Julian, 5

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

 
Priscus to Libanius

Athens, June 380

I send you by my pupil Glaucon something less than half of the Emperor Julian’s memoir. It cost me exactly thirty solidi to have this much copied. On receipt of the remaining fifty solidi I shall send you the rest of the book. I can only assume that the copying you had done in Athens last summer was the work of an admirer who gave you a cut price as a sign of his esteem for your high contributions to philosophy and rhetoric.

I do not share your pessimism about the new Emperor. He is hardly what we would have picked had the choice been ours, but then the choice never has been ours. Julian’s accession was the work of Fortune, a deity notable for her absence in human affairs. We can hardly hope to have another Julian in our lifetime. And that is that.

I have studied the edict since I wrote you last, and though it is somewhat sterner in tone than Constantine’s, I suspect the only immediate victims will be those Christians who follow Arius. But I may be mistaken. I almost always am in political matters, a weakness no doubt of the philosophic temperament.

However, what does give me hope was last year’s appointment of the “poet” Ausonius as consul. Do you know him? I am sure you’ve read him. If not, you have a treat in store. I have lately become rather an expert on his career. He started life as the son of a well-to-do doctor in Bordeaux. His phenomenal luck began when the Emperor Valentinian made him tutor to his son Gratian. As Ausonius himself puts it, he “moulded the tiny mind of the infant prince”.

When the prince became emperor, he rewarded his old tutor by making him praetorian prefect of Gaul as well as consul for last year. I mention all this because Ausonius is inclined favourably to us, and he exerts a considerable influence not only on Gratian (who is far too busy hunting wild boar in Gaul to distress us unduly) but on Theodosius as well. He is obviously the man for you to cultivate.

Not long ago I sent round to the library to see what they had by Ausonius. The slave returned with a wheelbarrow full of books. Ausonius must be read to be believed! As poet, no subject is too trivial for him; as courtier, no flattery too excessive. He did write one passable nature poem on the Moselle, but I’m not keen on rivers. The rest of his work is quite marvellous in its tedium. Particularly those verses he wrote at Valentinian’s request. Among the subjects chosen by the Emperor were the source of the Danube (Ausonius did not locate it but he made a good try), Easter, and (best of all) four odes to the Emperor’s four favourite horses.

I had one of these equine odes copied out and Hippia reads it to me whenever I am depressed. It begins “Oh raven steed, whose fortune it is to spread the golden thighs and Mars-like firm convexities of divine Augustus…” I don’t know when I have enjoyed a poem so much.

I’ll enclose a copy. Anyway, I suggest you see Ausonius as soon as possible. And of course you will remember to express admiration for his work! In a good cause hypocrisy becomes virtue.

I never go to evening parties. The quarter I referred to in my letter was not the elegant street of Sardes but the quarter of the prostitutes near the agora. I don’t go to parties because I detest talking-women, especially our Athenian ladies who see themselves as heiresses to the age of Pericles. Their conversation is hopelessly pretentious and artificial. Their dinners are inedible, and for some reason they all tend to be rather squat with dark vestigial moustaches; no doubt Aphrodite’s revenge on the talking-woman.

I live very quietly at home with an occasional visit to the quarter. Hippia and I get along rather better than we used to. Much of her charm for me has been her lifelong dislike of literature. She talks about servants and food and relatives, and I find her restful. Also, I have in the house a Gothic girl, bought when she was eleven. She is now a beautiful woman, tall and well made, with eyes grey as Athena’s.

She never talks. Eventually I shall buy her a husband and free them both as a reward for her serene acceptance of my attentions, which delight her far less than they do me. But that is often the case with the feminine half of Plato’s ugliest beast. But then Plato disliked sexual intercourse between men and women. We tend of course to think of Plato as divine, but I am afraid he was rather like our old friend Iphicles, whose passion for youths has become so outrageous that he now lives day and night in the baths, where the boys call him the queen of philosophy.

I am sorry to hear that your health grows worse but that is to be expected at our age. The rash you refer to does sound like bad fish. I suggest a diet of bread and water, and not much of either. On receipt of the money, I will send you the balance of the memoir. It will disturb and sadden you. I shall be curious to see how you use this material. Hippia joins me in wishing for your good—or should I say better?—health.

You will note in the memoir that Julian invariably refers to the Christians as “Galileans” and to their churches as “charnel houses”, this last a dig at their somewhat necrophile passion for the relics of dead men. I think it might be a good idea to alter the text, and reconvert those charnel houses into churches and those Galileans into Christians. Never offend an enemy in a small way.

Here and there in the text, I have made marginal notes. I hope you won’t find them too irrelevant.

Published in: on June 25, 2017 at 12:01 pm  Comments (1)  
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Julian, 4

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

 

Libanius to Priscus

Antioch, April 380

You cannot imagine the pleasure I experienced when your letter was brought to me this evening. So eager was I to hear your voice again, as it were, that I fear I ripped the fastenings and tore the long-awaited page itself. But rest assured, your precious letter will be mended with glue and cherished, since any utterance of your genius is an essential reflection of the Hellenic spirit to be passed on to those who come after.

Let me say right off how pleased I am to learn of your unflagging sexual vigour. It is always inspiring to the rest of us to learn that in certain rare human beings the usual cycle of sad decline does not obtain. You have been indeed favoured by the gods and in your obvious enjoyment of that favour will never sigh at eighty, as did Sophocles, “At last I am free of a cruel and insane master!”

Your master is obviously a good companion, made even more enjoyable by Hippia’s acquiescence. Not many wives of philosophers would allow their husbands freedom to consort with those deliciously civilised ladies of Athens whose evening parties used to delight me in my student days. Now of course my life is devoted to philosophy and affairs of state. I leave to younger men the charms of Aphrodite… to younger men and now, Priscus, to you, who have held at arm’s length the villain time! Fortunate man! Fortunate girls to be so loved!

Since I wrote you last, I have not been idle. Through the office of the praetorian prefect at Constantinople, I have proposed myself for an audience with the Emperor. Theodosius has met very few people of our set, coming as he does from Spain, a country not noted for culture. He also belongs to a military family and there is no evidence that he has ever studied philosophy.

Outside of politics, his principal interest is breeding sheep. But he is only thirty-three and his character, according to the best information available, is mild. Though we should not count on this. How often in the past have we been horrified by princes reputed to be good who, when raised to the throne of the world, have turned monstrous before our eyes! The late Valens for example, or Julian’s own brother, the Caesar Gallus, a charming youth who brought terror to the East. We must be on our guard, as always.

The question that now faces us is: how seriously will Theodosius enforce the edict? It is customary for emperors who listen to bishops to hurl insults at the very civilisation that created them. They are inconsistent, but then logic has never been a strong point of the Christian faith. The extraordinary paradox is the collusion of our princes with the bishops.

The emperors pride themselves on being first magistrates of the Roman imperium, through whose senate they exercise their power; and though in reality we have not been Roman for a century, nevertheless, the form persists, making it impossible, one would think, for any prince who calls himself Augustus to be Christian, certainly not as long as the Altar of Victory remains in the senate house at Rome.

But confusions of this sort are as inconsequential to the Christian mind as clouds to a day in summer, and as a teacher I no longer try to refute them; since most of my students are Christian, I suppose I ought to be grateful that they have chosen to come to me to be taught that very philosophy their faith subverts. It is comedy, Priscus! It is tragedy!

Meanwhile, we can only wait to see what happens. The Emperor grows stronger in health every day, and it is thought that later this spring he may take the field against the Goths, who as usual are threatening the marches of Macedonia. If he decides to go north, that means he will not return to Constantinople till late summer or autumn, in which case I will have to attend him at Thessalonica or, worse, in the field. If so, I am confident the journey will be my last. For my health, unlike yours, continues to deteriorate.

I have coughing fits which leave me weak and longing for the grave. I have also developed a curious rash on the backs of my hands and forearms which may be the result of eating a bad flounder last week (shades of Diogenes and the fatal raw octopus!), or it may be the outward sign of a corruption in the blood. How I wish Oribasius were in Antioch! He is the only physician I ever trusted, in which I follow Julian, who used to say, “The god Asklepios gave Oribasius secrets known only to heaven.”

Over the years I have made a number of notes for a biography of Julian. I have them before me now. All that remains is the final organisation of the material—and of course the memoir. Please send it to me as soon as the copy is ready. I shall work on it this summer, as I am no longer lecturing. I thought it wise to go into seclusion until we know which way the wind blows.

I don’t need to tell you that Antioch has ignored the edict. Never in my memory has Antioch obeyed the imperial authority except at sword’s point. I have often warned the local senate that emperors do not like disobedience, but our people feel that they are beyond law and reprisal. The folly of the clever is always greater than that of the dull. I tremble for Antioch, even though I am currently a beneficiary of its absence of reverence for the decrees of Caesar.

There have been no incidents so far. My Christian friends come to see me as usual (rather a large number of my old students are now bishops, a peculiar irony). Colleagues who are still lecturing tell me that their classes are much as usual. The next move is up to Theodosius, or, to be exact, up to the bishops. Luckily for us, they have been so busy for so long persecuting one another that we have been able to survive. But reading between the lines of the edict, I suspect a bloodbath.

Theodosius has outlawed with particular venom the party of the late Bishop Arius on the grounds that Galileans must now have a church with a single doctrine to be called universal… a catholic church, no less! To balance this, we must compose a true life of Julian. So let us together fashion one last wreath of Apollonian laurel to place upon the brow of philosophy, as a brave sign against the winter that threatens this stormy late season of the world. I want those who come after us to realize what hopes we had for life, and I want them to see how close our Julian came to arresting the disease of Galilee.

Such a work, properly done, would be like a seed planted in the autumn to await the sun’s awakening, and a new flowering.

Apparently, the cost of copying at Athens has gone up incredibly since I had some work done there last year. I find eighty gold solidi exorbitant for what you say is a fragment, or a book of moderate length. Only last summer I paid thirty solidi for a Plotinus which, in length, must be treble that of Julian’s memoir. I send now by a friend who embarks tomorrow for Athens thirty gold solidi and this letter. Again my best wishes to the admirable Hippia, and to you, my old friend and fellow soldier in the wars of philosophy.

Published in: on June 18, 2017 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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Julian, 3

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

 
Priscus to Libanius

Athens, March 380

Yes, the edict is well known here, but the general feeling at the University is that despite its severe tone we are not apt to be persecuted. The schools are flourishing. The little Christians flock to us to be civilized, and I find them much like their Hellenist brothers. But then all young people seem to me more and more alike. They ask the same questions and they give you the same answers to the questions they ask you. I despair of teaching anyone anything, least of all myself. I have not had a new idea since I was twenty-seven.

That is why I don’t publish my lectures. Also, too many of us publish out of vanity or to attract students. At seventy-five (I am nine, not a dozen, years older than you) I am an empty flagon. Tap me and you will hear an awful hollow sound. My head is a tomb quite as empty as the one Jesus is supposed to have walked away from. I incline now to Crates and the early Cynics, less to Plato and the rest.

I am not in the least convinced that there is a Divine Oneness at the centre of the universe, nor am I susceptible to magic, unlike Julian, who was hopelessly gullible. I often thought Maximus exploited his good-heartedness. But then I never could endure Maximus. How he used to waste Julian’s time with his séances and arcane gibberish! I teased the Emperor about him once, but Julian only laughed and said, “Who knows through what door wisdom will walk?”

As to your publishing project, I am not at all certain that a sympathetic biography of Julian would have the slightest effect at this time. Theodosius is a military politician, impressed by bishops. He might of course sanction a biography of his predecessor simply because Julian is much admired to this day, though not for his philosophy. Julian is admired because he was young and handsome and the most successful general of our century. The people have a touching admiration for generals who win battles, which is why there are no heroes today.

But if Theodosius did permit a biography, it would have to avoid the religious issue. The bishops would see to that. And for ferocity there is nothing on earth to equal a Christian bishop hunting “heresy”, as they call any opinion contrary to their own. Especially confident are they on that subject where they are as ignorant as the rest of mankind.

Anyway, I don’t want to fight them, because I am one and they are many. And though I am, as you so comfortingly suggest, old and near the end of my life, I enjoy amazingly good health. I am told that I look no different than I did at forty, and I am still capable of the sexual act at almost any time. This vitality repels Hippia, who has aged noticeably in the last few years, but it seems to please various young women in a certain quarter of Athens which you doubtless have heard of—in novels of the Milesian school!

Do I make myself clear? I have no wish to be burned alive or stoned or tacked up to the door of a Christian church, or “charnel house” as Julian used to call them. You may be as brave as you like and I will applaud you in my heart. But I have no intention of writing a single sentence about Julian, fond as I was of him and alarmed as I am at the strange course our world has taken since the adventurer Constantine sold us to the bishops.

Julian’s memoir was written during the last four months of his life. It was begun in March 363, at Hierapolis. Nearly every night during our invasion of Persia he would dictate recollections of his early life. The result is a bit helter-skelter, for both as a writer and as a man he was swift and impulsive. He once told me that he would like to compose an autobiography of the order of Marcus Aurelius to Himself, but he lacked that writer’s discipline.

Julian was also influenced by Xenophon’s The March Upcountry, since Xenophon took much the same route we did seven centuries later. Julian’s interest in history was always lively, and he was a great sightseer. The resulting memoir is something of a hybrid; even so, Julian was often an engaging writer, and if he was not better it is because it is hard to be emperor, philosopher and general all at once. He was also indiscreet about everyone.

I hope you forgive him. I have done so. He suspected that he had very little time and he wanted to get everything said. As for his mysterious death, I have a theory as to what happened, which I will explain to you in due course.

I have never quite known what to do with this work. When Julian died, I took all his personal papers, suspecting that his Christian successors would destroy them. I had no right to these papers, of course, but I don’t regret my theft. I told no one about the memoir until I was back safe in Antioch, where I must have mentioned it to you the day you read us your famous eulogy. I was so moved by your eloquence that I betrayed my own confidence.

I am now having a fair copy made of the manuscript. You are misinformed if you think copying is cheaper here than at Antioch. Quite the contrary. The estimated cost will run to eighty gold solidi, which I suggest you send by return post. On receipt of the full amount, I will send you the book to use as you see fit. Only do not mention to anyone that I had any connection with the matter. I have not the slightest desire to endure martyrdom at this time, or ever.

I thought I had written you about your collection of letters. I did get the book and it was very thoughtful of you to send it to me. We are all in your debt for those letters, especially yours to Julian. They are wise. I know of no other philosopher so sensible of posterity as to keep copies of every letter he writes, realizing that even his most trivial effusion has, in the context of the large body of his work, an eternal value.

Hippia joins me in wishing you good health.

Published in: on June 11, 2017 at 11:03 am  Leave a Comment  
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Julian, 2

As to yesterday’s London terrorist attack I agree with Hunter Wallace that “There is nothing new to add here” (at any event, remember that only the news that I consider important will be mentioned at the Addenda). More important is to hammer on our view that the religion of our parents means white genocide. In the first pages of Julian we see a dramatisation of how ancient intellectuals dealt with a hostile takeover of their Hellenic culture by a cult of Levantine extraction:

 

Youth

I

Libanius to Priscus

Antioch, March [A.D.] 380

Yesterday morning as I was about to enter the lecture hall, I was stopped by a Christian student who asked me in a voice eager with malice, “Have you heard about the Emperor Theodosius?”

I cleared my throat ready to investigate the nature of this question, but he was too quick for me. “He has been baptized a Christian.”

I was non-committal. Nowadays, one never knows who is a secret agent. Also, I was not particularly surprised at the news. When Theodosius fell ill last winter and the bishops arrived like vultures to pray over him, I knew that should he recover they would take full credit for having saved him. He survived. Now we have a Christian emperor in the East, to match Gratian, our Christian emperor in the West. It was inevitable.

I turned to go inside but the young man was hardly finished with his pleasant task. “Theodosius has also issued an edict. It was just read in front of the senate house. I heard it. Did you?”

“No. But I always enjoy imperial prose,” I said politely.

“You may not enjoy this. The Emperor has declared heretic all those who do not follow the Nicene Creed.”

“I’m afraid Christian theology is not really my subject. The edict hardly applies to those of us who are still faithful to philosophy.”

“It applies to everyone in the East.” He said this slowly, watching me all the while. “The Emperor has even appointed an Inquisitor to determine one’s faith. The days of toleration are over.”

I was speechless; the sun flared in my eyes; all things grew confused and I wondered if I was about to faint, or even die. But the voices of two colleagues recalled me. I could tell by the way they greeted me that they, too, had heard about the edict and were curious to know my reaction. I gave them no pleasure.

“Of course I expected it,” I said. “The Empress Postuma wrote me only this week to say that…” I invented freely. I have not of course heard from the Empress in some months, but I thought that the enemy should be reminded to what extent I enjoy the favour of Gratian and Postuma. It is humiliating to be forced to protect oneself in this way, but these are dangerous times.

I did not lecture yesterday. I went straight home. I am now living in Daphne, by the way, a charming suburb which I prefer to Antioch proper because of the quiet. As I get older, I find that the slightest sound in the night disturbs me and, once awake, I have difficulty falling asleep again. You can imagine how intolerable my old house in the city became. You remember the house; it was there that I gave the reception for the Emperor Julian when he…

But I forget. You were not there, and you were much missed! My memory plays me odd tricks these days. Even worse, I tend to mislay the notes I jot down as reminders, or (terrible confession!) when I do find them, I am often unable to decipher my own handwriting. Age spares us nothing, old friend. Like ancient trees, we die from the top.

Except for occasional lectures, I seldom go into town, for the people, though my own, distress me with their loud voices and continual quarrelling, their gambling and sensuality. They are hopelessly frivolous. Nights are made day with artificial light, while nearly all the men now use depilatories, which makes it difficult to tell them from women… to think how I once eulogized this city! But I suppose one must be tolerant, recalling that the Antiochenes are the victims of a demoralizingly sultry climate, the proximity of Asia and of course that pernicious Christian doctrine which asserts that a sprinkling of water (and a small donation) will wash away sin, again and again and again.

Now, my old friend, as I sit here in my study surrounded by our proscribed friends (I mean those books of Greece which made the mind of man), let me tell you what thoughts I had last night—a sleepless night not only because of the edict but because two cats saw fit to enliven my despair with the noise of lust (only an Egyptian would worship a cat). I am weary today but determined.

We must fight back. What happens to us personally is not important, but what happens to civilization is a matter of desperate concern. During my sleepless night, I thought of various appeals that might be made to our new Emperor. I have a copy of the edict before me as I write. It is composed in bad bureaucratic Greek, the official style of the bishops, whose crudity of language is equalled only by the confusion of their thought. Not unlike those celebrated minutes of the council at—where was it? Chalcedon?—which we used to read aloud to one another with such delight! Carefree days, never to come again. Unless we act now.

Priscus, I am sixty-six years old and you are, as I recall, a dozen years older than I. We have reached an age when death is a commonplace not to be feared, especially by us, for is not all philosophy but preparation for a serene dying? And are we not true philosophers who have nothing to lose but that which in the natural course we shall surrender in any case, more soon than late?

I have already had several seizures in recent years which left me unconscious and weakened, and of course my chronic cough, aggravated by an unseasonable wet winter, threatens to choke me to death at any time. I am also losing my sight; and I suffer from a most painful form of gout. Therefore let us, fearing nothing, join forces and strike back at the Christians before they entirely destroy the world we love.

My plan is this. Seventeen years ago when you returned from Persia, you told me that our beloved friend and pupil, the Emperor Julian, had written a fragment of memoir which you had got hold of at the time of his death. I have often thought to write you for a copy, simply for my own edification. I realized then, as did you, that publication was out of the question, popular though Julian was and still is, even though his work to restore the true gods has been undone.

Under the Emperors Valentinian and Valens we had to be politic and cautious if we were to be allowed to go on teaching. But now in the light of this new edict, I say: an end to caution! We have nothing but two old bodies to lose, while there is eternal glory to be gained by publishing Julian’s memoir, with an appropriate biography to be written by either or both of us. I knew his quality best, of course, but you were with him in Persia and saw him die.

So between the two of us, I his teacher and you his philosopher-companion, we can rehabilitate his memory and with close reasoning show the justice of his contest with the Christians. I have written about him in the past, and boldly. I refer particularly to the eulogy I composed just after his death when, if I may say so, I was able to bring tears even to hard Christian eyes.

Shortly afterwards, I published my correspondence with Julian. Incidentally, I sent you a copy and though you never acknowledged this gift, I do hope you found it interesting. If by any chance you did not receive it, I shall be happy to send you another one. I kept all of Julian’s letters to me over the years, as well as copies of my own letters to him.

One can never rely on the great keeping one’s letters; and should those letters vanish, one is apt to be remembered only as the mysterious half of a dialogue to be reconstructed in the vaguest way from the surviving (and sometimes lesser!) half of the exchange. Finally, I am at work on an oration to be called “On Avenging the Emperor Julian”. I mean to dedicate this work to Theodosius.

Let me know as soon as possible if you concur in my plan. I repeat: we have nothing to lose. And the world has much to gain. By the way, as a sign of the times, there is now a Latin Academy at Antioch, with a heavy enrolment. It is enough to chill the blood. The young men are deserting Hellenic studies for Roman law in the hopes of government preferment. My own classes are still large but many of my colleagues are literally starving to death. Recently, a student (Christian, of course) most tactfully suggested that I, Libanius, learn Latin! At my age and after a life-time devoted to Greek!

I told him that as I was not a lawyer there was nothing I needed to read in that ugly language, which has produced only one poem and that a depressing paraphrase of our great Homer. I hope after so many years of silence between us that this letter finds you and your admirable wife, Hippin, in good health. I envy you your life at Athens, the natural centre of our universe. Do I need to add that I will of course defray any expenses you might incur in having Julian’s memoir copied? The price of copying, luckily, is less at Athens than here at Antioch. Books always cost more in those cities where they are least read!

Added: An old rumour has just been confirmed. The Great King of Persia, Sapor, is dead at last. He was over eighty and reigned most of his life. A strange coincidence that the king who struck down our beloved Julian should die just as we are about to restore his memory. I was once told that Sapor had read my Life of Demosthenes and admired it. How marvellous books are, crossing worlds and centuries, defeating ignorance and, finally, cruel time itself. Let us make Julian live again, and for all time!

Published in: on June 4, 2017 at 10:18 am  Comments (1)  
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Julian, 1

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

 

Emperor Julian (Latin: Flavius Claudius Iulianus Augustus, 331/332 – 26 June 363) has been considered a hero of the resistance to Christianity. When in 2012 and 2013 I started to reproduce excerpts of Gore Vidal’s novel Julian I was typing directly from my book copy. Now that I have obtained the PDF I’ll be adding the complete text on Sundays. The following is a note that the author himself wrote for the first page of his novel in the early 1960s.

 

Robert Graves, when he came to publish his sequel to I, Claudius, remarked in a somewhat irritable preface that a good many reviewers seemed to think he had simply spun himself a novel from Suetonius’s gossip, which looked to them like a very easy thing to do. In Claudius the God, Graves struck back with a long bibliography, listing nearly every relevant text which has survived from the ancient world. Unfortunately, I have not read as much as all that. But to anticipate those who might think that one’s only source was the history of Ammianus Marcellinus (or even of Edward Gibbon), I have included at the end of the book a partial bibliography.

The Emperor Julian’s life is remarkably well documented. Three volumes of his letters and essays survive, while such acquaintances as Libanius and Saint Gregory of Nazianzus wrote vivid accounts of him. Though I have written a novel, not a history, I have tried to stay with the facts, only occasionally shifting things around. For instance, it is unlikely that Priscus joined Julian in Gaul, but it is useful to the narrative to have him there.

Julian has always been something of an underground hero in Europe. His attempt to stop Christianity and revive Hellenism exerts still a romantic appeal, and he crops up in odd places, particularly during the Renaissance and again in the nineteenth century. Two such unlikely authors as Lorenzo de’ Medici and Henilk Ibsen wrote plays about him. But aside from the unique adventure of Julian’s life, what continues to fascinate is the fourth century itself. During the fifty years between the accession of Julian’s uncle Constantine the Great and Julian’s death at thirty-two, Christianity was established. For better or worse, we are today very much the result of what they were then.

In naming cities, I give the modern rather than the ancient name (Milan, not Mediolanum), except when the original name is more familiar to us (Ephesus, not Selquk). Dates I put in our fashion, A.D. and B.C. Since Julian’s court was a military one, I have used our own army’s way of dating, i.e., 3 October 363. Currency is a tricky matter. No one is quite certain what the exact purchasing power of money was in the fourth century, but a gold solidus was probably worth about five dollars. Julian, Priscus and Libanius, the three narrators of this story, all wrote Greek. Their Latin was rather shaky, as they are quick to remind us, but they occasionally use Latin terms, much the way we do. For those readers who will search in vain for Julian’s famous last words, “Thou hast conquered, Galilean!”, he never said them. Theodoret must take credit for this fine rhetoric, composed a century after Julian’s death.

I should like to thank the American Academy at Rome and the American School of Classical Studies at Athens for letting me use their libraries.

G.V.

Published in: on May 28, 2017 at 10:42 pm  Comments (7)  
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Christmas gift

If, historically, the One Ring (greed) was the primary weakness for Western man, Christianity is also a major culprit. It is race-blind and compels us to navigate our passages favoring universalism. Based on theism, the belief in a personal, Hebraic god, it is hostile to “pagan” (Christian Newspeak for folkish) bonds for the supposed benefit of the “soul.” Our parents’ religion commands us to love our enemy (even Jews) and worship human weakness (including low-IQ negroes). Catholic and Protestant moral grammar goes at the very heart in today’s untamed equality: what Nietzsche called slave morality.

As Manu Rodríguez, a Nietzschean from Spain, said yesterday (my translation), “Christianity is the art of making wolves and bears into kids and lambs. It is the art of weakening, neutralizing and undermining the morale of the population, making even defense impossible.” Earlier this year another visitor of this blog sent me an email containing this paragraph:

Because of your blog I have ordered tons of books that you have read and thus gain the same insights that you do. I have Hellstorm on my shelf now; I have not read it yet. I am about to commence reading Porphyry’s Against the Christians. I can’t wait. The Bible is a book that has plagued me all my life. It is nice to finally read one of the original refutations of this Jewish nonsense.

A year ago I reposted excerpts of a chapter about the Gospels’ nativity fictions that I typed directly from a book authored by a secular scholar on the Bible. Porphyry (234-305 C.E.) was the forgotten pioneer in this field of research.

The reason white nationalists are uninterested in secular studies of the New Testament is the same they are so reluctant to assess the data about the subject that the dollar will crash. The double-helix of the US was precisely a structure intertweaving capitalism with Christianity. But American white nationalists want to save their race without destroying the One Ring wielded by the Kwa* and without dismissing their parents’ religion. They ignore that the nation of their founding fathers was hard-wired to become New Zion (click on the picture of Mammon on the sidebar).

Since this month we will celebrate Christmas with our families, I must say that an intellectual among those who blame Mammon also blames the other big factor. This is a translated quotation from “Rasse und Gestalt: unsere Identität,” a September 2013 speech by Tom Sunic:

The Christian teaching of equality and its contemporary offsprings, liberalism and Marxism is the main cause of so-called anti-racism and self-hatred as well as today’s mongrelized multicultural society. It’s futile to inspirit race consciousness or folk consciousness and to oppose mass immigration of non-Europeans, without first fighting and eliminating the legacy of Christianity.

I would go further and claim that the word “Christian” was 4th century Newspeak of the time. Translated back to Greco-Roman Oldspeak, we could say that Christian is a codeword for artificial Jew. What most significant can be that in this darkest hour of the West, on June 13 of this year in fact, Pope Francis said: “Inside every Christian is a Jew.”

Jorge Mario Bergoglio, whose mother language is Spanish, is the first one in history who has adopted the name of St Francis (Francisco I) when nominated Pope. In my compilation of several authors, The Fair Race, you’ll find much support of Sunic’s quote: a deranged Christian sense of compassion à la St Francis did transmute into secular, runaway liberalism.

In one of my essays in Day of Wrath I mentioned the image that Kenneth Clark chose to depict St Francis in the 1969 TV series Civilisation: Hesdin’s The Fool. I added that in Erasmus’ most famous book, The Praise of Folly, women, “admittedly stupid and foolish creatures,” are Folly’s pride. Erasmus took a surprisingly modern, “liberal” position about the role of women in society. Since Folly praises ignorance and lunacy, Erasmus reasoned, women must be instrumental for the Christian cause. In his book Folly is only interested in following the steps of Jesus, the exemplar of charitable simplicity against the budding intellectualism of the 16th century. The fact that Erasmus took St Paul’s (a Jew) “praise of folly” against the best minds St Paul encountered in Athens (whites) speaks for itself and needs no further comment.

I must iterate I find it most significant that the current Pope is the first one to use the name of Francis: the feminine, Christian paradigm of charitable simplicity par excellence. Last month, Pope Francis addressed the European Parliament saying that no longer fertile Europe should accept immigrants.

the-name-of-the-roseYes: I’ve put the Pope and all of his Cardinals in my black list for black sorcery

But here I can only say that the saint of Assisi was one of the most venerated religious figures in history and my idol when, at sixteen, I was struggling with my internalized father. Unlike the current Pope, the medieval Church somehow knew that when the purest gospel reached mainstream Christianity it would be the end of civilization. See, for example, Umberto Eco’s depiction of the Fraticelli in The Name of the Rose, which chapter on Jorge de Burgos’ scary sermon about the coming of the Antichrist I reread a couple of days ago.

Online you can also see the final pages of The Antichrist. If Nietzsche were alive, wouldn’t he say that the suicidal folie en masse that in the 20th and 21st centuries affects westerners is but the culmination of the psyop started by St Paul?

 

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(*) Kwa means Amerikwa: a negative word used to describe the degenerate, racially destructive, Jewified, niggrified, pussified, and depressing place that America has become.

For the context of Sunic’s point of view see also “The Christian problem encompasses the Jewish problem”: perhaps the entry I’ve updated the most in this blog.

Like Sunic I believe that reading literature in traditional, printed books is important to understand the darkest hour. My favorite historical novels are precisely Julian (1964), which depicts 4th century Christianity after the death of Constantine and The Name of the Rose (1980), a complete immersion into the zeitgeist of Christendom a thousand years later. If you prefer non-fiction, remember the above-cited words about Porphyry’s Against the Christians (“It is nice to finally read one of the original refutations of this Jewish nonsense”).

Christmas gifts of Nietzsche’s The Antichrist would probably be a little rude, even though the philosopher tells the plain truth about how the authors behind the gospels inverted our Aryan values. But Julian and The Name of the Rose may appear innocuous enough as gifts for our family, at least at the time of delivering the presents.

JVLIAN excerpts – XIV

“Why were you so ungrateful to our gods
as to desert them for the Jews?”

—Julian, addressing the Christians

Julian

“Then the temple of 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.”

____________________

This quote from page 146 of Vidal’s novel is rather epigrammatic because with all probability this will be my last quote of Julian unless I find myself safe in another country and can afford to bring my whole library, that presently is with me in Mexico City, to my new home overseas…

Published in: on July 28, 2013 at 10:41 am  Comments (2)  

JVLIAN excerpts – XIII

“Why were you so ungrateful to our gods
as to desert them for the Jews?”

—Julian, addressing the Christians

Julian

The malice of a true Christian attempting to destroy an opponent is something unique in the world. No other religion even considered it necessary to destroy others because they did not share the same beliefs. At worst, another man’s belief might inspire amusement or contempt—the Egyptians and their animal gods, for instance. Yet those who worshiped the Bull did not try to murder those who worshiped the Snake, or to convert them by force from Snake to Bull. No evil entered the world quite so vividly or on such a vast scale as Christianity did.


The memoir of Julian Augustus

“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 toward 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. Why do you call them Galileans?” he asked.

“Because Galilee was where he came from!”

Prohaeresius saw through me. “You fear the word Christian,” he said, “for it suggest 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 was 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 to mention the murder of Bishop George at Alexandria to recall vividly to those who read this the savagery of that religion not only toward its enemies (whom they term “impious”) but also toward its own fallen 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 defense 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.

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 on great arcs as I am prone to do when passionate. Prohaeresius took it all in good heart.

“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.”

Published in: on July 15, 2013 at 10:20 am  Leave a Comment  

Jvlian excerpts – XII

“Why were you so ungrateful to our gods
as to desert them for the Jews?”

—Julian, addressing the Christians

Julian

The memoir of Julian Augustus

“Poverty, plain poverty.” Gregory indicated the torn and dirty cloak, the unkempt beard. “And protection.” He lowered his voice, indicating the students at the other table. “Christians are outnumbered in Athens. It’s a detestable city. There is no faith, only argument and atheism.”

“Then why are you here?”

He sighed. “The best teachers are here, the best instructors in rhetoric. Also, it is good to know the enemy, to be able to fight him with his own weapons.”

I nodded and pretended agreement. I was not very brave in those days. But even though I could never be candid with Gregory, he was an amusing companion. He was as devoted to the Galilean nonsense as I was to the truth. I attributed this to his unfortunate childhood. His family are Cappadocian. They live in a small town some fifty miles southwest Caesarea, the provincial capital. His mother was a most strong-willed woman named… I cannot recall her name, but I did meet her once a few years ago, and a most formidable creature she was. Passionate and proud and perfectly intolerant of everything not Galilean. Gregory’s father was part Jew and part Greek. As a result of his wife’s relentless admonitions, he succumbed finally to the Galilean religion.

Basil and I greeted one another warmly. He had changed considerably since we were adolescents. He was now a fine-looking man, tall and somewhat thin; unlike Gregory, he wore his hair close-cropped. I teased him about this. “Short hair means a bishop.”

Basil smiled his amiable smile and said in soft voice, “May that cup pass from me,” a quotation from the Nazarene.


Priscus: You will be aware of a number of ironies in what you have just read. The unspeakable Gregory is due to preside over the new Ecumenical Council. They say he will be the next bishop of Constantinople. How satisfying to glimpse this noble bishop in his ragged youth! Basil, who wanted only the contemplative life, now governs the church in Asia as bishop of Caesarea. I liked Basil during the brief period I knew him in Athens. He had a certain fire, and a good mind. He might have been a first-rate historian had he not decided to be a power in the church. But how can these young men resist the chance to rise? Philosophy offers them nothing; the church everything.

Published in: on July 7, 2013 at 10:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

JVLIAN excerpts – XI

“Why were you so ungrateful to our gods
as to desert them for the Jews?”

—Julian, addressing the Christians

Julian

The Memoir of Julian Augustus

I arrived at Piraeus, the port of Athens, shortly after sunrise 5 August 355. I remember every one of the forty-seven days I spent in Athens. They were the happiest days of my life, so far.

I engaged a cart and driver after considerable haggling (I was able to bring the driver’s cost down to half what he asked: good but not marvelous). Then I climbed into the little cart. Half standing, half sitting on the cart rail, I was borne over the rutted road to Athens.

The sun rose in a cloudless sky. Attic clarity is not just a metaphor; it is a fact. The sky’s blue was painful.

My first reaction was delight at anonymity. No one stared at me. No one knew who I was. I looked a typical student with my beard and plain cloak. There were dozens like me. Some were in carts, most were on foot; all of them moving toward the same goal: Athens and the knowledge of the true.

On every side of me carts rattled and creaked, their drivers cursing and their contents, human or animal, complaining. The Athenian Greek is a lively fellow, though one looks in vain from face to face for a glimpse of Pericles or Alcibiades. As a race, they are much changed. They are no longer noble. They have been too often enslaved, and their blood mixed with that of barbarians.

[Chechar’s note: See Pierce’s take on this subject]

The Dipylon Gate was as busy in the early morning as any other great city’s gate might have been at noon. It is a double gate, as its name indicates, with two tall towers on the outside. Guards lolled in front, paying no attention to the carts and pedestrians who came and went. As we passed through the outer gate, our cart was suddenly surrounded by whores. Twenty or thirty women and girls of all ages rushed out of the shadows of the wall. They fought with one another to get close to the cart. They tugged at my cloak. They called me “Billy Goat,” “Pan,” “Satyr,” and other less endearing terms.

With the skill of an acrobat one pretty child of fourteen vaulted the railing of my cart and firmly grasped my beard in her fist. The soldiers laughed at my discomfort. With some effort I pried my beard from her fingers, but not before her other hand had reached between my legs, to the delight of those watching. But the driver was expert at handling these girls. With a delicate flick of his whip, he snapped at the hand. It was withdrawn with a cry. She leapt to the ground. The other women jeered us. Their curses were splendid, Homeric!

I arranged my tunic. The sharp tug of the girl’s hand had had its effect upon me, and against my will I thought of lovemaking and wondered where the best girls in Athens might be found. I was not then, as I am now, celibate. Yet even in those days I believed that it was virtuous to mortify the flesh, for it is a fact that conscience increases intellectual clarity. But I was also twenty-three years old and the flesh made demands on me in a way that the mind could not control.

Youth is the body’s time. Not a day passed in those days that I did not experience lust. Not a week passed that I did not assuage that lust. But I do not agree with those Dionysians who maintain that the sexual act draws men closer to the One God. If anything, it takes a man away from God, for in the act he is blind and thoughtless, no more than an animal engaged in the ceremony of creation. Yet to each stage of one’s life certain things are suitable and for a few weeks, eight years ago, I was young, and knew many girls. Even now in this hot Asiatic night, I recall with unease that brilliant time, and think of lovemaking. I notice that my secretary is blushing. Yet he is Greek!

The driver indicated a large ruin to the right. “Hadrian,” he said. “Hadrian Augustus.” Like all travelers, I am used to hearing guides refer to my famous predecessor. Even after two centuries he is the only emperor every man has heard of—because of his constant traveling, his continuous building and, sad to say, his ridiculous passion for the boy Antinoüs. I suppose that it is natural enough to like boys but it is not natural or seemly to love anyone with the excessive and undignified passion that Hadrian showed for Antinoüs. Fortunately, the boy was murdered before Hadrian could make him his heir. But in his grief Hadrian made himself and the Genius of Rome look absurd. He set up thousands of statues and dedicated innumerable temples to the dead boy.

Antinous Mondragone 130 ADHe even declared the pretty catamite a god! It was a shocking display and permanently shadows Hadrian’s fame. For the first time in history, a Roman emperor was mocked and thought ridiculous. Yet except for this one lapse, I find Hadrian a sympathetic figure.

Published in: on July 3, 2013 at 4:42 pm  Comments (1)  
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