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Catholic Church Catholic religious orders Christendom England Franks Laurent Guyénot Middle Ages Old Testament Protestantism United States

The Holy Hook, 2

 
by Laurent Guyénot

 
The Old Testament as Israel’s Trojan Horse

In pre-Christian times, pagan scholars had shown little interest in the Hebrew Bible. Jewish writers (Aristobulus of Paneas, Artapan of Alexandria) had tried to bluff the Greeks on the antiquity of the Torah, claiming that Homer, Hesiod, Pythagoras, Socrates and Plato had been inspired by Moses, but no one before the Church Fathers seems to have taken them seriously. Jews had even produced fake Greek prophecies of their success under the title Sibylline Oracles, and written under a Greek pseudonym a Letter of Aristea to Philocrates praising Judaism, but again, it was not until the triumph of Christianity that these texts were met with Gentile gullibility.

Thanks to Christianity, the Jewish Tanakh was elevated to the status of authoritative history, and Jewish authors writing for pagans, such as Josephus and Philo, gained undeserved reputation—while being ignored by rabbinic Judaism. Christian academia uncritically tuned to the rigged history of the Jews. While Herodotus had crossed Syria-Palestine around 450 BCE without hearing about Judeans or Israelites, Christian historians decided that Jerusalem had been at that time the center of the world, and accepted as fact the totally fictitious empire of Solomon. Until the 19th century, world history was calibrated on a largely fanciful biblical chronology (Egyptology is now trying to recover from it).[4]

It can be argued, of course, that the Old Testament has served Christendom well: it was certainly not in the nonviolence of Christ that the Catholic Church found the energy and ideological means to impose its world order for nearly a thousand years on Western Europe. Yet for this glorious past, there was obviously a price to pay, a debt to the Jews that has to be paid one way or another. It is as if Christianity has sold its soul to the god of Israel, in exchange for its great accomplishment.

The Church has always advertised itself to the Jews as the gateway out of the prison of the Law, into the freedom of Christ. But it has never requested Jewish converts to leave their Torah on the doorstep. The Jews who entered the Church entered with their Bible, that is to say, with a big part of their Jewishness, while freeing themselves from all the civil restrictions imposed on their non-converted brethren.

When Jews were judged too slow to convert willingly, they were sometimes forced into baptism under threats of expulsion or death. The first documented case goes back to Clovis’ grandson, according to Bishop Gregory of Tours:

King Chilperic commanded that a large number of Jews be baptized, and he himself held several on the fonts. But many were baptized only in body and not in heart; they soon returned to their deceitful habits, for they really kept the Sabbath, and pretended to honour the Sunday (History of the Franks, chapter V).

Such collective forced conversions, producing only insincere and resentful Christians, were conducted throughout the Middle Ages. Hundreds of thousands of Spanish and Portuguese Jews were forced to convert at the end of the 15th century, before emigrating throughout Europe. Many of these ‘New Christians’ not only continued to ‘Judaize’ among themselves, but could now have greater influence on the ‘Old Christians’. The penetration of the Jewish spirit into the Roman Church, under the influence of these reluctantly converted Jews and their descendants, is a much more massive phenomenon than is generally admitted.

One case in point is the Jesuit Order, whose foundation coincided with the peak of the Spanish repression against Marranos, with the 1547 ‘purity-of-blood’ legislation issued by the Archbishop of Toledo and Inquisitor General of Spain. Of the seven founding members, four at least were of Jewish ancestry. The case of Loyola himself is unclear, but he was noted for his strong philo-Semitism. Robert Markys has demonstrated, in a groundbreaking study, how crypto-Jews infiltrated key positions in the Jesuit Order from its very beginning, resorting to nepotism in order to eventually establish a monopoly on top positions that extended to the Vatican. King Phillip II of Spain called the Order a ‘Synagogue of Hebrews.’[5]

Marranos established in the Spanish Netherlands played an important role in the Calvinist movement. According to Jewish historian Lucien Wolf,

The Marranos in Antwerp had taken an active part in the Reformation movement, and had given up their mask of Catholicism for a not less hollow pretense of Calvinism… The simulation of Calvinism brought them new friends, who, like them, were enemies of Rome, Spain and the Inquisition… Moreover, it was a form of Christianity which came nearer to their own simple Judaism.[6]

Calvin himself had learned Hebrew from rabbis and heaped praise on the Jewish people. He wrote in his commentary on Psalm 119: ‘Where did Our Lord Jesus Christ and his apostles draw their doctrine, if not Moses? And when we peel off all the layers, we find that the Gospel is simply an exhibition of what Moses had already said.’ The Covenant of God with the Jewish people is irrevocable because ‘no promise of God can be undone.’ That Covenant, ‘in its substance and truth, is so similar to ours, that we can call them one. The only difference is the order in which they were given.’[7]

Within one century, Calvinism, or Puritanism, became a dominant cultural and political force in England. Jewish historian Cecil Roth explains:

The religious developments of the seventeenth century brought to its climax an unmistakable philo-semitic tendency in certain English circles. Puritanism represented above all a return to the Bible, and this automatically fostered a more favourable frame of mind towards the people of the Old Testament.[8]

Some British Puritans went so far as to consider the Leviticus as still in force; they circumcised their children and scrupulously respected the Sabbath. Under Charles I (1625–1649), wrote Isaac d’Israeli (father of Benjamin Disraeli), ‘it seemed that religion chiefly consisted of Sabbatarian rigours; and that a British senate had been transformed into a company of Hebrew Rabbis.’[9] Wealthy Jews started to marry their daughters into the British aristocracy, to the extent that, according to Hilaire Belloc’s estimate, ‘with the opening of the twentieth century those of the great territorial English families in which there was no Jewish blood were the exception.’[10]

The influence of Puritanism on many aspects of British society naturally extended to the United States. The national mythology of the ‘Pilgrim Fathers’ fleeing Egypt (Anglican England) and settling into the Promised Land as the new chosen people, sets the tone. However, the Judaization of American Christianity has not been a spontaneous process from within, but rather one controlled by skillful manipulations from outside. For the 19th century, a good example is the Scofield Reference Bible, published in 1909 by Oxford University Press, under the sponsorship of Samuel Untermeyer, a Wall Street lawyer, Federal Reserve co-founder, and devoted Zionist, who would become the herald of the ‘holy war’ against Germany in 1933. The Scofield Bible is loaded with highly tendentious footnotes. For example, Yahweh’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3 gets a two-thirds-page footnote explaining that ‘God made an unconditional promise of blessings through Abram’s seed to the nation of Israel to inherit a specific territory forever’ (although Jacob, who first received the name Israel, was not yet born). The same note explains that ‘Both OT and NT are full of post-Sinaitic promises concerning Israel and the land which is to be Israel’s everlasting possession,’ accompanied by ‘a curse laid upon those who persecute the Jews,’ or ‘commit the sin of anti-Semitism.’[11]

As a result of this kind of gross propaganda, most American Evangelicals regard the creation of Israel in 1948 and its military victory in 1967 as miracles fulfilling biblical prophecies and heralding the second coming of Christ. Jerry Falwell declared, ‘Right at the very top of our priorities must be an unswerving commitment and devotion to the state of Israel,’ while Pat Robertson said ‘The future of this Nation [America] may be at stake, because God will bless those that bless Israel.’ As for John Hagee, chairman of Christians United for Israel, he once declared: ‘The United States must join Israel in a pre-emptive military strike against Iran to fulfill God’s plan for both Israel and the West.’[12]

Gullible Christians not only see God’s hand whenever Israel advances in its self-prophesized destiny of world domination, but are ready to see Israeli leaders themselves as prophets when they announce their own false-flag crimes.[13]

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[4] Read Gunnar Heinsohn, “The Restauration of Ancient History” (webpage), “The Revision of Ancient History – A Perspective” (webpage).

[5] Robert A. Markys, The Jesuit Order as a Synagogue of Jews: Jesuits of Jewish Ancestry and Purity-of-Blood Laws in the Early Society of Jesus, Brill, 2009.

[6] Lucien Wolf, Report on the “Marranos” or Crypto-Jews of Portugal, Anglo-Jewish Association, 1926.

[7] Vincent Schmid, “Calvin et les Juifs : Prémices du dialogue judéo-chrétien chez Jean Calvin,” 2008, on www.racinesetsources.ch.

[8] Cecil Roth, A History of the Jews in England (1941), Clarendon Press, 1964, p. 148.

[9] Isaac Disraeli, ‘Commentaries on the Life and Reign of Charles the First, King of England’, 2 vols., 1851, quoted in Archibald Maule Ramsay, The Nameless War, 1952 (archive.org).

[10] Hilaire Belloc, The Jews, Constable & Co., 1922 (archive.org), p. 223.

[11] Joseph Canfield, The Incredible Scofield and His Book, Ross House Books, 2004, pp. 219–220.

[12] Jill Duchess of Hamilton, God, Guns and Israel: Britain, The First World War And The Jews in the Holy City, The History Press, 2009 , kindle, e. 414-417.

[13] Michael Evans, The American Prophecies, Terrorism and Mid-East Conflict Reveal a Nation’s Destiny.

Categories
Bible Carolingian dynasty Christendom Franks Jewish question (JQ) Judaism Kevin MacDonald Laurent Guyénot Merovingian dynasty Old Testament

The Holy Hook, 1

 
Editor’s note: With the subtitle of ‘Yahweh’s Trojan Horse into the Gentile City’, this essay by Laurent Guyénot was published, complete, on May 8, 2019, in The Unz Review.
 

Is the Church the whore of Yahweh?

I concluded an earlier article [‘Zionism, Crypto-Judaism, and the Biblical Hoax’ —Ed.] by what I regard as the most important ‘revelation’ of modern biblical scholarship, one that has the potential to free the Western world from a two-thousand-year-old psychopathic bond: the jealous Yahweh was originally just the national god of Israel, repackaged into ‘the God of Heaven and Earth’ during the Babylonian Exile, as part of a public relations campaign aimed at Persians, then Greeks and ultimately Romans. The resulting biblical notion that the universal Creator became Israel’s national god at the time of Moses, is thus exposed as a fictitious inversion of the historical process: in reality, it is the national god of Israel who, so to speak, impersonated the universal Creator at the time of Ezra—while remaining intensely ethnocentric.

The Book of Joshua is a good eye-opener to the biblical hoax, because its pre-exilic author never refers to Yahweh simply as ‘God,’ and never implies that he is anything but ‘the god of Israel,’ that is, ‘our god’ for the Israelites, and ‘your god’ for their enemies (25 times). Yahweh shows no interest in converting Canaanite peoples, whom he regards as worthless than their livestock. He doesn’t instruct Joshua to even try to convert them, but simply to exterminate them, in keeping with the war code he gave Moses in Deuteronomy 20.

However, we find in the Book of Joshua one isolated statement by a Canaanite woman that ‘Yahweh your god is God both in Heaven above and on Earth beneath’ (2:11). Rahab, a prostitute in Jericho, makes that statement to two Israeli spies who spend the night with her, and whom she hides in exchange for being spared, together with her family, when the Israelites will take over the city and slaughter everyone, ‘men and women, young and old’ (6:21). Rahab’s ‘profession of faith’ is probably a post-exilic insertion, because it doesn’t fit well with her other claim that she is motivated by fear, not by faith: ‘we are afraid of you and everyone living in this country has been seized with terror at your approach’ (2:9). Nevertheless, the combination of fear and faith is consistent with Yahweh’s ways.

The French Catholic Bible de Jérusalem—a scholarly translation by the Dominicans of the École Biblique, which served as guideline for the English Jerusalem Bible—adds a following footnote to Rahab’s ‘profession of faith to the God of Israel’, saying it ‘made Rahab, in the eyes of more than one Church Father, a figure of the Gentile Church, saved by her faith.’

I find this footnote emblematic of the role of Christianity in propagating among Gentiles the Israelites’ outrageous metaphysical claim, that great deception that has remained, to this day, a source of tremendous symbolic power. By recognizing her own image in the prostitute of Jericho, the Church claims for herself the role that is exactly hers in history, while radically misleading Christians about the historical significance of that role. It is indeed the Church who, having acknowledged the god of Israel as the universal God, introduced the Jews into the heart of the Gentile city and, over the centuries, allowed them to seize power over Christendom. [Red emphasis by Ed.]

This thesis, which I am going to develop here, may seem fanciful, because we have been taught that Christianity was strongly Judeophobic from the start. And that’s true. For example, John Chrysostom, perhaps the most influential Greek theologian of the crucial 4th century, wrote several homilies ‘Against the Jews’. But what he is concerned about, precisely, is the nefarious influence of the Jews over Christians. Many Christians, he complains, ‘join the Jews in keeping their feasts and observing their fasts’ and even believe that ‘they think as we do’ (First homily, I,5).

‘Is it not strange that those who worship the Crucified keep common festival with those who crucified him? Is it not a sign of folly and the worst madness?… For when they see that you, who worship the Christ whom they crucified, are reverently following their rituals, how can they fail to think that the rites they have performed are the best and that our ceremonies are worthless?’ (First Homily, V,1-7).

To John’s horror, some Christians even get circumcised. ‘Do not tell me,’ he warns them, ‘that circumcision is just a single command; it is that very command which imposes on you the entire yoke of the Law’ (Second Homily, II,4). And so, with all its Judeophobia (anachronistically renamed ‘anti-Semitism’ today), John Chrysostom’s homilies are a testimony to the strong influence that Jews have exerted on Gentile Christians in the early days of the triumphant, imperial Church. And no matter how much the Greek and Latin Fathers have tried to protect their flock from the influence of Jews, it has persisted as the Church expanded. It can even be argued that the history of Christianity is the history of its Judaization, from Constantinople to Rome, then from Rome to Amsterdam and to the New World.

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Note of the Editor: This is exactly what apologists of Christianity, like the secular Kevin MacDonald, fail to understand (see e.g., how he misunderstands John Chrysostom in his preface to Giles Corey’s The Sword of Christ).
 

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We commonly admit that the Church has always oppressed the Jews and prevented their integration unless they convert. Were they not expelled from one Christian kingdom after another in the Middle Ages? Again, this is true, but we must distinguish between the cause and the effect. Each of these expulsions has been a reaction to a situation unknown in pre-Christian Antiquity: Jewish communities gaining inordinate economic power, under the protection of a royal administration (Jews served as the kings’ tax collectors and moneylenders, and were particularly indispensable in times of war), until this economic power, yielding political power, reaches a point of saturation, causes pogroms and forces the king into taking measures.

Let us consider for example the influence of the Jews in Western Europe under the Carolingians. It reaches a climax under Charlemagne’s son, Louis the Pious. The bishop of Lyon Agobard (c. 769-840) left us five letters or treatises written to protest against the power granted to the Jews at the detriment of Christians. In On the insolence of the Jews, addressed to Louis the Pious in 826, Agobard complains that the Jews produce ‘signed ordinances of your name with golden seals’ guaranteeing them outrageous advantages, and that the envoys of the Emperor are ‘terrible towards Christians and gentle towards Jews.’ Agobard even complains of an imperial edict imposing Sunday rather than Saturday as market day, in order to please the Jews. In another letter, he complains of an edict forbidding anyone to baptize the slaves of the Jews without the permission of their masters.[1]

Louis the Pious was said to be under the influence of his wife, Queen Judith—a name that simply means ‘Jewess’. She was so friendly to Jews that the Jewish historian Heinrich Graetz hypothesizes that she was a secret Jewess, in the manner of the biblical Esther. Graetz describes the reign of Louis and Judith (and ‘the treasurer Bernhard, the real ruler of the kingdom’ according to him) as a golden age for the Jews, and points out that in the emperor’s court, many regarded Judaism as the true religion. This is illustrated by the resounding conversion of Louis’ confessor, Bishop Bodo, who took the name of Eleazar, had himself circumcised, and married a Jewess. ‘Cultured Christians,’ writes Graetz, ‘refreshed themselves with the writings of the Jewish historian Josephus and the Jewish philosopher Philo, and read their works in preference to those of the apostles.’[2]

The Judaization of the Roman Church at this time is appropriately symbolized by the adoption of unleavened bread for communion, with no justification in the Gospel. I say ‘the Roman Church’, but perhaps it should be called the Frankish Church because, from the time of Charlemagne, it was taken over by ethnic Franks with geopolitical designs on Byzantium, as Orthodox theologian John Romanides has convincingly argued.[3]

The Old Testament was especially influential in the Frankish spheres of power. Popular piety focused on the Gospel narratives (canonical gospels, but also apocryphal ones like the immensely popular Gospel of Nicodemus), the worship of Mary, and the ubiquitous cults of the saints, but kings and popes relied on a political theology drawn from the Tanakh.

The Hebrew Bible had been a major part of Frankish propaganda from the late sixth century. Gregory of Tours’ History of the Franks, the primary—and mostly legendary—source for Merovingian history, is framed on the providential ideology of the Books of Kings: the good kings are those who support the Catholic Church, and the bad kings those who resist the growth of its power. Under Louis the Pious, the rite of anointment of the Frankish kings was designed after the model of the prophet Samuel’s anointment of King David in 1 Samuel 16.

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[1] Adrien Bressolles, ‘La question juive au temps de Louis le Pieux,’ in Revue d’histoire de l’Église de France, tome 28, n°113, 1942. pp. 51-64, on https://www.persee.fr

[2] Heinrich Graetz, History of the Jews, Jewish Publication Society of America, 1891 (archive.org), vol. III, ch. VI, p. 162.

[3] John Romanides, Franks, Romans, Feudalism, and Doctrine: An Interplay Between Theology and Society, Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 1981.

Categories
Carolingian dynasty Charlemagne Christendom Destruction of Germanic paganism Franks Karlheinz Deschner Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums (books) Middle Ages

Christianity’s Criminal History, 163

– For the context of these translations click here

 
Plunder and Christianisation, a trump card of Frankish government policy

While the Franks had fought in unison with the Saxons in the annihilation of the kingdom of Thuringia in 531, in 555-556 Chlothar I conducted two campaigns against them. In the first he succumbed to a significant defeat, but in the next he imposed a tribute on them. Around 629, during a devastating campaign, Chlothar II had all Saxons who lifted more than his sword killed. But when in 632-633 they helped Dagobert I against a Vendean army, and although they contributed little to the campaign, the king waived the 500-cow tribute they had been paying for over a hundred years. They were thus fully independent. But when they broke into the lower Ruhr territory in 715, Charles Martell waged a series of devastating wars against them, forcing them to pay tribute and taking them hostage.

As among the Frisians, neither among the Saxons, considered to be ‘the most pagan’ (paganissimi), did the attacks alone achieve any success. All these advances beyond the Frankish realm ‘involved something irremediably reckless’ (Schieffer). And, as among the Frisians, the clergy also soon collaborated closely with the conquerors in the subjugation of the Saxons. Both helped each other. First the country was plundered by the sword, then the common rule was consolidated by Christian ideology and ecclesiastical organisation, the conquered and ‘converted’ adapted and were economically exploited.

The Frankish kings and nobles had no more devoted collaborators than the clerics, and the clerics found no more solicitous promoters than Frankish feudalism. The military victory brought with it immediate Christianisation. Where the Frankish sword didn’t reach, like the Danes for example, there was no mission either. Hence, just as among the Frisians, so also among the Saxons their struggle for freedom was immediately transformed into a struggle against Christianity, which appeared to them as a symbol of slavery and foreign domination. Hence, both Frisians and Saxons particularly hated the clergy, destroyed churches in any uprising, expelled missionaries and not infrequently killed bishops and priests, and were suspicious a priori of any Christian preacher who appeared. He was almost always, in fact, in the service of a hostile power which imposed the yoke and acted as its introducer and stabiliser.

Now the aim was to ‘convert’ at once as many people as possible: a whole tribe, a whole people. Massive success was sought beforehand, as was always the case later on in the Middle Ages. Thus, in the 8th century, more and more attempts were made to open the way for Christianity at any cost and to baptise the vanquished by force. ‘This connection of war and Christianity heralded the new form of cooperation between Church and State’ (Steinbach).

Christianisation was now on the heels of the campaign of subjugation, with the undeniable aim of binding the subjugated more strongly to the kingdom: ‘A trump card of the Frankish governmental policy, which responded to the conviction that the evangelical doctrine of compulsory obedience was capable of subduing obstinate rebellion even more than the power of the sword’ (Naegle).

Among the Saxons, among whom the enslaved peasants were extraordinarily numerous, the lower working classes partly put up violent resistance to Frankish expansion and forced conversion. For them it led to a kind of slavery. The Saxon nobility, on the other hand, whose dominance was threatened by free and slave in a class struggle that was becoming more and more acute, was much more open to the new religion, which was in fact feudal, and more willing to compromise (the situation was at least very similar in Thuringia). The Saxon nobility very early on favoured missionary action to secure its dominance over the lower classes and to strengthen their position, a characteristic behaviour throughout the war. In 782 and 898 the same nobility openly handed over their less trustworthy peasants to the Franks. They also immediately made numerous donations to the Church. On the other hand, the lower classes (plebeium vulgus) still rejected Christianity in the second half of the 9th century.

The people maintained pagan sacrifices and customs and hated Christian parish priests. Only Charles’ sword achieved the goal. Crushings and uprisings followed one after the other, provoking campaign after campaign. It took a war of more than thirty years, which devastated the country continually, decimated the population, and soon assumed the character of a war of religion, to spread the good news and the kingdom of god a little further into the world; to lead the Saxons ‘to the one true God, to convince them that there was something greater than fighting and victory, than death on the battlefield and pleasures in Valhalla’ (Bertram).

It would have been the bloodiest and longest war waged by the Franks, according to Charles’ confidant Einhard in his Vita Caroli Magni, the first hagiography of a ruler of the Middle Ages. And this ‘iron-tongued preaching’—to use a 9th-century expression—with which the country of Saxony was converted, became a kind of model for all Christian missionary practice in the Middle Ages. And we have to think that only Frankish accounts of the Saxon wars exist, so the clerical chroniclers distorted the mission of blood and fire until it was passed off as a serene and entirely peaceful work of conversion.


Editor’s Note: This engraving of Charlemagne having the Saxons peacefully baptised is what pious Christians, ignorant of real history, believe.

Categories
Catholic Church Franks Karlheinz Deschner Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums (books) Middle Ages So-called "saints"

Christianity’s Criminal History, 148

For the context of these translations click here

 

St. Gregory of Tours (Louvre)

When we read the History of the Franks, as amorphous as it is detailed, by Gregory of Tours, which is the main source of that period, we are surprised that the same head in which such a grotesque belief in miracles and the devil was floating around, and that seems to have no other concern than some obscure miracles and signs—for him unquestionable facts, gesta praesenti—, we are surprised, I repeat, that this same head relates with the most realistic tone and often with an almost amoral indifference the horrors of the time without admiring either the decadent displays of conscience or the most criminal heroes of the age.

He doesn’t feel the slightest scruple and knows nothing of the conflicts between loyalties, being unreservedly in favour of the brutal policy of the princes, that is, in favour of their crimes insofar as they represented the advance of the Catholic Church. This means, however, a halfway between securing for the Church a stable situation and for the high clergy’s ever-increasing riches; he belonged to that clergy. (Someone has observed that the episcopal ministry, supposedly so exhausting, left Gregory sufficient time to write his extensive works.)

No doubt civil and fratricidal wars didn’t entirely fit into the saint’s mind, for they naturally affected him and his Church. But external wars, wars aimed at the aggrandisement of the Christian kingdom—the annihilation of the ‘heretics’ and especially the Arians (four times he tells the hoax story of the fathers of the Church, according to which Arius burst in the toilet); the extinction of the pagans and other infidels—, could never be terrible enough. Thus, at the beginning of the fifth book of his History of the Franks, he confesses without a qualm: ‘Would that you too, O kings, were engaged in battles like those in which your fathers struggled, that the heathen terrified by your union might be crushed by your strength! Remember how Clovis won your great victories, how he slew opposing kings, crushed wicked peoples and subdued their lands, and left to you complete and unchallenged dominion over them!’

Fighting battles, killing enemy kings, and subjugating hostile peoples as well as his own, is what a famous Catholic saint, after more than half a millennium of Christianity, calls all this. For ‘the triumphs of the Franks are also the successes of Gregory’ (Haendler).

Even when it comes to sexually motivated murder, Gregory acts as a modern ‘progressive’. Without batting an eyelid he recounts the case of the exuberant Deoteria. While her husband was on a trip to Béziers, she sent word for King Teudebert: ‘No one can resist you, dearest lord. We know that you are our master. Come, then, and do what is pleasing in your eyes’. And Theudebert came to the castle, made Deoteria his concubine, his wife; and Bishop Gregory calls the Catholic lady (who afterwards began to fear her own daughter’s rivalry and had her killed at Verdun) ‘a skilful and clever woman’. As skilful and clever as Theudebert himself because, as Gregory himself proclaims, ‘she ruled her kingdom with justice, honoured the bishops and made donations to the churches’; and ‘all the taxes, which had hitherto reverted to the royal treasury of the churches of Auvergne, she graciously remitted to them’.

In other words, Gregory turns a blind eye to the well-known Catholic double standard.

Categories
Charlemagne Destruction of Germanic paganism England France Franks Germany Middle Ages Psychohistory

The religious roots of anti-Germanism

by Dietrich Schuler

Editor’s note: This is the German-English translation of the first article we have published in German at the German section of The West’s Darkest Hour.
 

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If we try to fathom the special fate of the Germans within the framework of the European tragedy, it is not enough to look at the superficial slogans of daily politics, the propaganda theses of the world wars, the mutual prejudices of the European peoples or the moralising blame of re-education. Also, the rather psychological argument that the aversion against the German is rooted in his general efficiency doesn’t probe deeply enough, although there may be a great deal of truth in it.

It has been almost completely overlooked that the birth of anti-Germanism already occurred at the beginning of Christianisation. The Christian apostles first gathered around themselves everywhere the proletarian masses, the poor, the badly off and the socially weak of the ancient world. Christianity was nothing else than a pre-Marxism in the magical feeling of life of that time. ‘Evil’ then, for the early baptised, was everything that shone in the Roman Empire: the rulers, the leaders in politics, economics, art and science, the military and administrators. Christianity thus contained—Nietzsche had recognised this crystal-clearly—an ancient slave revolt against everything high and well-bred, and the mean vindictiveness of that lower-class revelled in their lust to see the hated, envied and secretly admired languish in the hottest hell. Therefore, this religion had to be anti-Germanic in and of itself. The heathen races and peoples of Central and Northern Europe, with their elementary joy of being and sensuality, formed the direct antipode to the Christian state of mind. In particular, it was the soldierly ‘barbarian tribes’ of the Germanic peoples who attracted the hatred of the oriental desert religion. For oriental was and is the original Christian spirit.

The European nobility, however, is still today, after 2,000 or 1,500 years, predominantly Nordic, and the Teutons embodied in a special way the forest soul of northern Europe, which was now subjugated in the course of many centuries by the desert spirit alien to its nature. This is to be understood quite literally. Thus the celebrated jungle doctor Albert Schweitzer said: ‘I am subjugated by Jesus’. But he didn’t want to understand this negatively, but triumphantly. The servant-like, emasculating effect of this religion can no longer be demonstrated more clearly.

In addition, it has always been overlooked or, at least, it has never been clearly pointed out, that the Christian religion encountered harsh military resistance in its spread exclusively in Germany, nowhere else in Europe. The Christianisation of south-eastern and southern Europe, as well as that of Russia and Poland, took place completely smoothly. Likewise, it found no opposition throughout Western Europe. This is of fundamental importance and symbolic of what was in the offing in Europe through many centuries, leading to the tragic inferno of the white continent since about 850. What we are told about ‘persecutions of Christians’ in antiquity is mostly fictitious: they are the legends of saints, hardly any of which would stand up to thorough scrutiny. Antiquity was, religiously, extremely tolerant and all too tolerant to its detriment.

The decisive point, however, lies in the following: the Christianisation of Germany took place in the West, starting from those two states whose modern shape was formed by three important Germanic tribes: England and France. And these tribes, as is well known, are called Franks, Saxons and Angles. It was a double attack, waged on the one hand by the most brutal military force by the Frankish Emperor Charles in a thirty-year war of extermination, and on the other hand by preaching, flattering persuasion and treacherous actions, such as the felling of the Donar Oak by Boniface. And this insidious attack, supported by Germanic courage, came from those Anglo-Saxons who had been Christianised on the British Isle and now continued the work of alienation on the mainland of whom Winfried, the so-called ‘German Apostle’, together with his relative Lioba, were particularly well known.

The guardian of central European paganism was first and foremost the Saxon tribe, which remained in the mainland, supported by the Frisians. From here the re-Germanisation of northeast Germany would take place. Without these Lower Saxons there would be no German people. But they were subjugated by the part of the closely related Franks, which the Gallo-Roman foreigners had Frenchified with the help of the Franks, who remained Germanic.

The sneering and often arrogant tone that for centuries has always been heard in Western Europe as soon as German things are mentioned goes back to the 8th and 9th Christian centuries. And it is therefore no coincidence that worldwide summons to arms, which were directed twice against Germany in the 20th century, had its spiritual-political leadership essentially with France and England, which were bearers of world languages and high moral standing.

Therefore, it cannot really be surprising, although curiously it was never really stated, that the whole anti-German atrocity propaganda, as it found its dramatic climax in the first half of the 20th century, was nothing but the increased echo of sermons to the pagans and anti-Germanic incantations of Christian missionaries, apostles and itinerant teachers more than a thousand years ago.

The core of anti-Germanism was always political theology. The orators, ‘clergymen’, article writers, and radio propagandists of our Allied war opponents merely transposed into modern language what those apostles had once prefigured: the Teuton as a hulking barbarian, stupid, brutal, uneducated and, as an additional variant, absolutely humourless!

After the Germans were finally incorporated into the fold of the Christian herd of Europe, they themselves continued the subjugation of Central and Eastern Germany to the Wends and Old Prussians. Especially the Baltic Old Prussians were now subjugated by the Order of the Teutonic Knights in the 13th and 14th centuries, just as had happened 400 to 500 years earlier to the Saxons on the part of the Franks. Christianised Poles weren’t able to conquer these freedom-loving pagan Old Prussians.

The Baltic Prussians weren’t Slavs, they formed together with the Latvians and Lithuanians a special branch of the Indo-Germanic language family. Linguistically, they occupied an intermediate position between Germanic and Slavic, as can be seen, for example, in the word garbas which means mountain. ‘Garbas’ is only a metathesis of ‘mountain’ with a Baltic suffix attached. In Slavic it became ‘gora’.

In terms of blood, however, these later Germanised Old Prussians, who gave the name to the later state of Prussia, were the closest relatives of the Germanic tribes. Until the Second World War the real Latvia as well as East Prussia belonged to the areas with the strongest predominance of the Nordic race. Let us therefore note two things: the northwest of Germany was forcibly Christianised in the same way as later would happen to its extreme northeast. The area around Königsberg was forced under the Christian yoke only a full millennium after southern France with Marseille and Bordeaux. Only through this do we recognise the full historical root of the talk of the ‘German barbarians’, which has long been in vogue especially in our western neighbouring country.

From a purely political point of view it must of course be said that, as things stood, the subjugation of the Saxons by the Frankish Emperor may have been positive, in spite of the terrible Germanic fratricides, because otherwise the establishment of a German state and state people, as we know it historically, couldn’t have been carried out. This has also been asserted again and again. The same applies to the Christianisation and simultaneous Germanisation of East Germany, which, however, was actually a re-Germanisation. It is possible that without the influence of foreign religious elements a large Germanic northern empire would have arisen from Scandinavia to the low mountain ranges. Without the Roman Church, the Germanic tribes of northern France would most probably not have been Romanised, so that quite other possibilities of Germanic state formation in the European framework seem conceivable. But these are speculations. The main purpose here is to prove that through Christianity everything in Europe became mendacious to the core.

If the opposing propaganda in the Second World War tried to divide the Germans by the confrontation of ‘Nazis’ and ‘anti-Nazis’, it did the same in the First World War by the use of the terms ‘Prussians’ and ‘non-Prussians’. If we have internalised all this, then the German Sonderweg is no longer a mystery to us. The Germans are, often and largely quite unconsciously, the conscience of the real, down-to-earth, pagan Europe. There is nothing else. Christian Europe was a falsification, a pseudo-morphosis. Central Europe is the original homeland of the Indo-Germanic root people, not some Asian steppes, as we have been led to believe. What this primitive pagan Europe could have become with the great ruler virtues and the political talent of the old Romans, but above all the unequalled philosophical height of the Hellenes, give us a faint idea.

Along with Germany, Europe, the entire white race would have to die. But by paying homage to anti-Germanism themselves, the Germans, blocked the way to the right knowledge for the other Europeans. He who destroys the core of a thing, destroys thereby also the whole. And it is therefore no wonder that the deep division of the soul, which came to Europe with Christianity, raged especially painfully among the Germans.

The adoption of this foreign religion and the attempt to adapt it to our way of being was the real fall from the grace of Europe. Religion is the highest and most sacred thing: one doesn’t allow it to be taken away from the foreigner, nor, what is just as bad, to be foisted upon him. A race of the rank of the White European without its own religion is a historical scandal, a mortal sin…

He whoever walked through the German people with an awake heart, has recognised the deep inner misery of this people… Especially since the 20th century, the division of the soul has become abundantly visible, which runs through our tribes, our clans, families, even the individual personalities. The feeling becomes more and more urgent that we live in an unholy, hopeless, evil and un-homely world.

But the other European peoples also know this feeling. Sham victories over Germany have benefited neither them nor Europe as a whole. Quite the contrary! All of them are not one bit better off today than the Germans themselves. Christianity has not eliminated a single of the world’s evils, nor has it even alleviated them: it lives from evil. Only in it, in an ugly, miserable, cloying world, do its rotten fruits blossom and flourish.

But the struggle against Germany with unwarlike but all the more effective means goes on unceasingly. Fortunately, more and more people, even in non-German countries, are realising that there is anti-white racism everywhere.

_________

Dietrich Schuler (1927-2011) was a German educator, writer and philosopher of religion.

Source: Dietrich Schuler: Untergang der Weltmacht USA: Rettung für die weißen Völker? (2003). This excerpt has been translated by Albus from German using DeepL; reworked by him, and the resulting English syntax edited by C.T.

Categories
Franks Karlheinz Deschner Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums (books) Merovingian dynasty

Christianity’s criminal history, 129

For the context of these translations click: here

 

CHAPTER 2

CLOVIS, FOUNDER OF THE GREAT FRANKISH EMPIRE

‘One of the most outstanding figures in universal history’. —Wilhelm von Glesebrecht, historian

‘And it is certain that he knew himself to be a Christian, and a Catholic Christian, something that is manifested over and over again in the various performances of his reign’. —Kurt Aland, theologian

 
The Rise of the Merovingians

The original land of the Franks, whose name was associated at the beginning of the Middle Ages with the concepts of ‘brave’, ‘audacious’ and ‘daring’, was in the Lower Rhine. These people, which lacked a unitary leadership, arose probably from the coalition of numerous small tribes throughout the 1st and 2nd centuries c.e., between the rivers Weser and Rhine. They are mentioned for the first time just after the first half of the 3rd century, when they fought fierce struggles against the Romans that would continue throughout the 4th and 5th centuries. The Franks settled on the right bank of the river and then breached the Roman line of defence of the Rhine, which some had probably already overcome before by infiltrating the border region. They advanced on Xanten, that the Roman population had evacuated towards 450, having occupied it later by the small Frankish tribe of Chatuarii. They then entered the territory between the Rhine and the Moselle; the Franks took Mainz and Cologne, a city that, on occupying it definitively around 460, became the centre of an independent Frankish state, immediately on the left bank of the great river. Little by little they annexed more territory. During the first half of the 5th century they conquered the city of Trier four times and the Romans recovered it as many times, until in 480 it became definitively owned by the Franks. The number of its inhabitants, from about 60,000 in the 4th century, dropped to a few thousand in the 6th century.

The invaders founded small Frankish principalities in Belgium and northern France, each subject to a kinglet or little king. As early as 480 the entire Rhenish region between Nijmegen and Mainz, the Maas territory around Maastricht, as well as the Moselle valley from Toul to Koblenz, belonged to the Frankish territory. The Romans allowed the Franks to settle on the condition that they rendered certain military services as foederati (allies) and they became their most loyal comrades in arms of all Germans, although they were generally torn apart amid fierce tribal strife. But in the end it was the Merovingians who bid for all of Roman Gaul…

King Childeric died in 482. Almost twelve hundred years later, in 1653, a doctor from Antwerp discovered his tomb at Tournai, endowed with such wealth and sumptuousness that it far surpassed the more than 40,000 tombs of the Merovingian period uncovered by archaeologists. At the death of Childeric in 482 he was succeeded by Clovis I (466-511), aged sixteen and apparently an only child. Allied with different sister tribes, Clovis expanded the Salic territory around Tournai, which was insignificant and reduced to a small part of northern Gaul in Belgium Secunda, though he continued the plunder, assassinations and wars, increasingly widespread over the regions from the Roman province to the left bank of the Rhine.

Such attacks reached first as far as the Seine, then as far as the Loire and finally as far as the Garonne, bringing the Gallo-Romans under the rule of the Franks. Even then, that was called ‘having the Franc as a friend, and not as a neighbour’.

Such a bellicose people, over which the reputation of disloyalty also floated, was attractive to the Christian clergy from the beginning. The Arians, and even more so the Catholics, sought to win over their leader. In fact all the notable princes of that time in the West were Arian or heathen. Thus, as soon as Clovis was appointed King of Tournai, he was addressed by the Bishop of Reims, St. Remigius, a man of ‘eminent science’ and resurrector of the dead, according to the praise of Bishop Gregory who simultaneously highlights both traits…
 

A great bloodbath and the first date in the history of the German Church

Clovis soon passed from Soissons to Paris, which became the most important city and, at least since the 7th century, the true epicentre of the Frankish kingdom, in which almost all the Merovingian kings are also buried…

The Alemanni (or Suebi), first named in 213, had emigrated from the Elbe region and probably by the end of the 2nd century had made themselves strong in the Main region through various incorporations of German emigrants and soldiers. The name ‘Alemanni’ would mean what anyone who knows some German can still understand today: all males (alie Manner). The Alamanni, who were pressing on the Rhine and the line of fortifications on the frontier of the Roman Empire, broke in 406, accompanied in part by Vandals and Alans, dispersing through Gaul and Hispania.

When they tried to advance north-west from there, they clashed with the Franks, and in particular with the Francorans, who dominated the Moselle region. They had already allied with the Burgundians in 475 against the Alemanni, without clearly prevailing around 490 in a battle near Cologne, where the local kinglet Sigobert was wounded in one knee. Reason enough for Clovis to attack: in around 496-497 the Alaman king of unknown name died on the battlefield of Toibiacum. Clovis advanced into the German territory of the right bank of the Rhine and annihilated a good part of its still pagan inhabitants.

It is true that a decade later, around 506, they rose again; but again they suffered a bloody defeat, probably near Strasbourg, the Alaman king dying in battle again. Pursued by the Franks, they fled south to the pre-Alpine regions: Raetia Prima (province of Chur) and Raetia Secunda (province of Augsburg): territories under the influence of the Ostrogoth king Theodoric, who restrained his brother-in-law Clovis and who settled to the fugitives in Retia, Pannonia and northern Italy. But in the southern part of the Rhenish Hessen, in the Palatinate and the basins of the Main and Neckar the Alemanni were victims of the direct arrogance of Clovis. And from there the Franks later spread eastward to the Saale, the Upper Main and almost to the Bavarian Forest…

King Clovis had himself baptised in Reims with great pomp and with the assistance of numerous bishops. According to some, it ran annus 496-497, according to others 498-499; while according to some researchers, who put the war against the Alemanni in 506, we should think of the years 506-508. ‘It is the first date in the history of the German Church’ (Kawerau). Curiously, the event is linked to a great bloodbath and constitutes one of the most important events of the early Middle Ages.

The baptism of Clovis was a great feast. Streets and churches sparkled with their ornamentation. The baptismal church was filled with a ‘heavenly fragrance’, to the point that the attendees believed they were transferred ‘to the pleasant perfumes of paradise’.

Clovis was venerated as a saint in France.

Gregory of Tours refers that the king ‘advanced to the baptismal bath like a new Constantine’, and the comparison is terribly accurate, ‘to purify himself in the clean water of old leprosy and the dirty stains, which he had from ancient [pagan] times’. And Remigius, ‘the saint of God’, spoke to him with eloquent words: ‘Sigambrer, meekly bend your neck and worship what you burned and burn what you worshiped (adora quod incendisu, incende quod adorasli)’.

Who was this saint, who so arrogantly incited persecution, as did his colleague Avitus in his time? St. Remigius, like most of the prelates of that time (and not only of then), was of ‘illustrious’ lineage, and already at the age of twenty-two promoted to bishop of Reims. His older brother, Principius, was also bishop (of Soissons) and a saint too (their relics were to be burned by the Calvinists in 1567). Remigius, the apostle to the Franks, preached Catholicism to pagans and Arians with fervent zeal, something that clearly developed a ‘radical war’ (Schuitze), in which, according to a council of Lyon, ‘smashed the altars of idols everywhere and vigorously spread the true faith with many signs and miracles’…

Catholic Clovis made his own converts, pagans or Arians, so that the entire house of the Franks ended up being Catholic. Henceforth, a close ‘alliance between monarchy and episcopate’ (Fleckenstein) was created. The princes of the Church occupy the position of honour in the surroundings of Clovis and exert the maximum influence over him, especially Avitus and Remigius. And naturally the clergy are generously rewarded with the war spoils of the Merovingian. He rewards the prelates with largesse and splendour through foundations and donations of land… Since then ‘monarchy and church acted together for the further spread of Christianity’ (Schultze)…

From the research that we have today, it can well be argued that in reality the conversion of Clovis was a political, as that of Constantine had been before. Unlike the other Germanic peoples, the king and his people accepted Catholicism because it provided in advance a link between the conqueror and the Gallo-Romans who were subjected or who were to submit; linkage that did not occur in the rest of the Germanic kingdoms. Clovis, a sympathiser of the Church from an early age, became a Catholic to subdue the Arian Germanic tribes and win over neighbouring Gaul more easily with his strong majority of Roman Catholics…
 

Are we to free ourselves from a moralistic assessment of history?

After Clovis had won the war against the Visigoths with the help of the Francorans, between 509 and 511, the last years of his life, he achieved royal dignity over them. In any case, it forced the fusion of the Francorenan tribes with the Salian Franks.

He first instigated Chlodoric, son of King Sigobert of Cologne, to get rid of his father. ‘Look, your father has grown old and is limping with a crippled leg’. Sigobert ‘the Lame’, a former companion of Clovis, had limped since the battle of Toibiacum against the Alemanni, in which he had been wounded. At the hands of a hired assassin the prince eliminated his father in the beech forest. Through a delegation, Clovis congratulated the parricide and through it, he crushed his skull. The German historian Ewig describes all this with an elegant expression, too elegant we would say, of ‘diplomacy of intrigues’. After the double act, Clovis went to Cologne, the residential city of Sigobert, solemnly proclaimed his innocence in both crimes and, joyfully welcomed by the people, seized the ‘kingdom and the treasures of Sigobert’ (Gregory).

Then he fell on the Salian kings, with whom he was related. Such was the case, for example, of a Frankish king, Chararic, who had not once fought against Syagrius. With tricks Clovis seized him and his son. Later he locked them up in a monastery, had their hair cut off (the tonsure was a sign of the loss of royal dignity), forced Chararic to be ordained a priest and his son a deacon, and after having them beheaded he took over their treasures and kingdom.

Another relative, King Regnacar of Cambrai, his first cousin, was defeated by Clovis after having won over his entourage with a great amount of gold, which later turned out to be fake. After the battle, he mocked Regnacar, who was led into his presence in chains and who in 486 had helped him in the war against Syagrius: ‘Why have you humiliated our blood to that point and allowed yourself to be put in chains? You’d be better off dead!’ And he smashed his head off with an ax. They had also arrested Richar, the king’s brother: ‘If you had helped your brother, we would not have taken him prisoner’, Clovis rebuked him and killed him with another blow. ‘The named kings were close blood relatives of Clovis’ (Gregory of Tours). He also had their brother, Rignomer, liquidated in the vicinity of Le Mans. ‘Clovis thus strengthened his position throughout the Frankish territory’, to quote again the historian Ewig, thus summarising the existing situation.

The victims of Clovis’ consolidation of power throughout the Frankish territory were, it seems, several dozen Frankish cantonal princes. The tyrant had them murdered, seized their land and wealth, without ceasing to complain that he was alone:

‘Woe to me, now I find myself as a stranger among strangers and none of my relatives could help me, if calamity befalls me!’ But this was not meant because he was sorry for their death, but by cunning, in case perhaps there was still someone he could kill.

Such is the comment of St. Gregory, for whom Clovis was a ‘new Constantine’, and who embodied ‘his ideal of the ruler’ (Bodmer) and to whom he frequently appeared ‘almost like a saint’ (Fischer). Without shame the famous bishop adds:

But day after day God brought down his enemies before him and he increased his kingdom, because he walked with a right heart in His presence and did what was pleasing to His divine eyes.

This, as the context shows, also applies to Clovis’ murders of relatives. All is holy in the extreme, even the extreme crimes!

Such, then, was the primus rex francorum (Salic law), the king who ruled following to the letter the words of St. Remigius at his baptism: ‘Worship what you burned and burn what you worshiped’. Such was the Catholic king, that no longer tolerated any pagan vestige, although he commanded almost like an absolute tyrant and was bursting with hypertrophic brutality and rapacity, showing himself cautious and cowardly in front of the strongest and mercilessly crushing the weakest; the king who did not back down from any treachery and cruelty, who waged all his wars in the name of the Christian and Catholic God; the king who, with a sovereign power like few others and at the same time as a good Catholic, combined war, murder and religious piety, who ‘began his Christian reign with all premeditation on December 25’, who with his booty built churches everywhere, then he splendidly endowed and prayed in them, who was a great devotee of St. Martin, who carried out his ‘wars of the heretics’ against the Arians of Gaul ‘under the sign of an intense veneration of St. Peter’ (K. Hauck), and whom the bishops at the National Council of Orleans (511) exalted as ‘a truly priestly soul’ (Daniel-Rops).

That was Clovis. A man who, hearing the passion of Jesus, seems to have said that had he been there with his Franks, no such injustice would have been committed against the Lord. In the words of the old chronicler, he was as ‘an authentic Christian’ (christianum se verum esse adfirmat—Fredegar). And as the current theologian Aland also says: ‘And it is certain, and again and again he manifests it in the different performances of his reign, that he felt of himself as a Christian, and certainly a Catholic Christian’. In a word, that man who made his way ‘with the ax’ to climb the absolute rule of the Franks—as Angenendt graphically puts it—was no longer simply a military king, but thanks precisely to his alliance with the Catholic Church became the ‘representative of God on earth’ (Wolf). A man who, in the company of his wife St. Clotilde, finally found his last resting place in the Parisian Church of the Apostles, which was later called Sainte Geneviéve, when he died in the year 511, just turning forty: a great criminal, devious and ruthless, who established himself on the throne and, according to the historian Bosi, ‘a barbarian, who civilised and cultivated’.

The theologian Aland qualifies Clovis as akin to Constantine and euphemistically says that both were men of power, violent sovereigns and believes that justifiably: ‘Such rough times could only be controlled by such men’. But is it tough times that make tough men? Or is it not rather the other way around? One and the other are intimately united. And already St. Augustine had corrected the stupid accusation of the times: ‘We are the times; which are we, that’s the way the times are’. Aland wants to leave open the question of whether Constantine and Clovis were Christians:

Because both the sons of Constantine and Theodosius were rulers, of whose Christian confession there can be no doubt, and yet committed perfectly comparable acts of blood. If we want to understand them, we must free ourselves from such a moral assessment of history. Well, who among us whose people have a history of 1,500 years behind under the sign of Christianity, can say that he is Christian? Luther speaks of Christianity, which is always being made and which is never finished.

The Merovingian chroniclers glorify Clovis mainly for two reasons: for his baptism and his many wars. He became a Catholic demolishing and depredating everything around him he could destroy or prey. And thus, from an insignificant territorial principality, he created a powerful German-Catholic imperium, sealed in France the alliance between the throne and the altar, and became the chosen instrument of God who day after day struck down his enemies before him— :

because before God he walked with an upright heart, doing what was pleasing to His eyes.

—according to the enthusiastic praise of the bishop, St. Gregory.

As long as history is viewed in this way, as long as it remains outside of its ‘moral’ valuation and the vast majority of historians continue to crawl before such hypertrophic beasts of universal history with respect, reverence and admiration… history will continue to unfold as it does.

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Carolingian dynasty Catholic Church Catholic religious orders Destruction of Germanic paganism France Franks Karlheinz Deschner Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums (books) Merovingian dynasty Middle Ages

Christianity’s criminal history, 128

For the context of these translations see here

 

VOLUME IV, CHAPTER 1

THE CHRISTIANISATION OF THE GERMANS

‘The introduction of Christianity among the Germans was the most precious gift from heaven’. —Pastoral letter from the German episcopate, June 7, 1934

 

The spread of Christianity in the West

At the end of Antiquity and during the succeeding centuries, Christianity conquered the Germanic world. By armies and merchants it had spread beyond northern Gaul to the Rhine. In the old Rhineland provinces probably there were Christian communities as early as the end of the 3rd century; churches were erected from Constantinian times in Bonn, Xanten, Cologne and, especially, in Trier: the official residence of Caesar since 293. At the end of the 4th century, Christianity was already the dominant religion in some Rhineland areas because ‘the laws of Theodosius, Gratian and Valentinian II imposed its entry into those lands…’

In the late 5th century evangelisation of the Franks began; at the end of the 6th century that of the Anglo-Saxons and the Lombards; in the 9th century the Christianisation of northern Europe was undertaken and, at the end of the millennium, that of the Czechs, Poles, and Hungarians. Since Christianity was no longer a despised religion as it had been in pre-Constantinian times, but the official religion of an empire, the popes no longer trapped some individuals but entire peoples in their net. They also annihilated entire towns ‘leaving neither green nor withered’, as the father of the Church, Isidore, boasts. Such was the case, for example, with the Ostrogoths and the Vandals, of whom the Marseillaise monk Prosperus Tironis provided an insightful picture of the Middle Ages, and who were often the subject of ‘cruel propaganda’ (Diesner).

Conversion methods

The Christianisation of the Germanic peoples—designated in the sources as nationes, gentes, populi, civitates, etc.—not only took place at very different times but also in very different ways. Two typical Christian activities converged in the Germanic mission: preaching and destruction. In Merovingian times, preaching was not the primary instrument of mission. There was a more eloquent method to demonstrate to the pagans the impotence of their Gods and the supreme power of the Christian god: the destruction of the Gentile sanctuaries… Of course it was not only destroyed; often, the so-called Christianisations were ‘simply’ arrived at. In other words, Gentile temples were transformed into Christian churches, expelling evil spirits through rites of exorcism and re-consecrating the buildings. The church transformed and incorporated everything that seemed useful, destroying everything else as a nefarious work of the devil.

An important motive in the conversion of the pagans, and also in the mentoring of those already converted, was without a doubt the constant infiltration of scruples and fears in an alarmist attitude that sowed fear for centuries. Fear, in effect, was ‘the characteristic state of the common man in the Middle Ages: fear of the plague, fear of invasion by foreign armies, fear of the tax collector, fear of witchcraft and magic and, above all, fear of the unknown’ (Richards). The priests of many religions feed on the fear of those whom they lead, and especially Christian priests. It is very significant that St. Caesarius of Arles (died in 542), an archbishop absolutely faithful to Rome, in almost all his propaganda interventions, which number more than two hundred, scares the readers with ‘the final judgment’. Whatever the occasion of his homiletical effusions, he rarely fails to insistently evoke the ‘court of Christ’, the ‘eternal judge’, his ‘harsh and irrevocable sentence’, etc.

The conversions of pagan Germans to Christianity were frequently due to purely material motives, already acting for ‘reasons of prestige’, especially when they came under the tutelage of Christian neighbours. Illustrious Gentiles could be chased ‘like dogs’ from the banquets of their princely courts, because Christians were forbidden to sit at the same table with pagans. It is symptomatic that also among Bavarians, Thuringians and Saxons, the nobility was the first to immediately prostrate themselves before the cross…

Jesus becomes the Germanic broadsword

With its acceptance by the Germans, Christianity was also nationalised and Germanised from the beginning. And not only in epic poems did Christ appear to German eyes as a kind of popular and cantonal king. The Franks were immediately seen as his special courtship, his chosen and preferred people. Warriors clustered around him, just as they clustered around princes. The saint is also now felt as the herald of Christ and god. Traditional Christian concepts are filled ‘with totally new content: Germanic, aristocratic and warrior content’ (Zwolfer). ‘From the religion of patience and suffering, from the flight and denial of the world, the medieval Germans made a warlike religion; and of the Man of Sorrows a Germanic king of the armies, who with his heroes travels and conquers the lands and who must be served through struggle. The German Christian fights for his Lord Christ, as he fights for the landlord he follows; even the monk in his cell feels like a member of the militia Christi’ (Dannenbauer). And naturally the clergy knew how to make the Germans proud of having converted to the Roman cross. In the prologue to the Salic law, the oldest hereditary right of the Franks, the fact of conversion is thus exalted:

Unclean people of the Franks, created by God himself, brave with arms, firm in the covenant of peace, profound in counsel, of great corporal nobility, of uncontaminated purity and superior complexion, bold, prompt and fiery—become to the Catholic faith, free from heresy.

Indeed, according to Christian doctrine, all peoples have been created by god; but flattery is always greatest where it is most needed. In this way the Franks appear here occupying the place of the chosen people of the Bible, of the people of Israel. And in a more recent prologue to the aforementioned Salic law, Christ also appears as the legitimate sovereign of the gens Francorum. He appears ‘personally before the Franks’. He loves those who are far superior to the old world power, ‘the chosen people of a new alliance’. ‘They have defeated the Romans and they have broken the Roman yoke’…

Undoubtedly, many German princes converted for purely political reasons. They worshiped in Christ the ‘strong God’, and especially the superior captain, to whom he granted victory. Thus the Frankish Clovis, Edwin of Northumbria and the Vikings converted—all of whom were baptised after having cast a vow and carried out a slaughter. And just as old Odin was considered a ‘God and lord of victory’ and Wotan (Odin’s name in the south) was considered a warrior God, so Christ is now seen as the same. He occupies the place of the ancient Gods of battle, he is politicised and mythologised, presenting him ‘almost as a national God’ (Heinsius). And from now on it will be a matter of honour for each Christian king to fight ‘the barbarians, who by their very condition as pagans are out of the order of the world’.

The Franks, educated in believing fanaticism, considered it their duty and right to ‘fight for Christ’ (Zollner). And still in the 7th and 8th centuries the Frankish Christians had themselves buried with their weapons, under the old pagan belief of survival after death. On a tombstone found in the Frankish cemetery of Niederdollendorf, near Bonn there is even a risen Christ holding in his right hand the spear, the Germanic sign of sovereignty, instead of the staff of the cross.

It is understandable that the Old Testament, often so bloody, was in tune with the men of the Middle Ages better than the partly pacifist New Testament; and it is understood that the Old Testament kings were exalted by proposing them as models of the Frankish princes, who liked to compare themselves with them. For the historian Ewig, this constitutes a new stage ‘in the Christianisation of the idea of the king’…

Among the Carolingians, decisive victories were frequently attributed to the attendance of St. Peter. ‘But now rest assured’, declares Pepin to the papal legate Serge in the battle against the Bavarians, ‘because due to the intervention of St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles, by divine decree Bavaria and the Bavarians belong to the sovereignty of the Franks’. Even minor achievements, such as the conquest of a fortress or even the discovery of a fountain during the war against the Saxons in 772 are presented as great divine miracles. But when misfortune befell—and it happened so often!—the priests were never troubled. Then the misfortune, the catastrophe, was a punishment from god for little faith and the overflow of vices. With this theology the Church has been deceiving itself until today through vicissitudes of all kinds…
The weed of the past

As a rule the Germans did not convert individually, but rather in a cooperative and tribal way. And that because, unlike the Greeks and educated Romans, the ‘barbarians’ easily accepted the Church’s tutoring without the cultural and historical-religious depth with which their Christian ‘converters’ presented the stories… In a not excessively laborious way, a great many ‘barbarians’ were subdued, who soon revered respectfully all the ‘holy’ priests and monks and were deeply impressed by exorcisms, ceremonies and miracles. With faith they welcomed such strange mysteries, dogmas and with fearful devotion put themselves at the service of that arrogant southern shamanism, seemingly animated only by the desire to make the Church rich and powerful, for the salvation of their souls, out of the horror of fire from hell and longing for paradise.

______ 卐 ______

Editor’s interpolated note: For a clip within a movie
depicting the baptism of an ancient Germanic see: here.

______ 卐 ______

Evangelism took place unevenly, outside the cities at a slower pace, for although the pagan Franks did not usually put up much resistance, from time to time, and especially in the countryside, they stubbornly indulged in the destruction of their town idols. In the religious field, man is especially conservative. And just as the peasants still do today—the inhabitants of the towns remain more firmly in Christianity—, so also at the end of Antiquity and the beginning of the Middle Ages it was the peasants who persisted the longest in paganism. The Germans were mostly peasants, and in Austria the pagan Franks and Germans were more numerous than the native Christians. This religion was an urban religion and since it became a state religion it was also the religion of the feudal and ruling circles, who sought above all their own benefit. For a long time the peasants persisted in their traditional beliefs, in their divinities, and above all in their Gallic triad: the cult of Jupiter, Mercury and Apollo. And even after they had ‘converted’ they returned again and again to the veneration—undoubtedly much more beautiful and coherent—of trees, stones and fountains.

For centuries synods lashed out at pagan customs, from the Council of Valence (374) until well into the 9th century. Only between the synod of Orleans (511) and that of Paris (829) did the canons of at least nineteen episcopal assemblies launched diatribes against the beliefs and practices of peasant paganism, which preserved the tradition with much greater tenacity than the accommodative nobility. The Germans had a natural piety, so to speak, not camouflaged or imposed, but identical to their lifestyle. They had a natural religion with clearly pantheistic features, marked by the worship of the Gods of the forest, the mountain, the fountains, the rivers and the sea, the veneration of the Sun, light, water, trees and springs; deep down, as it has been known today, a thousand times more coherent veneration than the Christian faith in spirits, at whose dictates a technocratic and hypertrophic civilisation has brought nature almost to ruin…
‘Demonstrative destruction’

During the Merovingian period certain problems of the power of the Christian god often came to the fore in evangelisation: on the one hand, ‘miracles’; on the other, the destruction of pagan places of worship. The images of the Gods—through unpunished annihilation—were easily demonstrated as the powerless work of man, while the ‘spiritual’ Christian god reigned untouchable over the clouds of heaven. Besides, the pagan Franks were generally tolerant and did not have a priestly caste as they faced a fanatical ecclesiastical organisation, which did not back down from forced baptisms, although it is true that at least in the beginning it was fair enough for the church that a formal condemnation of the old beliefs was uttered with a confession from the lips of the new faithful. R. W. Southern accurately describes medieval Europe as a coercive society, in which each person triumphed by baptism. But that was not all; soon the demolition of pagan temples and altars began as well…

St. Gal, an uncle of Saint Gregory of Tours and later Bishop of Clermont-Ferrand, being a priest and ‘companion’ of Theuderic I, the eldest son of Clovis, reduced to ashes in Cologne a pagan temple with all the ‘idols’, and only with great difficulty could the king save him from the fury of the peasants… Around 550 Deacon Wulflaicus induced the peasants of the city of Trier to demolish an imposing statue of Diana (originally no doubt of Ar-duinna, the Celtic Goddess), whom the people adored. As he was too weak the peasants did it for him, after he had ceaselessly weakened the will of ordinary people. ‘Well, the other images, which were smaller, he had already smashed them personally’. Without a doubt, miracles also happened there.

Some of the Christian saints known in the fight against paganism became arsonists and robbers. In Tyrol St. Vigilius, Bishop of Trent, worked ‘with fervent zeal for the spread of Christianity’ (Sparber) until one day he destroyed in Rendenatal a highly revered one, which stood on a steep rock, a statue of Saturn. About four-hundred irritated peasants, ‘heathen, stubborn and ferocious’ stoned him. In Italy many dozen churches are dedicated to him. In Monte Cassino St. Benedict (died 543), the ‘father of the western monasticism’, and whose severity caused several assassination attempts against him by his first monks and a Florentine priest, went on rage against the ancient temple of Apollo, the last temple of that God that history remembers. Benedict still found pagans there, cut down their sacred groves and destroyed the sculpture and the altar; but still in 1964 Pope Paul VI named him patron of Europe…

One of the fiercest fighters against paganism in Western Europe was Martin of Tours (died 397). Despite the stubborn resistance sometimes manifested by the peasants, with the help of his henchmen of his monastic horde he razed the temples, tore down the stones of the Druids and cut down sacred oaks, often viciously defended. ‘He trampled on altars and idols’ according to Sulpicius Severus. And yet the saint was ‘a man of admirable meekness and patience; from his eyes radiated a gentle serenity and an imperturbable peace…’ (Walterscheid, with imprimatur). This champion of faith undoubtedly had the best requirements for the annihilation of paganism. He had crowned a storming career in the Roman army (Julian being the emperor) and had started his Christian career as an ejector of demons. Significantly, he believed he saw the devil in the figure of Jupiter, Mercury and even Venus and Minerva, having otherwise the firm conviction that Satan was hiding in the ‘idols’.

Due to his ‘resurrections of the dead’ Martin of Tours became a bishop, later becoming the saint of the Merovingian kings and Carolingian emperors, to end up being the patron saint of the French. Even today 425 villages in France bear his name. The name of an arsonist, a thief, who ruined what was holiest and destroyed all the temples, became the ‘symbol of the Frankish imperial church’ and, even more, ‘an integral part of the imperial culture of the Franks’ (Bosi).

His international fame was owed to the murderous king Clovis, who had enormous veneration for Martin; for his cause he beat a soldier of his own to death, who had caught some hay in the fields of the man of god: ‘Where are our prospects of victory if we offend Saint Martin?’ On their military expeditions the Merovingian princes wore this man’s legendary cloak as a holy relic. Oaths were formulated on it and alliances were made. The place in which the cloak was kept was called capella (diminutive of cape), and the clerical who watched over it capellanus. Such is the origin of the words ‘chapel’ and ‘chaplain’, that with small variations have entered all modern languages… And, as in all the places where Martin of Tours had razed pagan centres of worship he immediately had Christian buildings built on the ruins, including the first Gallic monastery (Ligugé), still considered today as ‘the precursor of Western monasticism’ (Viller Rahner). The destruction of Gentile temples is certified by many ecclesiastical sources.

The monasteries were preferably built on the ruins of destroyed pagan temples. Thus arose, for example, Saint Bavo Church in Ghent, Saint Médard in Cambrai, the monastery of Wulfilaic in Eposium or Fleury-sur-Loire, which occupied the place of an ancient Druid sanctuary of the Gauls. The Martyrium of St. Vincent de Agen, erected as early as the 4th century, evidently stood on a pagan plot of consecrated ground. In Cologne, where perhaps Irenaeus of Lyons preached Christianity, a vast pagan necropolis has been found under the church of Saint Ursula.

Although in the West many temples and many altars were simply removed, among Franks, Saxons and Friesians the Church burned or completely destroyed the pagan sanctuaries, turned the places of sacrifice into cattle gullies and cut down sacred trees… Together, State and Church promoted the spread of the new faith and the annihilation of the old beliefs. Thus King Childebert I states, in a constitution of the year 554 ‘in agreement, no doubt, with the bishops’ (A. Hauck): ‘The pagan idols of the fields and the images dedicated to the demons must be removed immediately, and no one can prevent bishops from destroying them’.

In the following century Pope Boniface V (619-625) spread Christianity throughout England and wrote to Edwin, King of the Angles, in these terms: ‘You should destroy those whom you have hitherto considered Gods, being made of earthly material, with all zeal they must be smashed and shattered to pieces’. And so, shortly thereafter, in 627, Coifi, converted archpriest of Northumbria, broke a spear in a temple.

(Left, the high priest Coifi profanes ‘the Temple of the Idols’, from James William Edmund Doyle’s A Chronicle of England.)

The Concilium Germanicum, the first council convened in 742-743 in the Germanic territory of the Frankish empire, also provided that ‘the people of God should not promote anything pagan, but reject and abhor all filthiness of the Gentiles’.

Categories
Carolingian dynasty Catholic Church Charlemagne Constantinople Destruction of Germanic paganism Eastern Orthodox Church Franks Karlheinz Deschner Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums (books) Merovingian dynasty Middle Ages

Christianity’s Criminal History, 126

For the context of this translation see
the previous instalment of this series.

Volume 4. Early Middle Ages

From King Clovis (ca. 500) to the
death of Charles ‘the Great’ (814)

‘For a long time Christ had already taken a look at the Germanic peoples… A new spring dawned on the sky of the Church’. —Leo Rüger, Catholic theologian

‘The life of medieval Christianity is impregnated, and even completely saturated, in its relations by religious conceptions. There is no thing or action that is not constantly related to Christ and the faith. Everything is built on a religious conception of reality, and we find ourselves before an incredible development of inner faith’. —Johan Huizinga

 

PANORAMIC VIEW

The divisions in historical times are not fixed in advance. They were not decreed in a ‘higher’ place, to be carried out later by humanity. Rather, the history of man is an unheard-of chaos of stories, and later he tries to put a certain order in the zigzagging course of events and the bewildering diversity of tendencies, reducing everything to perfectly clear schemes. It introduces structures and caesuras, and thus the whole appears as an expression of forces that act coherently, and in this way everything is presented as if it had to be that way and could not have been otherwise; as if, for example, the Roman Empire would only have occurred so that Europe could inherit it. That is a vision that favours our taste for periodisation, and that can undoubtedly also encourage it. In reality, all this delimitation and temporal ordering, all these supposed fixed points, indicative data and evolution lines are nothing more than the result of certain—or, better to say, very uncertain—points of view, of precarious attempts at orientation: pure constructions to which people have accommodated, either by giving them meaning or not.

The ‘High Middle Ages’, a period that runs from approximately the 6th to the 10th centuries, is a period of violent change and transformation. But it is also a time of compromises or, to put it more elegantly, of assimilation, of continuity, a period of decadence and transition, of old heritage and a new beginning: in it the constitution of the West, of Europe, takes place, and of Germany, the intertwining of ancient Christian and Germanic traditions, the separation of Byzantium, the Eastern Church, and the arrival of Islam. And it is an age in which politics and religion are inseparable.

The alliances of the popes with the states also change. But, as always when they turn and change direction with time, Rome continually seeks to cling to the strongest power: Byzantium, the Ostrogoths, the Lombards, the Franks, and it takes advantage of them…
 
From convinced subjects to convinced lords

In Rome the temples collapsed, the imperial palace collapsed, in the theatres and the gigantic baths the ruins piled up and the weeds and ivy grew. And the priests took advantage. The old bath chairs became Episcopal chairs, the sumptuous alabaster and porphyry bathtubs became baptismal fonts and dubious urns of martyrs. Marble wall coverings, precious mosaic floors, beautiful columns, and stones were removed from ancient villas to enrich Christian temples. The pagan temples became Christian churches and the Rome of the Caesars became a clerical city, in which the religious (or what was considered as such) prevailed; and in which all civil festivals disappeared in favour of ecclesiastical festivities. The belief in the imminent end of the world was generalised to such an extent, and such proportions acquired the privileges of the priests, that Emperor Maurice forbade in 592 the entry of soldiers into monasteries and civil servants into the clerical state.

The civil power of the popes—which was the basis of the future pontifical state or the Church—sprouted from ruins: from the rubble of the Western Roman Empire, thanks to the impotence of Byzantium and an ever-growing curial ambition for dominance. Already in the 5th century the bishops of Rome, supposed successors of Jesus who did not want any kingdom of this world or that his disciples carry money in the bag, were the largest landowners of the Roman Empire. And the collapse of that empire only accelerated the rise of the bishops of Rome inheriting entirely the decadent imperial structure.

Under the Merovingians, in the early days of the Byzantine Empire, bishops gained power and influence also in ‘worldly’ or civil affairs, throughout the communal sphere. They control state jobs and trades, urban fortifications, the supply of troops; moreover, they intervene in the appointment of provincial governors.

All disgrace and decay are transformed by the Roman bishops into their prosperity, each failure is turned into a personal advantage, whether it is a disaster in the kingdom of Caesar or the kingdom of God. And even from the misery of the Longobard invasion they know how to make a fortune. First they distance themselves from Byzantium with the help of the Longobard swords—and Byzantium was weakened by the multiple pressure of the ‘barbarians’—; later they will destroy the Lombards thanks to the Franks… always on the side of the robbers, with a parasitic strategy, such as the world had never known.

It is true that even up to 787 the popes date their letters by the years of the reign of the Byzantine emperors, but already under Gregory II (715-731) the Byzantine governor was expelled from Rome on the occasion of the ‘Roman revolution’, just as the Byzantine army of Benevento and Spoleto was expelled with the help of course of the Lombard troops. After the Lombards had contributed to the excessive power of the popes, they used the Franks to annihilate them. From then on they collaborated and prospered with the Frankish emperors. And when they felt strong enough, they wanted to be the lords of the empire too.

Until 753 the Roman pope was a devoted subject (to a greater or lesser degree) of Constantinople. But soon in Rome time is no longer counted for the emperor’s years, imperial coins are no longer minted, imperial images are removed from churches, and the emperor’s name is no longer mentioned in liturgical service. The pope, on the contrary, allies himself with the Germanic king against those who had hitherto been his sovereigns. And to the Germanic king the pope confers imperial privileges, among which there are some completely new ones, and even offers him the imperial crown. It is a policy that benefits the pope above all, since it almost makes him the ‘father of the ruling family’.

The imperial coronation of Charles in 800 in Rome by Pope Leo III was an unlawful act, a provocation to the Byzantine emperor, until then the only legal supreme head of the Christian world, and in Constantinople it could only be interpreted as a rebellion. In fact, the turn of the popes towards the Franks caused the definitive break with Byzantium.

And although in 812 Emperor Michael I Rhangabe recognised Charles ‘the Great’ as imperator of the West and as a peer sovereign, deep down Byzantium always considered the Western empire as a usurpation. At Lothair’s coronation in 823, the pope gave him the sword for the defence and protection of the Church: and gradually Rome brought the Roman-Germanic kings under his influence. Indeed, after the fall of the western Roman monarchs, new symbioses were introduced with the new rulers, with Theodoric, Clovis, Pepin, and Charles. But also the future great Germanic empires of Alfred (871-899), Otto I (936- 973) and Olaf the Saint (1015-1028), who promoted the spread of Christianity with barbaric methods, could only be established on a Christian basis, not to mention the medieval Germanic empire.

That Holy Roman Empire certainly had hardly anything Roman and absolutely nothing sacred and holy, unless (with good reason) like Helvétius, Nietzsche and others the compendium of the criminal is seen in the sacred. Be that as it may, by liquidating the relative achievements of Arians and pagans and by obtaining a state of its own, the papacy achieved the constant enlargement of both its power and its possessions.

Especially at the beginning of the Middle Ages the chaining of State and Church was very close. Not only did civil and canon law have the same basis, but clerical wishes and demands also found expression in civil law. The decrees of the ‘mixed council’ were valid for the State and the Church alike.

The bishops also came from the aristocracy and were related to it as brothers, nephews and children of the civic nobility. And with it they shared the same political and economic interests. Consequently, throughout the Middle Ages they were also drawn into the struggle of the lords, they fought with the kings against the emperor and with the emperor against the pope, and with one pope against the other for 171 years. They fought with the diocesan clergy against the monks and also against their colleagues, giving them battle in the field, in the streets and the churches with the dagger and with the poison and in every imaginable way. High treason and rebellion were for the clergy, according to the Catholic theologian Kober, ‘a completely common phenomenon’.

Faced with the States and the so-called authorities, the great Christian Church had in practice no other principle than this: it always pacts with the most profitable power. In all its state contacts the Church was only guided by taking advantage of the situation (in her language, guided by ‘God’). Opportunism was always the supreme principle. Only when that Church achieved what it wanted was it also willing to give something and naturally as little as possible, even if it promised a lot. ‘You annihilate the heretics with me, and I will annihilate the Persians with you’, the patriarch Nestorius invited the emperor in his inauguration speech in 428 without imagining that he himself would soon be condemned as a ‘heretic’…

And with their sights set on their own power, the fought Catholic emperors and princes also kept Church and State closely united, despite tensions, conflicts and confrontations of all kinds, from the end of the Old Age to the time of the Protestant Reformation. Throughout more than a millennium the history of the two institutions could not be separated. Furthermore, ‘At the epicentre of all interests, whether they were spiritual or political, was the Church; to her belonged the action and omission, politics and legislative power, all the driving forces of the world were at her service and from her they derived their prerogatives. The culture and history of the Middle Ages are confused with the Church’.

With its powerful material protection, its organisational strength and participation in the legal and political-state life, its influence grew continuously. The pre-Constantinian Catholic Church strictly forbade clergymen to accept public office; but already in late antiquity a bishop of Gaul was entrusted with certain military options, such as building a fortress. And what was lost in the south to the Arabs, the ‘infidels’, was offset by the spread of Christianity northward.

Under the Merovingians, Christianity became the ideological deciding power. There were almost formal dynasties of bishops, to the point that Chilperic I famously uttered the phrase: ‘No one governs more than the bishops; that is our glory’.

Also among the Arian Ostrogoths the episcopate assumed state functions. In early Middle Ages England, ecclesiastical prelates are members of the diets, statesmen, and field marshals. Together with the regent they define the law, they are his first advisers; they elect the kings, overthrow them and raise them. Also in Italy bishops and abbots acted, along with the counts, as administration officials and, together with the lords of the civil aristocracy, acted as legislators. It is evident that from the middle of the 6th century to the end of the 7th century, public life there was totally marked and dominated by the Church.

Also later, if we look beyond the period to which we are referring, the Church survived its allies and overcame all the collapses. One power was sinking, and she was already rising with the next; or at least she was prepared for it. It was indeed only a state together with other states, but her ‘metaphysics’ was ahead of all of them. And while she always pretended the religious, the spiritual visions while proclaiming to the whole world, she aspired to the political dominion of the world.

Relatively early, popes and bishops had already tried to make the state their bailiff, submitting it to themselves. Some Church Fathers, such as Ambrose or John Chrysostom make it clear that way. But it is Pope Gelasius I (492-496) who only a few generations later proclaims with the greatest arrogance his ‘doctrine of the two powers’, which was to have such relevance in world history. Shortly after, the royal power will have to ‘piously submit the neck’ to the sacred authority of the bishops.

Augustine, however, does not yet know the doctrine of subordination of the State. At a time when the Church lived in harmony with it, the saint was able to assure—heaven knows how many times—that the Christian faith reinforced the loyalty of citizens to the state and that it created obedient and willing subjects. It was totally indifferent about who the ruler was. ‘What does it matter which government man lives under, who must die anyway? The only thing that matters is that the rulers do not induce him to impiety and injustice!’ It is true that if ‘justice’ was lacking, and that means here the Church, the bishop, for Augustine governments were hardly anything other than ‘great gangs of robbers’.

But in the Middle Ages the ambition of the clergy to dominate grew along with their power… If at the beginning the papacy defended the doctrine of the two powers or authorities, the auctoritas sacra pontificum and the regalis potestas which complemented each other, then the doctrine of the ‘two swords’ was later introduced (duo gladii). According to the Roman affirmation, Christ would have granted to the papacy the two swords, the spiritual and civil power; in a word, it would have given her hegemony. For when the Roman pontiffs seized power and became sovereigns of a State, they no longer needed a strong hereditary Germanic monarchy, nor did they need the monarchical unity of Italy, which for the same reason they fought with all means to its scope, even by force of arms.

The objective of the papacy was then the political domination of the world under spiritual slogans. While it exercised a spiritual guardianship over the masses and while it referred the whole of life to a future kingdom of God and the obtaining of eternal happiness, it did not stop pursuing more and more material interests. The papacy emancipated itself from the western empire and in a secular struggle it made the Hohenstaufen bite the dust to become sovereign of everyone and everything. A true parasite, who after having drunk the blood of others, after having perched on high with lies and falsehoods and after having been eliciting more and more rights and powers, stripped them and even took up arms, and with celestial speeches continued to worry about its earthly power in an extremely brutal way.

In theory, the Pauline doctrine of the divine institution of authority and the duty of general submission became fundamental for relations with the State. The obedience that is preached there, the absolute docility of the subjects, contrasts openly with the hatred against the State so widespread among the first Christians, but it has continued to be decisive to this day. In this way the Church wins over the respective rulers, with whom it has to collaborate to keep itself in power.

With Gregory VII (author of the Dictatus papae), who in 1076 began the fight against the emperor, who claimed rights over Corsica and Sardinia, over the Norman kingdom of southern Italy, over France, Hungary, Dalmatia, Denmark and Russia, there are already perceived certain resonances of a theory, according to which the pope has all power, including the right to dispose of the States. Gregory and his successors claim at least one indirect potestas indirecta in temporalice that the bull Unam sanctam (1302) of Boniface VIII raises to a potestas directa in temporalia on which the Lateran Council of 1517 still insists, and from which only in 1885 will Leo XIII officially distance himself.

According to Gregory VII and his successors in the late Middle Ages, and always in connection with Augustine’s thought, imperial power has its origin in the devil. It is a ‘carnal’ power as are generally all worldly principalities. But the diabolical power can be turned into blessing through the forgiving, healing and saving power of the papacy, through subordination to the Priest-King. Furthermore, the founding of every new state in this world tyrannised by the devil is only legitimised by papal recognition. The pope appears there as the sole supporter of truth and justice, as the sovereign lord and judge of the world. Everything must render obedience to the successor of Peter. This is how the pope wrote:

Whoever is separated from Peter cannot obtain any victory in the struggle or any happiness in the world, for with rigour as hard as the steel he destroys and smashes everything that comes his way. Nobody and nothing escapes its power.

Categories
Catholic Church Charlemagne Christendom Europe Franks History Inquisition Karlheinz Deschner Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums (books) Philosophy of history Protestantism

Kriminal

Below, translated excerpts from the first pages of Deschner’s 10-volume Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums, published in German in 1986.

 

______ 卐 ______

 

Introduction

To begin, I will say what the reader should not expect. As in all of my criticisms of Christianity, here there will be missing many of the things that also belong to history, but not to the criminal history of Christianity that the title indicates. That, which also belongs to history, may be found in millions of works that fill up the libraries, archives, bookstores, academies and the lofts of the parish houses. He who wants to read those materials can do so long as he has life, patience and faith.

This religion has thousands, hundreds of thousands of apologists and defenders; it has books in which many boast of ‘the luminous march of the Church through the ages’ (Andersen), and that the Church is ‘one’ and ‘the living body of Christ’ and ‘holy’ because ‘its essence is holiness; sanctification its end’ (the Benedictine von Rudloff). It is understood, on all this, that the unfortunate side details (religious wars, persecutions, fighting, famine) happened in the designs of God; often inscrutable, always just, full of wisdom and salvific power. Given the overwhelming predominance of the silly, misleading and deceitful glorifying, was it not necessary to show the opposite view insofar as it is much better proven? At any event, those who always want to see the bright side are shielded from the ugly side, which is often the truest.

The distinction between the Church and Christianity is relatively recent. As is known, there is a glaring contradiction between the lives of the Christians and the beliefs they profess: a contradiction which has always been downplayed by pointing to the eternal opposition between the ideal and the real. Nobody dares to condemn Christianity because it has not fulfilled all its ideals, or has fulfilled half of them, or not at all. But such an interpretation ‘equals to carry too far the notion of the human and even the all too human, so that when century after century and millennium after millennium someone does the opposite of what he preaches then becomes, per share and effect of all his history, epitome and absolute culmination of worldwide and historical criminality’ as I said during a conference in 1969 which earned me a visit to the courthouse.

Because that is really the question. Not that they have failed the ideals in part or by degrees, no: it is that those ideals have been literally trampled, without which the perpetrators lay down, for a moment, their claims of self-proclaimed champions of such ideals, nor stop their self-declaration of being the highest moral authorities in the world.

Western Christianity, in any case, ‘was essentially created by the Catholic Church’; ‘the Church, organised from the papal hierocracy down to the smallest detail, was the main institution of the medieval order’ (Toynbee).

Part of our question are the wars started or commanded by the Church, the extermination of entire nations: the Vandals, the Goths, and the relentless slaughter of East Slav peoples—all of them, according to the chronicles of the Carolingian and the Ottos, criminals and confused peoples in the darkness of idolatry that was necessary to convert by any means not excepting betrayal, deceit and fury. Of the fourteen legislated capital crimes by Charlemagne after subduing the Saxons by blood and fire, ten offenses relate exclusively to the religious camp. Under the old Polish criminal law, those guilty of eating meat during the Easter fast were punished by pulling their teeth out.

We will also discuss ecclesiastical punishments for violations of civil rights. The ecclesiastical courts were increasingly hated. There are issues that we will discuss extensively: sacrificial practices (the stolen goods from the Church to be repaid fourfold, and according to Germanic law up to twenty times); ecclesiastical and monastic prisons, especially of the ergastulum type (the coffins were also called ergastula), where they were thrown both ‘sinners’ as the rebels and madmen, and usually installed in basements without windows or doors, but well equipped with shackles of all kinds, racks, handcuffs and chains. We will document the exile punishment and the application of it to the whole family in case of the murder of a cardinal; which extended to the male descendants up to the third generation. Also very fashionable were torture and corporal punishment, especially in the East where it became furiously popular to mutilate limbs, pull out eyes and cut off noses and ears.

It is quite plausible that not all authorities indulged themselves in such excesses, and certainly not everyone would be as insane as the Abbot Transamund, who tore off the eyes of the monks of the Tremiti Convent, or cut their tongues (and, despite this, enjoyed the protection of Pope Gregory VII, who also enjoyed great notoriety). Without a doubt, the churches, particularly the Roman Church, have created significant cultural values, especially buildings, which usually obeyed no altruistic reasons (representing power), and also in the domain of painting, responding to ideological reasons (the eternal illustrations of biblical scenes and legends of saints). But aside from such opted love of culture that contrasts sharply with paleo-Christianity—that with eschatological indifference contemplated the ‘things of this world’, as they believed in the imminent end of all (a fundamental error in which Jesus himself fell)—, it should be noted that most of the cultural contributions of the Church were made possible by ruthlessly exploiting of the masses, the enslaved and the impoverished, century after century. And against this promotion of culture we find further cultural repression, cultural intoxication and destruction of cultural property.

The magnificent temples of worship of antiquity were destroyed almost everywhere: irreplaceable value buildings burned or demolished, especially in Rome itself, where the ruins of the temples served as quarries. In the 10th century they still engaged in breaking down statues, architraves, burning paintings, and the most beautiful sarcophagi served as bathtubs or feeders for pigs. But the most tremendous destruction, barely imaginable, was caused in the field of education. Gregory I, the Great, the only doctor Pope of the Church in addition to Leo I, according to tradition burned a large library that existed on the Palatine. The flourishing book trade of antiquity disappeared; the activity of the monasteries was purely receptive. Three hundred years after the death of Alcuin and Rabanus Maurus, the disciples were still studying with manuals written by them. Even St. Thomas Aquinas, the Church’s official philosopher, writes that ‘the desire for knowledge is a sin when it does not serve the knowledge of God’.

In universities, the Aristotelian hypertrophy aborted any possibility of independent research. Philosophy and literature were subject to the dictation of theology. History, as a science, was completely unknown. The experimentation and inductive research were condemned; experimental sciences were drowned by the Bible and dogma; scientists were thrown into the dungeons, or sent to the stake. In 1163, Pope Alexander III (remember in passing that at that time there were four anti-popes) forbade all clerics studying physics. In 1380 a decision of the French parliament forbade the study of chemistry, referring to a decree of Pope John XXII. And while in the Arab world (obedient to Muhammad’s slogan ‘The ink of scholars is more sacred than the blood of martyrs’) the sciences flourished, especially medicine, in the Catholic world the bases of scientific knowledge remained unchanged for more than a millennium, well into the 16th century. The sick were supposed to seek comfort in prayer instead of medical attention. The Church forbade the dissection of corpses, and sometimes even rejected the use of natural medicines for considering it unlawful intervention with the divine. In the Middle Ages, not even the abbeys had doctors, not even the largest. In 1564 the Inquisition condemned to death the physician Andreas Vesalius, the founder of modern anatomy, for opening a corpse and for saying that man is not short of a rib that was created for Eve.

Consistent with the guidance of teaching, we find another institution, ecclesiastical censure, very often (at least since the time of St. Paul in Ephesus) dedicated to the burning of the books of pagans, Jews or Saracens, and the destruction (or prohibition) of rival Christian literature, from the books of the Arians and Nestorians until those of Luther. But let us not forget that Protestants sometimes also introduced censorship, even for funeral sermons and also for non-theological works, provided they touched on ecclesiastical matters or religious customs.

The above is a selection of the main issues that I refer to in my history of the crimes. And yet, it is only a tiny segment of the overall history.

History!

Like any other historian, I only contemplate a history of the countless possible histories, a particular one, worse or better defined, and even this biased aspect cannot be considered the whole ‘complex of action’: an absurd idea, given the volume of existing data; theoretically conceivable, but practically impossible and not even desirable. The author who intends to write a criminal history of Christianity is constrained to mention only the negative side of that religion which weight has exceeded ultimately that of the perceived or real positives. Those who prefer to read about the other aspects ought to read other books: The Joyful Faith, The Gospel as Inspiration, Is it True that Catholics are No Better Than the Others?, Why I Love My Church?, The Mystical Body of Christ, Beauties of the Catholic Church, Under the Cloak of the Catholic Church, God Exists (I Have Known Him), The Way of Joy Toward God, The Good Death of a Catholic, With the Rosary to Heaven, SOS from the Purgatory, The Heroism of Christian Marriage.

The pro-Christian literature! More numerous than the sands of the sea: against 10,000 titles just one of the style of this Criminal History of Christianity, not to mention the millions of issues if we add the countless religious periodicals.

It turns out that truly there are among Christians men of good will, as in all religions and in every game, which should not be taken as data in favour of those religions and parties, because if that were allowed how many crooks would testify against such belief? And good Christians are the most dangerous, because they tend to get confused with Christianity, or to borrow the words of Lichtenberg, ‘unquestionably there are many righteous Christians, only that it is no less true that in corpore their works as such have never have helped much’.

What is the basis of my work? As with most historical studies, it is based on sources, tradition, contemporary historiography; especially texts. But when I expose my subjectivity bluntly, my ‘point of view’ and my ‘positioning’, I think I show my respect to the reader better than the mendacious scribes who want to link their belief in miracles and prophecies; in transubstantiations and resurrections from the dead; in heavens, hells and other wonders with the pretence of objectivity, accuracy and scientific rigor. Could it not be that, with my confessed bias, I am less biased than them? Could it be that my experience, my training, did not authorise me to form a more independent opinion about Christianity? At the end of the day I left Christianity, despite having been formed in a deeply religious household, as soon as it ceased to seem real.

Let’s face it: we are all ‘partial’, and he who pretends denying it is lying. It is not our bias what matters, but confessing it, without the pretence of impossible ‘objectivities’. We are all biased. This is particularly true in the case of historians who are more bent on denying it, because they are the ones who lie the most—and then they throw to one another the dogs of Christianity. How ridiculous, when we read that Catholics accused the Protestants of ‘bias’; or the Protestants accusing the Catholics, when thousands of theologians of various confessions throw over each other so common reproach; for example, when the Jesuit Bacht wants to see in the Protestant Friedrich Loofs ‘an excess of zeal against monastic status as such’, for which ‘his views are too one-sided’. And how would not the Jesuit Bacht opine with partiality when he refers to a reformed; he, who belongs to an order whose members are required to believe that white is black and black white, if mandated by the Church? Like Bacht, unquestioning obedience is imposed upon all Catholic theologians in the habit through baptism, dogma, the chair, the ecclesiastical license to print and many other obligations and restrictions. And so they live year after year, enjoying a steady income in exchange for advocating a particular view, a particular doctrine, a particular interpretation of history strongly impregnated with theology… not so much to deceive themselves but to continue cultivating the deception of others. For example, by accusing of bias the opponents of their confession and pretending to believe that Catholics are safe from such defect; as if it didn’t exist, for two thousand years, another bias sneakier than the Catholic.

Historiography is no more than the projection into the past of the interests of the present. The conservative historian who compared his job to that of the priest (for heaven’s sake!) and issued for himself reports of maximum impartiality and objectivity, claimed that he ‘erased his subjectivity’! This unshakable faith for objectivism, called ‘ocularism’ by Count Paul York Wartenburg and lampooned as a proposal for a ‘eunuch objectivity’ by Droysen (‘only the unconscious can be objective’), is illusory. Because there is no objective truth in historiography, nor history as it happened. ‘There can only be interpretations of history, and none is definitive’ (Popper). All historiography is written against the background of our personal vision of the world. It is true that many scholars lack such a worldview and thus are often considered, if not markedly progressive, at least notably impartial, honest and truthful. Those are the champions of ‘pure science’, the representatives of an alleged stance of neutrality or indifference as to value statements. They reject any reference to a particular point of view, any subjectivity, as if they were unscientific sins or blasphemies against the postulate of the true objectivity they advocate; against that sine ira et studio [without anger and affection] which they have as sacrosanct and that, as Heinrich von Treitschke ironizes, ‘nobody respects, let alone the speaker himself’.

The fiction of the concealment of the ideological premises of the historical presentation can serve to conceal many things: an ethical relativism and a cowardly escapism fleeing categorical decisions on principles—which still is a decision: irresponsibility on behalf of scientific responsibility! For a science that does not make assessments, whether they like it or not, is an ally of the status quo: it supports the dominating and hurts the dominated. Its objectivity is only apparent, and in practice it means nothing but love to one’s own tranquillity, security and attachment to a career. Our life does not run value-free, but full of it; and scientists, insofar as they start from life, if they claim they are value-free incur in hypocrisy. I have had in my hands works of historians who were dedicated to the wife who had died in the bombings, or perhaps dedicated to two or three fallen sons on the fronts; and yet, sometimes, these people want to keep their writing as ‘pure science’, as if nothing had happened.

That’s their problem. I think otherwise. Even if it existed, and I say it does not, a totally apolitical historical research, oblivious to all kinds of judgments, such an investigation would serve no purpose but to undermine ethics and make way for inhumanity. Moreover, it would not be true ‘research’ because it would not be dedicated to revealing the relationships between the factors; as much as it would be mere preparatory work, the mere accumulation of materials, as noted by Friedrich Meinecke.

Now, to what extent does the reality of history coincides with my statement? I prefer life on principle to science, especially when it starts to become apparent as a threat to life in the broadest sense. It is often objected that ‘science’ is not to blame, but only some of the scientists (the problem is that there are many, at worst almost all): quite a similar argument that says that we should not take Christianity to task for the sins of Christendom. All this does not mean that I am a supporter of pure subjectivism, which does not exist. A limited capacity of conviction would have my thesis of the criminal character of Christianity if, to prove it, I confined myself to only some examples. But, being a multi-volume work, no one will say that these are isolated or inconclusive examples. Because I write ‘out of hostility’ the story of those I describe has made me their enemy. And I would not consider myself refuted by having omitted what was also true, but only when someone proves that something I have written is false.

There are even those who believe that it is very wrong to criticise, especially when they are criticised, although the latter they would never confess. Quite the contrary, they always claim they have nothing against criticism: that all critiques are welcome but, yes, provided they are positive critiques, constructive; not negative or deleterious. With swollen anger they set those high standards, precisely against the ‘mania of judging’ (Aitmeyer), and display their scandal with ‘scientific’ trims when an author dares to ‘value’; when ‘the historian, given his inability as a moralist, assumes the role of prosecutor’. Is it not grotesque that the sworn representatives of an ancient mystery cult, those who believe in trinities, angels, demons, hell, virgin births, celestial assumptions of a real body, conversion of water into wine and wine into blood, want to impress us with their ‘science’? And could it not be the height of grotesqueness that such people continue to receive the honours of the scientific world itself?

We are invited to take care on behalf of the ‘zeitgeist’ so that we understand and forgive. But precisely Goethe satirised it in his Faust: ‘What you call the spirit of the times, is ultimately the spirit of the masters’. If we are not worth the testimony of the poet for being notoriously anti-Christian and not less anticlerical, let us go to St. Augustine: ‘Times are hard, miserable times, people say. Let us live well, and times are good. Because we ourselves are the times that run; so that how we are, so will our time be’. In his other sermons, Augustine reiterated this idea that there is no reason to accuse the times or the ‘zeitgeist’, but the very humans that (as the historians of today) blame everything on the times: those miserable, difficult and murky times. Because ‘time does not offend anyone. The offended are men, and other men are the ones who inflict the offenses. Oh, pain! It offends men who are robbed, oppressed, and by whom? Not by lions, snakes or scorpions but by men. And so men live the offenses on pain, but will not themselves do the same, if they can, and as much as they have censored it?’ Augustine knew what he meant, as he himself fits perfectly in the last sentence of the quotation (see the last chapter of this volume). As this, ultimately, cannot be denied by the apologists, they object that sometimes—i.e., every time it was necessary, whatever the historical period under consideration—the agents ‘were not true Christians’.

But look, when there were true Christians? Were they the bloodthirsty Merovingians, the Franks so fond of plundering expeditions, the despotic women of the Lateran period? Was Christian the great offensive of the Crusades? Was it the burning of witches and heretics? The Thirty Years War? The First World War, the Second or the war of Vietnam? If all those were not Christians, then who was it? In any case, the spirit of the times was not ever the same at each particular time. While Christians were spreading their gospels, their beliefs and dogmas; while they were transmitting their infection to always larger territories, there were not a few men, such as the first great debunkers of Christianity in the 2nd century, Celsus; and Porphyry in the third, who knew how to raise a comprehensive and overwhelming criticism, which we still feel justified. As Christianity was guilty of appalling outrages, Buddhism, which never had a Western-style organised church in India or central authority dedicated to homogenise the true faith, gave signs of a much higher tolerance. Non-priest believers contracted no exclusive commitment, nor were forced to recant other religions, or converting anyone by force. Their peaceful virtues can be seen, for example, in the history of Tibet, whose inhabitants, a warrior nation among the most feared of Asia, became one of the most peaceful under the influence of Buddhism. In every century there was a moral conscience, even among Christians, and not less among ‘heretics’. Why should we not apply to Christianity its own scale of biblical standards, or even occasionally patristic standards? Do not they themselves say that ‘by their fruits ye shall know them’?

For me, history (and what I said is but a drop in an ocean of injustices) cannot be cultivated sine ira et studio. It would be contrary to my sense of fairness, my compassion for men. He who has not as enemy many enemies, is the enemy of humanity. And is not anyone who pretends to contemplate history without anger or affection similar to the one who witness a large fire and sees how victims suffocate and does nothing to save them, limiting himself to take note of everything? The historian who clings to the criteria of ‘pure’ science is necessarily insincere. He wants either to deceive others or deceive himself. I would add: he is a criminal, because there can be no worse crime than indifference.

And if the sentence of St. John Chrysostom retains its validity today, ‘he who praises the sin is guiltier than he who commits it’, would then praising the crimes of history and glorifying the criminals be even worse than these crimes? Would not human affairs be better, and also the affairs of history, if historians (and schools) illuminated and educated the public based on ethical criteria, condemning the crimes of the sovereigns rather than the praising? But most historians prefer to spread the faeces of the past as if they had to serve as fertiliser for the future havens.

An example of it, to cite only one, is the daily glorification of Charlemagne (or Charles the Great). The worst looting expeditions and genocides of history come to be called expansions, consolidation, extension of the catchment areas, changes in the correlation of forces, restructuring, incorporation domains, Christianization, pacification of neighbouring tribes. When Charlemagne oppresses, exploits, and liquidates what is around him, that is ‘centralism’, ‘pacification of a great empire’. When there are others who rob and kill, those are ‘raids and invasions of enemies across the borders’ (Saracens, Normans, Slavs, Avars) according to Kampf. When Charlemagne, with bags full of holy relics, sets fire and kills on a large scale, thus becoming the noble smith of the great Frank empire, the Catholic Fleckenstein speaks of ‘political integration’. Some specialists use even safer, more peaceful and hypocritical expressions as Camill Wampach, professor of our University of Bonn: ‘The country invited immigration, and the neighbouring region of Franconia gave inhabitants to newly liberated lands’.

The law of the jungle, in a word: the one which has been dominating the history of mankind to date, always where a State intended it (or another refused to submit), and not only in the Christian world, naturally. Because, of course, we will not say here that Christianity is the sole culprit of all these miseries. Perhaps someday, once Christianity disappears, the world remains equally miserable. We do not know that. What we do know is that, with it, everything will necessarily remain the same. That’s why I have tried to highlight its culpability in all cases I have found it essential, trying to cover as many cases as possible but, yes: without exaggeration, without taking things out of proportion, as those could judge who either do not have idea about the history of Christianity, or have lived completely deceived about it.

 

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Ancient Rome Emperor Julian Franks History History of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire (book) Paris

Gibbon on Julian – 5

Edward-Gibbon

The History of the Decline and Fall
of the Roman Empire

Chapter XIX:

Part 4



The Cæsar immediately sent his captives to the court of Constantius, who, accepting them as a valuable present, rejoiced in the opportunity of adding so many heroes to the choicest troops of his domestic guards. The obstinate resistance of this handful of Franks apprised Julian of the difficulties of the expedition which he meditated for the ensuing spring, against the whole body of the nation. His rapid diligence surprised and astonished the active Barbarians.

Ordering his soldiers to provide themselves with biscuit for twenty days, he suddenly pitched his camp near Tongres, while the enemy still supposed him in his winter quarters of Paris, expecting the slow arrival of his convoys from Aquitain. Without allowing the Franks to unite or deliberate, he skilfully spread his legions from Cologne to the ocean; and by the terror, as well as by the success, of his arms, soon reduced the suppliant tribes to implore the clemency, and to obey the commands, of their conqueror.

The Chamavians submissively retired to their former habitations beyond the Rhine; but the Salians were permitted to possess their new establishment of Toxandria, as the subjects and auxiliaries of the Roman empire. The treaty was ratified by solemn oaths; and perpetual inspectors were appointed to reside among the Franks, with the authority of enforcing the strict observance of the conditions. An incident is related, interesting enough in itself, and by no means repugnant to the character of Julian, who ingeniously contrived both the plot and the catastrophe of the tragedy.

When the Chamavians sued for peace, he required the son of their king, as the only hostage on whom he could rely. A mournful silence, interrupted by tears and groans, declared the sad perplexity of the Barbarians; and their aged chief lamented in pathetic language, that his private loss was now imbittered by a sense of public calamity.

While the Chamavians lay prostrate at the foot of his throne, the royal captive, whom they believed to have been slain, unexpectedly appeared before their eyes; and as soon as the tumult of joy was hushed into attention, the Cæsar addressed the assembly in the following terms: “Behold the son, the prince, whom you wept. You had lost him by your fault. God and the Romans have restored him to you. I shall still preserve and educate the youth, rather as a monument of my own virtue, than as a pledge of your sincerity. Should you presume to violate the faith which you have sworn, the arms of the republic will avenge the perfidy, not on the innocent, but on the guilty.” The Barbarians withdrew from his presence, impressed with the warmest sentiments of gratitude and admiration.

It was not enough for Julian to have delivered the provinces of Gaul from the Barbarians of Germany. He aspired to emulate the glory of the first and most illustrious of the emperors; after whose example, he composed his own commentaries of the Gallic war. Cæsar has related, with conscious pride, the manner in which he twice passed the Rhine. Julian could boast, that before he assumed the title of Augustus, he had carried the Roman eagles beyond that great river in three successful expeditions.

The consternation of the Germans, after the battle of Strasburgh, encouraged him to the first attempt; and the reluctance of the troops soon yielded to the persuasive eloquence of a leader, who shared the fatigues and dangers which he imposed on the meanest of the soldiers. The villages on either side of the Meyn, which were plentifully stored with corn and cattle, felt the ravages of an invading army. The principal houses, constructed with some imitation of Roman elegance, were consumed by the flames; and the Cæsar boldly advanced about ten miles, till his progress was stopped by a dark and impenetrable forest, undermined by subterraneous passages, which threatened with secret snares and ambush every step of the assailants. The ground was already covered with snow; and Julian, after repairing an ancient castle which had been erected by Trajan, granted a truce of ten months to the submissive Barbarians.

At the expiration of the truce, Julian undertook a second expedition beyond the Rhine, to humble the pride of Surmar and Hortaire, two of the kings of the Alemanni, who had been present at the battle of Strasburgh. They promised to restore all the Roman captives who yet remained alive; and as the Cæsar had procured an exact account from the cities and villages of Gaul, of the inhabitants whom they had lost, he detected every attempt to deceive him, with a degree of readiness and accuracy, which almost established the belief of his supernatural knowledge. His third expedition was still more splendid and important than the two former.

The Germans had collected their military powers, and moved along the opposite banks of the river, with a design of destroying the bridge, and of preventing the passage of the Romans. But this judicious plan of defence was disconcerted by a skilful diversion. Three hundred light-armed and active soldiers were detached in forty small boats, to fall down the stream in silence, and to land at some distance from the posts of the enemy.

They executed their orders with so much boldness and celerity, that they had almost surprised the Barbarian chiefs, who returned in the fearless confidence of intoxication from one of their nocturnal festivals. Without repeating the uniform and disgusting tale of slaughter and devastation, it is sufficient to observe, that Julian dictated his own conditions of peace to six of the haughtiest kings of the Alemanni, three of whom were permitted to view the severe discipline and martial pomp of a Roman camp. Followed by twenty thousand captives, whom he had rescued from the chains of the Barbarians, the Cæsar repassed the Rhine, after terminating a war, the success of which has been compared to the ancient glories of the Punic and Cimbric victories.

As soon as the valor and conduct of Julian had secured an interval of peace, he applied himself to a work more congenial to his humane and philosophic temper. The cities of Gaul, which had suffered from the inroads of the Barbarians, he diligently repaired; and seven important posts, between Mentz and the mouth of the Rhine, are particularly mentioned, as having been rebuilt and fortified by the order of Julian.

The vanquished Germans had submitted to the just but humiliating condition of preparing and conveying the necessary materials. The active zeal of Julian urged the prosecution of the work; and such was the spirit which he had diffused among the troops, that the auxiliaries themselves, waiving their exemption from any duties of fatigue, contended in the most servile labors with the diligence of the Roman soldiers. It was incumbent on the Cæsar to provide for the subsistence, as well as for the safety, of the inhabitants and of the garrisons.

The desertion of the former, and the mutiny of the latter, must have been the fatal and inevitable consequences of famine. The tillage of the provinces of Gaul had been interrupted by the calamities of war; but the scanty harvests of the continent were supplied, by his paternal care, from the plenty of the adjacent island. Six hundred large barks, framed in the forest of the Ardennes, made several voyages to the coast of Britain; and returning from thence, laden with corn, sailed up the Rhine, and distributed their cargoes to the several towns and fortresses along the banks of the river.

The arms of Julian had restored a free and secure navigation, which Constantius had offered to purchase at the expense of his dignity, and of a tributary present of two thousand pounds of silver. The emperor parsimoniously refused to his soldiers the sums which he granted with a lavish and trembling hand to the Barbarians. The dexterity, as well as the firmness, of Julian was put to a severe trial, when he took the field with a discontented army, which had already served two campaigns, without receiving any regular pay or any extraordinary donative.

A tender regard for the peace and happiness of his subjects was the ruling principle which directed, or seemed to direct, the administration of Julian. He devoted the leisure of his winter quarters to the offices of civil government; and affected to assume, with more pleasure, the character of a magistrate than that of a general. Before he took the field, he devolved on the provincial governors most of the public and private causes which had been referred to his tribunal; but, on his return, he carefully revised their proceedings, mitigated the rigor of the law, and pronounced a second judgment on the judges themselves.

Superior to the last temptation of virtuous minds, an indiscreet and intemperate zeal for justice, he restrained, with calmness and dignity, the warmth of an advocate, who prosecuted, for extortion, the president of the Narbonnese province. “Who will ever be found guilty,” exclaimed the vehement Delphidius, “if it be enough to deny?” “And who,” replied Julian, “will ever be innocent, if it be sufficient to affirm?” In the general administration of peace and war, the interest of the sovereignis commonly the same as that of his people; but Constantius would have thought himself deeply injured, if the virtues of Julian had defrauded him of any part of the tribute which he extorted from an oppressed and exhausted country.

The prince who was invested with the ensigns of royalty, might sometimes presume to correct the rapacious insolence of his inferior agents, to expose their corrupt arts, and to introduce an equal and easier mode of collection. But the management of the finances was more safely intrusted to Florentius, prætorian præfect of Gaul, an effeminate tyrant, incapable of pity or remorse: and the haughty minister complained of the most decent and gentle opposition, while Julian himself was rather inclined to censure the weakness of his own behavior. The Cæsar had rejected, with abhorrence, a mandate for the levy of an extraordinary tax; a new superindiction, which the præfect had offered for his signature; and the faithful picture of the public misery, by which he had been obliged to justify his refusal, offended the court of Constantius. We may enjoy the pleasure of reading the sentiments of Julian, as he expresses them with warmth and freedom in a letter to one of his most intimate friends.

After stating his own conduct, he proceeds in the following terms: “Was it possible for the disciple of Plato and Aristotle to act otherwise than I have done? Could I abandon the unhappy subjects intrusted to my care? Was I not called upon to defend them from the repeated injuries of these unfeeling robbers? A tribune who deserts his post is punished with death, and deprived of the honors of burial. With what justice could I pronounce his sentence, if, in the hour of danger, I myself neglected a duty far more sacred and far more important? God has placed me in this elevated post; his providence will guard and support me. Should I be condemned to suffer, I shall derive comfort from the testimony of a pure and upright conscience. Would to Heaven that I still possessed a counsellor like Sallust! If they think proper to send me a successor, I shall submit without reluctance; and had much rather improve the short opportunity of doing good, than enjoy a long and lasting impunity of evil.”

The precarious and dependent situation of Julian displayed his virtues and concealed his defects. The young hero who supported, in Gaul, the throne of Constantius, was not permitted to reform the vices of the government; but he had courage to alleviate or to pity the distress of the people. Unless he had been able to revive the martial spirit of the Romans, or to introduce the arts of industry and refinement among their savage enemies, he could not entertain any rational hopes of securing the public tranquility, either by the peace or conquest of Germany. Yet the victories of Julian suspended, for a short time, the inroads of the Barbarians, and delayed the ruin of the Western Empire.

His salutary influence restored the cities of Gaul, which had been so long exposed to the evils of civil discord, Barbarian war, and domestic tyranny; and the spirit of industry was revived with the hopes of enjoyment. Agriculture, manufactures, and commerce, again flourished under the protection of the laws; and the curi, or civil corporations, were again filled with useful and respectable members: the youth were no longer apprehensive of marriage; and married persons were no longer apprehensive of posterity: the public and private festivals were celebrated with customary pomp; and the frequent and secure intercourse of the provinces displayed the image of national prosperity.

A mind like that of Julian must have felt the general happiness of which he was the author; but he viewed, with particular satisfaction and complacency, the city of Paris; the seat of his winter residence, and the object even of his partial affection. That splendid capital, which now embraces an ample territory on either side of the Seine, was originally confined to the small island in the midst of the river, from whence the inhabitants derived a supply of pure and salubrious water. The river bathed the foot of the walls; and the town was accessible only by two wooden bridges. A forest overspread the northern side of the Seine, but on the south, the ground, which now bears the name of the University, was insensibly covered with houses, and adorned with a palace and amphitheatre, baths, an aqueduct, and a field of Mars for the exercise of the Roman troops.

The severity of the climate was tempered by the neighborhood of the ocean; and with some precautions, which experience had taught, the vine and fig-tree were successfully cultivated. But in remarkable winters, the Seine was deeply frozen; and the huge pieces of ice that floated down the stream, might be compared, by an Asiatic, to the blocks of white marble which were extracted from the quarries of Phrygia.

The licentiousness and corruption of Antioch recalled to the memory of Julian the severe and simple manners of his beloved Lutetia; where the amusements of the theatre were unknown or despised. He indignantly contrasted the effeminate Syrians with the brave and honest simplicity of the Gauls, and almost forgave the intemperance, which was the only stain of the Celtic character. If Julian could now revisit the capital of France, he might converse with men of science and genius, capable of understanding and of instructing a disciple of the Greeks; he might excuse the lively and graceful follies of a nation, whose martial spirit has never been enervated by the indulgence of luxury; and he must applaud the perfection of that inestimable art, which softens and refines and embellishes the intercourse of social life.