Winter is coming

‘Winter Is Coming’ is the premiere of the HBO medieval fantasy television series Game of Thrones.

When in years past the comment threads were open on this site I noticed that one of my topics that didn’t attract attention was Game of Thrones (A Game of Thrones, which English-Spanish translation I have near where I write, is the first novel of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire). But it must be understood that in my childhood, after seeing Kubrick’s best film, I wanted to be a film director (that was a few years before a family tragedy that would destroy several lives).

In my books I say that when I was a child Warner Bros. offered my father a job so he could go to work in the United States. My father declined the offer and sentenced me to live in a country other than my own. But I was left with the desire to have been a director and the only thing I can do now is film criticism. Of course, as a director I would have handled Martin’s novels in a very different way compared to the way the pair of Jews who produced and directed the HBO series did. For example, Martin’s feminism was exacerbated by David Benioff and Daniel B. Weiss, known to fans as D&D. I would have decreased it as much as possible.

In this series of criticising each episode of Game of Thrones that I’m starting with this post we must bear in mind that I am more critical of the toxic fandom made up of whites than the script that D&D developed. The author of the video we recently transcribed for this site on toxic fandom said elsewhere that Arya Stark was the most mishandled character of all Game of Thrones seasons. I would add that this speaks very badly of the fandom of whites who complained a lot about the finale but never about what D&D did with Arya.

Only in the first episode of the HBO series does Arya appear as she must have appeared throughout both Martin’s novels and the television series: a girl being educated in embroidery and weaving and confined to the home of a feudal lord. Not only the normies don’t want this ‘transvaluation of values’ on how to educate women today. Even many white nationalists don’t reject feminism with the vehemence that every Aryan male should (the masculinisation of the white woman is directly proportional to the feminisation of the white man).

In that same opening episode, shortly after showing Arya in her embroidery and knitting classes with other girls, we see her little brother Bran Stark trying to get a good shot at target shooting. Bran does it very badly and, from behind, Arya, who is even younger than him, hits the target with her bow and arrow thus humiliating her little brother.

That is the first bad message of Game of Thrones. As we have already said on this site, Hollywood is portraying female warriors as faster than men. The reality is that women are slower and generally inferior to us in both physical and intellectual sports (see what I said last December about chess).

It is very important to criticise the white fans of the series for not being outraged by such reversals of reality, from the very first episode. White nationalism limits itself to blaming Hollywood Jews as if whites, in this case the toxic fandom, weren’t equally guilty of greedily consuming those products without criticising them.

When the king of the seven kingdoms, Robert Baratheon and his royal court, arrive in Winterfell and the Starks receive them, Arya contemplates them with a helmet (in its place that little girl would have had to wear a hood). When Arya arrives with her reunited family about to receive the king, Ned, her father, immediately removes her helmet. In the historical medieval world, not in these mad films that demoralise the Aryan man, little girls didn’t want to become soldiers throwing away all of their femininity, much less a blue-blooded girl like Arya Stark.

In sharp contrast, the dialogue between King Robert and Ned Stark in the crypts is very realistic and very masculine. Voices like this are no longer heard in the West, not even among its supposed defenders. This is how we men used to speak: as Robert Baratheon spoke in the crypt when paying his respects to Ned’s late sister Lyanna Stark, with whom he had been in love.

Across the narrow sea in Essos the blond prince Viserys Targaryen forces his sister, Daenerys, to marry a Dothraki warlord, the non-white Drogo. Viserys thus fantasises about conquering Westeros and claiming the Iron Throne for the Targaryen House that Robert had destroyed. (In Martin’s universe the Targaryens were known for their incredible hyper-Nordic beauty, and I think the producers of the show should have chosen more beautiful actors to play the roles of Viserys and Daenerys.) Viserys says something horrible to his blonde sister: that in his quest to regain the throne for his house he would even allow the forty thousand horses of the swarthy Dothraki to mount her. It’s a terrible message because, despite medieval barbarism, I don’t think blond princes treated their princesses like that in real history.

Later we see an uninhibited King Robert dancing, kissing and groping a fat commoner during the evening feast in the great hall of Winterfell in front of Cersei Lannister, his wife and queen. But that’s nothing compared to the wedding between the blonde and the swarthy warlord on the other side of the narrow sea. If the white fans of Game of Thrones were good people they would have rebelled from this moment on. But as we know from the recommended readings in the sticky post, they are the worst generation of whites since prehistory.

But the superiority of the white race cannot be hidden visually, not even with Jewish directors. There is, in this premiere, a short scene that puts Daenerys side by side with black and mulatto women before she was deflowered by Drogo. I mean Daenerys’ walk in the direction of her white mare that Drogo gave her as a gift on their wedding day. The seventh art perfectly portrays the infinite superiority of a white woman over dark people.

The brief scene reminded me of a tale by Nicaraguan poet Rubén Darío (1867-1916), who contrasted a white girl eating grapes with the swarthy people who surrounded her here in Latin America: Y sobre aquel fondo de hollín y carbón, sus hombros delicados y tersos que estaban desnudos, hacían resaltar su bello color de lis, con un casi impenetrable tono dorado (‘And against that background of soot and coal, was the beautiful lily colour, with an almost impenetrable golden hue of her naked and delicate smooth shoulders’).

Published in: on February 21, 2021 at 12:01 am  Comments Off on Winter is coming  

The Iliad, book I

As we saw in the essay on Sparta in The Fair Race, around 1200 b.c.e. the Achaeans besieged and conquered Troy in a crusade that united the Hellenes in a common endeavour, so prone to war with each other. In The Iliad Homer describes them as a gang of barbarians with the mentality and appearance of Vikings who sweep the refined and civilised Troy.

The first book of The Iliad begins already after nine years of war between Achaeans and Trojans, when a plague breaks out on the Achaean camp. The soothsayer Calchas, consulted about it, predicts that the plague will not cease until the girl Chryseis, who Agamemnon had kidnapped, was returned to her father Chryses of Troy. Achilles’ wrath stems from the affront inflicted on him by Agamemnon, who, by yielding Chryseis to her father because of the threat of the soothsayer, now snatches from Achilles’ share of the spoils the young priestess Briseis. (In our times of feminised western males that feel no wrath when seeing a Negro with an English rose, how I wish the return of this blond beast of yore…!)

After all this, Achilles retires from the battle and ensures that he will only return when the Trojan fire reaches his own ships. He asks his mother Thetis to convince Zeus to help the Trojans and Zeus accepts.

More than once I have said that what must be studied are the phenomena that has captured, in a massive way, the popular imagination of the white man. In modern times, those who complain only about Jews look to, say, the Frankfurt School. But to understand the soul of the white man they should pay more attention to what whites have read voraciously; for example, the literary phenomena that marked recent centuries. I mean the gigantic bestsellers of the past that portray the suicidal infatuation of English speakers about Jews (for example Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe and Lew Wallace’s Ben-Hur) or about blacks (e.g., Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin).

In our century, white madness is also noted in their delusional empowerment of women. As I have also said on this site, it is alarming that almost no one tore his garments at the most nefarious presentation of the ‘girl power’ ideology in Game of Thrones, exemplified in Arya Stark. Game of Thrones fans are such an alienated and degenerate folk that they disowned the grand finale, which is a masterpiece, and instead liked the empowerment of the girl Arya in previous seasons. Such feminism even reached a now-deceased neonazi novelist who wanted to create an Aryan republic in his state, as we saw in Daybreak’s ‘Freedom’s daughters’.

As a child I enjoyed Ivanhoe and Ben-Hur although never watched Uncle Tom’s Cabin that I saw advertised in the newspaper. I was ten years old then. Nowadays, from the current bestsellers of George Martin I would only rescue how the author portrayed Bran Stark.

But back to The Iliad, the monumental bestseller of the Greco-Roman world, although recited in private rather than read. Going into the details of the first book is important because it takes us back to the gods of the Homeric Greeks, so different from the meek Jesus. The first thing that strikes the attention in The Iliad compared to our meek times is that it represents the most absolute antithesis of the ethno-suicidal feminism that most westerners now accept, represented in Game of Thrones and in a myriad of other television series.

For example, in this first book of The Iliad the abducted girls Chryseis and Briseis have no voice or vote before their abductors: it is the men who fight for them and who complain, either the father of the kidnapped girl or the god Apollo who listened to such complaints; as well as Agamemnon and Achilles, the alpha males who can enjoy the spoils of war: young and pretty girls. Briseis, Achilles’ sex slave that Agamemnon later snatches from him, is called ‘the fair-cheeked one’ and ‘the one with a cute waist’.

Also notable in this first book of The Iliad is that the Homeric Greeks were very white people. Five times Hera is called ‘white-armed Hera’. Also ‘light-eyed Athena’ grabs Achilles ‘by his blond hair.’ Eos is ‘the one with the rosy fingers’, and ‘silver-footed Thetis’ is the mother of the main character of Homer’s tale.

With women like that it really makes you want to abduct one of them and breed…

Homer

A few decades ago I heard non-Christian Octavio Paz (1914-1998) assert on television that Dante was the quintessential poet of the West. Something rebelled in me when I listened to Paz, my then hero of the Cervantes language, but only until now can I answer such an aberration.

Like many other intellectuals, historians, and writers, Paz confused Western Christian civilisation with European civilisation. But Christendom is not the West. Christianity was the psychotic breakdown that the West has suffered since Constantine began to impose the god of the Jews on a race that has been non-Christian for much longer than Christian. What Albus said on this site when commenting on the sacred music of Johann Sebastian Bach we could apply equally to Dante’s great poem:

As a former Catholic I have stopped visiting any church building for all my life. Never again a famous cathedral will impress me, especially not out of an interest in art. It took me major efforts to recognise that Christian representations in art and ‘sacred music’ are without exception infectious material, propaganda means of subjugation, the original degenerate art for Aryans. One should shrink from letting any such product enter into perception as one would shrink from the sight of the mutilated corpses of children. Aryan Weltanschauung demands logical consistency and gravitas wherever we go.

That is very true, and we could also shrink from Dante’s Commedia. The white race won’t be cured of its ethno-suicidal drive until it dares to repudiate an alien religion. Dante is not the poet of the West as the Nobel Prize winner of literature said, but Homer. And if we want to reconnect with the world prior to the religious drift that now has reached a florid psychosis (see the psychological articles in my recently published Daybreak), we have to rescue our real European roots.

Before the traitorous Roman emperors imposed a Semitic cult on the white man, the Iliad was considered something like the Bible of the Greco-Roman world: which makes perfect sense as, unlike the Bible in which all heroes are Jews, in the Iliad all heroes are Aryans.

No wonder that much of the content in the Library of Alexandria that our ancient enemies burned was commentary on the Iliad. (Just as, after the destruction of the Aryan world, our treacherous libraries have contained a myriad of books commenting on biblical passages.)

I recently said that after my new book was published the character of The West’s Darkest Hour would change, and that I was going to follow Manu Rodríguez’s advice about creating a new ecclesia. To do this we have to build more centres like the Parthenon in Centennial Park, the large-scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens. But the difference is that these new temples, very small at the beginning, would be run by priests of the fourteen words and used to preach to the fair race. For example, instead of television and movies produced by our enemies, a song of the Homeric poem would have to be memorised and recited as it used to be performed and as Homer himself did without customs, sets or props but in a modest room, where even the children liked it.

How many have seen, performed live and from memory, at least one of the twenty-four songs of the Iliad as it used to be performed since Homer? The translated text that we can buy in bookstores is a dead letter. By contrast, in the ancient world Homer’s poem was represented by a single man who recited it with emotion. Compare such a bare performance with the mass-consumption poison that non-Gentiles make us see and hear thanks to billions of American dollars.

It is estimated that Homer could have lived in the 8th century b.c.e. in Ionia. To visualise the epic narrated by a single man you have to forget all the neoclassical paintings because the Homeric Hellenes were blond. See the articles in The Fair Race that prove it. Alas, after the Aryan apocalypse, also narrated in that same book that I compiled, Ionia, present-day Turkey, became a land of mudbloods…

Those who could really appreciate the Iliad would be those Aryans who wanted to re-conquer those lands for their race (e.g., the National Socialists), as the Iliad is circumscribed in the genre of the epic of the conquest of the peninsula and its islands by the blond beast of the north.

The Name of the Rose

In his latest piece, published today, Ricardo Duchesne says that ‘the Western ideals of individualism, egalitarianism, and moral universalism are the ultimate causes’ of white suicide. But again, he doesn’t mention that Christianity exacerbated individualism, egalitarianism, and moral universalism. (The doctrine that your soul must be saved from eternal fire infinitely exacerbated the individualism of the white race.) But I didn’t want to focus on Duchesne.

These days I watched the miniseries they made last year about the novel The Name of the Rose, authored by the Italian Umberto Eco. Naively, I acquired the DVDs expecting that the Italian Giacomo Battiato would respect his countryman’s masterpiece. To my surprise, Battiato did the same thing they did in the 1986 film, in which Sean Connery plays the wise Franciscan monk William of Baskerville: they both saved the girl who, in Eco’s novel, is sent to the stake by an Inquisitor. But the recent television series is much worse, as it invents female characters, brave warriors of course, who do not appear in either Eco’s novel or the 1986 Hollywood adaptation.

It is really a scandal that the film industry continues to betray one of the very few masterpieces in literature of the last decades (here on this site I also have promoted the reading of Julian by Gore Vidal).

Even though I don’t recommend the 1986 adaptation, much less last year’s miniseries, seeing the latter these days reminded me of something I have already said on this site about a passage in The Name of the Rose: precisely what white advocates like Duchesne will never dare to see.

Published in: on July 15, 2020 at 11:59 am  Comments Off on The Name of the Rose  

Julian, 77

Chapter XV

On 6 January, the Galileans celebrate something called the feast of the Epiphany. It is the day the Galilean is supposed to have been baptized. Suspecting my dislike of the Galileans, Nebridius announced to the city that I would attend the feast of the Epiphany at the Vienne charnel house, a brand-new basilica paid for by Helena’s numerous gifts to the bishops. I was furious but dared not show it. I am sorry to say Oribasius was amused at my predicament.

Grimly, I did what I had to do. I spent two hours meditating on the thighbone of some villain who had been eaten by lions at Rome, while the bishop delivered a considerable sermon at me, praying that I would throw the weight of my majesty against the enemy Arians. He even turned political by suggesting that as Constantius was Arian and I possibly Athanasian, the line might then be drawn between us in all things, and the side of “truth” (also the side of the majority, he added pointedly) would prevail, supporting my throne like columns, I believe was his metaphor, or it may have been holy caryatids. When it came time to pray, my words were addressed to the Galilean but my heart spoke to Zeus.

The winter was a time of waiting. I was now ready to march. All that I needed was a sign from heaven. Though the prefect at Rome would not allow my emissaries to consult the Sibylline books, a friendly priest of the old order was able to look at a part of that book which describes our period. According to his secret report, I would indeed be the next emperor. My reign would be stormy but long. That is all I ask for: time. Time to make an old world young again, to make winter spring, to free the One God from the triple monster of the atheists. Give me twenty years, O Helios, and I will fill the earth with praise for your light, and illuminate the dark windings of Hades’ kingdom! Even as Persephone returned to Demeter, so shall our time’s living-dead return to your arms, which are light, which is life, which is all! […]

* * *

“What do you want?” Oribasius had divined my mood, as he so often does.

“To restore the gods.”

“But if they are real and do exist…”

“They are real! There is no ‘if’! They do exist!” I was fierce. His laughter stopped me. “Then they exist. But if they exist, they are always present, and so there’s no need to ‘restore’ them.”

“But we must worship what God tells us to.”

“So the Christians say.”

“Ah, but theirs is a false god, and I mean to destroy them.” Oribasius stiffened at the word “destroy”. “Kill them?”

“No. I shall not allow them the pleasure of martyrdom. Besides, at the rate they kill one another, it would be gratuitous for me to intervene. No, I shall fight them with reason and example. I shall reopen the temples and reorganize the priesthood. We shall put Hellenism on such a footing that people will choose it of their own free will.”

“I wonder.” Oribasius was thoughtful. “They are rich, well organized. Most important, they educate the children.”

“We shall do the same!” I was thinking as I spoke; I had no plan. “Even better, we could take the schools away from them.”

“If you could…”

“The Emperor can.”

“It might work. Otherwise…”

“Otherwise?”

“You would have to reign as a bloody tyrant and even then you’d lose.”

“I am not so pessimistic.” But Oribasius had put an idea into my head, one which will save us all. Curiously enough, though we had often spoken of what it would be like when I became emperor, none of us had ever really considered in much detail what form the contest between Hellenism and the Galileans would take. We agreed that when I could I would publicly repudiate the Nazarene, but none of us had thought what the reaction might be, particularly from the common people of whom perhaps half are Galilean. Only the army is truly religious. The men worship Mithras. There are few Galileans in the ranks, though a third of the officers believe in the triple monster.

We talked until it was morning. Just as the sun appeared over the world’s edge, like an omen, Dagalaif returned to camp with Count Lucillianus as prisoner. […]

* * *

On the night of 20 November I was working late. Lamps filled with cheap oil smoked abominably. The three night secretaries sat at a long table, mountains of parchment stacked in front of them. At a separate table I was writing a letter to my uncle Julian, trying to reassure him—and myself—that victory was certain. I had just finished the letter with one of those postscripts which even old friends say they cannot decipher, when I heard footsteps quickly approaching. Without ceremony the door flew open. The clerks and I leapt to our feet. One never knows if assassins are at hand. But it was Oribasius, out of breath, a letter in his hand.

“It’s happened!” he gasped. Then he did something he had never done before. He dropped on his knees before me, and offered me the letter. “This is for you… Augustus.”

I read the first line. Then the words blurred together and I could read no more. “Constantius is dead.” As I said those extraordinary words, the clerks one by one fell to their knees. Then, as in a dream, the room began to fill with people.

All knew what had happened. All paid me silent homage for I had, miraculously, with the stopping of one man’s breath, become sole Augustus, Emperor of Rome, Lord of the world. To my astonishment, I wept.

Published in: on October 6, 2019 at 10:06 am  Comments Off on Julian, 77  

Julian, 76

Priscus: We were besieged for a month. A number of our deserters had gone over to the Germans and reported on our weakness. Encouraged by this, and excited at the thought of capturing a Roman Caesar, King Chnodomar marched on Sens. It was a difficult time and we owed our lives, finally, to Julian’s energy and intelligence. Though he could not make us cheerful or even confident, he at least kept us dutiful and modestly hopeful.

That night the call to arms was sounded. Men rushed to their posts on the battlements. The Germans could be seen less than half a mile away, illuminated by burning farmhouses. It had been the neighing of farm horses that had disturbed our after-dinner conversation. Had the Germans been quieter, they might have taken the city. Fortunately for us, every last one of them was drunk.

During the next few days, Julian’s mood changed from almost boisterous excitement to grim rage. He was positive that he had been deliberately abandoned. This suspicion was confirmed when a messenger arrived from Rheims to say that Marcellus would not come to our aid; he pleaded weakness. He also insisted that Julian had sufficient men to repulse the Germans.

Our rations were nearly gone when the Germans departed as suddenly as they had arrived. Long sieges bored them. Julian immediately sent to Vienne for supplies. He then recalled all his troops to Sens and the remainder of the winter was passed, if not in comfort, at least without fear of sudden annihilation. Julian also wrote Constantius a full account of Marcellus’s refusal to come to his aid. It was a splendid document. I know; Sallust and I helped to write it. So splendid was it, in fact, that unlike most state papers this one had an effect. Marcellus was recalled to Milan and after a short interval Julian finally got what he wanted, the command of the armies of Gaul.

 

______ 卐 ______

 

Editor’s note:

To date I have been copying and pasting the entire novel by Gore Vidal, on Sundays, until chapter XI. The idea was obviously to invite the visitor to acquire a hard copy of the novel.

Julian’s quote on this day is the last one following that custom. From now on I will only cite those passages of Julian that have made an impression on me, omitting the others.

Published in: on September 22, 2019 at 8:56 am  Comments Off on Julian, 76  

Julian, 75

The Alexamenos graffito (also known as the graffito blasfemo, or blasphemous graffito) is a piece of Roman graffiti scratched in plaster on the wall of a room near the Palatine Hill in Rome, which has now been removed and is in the Palatine Hill Museum. It may be the earliest surviving depiction of Jesus and, if so, competes with an engraved gem as the earliest known pictorial representation of the Crucifixion of Jesus. It is hard to date, but has been estimated to have been made around 200 C.E. The image seems to show a young man worshipping a crucified, donkey-headed figure. The Greek inscription approximately translates to ‘Alexamenos worships [his] god’, indicating that the graffito was apparently meant to mock a Christian named Alexamenos.

 

______ 卐 ______

 

While we were talking amiably, I heard far off the uneasy neighing of horses, but thought nothing of it. Then Oribasius mentioned those Hebrew books which the Galileans refer to as the old testament. This was a favourite subject with me. So much so that I forgot Helena was in the room. “I admire the Jews because of their devotion to a single god. I also admire them because of their self-discipline. But I deplore the way they interpret their god. He is supposed to be universal, but he is interested only in them…”

“Christ,” said my wife suddenly, “was sent by God to all of us.” There was an embarrassed silence.

“The issue,” I said finally, with great gentleness, “is just that: would the One God intervene in such a way?”

“We believe that He did.”

The room was now completely still save for the far-off sound of horses. My companions were on edge.

“Yet is it not written in the so-called gospel of John, that ‘out of Galilee arises no prophet’?”

“God is God, not a prophet,” said Helena.

“But the idea of the Nazarene’s mission, in his own words, is taken from the old testament, which is Jewish, which says that a prophet—a messiah—will one day come to the Jews, but not God himself.”

“That is a difficulty,” she admitted.

“In fact,” and I was stupidly blunt, “there is almost no connection between what the Galileans believe and what the Nazarene preached. More to the point, I see nothing in the Jewish text that would allow for such a monstrosity as the triple god. The Jews were monotheists. The Galileans are atheists.”

I had gone too far. Helena rose, bowed, and withdrew, accompanied by her ladies.

My companions were alarmed. Priscus spoke first. “What a gift you have, Caesar, for making the difficult impossible!”

The others agreed. I asked their forgiveness. “Anyway,” I said, not believing my own words, “we can trust Helena.”

“I hope so.” Sallust was gloomy.

“One must be true to what is true,” I said, wishing as I so often do that I had held my tongue.

There was a sudden shouting in the streets. We all sprang to our feet. We had hardly got to the door when an officer arrived to report that Sens was being attacked. Elsewhere I describe what happened and I shall not repeat it here.

Published in: on August 18, 2019 at 11:38 am  Comments (3)  

Julian, 74

Julian Augustus

After the victories described, I went into winter quarters at a pleasant town called Sens whose particular virtue was that it kept me at a proper distance from Florentius at Vienne and Marcellus at Rheims.

During those months Helena kept much to herself. She had several ladies with her from the court at Milan and I think that she was reasonably content, though she was not in good health: because of her age, the birth had been a difficult one. I was always ill at ease with Helena. I could hardly forget that she was the sister of my enemy. For a long time I was uncertain to which of us she was loyal. I do know that she kept up a considerable correspondence with her brother (since destroyed; by whom? very mysterious); as a result, I was careful to say nothing in her presence which might make Constantius suspicious. This self-restraint was a considerable burden for me.

Only once did Helena reveal that she had some idea of what was in my mind and heart. It was in December. We had dined frugally in my office, which was easier to heat than the state apartments. Several braziers gave forth sufficient heat—at least for me; Priscus used to complain bitterly of my meanness in this regard. Helena sat with her ladies at the opposite end of the room, listening to one of the women sing Greek songs, while Oribasius, Sallust, Priscus and I reclined on couches at the other end of the room.

We spoke idly at first, as one does after supper. We touched on the military situation. It was not good. Despite my victory at Cologne, Florentius had left me with only two legions. The rest of my army had been recalled to Rheims and Vienne. I was in the same position I had been my first winter at Vienne, a prince with no principality. Only now I carried a larger burden. But as the old saying goes, “A pack-saddle is put on an ox; that is surely no burden for me.” It was my task not only to hold Sens but to protect the neighbouring villages from the German tribes who were, even in the dead of winter, moving restlessly from town to town, burning and pillaging. In fact, Chnodomar himself had sworn that he would hang me before the spring thaw. To garrison the near-by towns, I was obliged to give up two-thirds of the soldiers under my command. Added to this, we were faced with an unusual number of desertions, especially among the Italian soldiers.

“Any man who deserts should be executed,” said Sallust, “publicly, before the legions.”

“It is remarkably difficult, General,” said Priscus in his sly way, “to execute a deserter. First, you must catch him.”

“The only solution,” I said, “is victory. If we are successful, the men will be loyal. There are few deserters in a winning army.”

“But we are neither winning nor an army,” said Priscus with unpleasant accuracy.

“Which is exactly what the Emperor wants.” Oribasius spoke too loudly. I silenced him with a gesture. Helena had heard this but she made no sign.

“I am sure the divine Emperor, my cousin and colleague, is eager for us to succeed in driving the Germans from Gaul.” Actually, I had received no word from Constantius since taking up residence at Sens. I assumed that he was angry with me for not returning to Vienne.

Then Priscus asked me to read from the panegyric I was writing on Eusebia. I sent for a notary, who brought me the manuscript. I read a few pages, not liking it at all. The work was rough. I said so.

“Probably,” said the wicked Priscus, “because it is nearly sincere.”

The others laughed. At Vienne I had written a lengthy panegyric of Constantius which—if I say so myself—was a masterpiece, carefully ordered and beautifully composed. The art of panegyric does not necessarily exclude honesty, though one’s true feelings are perfectly irrelevant to the final composition, which is artifice, not truth. Even Constantius realized that I had created something marvellous and wrote me a letter in his own hand, filled with misspellings and errors of syntax. I then tried to write a panegyric on Eusebia, and found it difficult; no doubt, as Priscus suggested, because of my true regard for the subject. Also, I was honour bound not to reveal to what extent she had saved my life. This was limiting.

Published in: on August 11, 2019 at 3:08 pm  Comments Off on Julian, 74  

Julian, 73

Julian Augustus

At Rheims I reviewed the legions as they marched through the city gates, all of us sweating in the hot August sun. It was a lowering day, humid and ill-omened. As I stood on the platform outside the city gate, gnats whirring about my head and sweat trickling down my face, a message from Vienne was handed to me. It was a brief note from Florentius. My wife had been delivered of a boy who had died shortly afterwards. She was in good health. That was all.

It is an odd thing to be the father of a son and the grieving father of a dead son, all in the same instant. I handed the letter to Sallust. Then I turned back to the legions who were marching rhythmically now in Pyrrhic measure to the sound of pipes.

Priscus: The midwife cut too short the child’s umbilical cord. We later learned that she had been paid to do this by the Empress Eusebia. Yet I never heard Julian refer to Eusebia in any but the most glowing terms. It is sad how tangled the relations among princes become… What a ridiculous statement! We are all in the habit of censuring the great, as if we were popular playwrights, when in fact ordinary folk are quite as devious and as wilful and as desperate to survive (if not to prevail) as are the great; particularly philosophers.

Julian skips the rest of that year’s campaign with a note that a section from his earlier book will be inserted. That will be your task. Personally, I find his book on the Gallic wars almost as boring as Julius Caesar’s. I say “almost” because a description of something one has lived through can never be entirely dull. But descriptions of battles soon pall. I would suggest—although you have not asked for my literary advice—that you keep the military inserts to a minimum.

Julian’s autumn campaign was a success. He fought a set battle at Brumath which strategists regard as a model of brilliant warfare. I wouldn’t know. At the time I thought it confusing, but it opened the road to Cologne. That part of the world, by the way, is quite lovely, especially a spot called the Confluence, where obviously—two rivers join, the Moselle and the Rhine, at a town called Remagen—ours; just past Remagen is an old Roman tower which commands the countryside. Not far from Remagen is Cologne, which to everyone’s amazement Julian regained, after a brief battle.

We remained at Cologne all of September. Julian was in excellent form. Several of the Frankish chiefs paid him court and he both charmed and awed them, a rare gift which he apparently shared, if one is to trust Cicero, with Julius Caesar.

A light note of no consequence: Oribasius bet me one gold piece that Constantius would take revenge on Julian for lying to Marcellus. I bet him that he would not. I won the gold piece. We then spent the winter at Sens, a depressing provincial town north of Vienne. It was nearly the last winter for all of us.

Published in: on August 4, 2019 at 11:15 pm  Comments Off on Julian, 73  

Julian, 72

XI

On 22 June I left Vienne at the head of an army of twelve thousand men—cuirassiers, crossbowmen and infantry. The whole town came out to see us off. Florentius radiated irony, while Marcellus could hardly disguise his amusement. I am sure that they thought this was the last they would see of me. Helena bade me farewell with stoic dignity. She was the essence of a Roman matron, quite prepared for me to return upon my shield.

It was a sunny day as we rode out of the city. On my right was Sallust and on my left Oribasius. Directly in front of me a standard-bearer carried a hideously lifelike image of Constantius, crowned and wearing the imperial robe. My cousin had recently sent me this effigy, with a long set of instructions on how I was to show it off. He also reminded me that I had not been sent to Gaul as monarch but as a representative of the Emperor whose principal task was to display the imperial robe and image to the people. Despite this small humiliation, I was in high spirits as we took to the road.

We arrived at Autun 26 June. On that same day I defeated the Germans and set the city free. Note to secretary: At this point insert relevant chapter from my book, The Gallic Wars. It should be that section which covers the campaign from Autun to Auxerre to Troyes to Rheims, where I passed the month of August.

Priscus: As Julian described, Sallust on his right, Oribasius on his left, and myself just behind.

His official account of the campaign is generally accurate. From Julius Caesar on, commanders tend to give themselves the best of it in their memoirs, but Julian was usually honest. Of course he tended not to mention his mistakes.

He does not tell how he lost the better part of a legion through carelessness: he sent them through a forest where he had been warned that there were Germans… and there were Germans. But in general, Julian was a cautious commander. He seldom committed a man unless he was certain that the odds were in his favour. Or so the experts assure us. I know practically nothing of military matters, even though I served with Julian both in Gaul and Persia. I was not of course a soldier, though I did fight from time to time, with no pleasure. I experienced none of that blood lust he referred to some pages back, a rather surprising admission because in conversation Julian never once admitted to a liking for war.

Sallust took care of all details. He was most capable and in every way an admirable man. Too admirable, perhaps? One often had the feeling that he was playing a part (usually that of Marcus Aurelius); he was invariably demure and diffident and modest and sensible, all those things the world believes it admires. Which is the point. Less self-conscious men invariably have traits we do not admire. The good and the bad are all mixed together. Sallust was all good. That must have taken intense self- discipline as well as the awareness that he was indeed trying to be something he was not. But no matter what his motives, he was impressive, and a good influence on Julian.

Julian lifted the siege at Autun. He then marched north to Auxerre. He rested there a few days. He always took every possible opportunity to refresh his troops, unlike so many generals who drive them past their strength. From Auxerre we moved to Troyes. This was a difficult journey. We were continually harassed by Germans. They are a frightening-looking people, tall and muscular, with long hair dyed bright red, a tribal custom. They dress pretty much like us, wearing armour pilfered from Roman corpses. In open country, they are easily vanquished, but in forests they are dangerous.

At Troyes we spent several hours outside the walls trying to explain to the frightened garrison that we were not Germans and that this was indeed the Caesar. Finally Julian himself, with that “hideously lifelike” image of Constantius beside him, ordered the people to open the gates.

We stayed at Troyes a day. Then we moved on to Rheims. Julian had previously agreed with Florentius that the main army of Gaul would be concentrated there in August, preparatory to retaking Cologne. So Marcellus was already at Rheims when we got there. Shortly after we arrived, a military council was called. Weary from the long ride and longing for the baths, I accompanied Julian and Sallust to the meeting.

Marcellus was hardly pleased to find Julian so obviously thriving on military life. When Julian inquired if the troops were ready, he was told that they were not. When would they be ready? Evasion. Finally: a major offensive was not possible this year.

Then Julian rose and lied with the genius of a Ulysses. I could hardly believe my ears. He spoke first in sorrow. “I had hoped to find all of you here eager and ready to fight the tribes. Instead, I find nothing is planned and we are on the defensive, as usual.” Marcellus began to mutter dangerously but Julian was in full flow. You know what he was like when the spirit (often identified as Helios) was upon him.

“I was sent here, General, by the divine Emperor to show his image to the barbarians. I was also sent here to recover the cities you have lost. I was sent here to drive the savages back to their forests beyond the Rhine. I have sworn as Caesar to conquer them or to die.”

“But Caesar, we…” That was all Marcellus was allowed to say. As Julian talked through him, he withdrew a document from his tunic. It was the booklet on etiquette that Constantius had given him. “Do you see this, General? All of you?” Julian waved it like a standard in the air. No one could tell what it was exactly, but the imperial seal was perfectly visible.

“It is from the divine Emperor. It is to me. It arrived by special messenger at Autun. It contains orders. We are to regain Cologne. Those are his commands and we are his slaves. We have no choice but to obey.”

There was consternation on Marcellus’s side of the council table. No one had heard of these instructions for the excellent reason that they did not exist. But the bold lie worked largely because Marcellus was a true politician in the sense that he could not admit that there was anything which he ought to know that in fact he did not know. He gave Julian the army.

Published in: on July 28, 2019 at 12:13 pm  Comments Off on Julian, 72