Julian, 9

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

 

In the summer I used to go to my maternal grandmother’s estate in Bithynia. It was a small farm two miles from the sea. Just back of the house was a low hill from whose top there was a fine view of the sea of Marmora, while on the horizon’s farthest curve to the north rose the towers of Constantinople. Here I spent many hours, reading and dreaming.

One afternoon, lulled by the murmuring of bees, the scent of thyme, the warm salt-laden air, I fell asleep and dreamed that I was having some sort of quarrel with Gallus. I wanted to escape him. So I began to run. As I ran, I took longer and longer steps until I began to bound like a deer. With each leap, I remained higher in the air until at last I was gliding over the countryside while the people below stared with wonder as I sailed over their heads, completely free. There is no dream quite so satisfying as the one of flying.

Suddenly in my pleasant voyage, I was aware that someone was calling my name. I looked about me but there was no one in sight, only pale clouds, blue sky, dark sea. I was gliding over the Marmora, towards Constantinople, when the voice sounded again.

“Who wants me?” I asked.

Then—I don’t know how—but I realized that it was the sun who had spoken. Huge and gold above the city, the sun reached out fiery arms to me. And with an astonishingly poignant sense of coming home, I plunged straight into the blazing light. And awakened to find that the setting sun was indeed shining in my face. Dazzled, I got to my feet. I had been overwhelmed by light. I was also bewildered. Something important had happened. But what?

I told no one about this vision. However, some months later when Mardonius and I were alone together in the palace gardens overlooking the Bosphorus, I questioned him about the old religion. I began slyly: was everything Homer wrote true?

“Of course! Every word!”

“Then Zeus and Apollo and all the other gods must exist, because he says they do. And if they are real, then what became of them? Did Jesus destroy them?”

Poor Mardonius! He was a devoted classicist. He was also a Galilean. Like so many in those days, he was hopelessly divided. But he had his answer ready. “You must remember that Christ was not born when Homer lived. Wise as Homer was, there was no way for him to know the ultimate truth that we know. So he was forced to deal with the gods the people had always believed in…”

“False gods, according to Jesus, so if they’re false then what Homer writes about them can’t be true.”

“Yet like all things, those gods are manifestations of the true.” Mardonius shifted his ground. “Homer believed much as we believe. He worshipped the One God, the single principle of the universe. And I suspect he was aware that the One God can take many forms, and that the gods of Olympus are among them. After all, to this day God has many names because we have many languages and traditions, yet he is always the same.”

“What are some of the old names?”

“Zeus, Helios the sun, Serapis…”

“The sun.” My deity. “Apollo…” I began.

“Apollo also had many names, Helios, Companion of Mithras…”

“Apollo, Helios, Mithras,” I repeated softly. From where we sat in the shady grove on the slope beneath the Daphne Palace, I could just catch a glimpse of my deity, impaled on the dark green bough of a cypress.

“Mithraism was most devilish of all the cults. In fact, there are still some active Mithraists, soldiers mostly, ignorant folk, though a few philosophers (or would-be philosophers) are drawn to Mithras, like Iamblichos… I met him once, a remarkably ugly man, a Syrian, from Chalcis, I think, he died a few years ago, much admired by a small circle, but I’ve always thought his prose unreasonably obscure. He pretended to be a disciple of Plato. And of course he maintained that Jesus was a false prophet and our trinity absurd. Then—utter madness—he invented a trinity of his own, based on Plato.”

Carried away by his passion to explain, Mardonius was now hardly conscious of his rapt listener who understood perhaps every other word he spoke. Yet the general sense of what was being said was perfectly clear: Helios was an aspect of the One God, and there were those, like this mysterious Iamblichos, who still worshipped him.

“According to Iamblichos, there are three worlds, three realms of being, each presided over by the One God whose visible aspect is the sun. Now the first of these worlds is the intelligible world, which can be comprehended only by reason. You’ll find all this in Plato, when we get to him, if you get to him at your present rate. The second world is an intermediary one (this is Iamblichos’s invention); a world endowed with intelligence and governed by Helios-Mithras, with a number of assistants who turn out to be the old gods in various disguises, particularly Serapis to whom our souls return after death, Dionysus the fair, Hermes the intelligence of the universe, and Asklepios who actually lived, we think, and was a famous physician, worshipped by our ancestors as a saviour and healer.”

“Like Jesus?” “Somewhat similar, yes. Finally, the third world is our world, the world of sense and perception. Between the three worlds, the sun mediates. Light is good; darkness evil; and Mithras is the bridge, the link, between man and deity, light and dark. As you can see or as you will see—only part of this comes from Plato. Most of it is Persian in origin, based on a Persian hero named Mithras who lived, if he lived, a thousand years ago. Fortunately, with the birth of Jesus and the mystery of the trinity all this nonsense ended.”

“But the sun still exists.”

“To be absolutely precise, at this moment the sun does not exist.” Mardonius rose. “It’s set and we’re late for supper.”

That is how I became aware of the One God. In a dream Helios-Mithras had called out to me and I had beheld, literally, the light. From that day on, I was no longer alone. The sun was my protector.

I must say that during those years I needed all the solace I could get for I was continually haunted by my predicament. Would I be put to death like my father? One of my recurrent daydreams was that Constantius and I would meet, quite by chance, on my grandmother’s hill. In the dream the Emperor was always alone. He was stern but kind. We spoke of literature. He was delighted at my vast knowledge (I liked being praised for my reading). Then we became close friends, and the dream would end with him granting me my freedom to live out the rest of my life on my grandmothers farm, for one look into my eyes had convinced him that I was not worldly, that I wanted neither his throne nor revenge upon him for my father’s death. Time and again in my imagination I would convince him with brilliant argument and he would invariably grant my wish, tears in his eyes at my sincerity and lack of guile.

How curious men are! I was indeed sincere at that time. I was exactly as I have described myself. I did not want power, or so I thought. I truly believed that I wanted to live obscurely. And then? I broke Constantius. I took the throne. Knowing this now, were I Constantius and he that dreamy boy on a Bithynian hill, I would have had that young philosopher’s life on the spot. But then neither of us realized who I was, or what I would become.

5 Replies on “Julian, 9

  1. This is interesting because much of Jesus’ story is directly stolen from Mithras. It’s likely that Jesus never existed, or at least nothing of the historical Jesus we are presented. There were no early churches when you would expect to find them, only churches of Mithras, of which there were hundreds around Rome. They were ruthlessly persecuted by early Christians. And that sentiment comes through quite clearly in the words of Mardonius.

  2. Of course, Gore Vidal was an insidious sodomite, and like all in his ilk, they do their best to undermine society. His debates with an often flustered William F. Buckley are wonderfully instructive as to how a brilliant but sick mind can cast aspersion on the good and true.

    The Emperor Julian has never been given a proper hearing through the Christian epoch. Killed in another aborted attempt to destroy Parthia at too young an age, he never had the chance to reconsolidate the Gods of the Greek/Roman pantheon. That would have been difficult in any sense as they did not promulgate ethics but merely ‘reigned’ without concern for normal life. Outside of the Eleusinian mysteries unavailable to the general public, or the festivals celebrating them, the public was disengaged apart from awe for nature’s spectacle.

    So is it any wonder that the proletariat and the slaves responded to the empathy inherent in the Christian promise of equality and compassion?
    They could not understand the Flavian Emperors plan to develop a binding universal religion to mend a fractured public torn by the Jewish revolts, Germanic invasion, and the daily concern over survival.

    But the plan faltered because the religion ultimately undermined Roman civilization. It encouraged miscegenation and equated hierarchy with immorality, yet never inhibited greed or licentiousness because with public religion all one has to do is adopt the ‘forms’ not the ethics. It also ruined the militancy necessary to defend your civilization by replacing patriotism with ‘salvation’.

    Look how Christianity runs from the drug culture, greed, and homosexuality today. None of these TV preachers have the courage of their convictions. Pauline christianity, Roman Catholicism and its Protestant adjuncts, are the death of Western Civilization. Fundamentalist Churchianity supporting Israel is mental illness!

    1. “Look how Christianity runs from the drug culture, greed, and homosexuality today. None of these TV preachers have the courage of their convictions. ”

      Excellent point. Modern churches can’t even make the mouth-breathers in their congregation dress respectably, from what I’ve seen. They will stand against new encroaches of immorality only until the cultural vanguard let’s them know it’s politically incorrect. Then they tuck their tails.

      1. Today’s religion is anti-racism for whites. Pope Francis I excommunicated an holocaust denier priest only because self-flagellation for whites is the current zeitgeist. Former popes would not follow the current is such abject ways. The worst religion of all sorts took hold of the white psyche. I sincerely believe this is the worst generation of whites since prehistory: “the West’s darkest hour”. That’s why I’m an exterminationist and wish that energy devolution kills humans by the billions later in this century.

  3. If a collapse doesn’t wash the system away then someone (I’m thinking of Israel or China) at some future point will perfect DNA-specific mass weaponry and they will use it. There aren’t going to be a multitude of races on this planet a hundred years from now. There will be one or two. I suggest that we be the ones to push that button. The scientific ability of the white man is such that this project could push on even in the face of collapse.

    People act horrified at the Georgia guide-stones recommendation that the Earth’s population should be no more than 500 million. It sounds pretty generous to me…