Kriminalgeschichte, 30

Below, abridged translation from the first
volume of Karlheinz Deschner’s Kriminalgeschichte
des Christentums
(Criminal History of Christianity)

Editor’s note: Constantine did not only wage war on the adepts of Hellenic culture but on the Aryans themselves, the blond Goths: he perpetrated massacres even against blond women and children. In this entry the behaviour of the Judaized Christians he empowered reminds me the saying, ‘The Jew is always either at your throat or at your feet’.

 

From the pacifist Church to the Church of the pater castrense

That prince, buried among the funeral steles of the apostles and sanctified by the Eastern Church—although among western heroes there is not lacking of the same genre: Charlemagne for example, was called a Saxon butcher—, that saint Constantine who never lost a battle, ‘man of war’ (Prete), the ‘personification of the perfect soldier’ (Seeck), fought countless wars and great campaigns, most of them ‘with a terrible hardness’ (Kornemann).

In summer or autumn of 306 he waged war against the Bructeri, first in Roman territory and then invading them. In 310, again against the Bructeri, Constantine burns the villages and orders the dismemberment of the ringleaders. In 311, against the Franks; the chiefs of the tribes pay with life. In 314, against the Sarmatians, already vanquished by himself in the time of Galen, now deserving the title of ‘great slayer of the Sarmatians’ (sarmaticus maximus). In 315, against the Goths (gothicus maximus).

In 320, his son Crispus defeated the Alamanni; in 332, it is he himself who again defeats the Sarmatians. All this is worth a rich booty and thousands of prisoners deported to Roman lands as slaves. In 323, he defeats the Goths and orders to burn all their allies alive. The survivors are also thrown into slavery; new title: ‘gothorum victor triumphator’. New foundation: the games ‘ludi gothici’, which are held every year from 4 to 9 February (after having founded the ‘frank games’).

During the last decades of his life, Constantine fought often in the Danubian regions, trying to make ‘land of a mission’ of them (Kraft), and inflicts on the Germans defeats that influenced even their religious history (Doerries). In 328, he subdues the Goths in Banat. In 329, Constantine II almost exterminated an army of Alamanni. In 332, father and son again crush the Goths in Marcianopolis; the number of deaths, including hunger and freezing (‘fame et frigore’, as the Anonymous Valesian says), was calculated in hundreds of thousands, not excepting women and children victims of the ‘Great Diaspora of the Goths’.

In the year 313, Constantine and Licinius enact their Edict of Tolerance; Christianity, once forbidden, becomes a licit religion (which from that moment hastens to declare all other religions unlawful), and from overnight comes the amazing metamorphosis of the pacifists into regimental chaplains! If before they faced everything, even martyrdom, as long as they did not provide the pagan service, now the need to kill seems obvious to them. The Church became the party of the predators from that moment on, it shared the direct and indirect responsibility of a millennium and a half of massacres.

Lactantius ‘was one of the first to enjoy, as favourite of the emperor, the new regime of alliance between the sword and the cross’ (Von Campenhausen); in other words, one of the first to change colours. In 314 he wrote a summary or epitome where he crossed out all the pacifist passages. The grateful writer corrects the dedication of his main work and begins to praise the war and legislative activity of the sovereign. It is then when Christianity happens to become a ‘bloody struggle between good and evil’ (Prete).

Thus Lactantius betrayed his own convictions, denying almost three centuries of pacifist tradition—and with him, in the background, the whole Church, obedient to the will of the emperor who had recognized and made her rich and influential, but who had no job for a pacifist and passive clergy, but for those who agreed to bless their weapons. And they have not stopped blessing them since then, or as Heine has written: ‘It was not only the clergy of Rome, but also the English, the Prussian; in a word, always the privileged priesthood associated with the caesars and their ilk, in the repression of the peoples’.

Modern theologians, who do not dare to deny in their entirety that bankruptcy of the doctrine of Jesus, speak of an ‘original sin’ of Christianity. With this they try to play down the importance of the event, as if remembering the story of the snake and the apple, as if the whole question were nothing more than ‘a small Edenic slip’. As if we did not speak of massacres perpetrated for millennia, now committed in the name of ‘the good news’, of the ‘religion of love’; massacres that now turn out to be fair, necessary and even excellent.

Thus a new theology is born, although wrapped in the terminological garb of the old woman to disguise it. And the new theology is not only political but also militaristic: now they speak of Ecclesia triumphans, of Ecclesia militans, of the theology of the emperor… or of all the emperors, at least of the Romans of Antiquity who brought their line back to Caesar, but much further on in reality.

Published in: on November 7, 2017 at 12:49 pm  Comments Off on Kriminalgeschichte, 30  
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Kriminalgeschichte, 27

Below, abridged translation from the first
volume of Karlheinz Deschner’s Kriminalgeschichte
des Christentums
(Criminal History of Christianity)

Partial bust of Licinius


War against Licinius

Two emperors had disappeared; ‘Two men beloved of God’, according to Eusebius, remained. It must have been around 316 (and not 314 as it is said) when Constantine broke hostilities against Licinius in the Balkans, since the highest divinity, according to himself, ‘in his heavenly designs’ had entrusted him ‘the direction of all earthly affairs’.

The battle took place on October 8 next to Cibalae, on the banks of the Save, where Constantine, ‘a luminous beacon of Christianity’ (writes the Catholic Stockmeier) annihilated more than twenty thousand of his enemies.

This was followed, in Philippolis, of one of the most frightful massacres of the time, which did not decide the final result, but in any case Constantine had managed to snatch from his brother-in-law almost all European provinces (the current Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Dalmatia, Macedonia and Greece). Then he made peace with him, although Licinius was no longer a ‘beloved man of God’ but a ‘treacherous enemy’ (according to Eusebius).

Constantine dedicated ten years to rearmament and propaganda in favour of Christianity as in the East, for example in Asia Minor, half of the population was already Christian in some areas. After those ten years he rose again in search of the ‘final solution’.

The ‘saviour and benefactor’ had prepared the decisive battle through a series of political-religious measures; the Christians worked for Constantine and discredited Licinius as an ‘enemy of the civilised world’. In addition, Constantine encircled Licinius with a pact with the Armenians, by then already converted to Christianity (see the next chapter), and prepared the future war as a crusade and ‘war of religion’ (as the Catholic Franzen has said) with its regimental chaplains, its banners with the initials of Jesus Christ as an emblem of the imperial guard, and with a campaign of ‘holy enthusiasm’.

On the other side, Licinius revitalised paganism and persecuted the Church by forbidding synods, dismissing Christians from the army and the civil service, putting obstacles to the public celebration of the cult and promulgating various punishments and destructions. At the same time, Licinius celebrated other cults and oracles and put on his banners the images of various gods ‘against the false foreign god’ and ‘his dishonourable flag’. In reality, what mattered to one and the other was the exclusive power of universal monarchy.

In the summer of 324 two armies of enormous size for the time faced each other: 130,000 men, allegedly, with 200 warships and more than two thousand transport ships by Constantine, and 165,000 men (including a strong Gothic contingent) with 350 warships on the part of Licinius: figures that imply the most ruinous looting of all the resources of the empire.

On July 3, Licinius’ army was defeated on land, and so was his fleet in the Hellespont; On September 18 he lost the last and definitive battle of Chrysopolis (the current Skutari), in front of the Golden Horn, on the Asian shore of the Bosphorus.

After the defeat of Chrysopolis, Licinius retained about thirty thousand followers. At the request of Constantia, Constantine swore to respect his life, but a year later and while Licinius was in Thessalonica, where he was conspiring with the Goths according to accounts, he was strangled along with his top general.

In all the cities of the East began the extermination of the most notable supporters of Licinius, with or without judgment. So after ten years of civil war and constant campaigns of aggression on the part of Constantine, this ‘victorious general of all nations’ and ‘leader of the whole world’, a titular he made of himself, remained—and with him, Christianity—as the definitive winner and owner of the Roman Empire.

Published in: on November 3, 2017 at 1:10 pm  Comments Off on Kriminalgeschichte, 27  
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Kriminalgeschichte, 26

Below, abridged translation from the first
volume of Karlheinz Deschner’s Kriminalgeschichte
des Christentums
(Criminal History of Christianity)

Bust of Maximinus Daia

 
War against Maximinus II

Maximinus Daia was not a bad ruler. He knew how to manage and protect literature and science, despite being himself of humble origin and scarce culture. His persecutions against Christians, between 311 and 312, were quite moderate.

In February of 313 Constantine renewed in Milan the pact with Licinius, whom he married with his sister Constantia to endorse the agreement. In a constitution, the so-called Edict of Milan, both emperors granted legal status to Christianity, and with special reference to it they proclaimed freedom of worship throughout the empire.

If Maximinus were overthrown tolerance would extend to the eastern part, but all religions were already equated from the legal point of view. Maximinus, who built temples in all the cities and ordered the reconstruction of the ancient temples, and who protected the most notable pagan priests, guessed without difficulty what was coming. During the harsh winter of 312 to 313 he took advantage of an absence of Licinius to invade Syria. After conquering Byzantium and Heraclea, on April 30, 313 he confronted in the place called ‘Campus Serenus’ near Tzirallum an enemy that already had Christian symbols on its flags.

According to Father Lactantius, this already was a true war of religion, a judgement with which Johannes Geffcken coincides when he calls it ‘the first true war of religion in the world’. Licinius, to whom ‘an angel of the Lord’ had appeared in the eve of the day of the battle, made the soldiers take off their helmets to pray; his butchers ‘raised their hands to heaven’, invoked the name of God three times and then, ‘with hearts full of courage, they put on their helmets again and raised their shields’.

It was then that a miracle occurred, when ‘those few forces made a great slaughter’. The religion of love put to paint war stories! Maximinus was able to escape disguised as a slave in the direction of Nicomedia and then continued with his followers to Cilicia, passing the mountains of Taurus. The same year he died in Tarsus, suicidal or sick, while the troops of Licinius were advancing on the city by land and by sea.

The ‘good news’ had triumphed for the first time in all the Roman Empire and the other ‘enemies of God’, according to Eusebius, that is to say, the supporters of Maximinus Daia ‘were exterminated after long torments’, ‘especially those who, to flatter the sovereign, had persecuted our religion blinded by their arrogance’, the holy bishop congratulates himself.

Licinius, as Eduard Schwarz says, ‘documented his sympathy for the Church mainly through a tremendous blood bath, welcomed by Christians with great shouting of joy.’ There the women and children who had survived the performance of other emperors or caesars perished. Among the assassinated were Severianus, son of the emperor Severe (in turn, assassinated in 307), Candidianus, son of the emperor Galerius (that had been entrusted by the dying father to the trusteeship of Licinius); Prisca and Valeria were also murdered, and in the most brutal way, the wife and daughter of Diocletian along with Valeria’s children despite the supplications of the old emperor, who had already abdicated and who died that same year.

The wife of Maximinus Daia was also killed; an eight-year-old son and a seven-year-old daughter, Candidianus’ fiancée. And ‘also those who were proud of their kinship with the tyrant suffered the same fate, after great humiliations’, that is, entire families were exterminated and ‘the wicked were wiped from the face of the earth’ (Eusebius). Lactantius also comments that ‘the wicked received truly and justly, with God’s judgment, the payment of their actions’ and the whole world could see their fall and extermination, ‘until there was no trunk or roots left’.

Published in: on November 2, 2017 at 10:27 am  Comments Off on Kriminalgeschichte, 26  
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Kriminalgeschichte, 25

Below, abridged translation from the first
volume of Karlheinz Deschner’s Kriminalgeschichte
des Christentums
(Criminal History of Christianity)

Bust of Maxentius

 
War against Maxentius

To secure the flank, Constantine allied himself first with Licinius, one of the eastern Caesars. He waited for the death of Emperor Galerius and then fell by surprise—against the opinion of his advisers. Naturally, there are many historians who want to apologise to Constantine at this point, as do so with many others.

After arming himself to the teeth, Constantine unleashed a veritable deluge of propaganda against the ‘tyranny’ of the Roman emperor. The Church did not take long to set the tone and to paint Maxentius with all the colours of hell. Actually, Maxentius (emperor from 306 to 312) had suspended the persecutions against Christians, endorsed the edict of Galerius by which he had granted, in 311, the freedom of Christians under some conditions; and made it comply scrupulously by going, in Rome and in Africa, even beyond what the edict strictly required.

It would not be historic, then, to present the campaign of Constantine against Maxentius as a crusade, undertaken to rid the Church of the yoke of a fanatical tyrant. And although not even Constantine could claim that his rival had discriminated against Christians, and although Christian sources testify to the tolerance of Maxentius, the clergy soon turned that aggression into a kind of war of religion and Maxentius into a real monster.

The first to manipulate the story was Eusebius, who fails to specify his accusations about ‘the crimes that this man used to subdue his vassals of Rome through the rule of violence’. This fictitious image of an ‘impious tyrant’ was spread by the Christians as soon as the emperor fell, whose biography they falsified entirely. The sources do not cite a single concrete example of the cruelty that has been imputed to him.

However, the popularity that Maxentius justifiably enjoyed among the Roman people, vanished when food was lacking as Africa was lost and shortly after Spain. On the contrary, in the Constantinian aggression, Christians wanted to see the action of ‘God’ and even that of the ‘celestial hosts’.

On October 28 Constantine appeared at Ponte Milvio, today called Ponte Molle. Maxentius, and this is a subject that has been much discussed among historians, abandoned the protection of the walls and fought in the open field with the Tiber behind him. In addition, the bulk of his army fought with little ardour, except for the Praetorians, who did fight without giving ground until the last man fell. Maxentius was drowned in the river along with a good number of his soldiers, ‘fulfilling thus the divine prophecy’ (Eusebius). Or as Lactantius says: ‘The hand of God weighed on the battlefield.’

To this victory of Constantine, celebrated by all historians of the Church as the birth of the Christian empire, the Germanic troops contributed, especially the so-called auxilium (a contingent of mercenaries) of the cornuti (because they wore helmets with horns, whose symbol introduced the emperor, as a sign of gratitude, on the shield of the Roman armies).

In Rome, they took Maxentius out of the mud, cut off his head, which was stoned and covered with excrement during the triumphal walk and then taken to Africa. Finally, the son of the vanquished and all his political supporters were slain, and the whole family of Maxentius exterminated.

On October 29, the winner got by without the pagan sacrifice in honour of the Capitoline Jupiter and the Christian clergy was favoured immediately after the battle. In fact, there were more Christians in Italy and in Africa than in Gaul. In Rome, the Senate would build, in honour of Constantine, the triumphal arch that we can still see next to the Colosseum.

Published in: on October 31, 2017 at 1:22 pm  Comments Off on Kriminalgeschichte, 25  
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