The non-white Honorius: one of the children-emperors.
Editors’ note: To contextualise this translation of a 5-page section, ‘Honorius, Stilicho, Alaric and the first incursions of Germanic Christians’ taken from Karlheinz Deschner’s encyclopaedic history of the Church in 10-volumes, Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums, read the abridged translation of Volume I.
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At first, in the name of the western emperor Honorius (395-423), crowned when his father Theodosius was already on his deathbed, and who was only eleven years old when he died, the half-vandal and general of the imperial army (magister militum), Flavius Stilicho, ruled.
Son of a Vandal officer, who led a cavalry regiment with Valens, Stilicho was Catholic. He ordered that the golden ornaments to be removed from the doors of the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus. He also ordered the burning of the very ancient Sibylline books, and prosecuted the ‘heretics’, especially the Donatists, thanks to the intervention of Augustine, and restored the privileges of the Church. […]
In Stilicho’s time the irruption in Italy of the Visigoths occurred, a Germanic tribe that had embraced Christianity prematurely. The Goths became the main missionaries among the Germanic peoples. Soon most of the ‚barbarians‘ that had settled since the middle of the 4th century in the Danubian provinces, especially in Pannonia and Messia (where in other times there were already ‚bishoprics‘), were no longer ‘pagans’ but Arians. According to the historian of the Church Socrates, impressed by their defeat before Constantine, that is, forced by the sword, the Goths ‚believed in the religion of Christianity‘.
These despots eager of power constantly fought against the Romans—in 315, 323, 328—who defeated them, with an especially serious defeat in 332, in which their dead, which apparently included women and children, were estimated at one hundred thousand. The most recent investigations also admit that Constantine’s warlike successes and the political relationship of the Goths with the Roman Empire gave ‚impulse‘ to the Christianisation of the latter. Already bishop Theodoret, the father of the Church, said that such policy proved its effectiveness in a curious saying: ‚The historical facts show that war gives us greater benefits than peace.‘ […]
According to Eunapius of Sardis (around 345-420), a fervent enemy of the Christians, the betrayal of the monks also allowed the attack of Alaric in the Thermopylae. Be that as it may, Greece had never been so devastated before: Macedonia, Thessaly, Boeotia, Attica. The Thebans were saved by their thick walls. Athens (which was protected by Athena and Achilles, a tendentious pre-Christian tale) was terribly plundered. The rest of the country, its villages, temples and works of art, suffered harsh punishments; Corinth was set on fire, and Boeotia was desolate for decades. […]
Honorius, mounted on the victory cart and with Stilicho at his side, hurried to Rome, for the Milvian Bridge, with the glorious spoils of victory in the escort of Christ, as Prudentius sings.