Julian, 11

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

 
We were nominally in the charge of Bishop George of Cappadocia who lived at Caesarea. He visited us at least once a month, and it was he who insisted that our education be essentially Galilean. “Because there is no reason why you should not be a priest.” He pointed a long finger at me. He was a small thin man whose lean face always looked in need of shaving.

While I was respectfully trying to think of a number of reasons why I should not become a priest, Gallus with an engaging smile said, “Julian dreams of the priesthood, Bishop. It’s his whole life. He does nothing but read.”

“I was that way myself at your age.” Bishop George looked pleased at finding this likeness.

“But I read philosophy…” I began.

“So do we all, of course. But then we come to the story of Jesus which is the beginning and the end of knowledge. But I am sure you have had a good training already from your late cousin, my old friend, the Bishop Eusebius. Those of us who are true Christians miss him greatly.” Bishop George began to pace up and down the room, snapping his fingers, a characteristic habit. Gallus grinned at me, very pleased with what he had done.

Bishop George suddenly spun round; the long finger was again pointed at me.

Homoiousios. What does that mean?”

I knew. I rattled my answer like a crow taught to speak. “It means that Jesus the son is of similar substance to God the father.”

Homoousios. What does that mean?”

“That Jesus the son is of one substance with God the father.”

“The difference?”

“In the first case, Jesus was created by the father before this world began. He is God’s son by grace but not by nature.”

“Why?”

“Because God is one. By definition singular. God cannot be many, as the late Bishop Arius maintained at the council of Nicaea.”

“Excellent.” I received a series of finger-snappings as applause. “Now in the second case?”

Homoousios in that pernicious doctrine”—I had been well drilled by old Eusebius—“which maintains that the father and the son and the holy spirit are one and the same.”

“Which cannot be!”

“Which cannot be,” I chirruped obediently.

“Despite what happened at Nicaea.”

“Where in the year 325 Bishop Athanasius of Alexandria…”

“A mere deacon at the time…”

“Opposed my cousin Bishop Eusebius as well as Bishop Axius, and forced the council to accept the Athanasian doctrine that the father, son and holy spirit are one.”

But the battle is far from over. We are gaining ground every year. Our wise Augustus believes as we believe, as the late Bishop Arius believed. Two years ago at Antioch we Eastern bishops met to support the true doctrine. This year we shall meet again at Sardica and, with the Emperor’s aid, the true believers shall once and for all destroy the doctrine of Athanasius. My son, you are to be a priest. I can tell. You have the mark. You will be a great force in the church. Tomorrow I shall send you one of my deacons. He will give you religious instruction, both of you.”

“But I’m to be a soldier,” said Gallus, alarmed.

“A God-fearing soldier has the strength of twenty,” said Bishop George automatically. “Besides, religious training will do you no harm.” And curiously enough, it was Gallus who became the devout Galilean while I, as the world knows, returned to the old ways.

Published in: on September 17, 2017 at 12:07 pm  Leave a Comment  
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KD Rebel, 2


 
Chapter 1: The First Day

Lights dimmed in the garish nightclub except for those illuminating the stage. A disembodied voice proclaimed, “And now the Palace is proud to present the featured act of the evening, the most erotic spectacle ever seen by mortal man!”

Two stunningly beautiful young women entered the stage, a statuesque blonde, identified by the announcer as Candy, and a willowy brunette named Heather. Their costumes were a welcome change from the tawdry lingerie worn by the dreary strippers, most of them Skraelings, who had humped and bumped their way through previous acts.

Tennis skirts extended just inches below the juncture of their elegant legs. Halter tops color co-coordinated to their skirts revealed taut, trim midriffs, while bobby sox and athletic shoes enhanced their fresh, youthful appearance. The impression was of two wholesome girls, just past their teens, prepared for a sports outing. Others might have found their charms reminiscent of high school cheerleaders, flashing glimpses of lithe limbs and blossoming female mysteries. The dichotomy of modesty and temptation was overwhelmingly provocative.

The audience erupted in boisterous, vulgar and deafening applause, dwarfing anything heard earlier. However, the reaction of two men seated near the back of the smoke-filled club was dutiful at best, just sufficient to avoid undue attention. They were not risking their lives inside System territory just to watch a striptease show. The younger of the two was stocky, clean shaven, dressed in jeans and a sport shirt. He appeared to be in his mid-twenties. In response to the thunderous applause he leaned closer to his companion and commented, “Seems like White women are still the most desired creatures on Midgard, huh, Trebor?”

Trebor, a whip-lean man fifteen years older, sporting a short, neatly trimmed beard, replied, “Yeah, what few of them there still are.”

As the raucous noise subsided, the sound of sensuous music could be heard. The two girls on stage faced each other within touching distance, and began to undulate in a provocative sexual dance, synchronized to the music. Their incomparable charms were blatant and undeniable. Equal in beauty, yet with complementary differences, they formed the ideal blend for visual erotica. The voluptuous Candy was the epitome of classic Nordic beauty. Her long shimmering tresses, the color of ripe, yellow wheat, swung freely around her shoulders. A trim waistline accentuated the matchless symmetry of her hips and breasts. Golden skin and flawless geometric curves of calves and inner thighs projected that effect which causes a man to literally ache with need and desire.

She was Aphrodite, goddess of love, sex and wanton lust, reincarnated in the flesh, reborn to command, perform and orchestrate primordial pagan fertility rites.

If Candy was the essence of Aphrodite, then Heather was a Vestal Virgin. Short brown hair framed a delicate face. A cute nose and expressive eyes proclaimed demure modesty. Her slender figure mirrored the nubile form of a nymph, just past puberty. Each exquisite inch declared the passion of first sexual awakening. She was girlish innocence, fearful yet eager, an irresistible invitation to be ravished and deflowered.

Looking deep in each other’s eyes, the curvaceous pair began to flirt. With hands resting intimately on each other’s hips, they performed in suggestive oscillation the primeval siren song of invitation and consummate carnal lust. To music they parodied the timeless amatory game of domination and submission, or seducer and quarry, of hunter and prey, that generates and underlies intense sexual arousal. Enhancing the fantasy with the allure of the illicit, the blonde goddess revealed herself as a sexual predator. Her hands roamed the velvet-smooth contours of Heather’s bare sides and back, then strayed elsewhere, as if by chance or accident, brushing lightly over breasts and flanks.

Impertinent fingers undermining inhibitions while retaining deniability.

The lissom Heather played her role flawlessly, appearing unsure whether to welcome, or resist, the tantalizing and pleasurable caresses once forbidden to another of her own sex. She trembled in eager but apprehensive anticipation of increasingly intimate intrusions on sacrosanct female anatomy. Like a delicate exotic bird, hypnotized by a swaying cobra, the lovely image of innocence submitted to the immodest familiarity and impudent violation of maidenly decorum.

The young man sitting with Trebor asked, “Do you think they really are lesbians?” “No, Eric, it’s highly doubtful,” Trebor declared.

“I agree,” said Eric, “but why are you so certain?”

Trebor pondered a moment, then expounded, “Men are programmed by nature to be voyeurs. A beautiful woman’s body, performing the primal choreography of sexual temptation and arousal is the ultimate aphrodisiac. But men are also programmed to be jealous of other males. So two women performing together doubles the erotic effect with no threat from another male. These girls are paid to please a male audience. In this age, it’s doubtful they had many inhibitions to start with, but if so, drugs probably overcame them. I’d bet my life savings that what we see is just an act.”

“That’s exactly my guess,” Eric agreed, and then kidded, “What life savings?” Trebor only grunted in reply. Eric’s question was reasonable, though. It was common knowledge that Trebor donated most of the plunder from his raids into System territory to needy Kinsland families. So it was doubtful he had any substantial savings. To date, unlike other KD veterans who had already captured a wife or more wives plural, Trebor had never taken time off from guerrilla warfare for the pleasure of female company. Instead, even as they spoke, Trebor’s eyes roamed the room, and the younger man followed his example.

Pretending interest in the show, they circumspectly surveyed the crowd, hoping to spot the owner, one Sidney (Sid) Cohen. KD sympathizers in the Denver area had fingered Sid Cohen as a likely target for retribution and plunder. In addition to the Porno Palace, Cohen owned a chain of pornographic bookstores and theatres. Reliable sources reported that Sid was also a major cocaine distributor who used that drug to procure and control his stable of striptease dancers. Because the stars of Sid’s stable were White women, he was a logical target for retribution. Past experience had shown that men like Cohen usually kept substantial sums of cash in their homes, hidden from tax collectors. Invariably the pervert could be “persuaded” to reveal the location of his money, and when necessary the combination to a safe.

Cohen didn’t appear to be in the club at the moment, so the avenging duo settled back to wait for closing time.

“What percent of the guys in here would you say are White?” Eric asked his comrade.

Trebor considered for a moment, then replied, “Maybe twenty percent.”

“That’s what I estimated,” the younger man agreed, adding, “This audience sure mirrors 21st century America: eighty percent Negro, Mexican, Oriental and mixtures.”

“Yeah, and still the media calls them minorities,” Trebor snorted.

While they had been talking, the action on stage increased in intensity. In the ancient, time-tested manner of all of her sex, Heather presented token resistance to Candy’s amorous intrusions, knowing instinctively that female favors too easily obtained are seldom deeply treasured.

These subtleties were beyond the comprehension of the boorish spectators, who nonetheless responded with wild approbation to the unfolding drama.

Candy was always the aggressor, initiating each new step in the unveiling of feminine privacies. The coquettish squirming of Heather’s supple body betrayed a growing urge to taste the honeyed fruits of verboten pleasures. The disrobing each of the other proceeded with artful elegance. Heather’s saucy breasts, although less prominent than Candy’s buxom mounds, were ideally proportioned to her slender figure, and equally stunning. Pert nipples projected in arousal from tempting aureolae, begging silently to be touched, savored and tasted.

The effect of such incredible beauty, enhanced by duality, now revealed in natural splendid glory, was so arousing of fundamental, primal lust that the crowd moaned collectively in awe and desire. Eric seized the moment of relative quiet to comment, “Damndest thing I ever saw.”

“And hopefully their last such performance here,” Trebor growled. “But you said it’s all an act,” Eric protested, assuming Trebor’s comment to mean the two girls’ life expectancy had just been shortened to hours at best.

“It is an act. I was speaking of those White girls exposing their goodies to Skraelings.”

The conversation still left Eric unsure of Trebor’s intentions. In the past, his comrade had been absolutely ruthless in exterminating White male race traitors, but he had been forgiving of wayward White women unless their treason was exceptionally blatant. Trebor often said that defense of the race was men’s responsibility. Wayward women should be captured, taken to Kinsland, re-educated and impregnated. Indeed, such was now standard procedure for KD.

On stage, the girls’ repertoire changed from subtle and suggestive seduction to shameless crudity, much to the delight of the vulgar spectators. Heather abandoned the last iota of modesty, the last pretense of inhibitions. In the throes of passion she sealed her own debauchment, inciting the blonde femme fatale to molest her writhing body, teasing with thrusting pelvis and coquettish wiggles of her shapely derriere.

Candy explored every inch of the captured brunette’s charms with hands now devoid of tenderness. It was closer to rape than love. Her hungry hands violated the once-demure girl’s charms with the most intrusive of indecent liberties. Soon the brunette’s exquisite body was writhing in apparent rapture, punctuated with moans of ecstasy, concluding with the involuntary convulsions of intense orgasm.

The show was over. The girls separated and waved to the crowd, responding to thunderous applause. A cascade of wadded-up cash was thrown at the stage. As the girls retrieved the money and their clothes, a short, frizzy-haired, middle-aged man bounded onto the stage.

“That’s Cohen,” Trebor said. The menace in his voice was palpable. With a hand-held microphone, Cohen exhorted additional applause for the girls. Finally he and the strippers exited the stage, into what appeared to be a dressing room. The lights brightened and bouncers began hurrying customers out of the club.

____________________

KD Rebel is now available from Daybreak Press: here.

Published in: on September 15, 2017 at 9:18 am  Comments (1)  
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Julian, 10

 

III

When I was eleven years old, my life again changed abruptly. One morning in May I was doing lessons with Mardonius. I was reciting Hesiod and making a good many mistakes, when Gallus came into the room.

“He’s dead. The Bishop’s dead. In the church. He died. Just like that!”

Mardonius drew a cross on his chest; so did I. A moment later we were joined by clergy, officials, servants. Everyone was stunned, and alarmed, for it is a great event when the bishop of Constantinople dies, and who succeeds him is a matter of national importance. The emperor—if he is Galilean—always has a hand in the choosing of a successor. But Constantius was a thousand miles away, on the borders of Persia. So for several weeks no bishop was appointed, and no one knew what to do with Gallus and me. Luckily, my uncle Count Julian was in the city, and the day after the funeral he came to see us.

“He’s going to kill us, isn’t he?” Under stress, Gallus could be reckless.

Count Julian’s smile was not very convincing. “Certainly not. After all, you are the heirs of Constantine the Great.”

“So was our father,” said Gallus grimly. “And all the others.”

“But the divine Augustus is your friend.”

“Then why are we under arrest?” Gallus indicated the secret police who had arrived only that day; when Gallus and I had tried to go out, we were told politely to stay where we were “until further orders”.

“They are for your protection.”

“The only protection we need is from Constantius,” said Gallus; but he lowered his voice. Though hot-tempered, he was not suicidal. Count Julian looked very nervous.

“That is not true, Gallus. Now listen to me carefully. Someone close to the Emperor, very close, has told me that Constantius believes that the reason he cannot have children is because he—because so many members of his own family were—because they, ah, died!”

“Yes, but since he’s already committed enough murders to get him into hell, why stop at us? He has nothing to lose.”

“Nothing to gain, either. After all, you are only children.”

Gallus snorted. At sixteen he was physically a man, though in character he was still a child, a fierce destructive child.

“Believe me, you are safe.” Count Julian was soothing. He was in an excellent mood, for he had just been appointed governor of Egypt, and I am afraid that was more on his mind than the fate of his nephews. But he did his best to comfort us, for which I at least was grateful. He left us with the hollow words, “You have nothing to fear.”

When he was gone, Gallus deliberately smashed the cup he had used. Breaking things always gave Gallus physical relief; shattering this particular cup took on ritual significance. “He’s like all the rest!” Gallus’s voice cracked with anger as he stood there in the bright sun of a green May day, his long pale hair tangled across his brow, his startling blue eyes magnified with sudden tears. “There’s no way out of this!”

I tried to say something hopeful but he rounded on me. “You’re no loss, you little ape! But why do I have to die?”

Why indeed? Everyone asks himself that question sooner or later. No one can ever love us quite so much as we love ourselves. Gallus saw no justice in a world where a beauty and vitality such as his could be pinched out as casually as a lamp wick. Of course fate is cruel. But children cannot accept this, nor men like Gallus who see all things as incidental to themselves. I loved Gallus. I hated him. During the first years of my life I was so entirely absorbed by him that I was hardly aware of myself at all except as I was reflected in those vivid blue eyes, which saw nothing of me nor much of anything else.

But Count Julian was right. Constantius did suffer remorse for his crimes. We were safe, for the time being. In due course a message arrived from the Chamberlain Eusebius. Gallus and I were to be sent to Macellum in Cappadocia “to continue your education”.

“Education for what?” asked Gallus when this message had been read us. But Mardonius silenced him. “The Augustus is merciful. Never forget that he is now your father as well as your lord.”

We departed for Macellum that same day. I was most upset, for Mardonius was not to accompany us. I don’t know the motive behind this act of petty cruelty except that as the Chamberlain Eusebius was also a eunuch he might have thought that a fellow eunuch would prove to be too subtle an ally for us. Sniffling wretchedly, I was bundled into a wagon with Gallus.

Mardonius was also grief-stricken but he controlled himself. “We shall meet again,” he said. “And when we do, I shall expect Gallus to know as much Hesiod as Julian.” Mardonius stood stiffly in front of the bishop’s palace as we drove off, escorted by a cohort of cavalry, just as if we were important princes, which we were, or important prisoners, which we also were. I sobbed. Gallus swore fierce oaths under his breath. In the street a crowd of people were gathered, eager for a glimpse of us. To get a close view one bold burgher thrust his head over the side of the wagon. Gallus promptly spat in the man’s astonished face. Then Gallus covered his head with his cloak and would not take it off until we were outside the city gate. No one expected to see us alive again.

All travellers agree that Macellum is one of the beautiful places of the world. I hate it to this day. Macellum is not a town but an imperial residence originally used by the ancient Cappadocian kings as a hunting lodge. Constantine enlarged it so that it is now a complex of many buildings set in lonely woods at the foot of Mount Argaeus, some four hundred miles south-east of Constantinople. When Constantius inherited the principate, he acquired the lodge, along with a number of other properties in the neighbourhood; in fact, our family’s private income derives almost entirely from the Cappadocian crown lands.

Tonight when I was telling Priscus about my childhood, he said that it sounded enviable. “After all, you lived in a palace, with gardens, baths, fountains, a private chapel,” he enjoys teasing me, “in the very best hunting country with nothing to do but read. You had the perfect life.” Well, it was not perfect. Gallus and I might just as well have been hostages in a Persian prison. We had no one to talk to, except for a series of schoolmasters from nearby Caesarea.

None stayed with us very long because of Gallus. He could not resist tormenting them. He got on better with our jailers, particularly the young officers. Gallus could be very winning when he wanted to be, and he soon had them training him in the use of sword and spear, shield and axe. Gallus was a natural athlete, with a gift for weaponry. I would have liked to practise with him but he preferred to keep his military companions to himself. “You read your books,” he said sharply. “I’m the one who’s to be a soldier.” So I read my books.

Published in: on September 10, 2017 at 1:28 pm  Comments (23)  
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KD Rebel, 1


 

When the laws of men decree the death of one’s race, then the laws of nature demand rebellion.

The 10th Rejoinder

The life of a race is in the wombs of its women. A race whose males will not fight to keep its women will perish.

The Precepts

From time immemorial, those out of power have raised armies with promises of plunder, revenge, and the seizing of women.

—David Lane

 

INTRODUCTION

The time is early in the 21st century, within the borders of the former United States. Generations of “dark is handsome” propaganda, unceasing promotion of inter-racial mating, open borders, anti-White programs, combined with unending demonization of the “evil White male”, has accomplished its intended effect. Less than one percent of earth’s population were White women of child-bearing age or younger, and not mated with non-Whites.

For many decades, America had denied the White race its own nations, schools, organizations, and everything necessary for racial survival, while at the same time race-mixing was promoted and enforced with fanatic fervor.

Passage of the “Harmony Laws”, giving large cash grants to all inter-racial couples involving a White woman were the last straw for many disenfranchised White males. Several thousand of them, mostly young, migrated to the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

At the time of the events chronicled here, these rebels had established tenuous control over portions of Western Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. They call this Kinsland, and they use the initials KD as a short appellation for a guerrilla army of Kinsland Defenders.

Futilely they had pleaded with the dwindling number of young White women to join them, but with only a few exceptions their anguished pleas were scornfully rejected with the System’s mindless buzzwords, like racist, sexist and bigot. So, since the first two prerequisites for the survival of a race are territory and breeding stock, history repeated itself.

Over twelve hundred years earlier, some Aryan folk migrated to Scandinavia to escape the race-denying, universalist, alien tyrannical religion from Rome and Judea. Only thus could they keep their race alive. From Scandinavia they went “a-viking”, raiding occupied Europe for mates and for the necessities of life. Kinslanders of the 21st century followed the example of heroic ancestors.

Most Kinslanders are Wotanists (Odinists), whose speech reflect the indigenous religion of the White race. With words like Midgard (earth), Valhalla (hall of heroes), Norns (goddesses of fate), Sons of Muspell (the racial-religious tribe that rules the world and sentenced the White race to death), and Skraelings (non-Whites).

This account relates a period in the life of some Kinsland folk.

____________________

KD Rebel is now available from Daybreak Press: here.

Published in: on September 9, 2017 at 2:59 pm  Comments (7)  
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Historical novel vs. liberal fantasy

Most of the content of this site is non-fictional. Rarely I recommend novels—although not the liberal novels by George R.R. Martin upon which Game of Thrones is based (see “Beware of Game of Thrones).

Last Sundays I added passages from Gore Vidal’s most fascinating novel, a recreation of the life of my favourite Roman Emperor, Julian the Apostate. Unlike the utterly fantastic Game of Thrones, Julian is an accurate historical novel. But I doubt that serious fictionalised accounts, even of huge events in western history, are of interest to most visitors. Perhaps I should continue to add passages from Julian but only once in a while…

Julian, 8

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

 
I have but one clear memory of Bishop Eusebius. It was the afternoon he decided to drill me himself in the life of the Nazarene. For hours we sat in a side chapel of the cathedral at Nicomedia while he questioned me. I was bored. The Bishop had a talent for explaining only those things one already knew, leaving mysterious those things one would like to have known. He was a heavy, pale old man, slow of speech and much too easy to follow. Simply for diversion, I stared at the ceiling, which was vaulted and divided into four sections, each dedicated to one of the seasons. In the most brilliant mosaic, flowers and vines, birds and fishes were all intertwined.

I knew that ceiling by heart for Gallus and I prayed three times a day in this particular chapel, and during those tedious prayers I used to imagine that I had the power to rise straight up in the air and enter that world of peacocks and palm trees and grape arbours, a gleaming world of gold where there was no sound but that of running water and birds singing —certainly no sermons, no prayers! A few years ago when Nicomedia was shattered by earthquake, my first question concerned the cathedral: did it still stand? Yes, I was told, but the roof had fallen in. And so my childhood’s magic retreat is now rubble.

I must have been staring too obviously at the ceiling, for the Bishop suddenly asked me, “What is the most important of our Lord’s teachings?”

Without thinking, I said, “Thou shalt not kill.” I then rapidly quoted every relevant text from the new testament (much of which I knew by heart) and all that I could remember from the old. The Bishop had not expected this response. But he nodded appreciatively. “You have quoted well. But why do you think this commandment the most important?”

“Because had it been obeyed my father would be alive.” I startled myself with the quickness of my own retort.

The Bishop’s pale face was even ashier than usual. “Why do you say this?”

“Because it’s true. The Emperor killed my father. Everybody knows that. And I suppose he shall kill Gallus and me, too, when he gets around to it.” Boldness, once begun, is hard to check.

“The Emperor is a holy man,” said the Bishop severely. “All the world admires his piety, his war against heresy, his support of the true faith.”

This made me even more reckless. “Then if he is such a good Christian how could he kill so many members of his own family? After all, isn’t it written in Matthew and again in Luke that…”

“You little fool!” The Bishop was furious. “Who has been telling you these things? Mardonius?”

I had sense enough to protect my tutor. “No, Bishop. But people talk about everything in front of us. I suppose they think we don’t understand. Anyway it’s all true, isn’t it?”

The Bishop had regained his composure. His answer was slow and grim. “All that you need to know is that your cousin, the Emperor, is a devout and good man, and never forget that you are at his mercy.” The Bishop then made me recite for four hours, as punishment for impudence. But the lesson I learned was not the one intended. All that I understood was that Constantius was a devout Christian.

Yet he had killed his own flesh and blood. Therefore, if he could be both a good Christian and a murderer, then there was something wrong with his religion. Needless to say, I no longer blame Constantius’s faith for his misdeeds, any more than Hellenism should be held responsible for my shortcomings! Yet for a child this sort of harsh contradiction is disturbing, and not easily forgotten.

In the year 340 Eusebius was made bishop of Constantinople. As a result, Gallus and I divided our time between Nicomedia and the capital. Of the two, I preferred Constantinople.

Founded the year before I was born, Constantinople has no past; only a noisy present and a splendid future, if the auguries are to be believed. Constantine deliberately chose ancient Byzantium to be the capital of the Roman Empire, and then he created a new city in place of the old, and named the result—with characteristic modesty—after himself.

Like most children of the city I delight in its vitality and raw newness. The air is always full of dust and the smell of mortar. The streets are loud with hammering. This confusion should be unpleasant, but it is invigorating. From day to day the city changes. Nearly all the familiar sights of my youth have been replaced by new buildings, new streets, new vistas, and I find it a marvellous thing to be—if only in this—at the beginning of something great rather than at the end.

In good weather, Mardonius used to take Gallus and me on walks around the city. “Statue hunts” we called them, because Mardonius was passionately interested in works of art and he would drag us from one end of the city to the other to look for them. I think we must have seen all ten thousand of the bronze and marble statues Constantine had stolen from every part of the world to decorate his city. Though one cannot approve his thefts (particularly those from Hellenic temples), the result has been that in and around the various arcades along Middle Street, the city’s main thoroughfare, there are more important works of art than anywhere on earth, excepting Rome.

One of our expeditions took us to a Galilean charnel house, close by the Hippodrome. While Mardonius fussed with a map of the city, trying to get his bearings, Gallus and I threw bits of marble at a half-finished house across the street. There are always a satisfying number of things for a child to throw in the streets of Constantinople, chips of marble, splinters of wood, broken tile. The builders never clean up.

“Now here,” said Mardonius, peering closely at the map, “should be the famous Nemesis of Pheidias acquired some years ago by the divine Constantine, and thought to be the original, though there are those who maintain it is a copy, but a copy made in the same century, in Parian marble, hence not Roman, hence not corrupt.”

Suddenly the door to the charnel house was flung open and two old men ran out into the street, closely pursued by a dozen monks, armed with sticks. The old men got as far as the arcade where we were standing. Then the monks caught them, threw them to the ground and beat them, shouting all the while, “Heretic! Heretic!”

I turned with amazement to Mardonius. “Why are they hurting those men?”

Mardonius sighed. “Because they are heretics.”

“Dirty Athanasians?” Gallus, older than I, was already acquainted with most of our new world’s superstitions.

“I’m afraid so. We’d better go.”

But I was curious. I wanted to know what an Athanasian was.

“Misguided fools who believe that Jesus and God are exactly the same…

“When everybody knows they are only similar,” said Gallus.

“Exactly. As Bishop Arius—who was so much admired by your cousin the divine Emperor—taught us.”

“They poisoned Bishop Arius,” said Gallus, already fiercely partisan. He picked up a rock. “Murdering heretics!” he yelled and hurled the stone with unfortunate accuracy at one of the old men. The monks paused in their congenial work to praise Gallus’s marksmanship. Mardonius was furious, but only on grounds of rectitude.

“Gallus!” He gave my brother a good shake. “You are a prince, not a street brawler!” Grabbing us each firmly by an arm, Mardonius hurried us away. Needless to say, I was fascinated by all this.

“But surely those old men are harmless.”

“Harmless? They murdered Bishop Arius.” Gallus’s eyes shone with righteousness.

“Those two? They actually murdered him?”

“No,” said Mardonius. “But they are followers of Bishop Athanasius…”

“The worst heretic that ever lived!” Gallus was always ecstatic when his own need for violence coincided with what others believed to be right action.

“And it is thought that Athanasius ordered Arius poisoned at a church council, some seven years ago. As a result, Athanasius was sent into exile by your divine uncle. And now, Julian, I must remind you for what is the hundredth—or is it the thousandth? time, not to bite your nails.”

I stopped biting my nails, a habit which I have not entirely broken myself of even today. “But aren’t they all Christians?” I asked. “Don’t they believe in Jesus and the gospels?”

“No!” said Gallus.

“Yes,” said Mardonius. “They are Christians, too. But they are in error.”

Even as a child I had a reasonably logical mind. “But if they are Christians, like us, then we must not fight them but turn the other cheek, and certainly nobody must kill anybody, because Jesus tells us that…”

“I’m afraid it is not as simple as all that,” said Mardonius. But of course it was. Even a child could see the division between what the Galileans say they believe and what, in fact, they do believe, as demonstrated by their actions. A religion of brotherhood and mildness which daily murders those who disagree with its doctrines can only be thought hypocrite, or worse.

Now for the purposes of my memoir it would be convenient to say that at this moment I ceased to be a Galilean. But unfortunately that would not be true. Though I was puzzled by what I had seen, I still believed, and my liberation from the Nazarene was a long time coming. But looking back, I suspect that the first chain was struck from my mind that day in the street when I saw two harmless old men set upon by monks.

Published in: on July 16, 2017 at 2:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Julian, 7

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

 
It is remarkable how many odd details come back to me as I write. For instance, the tribune’s smile, which I had forgotten for twenty years. I find myself suddenly wondering: what ever became of him? Where is he today? Do I know him? Is he one of my generals? Could it have been Victor? Jovian? Each is the right age. No, better to let the past go, to preserve it only here upon the page. Vengeance must end somewhere, and what better place to stop than at the prince?

I soon discovered what my father had meant during that cryptic conversation with the estate manager. We were to be sent to our cousin Eusebius, bishop of Nicomedia. He was to be our guardian. The day after the arrest of our father, Mardonius hustled Gallus and me into a wagon with only our personal clothing. Except to change horses, we drove the fifty miles to Nicomedia without rest. Once we were stopped by mounted troops.

With quavering voice, Mardonius told them that we were under the personal protection of the Emperor Constantius. They let us pass. We drove all day and all night. That night! Gallus was suffering from the fever which nearly killed him. In his delirium, tortured by fever demons, he writhed on the pallet set for him on the wagon’s floor. Mardonius put linen soaked in vinegar on his face—acrid odour of vinegar-yes, vinegar still recalls that terrible night to me. At one point I touched his face and found it hot as a damp cloth left in the sun to dry. His golden hair was dark with sweat; his arms railed air; he shouted dream-words and wept.

Wide awake, I sat on the bench beside Mardonius as we jolted over country roads, the warm night as bright as day from a huge yellow moon that shone before us, like a beacon fire set for ships. I spoke not at all that night. And though I was only six years old, I kept saying to myself: you are going to die; and I wondered what it was like to be dead. I think I became a philosopher that night, for in my youth and ignorance I was more curious than frightened. I suspect that I was even a bit thrilled by this desperate journey across unfamiliar country, with a gold moon blazing and Gallus writhing at my feet, begging me to give him a stick to fight the demons with.

* * *

We survived, to our surprise. For five years Gallus and I lived with Bishop Eusebius at Nicomedia and, later, at Constantinople. Eusebius was a grave old man, and though he did not like children he treated us kindly. More to the point, he forbade Constantius to come near us and Constantius obeyed him, for Eusebius was a great power in the Galilean hierarchy. Two years after he became our guardian he was made bishop of Constantinople, where in effect he governed the Eastern church until his death.

Children get used to anything. For a time we missed our father; then we forgot him. Mardonius was always with us, maintaining a link with the old life, and of course my mother’s brother Count Julian often visited us. A charming bureaucrat with a taste for intrigue, he kept us informed of what was happening in the world. It was he who explained to us how Constantius was making himself sole master of the state. In the year 340 Constans and Constantine II disagreed.

They went to war. Constantine II was ambushed at Aquileia and executed. Constans became sole ruler in the West. Then a general named Magnentius declared himself Augustus and drove Constans from Autun to the Pyrenees, where he was murdered in the winter of 350. The West was in chaos. While Magnentius was desperately trying to hold together his stolen empire, a general on the Danube named Vetranio declared himself emperor.

To give Constantius his due, he had a genius for civil war. He knew when to strike and, more important, whom to strike. He always won. I have often thought that had he lived he might have destroyed me in the same way that he had dealt with all the others. Faced with two usurpers, Constantius took the field in 350. Vetranio collapsed immediately and, unique in our history, was spared. Magnentius of course was defeated in the battle of Mursa, 28 September 352. This was one of the crucial moments in our history. To this day our army has not recovered from the loss of fifty-four thousand of our best troops.

Needless to say, I knew none of these emperors and usurpers. In fact, I don’t recall ever meeting my cousins Constans and Constantine II. For that matter, I did not meet Constantius himself until I was sixteen years old; a meeting I shall presently describe in detail.

While princes schemed and fought, I was educated by Mardonius. He was a strict but inspiring teacher. I liked him. Gallus hated him, but then Gallus hated nearly everyone sooner or later. I recall once when I wanted to watch some chariot races, Mardonius said, “If you want games, read Homer. Nothing in life can equal what he wrote of games, or of anything else.” Maddening injunction to a child, but wise. As it turned out, I was a grown man before I attended either the theatre or the arena, and then only because I did not want to give offence to others. Yes, I was something of a prig, and still am!

Published in: on July 9, 2017 at 10:23 am  Leave a Comment  
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Julian, 6


 

II

The Memoir of Julian Augustus

From the example of my uncle the Emperor Constantine, called the Great, who died when I was six years old, I learned that it is dangerous to side with any party of the Galileans, for they mean to overthrow and veil those things that are truly holy. I can hardly remember Constantine, though I was once presented to him at the Sacred Palace. I dimly recall a giant, heavily scented, wearing a stiff jewelled robe. My older brother Gallus always said that I tried to pull his wig off. But Gallus had a cruel humour, and I doubt that this story was true. If I had tugged at the Emperor’s wig, I would surely not have endeared myself to him, for he was as vain as a woman about his appearance; even his Galilean admirers admit to that.

From my mother Basilina I inherited my love of learning. I never knew her. She died shortly after my birth, 7 April 331. She was the daughter of the praetorian prefect Julius Julianus. From portraits I resemble her more than I do my father; I share with her a straight nose and rather full lips, unlike the imperial Flavians, who tend to have thin hooked noses and tight pursed mouths. The Emperor Constantius, my cousin and predecessor, was a typical Flavian, resembling his father Constantine, except that he was much shorter. But I did inherit the Flavian thick chest and neck, legacy of our Illyrian ancestors, who were men of the mountains. My mother, though Galilean, was devoted to literature. She was taught by the eunuch Mardonius, who was also my tutor.

From Mardonius, I learned to walk modestly with my eyes to the ground, not strutting or measuring the effect I was creating on others. I was also taught self-discipline in all things; he particularly tried to keep me from talking too much. Fortunately, now that I am Emperor everyone delights in my conversation! Mardonius also convinced me that time spent at the games or in the theatre was time wasted. And, finally, it was from Mardonius, a Galilean who loved Hellenism too well, that I learned about Homer and Hesiod, Plato and Theophrastus. He was a good teacher, if severe. From my cousin and predecessor, the Emperor Constantius, I learned to dissemble and disguise my true thoughts. A dreadful lesson, but had I not learned it I would not have lived past my twentieth year. In the year 337 Constantius murdered my father. His crime? Consanguinity. I was spared because I was six years old; my half-brother Gallus—who was eleven years old—was spared because he was sickly and not expected to live.

Yes, I was trying to imitate the style of Marcus Aurelius to Himself, and I have failed. Not only because I lack his purity and goodness, but because while he was able to write of the good things he learned from a good family and good friends, I must write of those bitter things I learned from a family of murderers in an age diseased by the quarrels and intolerance of a sect whose purpose it is to overthrow that civilization whose first note was struck upon blind Homer’s lyre. I am not Marcus Aurelius, in excellence or in experience. I must speak now in my own voice.

I never saw my mother. But I do recall my father. Julius Constantius was a tall imposing man. At least he seemed tall to me then. Actually, from his statues, I reckon him to have been somewhat shorter than I am now, and broader. He was most gentle with Gallus and me on those occasions when we saw him, which was not often for he was always travelling, attending to the various small tasks the Emperor set him. I should mention here that at one time my father was thought to have had a better right to the throne than his half-brother Constantine. But it was never his nature to protest. He was gentle; he was weak; he was destroyed.

On 22 May 337, Constantine died at Nicomedia, to his apparent surprise, since he had just taken the water cure at Helenopolis and all the omens suggested a long life. On his deathbed he sent for our cousin, Bishop Eusehius, to baptize him. Just before the Bishop arrived, Constantine is supposed to have said, rather nervously, “Let there be no mistake.” I’m afraid that sounds exactly like him. He was not one to leave, as Aristophanes so wittily puts it, a single stone unturned. Constantine was never a true Galilean; he merely used Christianity to extend his dominion over the world. He was a shrewd professional soldier, badly educated and not in the least interested in philosophy, though some perverse taste in him was hugely satisfied by doctrinal disputes; the mad haggling of bishops fascinated him.

According to Constantine’s will, the empire was to be divided between his three surviving sons, each of whom had already been raised to the rank of Caesar. (Every schoolchild knows this but will they always?) To the twenty-one-year-old Constantine II went the prefecture of Gaul. To Constantius, twenty, the East. To Constans, sixteen, Italy and Illyricum. Each was to assume automatically the title Augustus. Surprisingly enough, this division of the world was carried out peaceably. After the funeral (which I was too young to attend), Constantine II withdrew immediately to his capital at Vienne. Constans set out for Milan. Constantius took over the Sacred Palace at Constantinople.

Then the murders began. Constantius maintained that there was a plot against his life, instigated by the children of Theodora, who had been legitimate wife to his grandfather Constantius Chlorus, whose concubine Helena, Constantine’s mother, had been discarded when his father was raised to the purple. Yes, it all sounds a muddle to those who read of such matters, but to us, caught in the web, these relationships are as murderously plain as that of spider to fly.

Some say there was indeed such a plot, but I doubt it. I am certain that my father was in no way disloyal. He had not protested when his half-brother Constantine became emperor. Why should he protest the elevation of his son? In any case, during the course of that terrible summer, a dozen descendants of Theodora were secretly arrested and executed, among them my father.

The day of my father’s arrest Mardonius and I had been out walking in the gardens of the Sacred Palace. I don’t recall where Gallus was; probably sick in bed with fever. For some reason, when Mardonius and I returned to the house, we entered the front door instead of the back, our usual entrance.

It was a pleasant evening and, again contrary to custom, I went to my father where he sat in the atrium with his estate manager. I remember the white and scarlet roses that had been trained to grow in trellises between the columns. And—what else do I remember? The lion-footed chair. A round marble table. The dark-faced Spanish estate manager sitting on a stool to my father’s left, a sheaf of papers in his lap. As I dictate these words, I can suddenly remember everything. Yet until this moment—how strange—I had forgotten the roses and my father’s face, which was—which is—all clear to me again. What a curious thing memory is! He was ruddy-faced, with small grey eyes, and on his left cheek there was a shallow pale scar, like a crescent.

“This,” he said, turning to the manager, “is the best part of my estate. Guard him well.” I had no idea what he was talking about. I am sure that I was embarrassed. It was rare at any time for my father to speak to me. Not for lack of affection but because he was even more shy and diffident than I, and not at all certain how to behave with children.

Birds—yes, I can hear them again—chattered in the branches of the trees. My father continued to speak of me, and I listened to the birds and looked at the fountain, aware that something strange impended. He said that Nicomedia was “safe”, and I wondered what he meant by that. The estate manager agreed. They spoke of our cousin, Bishop Eusebius; he was also “safe”. I stared at the fountain: Greek of the last century, a sea nymph on a dolphin whose mouth poured water into a basin. Remembering this, I realize now why I had a similar fountain installed in my garden when I was at Paris. Can one remember everything if one tries this hard? (Note: Have copy of fountain made for Constantinople if original can’t be found.)

Then my father dismissed me with an awkward pat; no last word, no mark of undue affection; such is shyness. While I was having supper, the soldiers came. Mardonius was terrified. I was so astonished by his fright that at first I could hardly understand what was happening. When I heard the soldiers in the atrium, I jumped to my feet. “What’s that? Who’s that!” I asked.

“Sit down,” said Mardonius. “Don’t move. Don’t make a sound.” His smooth beardless eunuch face with its thousand lines like a piece of crumpled silk had gone the colour of a corpse. I broke away from him, in wonder at his fear. Clumsily, he tried to bar me from leaving the room, but now, more alarmed by his fear than by the noise of strange men in the house, I bolted past him to the empty atrium. In the vestibule beyond, a woman slave stood weeping. The front door was open.

The porter clung to the frame as if he had been nailed to it. Through the woman’s soft weeping, I heard the sound armed men make in a street: creaking leather, dull clank of metal upon metal, and the hollow thud of thick-soled boots on stone. The porter tried to stop me but I dodged past him into the street. Half a block away, I saw my father walking at the centre of a formation of soldiers, led by a young tribune. Shouting, I ran after him. The soldiers did not halt but my father half-turned as he walked. His face was paler than the ashes of a wood fire. In a terrible voice, stern as Zeus, a voice I had never heard him use before, he said, “Go back! Now!

I stopped dead in the centre of the street, several yards from him. The tribune stopped, too, and looked at me curiously. Then my father turned on him and said peremptorily, “Go on. This is no sight for a child.”

The tribune grinned. “We’ll be back for him soon enough.” Then the porter from our house seized me, and though I cried and fought, he carried me back into the house.

Several days later in one of the wine cellars of the Sacred Palace, my father was beheaded. No charges were made. There was no trial. I do not know where he was buried or if he was buried.

Published in: on July 2, 2017 at 12:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Julian, 5

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

 
Priscus to Libanius

Athens, June 380

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Libanius to Priscus

Antioch, April 380

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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