General

Greek word as do-goodism

The old model was fading. In the later empire, more and more of the euergetism (one might render that Greek word as do-goodism) came from on high, from the emperor himself, with money that had flowed up to the throne coming back down to cities and local communities. The individual community had less ability to control, manage, and protect itself, and so this imperially appointed commissioner, the defensor, emerged as the de facto leader of the local society and a point of connection to the imperial government and its taxing authority. Many would feel themselves better off and few would notice the loss of effective self-government.

Somewhere at the bottom of the hierarchical pyramid of government, we find one officer whose role may still inspire some skepticism: the “tri-bune of pleasures” (tribunus voluptatum). Let’s call him the minister of public entertainment. The office was perhaps less than a century old, created when local generosity did not suffice to keep up a s

Theoderic more enlightened

We, of course, would like to see Theoderic more enlightened still. Then by a familiar rhetorical ploy he could be the idealized barbarian with his fresh ideas from outside the gray world of civilization. He was enlightened only up to a point: refusing to impose belief, and refusing to transgress the laws. He resembles Hadrian more than an American president—stern in modesty, but stern nonetheless. His gentleness was an ancient trait, soon to be rendered obsolete by Justinian’s more modern integration of religion and politics. Toleration has had to be relearned by many modern generations, and religious exclusion roars back repeatedly without much invitation.

Everything Theoderic did as monarch, I am tempted to say, embodied this Hadrianic moderation and calm. What if you did not know he was supposed to be different, supposed to be a “barbarian”? What if you knew he was born inside Roman boundaries (he probably was), and if you knew he had changed his name to Hadrianus?

To all Jews who live in Genoa

Those Jews of Genoa had addressed their ruler, as they would have done a century or two earlier no less frankly, to ask for permission to renovate and extend their religious property. Theoderic was cautious in his response.8

To all Jews who live in Genoa

When we are the object of requests, we always wish to give our assent to what is just. Equally, however, we want to make sure that our generosity does not give rise to fraud and trickery carried out under cover of law—especially in matters of religion.

Roman emperors always had to worry about the way they were being used. Most lawmaking consisted of responses to requests from interested parties, who did not always make the fullest and most frank representation of the facts that underlay these requests, and often the imperial blessing appeared to many as a support for the grasping, the greedy, and the well connected.

So we do not want people who are devoid of God’s grace to become too full of themsel

The Priest`s Tale part 8

I josep time in going up to his room, and fortunately found him in one of his intervals of quiet. He was sitting on the floor with his elbows on his knees and his head in his hands. The furniture was all in dis- order, and broken dishes were lying about. I admit I was a little frightened. It was rash to go in alone, but I could not turn back even if I had wished; so I went up to him, and laying my hand on his head repeated a prayer.

`When I was done he made the sign of the cross, and kissed my hand. `You are not very comfortable here, my dear Christos,` said I. Come, let us go to your uncle`s; the house is empty, and you`ll be better there. Won`t you come?`

“He rose without a word, and then said quietly: `I don`t want anybody to see me; please ask them to stay away.`

“I opened the door, and although there was no one there, I cried

“`Go away, all of you; go home!—There, Christos, the street is empty; let us go.`<

The Priest`s Tale part 7

These causes of themselves often produce tetanus, and hydrophobia and tetanus have many points of resemblance. This is what the doctors tell us. But what good does that do, it they cannot give us at the same time some means of controlling or getting rid of this secret fear? I am waiting to hear from our medical friends on this point. But I beg your pardon, father, for interrupting.

Without ever having read anything of the kind,” replied the priest, “I have often thought of that.

“Meanwhile the weeks passed by, and the peasants were beginning to forget what had happened, or at least had stopped talking about it, when suddenly one morning toward the end of September the boy`s father came to tell me that Christos was not well.

` `What`s the matter with him?`

“ `I don`t know; he`s feverish, and has no appetite.`

Little milk

“I went to see him without delay, and found him lying on the floor wPh his

The Priest`s Tale part 6

“With great difficulty I managed to persuade Christos and the men or rather women—who surrounded him, and it was at last decided to take him to Athens. He wanted to put off going until the next day; but I insisted, and finally prevailed upon him to start at once, by offering to go with him. So we mounted our donkeys and set out. The neighbors` wives showered good wishes upon us, but it was easy to see that they thought medical skill a poor substitute for the virtues of the mad plant.

“We reached Athens very late; I left Christos at the hospital, and returned to my parsonage in the middle of the night.

“As I said before, all this happened on Monday. Thursday Christos came home, still suffering from the cauterization, but he seemed well otherwise, and in a few days the burns were quite healed.

“But the peasants had no confidence in hospital treatment. Their fears arose not from the delay in cauterizing the wounds, but from the failure to apply

The Priest`s Tale part 5

Would you believe that in all the villages of this district there is not a single doctor, or even a pharmacy! I do not know if anything of the kind has been printed at Athens, but certainly we have never had here any book or pamphlet giving directions how to avoid or cure the commonest diseases—I do not mean hydrophobia, but the simple ailments of which our little children die. But never mind that now; those things will come in time.

“When Christos came home leaning on the old man`s shoulder, wounded and bloody, with his clothes torn, the whole village was in commotion. I was told at once of what had happened, and went to see him. He lived with his father in that little house in the street by the church. On the ground-floor there is a storeroom and an oil-press, while above there are two small chambers, which are reached by a stairway built on the outside facing the road.”

“Where the schoolmaster lives now?” asked Andrew.

“Yes, that`s th

The Priest`s Tale part 4

“Of all the young men of the village, Christos was the tallest; he was strong and fearless—a true pallicare; and, as we all know, danger often makes even the coward brave. Suddenly he dropped his right arm and tightly squeezed the wolf`s neck under his armpit, while with his left he clutched her head and tried to strangle her.

“The struggle was frightful. The teeth .and claws of the mad beast dug into the poor fellow`s side; he could not use his knife, because to draw it from his girdle he would have had to let go the wolf`s neck, which he still held with his left hand. He could not move his right arm without loosening his vise-like grasp upon her, and he dared not call for help, for he knew too well that he had no strength to waste in shouting.

“At last they fell to the ground, clasped in a horrible embrace. Christos was on the top, but the wolf had her head free against his breast, and she tore it savagely, in her efforts to release herself.

The Priest`s Tale part 3

“Thirteen years have passed since then—it was about the middle of August. For several days it had been rumored that a wolf was prowling near the village. Old Mitros,.who had built his little cottage that same year close by `The Eyrie,` told how he had been awakened one night by the barking of his dog, and opening his window had seen an enormous wolf outside his garden wall. He had snatched his gun and fired, but failed to kill the beast, and saw it reeling away in the moonlight with its tail down. He was too frightened to reload and fire a second time. The shepherds told of a similar encounter, so that the village was full of rumors that we had a dangerous wolf in the neighborhood, and the peasants slept with one eye open, always thinking of their flocks.

“The danger was even greater than they knew, for it was not a mere hungry wolf that they had to deal with, but a she-wolf—-and mad.

Monday Christos

“One afternoon—-it was a Monday—C

The Priest`s Tale part 2

Perceiving this, my brother-in-law sent him out of the room, in spite of his master`s ill-concealed discontent.

Quiet was once more restored, and conversation began again with renewed activity. Naturally we spoke of the exile and his various qualities—of his breed in particular and of dogs generally. One thing led to another, and the subject of hydrophobia finally came up. Andrew showed a lively interest in the matter, and asked the village priest, who was one of the guests, if he had known of many mad dogs in the country.

“No, not many, but they are by no means unknown, replied it ather Seraphim; and among others he told us of a fine dog he had been obliged to kill because he believed it to be mad.

Andrew kept interrupting the priest with questions; how did Father Seraphim know that the dog was mad? how had it become mad? what had it done? how did he kill it?

The boy`s inquiries and the father`s courteous replies gave me no little i