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Chapter XXII.—Of the heads discovered in the palace at Antioch and the public rejoicings there.

It is said that at Antioch a number of chests were discovered at the palace filled with human heads, and also many wells full of corpses. Such is the teaching of the evil deities.

107When Antioch heard of Julian’s death she gave herself up to rejoicing and festivity; and not only was exultant joy exhibited in the churches, and in the shrines of martyrs, but even in the theatres the victory of the cross was proclaimed and Julian’s vaticination held up to ridicule. And here I will record the admirable utterance of the men at Antioch, that it may be preserved in the memory of generations yet to come, for with one voice the shout was raised, “Maximus, thou fool, where are thy oracles? for God has conquered and his Christ.” This was said because there lived at that time a man of the name of Maximus, a pretender to philosophy, but really a worker of magic, and boasting himself to be able to foretell the future. But the Antiochenes, who had received their divine teaching from the glorious yokefellows Peter and Paul, and were full of warm affection for the Master and Saviour of all, persisted in execrating Julian to the end. Their sentiments were perfectly well known to the object of them, and so he wrote a book against them and called it “Misopogon.”664664    “The residence of Julian at Antioch was a disappointment to himself, and disagreeable to almost all the inhabitants.” “He had anticipated much more devotion on the part of the pagans, and much less force and resistance on that of the Christians than he discovered in reality. He was disgusted at finding that both parties regretted the previous reign. ‘Neither the Chi nor the Kappa’ (that is neither Christ nor Constantius) ‘did our city any harm’ became a common saying (Misopogon p. 357). To the heathens themselves the enthusiastic form of religion to which Julian was devoted was little more than an unpleasant and somewhat vulgar anachronism. His cynic asceticism and dislike of the theatre and the circus was unpopular in a city particularly addicted to public spectacles. His superstition was equally unpalatable. The short, untidy, long-bearded man, marching pompously in procession on the tips of his toes, and swaying his shoulders from side to side, surrounded by a crowd of abandoned characters, such as formed the regular attendants upon many heathen festivals, appeared seriously to compromise the dignity of the empire. (Ammianus xxii. 14. 3. His words ‘stipatus mulierculis’ etc. go far to justify Gregory’s δημοσί& 139· ταίς πορναίς προὔπινε in Orat. v. 22. p. 161, and Chrysostom’s more highly coloured description of the same sort of scene, for the accuracy of which he appeals to an eye witness still living, de S. Babyla in Julianum §14. p. 667. The blood of countless victims flowed everywhere, but, to all appearance, served merely to gorge his foreign soldiery, especially the semi-barbarous Gauls, and the streets of Antioch were disturbed by their revels and by drunken parties carrying one another home to their barracks. (Amm. xxii. 12. 6.)” “More secret rumours were spread of horrid nocturnal sacrifices, and of the pursuits of those arts of necromancy from which the natural heathen conscience shrank only less than the Christians.” “He discharged his spleen upon the general body of the citizens of Antioch by writing one of the most remarkable satires that has ever been published which he entitled the Misopogon. ‘He had been insulted,’ says Gibbon, ‘by satire and libels; in his turn he composed under the title of The Enemy of the Beard, an ironical confession of his own faults, and a severe satire on the licentious and effeminate manners of Antioch. The imperial reply was publicly exposed before the gates of the palace, and the Misopogon still remains a singular monument of the resentment, the wit, the inhumanity, and the indiscretion of Julian. Gibbon, Chap. xxiv.’ It is of course Julian’s own philosophic beard that gives the title to the pamphlet.” “This pamphlet was written in the seventh month of his sojourn at Antioch, probably the latter half of January.” (1. c. 364.) Bp. J. Wordsworth in Dict. Ch. Biog. iii. 507., 509.

This rejoicing at the death of the tyrant shall conclude this book of my history, for it were to my mind indecent to connect with a righteous reign the impious sovereignty of Julian.


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