Posted by: ken98 | November 11, 2009

The Andromeda Strain, Muad’Dib and Stalin

Day 61 – Ken here
(DEF v.1, ch.14, pp.410-420)

The continuation of hell-breaking-loose after Diocletian’s death. A long death-dance between the remaining emperors as each jockeys for position. As the number steadily decreases (from 6 to 1), the action becomes more intense and subtle. Constantine waits and strikes, waits and strikes. This is all very reminiscent of the Dune series.

The Story

  • Maximian gives daughter Fausta to Constantine as wife and calls Constantine Augustus – remember Const. is Gaul/Britain (3-31-307)
  • Galerius invades Italy from Illyricum, legions loyal to Maximian, he turns around at Narsi, opens negotiations (so as not to be killed like Severus), retreats, burning and pillaging Italy as he returns home
  • Galerius elevates his old friend Licinius to Augustus (to replace Severus) (11-11-307)
  • Six Augusti (senior emperors now) (308)
  • Sad history of Maximian. Maximian (father-in-law of Const.) rebells a 2nd time (he is living in retirement with Constantine in Arles, takes Const. Frank’s War monies, uses it to buy legions loyalty). Const. at war with Franks, turns back to deal with Maximian in Marseilles, defeats him too easily (poor, deluded Maximian), Maximian is strangled (310)
  • Galerius dies of disease (christian authors describe in suspiciously excruciating detail the horrible, lingering death)(May 311)
  • Empire divided into 4 parts – one for each emperor (no augusti, no caesari distinctions): Maximin Daza-Asia, Licinius-Eastern Europe, Maxentius-Italy,Africa, Const.-Gaul,Brit,Spain
  • Secret alliances: Const. + Licinius, Maxentius + Maximin Daia
  • Const. governs Gaul (innocently and virtuously) (306-312)
  • Tyranny of Maxentius in Italy and Africa (306-312)
  • Civil Wars: Maxentius versus Constantine: it begins (reason for war: Const. statues “thrown down” in realms of Maxentius (hmmm!!?? – little specious I’d say)(312)
  • Andromeda Strain - Film - Poster

    Andromeda Strain - Film - Poster

    Slow Death by Worms – Galerius and the Andromeda Strain
    Lactantius in his De Mortibus Persecutorum (On the Deaths of the Persecutors) (no bias there against Galerius, huh?) has this to say about Galerius’ horrible, slow death which sounds like a divine Andromeda Strain. See the end of this post for the full, gruesome, horrifying description of the disease. It’s hard to be forgiving of Lactantius for the apparent enjoyment he is experiencing relating Galerius’ horrible year-long agony as “his whole body was dissolved into one mass of corruption”.

    Why Constantine is like Muad’Dib

    The more I read of him, Constantine seems to resemble Frank Herbert’s Muad’Dib in Dune to me.

  • Constantine is a back-door emperor like Paul Atreides (Muad’Dib), who was not offically welcomed, but forced his way in through acclamation and personal charisma
  • Constantine’s modus operandi is: feints within feints within feints, plans within plans within plans, that take decades to mature
  • Most importantly, Constantine performs conscious and gross manipulation of religion as a way to control behavior, to the point of even creating a new state religion (1st worship of the Sun, then Christianity)
  • The Decline and Fall of my Decline and Fall

    The state of my Gibbons, volume 1, mid-November 2009 - outlining and all - at least it's getting read

    The state of my Gibbons, volume 1, mid-November 2009 - outlining and all - at least it's getting read

    Death by Worms – Galerius’ Death
    “and his whole seat putrified”, “and his body, with intolerable anguish, was dissolved into one mass of corruption” – How does Lactantius know all this? What descriptions!!!
    This from Lactantius, De Mortibus Persecutorum, ch.33
    “And now, when Galerius was in the eighteenth year of his reign, God struck him with an incurable plague. A malignant ulcer formed itself low down in his secret parts, and spread by degrees. The physicians attempted to eradicate it, and healed up the place affected. But the sore, after having been skinned over, broke out again; a vein burst, and the blood flowed in such quantity as to endanger his life. The blood, however, was stopped, although with difficulty. The physicians had to undertake their operations anew, and at length they cicatrized the wound. In consequence of some slight motion of his body, Galerius received a hurt, and the blood streamed more abundantly than before. He grew emaciated, pallid, and feeble, and the bleeding then stanched. The ulcer began to be insensible to the remedies applied, and a gangrene seized all the neighbouring parts. It diffused itself the wider the more the corrupted flesh was cut away, and everything employed as the means of cure served but to aggravate the disease.
    The masters of the healing art withdrew.
    Then famous physicians were brought in from all quarters; but no human means had any success. Apollo and AEsculapius were besought importunately for remedies: Apollo did prescribe, and the distemper augmented. Already approaching to its deadly crisis, it had occupied the lower regions of his body: his bowels came out, and his whole seat putrefied. The luckless physicians, although without hope of overcoming the malady, ceased not to apply fomentations and administer medicines. The humours having been repelled, the distemper attacked his intestines, anti worms were generated in his body. The stench was so foul as to pervade not only the palace, but even the whole city; and no wonder, for by that time the passages from his bladder and bowels, having been devoured by the worms, became indiscriminate, and his body, with intolerable anguish, was dissolved into one mass of corruption.
    Stung to the soul, he bellowed with the pain,So roars the wounded bull.
    They applied warm flesh of animals to the chief seat of the disease, that the warmth might draw out those minute worms; and accordingly, when the dressings were removed, there issued forth an innumerable swarm: nevertheless the prolific disease had hatched swarms much more abundant to prey upon and consume his intestines. Already, through a complication of distempers, the different parts of his body had lost their natural form: the superior part was dry, meagre, and haggard, and his ghastly-looking skin had settled itself deep amongst his bones while the inferior, distended like bladders, re rained no appearance of joints. These things happened in the course of a complete year; and at length, overcome by calamities, he was obliged to acknowledge God, and he cried aloud, in the intervals of raging pain, that he would re-edify the Church which he had demolished, and make atonement for his misdeeds; and when he was near his end, he published an edict.”

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