Christianity’s Criminal History, 101

 

Editors’ note:

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

 

The Christian Book Burning
and the Annihilation of Classical Culture

Where is the wise person? Where is the educated one? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

—St. Paul, I Corinthians 1:20

Charlatanism is initiated among you by the schoolteacher, and as you have divided the science into parts [sacred & profane], you have moved away from the only true one.

—Tatian

After Jesus Christ, all research is already pointless. If we believe, we no longer demand anything that goes beyond our faith.

—Tertullian

If you want to read historical narratives, there you have the Book of The Kings. If, on the contrary, you want to read the wise men and philosophers, you have the prophets… And if you long for the hymns, you also have the psalms of David.

—Apostolic Constitution (3rd Century)

Religion is, therefore, the central core of the entire educational process and must permeate all educational measures.

Lexicon for Catholic Life (1952)

 
Constantine ordered to burn the fifteen books of the work Against the Christians written by Porphyry, the most astute of the opponents of Christianity in the pre-Constantinian era: ‘The first state prohibition of books decreed in favour of the Church’ (Hamack). And his successors, Theodosius II and Valentinian III, condemned Porphyry’s work again to the bonfire, in 448. This happened after Eusebius of Caesarea had written twenty-five books against this work and the doctor of the Church Cyril nothing less than thirty.

Towards the end of the 4th century, during the reign of Emperor Valens, there was a great burning of books, accompanied by many executions. That Christian regent gave free rein to his fury for almost two years, behaving like ‘a wild beast’, torturing, strangulating, burning people alive, and beheading. The innumerable records allowed to find the traces of many books that were destroyed, especially in the field of law and the liberal arts. Entire libraries went to the fire in the East. Sometimes they were eliminated by their owners under the effect of panic.

On the occasion of the assaults on the temples, the Christians destroyed, especially in the East, not only the images of the gods but also the liturgical books and those of the oracles. The Catholic Emperor Jovian (363-364) had the Antioch library destroyed by fire: the same library installed there by his predecessor Julian the Apostate. Following the assault on the Serapis in 391, during which the sinister Patriarch Theophilus himself destroyed, axe in hand, the colossal statue of Serapis carved by the great Athenian artist Bryaxis, the library was consumed by flames.

After the library of the Museum of Alexandria, which already had 700,000 rolls, was consumed by a casual fire during the siege war by Cesar (48-47 BC), the fame of Alexandria as a city possessing the most numerous and precious bibliographic treasures only lasted thanks to the library of the Serapis, since the supposed intention of Antony to give Cleopatra, as compensation for the loss of the library of the museum, the entire library of Pergamum, with 200,000 rolls , does not seem to have come to fruition. The burning of libraries on the occasion of the assault on the temples was indeed something frequent, especially in the East.

It happened once again under the responsibility of Theophilus, following the destruction of an Egyptian sanctuary in Canopus and that of the Marneion of Gaza in 402.

At the beginning of the 5th century, Stilicho burned in the West—with great dismay on the part of the Roman aristocracy faithful to the religion of his elders—the books of the Sibyl, the immortal mother of the world, as Rutilius Claudius Namatianus complained. To him, the Christian sect seemed worse than the poison of Circe.

In the last decades of the 5th century, the libelli found there (‘these were an abomination in the eyes of God’—Rhetor Zacharias)—were burnt in Beirut before the church of St. Mary. The ecclesiastical writer Zacharias, who was then studying law in Beirut, played a leading role in this action supported by the bishop and state authorities. And in the year 562 Emperor Justinian, who had ‘pagan’ philosophers, rectors, jurists and physicians persecuted, ordered the burning of Greco-Roman images and books in the Kynegion of Constantinople, where the criminals were liquidated.

Apparently, already at the borderline of the Middle Ages, Pope Gregory I the Great, a fanatical enemy of everything classical, burned books in Rome. And this celebrity—the only one, together with Leo I, in gathering in his person the double distinction of Pope and Doctor of the Church—seems to have been the one who destroyed the books that are missing in the work of Titus Livy. It is not even implausible that it was he who ordered the demolition of the imperial library on the Palatine. In any case, the English scholastic John of Salisbury, bishop of Chartres, asserts that Pope Gregory intentionally destroyed manuscripts of classical authors of Roman libraries.

Everything indicates that many adepts of the Greco-Roman culture converted to Christianity had to prove to have really moved their convictions by burning their books in full view. Also, in some hagiographic narratives, both false and authentic, there is that commonplace of the burning of books as a symbol, so to speak, of a conversion story.

It was not always forced to go to the bonfire. Already in the first half of the 3rd century, Origen, very close in this regard to Pope Gregory, ‘desisted from teaching grammar as being worthless and contrary to sacred science and, calculating coldly and wisely, he sold all his works of the ancients authors with whom he had occupied until then in order not to need help from others for the sustenance of his life’ (Eusebius).

There is hardly anything left of the scientific critique of Christianity on the part of adherents to classical culture. The emperor and the Church took care of it. Even many Christian responses to it disappeared! (probably because there was still too much ‘pagan poison’ on its pages). But it was the classical culture itself on which the time came for its disappearance under the Roman Empire.
 

The annihilation of the Greco-Roman world

The last emperor of classical antiquity, the great Julian, certainly favoured the adherents of the old culture, but simultaneously tolerated the Christians: ‘It is, by the gods, my will that the Galileans not be killed, that they are not beaten unjustly or suffer any other type of injustice. I declare, however, that the worshipers of the gods will have a clear preference in front of them. For the madness of the Galileans was about to overthrow everything, while the veneration of the gods saved us all. That is why we have to honour the gods and the people and communities that venerate them’.

After Julian’s death, to whom the orator Libanius felt united by faith and friendship, Libanius complains deeply, moved by the triumph of Christianity and by its barbarous attacks on the old religion.

Oh! What a great sorrow took hold not only of the land of the Achaeans, but of the entire empire… The honours of which the good ones participated have disappeared; the friendship of the wicked and unbridled enjoys great prestige. Laws, repressive of evil, have already been repealed or are about to be. Those that remain are barely fulfilled in practice.

Full of bitterness, Libanius continues to address his co-religionists:

That faith, which until now was the object of mockery and that fought against you so fierce and untiring, has proved to be the strongest. It has extinguished the sacred fire, the joy of sacrifices, has ordered to savagely neat [its adversaries] and demolish the altars. It has locked the shrines and temples, if not destroyed them or turned them into brothels after declaring them impious. It has abrogated any activity with your faith…

In that final assault on the Greco-Roman world, the Christian emperors were mostly and for a long time less aggressive than the Christian Church. Under Jovian (363-364), the first successor of Julian, Hellenism does not seem to have suffered major damage except the closure and demolition of some temples. Also the successors of Jovian, Valentinian I and Valens, during whose government appears for the first time the term pagani referring the faithful of the old polytheism, maintained an attitude of relative tolerance toward them.

The Catholic Valentinian with plenty of reasons, because his interest was in the army and needed inner peace, tried to avoid religious conflicts. He still covered the high positions of the government almost evenly, even with a slight predominance of the believers in the gods.

Under Valens, nevertheless, the high Christian officials already constituted a majority before the Hellenes. Yet he fought the Catholics, even using the help of the Hellenes for reasons, of course, purely opportunistic.

Although the emperor Gratian, for continuing the rather liberal religious policy of his father Valentinian I, had promised tolerance to almost all the confessions of the empire by an edict promulgated in 378, in practice soon followed an opposite behaviour, for he was strongly influenced by the bishop of Milan, Ambrose.

Under Valentinian II, brother of Gratian, things really turned around and the relationship between high Christian officials and the adherents of the old culture was again balanced and the army chiefs, two polytheists, played a decisive role in the court. Even in Rome two other Hellenes of great prestige, Praetextatus and Symmachus, exerted the charges of praetorian and urban prefect respectively.

Gradually, however, Valentinian, as his brother once did, fell under the disastrous influence of the resident bishop of Milan, Ambrose. Something similar to what would happen later with Theodosius I. Ambrose lived according to his motto: ‘For the “gods of the heathen are but devils” as the Holy Scripture says; therefore, anyone who is a soldier of this true God must not give proof of tolerance and condescension, but of zeal for faith and religion’.

And indeed, the powerful Theodosius ruled during the last years of his term, at least as far as religious policy was concerned, strictly following Ambrose’s wishes. First, the rites of non-Christians were definitively banned at the beginning of 391. Later the temples and sanctuaries of Serapis in Alexandria were closed, which soon would be destroyed. In 393 the Olympic games were prohibited. The infant emperors of the 5th century [1] were puppets in the hands of the Church. That is why the court also committed itself more and more intensely in the struggle against classical culture, a struggle that the Church had already vehemently fuelled in the 4th century and that led gradually to the systematic extermination of the old faith.

The best-known bishops took part in this extermination, which intensified after the Council of Constantinople (381), with Rome and the East, especially Egypt, as the most notorious battlefields of the conflict between the Hellenes and the Christians.
 
___________

[1] Deschner is referring to emperors Arcadius, Theodosius II and Honorius whose reigns will be described in other translations of his books.

Kriminalgeschichte, 63

Below, an abridged translation from the first volume of
Karlheinz Deschner’s Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums:

 
Against Hellenism

An anti-Hellenistic law passed the following year sanctions for the offering of sacrifices as a crime of lese-majeste. In case incense was offered, the emperor confiscated ‘all the places that would have been hit by the smoke of the incense’ (turis vapore fumasse). If they were not owned by the person who burned it, he had to pay 25 pounds of gold, as well as the owner. The indulgent administrative chiefs were punished with 30 pounds of gold and their staff was charged the same amount. Geffcken considers this law ‘almost in the tone of a rhetorical missionary sermon’. Gerhard Rauschen speaks of the ‘funeral song of paganism’. It resulted in the prohibition of worship of the gods throughout the Empire.

In this way, many temples were victims of the Christian furore, such as that of Juno Caelestis in Carthage or that of Sarapis in Alexandria. Theodosius, who ‘eliminated the sacrilegious heretics’, as Ambrose praised him in his funeral address, transformed the temple of Aphrodite of Constantinople into a garage. He also threatened with exile or death for performing religious services of the Hellenistic superstition (gentilicia superstitio); it was forbidden to offer incense, light candles, place crowns and even private worship in the house itself. Augustine also praises this fanatic because ‘from the beginning of his government he had been tireless’, ‘helping the threatened (!) Church by very just and merciful laws against the pagans’, and because ‘he had the images of the pagan idols destroyed everywhere’.

But Theodosius repressed Hellenism even through a violent war; in circumstances that, once again, show the behaviour of Ambrose.

(Editor’s Note: Returning to my quotable quote from my previous entry, ‘Only revenge heals the wounded soul’. If whites will survive they must strike back: destroy all the Christian idols in addition to their temples. That alone would heal their psyche from suicidal Judaization: having dared to have a fucking jew as their personal lord and saviour. After three pages describing a bloody episode, Deschner continues:)

Augustine was also glad that the victor overthrew the statues of Jupiter placed in the Alps and that he gave his gold rays ‘gladly and obligingly’ to the messengers of the troops. ‘He had the images of the idols destroyed everywhere, for he had discovered that the granting of the earthly gifts also depends on the true God and not on the demons’. ‘That’s how the emperor was in peace and in war,’ says the devout Theodoret, full of joy. He always asked for God’s help and it was always granted’.

On January 17, 395, at 48 years of age, Theodosius died of dropsy. And Ambrose himself died, on April 4, 397. His remains rest today, which he had never imagined, in a coffin with those of the saints Gervase and Protase.

Kriminalgeschichte, 62

The ignorance of Aryans in general and of white nationalists in particular exasperates me. Not long ago, a Christian commenter on Occidental Dissent glorified Theodosius in the comments section of that blog. Once one becomes acquainted with the history of Christianity written by a non-Christian, unheard-of facts emerge that the typical educated Westerner knows nothing about.

Left, an idealised painting of Ambrose barring Theodosius from Milan Cathedral as, in real life, Ambrose was a non-white. After hearing about the Massacre of Thessalonica, the bishop of Milan refused to celebrate a mass in the Emperor’s presence.

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

______ 卐 ______

 
Theodosius’ massacres

What Theodosius ‘the Great’ was capable of is a good example of what happened in the year 387 in Antioch, after a revolt of the people as a result of an increase in taxes in February. The tax was exorbitant. Death sentences were issued, and countless people, including children, were beheaded, burned or thrown to the beasts—and yet, almost a trifle compared to the bloodbath of Thessalonica.

In February of the year 390 the people of Thessalonica killed Butheric, the Gothic military commander, because of the imprisonment of a popular charioteer, who was courting Butheric’s beautiful cup washer. The pious Theodosius, one of the ‘notoriously Christian sovereigns’ of the century (Aland), immediately ordered to gather the population into the circus with the lure of a spectacle, and had them killed right there.

Bishop Theodoret describes it in poetic terms: ‘as in the harvest of the ears, they were all cut off at once’. Although Theodosius later denied it, his slaughterers put to the knife, for several hours, more than seven thousand women, men, children and the elderly. It is one of the most monstrous massacres of Antiquity, which does not prevent St. Augustine from glorifying Theodosius as the ideal image of a Christian prince. The Church granted the sovereign the nickname of ‘the Great’ and went down in history as the ‘exemplary Catholic monarch’ (Brown).

Kriminalgeschichte, 60

Below, an abridged translation from the first volume of Karlheinz Deschner’s Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums (Criminal History of Christianity). For a comprehensive text that explains the absolute need to destroy Judeo-Christianity, see here. In a nutshell, any white person who worships the god of the Jews is, ultimately, ethnosuicidal.

 
The Emperor Theodosius ‘the Great’

Theodosius I (reign 379-395) found in the father of the Church, Ambrose, an energetic travelling companion. ‘There is hardly a year of his reign’, says the Protestant theologian Von Campenhausen, ‘that he does not proclaim a new law or other measures to fight against paganism [Note of the translator: Hellenism] and to suppress heresy and to favour the Catholic Church’. ‘The annihilation of those who thought differently was, from the beginning, the goal of his government, and the ecclesiastical tradition, which describes Theodosius as an indefatigable protector of Catholicism and an enemy of all heresies and paganism [Hellenism], has portrayed him with complete fidelity’.

(Above, a Nummus of Theodosius.) However, the special merit of the Catholic sovereign consisted in a new policy towards the Germans. In his reorganization of the army, seriously severed, he incorporated ‘barbarians’ (they followed a trend that existed since Constantine) even in the leadership: Franks, Alemanni, Saxons and especially Goths, and with this ‘Gothfied’ army he cleansed the Balkans of Goths, that although officially they belonged to the Empire were not citizens but servants. In his first year of reign, he thus won victories over the Goths, the Alans, and the Huns.

Theodosius, as they always say full of ‘magnanimity towards the vanquished’ (Thiess), ‘the last great protector of the Germans on the Roman imperial throne’ (von Stauffenberg), never fought battles following every rule. Following Valens’ hunting of Gothic heads, he carried out a kind of guerrilla warfare, for which he sacrificed ‘unscrupulously or intentionally’ also the Gothic troops themselves (Aubin). The same as Gratian, he sought to annihilate one after another the various groups of ‘barbarians’.

Thus, he attacked isolated Goth contingents where he thought fit, as for example in 386 a troop of Ostrogoths led by Prince Odotheus. In autumn, they had requested permission to cross the river at the mouth of the Danube, although at first Promotus, the Magister militum that ruled Thrace, denied it. However, a dark night drew them to the river to fall into the hands of the Roman army. They set out to cross it with three thousand boats—the river was full of corpses—and were immediately defeated, while the women and children were left in captivity. However, surely the emperor’s Goth policy would have been different if he had had enough strength.

Theodosius hurried to celebrate the feat and on October 12, with his chariot drawn by elephants (a gift of the Persian king), entered triumphantly in Constantinople, where he had a commemorative column of 40 meters high in memory of this and other massacres of ‘barbarians’. Some years later, his general Stilicho caused a serious setback to another group of Goths. Bishop Theodoret informs with joy about ‘killings’ with ‘many thousands’ of ‘barbarians’ massacred. On the other hand, the prisoners of such operations flooded the slave markets throughout the East.

And from then on, thanks to the ‘merits’ of Theodosius, in all the battles of the invasion of the barbarians there are Germans fighting on both sides.

______ 卐 ______

Liked it? Take a second to support The West’s Darkest Hour.

Published in: on April 19, 2018 at 10:02 am  Comments Off on Kriminalgeschichte, 60  
Tags:

Why Europeans must reject Christianity, 13

by Ferdinand Bardamu

 
Christianity: bringer of violence and bloodshed

Word of mouth is notoriously ineffective as a means of spreading religious propaganda. This explains why Christianity’s growth remained largely unspectacular until the early 4th century. Of course, the primary reason for the Christianization of the empire was the conversion of Constantine to the new religion. The influence of Christianity in the empire was continuously reinforced and strengthened by the imperially coercive legislation of his successors. Christianization also sanctioned acts of religious violence against pagans, which contributed significantly to the religion’s spectacular growth in numbers and influence. Christianity unleashed a wave of violence that nearly drowned Europe in an ocean of blood. Without Constantine, and the religious violence of his successors, Christianity would have remained just another competing religion in the provincial backwaters of the empire, like Mithraism or the Eleusinian Mysteries.

The imperial policy of Christianization was further aided by the religion’s intrinsic advantages over rival philosophical and religious belief systems, making it more palatable to the ignorant masses. This facilitated its rapid spread across the empire until, by the reign of Theodosius in the late 4th century, most urban areas were predominantly Christian. These advantages included the egalitarian ethos of the Christian church. Unlike Mithraism, which was elitist, Christianity accepted all potential recruits, regardless of ethno-linguistic or socio-economic difference. The Christians of the first three centuries practiced a form of primitive communism. This attracted the chronically indigent, as well as freeloaders. Another advantage was the child-like simplicity of Christian doctrine.

The Crisis of the 3rd century, where rival claimants fought each other for the title of Caesar, was an internecine conflict lasting for decades. It produced widespread economic instability and civil unrest. This disruption of daily life encouraged men and women to seek refuge in the mystery religions, but also Christianity, which offered easy answers in an increasingly chaotic and ugly world. The Christian religion promised life everlasting to those who successfully endured tribulation on earth.

Passage of the edict of Milan in 313 meant that Christians would go from being a persecuted minority to a persecuting majority. Although persecution of religious dissidents had occurred before Constantine, such events were comparatively rare. Roman “persecution” of Christianity was mild and sporadic. It was not even religious in nature, but political; Christians refused to swear loyalty to the state by offering the pinch of incense to the emperor’s genius. Christians were not so much persecuted as they were subjected to Roman police action for disobeying the laws of the land. In contrast, Christian persecution of pagans and heretics was entirely motivated by religious hatred. It combined the authoritarian anti-pagan legislation of the emperors with the bigotry of the clergy and the violence of the Christian mob.

The first repressive laws against paganism were passed by Constantine. In 331, he issued an edict that legalized the seizure of temple property. This was used to enrich church coffers and adorn his city of Constantinople. He redirected municipal funds from the curiae to the imperial treasury. The curiae used these funds for the construction and renovation of temples, as well as for pagan banquets, processions and festivals. The redirection of municipal funds significantly diminished the influence of paganism in the public sphere. Constantine also showed preference for Christians when considering prospective candidates for government posts. For the first time in the empire’s history, conversion to Christianity was considered an attractive proposition.

Pagan temples and statuary were first vandalized and destroyed under Constantine. Christians believed that this first wave of iconoclasm was in fulfillment of scriptural command: “Ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves; . . . for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God” (Exod. 34.13f). The earliest Christian iconoclasm included the partial destruction of a Cilician temple of Asklepios and the destruction of temples to Aphrodite in Phoenicia (ca. 326 AD).

Constantine’s sons, Constans and Constantius II, followed in their father’s footsteps. In 341, Constans issued an edict banning animal sacrifice. In 346, Constans and Constantius II passed a law ordering the closure of all temples. These emperors were egged on by the Christian fanatic Firmicus Maternus who, in an exhortation addressed to both emperors in 346, called for the “annihilation of idolatry and the destruction of profane temples.” The fact that pagans continued to occupy important posts in the imperial administration made it difficult to legislate the active destruction of temples, statuary and inscriptions without alienating a large segment of the empire’s population. Nevertheless, Constantine’s sons turned a blind eye to private acts of Christian vandalism and desecration.

After the death of Constantius II, Julian was made emperor in 361. Having succumbed to the influence of pagan tutors in his youth, he developed a deep hatred for the “Galilean madness.” Accession to the throne allowed him to announce his conversion to Hellenism without fear of retribution. Julian set about reversing the anti-pagan legislation first enacted by his uncle. He re-opened the temples, restored their funding and returned confiscated goods; he renovated temples that had been damaged by Christian vandals; he repealed the laws against sacrifice and barred Christians from teaching the classics. Julian’s revival of pagan religious practice was cut short in 363, when he was killed in battle against the Persian Sassanids.

His successor Jovian revoked Julian’s edicts and re-established Christianity as most favored religion in the empire. The emperors who came after Jovian were too occupied with barbarian invasion to be concerned with internal religious squabbles; it was more expedient to simply uphold the toleration imposed on pagans and Christians alike by the Edict of Milan. Anti-pagan conflict again came to the forefront with Gratian. In 382 he angered pagans by removing the altar of Victory from the Senate. In the same year, Gratian issued a decree that ended all subsidies to the pagan cults, including priesthoods such as the Vestal Virgins. He further alienated pagans by repudiating the insignia of the pontifex maximus.

In 389, Theodosius began his all-out war on the old Roman state religion by abolishing the pagan holidays. According to the emperor’s decrees, paganism was a form of “natural insanity and stubborn insolence” difficult to root out, despite the terrors of the law and threats of exile. This was followed by more repressive legislation in 391, which re-instated the ban on sacrifice, banned visitation of pagan sanctuaries and temples, ended imperial subsidies to the pagan cults, disbanded the Vestal Virgins and criminalized apostasy. He refused to return the altar of Victory to the Senate house, in defiance of pagan demands. Anyone caught performing animal sacrifice or haruspicy was to be arrested and put to death. In the same year, the Serapeum, a massive temple complex housing the Great Library of Alexandria, was destroyed by a mob of Christian fanatics. This act of Christian vandalism was a great psychological blow to the pagan establishment.

Pagans, dissatisfied with the imperially-sponsored cultural revolution that threatened to annihilate Rome’s ancestral traditions, rallied around the usurper Eugenius. He was declared emperor by the Frankish warlord Arbogast in 392. A nominal Christian, Eugenius was sympathetic to the plight of pagans in the empire and harbored a certain nostalgia for pre-Christian Rome. He restored the imperial subsidies to the pagan cults and returned the altar of Victory to the Senate. This angered Theodosius, emperor in the east. In 394, Theodosius invaded the west and defeated Eugenius at the battle of Frigidus in Slovenia. This ended the last serious pagan challenge to the establishment of Christianity as official religion of the empire.

Apologists for Christianity argue that imperial anti-pagan legislation was more rhetoric than reality; their enforcement would have been difficult in the absence of a modern police state apparatus. This objection is contradicted by archaeological and epigraphic evidence. First, based on stratigraphic analysis of urban temples, cult activity had virtually ceased by the year 400, after passage of the Theodosian decrees. Second, temple construction and renovation declined significantly under the Christian emperors. In Africa and Cyrenaica, temple construction and renovation inscriptions are far more common under the first Tetrarchy than the Constantinian dynasty, when pagans still constituted a significant majority of the empire’s citizens. By the end of the 4th century, the authoritarian legislation of the Christian emperors had seriously undermined the strength and vitality of the old polytheistic cults.

The emperors did not stop with the closure of pagan religious sites. In 435 AD, a triumphant Theodosius II passed an edict ordering the destruction of all pagan shrines and temples across the empire. He even decreed the death penalty for Christian magistrates who failed to enforce the edict. The Code Justinian, issued between 529 to 534, prescribes the death penalty for public observance of Hellenic rites and rituals; known pagans were to seek instruction in the Christian faith or risk property confiscation; their children were to be seized by officials of the state and forcibly converted to the Christian religion.

Imperially mandated closure of all urban temples resulted in the privatization of polytheistic worship. This further exacerbated the decline of the pagan religious cults because of the object-dependent nature of ritual practice, which could not be fully realized in the absence of statuary, processions, festivals, lavish banquets and monumental building. In urban areas, imperial legislation was clearly effective. This was ruthlessly enforced by professional Christians and zealous magistrates, who used the additional muscle of the Roman army to get their own way, especially when preaching and public example failed.

Pagan rites and rituals were still observed at rural sanctuaries and temples for some time after the closure of urban centers of worship. These remained off the beaten track, so to speak, and were harder to shut down.

Churchmen like the fiery John Chrysostom, cognizant of this fact, exhorted the rich landowning class of the east to convert the heathen on their country estates. Those who allowed pagan worship on their rural properties were just as guilty of violating imperial anti-pagan legislation as the pagans themselves. Itinerant Christian evangelists, like Martin of Tours, fanned out across the countryside, winning souls for Christ through a campaign of intimidation, harassment and violence. In the end, aggressive evangelism, privatization of pagan religious practice and social marginalization ensured the death of paganism in rural areas.

Christianization of the empire was complete by 600 AD, although it is unclear to what extent Christ was considered just another deity to be worshipped alongside the old pagan gods.

Why Europeans must reject Christianity, 7

by Ferdinand Bardamu

 
Christianity: bringer of darkness

Section I: The Christian destruction of Europe’s artistic heritage

Theodosius was the first Christian emperor to systematically legislate paganism out of existence. He began by enacting a series of draconian measures, soon after his declaration that Nicene Christianity was the official state religion in 380 AD. Towards the end of his reign, legislation proscribing Hellenistic religion—the so-called Theodosian decrees—became increasingly harsh. This imperial program of cultural genocide descended into an orgy of violence and destruction in the final decades of the 4th century.

The coming storm was foreshadowed by the Christian fanatic Maternus Cynegius, appointed by Theodosius as praetorian prefect in 384. Under imperial orders to suppress pagan sacrifice and divination, he launched his own personal crusade against the Hellenistic religion. With the help of bishops, priests and an army of rampaging monks, Cynegius demolished some of the holiest sites in the Greek east. Many of these buildings housed antiquity’s greatest artistic treasures.

Archeological evidence, gathered from eastern Mediterranean sites, reveals significant temple destruction and desecration. This can be dated to the period of Cynegius’ activity in the east. Contemporary hagiographical sources, like the Vita Porphyrii, bear witness to the spectacular religious violence directed against the pagan shrines and temples of the Levant.

In 386, the pagan orator Libanius, an outspoken critic of Christian iconoclasm, begged Theodosius to preserve the temples and shrines of the empire. He spoke of armies of “black-robed monks,” gluttons and drunkards, who would

hasten to attack the temples with sticks and stones and bars of iron, and in some cases, disdaining these, with hands and feet. Then utter desolation follows, with the stripping of roofs, demolition of walls, the tearing down of statues and the overthrow of altars, and the priests must either keep quiet or die. After demolishing one, they scurry to another, and to a third, and trophy is piled on trophy, in contravention of the law. Such outrages occur even in the cities, but they are most common in the countryside. Many are the foes who perpetrate the separate attacks, but after their countless crimes this scattered rabble congregates and they are in disgrace unless they have committed the foulest outrage…

Christians not only vandalized temples, they also mutilated pagan statuary and defaced inscriptions. Violent destruction of pagan religious artifacts is archeologically well-attested in the Levant and Africa, where Christian iconoclasts were at their most active.

This pattern of destruction was empire-wide and can be seen in places as far away as North-western Gaul and Britain. Far more destructive than the temple destruction carried out by Christian zealots was the imperial anti-pagan legislation ending all subsidies to the once thriving polytheistic cults of the empire. Without subsidies from the imperial treasury, pagans were unable to maintain and repair their religious monuments. This was reinforced by additional legislation ordering the closure of all shrines and temples, threatening pagans with death if they continued to practice haruspicy and animal sacrifice. This condemned the empire’s major structures and artistic monuments to permanent disrepair and eventual ruin.

The widespread Christian vandalism of late antiquity was the largest campaign in world history to destroy an entire civilization’s artistic and architectural heritage. This campaign to erase the great monuments of antiquity from memory was significantly more destructive than the barbarian invasions of the 5th century. The Christians of the late empire were the ISIS or the Taliban of their day, although this may be an understatement as Christians were many times more destructive. Without this added ingredient of ritualized violence, Christianity would never have become the dominant religion of the ancient world.

Kriminalgeschichte, 56

Below, an abridged translation from the first volume of Karlheinz Deschner’s Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums (Criminal History of Christianity). For a comprehensive text that explains the absolute need to destroy Judeo-Christianity, see here. In a nutshell, any white person who worships the god of the Jews is, ultimately, ethnosuicidal.

 
The Ambrosian policy: archetype for the Church to the present

The same as Athanasius, Ambrose (in his post of 374-397)—according to Augustine’s testimony, ‘the best and most renowned bishop of Milan’—was not so much a theologian as a politician of the Church: equally inflexible and intolerant, although not so direct; more versed and ductile and acquainted with power since birth. His methods, more than those of Athanasius, remain to date an example for ecclesiastical politics.[1]

The agents of the saint are among the highest officials of the Empire. He acts skilfully from the background and prefers to let be that the ‘community’ does things, which he fanaticised with so much virtuosity that even the military proclamations directed against it fail.

Son of the prefect of Gaul, Ambrose was born about 333 or 339 in Trier. Orphaned at an early age he grew up, with two brothers, under the tutelage of Roman aristocrats. Having studied rhetoric and law he was appointed, around 370, administrator (consularis Liguriae et Aemiliae) in Milan. On December 7, 374 he would be consecrated bishop, barely eight days after his baptism and without even having the Christian knowledge of an educated layman.

Milan (Mediolanum), founded by the Gauls and a remarkable knot of communications, especially with important roads that lead to the alpine passes, was in the 4th century the capital of Italy and increasingly the imperial residence. Valentinian II sought to stay there as long as possible; Gratian still more, and Theodosius I remained there from 388 to 391, and also after his victory over Eugene (394).

Roman columns in front of basilica di San Lorenzo
in what remains of Mediolanum, the ancient Milan.

Sometimes Bishop Ambrose saw the sovereigns daily. Since when Valentinian II was proclaimed Augustus (375) he was barely five years old, his tutor and half-brother Gratian had just turned sixteen and the Spanish Theodosius was at least a very determined Catholic, the illustrious disciple of Jesus could handle perfectly their majesties. Valentinian I died a few years after Ambrose’s inauguration. His son Gratian (375-383), of just sixteen years of age, succeeded him on the throne.

The emperor, blond, beautiful and athletic had no interest in politics. ‘I have never learned what it means to govern and be governed’ (Eunapius). He was a passionate runner, javelin thrower, fighter, rider, but what he liked most was killing animals. Neglecting the affairs of state, every day he killed countless of them, with an almost ‘supernatural’ ability, even lions, with a single arrow. In any case, he also prayed every day and was ‘pious and clean of hearing’, as Ambrose affirmed so that he would soon deliver biting hints: ‘His virtues would have been complete had he also learned the art of politics’ (Epit. de Caesaribus).[2]

However, this art was practiced by Ambrose for him. Not only did he personally guide the young sovereign, effectively since 378: he also influenced his government measures. At that time the sovereign had promulgated, by an edict, precisely tolerance towards all confessions, except a few extremist sects. However, Ambrose, who four years before was still unbaptized, hastened to write a statement, De fide ad Gratianum Augustum, which he quickly understood.

And as soon as Gratian himself arrived at the end of July 379 in Milan, neutral as he was from the point of view of religious policy, he annulled on August 3, after an interview with Ambrose, the edict of tolerance promulgated the year before. He decided then that only would be considered ‘Catholic’ what his father and he in numerous decrees had ordered eternal, but that ‘all heresies’ should ‘be muted for eternity’. He thus prohibited the religious services of the other confessions. Year after year, except for 380, he issued anti-heretic decrees, ordering the confiscation of meeting places, houses and churches; he dictated exiles and, as a fairly new means of religious oppression, repealed the right to make wills. He was also the first of the Christian emperors who got rid of the title of Pontifex Maximus (that the Roman monarchs used since Augustus), or rather, he refused to accept it, although the year is still the subject of discussions. The military under Sapor was ordered to ‘expel from religious facilities the Arian blasphemy as if they were wild animals and return them to the true shepherds and flocks of God’ (Theodoret). Tolerance towards paganism, which was common among his predecessors, also soon disappeared. In fact, his father still allowed the reparation of damaged temples, making the government pay the expenses. In 381, Gratian moved to northern Italy. In 382 he attacked the pagan cult of Rome, most probably advised by Ambrose; although sanitation of the State coffers may also have played an important role. He also persecuted the Marcionists and, like his father, the Manichaeans and the Donatists: whose communities in Rome had been dissolved without further ado, at the request of Pope Siricius (383-399), with state aid.[3]

Valentinian II (375-392), much younger still, had a remarkable influence on the saint. He habitually used him against the Senate of Rome, mostly pagan, and against the entire Council of the Crown. And the last Westerner on the throne of the East, the independent Theodosius (379-395), dictated in almost every year of his government laws against pagans or ‘heretics’. However, according to Father Stratmann, he was more tolerant than the bishop of the court, who encouraged him to take stricter measures on all sides against the pagans, the ‘heretics’, the Jews, and the extreme enemies of the Empire. The reason: ‘It is no longer our old life that we continue to live but the life of Christ, the life of maximum innocence, the life of divine simplicity, the life of all virtues’ (Ambrose).[4]

The way in which Ambrose lived the life of Christ, the life of maximum innocence, of divine simplicity and of all the virtues, manifests itself in multiple ways—for example, in his behaviour against the Goths. We will deal with them because the Goths played a very important role in the history of Europe, especially between the 5th and 6th centuries. The sources are better in this case than in the other tribes of eastern Germans, and richer is the historiography on them.[5]
 
_______________

Note of the translator: The footnotes still lack the general bibliography, which will be ready as I finish the abridgement of this first volume.

[1] August. conf. 5,13.

[2] Eunap. Excerpt. de Sent. 48. Auson. Grat. Act 64 f. Ammian. 27,6,15; 31,10,18 f. Soz. 7,25,11. Vict. Epit. de Caesaribus 47,5 f. Seeck, Untergang V 165. Dudden I 217 f.

[3] Ammian 30,9,5. Theodor. e.h. 4.24.2 f; 5.2; 5.21.3 f. Socr. 5.2; Cod. Theod. 13,1,11; 16.5.4 f. Cod. Just. 1,5,2. Soz. 7,1,3. Ambros. ep. 1 f; 7 f. Auson. Grat. Act. 14.63. Epistula Gratiani imperat. (CSEL 79.3 f). Zos. 4,36,5. Rauschen 47.49 f. RAC II 1228 f. Kraft, Kirchenväter Lexikon 27. Seeck, Regesten 252. The same, Untergang V 104 f, 137. Sesan 60 f. Stein, Vom römischen 304 f. Heering I 60 f. Dudden I 191 f. V. Campenhausen, Ambrosius 15, 36, 40 f. Alföldi, A Festival. According to this author, Gratian abandoned the title of Pontifex Maximus at the beginning of 379, p. 36. Kornemann, Römische Geschichte II 420. Ensslin, Die Religionspolitik 8 f. Lorenz 38. Diesner, Kirche und Staat 23. Maier, Verwandlung 53. Hornus 168 f. Widmann 59. Grasmück 131 f, 151 f. Lippold, Theodosius 16, 34 f. Kupisch I 91. Schneider, Liebesgebot 46. Aland, Von Jesus bis Justinian 224. Heinzberger 12, 227 Notes 37; here the corresponding bibliography. Thraede 95. Grant, Christen 177. – Chronology, as so often happens, is still subject to controversy. G. Gottlieb, who is not followed here, in his work of opposition to chair in Heidelberg fixed for the writing of the first part of ‘de fide’ not the 378 (or 379), that is, not as was done until the date immediately before (or shortly after) the battle of Adrianople, but a year later. Cf. G. Gottlieb, Ambrosius von Mailand und Kaiser Gratian, Zusammenfassung 83 f. G. discusses even any influence of Ambrose on Gratian’s legislation on matters of the Church and faith, 51 f, or at least explains that such influence ‘cannot be seen anywhere’ (87). Cf. in this regard also Gottlieb, Gratianus RAC VII 718 f, especially 723 f.

[4] Ambros. Über die Flucht vor der Welt 44. Heilmann, Texte II 396. Stein, Vom römischen 296 F. Stratmann III 76. V. Campenhausen, Ambrosius 166. Bloch 197. Aland, Von Jesus bis Justinian 225. Rubin I 27 speaks precisely of the ‘submission’ of Theodosius to Ambrose.

[5] Cf. recently Strzelczyck 1 f.

Kriminalgeschichte, 55

Editor’s note: Judging from how he treated the synagogues, we can infer that St. Ambrose was not ethnically Jewish. But he clearly was not white, as can be seen in this early mosaic.

Christianity arose in the lower strata, the mudbloods and sandniggers and in the Semitic regions of the Roman Empire. These were people who harboured a deep rancour towards the white Greco-Roman world.

In the chapter that Deschner dedicates to this very influential figure of the 4th century, we will see how this bishop committed all kinds of crimes: not only against classical culture but also the Aryan genotype itself (especially the Goths).

 

______ 卐 ______

 

Chapter 19: Ambrose, doctor of the Church
(toward 333 or 339 to 397)

‘An outstanding personality in which the virtue of the Roman with the spirit of Christ was united to give a complete unity: man, bishop and saint from the feet to the head; together with Theodosius the Great, the most important figure of his time, the counsellor of three emperors, the soul of their religious policy and the support of their thrones: a formidable champion of the Church’.

—Johannes Niederhuber, Catholic theologian [1]

‘Ambrose, the friend and counsellor of three emperors, was the first bishop to whom the princes came to support their tottering thrones… His extraordinary personality exuded an enormous influence, carried by the purest thought and a complete altruism… Together with Theodosius I, the most brilliant figure of his time’.

—Berthold Altaner, Catholic theologian [2]

‘Ambrose is a bishop who, in terms of the importance and scope of his activity, leaves in the shade all the others… not only surpasses the popes of the first period, but also all the other guides of the Western Church we know’.

—Kurt Aland, Protestant theologian [3]

 

_______________

Note of the translator: The footnotes still lack the general bibliography, which will be ready as I finish the abridgement of this first volume.

[1] Niederhuber LThK 1st ed. 350. Cf. also the “Allgemeine Einleitung” of Niederhuber in BKV 1914 IX f. Kraft also sees in Ambrose ‘Roman virtue completed and augmented with Christian virtue’. Kirchenväter Lexikon 23.

[2] Altaner 330 f.

[3] Aland, Von Jesus bin Justinian 230.

Apocalypse for whites • XXXIV

by Evropa Soberana

 

The destruction of the Greco-Roman World – 2

(Fourth century – Cont.)

372
Emperor Valentinian orders the governor of Asia Minor to exterminate all the Hellenes (meaning as such the non-Christian Greeks of ancient Hellenic lineage, i.e., the Aryans; and especially the old Macedonian ruling caste) and destroy all documents relating to their wisdom. In addition, the following year he again prohibits all methods of divination.

It is around this time when Christians coined the contemptuous term ‘pagan’ to designate the Gentiles, that is, all who are neither Jews nor Christians. ‘Pagan’ is a word that comes from the Latin pagani, which means villager. In the dirty, corrupt, decadent, cosmopolitan and mongrelised cities of the now decadent Roman empire, the population is essentially Christian but in the countryside, the peasants, who keep their heritage and tradition pure, are ‘pagans’. It is in the countryside, oblivious to multiculturalism, where the ancestral memory is preserved. (Both Christians and communists did their best to end the way of life of the landowner, the farmer and the peasant.)

However, this peasant ‘paganism’, stripped of priestly leadership and temples and finally plunged into persecution and miscegenation, is doomed to eventually become a bundle of popular superstitions mixed with pre-Indo-European roots, although something of the traditional background will always remain, as in the local ‘healers’ and ‘witches’ who for so long subsisted despite the persecutions.

Ending classical culture was not so easy. It was not easy to find all the temples or destroy them. Nor was it easy to identify all the priests of the old religion, or those who practiced their rites in secret. That was a long-term task for a zealous, meticulous and fanatical elite of ‘commissaries’ that would last for many, many generations: centuries and centuries of spiritual terror and intense persecution.
 
375
The temple of the god Asclepius in Epidaurus, Greece is forcibly closed.

378
The Romans are defeated by the Gothic army in the battle of Hadrianopolis. The emperor intervenes and, through a sagacious diplomacy, makes allies (foederati) of the Goths, a Germanic people originally from Sweden: famous for their beauty, and who had a kingdom in what is now Ukraine. Some time later, in 408, after the fall of Stilicho (a general of Vandal origin who served Rome faithfully but who was betrayed by a Christian and an envious political mob), the women and children of these Germans foederati will be massacred by the Romans, propitiating that the men, prisoners of the rage, join en masse the German commander Alaric.

380
Emperor Theodosius I (Theodosius the Great for Christianity) decrees, through the edict of Thessalonica, that Christianity is officially the only tolerable religion in the Roman Empire, although this has been obvious for years. Theodosius calls non-Christians ‘crazy’ as well as ‘disgusting, heretics, stupid and blind’.

Emperor Theodosius I

Bishop Ambrose of Milan starts a campaign to demolish the temples in his area. In Eleusis, ancient Greek sanctuary, Christian priests throw a hungry crowd, ignorant and fanatical against the temple of the goddess Demeter. The priests are almost lynched by the mob. Nestorius, a venerable old man of 95 years, announces the end of the mysteries of Eleusis and foresees the submergence of men in darkness for centuries.

381
Simple visits to the Hellenic temples are forbidden, and the destruction of temples and library fires throughout the eastern half of the empire continues. The sciences, technology, literature, history and religion of the classical world are thus burned. In Constantinople, the temple of the goddess Aphrodite is turned into a brothel, and the temples of the god Helios and the goddess Artemis are converted into stables! Theodosius persecutes and closes the mysteries of Delphi, the most important of Greece, which had so much influence on the history of ancient Greece.

382
The Jewish formula Hellelu-Yahweh or Hallelujah (‘Glory to Yahweh’) is instituted in Christian Masses.

384
The emperor orders the praetor prefect Maternus Cynegius, uncle of the emperor and one of the most powerful men of the empire, to cooperate with the local bishops in the destruction of temples in Macedonia and Asia Minor—something that Cynegius, a Christian fundamentalist, does it happily.

385-388
Maternus Cynegius, encouraged by his fanatical wife, and together with Bishop St Marcellus, organises bands of Christian ‘paramilitary’ murderers who travel throughout the Eastern Empire to preach the ‘good news’; that is, to destroy temples, altars and reliquaries.

They destroy, among many others, the temple of Edessa, the Kabeirion of Imbros, the temple of Zeus in Apamea, the temple of Apollo in Didyma and all the temples of Palmyra. Thousands are arrested and sent to the dungeons of Scythopolis, where they are imprisoned, tortured and killed in subhuman conditions. And in case any lover of antiquities or art comes up with restoring, preserving or conserving the remains of the looted, destroyed or closed temples, in 386 the emperor specifically prohibits the practise!

Bust of Germanicus defaced by Christians,
who also engraved a cross on his forehead.

388
The emperor, in a Soviet-like measure, forbids talks on religious subjects probably because Christianity cannot be sustained and can even suffer serious losses through religious debates. Libanius, the old orator of Constantinople once accused of magician, directs to the emperor a desperate and humble epistle Pro Templis (‘In Favour of the Temples’), trying to preserve the few remaining temples. The emperor did not pay attention to him.

389-390
All non-Christian holidays are banned. The antifa of those times, headed by hermits of the desert, invade the Roman cities of East and North Africa. In Egypt, Asia Minor and Syria, these hordes sweep away temples, statues, altars and libraries: killing anyone who crosses their path. Theodosius I orders the devastation of the sanctuary of Delphi, centre of wisdom respected throughout the Hélade, destroying its temples and works of art.

Bishop Theophilus, patriarch of Alexandria, initiates persecutions of the adepts of classical culture, inaugurating in Alexandria a period of real battles on the streets. He converts the temple of the god Dionysus into a church, destroys the temple of Zeus, burns the Mithraic and profanes the cult images. The priests are humiliated and mocked publicly before being stoned.

391
A new decree of Theodosius specifically prohibits looking at the shattered statues! The persecutions in the whole empire are renewed. In Alexandria, where the tensions were always very common, the Hellenistic minority, headed by the philosopher Olympius, carries out an anti-Christian revolt.

After bloody street fights with dagger and sword against crowds of Christians who outnumber them greatly, the Hellenists entrench themselves in the Serapeum, a fortified temple dedicated to the god Serapis. After encircling—practically besieging—the building the Christian mob, under the patriarch Theophilus, breaks into the temple and murder all those present; desecrates the cult images, plunders the property, burns down its famous library and finally throws down all the construction.

It is the famous ‘second destruction’ of the Library of Alexandria, jewel of ancient wisdom in absolutely every field, including philosophy, mythology, medicine, Gnosticism, mathematics, astronomy, architecture or geometry: a spiritual catastrophe for the heritage of the West. A church was built on its remains.

392
The emperor forbids all ancient rituals, calling them gentilicia superstitio, superstitions of the Gentiles.

The persecutions return. The mysteries of Samothrace are bloodily closed and all their priests are killed. In Cyprus, the spiritual and physical extermination is led by the bishops St Epiphanius—born in Judea and raised in a Jewish environment, with Jewish blood himself. The emperor gives carte blanche to St. Epiphanius in Cyprus, stating that ‘those who do not obey Father Epiphanius have no right to continue living on that island’. Thus emboldened, the Christian eunuchs exterminate thousands of Hellenists and destroy almost all the temples of Cyprus. The mysteries of the local Aphrodite, based on the art of eroticism and with a long tradition, are eradicated.

In this fateful year there are insurrections against the Church and against the Roman Empire in Petra, Areopoli, Rafah, Gaza, Baalbek and other eastern cities. But the Eastern-Christian invasion is not going to stop at this point in its push towards the heart of Europe.

393
The Olympic Games are banned, as well as the Pythia Games and the Aktia Games. The Christians must have sensed that this Aryan cult for ‘profane’ and ‘mundane’ sports of agility, health, beauty and strength must logically belong to the Greco-Roman culture, and that sport is an area where Christians of the time could never reign. Taking advantage of the conjuncture, the Christians plunder the temple of Olympia.

394
In this year all gymnasiums in Greece are shut down by force. Any place where the slightest dissidence flourishes, or where unchristian mentalities thrive, must be shut down. Christianity is neither a friend of the muscles nor of athletics; or of triumphant sweat: but of the tears of impotence and of terrifying tremors.

That same year, Theodosius removed the statue of Victory from the Roman Senate. The war of the statues thus ended: a cultural conflict that pitted Hellenist and Christian senators in the Senate, removing and restoring the statue numerous times. The year 394 also saw the closing of the temple of Vesta, where the sacred Roman fire burned.

395
Theodosius dies, being succeeded by Flavius Arcadius (reigned between 395-408). This year, two new decrees reinvigorate the persecution. Rufinus, eunuch and prime minister of Arcadius, makes the Goths invade Greece knowing that, like good barbarians, they will destroy, loot and kill. Among the cities plundered by the Goths are Dion, Delphi, Megara, Corinth, Argos, Nemea, Sparta, Messenia and Olympia. The Goths, already Christianized in Arianism, kill many Greeks; set fire to the ancient sanctuary of Eleusis and burn all its priests, including Hilary, priest of Mithras.

The emperor Arcadius. At first glance an eunuch,
a brat, especially when compared to the Roman emperors
and soldiers of yore.

396
Another decree of the emperor proclaims that the previous culture will be considered high treason. Most of the remaining priests are locked in murky dungeons for the rest of their days.

397
The emperor literally orders to demolish all the remaining temples.

398
During the Fourth Ecclesiastical Council of Carthage (North Africa, now Tunisia) the study of Greco-Roman works is forbidden to anyone, even the Christian bishops themselves.

399
The emperor Arcadius, once again, orders the demolition of the remaining temples. At this point, most of them are in the deep rural areas of the empire.

400
Bishop Nicetas destroys the Oracle of Dionysus and forcibly baptizes all non-Christians in the area. By this final year of the fourth century, a definite Christian hierarchy has already been established which includes priests, bishops, archbishops of larger cities and the patriarchs: the archbishops responsible for major cities, namely Rome, Jerusalem, Alexandria and Constantinople.

To this image of a priestess of Ceres, the Roman Demeter, goddess of agriculture and grain, patiently carved on ivory around the year 400 and of an unprecedented beauty, the Christians mutilated her face and threw it into a well in Montier-en-Der, a later abbey in the northeast of France.

It is possible that the image was not thrown into the pit because of hatred (the Christians were more prone to directly destroy), but that the owners got rid of her for fear that the religious authorities would find it. Impossible to know the amount of artistic representations, even superior to this one in beauty, that were destroyed, and of which nothing has remained.

JVLIAN excerpts – III

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

—Julian, addressing the Christians

Julian


Libanius to Priscus
Antioch, April 380

You cannot imagine the pleasure I experienced when your letter was brought to me this evening.

Since I wrote you, 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.

How often in the past we have 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, Caesar Gallus, a charming youth who brought terror to the East. We must be on guard, as always.

The question that now faces us is this: how seriously will Theodosius enforce the edict? It is customary for emperors who listen to the bishops to hurl insults at the very civilization 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 August to be Christian, certainly not as long as the Altar of Victory remains in the senate house at Rome. But confusion of this sort are 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 the very philosophy their faith subverts. It is a comedy, Priscus! It is tragedy!

Meanwhile, we can only wait and 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, this 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.

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 organization 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.

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 Presbyter 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 to see how close our Julian came to arresting the disease of Galilee.

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 May 17, 2013 at 3:56 pm  Comments Off on JVLIAN excerpts – III