Posted by: ken98 | February 9, 2010

Magical Treason and Murderous Man-Eating Bears

Day 151 – Ken here (T)(2-9-2010)
(DEF v.2, ch.23, pp.970-980)

 
The Story
 
Final Division of the Empire

  • Unbeknownst to anyone, the final break between the two sides of the empire came with the (very amicable) brother-emperors Valens and Valentinian – the weaker took the East (Valens), the stronger the West (Valentinian) (June 364)
  • It was an administrative division like all the others that had occurred in the last 150 years, but this time, the two halves began to lead separate lives (unintentionally)
  • This was the End of the Beginning and the Beginning of the End (for a whole empire – esp. for an empire in the West – but no-one foresaw the complete breakdown that was in store for the empire in the next 30 years or so
  •  
    The Sad Tale of the Revolt of Procopius – the 9 Month Rise and Fall

  • Procopius, overlooked at Julian’s death for election to the emperor-ship, skulks about the East for a year, then suddenly re-appears in Constantinople, gathers a crowd, soldiers, and royal adherents (relatives of Constantine) (Sep 28 365)
  • He takes his new armies and begins to attack Valens
  • Old generals are called back into service from Constantius’ reign (a couple of years before), with one word, they bring the rebelling legions back to Valens and Valentinian (on more than one occasion) – Procopius goes into hiding again – is found this time after a few months and immediately beheaded (May 28, 366)
  •  
    The Magic and Treason Trials

  • Valens and Valentinian are in a wild state – they prosecute relentlessly against 2 huge dangers to the empire – the dangers of unchecked magic and magical behavior – the dangers of treason – esp at Rome and Antioch (373 and other times)
  • The jails are filled – with Senators and longshoreman, high officials and farmers – thousands are executed
  •  
    Cruelty/Accomplishments of Valens and Valentinian

  • Cruelty – Valentinian noted for coming up with even more clever and witty ways of saying “off with his head
  • Accomplishments – new Universities at Rome and Constantinople, reduction of taxes in the East (Valens)
  •  

    Bust of Valens (or Honorius) at the Capitoline Museum - Valens was the milder brother of Valentinian I  - made emperor by his soldier brother, and Augustus over the East

    Bust of Valens (or Honorius) at the Capitoline Museum - Valens was the milder brother of Valentinian I - made emperor by his soldier brother, and Augustus over the East

    Unhappy European Brown Bear - these were the kinds of bears Valentinian probably had consuming his prisoners for his own personal entertainment.  The 2 bears he trained to attack and eat imperial convicts were named Innocence and Golden Crumb.  Innocence was subsequently released into the wild after her years of work as a public servant.  I wonder which province got the man-eating bear roaming about the hinterlands?

    Unhappy European Brown Bear - these were the kinds of bears Valentinian probably had consuming his prisoners for his own personal entertainment. The 2 bears he trained to attack and eat imperial convicts were named Innocence and Golden Crumb. Innocence was subsequently released into the wild after her years of work as a public servant. I wonder which province got the man-eating bear roaming about the hinterlands?

     
    Gentle Innocence and Golden Crumb – The Famous Prisoner-Eating Bears of Valentinian
     
    This from Gibbon:

    After he became master of the world, he unfortunately forgot that, where no resistance can be made, no courage can be exerted; and instead of consulting the dictates of reason and magnanimity, he indulged the furious emotions of his temper, at a time when they were disgraceful to himself, and fatal to the defenceless objects of his displeasure. In the government of his household, or of his empire, slight, or even imaginary offences- a hasty word, a casual omission, an involuntary delay – were chastised by a sentence of immediate death.

    The expressions which issued the most readily from the mouth of the emperor of the West were, ” Strike off his head;” – “Burn him alive;” “Let him be beaten with clubs till he expires ;”(57) and his most favoured ministers soon understood that, by a rash attempt to dispute or suspend the execution of his sanguinary commands; they might involve themselves in the guilt and punishment of disobedience.

    The repeated gratification of this savage justice hardened the mind of Valentinian against pity and remorse; and the sallies of passion were confirmed by the habits of cruelty. (58) He could behold with calm satisfaction the convulsive agonies of torture and death: he reserved his friendship for those faithful servants whose temper was the most congenial to his own. The merit of Maximin, who had slaughtered the noblest families of Rome, was rewarded with the royal approbation, and the praefecture of Gaul.

    Two fierce and enormous bears, distinguished by the appellations of Innocence and Mica Aurea (Golden Crumb), could alone deserve to share the favour of Maximin. The cages of those trusty guards were always placed near the bedchamber of Valentinian, who frequently amused his eyes with the grateful spectacle of seeing them tear and devour the bleeding limbs of the malefactors who were abandoned to their rage. Their diet and exercises were carefully inspected by the Roman emperor; and when Innocence had earned her discharge, by a long course of meritorious service, the faithful animal was again restored to the freedom of her native woods.(59)

    (DEF v.2, ch.25, p.973)

    I wouldn’t want to be wandering the wood that had a free hungry bear accustomed to human flesh roaming about. But that’s just me.

     
     
     

    William Warburton - a believer in the mystical - and a man whom Gibbon loved and hated at the same time

    William Warburton - a believer in the mystical - and a man whom Gibbon loved and hated at the same time

     
    Gibbon’s Boys (#2) – The Philosopher-Bishop-Celebrity William Warburton
     
    The Eye of the Hurricane of Mid-18th Century Controversy in All Britain – and Almost Utterly Forgotten Today
     
    Gibbon has a love-hate relationship with William Warburton (1698-1779) and the “Warburtonian School” throughout volume 1 of his Decline and Fall. In a continual muttering buried deep in his footnotes Gibbon repeatedly expresses wonder at the irrationality of Warburton’s theories or uses him as an admitted expert in fields where he needs references (name-dropping) to back up his opinions/take/spin on certain subjects.

    But who was this mysterious Warburton?

    Wiki (in a typical maneuver, gathering most of its material from the public, non-copyrighted 11th Edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica (1911 edition)) has a very Edwardian British twist to it and is mostly useless – it is a list of titles and appointments and Very Important People’s names that Warburton was associated with – just what you’d expect from a class-ridden society. His ideas are not very prominent – so we have had to look elsewhere (here is the Wiki for what its worth).

    The Warburtonian School apparently was a sycophantic following, absolutely loyal and militant in its support of the outrageous, arrogant, and learned William Warburton. Warburton was known for defending wild opinions on extremely minute points with piles of evidence only tangentially related to the topic at hand. Examples include (from here – online – The Library of Literary Criticism of English and American Authors: 1730-1784 edited by Charles Wells Moulton) (reading it is quite a treat – all the reviewers are exasperated and almost speechless with irritation at Warburton’s wild and extremely long-winded reasoning):

  • the famous argument on the dating of the Book of Job in the Old Testament – carried out in a very public way (public pamphlets, lectures) and gathering adherents (and enemies) from the lowest classes to the King himself
  • the famous re-write of Shakespeare – where Warburton put out a REVISED edition of Shakespeare’s writing – he doesn’t propose minor changes – as an editor he arrogantly REWRITES sections to make them better – explaining that obviously Shakespeare truly meant it thus and so… etc.
  • His commentaries on Alexander Pope (Pope was a great friend of Warburton and left Warburton all his writings and his “copyrights” – Warburton produced a tortured essay on all Pope’s works, laboriously creating and destroying paradoxes in footnotes and asides that left critics gasping for breath. He elaborates for pages on inconsequential points.
  • Warburton’s Divine Legation asks the question Why do the Books of Moses in the Old Testament have no reference to an afterlife? His answer – on purpose – to highlight the afterlife itself for the unbelievers to come – another Warburtonian paradox on a small point which can never be settled by fact, only by rhetoric and the imagination
  • His Essay on Julian – in which he re-discovers the hidden motives and “real” causes of Julian’s opinions and actions
  •  
    Gibbon uses small Warburtonian details to buttress up his points, but hates the imaginative, long-winded, irrational, ridiculously detailed “proofs” given to questions which can never be answered definitively. To Gibbon, Warburton is a circus-Rhetorician, a man capable of working a crowd into a frenzy, over items which matter not at all (although occasionally Warburton throws out brilliant theories which turn out to be correct, example – his proposing that Egyptian hieroglyphs were a proto-alphabet (DEF, v.1, ch.16, p.528, fn.32).

    Some samples of Gibbon’s references:

     
    On the Absence of an Afterlife in the Law of Moses – It Was Intentional To Confound the UNBelievers

    It is incumbent on us to adore the mysterious dispensations of Providence,(57) when we discover that the doctrine of the immortality of the soul is omitted in the law of Moses…
    Fn 57
    The right reverend author of the Divine Legation of Moses assigns a very curious reason for the omission, and most ingeniously retorts it on the unbelievers.

    (DEF v.1, ch.15, p.465, fn 57)

     
    On the the Ceremonies Involved in Becoming an Initiate into the Mysteries of Eleusis

    As these ceremonies were performed in the depth of caverns and in the silence of the night, and as the inviolable secret of the mysteries was preserved by the discretion of the initiated, I shall not presume to describe the horrid sounds and fiery apparitions which were presented to the senses or the imagination of the credulous aspirant, till the visions of comfort and knowledge broke upon him in a blaze of celestial light.(25)

    Fn 25
    A dark and distant view of the terrors and joys of initiation is shown by Dion Chrysostom Themistius, Proclus, and Stobaeus. The learned author of the Divine Legation has exhibited their words (vol. i. p. 239, 247, 248, 280, edit. 1765) which he dexterously or forcibly applies to his own hypothesis.

    (DEF v.2, ch.23, p.872, fn 25)

     
    On the the Secret Intentions of Julian (Discovered 1400 Years Later)

    As the Christians were firmly persuaded that a sentence of everlasting destruction had been pronounced against the whole fabric of the Mosaic law, the Imperial sophist would have converted the success of his undertaking into a specious argument against the faith of prophecy and the truth of revelation.(71)
    Fn 71
    Note 071
    The secret intentions of Julian are revealed by the late bishop of Gloucester, the learned and dogmatic Warburton; who, with the authority of a theologian, prescribes the motives and conduct of the Supreme Being. The discourse entitled Julian (2nd edition, London, 1751) is strongly marked with all the peculiarities which are imputed to the Warburtonian school.

    (DEF v.2, ch.23, p.889, fn 71)

     
    One of Many Examples of Gibbon using Warburton as a Credible Source
     
    Gibbon quotes from Warburton’s Divine Legation, Warburton’s most famous, or infamous of works. Gibbon both loves and despises it and Warburton. He quotes here, as Julian, from his deathbed, addresses his friends:

    At the same time he (Julian) reproved the immoderate grief of the spectators; and conjured them not to disgrace, by unmanly tears, the fate of a prince who in a few moments would be united with heaven and with the stars. (98)
    Footnote 98
    This union of the human soul with the divine etherial substance of the universe is the ancient doctrine of Pythagoras and Plato, but it seems to exclude any personal or conscious immortality. See Warburton’s learned and rational observations. Divine Legation, vol. ii.

    (DEF v.2, ch.24, p.945, fn 98)

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