Essay: The Christian Inheritance
Thesis: The tribes inhabiting Europe (the Celts, Britons, Picts, Goths, Vandals, Angles-Jutes-Saxons) (this study could be extended to the Eastern regions of Christianity) inherited from the colonisers of the Roman Empire and later Christian missionaries a concept of identity as part of a larger region. Small scale fighting continued, but the concept of a larger body of belonging is evident in the attitudes expressed in the crusades, laws, racism against muslims and other peoples, philosophical literature, etc. All of Europe became Catholic (except the Norsemen for a while) until the abuses of power in that church led to the protests for reform which split Europe into two religeons (which each had members everywhere, and religeous membership based on personal belief and not circumstance such as political or cultural membership).
What was the nature of the identity adopted by the Europeans when they learned Christianity? What were the uses of it's tenets and condemnations in daily life situations which would have strengthened it's validity? What ethics did it enforce, and provide authoritative validity for enforcing?What was the narrative Christians adopted with Christianity? That is, what history was now theirs. Contrasted and compared with the folk tradition and history native to their culture, were there any differences to adapt to, and how were these adaptations made and expressed? What sort of people did their history/tradition/identity as Christian people mean they must reasonably be? Does that conflict with their less-reasonable instincts? What is their purpose, goals, and future, individually and communally?
Specific Questions needed to research: (anyone reading my page please contribute)
1. What was the nature of the tribes before Christianity? The Celts (Gauls, Britons), Picts, Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Vandals, Anglo-Jute-Saxons...
___Germanic and Celtic People:
___Reputation society, esteem paramount. Boasting about abilities and accomplishments. Presenting credentials as worthy. Defend himself. Taunts, refutation: enhance reputation. Desire for fame, Beowilf's Barrow. (In end of Beowulf..."no one could try. And this dragon's treasure, his gold and everything hidden in that tower, will be mine. Or war will sweep me to a bitter death."), proprietary interest in combat, others as witnesses. Revenge another aspect of personal reputation. Duty. Swearing by oaths, word bond. All great civs, in their early stages, are based on success in war
___Fear and punishment primitive? Daytoday struggle existence, nighttonight fear, darnt question, change anything
___Gift-giving: conferred status. Intrinsic value and token of esteem.
___Arts: made princely weapons as well as ornaments, as necessary to a chieftain's status (craftsmen take with them) as were bards who celebrate courage
___Banquets, revelry, tales and poems.
___Dominant figure: fighting king or chieftain; favorite pursuit: war (either X neighbors or saracens); goals: power, wealth, glory; primary virtues: valor and loyalty. Literary pattern based on actuality, of which it presents a kind of idealization. Dominant interest in B: the good ruler in contrast to the bad ruler. B: the good man who also becomes a good king. The act of benevolence, also pursuit of fame, faithfully serving, avenging, fighting, protecting, kind, mild, eager to be worthy of praise.
___Gods of nature secondary/nonexistant; principal gods tribal gods; patrons of tribes, exclusive (contrast Greco-Roman principal dieties support universe, syncretic; secondary tribal patrons. Artur bear Artemis Arcturus.
___The knight's son is a courtly lover.
___Women. Evidently Higd is in position to offer the crown to anyone.
___Gnarled old woman, cursing, prophesy.
____Superstitious rites. Human sacrifice. Vows of self-immolation. Life of a man must be paid for with the life of a man, otherwise the gods cannot be appeased. Wives in common, children belong to house woman first contracted to. Milk and flesh diet, dye with woed, long hair, shave all but head and upper lip.
___Warlike, fragmented, difficult to get agreement. Warriors with no intentions accepting the Roman's writ. "Majical inventiveness of the wild Britons" in war. At battle, black-clad women waving torches, druids waving arms. A tougher branch of Gauls. Pottery, coins.
___54AD (Boudica, flogged, daughter outraged by Nero when Claudius dies): Frenzy, upsurge of hatred, nearly all Britons within reach rallied. Colchester-Roman base- taken. Destroyed everything Roman. Slaughtered every man. "Britons happiest about looting. 70,000 Romans and Roman friends anihilated: hanging, burning, crucifying. Vengeange. 10000 Romans come and take 230000 Britons. Masacred, ancients, women, children, on hilltop. Briton now embarked on a civilized way of life, for next 350 years. Written accounts, until they leave.
___Wergild for every man, cow, sheep. Everything had price (slaves had no werguild). Better than the bloodfeud: a spiritual and temporal fairness.
___Mead hall. Think of war... success... most common failure. Romantic love hardly appears. In bleakest moments, recall return of spring.
Germanic society values. Heroic and kinship, heroic world like Homer's. King surrounds himself with band of retainers. Royal generosity. Obliged to fight to death, avenge or die in attempt. Blood vengeance a sacred duty, and in poetry an everlasting shame fail to observe. Tacitus on Germans: "To leave a battle alive after a chief has fallen means lifelong infamy and shame." The king keeps the treasure the kin protects, their only possession and defense.
___Beowulf: young warrior at beginning, old grey-haired king at end, facing the dragon and death.
___Franks: Charlemagne saved civ not too far wrong, through him Atlantic world reestablished contact w ancient culture of Med world. Like most able men who have had to educate themselves the hard way, C felt strongly the value of ed, saw the imp of an educated Italy. Once more in touch w outside world, elephant from Haroun al Rashid, sent ornamented bibles as presents all over W Eu. (Idea material substances could be made spiritual by art alone later phase thought), no longer the symbol of a wariors courage and ferocity, but is used for the glory of God (splendiferous objects, appetite for gold and wrought gem-work), make the front of the cross look worldly, and the work of a believer,
___Irish Celts: Life a passionate, all-or-nothing affair. "If I break oath with you...",
___surprising preX lit antiq preserved at all,
___Vikings: They set out from a base and with unbelieveable courage and ingenuity they got as far as Persia, via the Volga and the Caspian Sea, and they put their runic writing on one of the lions at Delos, and then returned home with all their loot... coins Samarkand Chinese Buddha.
___Huns created chaos, totally illiterate and destructively hostile to what they couldnt understand, preferred to live in prefabs and let the old places fall down, surviving things: stone stuctures? Pitifully humble and incompetant, durable habitations,
___Constantinople: untouched by wanderers, civ all right, but almost sealed off from W Eu(Greek lang, relig dif, didnt want to involve self in bloody feuds of W barbs; eastern barbs)
What was their nature afterwards?
___A new power in Eu, greater than any king or emperor. Men belong to Bishoprics. Organizer also a humanizer (THROUGH). These men know the pathos of life, and mortal things touch their hearts (Virgil)
___Regarded old revenge-system as a form of "wild justice," but revenge could not be supressed entirely, some areas expressly integrated into legal system. Rex Arturus rides goat in hell, assoc by orthodox with demon worship.
___Baptism. Church politically and economically, monasticism most important spiritual and cultural force in Europe.
___Other Roman elements come with X: ideas of law and govt, art of writing, Latin and X learning and literature. (Romanization reached climax in west only after collapse of RE.
___Conversions usually from kings and aristocrats.
___If either had achieved absolute power, soc might have grown static as civs of Eg and Byz, tension (kept alive? Eu civ)
___Many saw pagan barbarians of north, etc, outside by will of God: outside Roman Empire, Cath establisment in RE had no missionary policy for them
___devel new lands and outoftheway districts, monasteries building and churches, movement led to crusades in Spain and East, spread of partic learning and culture of the age excelled.
___Clergy composed music, developed arts; manuscript illum, woodcarving, classical lit owed to (that survived destruction of Rome by Barbs)
___recognized meaning of Christ's sacri, + able to fully to sublimate it into ritual. Consciousness of the symbolic power of the Mass.
___Church in RE: retreat from world; Church run by secular clergy, quite separate from monasteries. Ireland and north: monasteries central institutions: bases for missionary activity, centres for basic ed in Latin, book production, training of clergy, and major eco/poli centres also (as lay people donated land)
___Dissipated its strength by theological controversies—Muslims invincible solidarity
___Gregory sends Augustine: converts king Ethelberht of Kent (Wife Bertha Frankish princess X)
___English Church: best of both worlds (unlike Ireland): new connections with Rome, borrow books from Ireland and clerics go to Ireland for education. Soon: best stocked library in n Eu. Produced Bede in 8th (Europes greatest teacher and scholar)
___Fascinated by distant culture of Pagan ancestors. The old poets happiest when dealing with themes of the Germanic past. Admired courage, capable. Mixed with elegaic sympathy for its eventual doom. Distastful for Christian of that time to depict or celebrate the Germanic gods and goddesses in the manner of earlier poems. At first fits hero into pre-X ethical code, boasting, defending.
___B: a man who can live energetically according to the mores of a preconversion Germanic society and also practice the ehtical teachings of X in the conduct of his life.
___View of past: as in the Wanderer: "the old work of giants," describing the piles of stone AS could not maintain or rebuild, and had no interest in doing so either. Baths, sports, gladitorial games.
___View of present: World growing old. A declining age, close to the end of time.
Art, literature, science flourished during middle ages. Rooted in X, transmitted and transformed by classical tradition. Augustine: recognized decline of Empire but considered it secondary to instruments of salvation, the visible church and the true community of the just (City of )
___What is the Wanderer's and the Wife's Lament? Separation, exile, malice of kinfolk.
___Until 1530s (disbanding of monasteries, subsequent destruction of texts) made and held only manu-scripts, expensive--religeous (to the buisness of the church), few. A-S live oral poetry.
___Saw mandate passed from weak and heterodox Romans to powerful Catholic rulers of Germanic West.
___Inaccessible fringes of Cornwall, Ireland, Hebrides, 550 boatload of 50 scholars arrived at Cork, security modicum, hundred years X survived by clinging to places like Skellig Michael, pinnacle off Irish coast, If one couldnt read and had nothing else to look at for weeks at a time. Hypnotic effect.
2. Depict their identity and community inheritance from Rome...
___Greek 500 years satisfying, stereotyped convention, same architec lang, imagery, theatres, temples
3. What characteristics allowed for easier, or, (not necassarily also) deeper adoption of Christian identity? What clashes vinced. Depict the adoption of Christianity (the becomming Christian) of the Barbarians, and the adaptation of Christianity to the Barbarians already-held ideas and stories. Depict the differences in tribes wierding.
___Fascinated with legendary Arthur.
___Heroic ideal: Moses, St Andrew, Christ (the young hero... strong and stouthearted), God (created an "establishment of wonders", mighty deed). Cast in heroic mode, represented in style of heroic verse. St Helen, expedition to Holy Land to discover true cross "battle queen", Judith Germanic heroic poetry cast.
___Inherent conflict: heroic code / teachings: "forgive all who tresspass. Those who take up the sword..."
___A-S warrior-thane-land-king pattern, seeds of landed gentry, aristocracy.
___Literature of North especially not dominated by X hierarchy of values.
___Clovis, King of Franks. Owed some of political success to he brought his people to Catholic X (Most barbarians who settled in southern Europe Arian heretics), thus making the Franks acceptable to the Gallo-Romans he wished to rule. Church of Gaul duly grateful, offered its support to Clovis's dynasty. Gallic churchmen continued work of conversion of peasants
___Barbarian land law: often unable to donate land to X. 'Family monasteries' Abbot from founder's kin, favors granted on land. A worry for those enthusiasts who saw monast a way of escaping ties and tempts of world. Left Ireland for sake of their souls. Uninhabited Iceland.
___Franks convert Saxony as part of conquest: 772: Irminsul, sacred oak of pagan Saxons, felled. Baptism came to be regarded as affirmation of loyatly to Franks. Charlemagne: refuse baptism, or eat meat during lent, etc, insult X: death penalty. Church set up in Saxony enforced by Frankish army. This "horrific" 'conversion' of Saxons last great conquest of X in period before 900.
___Denmark, and Sweden: mission, founded churches, did not lead to lasting communities: ensuing Viking raids.
___Slavs: mission. But Greek mission of Cyril and Methodius fr. Const 863 more successful there. Brothers organized first Slavic state, churches, fortified centres. Magyars invade, collapse of Moravian state.
4. What effect on belief, certainty, and committment did the martyrs have?--the fact people gave their lives in belief of this religeon? What were the expectations on each person of what their religeon meant as far as committment?
5. What were the effects of the common morbid threat of plague, infant mortality, abuses of overlords, subsistence-level poverty on the acceptance of this religeon?
6. What effects does preaching have? Christian missionaries were the only active preachers, who would go forth to various lands to try to reqruit individual and groups of peoples.
___590's preacher Augustine sent by Gregory to bring English in line (since 450 A-S MIGRATION pushed last of Christians into mountainous Wales). Same time missionaries from Ireland preach X. Within 75 years, island predominantly X again: A-S conversion to X. Augustinian arrogant but trained clergy which will do work. (Brittons had been X like most of R.Empire since Constantine's conversion in 4th C.)
___Real process of Christianization: training of priests, preaching to people in the countryside, elimination Xization of pagan customs, teaching of X doctrines, was a process which lasted for centuries.
___Needed converts. Crucifiction not encouraging???, miracles, healings, hopeful aspects, Ascension and Resurrection. Surviving Crucifictions make no attempt to touch our emotions,
7. During conquest, what did the Romans provide to the Barbarians that their culture did not (The same for the British Empire and the American takeover of land)?
8. What did Christian unification provide? Laws, clauses?
___"Just as the Great Goddess, Danu, Anu, or Don, was the mother of the Great Tribe which we have identified as the Celts, whose people are from every race..."
___Gradual assimilation of Celtic/Germanic hero to new ends made possible by the religeous unity and authority of W.Europe.
___First half: winning people to X. Then: Crusades began. And had to be offensive in political and ideological spheres. W.Europe political disunity at max, but under leadership and direction of Church, achieved unanimity of spiritual, moral, and intellectual attitudes and ideals. Europe: community, like central nuclear force, individual countries regional manifestations of that. Students, scholars, poets, artists, clergy much travelled. X common subject matter for artists, and biblical stories had same meaning in every country, Charlemagne, Roland, Arthur, Aeneas, Troy, Thebes common. Much handled and adapted. No ideas of copyright, authorship. Anonymous.
___Political state relatively weak. Loyalties: individual, lord, code, chivalry, order, monks/friars.
___Dominant heirarchy of values based on X view of humanity. All 's. Civilization designed to assist all people to union with . Spiritual side of humanity transcends material: saint ideal. Human life judged according to scale of values.
___"The deities of the Celtic people were frequently demonized by Christian missionaries."
___Continuity. In time of enormous historical, social, and linguistic change.___Impact of X on literacy. First extended written specimen of OE code of laws promulgated by Ethelbert, first English Chrisian king.
___1381: Blackheath, Kent: renegade Lollard priest John ball gives the peasant revolt a sermon, "When Adam delved and Eve spun, were there any class distinctions?" (In the Garden, were there any class distinctions?)
___The whole sea shared a common destiny... with identical problems and general trends. A Roman lake. The R. Empire had provided political unity, law, and order to ensure the success of secular pursuits.
___Muslims: There is no God but God. Time when X arguing relationsip Song to Father and HG to the Father and Son etc. --statement anihilated phil and theological arguments, relief. Islam swept thru much of former RE and within 1 century Moors into Spain and gates of India.
___Norsemen: Oh, God, deliver us! Towers of refuge built.
___Charlemagne empire, 3 divisions. 1066 Norman conquest of Brittain. 1097 Pope Urban preaches crusades, squabbling Europe unites.
___11th 12th every young man's life: had to be warrior, knight, fighter. When war career, war games play. Jousting, battling, ladies watching, each goes into battle wearing his lady's scarf under helmet.