The Roman Emperor Flavius Claudius Julianus, known as Julian, was the last “pagan” emperor of the Roman empire. The emperor Julian attempted to restore Rome’s greatness, by restoring traditional Roman values and religions. Julian was a very complex man, much more so than later emperors. Julian was at times a brilliant military leader, a social reformer, a government reformer, a philosopher and a promoter of neo-Platonic paganism. Christians derisively refer to Julian as “The Apostate” because he had been raised a Christian. Julian did not openly reject Christianity until after he had “taken the purple.”
Julian was born in 331 or 332 in Constantinople. Julian’s uncle was the Emperor Constantine I. When Constantius II became Emperor, he had most of Julian’s relatives murdered. Julian and his half-brother Gallus were raised in exile on an imperial estate. Julian received a Christian education under the Bishop of Nicomedia, Eusebius of Nicomedia. However, when Bishop George of Cappadocia lent Julian books from the classical period, Julian developed a strong interest in philosophy and traditional religions, which Julian knew that he had to conceal.
In 351 Julian studied neo-Platoism under Aedesius and neo-Platonic theurogy from Maximus of Ephesus. In 355 the Emperor allowed Julian to travel to Athens, where he studied philosophy and was secretly initiated into the Eleusinian Mysteries. Later in 355 Julian’s life made a radical turn, he was summoned to the imperial court at Mediolanum, and Constantius II had Julian married to Constantius’ sister Helena before sending Julian to Gaul as Caesar of the West.
Constantius thought the scholar would only be a figurehead, however Julian excelled in Gaul. Julian quickly adapted to military life and was responsible for winning several military campaigns. Julian’s popularity in Gaul swiftly grew. In 360, while in Paris, Julian’s legions proclaimed him Augustus (Emperor). Constantius maneuvered his legions in the east to meet the threat, but Constantius died before a civil war could begin in earnest. According to Constantius’ writing, Julian was Constantius’ choice for succession.
In 361 Emperor Julian entered Constantinople and began making governmental reforms by drastically reducing the size of government. Julian re-opened closed pagan temples across the empire and removed the advantages the Christian emperors had given Christians over non-Christians. Julian planed to rebuild the Jewish temple in Jerusalem, to further divide the quarrelsome Christians further. Julian weakened the power of Christian’s but he generously did not persecute them. Julian passed an edict guaranteeing freedom of religion. Julian addressed the senate, which emperors had not been doing and wrote books and essays in spare moments. Julian was a “hands on” working emperor, which did not endear him to the fired bureaucrats.
Julian began ruling in the style of a Marcus Aurelius or a Hadrian. Knowing that he needed the support of the eastern legions to remain emperor, Julian planned a campaign against the ancient enemy of Persia. A victory would assure his stability, enabling him to complete his reforms with the support of the army. Antioch would be the staging point for the campaign in Persia. After five months in Constantinople, Julian left for Antioch.
Julian’s stay in Antioch was unpleasant for the Emperor and the citizens of Antioch. Although most of the empire was still pagan, Antioch had become strongly Christian, the local temples had been neglected. The citizens of Antioch also expected the emperor to be aloof and follow the whims of the mob, but Julian led an ascetic philosopher’s life and his participation in pagan religious rites stunned them. Animosity grew on both sides. While in Antioch, Julian wrote the book Against the Galileans, which according to Christian apologist Cyril of Alexandria, was the most important work ever written against the Christian religion.
On 05 March 363 Julian happily left Antioch with an army of 65 to 90 thousand soldiers on the march toward Persia. By the middle of May, Julian’s forces arrived at the city of Ctesiphon, where they defeated defending forces in front of the city walls. However, the Romans did not believe they could breach the city walls with the threat of the main body of the Persian army at large. Julian made the decision to bypass taking the city and push with his army into the interior of Persia, in hopes of a decisive battle on Julian’s terms. Julian believed in the transmigration of souls and that he was Alexander the Great reborn.
The Persians used slash and burn tactics before the advancing Romans depriving them of food supplies. The Persians also employed attack and run tactics against the weakened Roman army and avoided an all out battle. On 26 June 363 near Maranga, Julian’s column was attacked at the Battle of Samarra. In a hurry to inspire his troops to counter attack, Julian leapt upon his horse with his sword, leaving his armor in his tent. In the mêlée that followed, Julian was struck by a lance piercing his liver and lower intestines. Julian was quietly removed from the battle, but the word that he had been seriously injured quickly spread. Although Julian received immediate surgery, he died in his tent three days later. One of Julian’s Christian generals “Took up the Purple” and became the next emperor. The hope to restore the greatness of Rome faded away.
Immediately it became hazardous to have been a friend of Julian and they began to disappear from public view. Julian’s religious reforms were undone. Many of Julian’s books and essays were destroyed as blasphemy. As an enemy of the church, Julian became almost the devil incarnate and so he remained until the renaissance. However, since the time of the renaissance, Julian has become the subject of researcher, plays and novels. His reputation has been revived in certain circles.
Although Julian’s book Against the Galileans was destroyed, fragments of the book were quoted by Christian apologist Cyril of Alexandria in three books he wrote (Contra Julianum)in an effort to refute Julian. What fragments remain of Against the Galileans is available on the internet or in book form available from Ostara Publications.
Additionally, Adrian Murdock published the book The Last Pagan, which is available through Inner Traditions. The Last Pagan is a very easy read and the writer may give a brief review at a later date. This writer also recommends the historical novel Julian by Gore Vidal. Vidal’s novel brings the characters to life and he had his own ideas concerning the death of the Emperor Julian.
People such as the Emperor Julian and Hypatia of Alexandria are all but forgotten. They should be remembered for the resistance they gave to a universalist, centrist controlling religion.
I just read the book Anthony Ludovici: The Lost Philosopher. Ludovici was a British philosopher, who lived from 1882 to 1971. Ludovici would be an interesting study for anyone interested in the alternate right or radical traditionalism. Although some of his material is dated, the majority of his material is still germane today. The first chapter is on religion. Ludovici immediately goes to the topic of ‘Nature’ to prove that the religion of Christianity is unnatural and why.
Ludovici gives several interesting quotes in regards to life’s processes in both plants and animals. Speaking of the natural world Ludovici says, “They give fair field or no favor to all alike, no matter what kind … from the amoeba to man there is probably no animal which is not attacked by some parasite…” Ludovici points out to his readers that there is no fairness in the attacks of the parasite and all creatures are preyed upon. Young or old, rich or poor, deserving or undeserving, there is no discrimination when it comes to nature. You survive or you don’t. The often used words, “It isn’t fair!” would be a very apt description of life.
Ludovici continued with another train of thought in regards to the “will to survive.” Ludovici indicated that there is more going on in nature than just the desire to live. Ludovici says, “… They do not merely sustain their own lives; they obtrude themselves on other lives, even other lives belonging to their own species. They all assault, invade and trespass on alien territory … the need to discharge their strength, to make something else pay .. Their first concern … is enjoy using an expressing energy, if possible at the cost of some other life …” Ludovici then continued on by giving several examples to prove his point that life forms seek to invade and dominate all they can reach. Ludovici is saying that survival is not enough, all life has a drive to expand and conquer.
At this point, one might be inclined to assume that man is not an animal and what applies to nature does not apply to man, in other words man is supernatural above nature. Ludovici continues, “It is a false dichotomy to think of Nature and man. Mankind is that factor in Nature which exhibits its most intensive form of the plasticity of Nature.” In other words man can not be removed from the Nature that is within him. A great deal of man’s behavior could be explained by the following quote, “So there appears to be substantial grounds for the view that a striving after supremacy or power is the basic trend of all nature.”
Lodovici then tackles the concepts of liberal idealism of man’s nature when he states, “What can be the good, then, of speaking of ‘eternal peace’ or a future of ‘loving concord’ for all mankind, or any state in which rivalry of some kind, violence, high-handed apportion … wholly eliminated …That in all of nature there is no trace of any such morality. On the contrary every kind of thuggery, deception, fraud, duplicity and mendacity finds its ablest and most unscrupulous exponents in nature … It is hopeless to seek the sources of human morality in nature … In the social life of man, morality becomes a means … of regulating customary conduct that made communal survival possible …” Therefore that which promotes community or group cohesion and survival is moral; and that which does not is immoral.
While reading all of this, this writer’s mind began to wander making connections with Ludovici’s words and the writer’s previous experiences. And of all things, the movie Conan the Barbarian came to mind. Conan the Cimmerian was a character created by Texan Robert E. Howard. The movie Conan the Barbarian was loosely based on Howard’s character, but did not mirror the original. The movie script was written by John Milius and Oliver Stone. The movie opens with a smith hammering a glowing sword repeatedly on an anvil hardening the steel as the movie is introduced. The opening reminds one of Siegfried forging his sword.
The movie moves to a conversation between a young Conan and his father, the tribal sword smith and possibly the tribal king. Conan’s father explains to Conan, the Cimmerian myth of the beginning of the world and how during a battle with the giants, the Gods accidentally left steel on the battlefield allowing man to purloin steel angering the Gods. Conan’s father said, “The secret of steel has always carried with it a mystery. You must learn its riddle Conan. You must learn it’s discipline. For no one- no one in this world can you trust. Not men, not women, not beasts.” Conan’s father points to the sword and continues, “This you can trust.” Enemies and dangers are everywhere, one must trust in himself. It sounds very much like something out of the Havamal.
The die is cast from the beginning, although the norns are unseen. The opening sequence of hammering the steel to make it hard, sharp and dangerous is an allegory for Conan’s future life of being hammered by adversity making him hard, sharp and dangerous. Conan’s village comes under attack by the warriors of Thulsa Doom, who are seeking Conan’s father’s sword. Steel is rare and valuable, equating to power. Conan watches Thulsa Doom behead his mother and take his deceased father’s sword. All of the tribe is murdered except for the children, who are taken away as slaves. If possible, Conan must now avenge the murders of his father, mother and people to properly secure their place in the next world.
Conan is now a nonperson, a slave without any rights or any expectation of survival or worth. Without a tribe, what value does he have? Conan is taken to a great mill that is reminiscent of the World Mill of Germanic mythology. Conan slaves away turning the mill like the giantesses of old, until he is a man and the only one left alive at the mill. Conan has been hammered and he has grown strong and hard, but he is not sharp. Conan is taken from the mill and used as a gladiator for the enjoyment of the mob. Conan is awkward at first, but his sheer strength prevails and he survives. Conan fights in many gladiatorial contests and kills without discrimination or remorse. Conan is a talented killer.
Conan is taken to a sword master for training to make him sharp. Conan is taught poetry and tactics and he is used for breeding stock like a herd bull. Conan appears to be in the service of a Genghis Khan type warlord. Hammered strong and sharp, Conan is miraculously set free by his handler. Conan now runs for his freedom pursued by hungry wolves. With the wolves on his heals, like the wolves Skoll and Hatichasing the sun and the moon, Conan seeks refuge on top of a burial mound.
Conan falls through the top of the mound into the tomb. Inside of the tomb there is a dead Cimmerian king sitting on a throne holding a great sword. If one is familiar with heathen lore, one concludes immediately that Conan has entered the tomb of one of his ancestors. Conan takes the sword from the hand of the dead king and becomes himself. Conan was the king in a previous life. Conan has experienced a mystical experience and he realizes that he has the soul of a king. Empowered Conan emerges from the tomb as his true self, an uncrowned Cimmerian king. Conan then slays the two wolves waiting for him and wears their skins like a úlfheðnar (wolf skin warrior).
Conan’s next adventure is with a witch, who unsuccessfully tries to slay Conan after seducing him. The following day Conan meets his first companion, Subotai a Mongolian style archer. Subotai has been chained to a rock to be eaten by wolves because he is a thief. Conan sets Subotai free and they travel together to the town of Shadizar, where the witch told Conan that he could find Thulsa Doom. Conan and Subotai determine that Thulsa Doom has a temple devoted to his god Set in the town. Conan and Subotai decide to break into the Temple of Set and in the process of the burglary; they come into contact with Conan’s second companion the beautiful Valeria, who is also in the process of burglarizing the temple. The trio complete the burglary together after Conan slays Thulsa Doom’s snake, reminiscent of Sigurd slaying the dragon Fafnir. The burglars make off with many jewels and valuables including the “Eye of Set.”
The trio celebrate their successful burglary by going on a drunken spree. Valeria falls in love with Conan and she becomes totally devoted to him. The trio is too conspicuous and are arrested by the city guards before being taken to King Osric for judgement. Instead of being punished by King Osric for the burglary, he rewards them with jewels. King Osric is a fellow Northmen and king by his own hand; however King Osric is now too old for war. King Osric reveals that he hates Thulsa Doom and his cult of Set. King Osric explains to the trio that the cult of Set is not about love and peace, but about murder and control. King Osric then hires the trio as mercenaries to return his daughter, who has runaway to be with Thulsa Doom.
After being set free, Subotai and Valeria want to leave with what they have and not pursue the sorcerer Thulsa Doom. Conan must follow his desire for revenge and he sets out alone. During Conan’s journey to Thulsa Doom’s main stronghold, Conan comes into contact with his third companion, the wizard Akiro. Akiro, who lives alone as a caretaker at an ancient battle site, becomes friends with Conan. Conan leaves his horse and armor with Akiro and travels in disguise as a “love and peace” type follower of Set in order to enter the strong hold. Conan enters the stronghold, but he is recognized as an “infidel.” Conan is arrested and taken to Thula Doom, where is beaten to get Conan to reveal the location of the items he had stolen from the temple at Shadizar.
When Thulsa Doom confronts, Conan about the theft, Conan replies, “You killed my mother, You killed my father. You killed my people! You took my father’s sword!” Thulsa Doom, who did not recall the murders, sighed and replied, “It must have been when I was younger. There was a time boy when I searched for steel. And steel meant more to me than gold or jewels.” Conan replied to Doom, “The Riddle of Steel.” Thulsa Doom replied to Conan, “Yes! You know what it is don’t you boy? Shall I tell you? It is the least I can do. Steel isn’t strong, boy, flesh is stronger! Look around you. There, on the rocks; a beautiful girl. Come to me my child.” The girl obeys, steps forward and falls to her death.
Thulsa Doom exclaims, “That is strength boy! That is power! The strength and power of flesh! What is steel compared to the hand that wields it? Look at the strength of your body, the desire in your heart, I gave you this! Such a waste. contemplate this on the Tree of Woe! Crucify him!” In the next scene, we see Conan nailed to a tree similar to Yggdrasil. Conan’s hanging from the tree is Conan’s second mystical experience, similar to that of Odin hanging from the World Tree, Yggdrasil. Conan like Odin, reaches into the depths of his soul to examine all things.
In a near death state, Conan is rescued from the tree by Subotai and taken to the wizard Akiro. Valeria convinces Akrio to contact the neither world and make a deal for Conan’s life. Akiro advises Valeria the Gods would require a heavy price to save Conan’s life. Valeria says that she would pay any price. Akiro works his magic and Conan is saved. Conan slowly recovers and the trio make their plans to return to the stronghold and kidnap King Osric’s daughter.
The trio sneak into Thulsa Doom’s stronghold undetected and make a startling discovery, when they enter the inner sanctum. They find the insiders in the middle of an orgy and a feast of human flesh. While the outer members of the cult believe the cult is about peace and love, the cult insiders are indulging themselves in violence, cannibalism and sex. The trio attack the cult with overwhelming violence and abduct the princess. While the trio are escaping, Thulsa Doom fashions a snake into an arrow and shoots Valeria.
Valeria dies from her wound paying her debt to the Gods for saving Conan’s life. Conan burns Valeria’s body in a scene somewhat reminiscent of Odin burning his son Baldr’s body. Because of Valeria’s love for Conan, she becomes a flygia or follower/protector of Conan. Conan, Subotai and the wizard Akiro prepare for a counter attack from Thulsa Doom. Soon enough the battle begins, as Thulsa Doom, his lieutenants, Rexor and Thorgrim along with a troop of cavalry arrive. Conan negates the advantage of superior numbers and cavalry by fighting from among the rocks and the use of traps. Conan, Subotai and Akiro kill everyone but Rexor and Thulsa Doom.
Rexor, who is wielding Conan’s father’s sword, attacks Conan and defeats him. As Rexor is about to deliver Conan a death-blow, Valeria appears and blocks the sword stroke, much like a Valkyrja from the lore. Valeria momentarily blinds Rexor giving Conan time to recover. Valeria urges Conan to get up and fight when she says to Conan, “Do you want to live forever?” Valeria then disappears. Conan gets to his feet and attacks Lexor. Lexor is trying to block Conan’s sword cut with his sword and Conan breaks Lexor’s sword. Conan then slays Lexor and recovers his father’s broken sword. When Conan breaks his father’s sword, he symbolically destroys his father’s ascendancy over him.
Thulsa Doom, who has watched the battle from afar, fashions a snake into an arrow and shoots at the Princess to keep anyone else from having her. Subotai blocks the arrow with his shield saving the princess. Thulsa Doom flees the battlefield back to his fortress. When Thulsa Doom tried to kill the princess, he broke the spell he had over her and she could see him for what he was. When Thulsa Doom returned to his fortress, he assembled his followers in the darkness. As Thulsa Doom was urging his followers of “love and peace” to return to their homes and kill, “washing away all that has gone before;” the princess was helping Conan sneak into the fortress.
As Thulsa Doom is addressing his followers, Conan confronts him from behind. When Thulsa Doom sees Conan, he looks into Conan’s eyes with a hypnotic gaze as he says, “My child, you have come to me my son. For who now is your father if it is not me? I am the wellspring from which you flow. When I am gone, you will never have been. What would your world be without me?” Thulsa Doom reaches out and touches Conan on the shoulder as he says, “My son, my son.” Conan was momentarily hypnotized by Thulsa Doom, but he overcame Doom’s mind control. Conan used his father’s broken sword to slay and behead Thulsa Doom. Conan holds up Doom’s severed head for all of the cult members to see, before he tosses it down the temple steps. Thulsa Doom’s spell over the cult is broken and they quietly leave the temple as Conan drops his father’s broken sword on the steps.
Many people hate this movie saying that it is racist, sexist, and violent. You have the hated Aryan looking white male overcoming and slaying the black male playing Thulsa Doom. And it is easy to see that the “Cult of Set” represents liberalism. The rank and file followers of the cult believe in universal love and peace, while the inner circle use mind control techniques to control the masses of the their followers (I believe they have a saying, “The masses are a**es”). For the cult, violence is cloaked in a rhetoric of love giving rise to power. Thulsa Doom is urging his followers to go forth and “Wash away all that has gone before.” Is that not the goal of liberalism, to destroy the foundation of traditional western culture?
Conan, representing the traditional pre-Christian western values of strength, honor and loyalty; overcomes the cult of liberalism. Conan has not been feminized, he is a man. Conan is a natural man, he does not resist the urge to expand, overcome opposition and conquer. Many Christians do not like the movie, because they do not understand the subtleties of pre-Christian motifs. The script writers did some research and with a superficial understanding of heathen lore, they produced a script that is heathen tolerable.
The Riddle of Steel is never directly answered in the movie. Thulsa Doom indicated that he had evolved beyond steel and he used mind control (sorcery) to dominate and get what he wanted. “What is steel compared to the hand that wields it?” However, when mind control did not get Thulsa Doom what he wanted, he quickly resorted having his problems solved the old-fashioned way with steel or violence. The riddle is probably in the synthesis of flesh and steel, but that is a guess. Would Anthony Ludovici liked the movie? I don’t know, but I do know that he would have understood it.
On this memorial day of 30 May 2016, the writer was contemplating the sad state of affairs in the United States. I am referring to the desecration of memorial day displays. This is not a surprise and was expected. Government had been encouraging this behavior by their banning of Confederate flags, the removal of Confederate War Memorials and the disrespect of our honored dead. The republicans, who are the party of Lincoln and northeastern money interests, were gleeful that they thought the tide had turned and they no longer had to pretend. The great unwashed was no longer protected by public opinion, they thought. The party insiders truly hate the great unwashed of the flyover.
The United States flag, as a symbol of western imperialism, capitalism and nationalism, will be next. U.S. war memorials will increasingly come under attack as symbols of racism. The republic was killed long ago by Lincoln and replaced with an empire of capitalism, backed the power of an army and a navy. You merely have the facade of a republic, but you are ruled by an oligarchy, who is in turn controlled by an element hidden in the 1%. I think I have heard it said before, “The masses are asses!” Hard words but true. The heroism of our service people is real and commendable, but their masters are not. False platitudes were given by our politicians today to the unprotected class. Encouraging the bereaved with words of freedom and sacrifice. Who is the true threat to our liberty? Who are the real enemies of the unprotected class?
I was pondering these thoughts as I went to Kalki Weisthor’s blog and began to read. (I encourage the reader to do like wise and to go to Memorial Day, and Our Wars and read. At times, it seems that Kalki and I have this mind meld going on.) Again hard words from Kalki. Words that might make you angry, but they are true. As a descendant of revolutionary war soldiers and confederate soldiers, Kalki’s words rang true for me. My father served on the U.S.S. Chicago in the Pacific during the occupation of Japan. My family was invested in that sad war and I honor their courage and sacrifice, but who or what were they really fighting for? Look deep beyond the propaganda, look behind the curtain. No more brothers wars! We have enough real enemies to contend with!
Today is about the death of our fallen heroes (enherjers). Nothing says courage in the face of death better than the Death Song of Ragnar Lodrok. I place it below for your study. This writer likes Ben Waggoner’s very readable translation, so reading it will be easy. Read it several times. Absorb it. We are all going to need courage in the future.
Ragnar Lodbrok´s Death Song
We struck with our swords!
Why should a warrior cower
before the ranks, when braving
the blizzard of spearpoints?
He who mourns his demise has
never fed meat often
to eagles in the edge-game.
It’s hard to urge on weaklings;
no coward takes courage
from his craven heart.
We struck with our swords!
I say it’s right for a lad
to dare to dash at foemen
as they draw swords together.
Let thane not shrink from thane—
that long was the warriors’ way;
maids’ darlings should be dauntless
in the din of swords, always.
We struck with our swords!
It seems to me an ordeal
that our fates we must follow;
few escape the Norns’ craft.
I didn’t imagine Aelle
as the end of my life,
when I fed blood-falcons
and forced keels through the water;
we gave wolves worthy payment
widely, in Scotland’s bays.
We struck with our swords!
My soul is glad, for I know
that Balder’s father’s benches
for a banquet are made ready.
We’ll toss back toasts of ale
from bent trees of the skulls;
no warrior bewails his death
in the wondrous house of Fjolnir.
Not one word of weakness
will I speak in Vidrir’s hall.
We struck with our swords!
The sons of Aslaug all would
rouse the wrath of Hild here
with their ruthless sword-blades,
if they fathomed fully
how far I have traveled,
how so many serpents
stab me with their poison.
My sons’ hearts will help them:
they have their mother’s lineage.
We struck with our swords!
Soon my life will have passed;
Goinn scars me sorely,
settles in my heart’s hall;
I wish the wand of Vidrir
would wound Aelle, one day.
My sons must feel great fury
that their father is put to death;
my daring swains won’t suffer
in silence when they hear this.
We struck with our swords!
I have stood in the ranks
at fifty-one folk-battles,
foremost of the lance-meet.
Never did I dream that
a different king could ever
be found, braver than me—
I bloodied spears when young.
Aesir will ask us to feast;
no anguish for my death.
I desire my death now.
The disir call me home,
whom Herjan hastens onward
from his hall, to take me.
On the high bench, boldly,
I’ll drink beer with the Aesir;
hope of life is lost now,
laughing shall I die!