Constantius.

“I refuse to believe,” I said at last, “that there is nothing we can do.”

He shrugged. “We shall go on as long as we can, as we always have.” He looked at me solemnly. “You must remember that because the mysteries come to an end makes them no less true. Those who were initiated will at least be fortunate in the underworld. Of course one pities those who come after us. But what is to be must be.”

He rose with dignity, his small plump body held tightly erect, as though by will he might stiffen the soft flesh. “I shall instruct you myself. We shall need several hours a day. Come to my house tonight.” With a small bow he withdrew.

Published in: on February 10, 2019 at 12:01 am  Comments Off on Julian, 54  
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Julian, 53

Henryk Siemiradzki, Phryne at the
Festival of Poseidon in Eleusis

VIII

Julian Augustus

A week after I arrived in Athens I met the Hierophant of Greece. Since I did not want the proconsul to know of this meeting, it was arranged to take place in the Library of Hadrian, a not much frequented building midway between the Roman and the Athenian agoras.

At noon I arrived at the library and went straight to the north reading room, enjoying as I always do the musty dry odour of papyrus and ink which comes from the tall niches where the scrolls and codices are kept. The high room with its coffered ceiling (for which we must thank Antinoüs’s protector) was empty. Here I waited for the Hierophant. I was extremely nervous, for he is the holiest of all men. I am forbidden by law to write his name but I can say that he belongs to the family of the Eumolpidae, one of the two families from which Hierophants are traditionally drawn. He is not only High Priest of Greece, he is custodian and interpreter of the mysteries of Eleusis which go back at least two thousand years, if not to the beginning of our race.

Those of us who have been admitted to the mysteries may not tell what we have seen or what we know. Even so, as Pindar wrote: “Happy is he who, having seen these rites, goes below the hollow earth; for he knows the end of life and he knows its god-sent beginning.” Sophocles described initiates as “Thrice-happy mortals, who having seen those rites depart for Hades; for them alone is it granted to have true life there; to the rest, evil.” I quote from memory. (Note to secretary: Correct quotations, if they are wrong.)

Eleusis is a city fourteen miles from Athens. For two thousand years the mysteries have been celebrated in that place, for it was at Eleusis that Persephone returned from the underworld to which she had been stolen by the death-god Hades and made his queen. When Persephone first vanished, her mother Demeter, the harvest goddess, sought her for nine days, neither eating nor drinking. (As I tell this story initiates will see the mystery unfold. But no one else may know what is meant.) On the tenth day Demeter came to Eleusis. She was received by the king and queen, who gave her a pitcher of barley water flavoured with mint which she drank all at once. When the king’s eldest son said, “How greedily you drink!” Demeter turned him into a lizard. But then, remorseful over what she had done, she conferred great powers upon the king’s youngest son, Triptolemus. She gave him seed corn, a wooden plough and a chariot drawn by serpents; he then travelled the earth teaching men agriculture. She did this for him not only to make up for what in her anger she had done to his brother, but also because Triptolemus was able to tell her what had happened to her daughter. He had been in the fields when the earth suddenly opened before him. Then a chariot drawn by black horses appeared, coming from the sea. The driver was Hades; in his arms he held Persephone. As the chariot careered at full speed into the cavern, the earth closed over them. Now Hades is brother to Zeus, king of the gods, and he had stolen the girl with Zeus’s connivance. When Demeter learned this, she took her revenge. She bade the trees not to bear fruit and the earth not to flower. Suddenly, the world was barren. Men starved. Zeus capitulated: if Persephone had not yet eaten the food of the dead, she might return to her mother. As it turned out, Persephone had eaten seven pomegranate seeds and this was enough to keep her forever in the underworld. But Zeus arranged a compromise. Six months of the year she would remain with Hades, as queen of Tartarus. The remaining six months she would join her mother in the world above. That is why the cold barren time of the year is six months and the warm fruitful time six months. Demeter also gave the fig tree to Attica, and forbade the cultivation of beans. This holy story is acted out in the course of the mysteries. I cannot say more about it. The origin of the ceremony goes back to Crete and, some say, to Libya. It is possible that those places knew similar mysteries, but it is a fact that Eleusis is the actual place where Persephone returned from the underworld. I have myself seen the cavern from which she emerged.

Now: for those who have been initiated, I have in the lines above given in the form of a narrative a clear view of what happens after death. Through number and symbol, I have in a page revealed everything. But the profane may not unravel the mystery. They will merely note that I have told an old story of the old gods.

Published in: on February 3, 2019 at 1:09 pm  Comments Off on Julian, 53  
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Dark night of the soul

I’m looking forward to Richard Spencer and James Edwards running for president and vice president this year to let white nationalists know that, legally, they’re not going anywhere (cf. Charlottesville).

The time has come to speak about a revolution within the limits allowed by the law of the United States. As today the book Siege is the most popular of the radical wing of the nationalists, I must say a few words about the author and Siege readers. Recently, a friend posted this on his Twitter account:

I think James Mason’s current philosophy—that there’s no need for revolutionary action because NS Germany sacrificed for us all, just wait until the climax comes—is related to the fact that Mason’s had enough days of action and is now a 66 year old Boomer in retirement phase.

Another friend emailed me:

James Mason’s Christian Identity may seem an obvious point to start at. Not that he is CI of course, but that he apparently does nothing to vanquish Satanism from Atomwaffen [Division]. If he truly believed in his own religion then he would be writing multiple articles denouncing Satanism and proselytising his theological beliefs, and yet he concentrates on doomsaying and the occasional news commentary. If he believes in fire and brimstone then he should give them fire and brimstone.

Not long ago Mason spoke about the entire world being punished as in the Old Testament, the innocent along with the guilty (listen to his brief audios: here). But what about the revolution that he used to preach? Is it possible that Christianity has tamed the blond beast? There are many 66-year-old Islamists who yearn to die heroically in Jihad attacks for their holy cause. What would have happened if, instead of the Christian pond to which Mason fell after writing Siege, he had reached the towers that appear below? Would he still promote revolution?

Impossible to know. But I still would like to say something about the pond.

I do not believe in the magic of the Tarot. But I do believe, as Jung said, that the figures in the pack of cards represent archetypal symbols. And from this angle I can use the symbol of The Moon to offer my views on Mason and his epigones. Unlike the ‘psychoanalysis’ of the Jew Freud, Jung’s analyses had much more Aryan overtones. So here I would like to interpret the two quotations cited above, and what I’ve heard of Mason, from the point of view of what Sallie Nichols wrote about the card of The Moon. [1]

As we see in the picture, the hero that Nichols sees in other Tarot cards does not appear in The Moon. The intellectual ego of the hero has been submerged in a pond. He fell deeply into a depression, because unlike the hopeful card The Star, no human figure appears to help him out of the darkness. He is as immersed in the aqueous unconscious as is the prehistoric crab imprisoned in the pond. This is the blackest moment in the journey of the twenty-two cards of the Major Arcana: a journey towards the knowledge of our Self (the ideal of the Oracle of Delphi).

The territory that is on the other side of the water is unknown land, a country unexplored until now. Advancing through this place full of abysmal terrors and infinite promises (the towers of distance) requires great courage, more than Mason and his epigones have shown in their later years, as it involves full apostasy (not pseudo-apostasy) from the religion of our parents. As in the initiation rites that we shall see in the forthcoming articles about Emperor Julian, in the transition that the hero must now face he should go by naked and alone.

He cannot go back to the mandates of Christian ethics because, expelled from worldly conventions, the hero has been rejected by civilisation, by Western humanity. It takes courage and faith to act as our ancestral enemy, Abraham, did: to get away ‘from your people, from your loved ones, from your home, in search of the land to which I will lead you’ (Gen. 12: 1).

In a route that goes exactly opposite Jerusalem (to Jerusalem all whites of our century are heading), our hero must transform himself to be reborn from the night of terror. We find other accidents in the sky that are bad omens, because the multicoloured drops that appear, unlike the card of The Sun, are directed from the earth to the sky. It is as if the Goddess Moon, as a devouring mother, called to herself all the creative energy of the land of the white man, leaving it desolate and empty.

It is the Dark Night of the Soul that the most famous saints of the language of Cervantes spoke about, as in the poetry of Saint John of the Cross. In psychological terms, it symbolises a victory of Jerusalem over Rome: the devouring aspects of the unconscious that have resulted in a historical psychosis throughout the West. The Moon of the image seems to suck the energies of the hero, leaving him totally weakened to even think about revolutionary action.

But rebelling against Judeo-Christianity also has its perils. The dogs of Hecate, also trapped under the spell of the Goddess of Night, could tear the hero apart, leaving him raging and foaming at the mouth into a perpetual night: a psychosis without recovery like the one Nietzsche suffered from 1889 to 1900, when he died. Only in the regions of greatest terror, such as the darkest hour of the West, can the golden treasure be found. As Jung said, enlightenment is not achieved by imagining (as stupid New Agers do) figures of light. It is achieved by making ourselves familiar with our darkest side (what I do with my autobiographical books).

The hero sees the river crab trapped in the pond. He feels that it can be prepared to abandon his annoying carapace (the last Christian vestiges) and climb the scale of evolution (as the Greeks, Romans, and also those who dined at the Führer’s table had done). Wet with our own dew of the lacrimae lunae, the tears of the moon, when we are faced with this card the golden towers look very attractive. One wants to move forward to discover what’s inside them. There is no possible return: the road, especially in other pictorial versions of the Tarot’s Moon, leads clearly forward.

The towers of the card are the knowledge that this site provides, especially what we say here about the history of Christianity and how Christian ethics have turned the Aryans into lunatics: a perpetual night of the soul from which not even the revolutionaries have awakened. Regular visitors to this site will remember that, last July, I interrupted my weekly publication of Siege. Mason had written:

In Southern Europe, Christianity came to power slowly, via more subtle means, while in Northern Europe it was brought to power largely by the use of the sword.

Interspersed in Siege’s text I offered my reply:

Mason wrote this article the year of my first visit to the US. There was no internet and Mason was completely unaware that Southern Europe had suffered an ISIS-like takeover by fanatic Christians after Constantine empowered them. Remember: the real history of early Christianity has only been revealed to the general public of our times thanks to the efforts of Karlheinz Deschner in German, Vlassis Rassias’ book Demolish Them in Greek, and more recently Catherine Nixey in English. At the time that Mason wrote his article only ivory-tower academics knew about the apocalypse that southern whites had suffered in the 4th and 5th centuries.

But not only ivory-tower academics knew about real history. To write Julian Gore Vidal had to read a huge amount of classical literature while living in Rome (he wrote the novel from April 1959 to January 1964). That knowledge, the one that Vidal became acquainted with without knowing this site, is the treasure that the towers of the faraway keep. Ever since I read the book of Nichols, those towers have reminded me of the library tower of The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco, located in the Middle Ages when knowledge of certain forbidden books was feared by a monk who began to poison those who dared to read them.

Satanism in Atomwaffen? That’s pseudo-apostasy, as these bubs are still immersed in the pond of Xtian symbols.

Christian Identity influence on Mason? All that and more is just howling at the Moon in a dense and haunted night instead of reaching the finis Africae.[2]

_______

[1] Sallie Nichols (1908-1982) was a lecturer at Jungian organisations in California. A long-time student of Jung’s psychology, she had the opportunity to study at the Carl Gustav Jung Institute in Zurich while Jung was still alive.

[2] In Eco’s novel the finis Africae was a hidden room in the tower that contained the forbidden works of the pagans.

Julian, 52

Julian presiding at a conference of Sectarians
(Edward Armitage, 1875)

 
Priscus: Macrina was a bitch. We all detested her, but because she was the niece of Prohaeresius we endured her. Julian’s description of our first meeting is not accurate. That is to say, what he remembers is not what I remember. For instance, he says that his bodyguard arrived before I answered Macrina. This is not true. I told her then and there that my silence masked compassion for the intellectual shortcomings of others since I did not wish to wound anyone, even her. This caused some laughter. Then the guards arrived.

For the historic record I should give my first impression of Julian. He was a handsome youth, thick in the chest like all his family, and muscular, a gift of nature since in those days he seldom exercised. He was far too busy talking. Gregory was not entirely inaccurate when he described Julian’s breathless and continual conversation. In fact, I used to say to him, “How can you expect to learn anything when you do all the talking?” He would laugh excitedly and say, “But I talk and listen at the same time. That is my art!” Which perhaps was true. I was always surprised at how much he did absorb.

Not until I read the memoir did I know about the conversation with Prohaeresius. I never suspected the old man of such cunning, or boldness. It was a dangerous thing to admit to a strange prince that he had consulted an oracle. But he always had a weakness for oracles.

I never liked the old man much. I always felt he had too much of the demagogue in him and too little of the philosopher. He also took his role as a great old man seriously. He made speeches on any subject, anywhere. He cultivated princes the way bishops cultivate relics. He was a formidable orator, but his writings were banal.

Let me tell you something about Macrina since Julian is not candid and if I don’t tell you, you will never know. They had a love affair which was the talk of the city. Macrina behaved with her usual clownishness, discussing the affair with everyone in intimate detail. She declared that Julian was a formidable lover, indicating that her own experience had been considerable. Actually, she was probably a virgin when they met. There were not many men of her set who would have made the effort to make her a nonvirgin. After all, Athens is famous for the complaisance of its girls, and not many men like to bed a talking-woman, especially when there are so many quiet ones to choose from. I am positive that Julian was Macrina’s first lover.

There was a funny story going around at about this time, no doubt apocryphal. Julian and Macrina were overheard while making love. Apparently all during the act each one continued to talk. Macrina is supposed to have confuted the Pythagoreans while Julian restated the Platonic powers, all this before and during orgasm. They were well matched.

Julian seldom mentioned Macrina to me. He was embarrassed, knowing that I knew of the affair. The last time we spoke of her was in Persia when he was writing the memoir. He wanted to know what had become of her, whom she had married, how she looked. I told him that she was somewhat heavy, that she had married an Alexandrian merchant who lived at Piraeus, that she has three children. I did not tell him that the oldest child was his son.

Yes. That is the famous scandal. Some seven months after Julian left Athens, Macrina gave birth. During the pregnancy she stayed with her father. Despite her daring ways she was surprisingly conventional in this matter. She was desperate for a husband even though it was widely known that the bastard was Julian’s and therefore a mark of honour for the mother. Luckily, the Alexandrian married her and declared the child was his.

I saw the boy occasionally while he was growing up. He is now in his twenties and looks somewhat like his father, which makes it hard for me to be with him. Stoic though I am, in certain memories there is pain. Fortunately, the boy lives now in Alexandria, where he runs his stepfather’s trading office. He has, Macrina once told me, no interest in philosophy. He is a devout Christian. So that is the end of the house of Constantine. Did Julian know that he had a son? I think not. Macrina swears she never told him, and I almost believe her.

A few years ago I met Macrina in what we Athenians call the Roman agora. We greeted one another amiably, and sat together on the steps of the water-clock tower. I asked about her son.

“He is beautiful! He looks exactly like his father, an emperor, a god!” Macrina has lost none of her old fierce flow of language, though the edge to her wit is somewhat blunted. “But I don’t regret it.”

“The resemblance? Or being the mother of Julian’s son?”

She did not answer. She looked absently across the agora, crowded as always with lawyers and tax collectors. Her dark eyes were as glittering as ever, though her face has grown jowly and the heavy bosom fallen with maternity and age. She turned to me abruptly.

“He wanted to marry me. Did you know that, Priscus? I could have been Empress of Rome. What a thought! Would you have liked that? Do you think I would have been… decorative? Certainly unusual. How many empresses have been philosophers in their own tight? It would have been amusing. I should have worn a lot of jewellery, even though I detest ornaments. Look at me!” She tugged at the simple garment she wore. Despite her husband’s wealth, Macrina wore no tings, no brooches, no combs in her hair, no jewels in her ears. “But empresses must look the part. They have no choice. Of course I should have had a bad character. I would have modelled myself on Messalina.”

“You? Insatiable?” I could not help laughing.

“Absolutely!” The old edge returned briefly; the black eyes were humorous. “I’m a faithful wife now because I am fat and no one wants me. At least no one I would want wants me. But I’m drawn to beauty. I should love to be a whore! Except I’d want to choose the clientele, which is why I should have loved being empress! History would have loved me, too! Macrina the Insatiable!”

Anyone who saw us on those steps would have thought: what an eminently respectable couple! An old philosopher and a dignified matron, solemnly discussing the price of corn or the bishop’s latest sermon. Instead Macrina was intoning a hymn to lust.

“What would Julian have thought?” I managed to interject before she gave too many specific details of her appetite. It is curious how little interested we are in the sexual desires of those who do not attract us. “I wonder.” She paused. “I’m not sure he would have minded, No. No. No, he would have minded. Oh, not out of jealousy. I don’t think he was capable of that. He simply disliked excess. So do I, for that matter, but then I have never had the chance to be excessive, except in food, of course.” She patted herself. “You see the result? Of course I could still be a beauty in Persia. They revel in fat women.” Then: “Did he ever mention me to you? Later? When you were with him in Persia?”

I shook my head. I’m not certain why I lied to her, unless dislike is sufficient motive.

“No. I suppose he wouldn’t.” She did not seem distressed. One must admire the strength of her egotism. “Before he went back to Milan, he told me that if he lived he would marry me. Contrary to gossip, he did not know that I was pregnant then. I never told him. But I did tell him that I wanted to be his wife, although if Constantius had other plans for him (which of course he did) I would not grieve. Oh, I was a formidable girl!”

“Did you ever hear from him again?”

She shook her head. “Not even a letter. But shortly after he became Emperor he told the new proconsul of Greece to come see me and ask if there was anything I wanted. I shall never forget the look of surprise on the proconsul’s face when he saw me. One look assured him that Julian could not have had any amatory interest in this fat lady. He was puzzled, poor man… Do you think Julian knew about our son? It was not the best-kept secret.”

I said I did not think so. And I do not think so. I certainly never told him, and who else would have dared?

“Did you know Julian’s wife?”

I nodded. “In Gaul. She was much older than he. And very plain.”

“So I’ve heard. I was never jealous. After all, he was forced to marry her. Was he really celibate after she died?”

“As far as I know.”

“He was strange! I’m sure the Christians would have made a saint out of him if he had been one of theirs, and his poor bones would be curing liver complaints at this very moment. Well, that is all over, isn’t it?” She glanced at the water clock behind us. “I’m late. How much do you bribe the tax assessor?”

“Hippia looks after those matters.”

“Women are better at such things. It has to do with details. We delight in them. We are children of the magpie.” She rose heavily, with some difficulty. She steadied herself against the white marble wall of the tower. “Yes, I should have liked to have been Empress of Rome.”

“I doubt it. If you had been empress, you would be dead by now. The Christians would have killed you.”

“Do you think I would have minded that?” She turned full on me and the large black eyes blazed like obsidian in the sun. “Don’t you realize—can’t you tell just by looking at me, my dear wise old Priscus— that not a day has passed in twenty years I haven’t wished I were dead!”

Macrina left me on the steps. As I watched the blunt figure waddle through the crowd towards the magistrate’s office, I recalled her as she had been years before and I must say for a moment I was touched by the urgency of that cry from the heart. But it does not alter the fact that she was and is a sublimely disagreeable woman. I’ve not talked to her since that day, though we always nod when we see one another in the street.

Published in: on January 20, 2019 at 12:00 pm  Comments Off on Julian, 52  
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Christianity’s Criminal History, 112

Editor’s note: Here we see once again some passages on the historical Libanius: a central character in Gore Vidal’s Julian. What Deschner says here about Libanius is splendidly novelized by Vidal in the very final paragraph of his novel.

To contextualise these translations of Karlheinz Deschner’s encyclopaedic history of the Church in 10-volumes, Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums, read the abridged translation of Volume I.
 

The Western world darkens more and more

Culture was highly esteemed in the 4th and 5th centuries. It was one of the legacies of antiquity and enjoyed an ‘almost religious veneration’ (Dannenbauer). Still in the year 360 a law of the emperor Constantius could declare that education was the supreme virtue. And really many noble families of that time, Gallic and Roman, were consecrated to it and particularly in the bosom of the Senatorial proceedings.

But they were already simple custodians of the culture, to which they did not enrich. And everywhere there were circles and social forces of a very different kind, even in the highest positions. The Christian king Theodoric the Great was no longer able to write his own name on the documents: neither could most of the Christian princes. Theodoric wrote the four letters LEGI (‘I read it’) by means of an aureus mold expressly forged for him. The instruction of the Goth children was practically forbidden by him, since, as he seems to have said, he who trembled before the master’s blows would never know how to despise the cuts and rushes of the sword in battle.

In Gaul, apparently, where the school system had flourished from the beginning of the 2nd century until the end of the 4th century, public schools are disappearing over the course of the next century, no matter how much here and there, in Lyon, Vienne, Bordeaux and Clermont there still are schools of grammar and rhetoric in addition to, naturally, the private ones. But all the teachings, at least the literary, served exclusively for the collection of material for sermons and treatises, to deal with the Bible and for the consolidation of the faith. Scientific inquiry was already a thing of the past: it no longer counted or was appreciated. The knowledge of Greek, which for centuries was the requirement of every authentic culture, became a rarity. Even the Roman classics, such as Horace, Ovid and Catullus, were cited less and less.

Libanius, the champion of Hellenistic culture, the most famous professor of rhetoric of the century, complains about the aversion aroused by that profession. ‘They see’, he says, referring to his students, ‘that this cause is despised and thrown on the floor; that does not bring fame, power or wealth but a painful servitude under many lords, parents, mothers, pedagogues and other students, who put things upside down and believe that it is the teacher who needs them. When they see all this they avoid this depreciated profession like a boat the pitfalls’.

In the time of Augustine there are hardly any schools of philosophy in the West. Philosophy is frowned upon, it is a thing of the devil, the original father of all ‘heresy’, and it causes fear to the pious. Even in a centre of culture as important as Bordeaux philosophy is no longer taught. And even in the East, the largest and most important of the universities of the Roman Empire, that of Constantinople, has only one chair of philosophy out of a total of 31.

The knowledge of something that had existed for a long time was lost in almost all areas. The spiritual horizon became increasingly narrower. Ancient culture languished from Gaul to Africa, while in Italy it practically disappeared. The interest in natural science vanished. Also jurisprudence, at least in the West, suffers ‘havoc’, an ‘astonishing demolition’ (Wieacker).

The bishop Paulinus of Nola, who died in 431, never read a historian: a typical attitude of the moment. Whole eras fall in the oblivion, for example, the time of the Roman emperors. The only renowned historian in the late 4th century is Ammianus Marcellinus, a non-Christian. Entire synods forbid the bishops to read ‘pagan’ books. In short: scientific research ceases; experimental testing stops; people think increasingly with less autonomy.

A few decades later no doctor could heal Bishop Gregory de Tours, a man with a mind full of superstitions, but he could miraculously be healed through a drink of water with some dust taken from the tomb of St. Martin.

Only clerics will still read.

Julian, 51

Julian presiding at a conference of Sectarians
(Edward Armitage, 1875)

 
In the dim atrium, students were again gathered, talking strenuously all at once as students will. When they saw us enter, they fell silent. I daresay the sight of me alarmed them. But Prohaeresius told them I was to be treated as just another student.

“Not that he is, of course, in spite of the beard and the old clothes.” They laughed. “He is different from us.” I was about to say that even members of Constantine’s family have some (if not much) resemblance to the human family, when he said: “He is a true philosopher. He has chosen to be what we must be.” This was accepted with some delight. Not until a day later did the irony of what he said occur to me.

Macrina took me by the arm and said, “You must meet Priscus. He is the most disagreeable man in Athens.”

Priscus sat on a stool, surrounded by students. He is a lean, cold-faced man, nearly as tall as Prohaeresius. He rose when we approached him and murmured, “Welcome.” I was pleased to meet this great teacher whom I had long known by reputation, for he is as famous for his wit as he is for his ambiguities. He is also completely without enthusiasm, which right off made him a good foil for me since I am often excited by the trivial. We were friends from the start. He is with me now in Persia.

“Try to pin him down,” said Macrina, turning to me, her hand on Priscus’s lean arm as though presenting him to me for a bout of wrestling, “on anything. We think of him as the master of evasion. He never argues.”

With a look of distaste which I have come to know so well (and fear when it is turned on me!), Priscus got his arm loose from Macrina’s grasp. “Why should I argue? I know what I know. And others are always quick to tell me what they know, or think they know. There is no need for confrontation.”

“But surely you must find that new thoughts occur in argument?” I was naïve, of course; I pressed him hard. “After all, Socrates led others to wisdom through argument and conversation.”

“The two are not quite the same thing. I teach through conversation, or try to. But argument is a vice in this city. Glib men can almost always score points off wiser but less well-spoken men. Nowadays style in speaking is everything; content nothing. Most of the Sophists are actors—worse, they are lawyers. And the young men pay to hear them perform, like street singers.”

“Priscus attacks me!” Prohaeresius had joined us. He was amused at what was obviously an old discussion.

“You know what I think.” Priscus was severe. “You are the worst of the lot because you are the best performer.” He turned to me. “He is so eloquent that every Sophist in Athens hates him.”

“All but you,” observed Macrina.

Priscus ignored her. “A few years ago his confreres decided that he was too popular. So they bribed the proconsul…”

“Careful,” said Macrina. “We must not speak of bribed officials in front of what may one day be the greatest official of them all.”

“Bribed the proconsul,” said Priscus as though she had not spoken, “to exile our host. This was done. But then the proconsul retired and was succeeded by a younger man who was so indignant at what had happened that he allowed Prohaeresius to return. But the Sophists did not give up easily. They continued to plot against their master. So the proconsul held a meeting at the University…”

“At my uncle’s suggestion.”

Prohaeresius was amused. “Macrina allows us no secrets. Yes, I put him up to it. I wanted to get my enemies all together in one place in order that I might…”

“Dispatch them,” said Macrina.

Win them,” said her uncle.

“Beat them,” said Macrina.

Priscus continued. “It was a formidable display. Everyone was gathered in the main hall of the University. Friends were nervous. Enemies were active. The proconsul arrived. He took charge of the assembly. He announced that a theme should be proposed for Prohaeresius to argue. Any theme. The assembly could choose it. At first no one said a word.”

“Until my uncle saw two of his very worst enemies skulking in the back. He called on them to set a theme. They tried to escape, but the proconsul ordered his guards to bring them back.”

Priscus looked dour indeed. “It was the guards, I suggest, that won the day for virtue.”

“The honeyed tongue of Priscus!” The old man laughed. “You may be right. Though I suspect the bad judgment of the enemy helped most, for they set me a theme of remarkable obscenity and limited scope.”

“Which side of a woman is the most pleasing, front or back.” Macrina grinned.

“But he accepted the challenge,” said Priscus. “He spoke with such effectiveness that the audience maintained a Pythagorean silence.”

“He also insisted that shorthand reporters from the law court take down every word.” In an oblique way, Macrina was proud of her uncle’s prowess. “He also insisted there be no applause.”

“It was a memorable speech,” Priscus continued. “First, he presented the argument in all its particulars. Then he took one side… the front. After an hour, he said, ‘Now observe carefully whether I remember all the arguments that I used earlier.’ He then repeated the speech in all its intricate detail, only this time he took the opposite point of view… the back. In spite of the proconsul’s order, applause filled the hall. It was the greatest triumph of memory and eloquence heard in our time.”

“And…?” Prohaeresius knew that Priscus would not finish without a sudden twist to the knife.

And? Your enemies were completely routed and where before they despised you, now they hate you.” Priscus turned to me. “They nearly had his life the next year. They still plot against him.”

“Which proves?” Prohaeresius was as curious as I to learn what Priscus was up to.

“That victories in argument are useless. They are showy. What is spoken always causes more anger than any silence. Debate of this sort convinces no one. Aside from the jealousies such a victory arouses, there is the problem of the vanquished. I speak now of philosophers. The one who is defeated, even if he realizes at last that he is fighting truth, suffers from having been publicly proved wrong. He then becomes savage and is apt to end by hating philosophy. I would prefer not to lose anyone for civilization.”

“Well said,” Prohaeresius agreed.

“Or, perhaps,” said the devilish Macrina, “you yourself don’t want to lose an argument, knowing that you are apt to turn bitter as a result of public humiliation. Oh, Priscus, you are vain! You won’t compete for fear you might not win. As it is, none of us knows how wise you are. Silence is his legend, Prince. And he is all the greater for that. Each time Prohaeresius speaks he limits himself, for words limit everything, being themselves limited. That’s why Priscus is wisest of all: silence cannot be judged. Silence masks all things or no thing. Only Priscus can tell us what his silence conceals, but since he won’t, we suspect him great.”

Priscus did not answer. Macrina was the only woman I have ever known who could speak with so many odd twistings and turnings. Irony is not usual to woman, but then Macrina was not in any way usual. Before we had an opportunity to see if Priscus could answer her, we were interrupted by the arrival of my bodyguard, as well as an officer of the proconsul’s staff. Word had already spread throughout Athens that I was at the house of Prohaeresius. I was again taken into custody.

Published in: on January 13, 2019 at 12:26 pm  Comments (1)  
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Julian, 50

Julian presiding at a conference of Sectarians
(Edward Armitage, 1875)

 
I was placed in the chair of honour beside the fountain, as Prohaeresius presented his wife Amphiclea to me. She is a sad woman who has never got over the deaths of two daughters. She spoke seldom. Obviously philosophy has been no consolation to her. I also met Macrina’s father, Anatolius, a boorish man who looked like an innkeeper, which he was. Macrina was not fond of him.

Basil and Gregory excused themselves. Gregory was most winning. He offered to take me to all the lectures; he would be my guide. Basil was equally pleasant though he said that he might have to excuse himself from most expeditions. “It’s only a few months before I go back. I have a great deal to do, if I’m spared.” And he pressed both hands to his middle, with a look of mock agony. “My liver feels as if Prometheus’s vultures were tearing at it!”

“Stay out of draughts, then,” I found myself saying too quickly, “or you may conceive and lay a vulture’s egg!” Prohaeresius and Macrina both got the allusion and burst out laughing. Basil was not much amused and I regretted the quickness with which I had spoken. I often do this. It is a fault. Gregory shook my hand fondly; then he and Basil left. To this day he is probably afraid that I shall have my revenge on him for what he said about me. But I am not like that, as the world knows.

We drank wine in the garden. Prohaeresius asked me about matters at court. He was most interested in politics; in fact, when my cousin Constans wanted to ennoble him as a sign of admiration, he offered Prohaeresius the honorary title of praetorian prefect. But the old man said that he preferred to be food comptroller for Athens (a significant title Constantius always reserved for himself). Then, exercising the authority that went with his title, he got the corn supply of several islands diverted to Athens. Needless to say, he is a hero to the city.

Prohaeresius was suspicious of me from the beginning. And for all his geniality he seemed by his questions to be trying to get me to confess to some obscure reason for visiting Athens. He spoke of the splendours of Milan and Rome, the vitality of Constantinople, the elegant viciousness of Antioch, the high intellectual tone of Pergamon and Nicomedia; he even praised Caesarea—“the Metropolis of Letters”, as Gregory always refers to it, and not humorously. Any one of these cities, Prohaeresius declared, ought to attract me more than Athens. I told him bluntly that I had come to see him.

“And the beautiful city?” Macrina suddenly interrupted.

“And the beautiful city,” I repeated dutifully.

Prohaeresius rose suddenly. “Let us take a walk by the river,” he said. “Just the two of us.”

At the Ilissos we stopped opposite the Kallirrhoe Fountain, a sort of stone island so hollowed and shaped by nature that it does indeed resemble a fountain; from it is drawn sacred water. We sat on the bank, among long grass brown from August heat. Plane trees sheltered us from the setting sun. The day was golden; the air still. All around us students read or slept. Across the river, above a row of dusty trees, rose Hymettos. I was euphoric.

“My dear boy,” Prohaeresius addressed me now without ceremony as father to son. “You are close to the fire.”

It was a most unexpected beginning. I lay full length on the thick brown turf while he sat cross-legged beside me, very erect, his back to the bole of a plane tree. I looked up at him, noting how rounded and youthful the neck was, how firm the jaw line for one so old.

“Fire? The sun’s? The earth’s?”

Prohaeresius smiled. “Neither. Nor hell’s fire, as the Christians say.”

“As you believe?” I was not certain to what extent he was a Galilean; even now, I don’t know. He has always been evasive. I cannot believe such a fine teacher and Hellenist could be one of them, but anything is possible, as the gods daily demonstrate.

“We are not ready for that dialogue just yet,” he said. He gestured towards the swift shrunken river at our feet. “There, by the way, is where Plato’s Phaidros is set. They had good talk that day, and on this same bank.”

“Shall we equal it?”

“Some day, perhaps.” He paused. I waited, as though for an omen. “You will be emperor one day.” The old man said this evenly, as though stating fact.

“I don’t want to be. I doubt if I shall be. Remember that of all our family, only Constantius and I are left. As the others went, so I shall go. That’s why I’m here. I wanted to see Athens first.”

“Perhaps you mean that. But I… well, I confess to a weakness for oracles.” He paused significantly. That was enough. One word more and he would have committed treason. It is forbidden by law to consult an oracle concerning the emperor—an excellent law, by the way, for who would ever obey a ruler the date of whose death was known and whose successor had been identified? I must say that I was shocked at the old man’s candour. But also pleased that he felt he could trust me.

“Is it predicted?” I was as bold as he. I incriminated myself, hoping to prove to him my own good faith.

He nodded. “Not the day, not the year, merely the fact. But it will be tragedy.”

“For me? Or for the state?”

“No one knows. The oracle was not explicit.” He smiled. “They seldom are. I wonder why we put such faith in them.”

“Because the gods do speak to us in dreams and reveries. That is a fact. Both Homer and Plato…”

“Perhaps they do. Anyway, the habit of believing is an old one… I knew all your family.” Idly he plucked at the brown grass with thick-veined old hands. “Constans was weak. But he had good qualities. He was not the equal of Constantius, of course. You are.”

“Don’t say that.”

“I merely observe.” He turned to me suddenly. “Now it is my guess, Julian, that you mean to restore the worship of the old gods.”

My breath stopped. “You presume too much.” My voice shook despite a hardness of tone which would have done justice to Constantius himself. Sooner or later one learns the Caesarian trick: that abrupt shift in tone which is harsh reminder of the rod and axe we wield over all men.

“I hope that I do,” said the old man, serenely.

“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have spoken like that. You are the master.”

He shook his head. “No, you are the master, or will be soon. I want only to be useful. To warn you that despite what your teacher Maximus may say, the Christians have won.”

“I don’t believe it!” Fiercely and tactlessly I reminded him that only a small part of the Roman population was actually Galilean.

“Why do you call them Galileans?” he asked, interrupting my harangue.

“Because Galilee was where he came from!”

Prohaeresius saw through me. “You fear the word ‘Christian’,” he said, “for it suggests that those who call themselves that are indeed followers of a king, a great lord.”

“A mere name cannot affect what they are.” I evaded him. But he is right. The name is a danger to us.

I resumed my argument: most of the civilized world is neither Hellenist nor Galilean, but suspended in between. With good reason, a majority of the people hate the Galileans. Too many innocents have been slaughtered in their mindless doctrinal quarrels. I need only mention the murder of Bishop George at Alexandria to recall vividly to those who read this the savagery of that religion not only towards its enemies (whom they term “impious”) but also towards its own followers.

Prohaeresius tried to argue with me, but though he is the world’s most eloquent man, I would not listen to him. Also, he was uncharacteristically artless in his defence of the Galileans, which made me suspect he was not one of them. Like so many, he is in a limbo between Hellenism and the new death cult. Nor do I think he is merely playing it safe. He is truly puzzled. The old gods do seem to have failed us, and I have always accepted the possibility that they have withdrawn from human affairs, terrible as that is to contemplate. But mind has not failed us. Philosophy has not failed us. From Homer to Plato to Iamblichos the true gods continue to be defined in their many aspects and powers: multiplicity contained by the One, all emanating from truth. Or as Plotinus wrote: “Of its nature the soul loves God and longs to be at one with him.” As long as the soul of man exists, there is God. It is all so clear.

I realized that I was making a speech to a master of eloquence, but I could not stop myself. Dozing students sat up and looked at me curiously, convinced I was mad, for I was waving my arms in great arcs as I am prone to do when passionate. Prohaeresius took it all in good part.

“Believe what you must,” he said at last.

“But you believe, too! You believe in what I believe. You must or you could not teach as you do.”

“I see it differently. That is all. But try to be practical. The thing has taken hold. The Christians govern the world through Constantius. They have had almost thirty years of wealth and power. They will not surrender easily. You come too late, Julian. Of course if you were Constantine and this were forty years ago and we were pondering these same problems, then I might say to you: “Strike! Outlaw them! Rebuild the temples!’ But now is not then. You are not Constantine. They have the world. The best one can hope to do is civilize them. That is why I teach. That is why I can never help you.”

I respected him that day. I respect him now. If he is still alive when this campaign is ended, I shall want to talk to him again. How we all long to make conversions!

Like two conspirators, we returned to his house. We now had a bond between us which could not be broken, for each had told the other true and dangerous things. Fear defined our friendship and gave it savour.

Published in: on December 16, 2018 at 12:24 pm  Comments (4)  
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Julian, 49

Julian presiding at a conference of Sectarians
(Edward Armitage, 1875)

 
Julian Augustus

Even today, Prohaeresius is a man I greatly admire. I say “even today” because he is a Galilean and has opposed my edict forbidding Galileans to teach the classics. Though I went out of my way to exempt him from this ban, he has gone into retirement. When I met him, he had been for forty years the city’s most famous teacher of rhetoric. His house is a large one near the Ilissos River. At all hours it is—or was—crowded with students asking questions, answering questions.

At first I stood at the back of the crowded dim room and watched Prohaeresius as he sat comfortably in a large wooden chair. He was then eighty years of age: tall, vigorous, with a powerful chest, extraordinary black eyes, not unlike those of his niece Macrina. His hair was white and thick and curled richly upon his brow, like seafoam on a beach. He was in every way a handsome man, with a voice to match. In fact, he was such a master of eloquence that when my cousin Constans sent him on a mission to Rome, the Romans not only admitted that he was the most eloquent speaker they had ever heard, they set up a bronze statue to him in the forum with the inscription: “From Rome, the Queen of Cities, to Prohaeresius, the King of Eloquence.” I mention this to emphasize his gifts, for the people of the city of Rome are the most jaded and bored in the world. Or so everyone tells me. I have yet to see my capital city.

Prohaeresius was consoling a student who complained of poverty. “I make no case for poverty. But it is at least bearable in youth. Salt to the day. When I first came from Armenia to Athens, I lived with a friend in an attic, just off the Street of the Slaughter-houses. Between us we had one cloak and one blanket. In winter we broke the day in watches. When he went out, wearing the cloak, I would huddle under the blanket. When he came back, I would take the cloak while he kept warm in bed. You have no idea how good this is for one’s style. I would prepare speeches of such eloquence that I brought tears to my own eyes as I declaimed them into that old blanket, teeth chattering from the cold.” There was an amused murmur. I had the sense that this was a favourite story, often told.

Then Gregory spoke to him in a low voice. Prohaeresius nodded and got to his feet. I was startled to see that he was nearer seven than six feet tall.

“We have a visitor,” he said to the others. All eyes were turned to me and I looked nervously to the floor. “A scholar of some renown.” Despite the irony of this, he said it amiably. “The cousin of a young friend of mine, now dead. Fellow scholars, the most noble Julian, heir to all the material world, as we are heirs to things spiritual, or try to be.”

There was a moment of confusion. The students were uncertain whether to behave towards me as a member of the imperial family or as a student. Many of those who were seated rose; some bowed; others simply stared curiously. Macrina whispered in my ear, “Go on, you dummy! Speak to him!”

I pulled myself together and made a speech, very brief and to the point, or so I thought. Macrina told me later that it was interminable and pretentious. Fortunately, now that I am Emperor all my speeches are considered graceful and to the point. How one’s style improves with greatness!

Prohaeresius then took me round among the students, introducing me to this one and that one. They were shy, even though I had carefully made the point that I intended to come and go at the University like any other student. Prohaeresius continued his discourse a little while longer. Then he dismissed the students and led me into the atrium of his house. The sun slanted now from the west. From upstairs I could hear the laughter and scuffling of the students who boarded there. Occasionally they would come out on the gallery to get a glimpse of me. But when they caught me looking at them, they pretended they had business in someone else’s room.

I would have given a good deal to have lived anonymously in one of those bare rooms.

Published in: on December 2, 2018 at 8:35 am  Comments Off on Julian, 49  
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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.’