Wikipedia: Santa Claus

Or: How Saint Nicholas came to live at the North Pole

Santa Claus

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1881 illustration by Thomas Nast who, along with Clement Clarke Moore’s poem A Visit from St. Nicholas, helped to create the modern image of Santa Claus.

The modern portrayal of Santa Claus frequently depicts him listening to children’s Christmas wishes.

Santa Claus, also known as Father ChristmasSaint NicholasSaint NickKris Kringle, or simply Santa, is a legendary figure originating in Western Christian culture who is said to bring gifts to the homes of well-behaved children on the night of Christmas Eve (24 December) or during the early morning hours of Christmas Day (25 December).[1] The modern Santa Claus grew out of traditions surrounding the historical Saint Nicholas (a fourth-century Greek bishop and gift-giver of Myra), the British figure of Father Christmas, and the Dutch figure of Sinterklaas (himself also based on Saint Nicholas). Some maintain Santa Claus also absorbed elements of the Germanic god Wodan, who was associated with the pagan midwinter event of Yule and led the Wild Hunt, a ghostly procession through the sky.

Santa Claus is generally depicted as a portly, jolly, white-bearded man—sometimes with spectacles—wearing a red coat with white fur collar and cuffs, white-fur-cuffed red trousers, red hat with white fur, and black leather belt and boots and carrying a bag full of gifts for children. This image became popular in the United States and Canada in the 19th century due to the significant influence of the 1823 poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” and of caricaturist and political cartoonist Thomas Nast.[2][3][4] This image has been maintained and reinforced through song, radio, television, children’s books, films, and advertising.

Santa Claus is said to make lists of children throughout the world, categorizing them according to their behavior, and to deliver presents, including toys and candy, to all of the well-behaved children in the world, and coal to all the misbehaving children, on the night of Christmas Eve. He accomplishes this feat with the aid of his elves, who make the toys in his workshop at the North Pole, and his flying reindeer, who pull his sleigh.[5][6] He is commonly portrayed as living at the North Pole, and laughing in a way that sounds like “ho ho ho”.

Predecessor figures

Saint Nicholas

A 13th-century depiction of St. Nicholas from Saint Catherine’s MonasterySinai

Saint Nicholas of Myra was a 4th-century Greek Christian bishop of Myra (now Demre) in Lycia. Nicholas was famous for his generous gifts to the poor, in particular presenting the three impoverished daughters of a pious Christian with dowries so that they would not have to become prostitutes.[7] He was very religious from an early age and devoted his life entirely to Christianity. In continental Europe (more precisely the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, the Czech Republic and Germany) he is usually portrayed as a bearded bishop in canonical robes.

In 1087, while the Greek Christian inhabitants of Myra were subjugated by newly arrived Muslim Turkish conquerors, and soon after their Greek Orthodox church had been declared to be in schism by the Catholic church (1054 AD), a group of merchants from the Italian city of Bari removed the major bones of Nicholas’s skeleton from his sarcophagus in the Greek church in Myra. Over the objection of the monks of Myra the sailors took the bones of St. Nicholas to Bari, where they are now enshrined in the Basilica di San Nicola. Sailors from Bari collected just half of Nicholas’ skeleton, leaving all the minor fragments in the church sarcophagus. These were later taken by Venetian sailors during the First Crusade and placed in Venice, where a church to St. Nicholas, the patron of sailors, was built on the San Nicolò al Lido. St. Nicholas’ vandalized sarcophagus can still be seen in the St. Nicholas Church in Myra. This tradition was confirmed in two important scientific investigations of the relics in Bari and Venice, which revealed that the relics in the two Italian cities belong to the same skeleton. Saint Nicholas was later claimed as a patron saint of many diverse groups, from archers, sailors, and children to pawnbrokers.[7][8] He is also the patron saint of both Amsterdam and Moscow.[9]

During the Middle Ages, often on the evening before his name day of 6 December, children were bestowed gifts in his honour. This date was earlier than the original day of gifts for the children, which moved in the course of the Reformation and its opposition to the veneration of saints in many countries on the 24th and 25 December. The custom of gifting to children at Christmas has been propagated by Martin Luther as an alternative to the previous very popular gift custom on St. Nicholas, to focus the interest of the children to Christ instead of the veneration of saints. Martin Luther first suggested the Christkind as the bringer of gifts. But Nicholas remained popular as gifts bearer for the people.[10][11][12]

Father Christmas

“Ghost of Christmas Present”, an illustration by John Leech made for Charles Dickens‘s festive classic A Christmas Carol (1843).

Father Christmas dates back as far as 16th century in England during the reign of Henry VIII, when he was pictured as a large man in green or scarlet robes lined with fur.[13] He typified the spirit of good cheer at Christmas, bringing peace, joy, good food and wine and revelry.[13] As England no longer kept the feast day of Saint Nicholas on 6 December, the Father Christmas celebration was moved to the 25th of December to coincide with Christmas Day.[13] The Victorian revival of Christmas included Father Christmas as the emblem of ‘good cheer’.[14] His physical appearance was variable,[15] with one famous image being John Leech’s illustration of the “Ghost of Christmas Present” in Charles Dickens‘s festive classic A Christmas Carol (1843), as a great genial man in a green coat lined with fur who takes Scrooge through the bustling streets of London on the current Christmas morning, sprinkling the essence of Christmas onto the happy populace.[13][14]

Dutch, Belgian and Swiss folklore

Sinterklaas, Netherlands (2009) on his horse called Slecht Weer Vandaag or Amerigo

In the Netherlands and Belgium, the character of Santa Claus has to compete with that of Sinterklaas, Santa’s presumed progenitor. Santa Claus is known as de Kerstman in Dutch (“the Christmas man”) and Père Noël (“Father Christmas”) in French. But for children in the Netherlands Sinterklaas remains the predominant gift-giver in December; 36% of the Dutch only give presents on Sinterklaas evening or the day itself (December 6[16]), whereas Christmas (December 25) is used by another 21% to give presents. Some 26% of the Dutch population gives presents on both days.[17] In Belgium, Sinterklaas day presents are offered exclusively to children, whereas on Christmas Day, all ages may receive presents. Sinterklaas’ assistants are called “Zwarte Pieten” (in Dutch, “Père Fouettard” in French), so they are not elves.[18] In Switzerland, Père Fouettard accompanies Père Noël in the French speaking region, while the sinister Schmutzli accompanies Samichlaus in the Swiss German region. Schmutzli carries a twig broom to spank the naughty children.[19]

Germanic paganism, Wodan, and Christianization

An 1886 depiction of the long-bearded Norse god Odin by Georg von Rosen

Prior to Christianization, the Germanic peoples (including the English) celebrated a midwinter event called Yule (Old English geola or giuli).[20] With the Christianization of Germanic Europe, numerous traditions were absorbed from Yuletide celebrations into modern Christmas.[21] During this period, supernatural and ghostly occurrences were said to increase in frequency, such as the Wild Hunt, a ghostly procession through the sky.[citation needed] The leader of the wild hunt is frequently attested as the god Wodan (Norse Odin), bearing (among many names) the names Jólnir, meaning “Yule figure”, and Langbarðr, meaning “long-beard”, in Old Norse.[22]

Wodan’s role during the Yuletide period has been theorized as having influenced concepts of St. Nicholas in a variety of facets, including his long white beard and his gray horse for nightly rides (compare Odin’s horse Sleipnir) or his reindeer in North American tradition.[23] Folklorist Margaret Baker maintains that “the appearance of Santa Claus or Father Christmas, whose day is the 25th of December, owes much to Odin, the old blue-hooded, cloaked, white-bearded Giftbringer of the north, who rode the midwinter sky on his eight-footed steed Sleipnir, visiting his people with gifts. … Odin, transformed into Father Christmas, then Santa Claus, prospered with St Nicholas and the Christchild, became a leading player on the Christmas stage.”[24]

In Finland, Santa Claus is called Joulupukki (direct translation ‘Christmas Goat’).[25] The flying reindeer could symbolize the use of fly agaric by Sámi shamans.[26]

History

Origins

Early representations of the gift-giver from Church history and folklore, notably St Nicholas (known in Dutch as Sinterklaas), merged with the English character Father Christmas to create the character known to Americans and the rest of the English-speaking world as “Santa Claus” (a phonetic derivation of “Sinterklaas”).

In the English and later British colonies of North America, and later in the United States, British and Dutch versions of the gift-giver merged further. For example, in Washington Irving‘s History of New York (1809), Sinterklaas was Americanized into “Santa Claus” (a name first used in the American press in 1773)[27] but lost his bishop’s apparel, and was at first pictured as a thick-bellied Dutch sailor with a pipe in a green winter coat. Irving’s book was a lampoon of the Dutch culture of New York, and much of this portrait is his joking invention.

19th century

Illustration to verse 1 of Old Santeclaus with Much Delight

1850 illustration of Saint Nicolas with his servant Père Fouettard / Zwarte Piet

December 24, 1864. This has usually been a very busy day with me, preparing for Christmas not only for my own tables, but for gifts for my servants. Now how changed! No confectionary, cakes, or pies can I have. We are all sad; no loud, jovial laugh from our boys is heard. Christmas Eve, which has ever been gaily celebrated here, which has witnessed the popping of firecrackers … and the hanging up of stockings, is an occasion now of sadness and gloom. I have nothing even to put in 8-year-old daughter Sadai’s stocking, which hangs so invitingly for Santa Claus. How disappointed she will be in the morning, though I have explained to her why he cannot come. Poor children! Why must the innocent suffer with the guilty?

Diary of Dolly Lunt Burge – written during the latter part of the American Civil War.[28]

In 1821, the book A New-year’s present, to the little ones from five to twelve was published in New York. It contained Old Santeclaus with Much Delight, an anonymous poem describing Santeclaus on a reindeer sleigh, bringing presents to children.[29] Some modern ideas of Santa Claus seemingly became canon after the anonymous publication of the poem “A Visit From St. Nicholas” (better known today as “The Night Before Christmas”) in the Troy, New YorkSentinel on 23 December 1823; Clement Clarke Moore later claimed authorship, though some scholars argue that Henry Livingston, Jr. (who died nine years before Moore’s claim) was the author.[7][30] St. Nick is described as being “chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf” with “a little round belly”, that “shook when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly”, in spite of which the “miniature sleigh” and “tiny reindeer” still indicate that he is physically diminutive. The reindeer were also named: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Dunder and Blixem (Dunder and Blixem came from the old Dutch words for thunder and lightning, which were later changed to the more German sounding Donner and Blitzen).[31]

By 1845 “Kris Kringle” was a common variant of Santa in parts of the United States.[32] A magazine article from 1853, describing American Christmas customs to British readers, refers to children hanging up their stockings on Christmas Eve for “a fabulous personage” whose name varies: in Pennsylvania he is usually called “Krishkinkle”, but in New York he is “St. Nicholas” or “Santa Claus”. The author[33] quotes Moore’s poem in its entirety, saying that its descriptions apply to Krishkinkle too.[34]

As the years passed, Santa Claus evolved in popular culture into a large, heavyset person. One of the first artists to define Santa Claus’s modern image was Thomas Nast, an American cartoonist of the 19th century. In 1863, a picture of Santa illustrated by Nast appeared in Harper’s Weekly.

Thomas Nast immortalized Santa Claus with an illustration for the 3 January 1863 issue of Harper’s Weekly. Santa was dressed in an American flag, and had a puppet with the name “Jeff” written on it, reflecting its Civil War context.

The story that Santa Claus lives at the North Pole may also have been a Nast creation. His Christmas image in the Harper’s issue dated 29 December 1866 was a collage of engravings titled Santa Claus and His Works, which included the caption “Santa Claussville, N.P.”[35] A color collection of Nast’s pictures, published in 1869, had a poem also titled “Santa Claus and His Works” by George P. Webster, who wrote that Santa Claus’s home was “near the North Pole, in the ice and snow”.[36] The tale had become well known by the 1870s. A boy from Colorado writing to the children’s magazine The Nursery in late 1874 said, “If we did not live so very far from the North Pole, I should ask Santa Claus to bring me a donkey.”[37]

The idea of a wife for Santa Claus may have been the creation of American authors, beginning in the mid-19th century. In 1889, the poet Katharine Lee Bates popularized Mrs. Claus in the poem “Goody Santa Claus on a Sleigh Ride”.

“Is There a Santa Claus?” was the title of an editorial appearing in the 21 September 1897 edition of The New York Sun. The editorial, which included the famous reply “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus“, has become an indelible part of popular Christmas lore in the United States and Canada.

In Russia, Ded Moroz emerged as a Santa Clause figure around the late 19th century[38] where Christmas for the Eastern Orthodox Church is kept on January 7.

20th century

L. Frank Baum‘s The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, a 1902 children’s book, further popularized Santa Claus. Much of Santa Claus’s mythos was not set in stone at the time, leaving Baum to give his “Neclaus” (Necile’s Little One) a wide variety of immortal support, a home in the Laughing Valley of Hohaho, and ten reindeer—who could not fly, but leapt in enormous, flight-like bounds. Claus’s immortality was earned, much like his title (“Santa”), decided by a vote of those naturally immortal. This work also established Claus’s motives: a happy childhood among immortals. When Ak, Master Woodsman of the World, exposes him to the misery and poverty of children in the outside world, Santa strives to find a way to bring joy into the lives of all children, and eventually invents toys as a principal means. Santa later appears in The Road to Oz as an honored guest at Ozma’s birthday party, stated to be famous and beloved enough for everyone to bow even before he is announced as “The most Mighty and Loyal Friend of Children, His Supreme Highness – Santa Claus”.

Images of Santa Claus were further popularized through Haddon Sundblom‘s depiction of him for The Coca-Cola Company‘s Christmas advertising in the 1930s.[7][39] The popularity of the image spawned urban legends that Santa Claus was invented by The Coca-Cola Company or that Santa wears red and white because they are the colors used to promote the Coca-Cola brand.[40] Historically, Coca-Cola was not the first soft drink company to utilize the modern image of Santa Claus in its advertising—White Rock Beverages had already used a red and white Santa to sell mineral water in 1915 and then in advertisements for its ginger ale in 1923.[41][42][43] Earlier still, Santa Claus had appeared dressed in red and white and essentially in his current form on several covers of Puck magazine in the first few years of the 20th century.[44]

A man dressed as Santa Claus fundraising for Volunteers of America on the sidewalk of street in Chicago, Illinois, in 1902. He is wearing a mask with a beard attached.

The image of Santa Claus as a benevolent character became reinforced with its association with charity and philanthropy, particularly by organizations such as the Salvation Army. Volunteers dressed as Santa Claus typically became part of fundraising drives to aid needy families at Christmas time.

In 1937, Charles W. Howard, who played Santa Claus in department stores and parades, established the Charles W. Howard Santa School, the oldest continuously-run such school in the world.[45]

In some images from the early 20th century, Santa was depicted as personally making his toys by hand in a small workshop like a craftsman. Eventually, the idea emerged that he had numerous elves responsible for making the toys, but the toys were still handmade by each individual elf working in the traditional manner.

The 1956 popular song by George Melachrino, “Mrs. Santa Claus”, and the 1963 children’s book How Mrs. Santa Claus Saved Christmas, by Phyllis McGinley, helped standardize and establish the character and role of Mrs. Claus in the popular imagination.

Seabury Quinn‘s 1948 novel Roads draws from historical legends to tell the story of Santa and the origins of Christmas. Other modern additions to the “story” of Santa include Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the 9th and lead reindeer created in 1939 by Robert L. May, a Montgomery Ward copywriter, and immortalized in a 1949 song by Gene Autry.

In popular culture

Santa1905PuckCover.jpg

By the end of the 20th century, the reality of mass mechanized production became more fully accepted by the Western public.[citation needed] Elves had been portrayed as using assembly lines to produce toys early in the 20th century. That shift was reflected in the modern depiction of Santa’s residence—now often humorously portrayed as a fully mechanized production and distribution facility, equipped with the latest manufacturing technology, and overseen by the elves with Santa and Mrs. Claus as executives or managers.[46] An excerpt from a 2004 article, from a supply chain managers’ trade magazine, aptly illustrates this depiction:

Santa’s main distribution center is a sight to behold. At 4,000,000 square feet (370,000 m2), it’s one of the world’s largest facilities. A real-time warehouse management system (WMS) is of course required to run such a complex. The facility makes extensive use of task interleaving, literally combining dozens of DC activities (putaway, replenishing, order picking, sleigh loading, cycle counting) in a dynamic queue … the DC elves have been on engineered standards and incentives for three years, leading to a 12% gain in productivity … The WMS and transportation system are fully integrated, allowing (the elves) to make optimal decisions that balance transportation and order picking and other DC costs. Unbeknownst to many, Santa actually has to use many sleighs and fake Santa drivers to get the job done Christmas Eve, and the transportation management system (TMS) optimally builds thousands of consolidated sacks that maximize cube utilization and minimize total air miles.[47]

In 1912 the actor Leedham Bantock became the first actor to be identified as having played Santa Claus in a film. Santa Claus, which he also directed, included scenes photographed in a limited, two-tone color process and featured the use of detailed models.[48][49] Since then many feature films have featured Santa Claus as a protagonist, including Miracle on 34th StreetThe Santa Clause and Elf.

In the cartoon base, Santa has been voiced by several people, including Stan Francis, Mickey RooneyEd AsnerJohn Goodman, and Keith Wickham.

Santa has been described as a positive male cultural icon:

Santa is really the only cultural icon we have who’s male, does not carry a gun, and is all about peace, joy, giving, and caring for other people. That’s part of the magic for me, especially in a culture where we’ve become so commercialized and hooked into manufactured icons. Santa is much more organic, integral, connected to the past, and therefore connected to the future.

— TV producer Jonathan Meath who portrays Santa, 2011[50]

Many television commercials, comic strips and other media depict this as a sort of humorous business, with Santa’s elves acting as a sometimes mischievously disgruntled workforce, cracking jokes and pulling pranks on their boss. For instance, a Bloom County story from 15 December 1981 through 24 December 1981 has Santa rejecting the demands of PETCO (Professional Elves Toy-Making and Craft Organization) for higher wages, a hot tub in the locker room, and “short broads,” with the elves then going on strike. President Reagan steps in, fires all of Santa’s helpers, and replaces them with out-of-work air traffic controllers (an obvious reference to the 1981 air traffic controllers’ strike), resulting in a riot before Santa vindictively rehires them in humiliating new positions such as his reindeer.[51] In The Sopranos episode, “…To Save Us All from Satan’s Power“, Paulie Gualtieri says he “Used to think Santa and Mrs. Claus were running a sweatshop over there … The original elves were ugly, traveled with Santa to throw bad kids a beatin’, and gave the good ones toys.”

In Kyrgyzstan, a mountain peak was named after Santa Claus, after a Swedish company had suggested the location be a more efficient starting place for present-delivering journeys all over the world, than Lapland. In the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, a Santa Claus Festival was held on 30 December 2007, with government officials attending. 2008 was officially declared the Year of Santa Claus in the country. The events are seen as moves to boost tourism in Kyrgyzstan.[52]

The Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of Santa Clauses is held by ThrissurKeralaIndia where on 27 December 2014, 18,112 Santas came overtaking the current record of Derry City, Northern Ireland. On 9 September 2007 where a total of 12,965 people dressed up as Santa or Santa’s helper which previously brought down the record of 3,921, which was set during the Santa Dash event in Liverpool City Centre in 2005.[53] A gathering of Santas in 2009 in Bucharest, Romania attempted to top the world record, but failed with only 3,939 Santas.[54]

Traditions and rituals

Chimney tradition

The tradition of Santa Claus entering dwellings through the chimney is shared by many European seasonal gift-givers. In pre-Christian Norse tradition, Odin would often enter through chimneys and fire holes on the solstice.[citation needed] In the Italian Befana tradition, the gift-giving witch is perpetually covered with soot from her trips down the chimneys of children’s homes. In the tale of Saint Nicholas, the saint tossed coins through a window, and, in a later version of the tale, down a chimney when he finds the window locked. In Dutch artist Jan Steen‘s painting, The Feast of Saint Nicholas, adults and toddlers are glancing up a chimney with amazement on their faces while other children play with their toys. The hearth was held sacred in primitive belief as a source of beneficence, and popular belief had elves and fairies bringing gifts to the house through this portal. Santa’s entrance into homes on Christmas Eve via the chimney was made part of American tradition through the poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” where the author described him as an elf.[55]

Christmas Eve rituals

A man dressed as Santa Claus waves to children from an annual holiday train in Chicago, 2012.

In the United States and Canada, children traditionally leave Santa a glass of milk and a plate of cookies; in Britain and Australia, he is sometimes given sherry or beer, and mince pies instead. In Denmark, Norway and Sweden, it is common for children to leave him rice porridge with cinnamon sugar instead. In Ireland it is popular to give him Guinness or milk, along with Christmas pudding or mince pies.

In Hungary, St. Nicolaus (Mikulás) comes on the night of 5 December and the children get their gifts the next morning. They get sweets in a bag if they were good, and a golden colored birch switch if not. On Christmas Eve “Little Jesus” comes and gives gifts for everyone.[56]

In Slovenia, Saint Nicholas (Miklavž) also brings small gifts for good children on the eve of 6 December. Božiček (Christmas Man) brings gifts on the eve of 25 December, and Dedek Mraz (Grandfather Frost) brings gifts in the evening of 31 December to be opened on New Years Day.

Hanging up stockings for Santa Claus, Ohio, 1928

New Zealand, British, Australian, Irish, Canadian, and American children also leave a carrot for Santa’s reindeer, and are told that if they are not good all year round that they will receive a lump of coal in their stockings, although the actual practice of giving coal is now considered archaic. Children following the Dutch custom for sinterklaas will “put out their shoe” (leave hay and a carrot for his horse in a shoe before going to bed, sometimes weeks before the sinterklaas avond). The next morning they will find the hay and carrot replaced by a gift; often, this is a marzipan figurine. Naughty children were once told that they would be left a roe (a bundle of sticks) instead of sweets, but this practice has been discontinued.

Other Christmas Eve Santa Claus rituals in the United States include reading A Visit from St. Nicholas or other tale about Santa Claus, watching a Santa or Christmas-related animated program on television (such as the aforementioned Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town and similar specials, such as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, among many others), and the singing of Santa Claus songs such as “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town“, “Here Comes Santa Claus“, and “Up on the House Top“. Last minute rituals for children before going to bed include aligning stockings at the mantelpiece or other place where Santa cannot fail to see them, peeking up the chimney (in homes with a fireplace), glancing out a window and scanning the heavens for Santa’s sleigh, and (in homes without a fireplace) unlocking an exterior door so Santa can easily enter the house. Tags on gifts for children are sometimes signed by their parents “From Santa Claus” before the gifts are laid beneath the tree.

A classic American image of Santa Claus.

Ho, ho, ho

Ho ho ho is the way that many languages write out how Santa Claus laughs. “Ho, ho, ho! Merry Christmas!” It is the textual rendition of a particular type of deep-throated laugh or chuckle, most associated today with Santa Claus and Father Christmas.

The laughter of Santa Claus has long been an important attribute by which the character is identified, but it also does not appear in many non-English-speaking countries. The traditional Christmas poem A Visit from St. Nicholas relates that Santa has:

… a little round belly
That shook when he laugh’d, like a bowl full of jelly

Home

Santa Claus’s home traditionally includes a residence and a workshop where he creates—often with the aid of elves or other supernatural beings—the gifts he delivers to good children at Christmas. Some stories and legends include a village, inhabited by his helpers, surrounding his home and shop.

In North American tradition (in the United States and Canada), Santa lives on the North Pole, which according to Canada Post lies within Canadian jurisdiction in postal code H0H 0H0[57] (a reference to “ho ho ho”, Santa’s notable saying, although postal codes starting with H are usually reserved for the island of Montreal in Québec). On 23 December 2008, Jason Kenney, Canada’s minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, formally awarded Canadian citizenship status to Santa Claus. “The Government of Canada wishes Santa the very best in his Christmas Eve duties and wants to let him know that, as a Canadian citizen, he has the automatic right to re-enter Canada once his trip around the world is complete,” Kenney said in an official statement.[58]

There is also a city named North Pole in Alaska where a tourist attraction known as the “Santa Claus House” has been established. The United States Postal Service uses the city’s ZIP code of 99705 as their advertised postal code for Santa Claus. A Wendy’s in North Pole, AK has also claimed to have a “sleigh fly through”.[59]

Each Nordic country claims Santa’s residence to be within their territory. Norway claims he lives in Drøbak. In Denmark, he is said to live in Greenland (near Uummannaq). In Sweden, the town of Mora has a theme park named Tomteland. The national postal terminal in Tomteboda in Stockholm receives children’s letters for Santa. In Finland, Korvatunturi has long been known as Santa’s home, and two theme parks, Santa Claus Village and Santa Park are located near Rovaniemi. In Belarus there is a home of Ded Moroz in Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park.[60]

Parades, department stores, and shopping malls

Eaton’s Santa Claus Parade, 1918, Toronto, Canada. Having arrived at the Eaton’s department store, Santa is readying his ladder to climb up onto the building.

Giant Santa Claus, Philippines

Santa Claus appears in the weeks before Christmas in department stores or shopping malls, or at parties. The practice of this has been credited[dubious ] to James Edgar, as he started doing this in 1890 in his Brockton, Massachusetts department store.[61] He is played by an actor, usually helped by other actors (often mall employees) dressed as elves or other creatures of folklore associated with Santa. Santa’s function is either to promote the store’s image by distributing small gifts to children, or to provide a seasonal experience to children by listening to their wishlist while having them sit on his knee (a practice now under review by some organisations in Britain,[62] and Switzerland[63]). Sometimes a photograph of the child and Santa are taken. Having a Santa set up to take pictures with children is a ritual that dates back at least to 1918.[64]

The area set up for this purpose is festively decorated, usually with a large throne, and is called variously “Santa’s Grotto”, “Santa’s Workshop” or a similar term. In the United States, the most notable of these is the Santa at the flagship Macy’s store in New York City—he arrives at the store by sleigh in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on the last float, and his court takes over a large portion of one floor in the store. The Macy’s Santa Claus in New York City is often said to be the real Santa. This was popularized by the 1947 film Miracle on 34th Street with Santa Claus being called Kris Kringle. Essayist David Sedaris is known for the satirical SantaLand Diaries he kept while working as an elf in the Macy’s display, which were turned into a famous radio segment and later published.

In Canada, malls operated by Oxford Properties established a process by which autistic children could visit Santa Claus at the mall without having to contend with crowds.[65] The malls open early to allow entry only to families with autistic children, who have a private visit with Santa Claus. In 2012, the Southcentre Mall in Calgary was the first mall to offer this service.[66]

In the United Kingdom, discount store Poundland changes the voice of its self-service checkouts to that of Santa Claus throughout the Christmas retail period.[67]

Santa Claus portrayed by children’s television producer Jonathan Meath, 2010

There are schools offering instruction on how to act as Santa Claus. For example, children’s television producer Jonathan Meath studied at the International School of Santa Claus and earned the degree Master of Santa Claus in 2006. It blossomed into a second career for him, and after appearing in parades and malls,[68] he appeared on the cover of the American monthly Boston Magazine as Santa.[69] There are associations with members who portray Santa; for example, Mr. Meath was a board member of the international organization called Fraternal Order of Real Bearded Santas.[70]

Letter writing to Santa

Writing letters to Santa Claus has been a Christmas tradition for children for many years. These letters normally contain a wishlist of toys and assertions of good behavior. Some social scientists have found that boys and girls write different types of letters. Girls generally write longer but more polite lists and express the nature of Christmas more in their letters than in letters written by boys. Girls also more often request gifts for other people.[71]

Many postal services allow children to send letters to Santa Claus. These letters may be answered by postal workers or outside volunteers.[72] Writing letters to Santa Claus has the educational benefits of promoting literacy, computer literacy, and e-mail literacy. A letter to Santa is often a child’s first experience of correspondence. Written and sent with the help of a parent or teacher, children learn about the structure of a letter, salutations, and the use of an address and postcode.[73]

According to the Universal Postal Union (UPU)’s 2007 study and survey of national postal operations, the United States Postal Service (USPS) has the oldest Santa letter answering effort by a national postal system. The USPS Santa letter answering effort started in 1912 out of the historic James Farley Post Office[74] in New York, and since 1940 has been called “Operation Santa” to ensure that letters to Santa are adopted by charitable organizations, major corporations, local businesses and individuals in order to make children’s holiday dreams come true from coast to coast.[72] Those seeking a North Pole holiday postmark through the USPS, are told to send their letter from Santa or a holiday greeting card by 10 December to: North Pole Holiday Postmark, Postmaster, 4141 Postmark Dr, Anchorage, AK 99530-9998.[75]

In 2006, according to the UPU’s 2007 study and survey of national postal operations, France’s Postal Service received the most letters for Santa Claus or “Père Noël” with 1,220,000 letters received from 126 countries.[76] France’s Postal Service in 2007 specially recruited someone to answer the enormous volume of mail that was coming from Russia for Santa Claus.[72]

Other interesting Santa letter processing information, according to the UPU’s 2007 study and survey of national postal operations, are:[72]

  • Countries whose national postal operators answer letters to Santa and other end-of-year holiday figures, and the number of letters received in 2006: Germany (500,000), Australia (117,000), Austria (6,000), Bulgaria (500), Canada (1,060,000), Spain (232,000), United States (no figure, as statistics are not kept centrally), Finland (750,000), France (1,220,000), Ireland (100,000), New Zealand (110,000), Portugal (255,000), Poland (3,000), Slovakia (85,000), Sweden (150,000), Switzerland (17,863), Ukraine (5,019), United Kingdom (750,000).
  • In 2006, Finland’s national postal operation received letters from 150 countries (representing 90% of the letters received), France’s Postal Service from 126 countries, Germany from 80 countries, and Slovakia from 20 countries.
  • In 2007, Canada Post replied to letters in 26 languages and Deutsche Post in 16 languages.
  • Some national postal operators make it possible to send in e-mail messages which are answered by physical mail. All the same, Santa still receives far more letters than e-mail through the national postal operators, proving that children still write letters. National postal operators offering the ability to use an on-line web form (with or without a return e-mail address) to Santa and obtain a reply include Canada Post[77] (on-line web request form in English and French), France’s Postal Service (on-line web request form in French),[78][79] and New Zealand Post[80] (on-line web request form in English).[81] In France, by 6 December 2010, a team of 60 postal elves had sent out reply cards in response to 80,000 e-mail on-line request forms and more than 500,000 physical letters.[73]

Canada Post has a special postal code for letters to Santa Claus, and since 1982 over 13,000 Canadian postal workers have volunteered to write responses. His address is: Santa Claus, North Pole, CanadaH0H 0H0; no postage is required.[82] (see also: Ho ho ho). (This postal code, in which zeroes are used for the letter “O”, is consistent with the alternating letter-number format of all Canadian postal codes.) Sometimes children’s charities answer letters in poor communities, or from children’s hospitals, and give them presents they would not otherwise receive. From 2002 to 2014, the program replied to approximately “one million letters or more a year, and in total answered more than 24.7 million letters”;[83] as of 2015, it responds to more than 1.5 million letters per year, “in over 30 languages, including Braille … answer[ing] them all in the language they are written”.[84]

In Britain it was traditional for some to burn the Christmas letters on the fire so that they would be magically transported by the wind to the North Pole. However this has been found to be less efficient than the use of the normal postal service, and this tradition is dying out in modern times, especially with few homes having open fires.[85] According to the Royal Mail website, Santa’s address for letters from British children is: Santa/Father Christmas, Santa’s Grotto, Reindeerland, XM4 5HQ [86]

In Mexico and other Latin American countries, besides using the mail, sometimes children wrap their letters to a small helium balloon, releasing them into the air so Santa magically receives them.[85]

In 2010, the Brazilian National Post Service, “Correios” formed partnerships with public schools and social institutions to encourage children to write letters and make use of postcodes and stamps. In 2009, the Brazilian National Post Service, “Correios” answered almost two million children’s letters, and spread some seasonal cheer by donating 414,000 Christmas gifts to some of Brazil’s neediest citizens.[73]

Through the years, the Finnish Santa Claus (Joulupukki or “Yule Goat“) has received over eight million letters. He receives over 600,000 letters every year from over 198 different countries with Togo being the most recent country added to the list.[73] Children from Great Britain, Poland and Japan are the busiest writers. The Finnish Santa Claus lives in Korvatunturi, however the Santa Claus Main Post Office is situated in Rovaniemi precisely at the Arctic circle. His address is: Santa Claus’ Main Post Office, Santa Claus Village, FIN-96930 Arctic Circle. The post office welcomes 300,000 visitors a year, with 70,000 visitors in December alone.[73]

Children can also receive a letter from Santa through a variety of private agencies and organizations, and on occasion public and private cooperative ventures. An example of a public and private cooperative venture is the opportunity for expatriate and local children and parents to receive postmarked mail and greeting cards from Santa during December in the Finnish Embassy in Beijing, People’s Republic of China,[87] Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi, Finland, and the People’s Republic of China Postal System’s Beijing International Post Office.[88][89][90][91] Parents can order a personalized “Santa letter” to be sent to their child, often with a North Pole postmark. The “Santa Letter” market generally relies on the internet as a medium for ordering such letters rather than retail stores.[undue weight? ]

Tracking Santa Claus

The Christmas issue of NOAA‘s Weather Bureau Topics with “Santa Claus” streaking across a weather radar screen, 1958

A number of websites created by various organizations track Santa Claus each year. Some, such as NORAD Tracks Santa, the Airservices Australia Tracks Santa Project,[92][93][94] the Santa Update Project, and the MSNBC and Bing Maps Platform Tracks Santa Project[95][96] have endured. Others, such as the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport‘s Tracks Santa Project[97][98][99] and the NASA Tracks Santa Project,[100] no longer actively track Santa.

1955 Sears ad with the misprinted telephone number that led to the creation of the NORAD Tracks Santa program

The origins of the NORAD Tracks Santa programme began in the United States in 1955, when a Sears Roebuck store in Colorado Springs, Colorado, gave children a number to call a “Santa hotline“. The number was mistyped, resulting in children calling the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) on Christmas Eve instead. The Director of Operations, Colonel Harry Shoup, received the first call for Santa and responded by telling children that there were signs on the radar that Santa was indeed heading south from the North Pole. A tradition began which continued under the name NORAD Tracks Santa when in 1958 Canada and the United States jointly created the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD).[101][102] This tracking can now be done via the Internet and NORAD’s website.

In the past, many local television stations in the United States and Canada likewise claimed they “tracked Santa Claus” in their own metropolitan areas through the stations’ meteorologists. In December 2000, the Weather Channel built upon these local efforts to provide a national Christmas Eve “Santa tracking” effort, called “SantaWatch” in cooperation with NASA, the International Space Station, and Silicon Valley-based new multimedia firm Dreamtime Holdings.[103] In the 21st century, most local television stations in the United States and Canada rely upon outside established “Santa tracking” efforts, such as NORAD Tracks Santa.[104]

Many other websites became available year-round, devoted to Santa Claus and purport to keep tabs on his activities in his workshop. Many of these websites also include email addresses which allow children to send email to Santa Claus. Some websites, such as Santa’s page on Microsoft’s Windows Live Spaces, however have used or still use “bots” to compose and send email replies, with occasional unfortunate results.[105][106]

In addition to providing holiday-themed entertainment, “Santa tracking” websites raise interest in space technology and exploration,[107] serve to educate children in geography.[108] and encourage them to take an interest in science.[109][110]

Criticism

Calvinist and Puritan opposition

Santa Claus has partial Christian roots in Saint Nicholas, particularly in the high church denominations that practice the veneration of him, in addition to other saints. In light of this, the character has sometimes been the focus of controversy over the holiday and its meanings. Some Christians, particularly Calvinists and Puritans, disliked the idea of Santa Claus, as well as Christmas in general, believing that the lavish celebrations were not in accordance with their faith.[111] Other nonconformist Christians condemn the materialist focus of contemporary gift giving and see Santa Claus as the symbol of that culture.[112]

Condemnation of Christmas was prevalent among the 17th-century English Puritans and Dutch Calvinists who banned the holiday as either pagan or Roman Catholic. The American colonies established by these groups reflected this view. Tolerance for Christmas increased after the Restoration but the Puritan opposition to the holiday persisted in New England for almost two centuries.[113] In the Dutch New Netherland colony, season celebrations focused on New Year’s Day.

Excerpt from Josiah King’s The Examination and Tryal of Father Christmas (1686), published shortly after Christmas was reinstated as a holy day in England; Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C.

Following the Restoration of the monarchy and with Puritans out of power in England,[114] the ban on Christmas was satirized in works such as Josiah King’s The Examination and Tryal of Old Father Christmas; Together with his Clearing by the Jury (1686).[115]

Reverend Paul Nedergaard, a clergyman in Copenhagen, Denmark, attracted controversy in 1958 when he declared Santa to be a “pagan goblin” (“en hedensk trold” in Danish) after Santa’s image was used on the annual Christmas stamp (“julemærke”) for a Danish children’s welfare organization.[116] A number of denominations of Christians have varying concerns about Santa Claus, which range from acceptance to denouncement.[117][118]

Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Christian Science movement, wrote: “the children should not be taught that Santa Claus has aught to do with this [Christmas] pastime. A deceit or falsehood is never wise. Too much cannot be done towards guarding and guiding well the germinating and inclining thought of childhood. To mould aright the first impressions of innocence, aids in perpetuating purity and in unfolding the immortal model, man in His image and likeness.”[119]

Opposition under state atheism

Under the Marxist–Leninist doctrine of state atheism in the Soviet Union after its foundation in 1917, Christmas celebrations—along with other religious holidays—were prohibited as a result of the Soviet antireligious campaign.[120][121] The League of Militant Atheists encouraged school pupils to campaign against Christmas traditions, among them being Santa Claus and the Christmas tree, as well as other Christian holidays including Easter; the League established an antireligious holiday to be the 31st of each month as a replacement.[122][123]

The government of the People’s Republic of China officially espouses state atheism,[124] and has conducted antireligious campaigns to this end.[125] In December 2018, officials raided Christian churches just prior to Christmastide and coerced them to close; Christmas trees and Santa Clauses were also forcibly removed.[126][127][128]

Symbol of commercialism

In his book Nicholas: The Epic Journey from Saint to Santa Claus, writer Jeremy Seal describes how the commercialization of the Santa Claus figure began in the 19th century. “In the 1820s he began to acquire the recognizable trappings: reindeer, sleigh, bells,” said Seal in an interview.[129] “They are simply the actual bearings in the world from which he emerged. At that time, sleighs were how you got about Manhattan.”

Writing in Mothering, writer Carol Jean-Swanson makes similar points, noting that the original figure of St. Nicholas gave only to those who were needy and that today Santa Claus seems to be more about conspicuous consumption:

Our jolly old Saint Nicholas reflects our culture to a T, for he is fanciful, exuberant, bountiful, over-weight, and highly commercial. He also mirrors some of our highest ideals: childhood purity and innocence, selfless giving, unfaltering love, justice, and mercy. (What child has ever received a coal for Christmas?) The problem is that, in the process, he has become burdened with some of society’s greatest challenges: materialism, corporate greed, and domination by the media. Here, Santa carries more in his baggage than toys alone![130]

In the Czech Republic, a group of advertising professionals started a website against Santa Claus, a relatively recent phenomenon in that country.[131] “Czech Christmases are intimate and magical. All that Santa stuff seems to me like cheap show business,” said David König of the Creative Copywriters Club, pointing out that it is primarily an American and British tradition. “I’m not against Santa himself. I’m against Santa in my country only.” In the Czech tradition, presents are delivered by Ježíšek, which translates as Baby Jesus.

In the United Kingdom, Father Christmas was historically depicted wearing a green cloak.[citation needed] As Father Christmas has been increasingly merged into the image of Santa Claus, that has been changed to the more commonly known red suit.[132] However, Santa had been portrayed in a red suit in the 19th century by Thomas Nast among others.[133]

A law in the U.S. state of Ohio prohibits the usage of Santa Claus or his image to sell alcoholic beverages. The law came to attention when the beer brand Bud Light attempted to use its mascot Spuds MacKenzie in a Santa Claus outfit during a December 1987 ad campaign; Bud Light was forced to stop using the imagery.[134]

Controversy about deceiving children

Psychologists generally differentiate between telling fictional stories that feature Santa Claus and actively deceiving a child into believing that Santa Claus is real. Imaginative play, in which children know that Santa Claus is only a character in a story but pretend that he is real, just like they pretend that superheroes or other fictional characters are real, is widely believed to be valuable. However, actively deceiving a child into believing in Santa Claus’s real-world existence, sometimes even to the extent of fabricating false evidence to convince them despite their growing natural doubts, does not result in imaginative play and can promote credulity in the face of strong evidence against Santa Claus’s existence.[135][136]

Various psychologists and researchers have wrestled with the ways that young children are convinced of the existence of Santa Claus, and have wondered whether children’s abilities to critically weigh real-world evidence may be undermined by their belief in this or other imaginary figures. For example, University of Texas psychology professor Jacqueline Woolley helped conduct a study that found, to the contrary, that children seemed competent in their use of logic, evidence, and comparative reasoning even though they might conclude that Santa Claus or other fanciful creatures were real:

The adults they count on to provide reliable information about the world introduce them to Santa. Then his existence is affirmed by friends, books, TV and movies. It is also validated by hard evidence: the half-eaten cookies and empty milk glasses by the tree on Christmas morning. In other words, children do a great job of scientifically evaluating Santa. And adults do a great job of duping them.[137]

— Jacqueline Wooley

Woolley posited that it is perhaps “kinship with the adult world” that causes children not to be angry that they were lied to for so long.[137] However, the criticism about this deception is not that it is a simple lie, but a complicated series of very large lies.[138]

Typical objections to presenting Santa Claus as a literally real person, rather than a story, include:

With no greater good at the heart of this lie than having some fun, some have charged that the deception is more about the parents, their short-term happiness in seeing children excited about Santa Claus, and their nostalgic unwillingness to prolong the age of magical thinking, than it is about the children.[136]

Others, however, see little harm in the belief in Santa Claus. Psychologist Tamar Murachver said that because it is a cultural, not parental, lie, it does not usually undermine parental trust.[140] The New Zealand Skeptics also see no harm in parents telling their children that Santa is real. Spokesperson Vicki Hyde said, “It would be a hard-hearted parent indeed who frowned upon the innocent joys of our children’s cultural heritage. We save our bah humbugs for the things that exploit the vulnerable.”[140]

Most of them do not remain angry or embarrassed about the deception for very long. John Condry of Cornell University interviewed more than 500 children for a study of the issue and found that not a single child was angry at his or her parents for telling them Santa Claus was real. According to Dr. Condry, “The most common response to finding out the truth was that they felt older and more mature. They now knew something that the younger kids did not”.[141] In other studies, a small fraction of children felt betrayed by their parents, but disappointment was a more common response.[136] Some children have reacted poorly, including rejecting the family’s religious beliefs on the grounds that if the parents lied about the unprovable existence of Santa Claus, then they might lie about the unprovable existence of God as well.[136] By contrast Kyle Johnson of King’s College wrote, “It’s a lie, it degrades your parental trustworthiness, it encourages credulity, it does not encourage imagination, and it’s equivalent to bribing your kids for good behavior.”[142]

See also

Related figures

  • Amu Nowruz
  • Belsnickel — a German gift-giver and punisher of naughty children, a.k.a. Kriskringle
  • Companions of Saint Nicholas
  • Ded Moroz — (Father Frost, Russian: Дед Мороз) plays a role similar to Santa Claus
  • Joulupukki — original Santa-Claus from Finland
  • Krampus — in German-speaking Alpine folklore, a horned figure who, during the Christmas season, punishes children who have misbehaved
  • Mikulás — Hungary, Poland, Romania Slovenia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, a figure who brings treats before Christmas
  • Moș Gerilă — name of a character from Romanian communist propaganda
  • Olentzero — Basque character, possibly derived from Roman traditions
  • Saint Nicholas of Myra
  • Saint Basil —who is believed to bring Christmas gifts for children in Greek Orthodox tradition
  • Sinterklaas — Dutch mythical figure
  • Tomte — Scandinavian mythical character
  • Yule Goat — Scandinavian Christmas symbol
  • Yule Lads — a group of Icelandic figures who may leave gifts or rotting potatoes in the days before Christmas

Other

References

Notes

  1. ^ Krulwich, Robert. “How Does Santa Do It?”. ABC News. Retrieved 25 December2015.
  2. ^ Coke denies claims it bottled familiar Santa image, Jim Auchmutey, Rocky Mountain News, 10 December 2007.
  3. ^ “Santa’s arrival lights up the Green”. Archived from the original on 5 December 2012.
  4. ^ Penne L. Restad (5 December 1996). Christmas in America: A HistoryISBN 9780195355093.
  5. ^ B. K. Swartz, Jr.; THE ORIGIN OF AMERICAN CHRISTMAS MYTH AND CUSTOMS Archived 30 April 2011 at the Wayback Machine; Retrieved 22 December 2007
  6. ^ Jeff Westover; The Legendary Role of Reindeer in Christmas Archived 3 August 2012 at the Wayback Machine; Retrieved 22 December 2007
  7. Jump up to:a b c d “Santa Claus: The real man behind the myth”NBC News. 22 December 2009. Retrieved 27 December 2009.
  8. ^ “Saint Nicholas ::: People”. Stnicholascenter.org. Retrieved 21 December 2010.
  9. ^ “Saint Nicholas ::: Places”. Stnicholascenter.org. Retrieved 21 December 2010.
  10. ^ Rudolf Öller: 2004 Martin Luthers Christkind; in: Welt der Naturwissenschaften, Ausgabe Dezember 2004
  11. ^ Wie Abraham Lincoln den Weihnachtsmann erfand – spiegel.de
  12. ^ “Ein Verkaufsfahrer diente als Vorbild – angeblich – manager magazin”.
  13. Jump up to:a b c d William J. Federer (2002). “There Really Is a Santa Claus: The History of St. Nicholas & Christmas Holiday Traditions” p. 39. Amerisearch, Inc., 2002
  14. Jump up to:a b Jacqueline Simpson, Steve Roud (2000) “English Folklore”. Oxford University Press, 2000
  15. ^ A children’s party given in England on 26 December 1842 featured ‘venerable effigies’ of Father Christmas and the Old Year; ‘ … Father Christmas with scarlet coat and cocked hat, stuck all over with presents for the guests … ‘ R. L. Brett, ed., Barclay Fox’s Journal, Bell and Hyman, London, 1979
  16. ^ Davis, Derek H. (18 November 2010). The Oxford Handbook of Church and State in the United States. Oxford University Press. pp. 334–. ISBN 9780190208783. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  17. ^ “Nibud Pers, persberichten” (in Dutch). NIBUD. 2003. Archived from the original on 14 December 2009. Netherlands budget institute table showing money spent by households categorised into those that give gifts only on Sint (36%), only on Christmas day (21%), on both days (26%)
  18. ^ “Sinterklaas Arrival–Amsterdam, the Netherlands”. St. Nicholas Center. 2008. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  19. ^ swissinfo.ch, Morven McLean. “Schmutzli: the Swiss Santa’s sinister sidekick”SWI swissinfo.ch. Retrieved 25 December 2017.
  20. ^ Orchard, Andy (1997). Dictionary of Norse Mythology and Legend, page 187. Cassell.
  21. ^ Simek, Rudolf (2007) translated by Angela Hall. Dictionary of Northern Mythology, pages 379–380. D.S. Brewer. & Orchard (1997:1987).
  22. ^ For the wild hunt, Simek (2010:372–373). For Jólnir, see Simek (2010:180) and Orchard (1997:189). For Langbarðr, see Simek (2010:186).
  23. ^ For example, see McKnight, George Harley (1917). St. Nicholas: His Legend and His Role in the Christmas Celebration and Other Popular Customs, pages 24–26, 138–139. G. P. Putman’s sons. & Springwood, Charles Fruehling (2009). “If Santa Wuz Black: The Domestication of a White Myth”, pages 243–244. As published in Studies in Symbolic Interaction: Volume 33 of Studies in Symbolic Interactions Series. Emerald Group Publishing. ISBN 9781848557840 archive.org copy
  24. ^ Baker, Margaret (2007 1962). Discovering Christmas Customs and Folklore: A Guide to Seasonal Rites Throughout the World, page 62. Osprey Publishing.
  25. ^ Sirén, Ilkka. “Does Santa Claus come from Finland?”http://www.bbc.com. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  26. ^ BBC Studios, Magic mushrooms & Reindeer – Weird Nature – BBC animals, retrieved 22 December 2018
  27. ^ “Last Monday, the anniversary of St. Nicholas, otherwise called Santa Claus, was celebrated at Protestant Hall, at Mr. Waldron’s; where a great number of sons of the ancient saint the Sons of Saint Nicholas celebrated the day with great joy and festivity.” Rivington’s Gazette (New York City), 23 December 1773.
  28. ^ A Woman’s Wartime Journal, An account of Sherman’s devastation of a southern plantation. Dolly Sumner Lunt Burge, 1988 (orig. 1927), Cherokee Publishing, Marietta GA. ISBN 0-87797-149-8.
  29. ^ “mentioning Don Foster, Author Unknown: On the Trail of Anonymous (New York: Henry Holt, 2000 : 221–75) for the attribution of Old Santeclaus to Clement Clarke Moore”. Tspace.library.utoronto.ca. Retrieved 21 December 2010.
  30. ^ Kirkpatrick, David D. (26 October 2000). “Whose Jolly Old Elf Is That, Anyway?; Literary Sleuth Casts Doubt on the Authorship of an Iconic Christmas Poem”The New York TimesISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  31. ^ Snopes The Donner Party’s over; on reindeer name changes.
  32. ^ “Advertisement for Harrison’s Bookstore”. Baltimore American Republican And Daily Clipper (p.3). 1 January 1846.
  33. ^ The article is signed “Uneda”, an anagrammatic pen-name used by William Duane (1808-1882) of Philadelphia, son of William John Duane.
  34. ^ “Notes and Queries”, volume 8 (217), 24 December 1853, p.615
  35. ^ Thomas Nast, Santa Claus and His Works, 1866. The phrase “Santa Claussville, N.P.” is on the curved border to the right of center, above the large word “Claus”.
  36. ^ Jeremy Seal, Nicholas: The Epic Journey From Saint to Santa Claus, Bloomsbury, 2005, p. 199–200. ISBN 978-1-58234-419-5.
  37. ^ Ralph Armstrong, age 6, “A Letter From Colorado“, The Nursery, 1875, vol. 18, pp. 42–43.
  38. ^ Dan Nosowitz, How Santa Survived the Soviet Era
  39. ^ “Image Gallery Santa 1931”Press Center. Coca-Cola Company. Retrieved 28 October 2011.
  40. ^ The Claus That Refreshes Snopes.com . Retrieved 7 January 2008.
  41. ^ The White Rock Collectors Association, “Did White Rock or The Coca-Cola Company create the modern Santa Claus Advertisement?,” whiterocking.org, 2001 Retrieved 19 January 2007.
  42. ^ White Rock Beverages, “Coca-Cola’s Santa Claus: Not The Real Thing!,” BevNET.com, 18 December 2006.
  43. ^ White Rock Beverages, “Coca-Cola’s Santa Claus: Not The Real Thing!,” BevNET.com, 18 December 2006 . Retrieved 19 January 2007.
  44. ^ thumb|Santa Claus on the 1902 cover of Puck magazinethumb|Santa Claus on the 1904 cover of Puck magazinethumb|Santa Claus on the 1905 cover of Puck magazine.
  45. ^ Susman, Tina (30 October 2011). “Claus and effect: The ultimate Santa school”Los Angeles Times.
  46. ^ Nissenbaum, chap. 2; Belk, 87–100
  47. ^ The North Pole’s Turbo Supply Chain SupplyChainDigest News, 16 December 2004
  48. ^ Bantock in Santa Claus (1912) – Santa @ the Movies: The Timeline
  49. ^ Leedham Bantock in Santa Claus (1912) – British Film Institute
  50. ^ Aldrich, Ian (November 2011). “The Big Question: Why Should We Believe in Santa? We ask Kris Kringle, a.k.a. Jonathan Meath: Why Should We Believe in Santa?”Yankee Magazine. Retrieved 12 December 2012… Santa is really the only cultural icon we have who’s male, does not carry a gun, and is all about peace …
  51. ^ “High Five! Top Five! – Bizarre Santa Claus Cameos in Comics by Robert Bazz, December 13, 2010”. High Five! Comics. Retrieved 25 February 2011.
  52. ^ Kyrgyzstan: Central Asian Country Welcomes Santa Claus To His New Home. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 30 December 2007
  53. ^ guinness world records http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/records/amazing_feats/mass_participation/largest_gathering_Santa_Claus.aspx
  54. ^ “Guiness [sic] World Record Santa Claus Costumes | WebPhotoBlog | imagini, fotografii, pictures, poze, images”. Webphoto.ro. 30 November 2009. Retrieved 29 September 2010.
  55. ^ Walsh, Joseph J.. Were They Wise Men Or Kings?: The Book of Christmas Questions. Westminster John Knox Press, 2001. ISBN 0-664-22312-5.
  56. ^ Christmas Traditions in Hungary (2019) – TripSavvy
  57. ^ “Canada Post – Newsroom – Letters to the Editor”. 24 April 2008. Archived from the original on 24 April 2008.
  58. ^ Santa Claus declared a Canadian citizen Toronto Sun, 12 December 2008
  59. ^ “2010–2011 North Pole Visitor Guide”. webcache.googleusercontent.com. 31 March 2010. Retrieved 29 September 2010.[dead link]
  60. ^ “Беловежская пуща – Фотоэнциклопедия Беларуси”.
  61. ^ Allegrini, Elaine (15 November 2008). “James Edgar’s Santa Claus—the spirit of Christmas”The EnterpriseBrockton, Massachusetts. Retrieved 29 November2009.
  62. ^ “New Santa clauses introduced”BBC News. 9 December 2002. Retrieved 23 May 2010.
  63. ^ Connolly, Kate. “Swiss Santas are banned from sitting children on their laps”The Daily Telegraph. Berlin. Archived from the original on 20 July 2006. Retrieved 23 May 2010.
  64. ^ “A Visit from St. Nick”. Squareamerica.com. Archived from the original on 24 December 2010. Retrieved 21 December 2010.
  65. ^ DeMara, Bruce (25 November 2013). “Autistic kids get quiet time with Santa at malls”Toronto Star. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  66. ^ “Canadian malls offer quieter, calmer visits with Santa for kids with autism”. CTVNews. 24 November 2013. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  67. ^ Elsom, Jack (1 November 2018). “WATCH: Elvis, Dracula and Santa entertain customers at Poundland store in Derry”Derry Now. Retrieved 30 August 2019.
  68. ^ Edward B. Colby (3 December 2009). “Town in the spirit: Dedham Square to be filled with song, shopping”Dedham Transcript. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 13 November 2010DEDHAM—The fifth annual Dedham Square Holiday Stroll this … At 6 p.m., Jonathan Meath – better known as Santa JG, who performs with the Boston Pops – will entertain children and families at Cafe Video Paradiso with a sing-along with Santa. “We booked him months ago because we knew that he’s in demand this time of year,” Haelsen says.
  69. ^ Mary Ann Georgantopoulos (23 December 2007). “Miracle on Mass. Ave.: City Santa takes suit seriously”The Boston Globe. Retrieved 13 November 2010Santa Claus is coming to town. More accurately, he’s from town—Cambridge that is. Jonathan Meath is the perfect fit for a Santa.
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  117. ^ Santa Claus: The great imposter, Terry Watkins, Dial-the-Truth Ministries.
  118. ^ To Santa or Not to Santa, Sylvia Cochran, Families Online Magazine.
  119. ^ Eddy, Mary Baker (1925). Miscellany, p. 261, in Prose Works other than Science and Health. Trustees under the will of Mary Baker G. Eddy, Boston, USA.
  120. ^ Connelly, Mark (2000). Christmas at the Movies: Images of Christmas in American, British and European Cinema. I.B.Tauris. p. 186. ISBN 9781860643972A chapter on representations of Christmas in Soviet cinema could, in fact be the shortest in this collection: suffice it to say that there were, at least officially, no Christmas celebrations in the atheist socialist state after its foundation in 1917.
  121. ^ Echo of Islam. MIG. 1993. In the former Soviet Union, fir trees were usually put up to mark New Year’s day, following a tradition established by the officially atheist state.
  122. ^ Luzer, Daniel (26 November 2013). “What a Real War on Christmas Looks Like”Pacific Standard. Retrieved 12 November 2014There were several anti-religious campaigns, the most dramatic of which occurred in the 1920s. According to a piece published by the School of Russian and Asia Studies: In 1925, Christmas was effectively banned under the officially atheist Soviets, and was not to return to Russian lands until 1992. The New Year celebration usurped the traditions of a Christmas Tree (Ёлка), Santa (known in Russian as “Дед Mopoз” or “Grandfather Frost”), and presents. In the Russian tradition, Grandfather Frost’s granddaughter, the Snow Maiden (Снегурочка), always accompanies him to help distribute the gifts. Elves are not associated with the holiday. The state prohibited people from selling Christmas trees. There were even festivals, organized by the League of Militant Atheists, specifically to denigrate religious holidays. Their carnivals were inspired by similar events staged by activists after the French Revolution. From 1923 to 1924 and then again from 1929 to 1930 the “Komsomol Christmases” and Easters were basically holiday celebrations of atheism.
  123. ^ Ramet, Sabrina Petra (10 November 2005). Religious Policy in the Soviet UnionCambridge University Press. p. 138. ISBN 9780521022309The League sallied forth to save the day from this putative religious revival. Antireligioznik obliged with so many articles that it devoted an entire section of its annual index for 1928 to anti-religious training in the schools. More such material followed in 1929, and a flood of it the next year. It recommended what Lenin and others earlier had explicitly condemned—carnivals, farces, and games to intimidate and purge the youth of religious belief. It suggested that pupils campaign against customs associated with Christmas (including Christmas trees) and Easter. Some schools, the League approvingly reported, staged an anti-religious day on the 31st of each month. Not teachers but the League’s local set the programme for this special occasion.
  124. ^ Dillon, Michael (2001). Religious Minorities and China. Minority Rights Group International.
  125. ^ Buang, Sa’eda; Chew, Phyllis Ghim-Lian (9 May 2014). Muslim Education in the 21st Century: Asian Perspectives. Routledge. p. 75. ISBN 9781317815006Subsequently, a new China was found on the basis of Communist ideology, i.e. atheism. Within the framework of this ideology, religion was treated as a ‘contorted’ world-view and people believed that religion would necessarily disappear at the end, along with the development of human society. A series of anti-religious campaigns was implemented by the Chinese Communist Party from the early 1950s to the late 1970s. As a result, in nearly 30 years between the beginning of the 1950s and the end of the 1970s, mosques (as well as churches and Chinese temples) were shut down and Imams involved in forced ‘re-education’.
  126. ^ Holl, Daniel (20 December 2018). “Chinese City Cuts Down Christmas”. The Epoch Times. City law enforcement officials were ordered to “crack down on street-side Christmas trees, Santa Clauses and anything related to Christmas,” said the memo. “Completely control the use of park-squares and other public spaces against promoting religious propaganda activities.” Communism, being officially atheist, has long been at odds with anything related to faith or religion, and Christmas has long since been a target. Other far-left political groups, including the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), and even the Nazi Party, suppressed Christmas related activities.
  127. ^ “Alarm over China’s Church crackdown”BBC. 18 December 2018. Among those arrested are a prominent pastor and his wife, of the Early Rain Covenant Church in Sichuan. Both have been charged with state subversion. And on Saturday morning, dozens of police raided a children’s Bible class at Rongguili Church in Guangzhou. One Christian in Chengdu told the BBC: “I’m lucky they haven’t found me yet.” China is officially atheist, though says it allows religious freedom.
  128. ^ “Santa Claus won’t be coming to this town, as Chinese officials ban Christmas”. South China Morning Post. 18 December 2018. Christmas is not a recognised holiday in mainland China – where the ruling party is officially atheist – and for many years authorities have taken a tough stance on anyone who celebrates it in public. … The statement by Langfang officials said that anyone caught selling Christmas trees, wreaths, stockings or Santa Claus figures in the city would be punished. … While the ban on the sale of Christmas goods might appear to be directed at retailers, it also comes amid a crackdown on Christians practising their religion across the country. On Saturday morning, more than 60 police officers and officials stormed a children’s Bible class in Guangzhou, capital of southern China’s Guangdong province. The incident came after authorities shut down the 1,500-member Zion Church in Beijing in September and Chengdu’s 500-member Early Rain Covenant Church last week. In the case of the latter, about 100 worshippers were snatched from their homes or from the streets in coordinated raids.
  129. ^ How St. Nicholas Became Santa Claus: One Theory, interview with Jeremy Seal at the St. Nicholas Center.
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  131. ^ “Better Watch Out, Better Not Cry”. Archived from the original on 20 January 2007. Retrieved 13 December 2007., Hilda Hoy, The Prague Post, 13 December 2006.
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  133. ^ “Nast, Thomas: “Merry Old Santa Claus” – Encyclopædia Britannica”. Britannica.com. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  134. ^ “Spuds Can’t Promote Beer Dressed as Santa”Associated Press. 2 December 1987. Retrieved 23 November 2012.
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Bibliography

Further reading

 

Wikipedia: St. Nicholas of Myra

Saint Nicholas

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“He is said to have been imprisoned and tortured during the Great Persecution under the Emperor Diocletian (ruled 284–305),[38][39] but was released under the orders of the Emperor Constantine the Great (ruled 306–337).[15]
Saint Nicholas
Jaroslav Čermák (1831 - 1878) - Sv. Mikuláš.jpg

Full-length icon of Saint Nicholas by Jaroslav Čermák, showing him with a halo, dressed in clerical garb, and holding a book of the scriptures in his left hand while making the hand gesture for the sign of the cross with his right.
Defender of Orthodoxy, Wonderworker, Holy Hierarch, Bishop of Myra
Born Traditionally 15 March 270[1]
PataraRoman Empire
Died Traditionally 6 December 343 (aged 73)
MyraByzantine Empire
Venerated in All Christian denominations which venerate saints
Major shrine Basilica di San NicolaBari, Italy
Feast 5/6 December in Western Christianity; 19 December in Eastern Christianity (main feast day – Saint Nicholas Day)
22 May [O.S. 9 May] (translation of relics)[2]
Attributes Vested as a Bishop. In Eastern Christianity, wearing an omophorion and holding a Gospel Book. Sometimes shown with Jesus Christ over one shoulder, holding a Gospel Book, and with the Theotokos over the other shoulder, holding an omophorion
Patronage Children, coopers, sailors, fishermen, merchants, broadcasters, the falsely accused, repentant thieves, brewers, pharmacistsarcherspawnbrokersAberdeenGalwayRussiaGreeceHellenic NavyLiverpoolBariSiggiewiMoscowAmsterdamLorraineRoyal School of Church Music and Duchy of Lorraine, students in various cities and countries around Europe

Saint Nicholas of Myra[a] (traditionally 15 March 270 – 6 December 343),[3][4][b] also known as Nicholas of Bari, was an early Christian bishop of the ancient Greek maritime city of Myra in Asia Minor (Ancient GreekΜύρα, modern-day Demre, Turkey) during the time of the Roman Empire.[7][8] Because of the many miracles attributed to his intercession, he is also known as Nicholas the Wonderworker.[c] Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, repentant thieves, prostitutes, children, brewers, pawnbrokers, and students in various cities and countries around Europe. His reputation evolved among the faithful, as was common for early Christian saints, and his legendary habit of secret gift-giving gave rise to the traditional model of Santa Claus (“Saint Nick”) through Sinterklaas.

Very little is known about the historical Saint Nicholas. The earliest accounts of his life were written centuries after his death and contain many legendary elaborations. He is said to have been born in the Greek seaport of PataraLycia in Asia Minor to wealthy Christian parents.[9] In one of the earliest attested and most famous incidents from his life, he is said to have rescued three girls from being forced into prostitution by dropping a sack of gold coins through the window of their house each night for three nights so their father could pay a dowry for each of them. Other early stories tell of him calming a storm at sea, saving three innocent soldiers from wrongful execution, and chopping down a tree possessed by a demon. In his youth, he is said to have made a pilgrimage to Egypt and the Palestine area. Shortly after his return, he became Bishop of Myra. He was later cast into prison during the persecution of Diocletian, but was released after the accession of Constantine. An early list makes him an attendee at the First Council of Nicaea in 325, but he is never mentioned in any writings by people who were actually at the council. Late, unsubstantiated legends claim that he was temporarily defrocked and imprisoned during the Council for slapping the heretic Arius. Another famous late legend tells how he resurrected three children, who had been murdered and pickled in brine by a butcher planning to sell them as pork during a famine.

Fewer than 200 years after Nicholas’s death, the St. Nicholas Church was built in Myra under the orders of Theodosius II over the site of the church, where he had served as bishop and Nicholas’s remains were moved to a sarcophagus in that church. In 1087, while the Greek Christian inhabitants of the region were subjugated by the newly arrived Muslim Seljuk Turks, and soon after their church was declared to be in schism by the Catholic church, a group of merchants from the Italian city of Bari removed the major bones of Nicholas’s skeleton from his sarcophagus in the church without authorization and brought them to their hometown, where they are now enshrined in the Basilica di San Nicola. The remaining bone fragments from the sarcophagus were later removed by Venetian sailors and taken to Venice during the First Crusade. His relics in Bari are said to exude a miraculous watery substance known as “manna” or “myrrh[attribution needed], which some members of the faithful regard as possessing supernatural powers.

Biographical sources

Very little at all is known about Saint Nicholas’s historical life.[10][11] Any writings Nicholas himself may have produced have been lost[12] and he is not mentioned by any contemporary chroniclers.[12] This is not surprising,[13] since Nicholas lived during a turbulent time in Roman history.[13] Furthermore, all written records were kept on papyrus or parchment, which were less durable than modern paper,[14] and texts needed to be periodically recopied by hand onto new material in order to be preserved.[14] The earliest mentions of Saint Nicholas indicate that, by the sixth century, his cult was already well-established.[15] Less than two hundred years after Saint Nicholas’s probable death, the Eastern Emperor Theodosius II (ruled 401–450) ordered the building of the Church of Saint Nicholas in Myra, which thereby preserves an early mention of his name.[16] The Byzantine historian Procopius also mentions that the Emperor Justinian I (ruled 527–565) renovated churches in Constantinople dedicated to Saint Nicholas and Saint Priscus,[17][16] which may have originally been built as early as c. 490.[17]

Nicholas’s name also occurs as “Nicholas of Myra of Lycia” on the tenth line of a list of attendees at the Council of Nicaea recorded by the historian Theodoret in the Historiae Ecclesiasticae Tripartitae Epitome, written sometime between 510 and 515.[16][15] A single, offhand mention of Nicholas of Myra also occurs in the biography of another saint, Saint Nicholas of Sion,[11] who apparently took the name “Nicholas” to honor him.[11][18] The Life of Saint Nicholas of Sion, written around 250 years after Nicholas of Myra’s death, briefly mentions Nicholas of Sion visiting Nicholas’s tomb to pay homage to him.[11][18][15] According to Jeremy Seal, the fact that Nicholas had a tomb that could be visited serves as the almost solitary definitive proof that he was a real historical figure.[19][18]

In his treatise De statu animarum post mortem (written c. 583), the theologian Eustratius of Constantinople cites Saint Nicholas of Myra’s miracle of the three counts as evidence that souls may work independent from the body.[17] Eustratius credits a lost Life of Saint Nicholas as his source.[17] Nearly all the sources Eustratius references date from the late fourth century to early fifth century,[17] indicating the Life of Saint Nicholas to which he refers was probably written during this time period, shortly after Nicholas’s death.[17] The earliest complete account of Nicholas’s life that has survived to the present is a Life of Saint Nicholas, written in the early ninth century by Michael the Archimandrite (814–842), nearly 500 years after Nicholas’s probable death.[20]

Despite its extremely late date, Michael the Archimandrite’s Life of Saint Nicholas is believed to heavily rely on older written sources and oral traditions.[21][22] The identity and reliability of these sources, however, remains uncertain.[22] Catholic historian D. L. Cann and medievalist Charles W. Jones both consider Michael the Archimandrite’s Life the only account of Saint Nicholas that is likely to contain any historical truth.[20] Jona Lendering, a Dutch historian of classical antiquity, notes that Michael the Archimandrite’s Life does not contain a “conversion narrative“, which was unusual for saints’ lives of the period when it was written.[22] He therefore argues that it is possible Michael the Archimandrite may have been relying on a source written before conversion narratives became popular, which would be a positive indication of that source’s reliability.[22] He also notes, however, that many of the stories recounted by Michael the Archimandrite closely resemble stories told about the first-century AD Neopythagorean philosopher Apollonius of Tyana in the Life of Apollonius of Tyana, an eight-volume biography of him written in the early third century by the Greek writer Philostratus.[22] Christian storytellers were known to adapt older pagan legends and attribute them to Christian saints.[22] Because Apollonius’s hometown of Tyana was not far from Myra, Lendering contends that many popular stories about Apollonius may have become attached to Saint Nicholas.[22]

Life and legends

Family and background

Accounts of Saint Nicholas’s life agree on the essence of his story,[23] but modern historians disagree regarding how much of this story is actually rooted in historical fact.[23] Traditionally, Nicholas was born in the city of Patara (Lycia et Pamphylia), a port on the Mediterranean Sea,[9] in Asia Minor in the Roman Empire, to a wealthy family of Greek Christians.[23][24][25][26][27][9] According to some accounts, his parents were named Epiphanius (ἘπιφάνιοςEpiphánios) and Johanna (ἸωάνναIōánna),[28] but, according to others, they were named Theophanes (ΘεοφάνηςTheophánēs) and Nonna (ΝόνναNónna).[9] In some accounts, Nicholas’s uncle was the bishop of the city of Myra, also in Lycia.[29] Recognizing his nephew’s calling, Nicholas’s uncle ordained him as a priest.[29]

Generosity and travels[edit]

The dowry for the three virgins (Gentile da Fabriano, c. 1425, Pinacoteca Vaticana, Rome)

After his parents died, Nicholas is said to have distributed their wealth to the poor.[22][29] In his most famous exploit,[30] which is first attested in Michael the Archimandrite’s Life of Saint Nicholas, Nicholas heard of a devout man who once had been wealthy, but had lost all his money due to the “plotting and envy of Satan.”[22][31] The man had three daughters, but could not afford a proper dowry for them.[31][22][29][d] This meant that they would remain unmarried and probably, in absence of any other possible employment, be forced to become prostitutes.[22][29][31] Hearing of the girls’ plight, Nicholas decided to help them, but, being too modest to help the family in public (or to save them the humiliation of accepting charity), he went to the house under the cover of night and threw a purse filled with gold coins through the window opening into the house.[22][29] He did the same thing the next two nights,[22][29][33] giving the man a total of three bags of gold, one for each of his three daughters.[22][29][33]

According to Michael the Archimandrite’s version, on the third night, the father of the three girls stayed up and caught Saint Nicholas in the act of the charity.[22][29][34] The father fell on his knees, thanking him.[22][29][34] Nicholas ordered him not to tell anyone about the gift.[22][29][34] The scene of Nicholas’s secret gift-giving is one of the most popular scenes in Christian devotional art, appearing in icons and frescoes from across Europe.[35] Although depictions vary depending on time and place,[35] Nicholas is often shown wearing a cowl while the daughters are typically shown in bed, dressed in their nightclothes.[35] Many renderings contain a cypress tree or a cross-shaped cupola.[35]

The historicity of this incident is disputed.[22] Adam C. English argues for a historical kernel to the legend, noting the story’s early attestation as well as the fact that no similar stories were told about any other Christian saints.[36] Jona Lendering, who also argues for the story’s authenticity, notes that a similar story is told in Philostratus’s Life of Apollonius of Tyana, in which Apollonius gives money to an impoverished father,[22] but states that Michael the Archimandrite’s account is markedly different.[22] Philostratus never mentions the fate of the daughters and, in his story, Apollonius’s generosity is purely motivated out of sympathy for the father;[22] in Michael the Archimandrite’s account, however, Saint Nicholas is instead expressly stated to be motivated by a desire to save the daughters from being sold into prostitution.[22] He argues that this desire to help women is most characteristic of fourth-century Christianity, due to the prominent role women played in the early Christian movement,[22] rather than Greco-Roman paganism or the Christianity of Michael the Archimandrite’s time in the ninth century, by which point the position of women had drastically declined.[22]

In another story, Nicholas is said to have visited the Holy Land.[29] The ship he was on was nearly destroyed by a terrible storm,[29] but he rebuked the waves, causing the storm to subside.[29] Because of this miracle, Nicholas became venerated as the patron saint of sailors.[29]

Bishop of Myra

Saint Nicholas Saves Three Innocents from Death (1888) by Ilya Repin

After visiting the Holy Land, Nicholas returned to Myra.[29] The bishop of Myra, who had succeeded Nicholas’s uncle, had recently died[29] and the priests in the city had decided that the first priest to enter the church that morning would be made bishop.[29] Nicholas went to the church to pray[29] and was therefore proclaimed the new bishop.[23][29][37] He is said to have been imprisoned and tortured during the Great Persecution under the Emperor Diocletian (ruled 284–305),[38][39] but was released under the orders of the Emperor Constantine the Great (ruled 306–337).[15] This story sounds plausible, but is not attested in the earliest sources and is therefore unlikely to be historical.[40]

One of the earliest attested stories of Saint Nicholas is one in which he saves three innocent men from execution.[32][41] According to Michael the Archimandrite, three innocent men were condemned to death by the governor Eustathius. As they were about to be executed, Nicholas appeared, pushed the executioner’s sword to the ground, released them from their chains, and angrily chastised a juror who had accepted a bribe.[41] According to Jona Lendering, this story directly parallels an earlier story in Philostratus’s Life of Apollonius of Tyana, in which Apollonius prevents the execution of a man falsely condemned of banditry.[22] Michael the Archimandrite also tells another story in which the consul Ablabius accepted a bribe to put three famous generals to death, in spite of their actual innocence.[42] Saint Nicholas appeared to Constantine and Ablabius in dreams, informing Constantine of the truth and frightening Ablabius into releasing the generals, for fear of Hell.[42]

Later versions of the story are more elaborate, interweaving the two stories together.[32] According to one version, Emperor Constantine sent three of his most trusted generals, named Ursos, Nepotianos, and Herpylion, to put down a rebellion in Phrygia,[32] but a storm forced them to take refuge in Myra.[32] Unbeknownst to the generals, who were in the harbor, their soldiers further inland were fighting with local merchants and engaging in looting and destruction.[32] Nicholas confronted the generals for allowing their soldiers to misbehave[32] and the generals brought an end to the looting.[43] Immediately after the soldiers had returned to their ships, Nicholas heard word of the three innocent men about to be executed and the three generals aided him in stopping the execution.[44] Eustathius attempted to flee on his horse,[44] but Nicholas stopped his horse and chastised him for his corruption.[45] Eustathius, under the threat of being reported directly to the Emperor, repented of his corrupt ways.[46] Afterward, the generals succeeded in ending the rebellion and were promoted by Constantine to even higher status.[46] The generals’ enemies, however, slandered them to the consul Ablabius, telling him that they had not really put down the revolt, but instead encouraged their own soldiers to join it.[46] The generals’ enemies also bribed Ablabius and he had the three generals imprisoned.[46] Nicholas then made his dream appearances and the three generals were set free.[47]

Council of Nicaea[edit]

Detail of a late medieval Russian Orthodox fresco showing Saint Nicholas slapping Arius at the First Council of Nicaea, a famous incident whose historicity is disputed[48][22]

In 325, Nicholas is said to have attended the First Council of Nicaea,[15][22][49] where he is said to have been a staunch opponent of Arianism and devoted supporter of Trinitarianism,[50] and one of the bishops who signed the Nicene Creed.[51] Nicholas’s attendance at the Council of Nicaea is attested early by Theodore the Lector’s list of attendees, which records him as the 151st attendee.[15][16] However, he is conspicuously never mentioned by Athanasius of Alexandria, the foremost defender of Trinitarianism at the Council, who knew all the notable bishops of the period,[52] nor is he mentioned by the historian Eusebius, who was also present at the council.[12] Adam C. English notes that lists of the attendees at Nicaea vary considerably, with shorter lists only including roughly 200 names, but longer lists including around 300.[36] Saint Nicholas’s name only appears on the longer lists, not the shorter ones.[36] Nicholas’s name appears on a total of three early lists, one of which, Theodore the Lector’s, is generally considered to be the most accurate.[22] According to Jona Lendering, there are two main possibilities:

  1. Nicholas did not attend the Council of Nicaea, but someone at an early date was baffled that his name was not listed and so added him to the list.[22] Many scholars tend to favor this explanation.[53][48]
  2. Nicholas did attend the Council of Nicaea, but, at an early date, someone decided to remove his name from the list, apparently deciding that it was better if no one remembered he had been there.[22]

A later legend, first attested in the fourteenth century, over 1,000 years after Nicholas’s death, holds that, during the Council of Nicaea, Nicholas lost his temper and slapped “a certain Arian” across the face.[48] On account of this, Constantine revoked Nicholas’s miter and pallium.[48] Stephen D. Greydanus concludes that, because of the story’s late attestation, it “has no historical value.”[48] Jona Lendering defends the historicity of the incident, arguing that, because it was embarrassing and reflects poorly on Nicholas’s reputation, it is inexplicable why later hagiographers would have made it up.[22] Later versions of the legend embellish it,[48] making the heretic Arius himself[48][54] and having Nicholas punch him rather than merely slapping him with his open hand.[48] In these versions of the story, Nicholas is also imprisoned,[48][54] but Christ and the Virgin Mary appear to him in his cell.[48][54] He tells them he is imprisoned “for loving you”[48] and they free him from his chains and restore his vestments.[48][54] The scene of Nicholas slapping Arius is celebrated in Eastern Orthodox icons[48] and episodes of Saint Nichola at Nicaea are shown in a series of paintings from the 1660s in the Basilica di San Nicola in Bari.[53]

Other reputed miracles[edit]

Illustration of Saint Nicholas resurrecting the three butchered children from the Grandes Heures d’Anne de Bretagne (created between 1503 and 1508)

One story tells how during a terrible famine, a malicious butcher lured three little children into his house, where he killed them, placing their remains in a barrel to cure, planning to sell them off as ham.[29][55] Nicholas, visiting the region to care for the hungry, saw through the butcher’s lies[29][56] and resurrected the pickled children by making the Sign of the Cross.[29][56] Adam C. English notes that the story of the resurrection of the pickled children is a late medieval addition to the legendary biography of Saint Nicholas[36] and that it is not found in any of his earliest Lives.[36] Jona Lendering states that the story is “without any historical value.”[40]

Though this story seems bizarre and horrifying to modern audiences,[56] it was tremendously popular throughout the late Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period and widely beloved by ordinary folk.[56][29][40] It is depicted in stained glass windows, wood panel paintings, tapestries, and frescoes.[56] Eventually, the scene became so widely reproduced that, rather than showing the whole scene, artists began to merely depict Saint Nicholas with three naked children and a wooden barrel at his feet.[56] According to English, eventually, people who had forgotten or never learned the story began misinterpreting representations of it.[57] The fact that Saint Nicholas was shown with children led people to conclude he was the patron saint of children;[57] meanwhile, the fact that he was shown with a barrel led people to conclude that he was the patron saint of brewers.[58]

According to another story, during a great famine that Myra experienced in 311–312, a ship was in the port at anchor, loaded with wheat for the Emperor in Constantinople. Nicholas invited the sailors to unload a part of the wheat to help in the time of need. The sailors at first disliked the request, because the wheat had to be weighed accurately and delivered to the Emperor. Only when Nicholas promised them that they would not suffer any loss for their consideration, the sailors agreed. When they arrived later in the capital, they made a surprising find: the weight of the load had not changed, although the wheat removed in Myra was enough for two full years and could even be used for sowing.[59]

Relics[edit]

Gemile[edit]

Ruins of the fourth-century church on the island of Gemile where some scholars believe Saint Nicholas was originally entombed[60]

It has long been traditionally assumed that Saint Nicholas was originally buried in his home town of Myra, where his relics are later known to have been kept,[40][60] but some recent archaeological evidence indicates that Saint Nicholas may have originally been entombed in a rock-cut church located at the highest point on the small Turkish island of Gemile, only twenty miles away from his birthplace of Patara.[60] Nicholas’s name is painted on part of the ruined building.[60] In antiquity, the island was known as “Saint Nicholas Island”[60] and today it is known in Turkish as Gemile Adasi, meaning “Island of Sailors”, in reference to Saint Nicholas’s traditional role as the patron saint of seafarers.[60] The church was built in the fourth century, around the time of Nicholas’s death,[60] and is typical of saints’ shrines from that time period.[60] Nicholas was the only major saint associated with that part of Turkey.[60] The church where historians believe he was originally entombed is at the western end of the great processional way.[60]

Myra[edit]

Photograph of the desecrated sarcophagus in the St. Nicholas Church, Demre, where Saint Nicholas’s bones were kept before they were removed and taken to Bari in 1087[61]

In the mid-600s, Gemile was vulnerable to attack by Arab fleets, so Nicholas’s remains appear to have been moved from the island to the city of Myra, where Nicholas had served as bishop for most of his life.[60] Myra is located roughly forty kilometers, or twenty-five miles, east of Gemile[60] and its location further inland made it safer from seafaring Arab forces.[60] It is said that, in Myra, the relics of Saint Nicholas each year exuded a clear watery liquid which smelled like rose water, called manna, or myrrh, which was believed by the faithful to possess miraculous powers.[62][63] Because it was widely known that all Nicholas’s relics were at Myra in their sealed sarcophagus, it was rare during this period for forgers of relics to claim to possess those belonging to Saint Nicholas.[64]

A solemn bronze statue of the saint by Russian sculptor Gregory Pototsky was donated by the Russian government in 2000, and was given a prominent place in the square fronting the medieval Church of St. Nicholas. In 2005, mayor Süleyman Topçu had the statue replaced by a red-suited plastic Santa Claus statue, because he wanted an image more recognisable to foreign visitors. Protests from the Russian government against this were successful, and the bronze statue was returned (albeit without its original high pedestal) to a corner nearer the church.[65]

On 28 December 2009, the Turkish government announced that it would be formally requesting the return of Saint Nicholas’s skeletal remains to Turkey from the Italian government.[66][67] Turkish authorities have asserted that Saint Nicholas himself desired to be buried at his episcopal town, and that his remains were illegally removed from his homeland. In 2017, an archaeological survey at St. Nicholas Church, Demre was reported to have found a temple below the modern church, with excavation work to be done that will allow researchers to determine whether it still holds Nicholas’s body.[68]

Bari[edit]

Basilica di San Nicola in Bari, Italy where most of the relics of Saint Nicholas are kept today[69]

After the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, the Byzantine Empire temporarily lost control over most of Asia Minor to the invading Seljuk Turks,[61] and so Greek Christians of Myra became subjects of the Turks.[61][70] At the same time the Catholic Church in the West had declared (in 1054 AD) that the Greek church, the official church of the Byzantine Empire, was in schism. Because of the many wars in the region, some Christians were concerned that access to the tomb might become difficult.[61] Taking advantage of the confusion and the loss by the Greek Christian community of Myra of its Byzantine imperial protection, in the spring of 1087, Italian sailors from Bari in Apulia seized part of the remains of the saint from his burial church in Myra, over the objections of the Greek Orthodox monks in the church.[61][71][72][73]

Procession of St. Nicholas, Bari

Adam C. English describes the removal of the relics from Myra as “essentially a holy robbery”[74] and notes that the thieves were not only afraid of being caught or chased after by the locals, but also the power of Saint Nicholas himself.[74] Returning to Bari, they brought the remains with them and cared for them.[61] The remains arrived on 9 May 1087.[61][40] Two years later, Pope Urban II inaugurated a new church, the Basilica di San Nicola, to Saint Nicholas in Bari.[40] The Pope himself personally placed Nicholas’s relics into the tomb beneath the altar of the new church.[40] The removal of Saint Nicholas’s relics from Myra and their arrival in Bari is reliably recorded by multiple chroniclers, including Orderic Vitalis[75][40] and 9 May continued to be celebrated every year by western Christians as the day of Nicholas’s “translation”.[40] Eastern Orthodox Christians and the Turks have both long regarded the unauthorized removal of the relics from Myra as a blatant theft,[61][76] but the people of Bari have instead maintained that it was a rescue mission to save the bones from the Turkish invaders.[61][77] A legend, shown on the ceiling of the Basilica di San Nicola, holds that Nicholas once visited Bari while he was alive and predicted that his bones would one day rest there.[76]

Prior to the translation of Nicholas’s relics to Bari, his cult had been known in western Europe, but it had not been extremely popular.[40] In autumn of 1096, Norman and Frankish soldiers mustered in Bari in preparation for the First Crusade.[78] Although the Crusaders generally favored warrior saints, which Saint Nicholas was not, the presence of his relics in Bari made him materially accessible.[79] Nicholas’s associations with aiding travelers and seafarers also made him a popular choice for veneration.[80] Nicholas’s veneration by Crusaders helped promote his cult throughout western Europe.[81]

After the relics were brought to Bari, they continued to produce “myrrh”, much to the joy of their new owners. Vials of myrrh from his relics have been taken all over the world for centuries, and can still be obtained from his church in Bari. Even up to the present day, a flask of manna is extracted from the tomb of Saint Nicholas every year on 6 December (the Saint’s feast day) by the clergy of the basilica. The myrrh is collected from a sarcophagus which is located in the basilica vault and could be obtained in the shop nearby. The liquid gradually seeps out of the tomb, but it is unclear whether it originates from the body within the tomb, or from the marble itself; since the town of Bari is a harbour, and the tomb is below sea level, there have been several natural explanations proposed for the manna fluid, including the transfer of seawater to the tomb by capillary action.

In 1966, a vault in the crypt underneath the Basilica di San Nicola was dedicated as an Orthodox chapel with an iconostasis in commemoration of the recent lifting of the anathemas the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches had issued against each other during the Great Schism in 1054.[82] In May 2017, following talks between Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, a portion of the relics of St. Nicholas in Bari were sent on loan to Moscow. The relic was on display for veneration at Christ the Savior Cathedral before being taken to St. Petersburg in mid-June prior to returning to Bari.[83] More than a million people lined up in Moscow for a momentary glimpse of the gilded ark holding one of the saint’s ribs.[84]

Venice[edit]

The church of San Nicolò al Lido in Venice claims to hold roughly 500 bone fragments from Nicholas’s skeleton,[85][69] which scientific examinations have confirmed are anatomically compatible with the bones in the Basilica di San Nicola in Bari.[85][74]

The sailors from Bari only took the main bones of Nicholas’s skeleton, leaving all the minor fragments in the grave.[86] The city of Venice had interest in obtaining the remaining fragments of his skeleton[87] and, in 1044, they dedicated the San Nicolò al Lido monastery basilica to him on the north end of the Lido di Venezia.[88] According to a single chronicle written by an anonymous monk at this monastery, in 1100, a fleet of Venetian ships accompanied by Bishop Henri sailed past Myra on their way to Palestine for the First Crusade.[89] Bishop Henri insisted for the fleet to turn back and set anchor in Myra.[89] The Venetians took the remaining bones of Saint Nicholas, as well as those of several other bishops of Myra, from the church there, which was only guarded by four Orthodox monks, and brought them to Venice, where they deposited them in the San Nicolò al Lido.[90] This tradition was lent credence in two scientific investigations of the relics in Bari and Venice, which confirmed that the relics in the two cities are anatomically compatible and may belong to the same person.[91][92][85] It is said that someone dies every time the bones of Saint Nicholas in Venice are disturbed.[75] The last time the bones were examined was in July 1992.[75]

Other locations[edit]

Tomb of Saint Nicholas near Thomastown, Ireland

Because of Nicholas’s skeleton’s long confinement in Myra, after it was brought to Bari, the demand for pieces of it rose.[63] Small bones quickly began to disperse across western Europe.[93] The sailors who had transported the bones gave one tooth and two fragments chipped from Nicholas’s sarcophagus to the Norman knight William Pantulf.[86] Pantulf took these relics to his hometown of Noron in Normandy, where they were placed in the local Church of St. Peter in June 1092.[86] In 1096, the duke of Apulia gave several bones of Saint Nicholas to the count of Flanders, which he then enshrined in the Abbey of Watten.[86] According to legend, in 1101, Saint Nicholas appeared in a vision to a French clerk visiting the shrine at Bari and told him to take one of his bones with him to his hometown of Port, near Nancy.[94] The clerk took a finger bone back with him to Port, where a chapel was built to Saint Nicholas.[94] Port became an important center of devotion in the Nicholas cult[94][40] and, in the fifteenth century, a church known as the Basilique Saint-Nicolas was built there dedicated to him.[94] The town itself is now known as “Saint Nicolas de Port” in honor of Nicholas.[40]

The clergy at Bari strategically gave away samples of Nicholas’s bones to promote the cult and enhance its prestige.[94] Many of these bones were initially kept in Constantinople,[94] but, after the Sack of Constantinople in 1204 during the Fourth Crusade, these fragments were scattered across western Europe.[94] A hand claimed to belong to Saint Nicholas was kept in the San Nicola in Carcere in Rome.[94] This church, whose name means “Saint Nicholas in Chains”, was built on the site of a former municipal prison.[58] Stories quickly developed about Nicholas himself having been held in that prison.[58] Mothers would come to the church to pray to Saint Nicholas for their jailed sons to be released[58] and repentant criminals would place votive offerings in the church.[58] As a result of this, Nicholas became the patron saint of prisoners and those falsely accused of crimes.[58] An index finger claimed to belong to Saint Nicholas was kept in a chapel along the Ostian Way in Rome.[94] Another finger was held in Ventimiglia in Liguria.[94] Today, many churches in Europe, Russia, and the United States claim to possess small relics, such as a tooth or a finger bone.[95][69]

An Irish tradition states that the relics of Saint Nicholas are also reputed to have been stolen from Myra by local Norman crusading knights in the twelfth century and buried near ThomastownCounty Kilkenny, where a stone slab marks the site locally believed to be his grave.[96] According to the Irish antiquarian John Hunt, the tomb probably actually belongs to a local priest from Jerpoint Abbey.[97]

Scientific analysis[edit]

Saint Nicholas, Russian icon from first quarter of the 18th century (Kizhi monasteryKarelia)

Whereas the devotional importance of relics and the economics associated with pilgrimages caused the remains of most saints to be divided up and spread over numerous churches in several countries, Saint Nicholas is unusual in that most of his bones have been preserved in one spot: his grave crypt in Bari. Even with the allegedly continuing miracle of the manna, the archdiocese of Bari has allowed for one scientific survey of the bones.[98] In the late 1950s, while the crypt was undergoing much-needed restoration, the bones were removed from it for the first time since their interment in 1089.[39] A special Pontiffical Commission permitted Luigi Martino, a professor of human anatomy at the University of Bari, to examine the bones under the Commission’s supervision.[39] Martino took thousands of measurements, detailed scientific drawings, photographs, and x-rays.[39] These examinations revealed the saint to have died at over seventy years of age[39] and to have been of average height and slender-to-average build.[39] He also suffered from severe chronic arthritis in his spine and pelvis.[39]

In 2004, at the University of Manchester, researchers Caroline Wilkinson and Fraco Introna reconstructed the saint’s face based on Martino’s examination.[39] The review of the data revealed that the historical Saint Nicholas was 5’6″ in height and had a broken nose, which had partially healed, revealing that the injury had been suffered ante mortem.[99][100] The broken nose appeared to conform with hagiographical reports that Saint Nicholas had been beaten and tortured during the Diocletianic Persecution.[39] The facial reconstruction was produced by Dr. Caroline Wilkinson at the University of Manchester and was shown on a BBC2 TV program The Real Face of Santa.[99][100] In 2014, the Face Lab at Liverpool John Moores University produced an updated reconstruction of Saint Nicholas’s face.[39]

In 2017, two researchers from Oxford University, Professor Tom Higham and Doctor Georges Kazan, radiocarbon dated a fragment of a pelvis claimed to belong to Saint Nicholas.[85][101][69] The fragment originally came from a church in Lyons, France[85][101][69] and, at the time of testing, was in the possession of Father Dennis O’Neill, a priest from St Martha of Bethany Church in Illinois.[85][101][69] The results of the radiocarbon dating confirmed that the pelvis dates to the fourth century AD, around the same time that Saint Nicholas would have died, and is not a medieval forgery.[85][101][69] The bone was one of the oldest the Oxford team had ever examined.[85] According to Professor Higham, most of the relics the team has examined turn out to be too young to have actually belonged to the saint to whom they are attributed,[85] but he states, “This bone fragment, in contrast, suggests that we could possibly be looking at remains from St Nicholas himself.”[85] Doctor Kazan believes the pelvis fragment may come from the same individual as the skeleton divided between the churches in Bari and Venice,[85][101][69] since the bone they tested comes from the left pubis,[85] and the only pelvis bone in the collection at Bari is the left ilium.[85] In the absence of DNA testing, however, it is not yet possible to know for certain whether the pelvis is from the same man.[101][69]

Veneration and celebrations[edit]

Saint Nicholas (Uroš Predić 1903)

Among the Greeks and Italians he is a favorite of sailors, fishermen, ships and sailing. As a result and over time, he has become the patron saint of several cities which maintain harbours. In centuries of Greek folklore, Nicholas was seen as “The Lord of the Sea”, often described by modern Greek scholars as a kind of Christianized version of Poseidon. In modern Greece, he is still easily among the most recognizable saints and 6 December finds many cities celebrating their patron saint. He is also the patron saint of all of Greece and particularly of the Hellenic Navy.[102]

In the Eastern Orthodox Church, Saint Nicholas’s memory is celebrated on almost every Thursday of the year (together with the Apostles) with special hymns to him which are found in the liturgical book known as the Octoechos. Soon after the transfer of Saint Nicholas’s relics from Myra to Bari, a Russian version of his Life and an account of the transfer of his relics were written by a contemporary to this event.[103] Devotional akathists and canons have been composed in his honour, and are frequently chanted by the faithful as they ask for his intercession. He is mentioned in the Liturgy of Preparation during the Divine Liturgy (Eastern Orthodox Eucharist) and during the All-Night Vigil. Many Orthodox churches will have his icon, even if they are not named after him. In Oriental Orthodoxy, the Coptic Church observes the Departure of St. Nicholas on 10 Kiahk, or 10 Taḫśaś in Ethiopia, which corresponds to the Julian Calendar’s 6 December and Gregorian Calendar’s 19 December.[104][105]

Saint Nicholas depicted in a 14th-century English book of hours

Nicholas had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him, a practice celebrated on his feast day, 6 December. For those who still observe the Julian calendar the celebration currently takes place thirteen days later than it happens in the Gregorian calendar and Revised Julian calendar.[106]

In late medieval England, on Saint Nicholas Day parishes held Yuletide “boy bishop” celebrations. As part of this celebration, youths performed the functions of priests and bishops, and exercised rule over their elders. Today, Saint Nicholas is still celebrated as a great gift-giver in several Western European and Central European countries. According to one source, in medieval times nuns used the night of 6 December to deposit baskets of food and clothes anonymously at the doorsteps of the needy. According to another source, on 6 December every sailor or ex-sailor of the Low Countries (which at that time was virtually all of the male population) would descend to the harbour towns to participate in a church celebration for their patron saint. On the way back they would stop at one of the various Nicholas fairs to buy some hard-to-come-by goods, gifts for their loved ones and invariably some little presents for their children. While the real gifts would only be presented at Christmas, the little presents for the children were given right away, courtesy of Saint Nicholas. This and his miracle of him resurrecting the three butchered children made Saint Nicholas a patron saint of children and later students as well.[107]

Santa Claus evolved from Dutch traditions regarding Saint Nicholas (Sinterklaas). When the Dutch established the colony of New Amsterdam, they brought the legend and traditions of Sinterklaas with them.[108] Howard G. Hageman, of New Brunswick Theological Seminary, maintains that the tradition of celebrating Sinterklaas in New York existed in the early settlements of the Hudson Valley, although by the early nineteenth century had fallen by the way.[109] St. Nicholas Park, located at the intersection of St. Nicholas Avenue and 127th Street, in an area originally settled by Dutch farmers, is named for St. Nicholas of Myra.[110]

Iconography[edit]

Russian Orthodox statue of Saint Nicolas, now in a corner near the church in Demre

Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of Russian merchants. Fresco by Dionisius from the Ferapontov Monastery.

Saint Nicholas is a popular subject portrayed on countless Eastern Orthodox icons, particularly Russian and Serbian ones. He is depicted as an Orthodox bishop, wearing the omophorion and holding a Gospel Book. Sometimes he is depicted wearing the Eastern Orthodox mitre, sometimes he is bareheaded. Iconographically, Nicholas is depicted as an elderly man with a short, full, white, fluffy beard and balding head. In commemoration of the miracle attributed to him by tradition at the Council of Nicea, he is sometimes depicted with Christ over his left shoulder holding out a Gospel Book to him and the Theotokos over his right shoulder holding the omophorion. Because of his patronage of mariners, occasionally Saint Nicholas will be shown standing in a boat or rescuing drowning sailors; Medieval Chants and Polyphony, image on the cover of the Book of Hours of Duke of Berry, 1410.[111]

“Icon of Saint Nikola the Wonderworker”, Moscow Governorate

In depictions of Saint Nicholas from Bari, he is usually shown as dark-skinned, probably to emphasize his foreign origin.[112] The emphasis on his foreignness may have been intended to enhance Bari’s reputation by displaying that it had attracted the patronage of a saint from a far-off country.[112] In Roman Catholic iconography, Saint Nicholas is depicted as a bishop, wearing the insignia of this dignity: a bishop’s vestments, a mitre and a crozier. The episode with the three dowries is commemorated by showing him holding in his hand either three purses, three coins or three balls of gold. Depending on whether he is depicted as patron saint of children or sailors, his images will be completed by a background showing ships, children or three figures climbing out of a wooden barrel (the three slaughtered children he resurrected).[113]

In a strange twist, the three gold balls referring to the dowry affair are sometimes metaphorically interpreted as being oranges or other fruits. As in the Low Countries in medieval times oranges most frequently came from Spain, this led to the belief that the Saint lives in Spain and comes to visit every winter bringing them oranges, other ‘wintry’ fruits and tales of magical creatures.[113]

Music[edit]

In 1948, Benjamin Britten completed a cantataSaint Nicolas on a text by Eric Crozier which covers the saint’s legendary life in a dramatic sequence of events. A tenor soloist appears as Saint Nicolas, with a mixed choir, boys singers, strings, piano duet, organ and percussion.[114]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ GreekἍγιος ΝικόλαοςHágios NikólaosLatinSanctus Nicolaus
  2. ^ The date of his birth and the year of his death are disputed,[5] but 6 December has long been established as the traditional date of his death.[5] Jeremy Seal remarks, “As vampires shun daylight, so saints are distinguished from ordinary mortals by the anniversaries they keep. The date of their death rather than their birth is commemorated.”[6]
  3. ^ Νικόλαος ὁ ΘαυματουργόςNikólaos ho Thaumaturgós
  4. ^ Joe L. Wheeler and Jona Lendering both note that the legends of Saint Nicholas are filled with sets of three, which may be symbolic for Nicholas’s vehement defense of the Holy Trinity.[32][22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Book of Martyrs. Catholic Book Publishing. 1948.
  2. ^ “Serbia”. Saint Nicholas Center. Archived from the original on 8 December 2010. Retrieved 4 April2012.
  3. ^ “Who is St. Nicholas?”. St. Nicholas Center. Archived from the original on 10 October 2010. Retrieved 7 December 2010.
  4. ^ “St. Nicholas”. Orthodox America. Archived from the original on 7 September 2011. Retrieved 7 December 2010.
  5. Jump up to:ab Seal 2005, p. 2.
  6. ^ Seal 2005, pp. 2–3.
  7. ^ Lloyd, John; Mitchinson, John (December 2008). The book of general ignorance (Noticeably stouter edition). Faber and Faber. p. 318. ISBN978-0-571-24692-2.
  8. ^ Cunningham, Lawrence (2005). A brief history of saints. Wiley-Blackwell. p. 33. ISBN978-1-4051-1402-8The fourth-century Saint Nikolaos of Myra, Greek Anatolia (in present-day Turkey) spread to Europe through the port city of Bari in southern Italy… Devotion to the saint in the Low countries became blended with Nordic folktales, transforming this early Greek Orthodox Bishop into that Christmas icon, Santa Claus.
  9. Jump up to:abcd Collins, Ace (2009). Stories Behind Men of Faith. Zondervan. p. 121. ISBN9780310564560Nicholas was born in the Greek city of Patara around 270 AD. The son of a businessman named Theophanes and his wife, Nonna, the child’s earliest years were spent in Myra… As a port on the Mediterranean Sea, in the middle of the sea lanes that linked Egypt, Greece and Rome, Myra was a destination for traders, fishermen, and merchant sailors. Spawned by the spirit of both the city’s Greek heritage and the ruling Roman government, cultural endeavours such as art, drama, and music were mainstays of everyday life.
  10. ^ Wheeler 2010, pp. vii–x.
  11. Jump up to:abcd Seal 2005, pp. 14–15.
  12. Jump up to:abc Seal 2005, p. 14.
  13. Jump up to:ab Wheeler 2010, pp. vii–viii.
  14. Jump up to:ab Wheeler 2010, p. viii.
  15. Jump up to:abcdef Blacker, Burgess & Ogden 2013, p. 250.
  16. Jump up to:abcd Wheeler 2010, p. ix.
  17. Jump up to:abcdef Blacker, Burgess & Ogden 2013, p. 251.
  18. Jump up to:abc Wheeler 2010, p. x.
  19. ^ Seal 2005, p. 15.
  20. Jump up to:ab Wheeler 2010, p. xi.
  21. ^ Introduction to Michael the Archimandrite’s Life of Saint Nicholas
  22. Jump up to:abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyzaaabacadaeaf Lendering 2006, p. Nicholas of Myra.
  23. Jump up to:abcd Blacker, Burgess & Ogden 2013, p. 249.
  24. ^ Domenico, Roy Palmer (2002). The regions of Italy: a reference guide to history and culture. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 21. ISBN0-313-30733-4Saint Nicholas (Bishop of Myra) replaced Sabino as the patron saint of the city… A Greek from what is now Turkey, he lived in the early fourth century.
  25. ^ Burman, Edward (1991). Emperor to emperor: Italy before the Renaissance. Constable. p. 126. ISBN0-09-469490-7For although he is the patron saint of Russia, and the model for a northern invention such as Santa Claus, Nicholas of Myra was a Greek.
  26. ^ Ingram, W. Scott; Ingram, Asher, Scott; Robert (2004). Greek Immigrants. Infobase Publishing. p. 24. ISBN9780816056897The original Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas, was a Greek born in Asia Minor (now modern Turkey) in the fourth century. He was very religious from an early age and devoted his life to Christianity.
  27. ^ Lanzi, Gioia (2004). Saints and their symbols: recognizing saints in art and in popular images. Liturgical Press. p. 111. ISBN0-8146-2970-9Nicholas was born around 270 AD in Patara on the coast of what is now western Turkey.
  28. ^ Lanzi, Gioia (2004). Saints and their symbols: recognizing saints in art and in popular images. Liturgical Press. p. 111. ISBN0-8146-2970-9Nicholas was born around 270 AD in Patara on the coast of what is now western Turkey; his parents were Epiphanius and Joanna.
  29. Jump up to:abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwx Ferguson 1976, p. 136.
  30. ^ Bennett, William J. (2009). The True Saint Nicholas: Why He Matters to Christmas. Howard Books. pp. 14–17. ISBN978-1-4165-6746-2.
  31. Jump up to:abc Michael the Archimandrite, Life of Saint Nicholas Chapters 10–11
  32. Jump up to:abcdefg Wheeler 2010, p. 38.
  33. Jump up to:ab Michael the Archimandrite, Life of Saint Nicholas Chapters 12–18
  34. Jump up to:abc Michael the Archimandrite, Life of Saint Nicholas Chapters 16–18
  35. Jump up to:abcd Seal 2005, p. 1.
  36. Jump up to:abcde English & Crumm 2012.
  37. ^ Faber, Paul (2006). Sinterklaas overseas: the adventures of a globetrotting saint. KIT Publishers. p. 7. ISBN9789068324372The historical figure that served as model for the Dutch Sinterklaas was born around 270 AD in the port of Patara in the Greek province of Lycia in Asia Minor (present-day Turkey). His Greek name Nikolaos means something along the lines of “victor of the people”.
  38. ^ Blacker, Burgess & Ogden 2013, pp. 249–250.
  39. Jump up to:abcdefghij Wilkinson 2018, p. 163.
  40. Jump up to:abcdefghijkl Lendering 2006, p. Medieval Saint.
  41. Jump up to:ab Michael the Archimandrite, Life of Saint Nicholas Chapter 31
  42. Jump up to:ab Michael the Archimandrite, Life of Saint Nicholas Chapter 33
  43. ^ Wheeler 2010, pp. 38–39.
  44. Jump up to:ab Wheeler 2010, p. 39.
  45. ^ Wheeler 2010, pp. 39–40.
  46. Jump up to:abcd Wheeler 2010, p. 40.
  47. ^ Wheeler 2010, p. 41.
  48. Jump up to:abcdefghijklm Greydanus 2016.
  49. ^ Wheeler & Rosenthal, “St Nicholas: A Closer Look at Christmas”, (Chapter 1), Nelson Reference & Electronic, 2005
  50. ^ Federer, William J. (2002). There Really Is a Santa Claus – History of St. Nicholas & Christmas Holiday Traditions. Amerisearch, Inc. p. 26. ISBN978-0965355742.
  51. ^ Davis, Leo Donald (1990). The First Seven Ecumenical Councils (325–787) Their History and Theology. Liturgical Press. p. 58. ISBN0-8146-5616-1.
  52. ^ Wheeler 2010, p. xii.
  53. Jump up to:ab Seal 2005, p. 93.
  54. Jump up to:abcd Wheeler 2010, p. 35.
  55. ^ “St. Nicholas Center ::: Saint Nicolas”http://www.stnicholascenter.org.
  56. Jump up to:abcdef English 2016, p. 132.
  57. Jump up to:ab English 2016, pp. 132–133.
  58. Jump up to:abcdef English 2016, p. 133.
  59. ^ Le Saux, Françoise Hazel Marie (2005). A companion to Wace. D.S. Brewer. ISBN978-1-84384-043-5.
  60. Jump up to:abcdefghijklm Keys 1993.
  61. Jump up to:abcdefghi Jones 1978, pp. 176–193.
  62. ^ de Ceglia, Francesco Paolo: “The science of Santa Claus : discussions on the Manna of Nicholas of Myra in the modern age”. In Nuncius – 27 (2012) 2, pp. 241–269
  63. Jump up to:ab Seal 2005, pp. 135–136.
  64. ^ Seal 2005, p. 135.
  65. ^ “Saint Nicholas”St. John Cantius Parish. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  66. ^ “Turks want Santa’s bones returned”BBC News. 28 December 2009. Retrieved 23 May 2010.
  67. ^ “Santa Claus’s bones must be brought back to Turkey from Italy”Todayszaman.com. 28 December 2009. Archived from the original on 11 December 2013. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
  68. ^ “Tomb of St Nicholas may have been discovered in Turkey”. ir.ishtimes.com. 4 October 2017. Retrieved 7 October 2017.
  69. Jump up to:abcdefghi Cullen 2017.
  70. ^ Seal 2005, p. 101.
  71. ^ Ott, Michael (1907). “Nicholas of Myra”. The Catholic Encyclopedia11. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  72. ^ Butler, Albin (1860). Lives of the Saints2.
  73. ^ Wheeler, Joe L.; Rosenthal, Jim (2005). “Chapter 1”. St. Nicholas: A Closer Look at Christmas. Thomas Nelson. ISBN9781418504076.
  74. Jump up to:abc Medrano 2017.
  75. Jump up to:abc Seal 2005, p. 131.
  76. Jump up to:ab Seal 2005, pp. 93–94.
  77. ^ Seal 2005, pp. 100–102.
  78. ^ Seal 2005, pp. 114–115.
  79. ^ Seal 2005, p. 115.
  80. ^ Seal 2005, pp. 115–116.
  81. ^ Seal 2005, pp. 114–116.
  82. ^ Seal 2005, p. 117.
  83. ^ “Major relics of St Nicholas visit Russia”, Vatican Radio, May 21, 2017
  84. ^ Filipov, David. “Why more than a million Russians have lined up to see a piece of the rib of Saint Nicholas”, The Washington Post, June 29, 2017
  85. Jump up to:abcdefghijklm University of Oxford 2017.
  86. Jump up to:abcd Seal 2005, p. 136.
  87. ^ Seal 2005, pp. 125–127.
  88. ^ Seal 2005, pp. 125–126.
  89. Jump up to:ab Seal 2005, p. 127.
  90. ^ Seal 2005, pp. 127–136.
  91. ^ “Ci sono ossa di san Nicola anche a Venezia?”[There are also bones of St. Nicholas in Venice?]. enec.it (in Italian). Europe – Near East Center. Archived from the original on 9 December 2012. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  92. ^ “Ma le ossa sono tutte a Bari?” [Are all the bones in Bari?]. enec.it (in Italian). Europe – Near East Center. Archived from the original on 8 December 2012. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  93. ^ Seal 2005, pp. 136–137.
  94. Jump up to:abcdefghij Seal 2005, p. 137.
  95. ^ “Relics of St. Nicholas – Where are They?”. Saint Nicholas Center. Retrieved 11 February 2014.
  96. ^ “Heritage Conservation Plan: Newtown Jerpoint County Kilkenny”(PDF). An Chomhairle Oidhreachta/The Heritage Council. 2007. p. 81. Archived from the original(PDF) on 12 October 2016. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  97. ^ Hunt 1974.
  98. ^ “Anatomical Examination of the Bari Relics”. Saint Nicholas Center. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
  99. Jump up to:ab “The Real Face of St. Nicholas”St. Nicholas Center. St. Nicholas Center. Retrieved 15 December2016.
  100. Jump up to:ab “The Real Face of Santa”. (navigate to 4th of 4 pictures)
  101. Jump up to:abcdef Coughlan 2017.
  102. ^ “Greece”. St. Nicholas Center. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
  103. ^ “Feasts and Saints, Commemorated on May 9”. Orthodox Church in America. Retrieved 4 April 2012.
  104. ^ “St. Nicholas the Wonderworker”Synaxarium (Lives of Saints). Coptic Orthodox Church Network. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  105. ^ “Commemorations for Kiahk 10”. Coptic Orthodox Church Network. Retrieved 13 December2013.
  106. ^ Carus, Louise (1 October 2002). The Real St. Nicholas. Quest Books. p. 2. ISBN9780835608138In Myra, the traditional St. Nicholas Feast Day is still celebrated on December 6, which many believe to be the anniversary of St. Nicholas’s death. This day is honored throughout Western Christendom, in lands comprising both Catholic and Protestant communities (in the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Saint’s feast date is December 19). On December 5, the eve of St. Nicholas Day, some American boys and girls put their shoes outside their bedroom door and leave a small gift in hopes that Saint Nicholas soon will be there.
  107. ^ McKnight, George H. (1917). St. Nicholas: His Legend and His Role in the Christmas Celebration and Other Popular Customs. New York: Putnam’s. pp. 37–52. ISBN978-1115125055. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  108. ^ Joe Wheeler & Jim Rosenthal, “St. Nicholas A Closer Look at Christmas”, (Chapter 8), Nelson Reference & Electronic, 2005.
  109. ^ Hageman, Howard G., 1979. “Review of Saint Nicholas of Myra, Bari, and Manhattan: Biography of a Legend”, Theology Today, Princeton. Princeton Theological Seminary. vol. 36, issue 3Archived7 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  110. ^ “St. Nicholas Park”, New York City Department of Parks & Recreation
  111. ^ Wheeler, Rosenthal, “St Nicholas: A Closer Look at Christmas”, p. 96, Nelson Reference & Electronic, 2005.
  112. Jump up to:ab Seal 2005, p. 111.
  113. Jump up to:ab “St. Nicholas”St. John Cantius Parish.
  114. ^ “Saint Nicolas / Op. 42. Cantata for tenor solo, chorus (SATB), semi-chorus (SA), four boy singers and string orchestra, piano duet, percussion and organ”. Britten-Pears Foundation. 1948. Retrieved 5 December 2018.

Bibliography[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Asano, Kazoo, ed. (2010). The Island of St. Nicholas. Excavation and Research of Gemiler Island Area, Lycia, Turkey. Osaka: Osaka University Press.
  • Wheeler & Rosenthal (2005). St. Nicholas: A Closer Look at Christmas. Nelson Reference & Electronic.[full citation needed
    ]

The Dixboro Ghost: Commentary

   Here is a genuine ghost story for the Halloween season. Our Michigan local history of the Dixboro Ghost is told quite well by Carol Willits Freeman in her book Of Dixboro, Lest We Forget, and by Russel Bidlock, in a 1962 paper, “The Dixboro Ghost,” presented to the Washtenaw County Historical Society. This Michigan Pioneer ghost story, too, is especially astonishing in a number of ways that invite our musing and commentary in the harvest season.

   Among the reasons that this appearance or apparition is astonishing is that the man who experienced it testified in the Washtenaw County Court before the Justice of the Peace, in December of 1845, to nine separate apparitions between September 27 and November 6th of that year. In this, the ghost of Martha Crawford-Mulholland apparently revealed three murders- her own, that of her sister, and possibly of a tin peddler who disappeared when passing through Dixboro, his horse and cart left undisturbed. The ghost may also have prevented a fourth murder, that of her son Joseph, who would likely be in danger from her apparent murderer, James Mulholland. The Ghost herself seems changed- pacified- through the appearances. As she- the ghost of Martha- says in her final word,

I wanted to tell a secret, and I thought I had.

    Isaac Van Woert, the one who saw the ghost, was travelling to Ann Arbor when his wagon broke down, and he was forced to turn back to Dixboro. Isaac had come from Livingston New York seeking a life Michigan with his wife and two children. Even then, Ann Arbor was a flourishing town, while Dixboro seemed to develop less, and became a suburb, as if stuck in time. John Dix had founded the town, but was unpopular. Dix had left in 1833 for Texas, just three years after the brothers James and John Mulholland arrived in 1830. Dix and Mulholland together were assessed a 50$ “indictment” by the United States. And the Mulhollands live on the corner of the general store. James had a wife Ann, who had become ill and disturbed when her sister, a young widow from Canada, came to visit with her young son Joseph, then about 5 years old. Unknown to Isaac and his family, Ann, James and most recently Mary had just died in Dixboro, the pall of the funeral week barely passed. Van Woert saw that Mr. Hawkins had a building under construction, and applied for the work. Needing lodging, he was directed to Joseph Crawford, now about 15, whose mother Martha had just died, and whose house was then available. From where it is that Joseph is summoned, and why he is not himself living in his mothers house is important to our story, but it is noted that Joseph later married Jane, the daughter of a Mr. Whitney, who had recently bought property on the north side of Main street or Plymouth road. Joseph later bought and owned this property until 1864. As He is found by Isaac moving a load of stone, and may have been working in lots 7 and 8 on the Whitney house he would later own with his wife.

   The first time the ghost appeared, she did not speak. Three days after arriving, Isaac was before the front window, his wife gone to visit a neighbor, Mrs. Hammond, two “rods distant,” and his sons playing in the back yard, about sunset. Combing his hair in the window, where one might see a reflection, there appeared…

…a woman with a candlestick in her hand in which was a candle burning. She held it in her left hand. She was a middling sized woman, wore a loose gown, had a white cloth around her head, her right hand clasped in her clothes near the waist. She was a little bent forward, her eyes large and much sunken, very pale indeed; her lips projected, and her teeth showed some.

   She moved slowly across the floor until she entered the bedroom and the door closed. I then went up and opened the bedroom door, and all was dark. I stepped forward and lighted a candle with a match, looked forward but saw no one, nor heard any noise, except just before I opened the bedroom door, I thought I heard one of the bureau doors open and shut.

The courage and open mind of Isaac are noteworthy, as well as his rational and responsible proceedings, given human ignorance regarding such matters. It is interesting too that the ghost chose- or Isaac was able- to see and hear her, rather than for example Joseph, who would have been disturbed and not believed. The purpose does seem to be to make the matter public. A few days later, Isaac spoke of what he had seen, and learned then, for the first time that a widow Mulholland had lived there and had recently died. It is likely he spoke to Mrs Hammond, the neighbor, though it may have been to Jackson Hawkins. It does not seem he spoke directly to his landlord, the 15 year old Joseph.

   The second time Isaac sees her, still early in October, she speaks. she says,

‘Don’t touch me- touch me not.’

Isaac steps back and asks her what she wants She says to him:

‘He has got it. He robbed me little by little, until they kilt me! They kilt me! Now he has got it all!’

Isaac asks her then, “Who has it all” She answers:

‘James, James, yes, James has got it at last, but it won’t do him long. Joseph! Oh, Joseph! I wish Joseph would come away.’

   James had petitioned the court to become executor of the estate of Mary by having her declared incompetent. But as Joseph, and not James, is the landlord, this does not seem to have worked- yet. It is possible too that she refers to something else that James does have, such as money or gold, from the joint enterprise with John. It is not said how John dies, but throughout the story, there is no suspicion that he was murdered by James. It is possible that the event of the ghost prevents the plots of James from occurring. Throughout the appearances, it is as though the ghost were trying to protect her son Joseph, and figuring out gradually how this might be done. In the third appearance, she appears in the night in his room, and he does not know what hour it is, so it is as if he were awakened. Here she says:

James can’t hurt me any more. No! he can’t I am out of his reach. Why don’t they get Joseph away? Oh, my boy! Why not come away?”

It is almost as if she is calling Joseph to come where she is, out of the reach of James. And who is it she thinks of when she she asks, why  “they” do not get Joseph away?

The fourth appearance is an apparition that is of a scene past, rather than of the ghost herself, and includes a person then currently living. The testimony of Isaac is as follows:

   The fourth time I saw her about 11 O’clock P.M. I was sitting with my feet on the stove hearth. My family had retired, and I was heating a lunch, when all at once the front door stood open, and I saw the same woman in the door supported in the arms of a man whom I knew. She was stretched back and looked as if she was in the agonies of death. She said nothing, but the man said, “She is dying. She will die.” And all disappeared, and the door closed without a noise.

   As Carol Freeman relates, “The night before she died, she went to a neighbor’s house where she “fell into a fit of delirium” and was carried home by her brother-in-law. He was heard to say, “She is dying. She will die” (Freeman, p. 23). This neighbor is likely Mrs. Hammond, 2 rods distant. If Isaac has heard this from the ghost for the first time, the confirmation is astonishing.

   The fifth appearance is the first in daylight, at least since the ghost appeared in the windowstill in October, “about sunrise.” Isaac testifies, “I came out of my house to go to my work, and I saw the same woman in the front yard. She said:

I wanted Joseph to keep  my papers, but they are ____.

Van Woert explains, “Here, something seemed to stop her utterance. Then she said,

‘Joseph! Joseph! I fear something will befall my boy.’

Van Woert concludes, “And all was gone.” The papers may relate to the interest of the ghost in the bureau drawer, though another possibility for this will soon appear. James may well have stolen the papers from the division of his property with his brother John, which the ghost would intend to be passed on to her son Joseph.

   In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Horatio also sees the ghost, confirming it is not one mind’s delusion. Horatio, a scholar, explains that the ghosts of damned spirits return at sunrise from wandering because they fear “Lest daylight should look their shames upon.” According to Puck and Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, these willfully exile themselves from light, in contrast with the Fairy sort of spirits, who “oft make sport” with the morning’s love.” Some Protestants believed that all ghosts were bad, while others did not believe in them at all, rejecting these with Purgatory. It is not clear what role the Dixboro Methodist church plays in the story. A R. Stoddard is a Methodist minister in Ann Arbor in 1839. But there is not yet a Church and preacher in Dixboro.

   In Hamlet, a ghost too reveals a crime, and there is similarly the difficulty of the protagonist to bring the murderer to Justice when the crime is hidden.

   The sixth appearance is again at night, at midnight, still in October. Again the room became light though no candle was visible, and Isaac sees the same woman standing in the bedroom. Isaac looks at his wife, afraid she will awaken, but the ghost tells him,

‘She will not awake.’

Van Woert testifies: “The ghost seemed to be in great pain; she leaned over and grasped her bowels in one hand and in the other held a phial containing a liquid. I asked her what it was. She replied,

‘Doctor said it was balm of Gilead.’

Then she disappeared. She does not say that it is this balm, but that the doctor said it was such. A balm, though, is not an oil in a vial, but an ointment. “Balm of Gilead” is made in the US from cottonwood trees (and so is similar to turpentine). In the Eastern Hemisphere, it is the original anointing oil, grown in the suburb of Jericho that would be Gilead, and this is a fragrant healing ointment. It is also the name for universal tonics or remedies as were popular at the time and sold by paddlers.

   The last three appearances concern the ghost’s own purgatory. While working at a bench as he did in the evenings, the same woman appeared, saying to him,

 I wanted to tell James something, but I could not. I could not.

Isaac asks her what she wanted to tell James. She answers,

‘Oh, he did an awful thing to me.

Isaac asks her who, and she answers,

‘Oh! he gave me a great deal of trouble in my mind.’ ‘Oh, they kilt me, they kilt me!’

which she repeated several times. Isaac then walks toward her, but she kept the same distance from him, as does a rainbow or mirage. Isaac asks her if she had taken anything that killed her. She answered,

‘Oh, I don’t____. I don’t _____.’

Isaac relates, “The froth in her mouth seemed to stop her utterance,” showing him what she could not tell. Then saying again, “They kilt me,” Isaac asks, “Who killed you,” and she answers: “I will show you.” Isaac then relates:

   Then she went out of the back door near the fence, and I followed her. There I saw two men whom I knew, standing. They looked cast down and dejected. I saw them begin at the feet and melt down like lead melting, until they were entirely melted; then a blue blaze two inches thick burned over the surface of the melted mass. Then all began bubbling up like lime slacking. I turned to see where the woman was, but she was gone. I looked back again, and all was gone and dark.

As copper has a green flame, we might consider whether lead or other metal has such as lead or arsenic happens to have a blue flame. The image of damnation, for murder, is similar to the melting of the Wicked Witch of the West in the movie the Wizard of Oz. The two men known to Isaac are James but not John, nor Joseph, but possibly the peddler selling the balm of Gilead. The only other man in Dixboro we know he knows is Hawkins, on whose building Isaac is employed, though it would seem strange if he already had met the peddler.

   In the eighth appearance, Isaac relates:

   The next time I saw the woman was in the back yard, about Eight O’ clock. P. M. She said, “I want you to tell James to repent. Oh! if he would repent. But he won’t. He can’t. John was a bad man,” and muttered something I could not understand. She then said, “Do you know where Frain’s Lake is? She then asked another question of much importance, and said “Don’t tell of that.”

Van Woert later said that what he was told not to tell pertained to the well at the corner of Mill and Main, near Martha’s house. The well has since been filled in. Frain’s Lake is up the road to the East about a mile or so.

   I asked her if I should inform the public on the two men that she said had killed her. She replied, ‘There will be a time, The time is coming. The time will come. But Oh! Their end! Their end! Their wicked end. She muttered something about Joseph, and all was dark.

   When Martha Mulholland had come to visit her sister Ann in 1835, she begun the courtship with John, and planned to marry him, when Ann, disturbed, told her a terrible secret about John and James that has never been revealed. Martha then attempted to break off the engagement and return to Canada, but according to the story James then threatened that she would never reach Canada alive. Still, it is difficult to explain why she would then remain and marry John, except that she was pregnant. A child Martha had with John had died shortly after his father. One does note that every person standing between James and the property of his brother has died untimely. One wonders about the earthly end of John Mulholland. Martha had been taken to see a doctor Denton at the University of Michigan in 1845, just before she died. She offered to tell the doctor the secret if he would then bleed her to death, as she did not want to live after revealing it. The doctor, though, refused of course, but never did reveal the secret, likely as according to the Hippocratic Oath.

   In the ninth appearance, she is dressed in white, and her hands hang down at her side, as though her doing were done. She “stood very straight,” and “looked very pale.” She said, “I don’t want anybody here, I don’t want anybody here. She then muttered words he could not understand, except occasionally the word “Joseph.” She then said to Isaac, “I wanted to tell a secret, and I thought I had.”

And all was gone and dark.

   The secret may be that James and John killed the peddler, and then killed every person who knew about this: John who told Ann, Ann who told Martha, Martha who told…  But does murder fit the secret which Martha would not want to continue living having disclosed? It is possible that because she told the doctor, and Isaac testified before the Justice of the Peace, the body of Martha was exhumed in January, as the public demanded when the testimony of Isaac became known. It was determined then, famously, that Martha was indeed poisoned, and by a person other than herself, though what the poison was is not said. Notes from this coroner’s inquest would be very interesting with the hindsight of 173 years of the progress of science.

   The well might have been checked for a bottle from poison. The lake, too could now be searched better, and the bodies of both Martha and Ann exhumed, along with that of John. Many records no doubt exist, such as from the lawsuits for slander- none of which were brought against Isaac Van Woert, who speaks quite carefully in his testimony. Isaac continued living in Dixboro for about two years.

   That the Mulholland property was sold at a Sheriff’s sale means that it was not sold when James left Dixboro. He may have disappeared, or even suffered a fate similar to those he made suffer. The alternative explanation for the appearance of the ghost is that it was part of a conspiracy to banish Mulholland “because of his mistreatment of both his wife and his sister in law.” But on the 1874 map of Superior Township, a W. and an S. Mulholland own property just east of Dixboro, so it may be that his wife and some children remained.

   Ellen Hoffman, in an article, “The Dixboro Ghost” in 3 parts [See Appended section], adds some details regarding James and John. The property division was made by John when he was near death and in failing health, and all was not in place when John died. John was two years older than James, though the arrived in Dixboro two years later. James had brought Ann from Canada, though her maiden name, the same as that of Martha-  is yet unknown. The Mulhollands came from County Monaham in Ireland, and later sold 40 acres to Samuel their father. Samuel petitions the court in 1846 to appoint his sons Sam and William executors, but he does not ask that James be so appointed. And these would be those names owning property east of Dixboro on the map of 1874. Hoffman finds the second wife of James as well….

A site called “What Lies Beyond” adds:

However, James didn’t leave the area immediately. In 1838, he had married Emily Loomis and when she died in 1847, the two had four young children, one of whom was only 4-weeks-old. Although there was no evidence to charge him with murder, or any other crime, townsfolk condemned James, then 34, for his greed and blamed him for Martha death. Because he was no longer welcome, he gathered up his family and belongings and departed Dixboro for parts unknown, never to be seen nor heard of again. In 1852, some of his former land holdings were sold at public auction.

In the end, Martha’s son, Joseph Crawford, inherited John Mulholland’s estate and by 1850, he was the only one of the principals with a connection to the Dixboro ghost still living in Superior Township. He was a successful businessman, married in 1855 and later settled in Livingston County.

[Note 1]

   Another reason that the Dixboro apparition is astonishing is the spirit-ology assumed by the ghost and the literary imagery. It is accurate, and includes things of which a carpenter and family man is not likely to think, while excluding anything false that would indicate it was the work of human contrivance. The wish of the ghost that James could repent means that the ghost has been freed from revenge or the inability to forgive, as though making it through purgatory. That James, or such a murderer, cannot repent, as though they had extinguished the light of their own conscience, here too has another example. In these cases, it is as though the soul itself of the community wished to purge the disturbance, as of terrible crime. In murders, bodies are said to rise toward the surface, symbolically true. Socrates too notes that crime of public significance is sometimes revealed by a kind of divine madness (Phaedrus 244d-e). Yet it is difficult to imagine one more sane in his proceeding, having seen and spoken to a ghost, than Isaac Van Woert.

Note 1: Author: Graveyardbride.

Sources: John Robinson, WFMK, April 29, 2017; Ellen Hoffman, GLakes-Tales Blog; Dixboro.com; Washtenaw Impressions, Washtenaw Historical Society; and William B. Treml, Ann Arbor News, October 31, 1972.

 

II The Dixboro Ghost: Psychological Commentary

   What Socrates says to Phaedrus is that love should not be rejected and favors given rather to the non-lover on the grounds that love is a madness, because there are some forms of madness that are a gift from the gods, and love is one, like prophecy, tragedy and lyric poetry. As translated by Hackforth, Socrates tells Phaedrus…

…When grievous maladies and afflictions have beset certain families by reason of some ancient sin, madness has appeared among them, and breaking out into prophecy, has secured relief by finding the means thereto [fleeing to the gods in] prayer and worship, and in consequence thereof, rites and means of purification were established, and the sufferer was brought out of danger, alike for the present and for the future. Thus did madness secure for him that was maddened aright and possessed, deliverance from his troubles…

   The event of the Dixboro ghost is quite like this second form of divine madness, as Isaac is otherwise wholly sound. Phrenology being then the fashion in psychiatry, these were brought in, and the head of Isaac measured. He was judged “bilous” among the four humors.

   The story does not concern Isaac personally, and so is a collective content in the sense of an issue concerning the community.

The phenomenon of apparitions of course occurs, and the question is whether these are what they seem to us to be, or as these present themselves. It is especially interesting when true things are revealed. In this case, it is very odd that Martha shows Isaac the scene of James carrying her from the house of Mrs. Hammonds- showing him an apparition of both herself and one then living, in order to communicate a truth.

   As in the case of Hamlet, the question arises as to whether the event of the appearance of the ghost might not be caused by the conscience of the king, or in this case the conscience of James Mulholland. This is at least an intriguing third possibility that allows us an alternative on the question of whether or not ghosts exist. That a specter is produced for Isaac showing a both James and Martha, and the specter here is distinct from the person of the ghost, is also revealing and intriguing.

   From Shakespeare, a teaching of Horatio on ghosts relates the cause of their trooping home to their beds in Churchyards before the approach of the sun, “for fear lest day should look their shames upon,” as Puck tells Oberon. Oberon explains to Puck, though, that they, the fairies, are “spirits of another sort.” The key indicator is that he often consorts with the dawn sunrise.

   The central of the nine appearances occurs at dawn. An ordering of the nine appearances, in groups of three, also appears.

   And in his Life of Dion, Plutarch writes that Dion and Brutus, both students of Plato, were alike also in seeing an apparition:

…by preternatural interposition both of them had notice given of their approaching death by an unpropitious form, which visibly appeared to them. Although there are people who utterly deny any such thing, and say that no man in his right senses ever yet saw any supernatural phantom or apparition, but that children only, and silly women, or men disordered by sickness, in empty and extravagant imaginations, whilst the real evil genius, superstition, was in themselves. Yet if Dion and Brutus, men of solid understanding, and philosophers, not to be easily deluded by fancy or discomposed by any sudden apparition, were thus affected by visions that they forthwith declared to their friends what they had seen, I know not how we can avoid admitting again the utterly exploded opinion of the oldest times, that evil and beguiling spirits, out of envy to good men, and a desire of impeding their own good deeds, make efforts to excite in them feelings of of terror and distraction, to make them shake and totter in their virtue, lest by a steady and unbiased perseverance they should obtain a happier condition than these beings after death…

It is interesting in comparison that our Isaac Van Woert is not unsteadied, nor is his apparition ethically inferior or jealous of his happiness, but rather learns top hope James will repent.

   The purpose of our strange holiday called Halloween is, or can be, to accustom ourselves to facing terrors, including the innate human fear of the dead. Gazing once as a seven year old out the back car window into an empty field, I asked my mother, “What if there was a dead body out there! She wisely answered, “It is not the dead ones you have to worry about, but the living.” And so in martial arts, we teach overcoming the fear of the dark, and clumsiness, too. We notice too that at night, one approaches not out of the artificial light, but out of the darkness.

Late notes: Here is a breakthrough in Dixboro ghostology: On a hunch, I looked up Independence, Texas, in Washington County, there east of Amerillo and North ‘o Houston. Dix went there from Dixboro, and Mulholland was his buddy. Strangely, I found a very similar Mulholland family in Independence Pennsylvania, with numerous similar names and dates. A James Mulholland also appears in the earliest records of the Seventh Day Adventists out in Iowa, from where the “Spectator” wrote.

Isaac Van Woert turns out to be the grandson of Isaac  Van Wart who captured Major Andre in the Revolutionary War, leading to the arrest of Benedict Arnold. Bidlack reports this, but there is no record of our seer in Livingston county NY. It is rather Livingston city, where Van Wart is from, and has his grave. In capturing Andre, Van Wart and 2 others declined substantial bribes at a crucial turning point in the Revolution. So something of the spirit of his grandfather may have allowed Van Wart to see the ghost.

 

Appendix A: Ellen Hoffman on Mulhollands and the Dixboro Ghost

From “Dixboro Ghost Part 3: Are We Related?
…According to the 1881 History of Washtenaw County, the Mulhollands were a family of weavers in Ireland, but their professions shifted to farming and other trades after arriving in the U.S. James and John Mulholland worked diligently to earn money to buy the kind of large farms not attainable in their homeland. By 1832, the brothers obtained their first land patent for 80 acres in Section 18 of Superior County, the same section in which Captain James Dix, the founder of Dixboro, bought in that year. In 1835, after more of the family had arrived from Ireland, James purchased another 40 acres in Section 20, a parcel which was sold to his father Sam sr. and where my great-great grandfather Samuel Mulholland jr later farmed. The description of this latter property looked like this, rather arcane for those who are not surveyors or deed writers:
 

Sw 1/4 of the Nw 1/4 of Section 20 in township 2 South of Range 7 East [Superior] in the District of lands subject to sale at Detroit Michigan Territory containing 40 acres (Land patent, certificate 8030, issued 9 Oct 1835, to James Mulhollan of Washtenaw County Michigan Territory)

John and James had continued to buy homestead property in Michigan, expanding beyond Washtenaw and picking up large parcels in Livingston and Ingham counties in 1837. In a history of Livingston county, it was pointed out that the Mulhollands never lived on their homestead but sold it off for a profit in the following two years. 
 
The patents show John and James held all but the Section 20 lands in common not in joint tenancy. Just prior to his death and in failing health, court records show John arranged for a division of the land held by himself and his brother. While John attempted to get his estate in order before his death, he was unable to get all in place.

With John’s death in June 1840, Martha became the administrator of John’s estate under Probate Court order to produce an appraisal of “goods, chattels, rights, and credits” in 1840. When the estate had not been appraised, James went back to the Probate Court in 1841 indicating that it needed to be done and that there were debts to be settled and he was the primary creditor. The court ordered a $1000 bond to bring in appraisers, but in 1842 Martha herself indicated she was not able to comply due to failing health, and requested that the court appoint a new administrator to review the estate. Despite continued claims and counterclaims, the estate remained unsettled until 1846, when John’s father Sam sr. petitioned the courts to appoint his sons Sam jr and William, John’s younger brothers, as administrators. In the petition dated 19 Jan 1846, Sam was sworn as stating:

The undersigned Samuel Mulholland would represent that he is the Father of John Mulholland late of Superior in said county deceased that said John Mulholland died at Superior aforesaid sometime in June in the year AD 1840 intestate leaving real and personal property to be administered. The undersigned further represent that the said deceased has no children now living and that it is necessary that some person or persons should be appointed to settle the estate of said deceased as there are debts to be collected and paid. The undersigned would waive his right to administer said estate on account of his extreme old age and requests you to appoint Samuel Mulholland jr and William Mulholland brothers of said deceased and sons of your petitioner administrators for said estate upon their [young hand?] for the faithful discharge of that trust.


With Martha’s death in 1845, eventually most of John’s remaining estate formally went to his stepson Joseph Crawford, Martha’s son from her first marriage as there was no will. If James felt some resentment for Martha’s teenage son, not even a member of the Mulholland family, inheriting the land and money he had worked so hard to attain with brother John, and likely had further plans to exploit, it would not be a surprise.

   James left Ireland and immigrated to Quebec, Canada in 1826 and by 1829 was living in Washtenaw, Michigan. He was an early settler in Dixboro founded by John Dix. In county civil court records from November 1829, James appeared in the court with Dix for an indictment of $50 owed to the United States. The indictment does not indicate the reason for the assessment but it must have been paid, as the two were released on their own recognizance and ordered to pay up or appear at the next court session. They do not appear again at the next court session.

The exact date that James married his first wife, Ann Mulholland, is unknown as is her maiden name, although some reports indicate she came with him to Michigan. By the time of the 1830 census of Panama Township, later divided into Superior and Salem Townships as we know them today, James is listed as living with a woman (most likely his wife Ann) between the ages of 20 and 30, about the same age as her husband, and with a son under five. In 1834, the household had grown to five with the addition of another adult male, presumably brother John who immigrated in 1831, and a daughter under 5. These early census records did not have names for any but the head of household. As a result, the names of most of James’ children have been lost to us unless new records are discovered. Only one son of James is known from a sad story of a toddler who got too close to the fireplace and burned to death when his clothes caught fire. James jr. died after his mother Ann, living from 1835 to 1838.
 
Martha Crawford and son were not listed as living with her sister Ann’s family in mid-1834 when the census data was recorded. She is reported to have arrived in mid-1835 from the later court hearings related to her enigmatic death. John and Martha were married in December 1835 when John was 33. When John died in 1840, he left behind a son reportedly born in 1836 but who died later in the same year as his father.
 
James remarried to Emily Loomis in 1838 after Ann’s death about 1836-7, all before John then Martha died. While the ghost story claimed James and his second wife had only one stillborn child, in fact they had at least two more children. Further, he and his family did not flee immediately after the 1846 inquest, nor were any criminal charges ever filed against him. In an interesting vignette reported in a Universalist Church publication in 1847, Emily Loomis Mulholland’s death is noted, indicating the family remained in Superior Township: 
 

Death. In Superior, on Ap 25 last [1847], Mrs. Emily, wife of Mr. James Mulholland, in the 34th year of her age. She has left a husband and four small children, the youngest about four weeks old, also an aged Father and Mother, to mourn the loss of a faithful child and virtuous Mother. She has been a member of the Universalist Church in Ann Arbor about nine years. (published Dec 1847, The Expounder of Primitive Christianity, v. 4, p. 175)

 
By 1850, only Martha’s son, Joseph Crawford, remained in Superior Township of all the characters from the Dixboro Ghost Story. He retained his inheritances, with the records showing he owned property worth $1000. Joseph married in 1855, and by 1870 he too had left Superior Township, moving initially north in Michigan to Livingston County where other Mulhollands had settled, and later to Ogemaw where he became one of those revered early settlers, dying shortly after his move there.

Mounting Problems for James Mulholland

 
For James Mulholland, the evidence suggests his departure from Superior Township after the ghost inquest may have been as much about finding a wife or caretaker for his four orphaned young children rather than any guilt over what happened to his sister-in-law. He did not flee immediately as has been recorded in legend but did eventually move on, and over time, community sentiment eased after the initial hysteria brought on by the wild tales of Martha’s ghost and perhaps gossip by a few who didn’t like James. Whether the community feud also rendered family ties to his father and siblings is unknown, but Sam jr. did testify to the Probate Court in 1846 that there were unpaid liens on John’s estate, perhaps providing some evidence the family was sympathetic to James’s complaints.

Debts may also have contributed to the disappearance of James as suggested in earlier histories. His lands were seized by the courts for unpaid debts. Initially land in Section 19 of Superior was sold at public auction in late 1849 for debts owed by James, his brother-in-law William Loomis, and David Bottsford, another original land owner in Washtenaw County.James debt problems continued to mount. Frederick Townsend petitioned for redress in the Detroit courts in February 1850 and as a result James’ two remaining lots in Dixboro were seized by the sheriff of Washtenaw County. With no creditors coming forward after 15 months, the lots were auctioned at a sheriff sale in fall 1852. Townsend was allowed, rather conveniently, to purchase the two village lots owned by James for $100, far below the actual value. As history has since recorded, based on Michigan laws at the time, this process of land seizure and repurchase was a corrupt one in which a debtor could collect and profit with little evidence and often few others being aware of the court orders and sale.The ending of the recorded ghost story stating it is uncertain where James Mulholland went remains true, as neither he nor his children have been located in official records after Emily’s death in 1847 and with the loss of his property in 1850. 

 

Appendix II: Isaac Van Woert is a descendant of Isaac Van Wart who captured Major Andre in the Revolutionary War (Bidlock) : From Wikipedia:

Isaac Van Wart (October 25, 1762 – May 23, 1828) was a militiaman from the state of New York during the American Revolution. In 1780, he was one of three men who captured British Major John André, who was convicted and executed as a spy for conspiring with treasonous Continental general and commandant of West Point Benedict Arnold.[1][2]

American Revolution

A yeoman farmer, Van Wart joined the volunteer militia when New York was a battle zone of the American Revolution. Overnight on 22–23 September 1780, he joined John Paulding and David Williams in an armed patrol of the area.[1][2] The three men seized a traveling British officer, Major John André in Tarrytown, New York, at a site now called Patriot’s Park. Holding him in custody, they discovered documents of André’s secret communication with Benedict Arnold. The militiamen, all yeomen farmers, refused André’s considerable bribe and delivered him to Continental Army headquarters.[3] Arnold’s plans to surrender West Point to the British were revealed and foiled, and André was hanged as a spy. With George Washington’s personal recommendation, the United States Congress awarded Van Wart, Paulding and Williams the first military decoration of the United States, the silver medal known as the Fidelity Medallion. Each of the three also received federal pensions of $200 a year, and prestigious farms awarded by New York State.

Personal life

Van Wart was born in the farm country of Greenburgh, New York, near the village of Elmsford. He lived on the frontier and his birthdate is not recorded.

Van Wart married Rachel Storm (1760–1834), a daughter of Elmsford’s most prominent family (from whom the settlement’s original name, “Storm’s Bridge”, was derived). He divided his time between his family, his farm, and his church (he became an elder deacon of the Dutch Reformed Church). Van Wart was buried in the cemetery of the Elmsford Reformed Church in Elmsford, New York.[4] His tombstone said that he died at the age of sixty-nine.

Legacy

Van Wart died in Elmsford and is buried in the cemetery of the Old Dutch Reformed Church on Route 9.[5] A marble and granite monument was erected at his grave on 11 June 1829, bears the single emphatic word “FIDELITY”, followed by this epitaph,

On the 23rd of September 1780, Isaac Van Wart, accompanied by John Paulding and David Williams, all Farmers of the County of Westchester, intercepted Major André, on his return from the American Lines in the character of a Spy, and notwithstanding the large bribes offered them for his release, nobly disdaining to sacrifice their Country for Gold, Secured and carried him to the Commanding Officer of the district, whereby the dangerous and traitorous Conspiracy of Arnold was brought to light; the insidious designs of the enemy baffled; the American Army saved; and our beloved country now free and Independent, rescued from most imminent peril.

The three militiamen were highly celebrated in their lifetimes: commemorations large and small abound in Westchester, and can be found in many disparate parts of the early United States. Among other honors, each of the men had his name given to a county in the new state of Ohio (1803): Van Wert County, bearing a common alternate spelling of the name, is in the northwest corner of the state.

Still, Van Wart and the others did see their reputations impugned by some. André at his trial had insisted the men were mere brigands; sympathy for him remained in some more aristocratic American quarters (and grew to legend in England, where he was buried in Westminster Abbey). Giving voice to this sympathy, Representative Benjamin Tallmadge of Connecticut persuaded Congress to deny the men a requested pension increase in 1817, publicly assailing their credibility and motivations. Despite the slight, the men’s popular acclaim continued to grow throughout the 19th century to almost mythic status. Some modern scholars have interpreted the episode as a major event in early American cultural development, representing the apotheosis of the common man in the new democratic society.[6]

Van Wart and his companions are honored on the monument erected at the site of the capture in Tarrytown, dedicated on June 11, 1829, by the Revolutionary general and congressman Aaron Ward of nearby Ossining.[7] A Van Wart Avenue is located on the south side of Tarrytown, near the Tappan Zee Bridge. Three streets in the neighboring village of Elmsford, New York, are named for the militiamen, with Van Wart Street being one of the village’s main roads. White Plains, New York, has a Van Wart Avenue in the southwest section of the city, off NY Route 22.

References

  1. Jump up to:a b Raymond, pp. 11–17
  2. Jump up to:a b Cray, pp. 371–397
  3. ^ [1]“Vindication.” From New York Courier; reprinted in American & Commercial Advertiser, February 22, 1817. Account of capture of Andre, in rebuttal to criticism by Rep. Tallmadge. Depositions by Isaac van Wart and his neighbors, intended to refute allegations he and his companions were bandits or “Cow-boys”; Retrieved July 25, 2011
  4. ^ Austin O’Brien (August 1983). “National Register of Historic Places Registration: Elmsford Reformed Church and Cemetery”New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Retrieved 2010-12-24.
  5. ^ Isaac Van Wart at Find A Grave
  6. ^ White, p. 49
  7. ^ “In Saw Mill River Valley: Elmsford and its Revolutionary Church and Graveyard” (PDF)The New York Times. 17 November 1895. Retrieved 25 August 2013.
Bibliography
  • Bolton, Robert (1848). A History of the County of West Chester. Gould, Alexander S. Retrieved 25 August 2013.
  • Cray, Robert E. Jr. (Autumn 1997). “Major John André and the Three Captors: Class Dynamics and Revolutionary Memory Wars in the Early Republic, 1780-1831”. Journal of the Early Republic. Univ. of Pennsylvania Press. 17 (3). doi:10.2307/3123941.
  • White, James T., ed. (1892). The Builders of the Nation. New York: Stanley-Bradley Publishing Co. Retrieved 25 August 2013.

Further reading

Marx Theoretical: Or, Marx In A Nutshell

   As said in our more practical blogs on Marxism as the left wing of Twentieth Century Totalitarianism, Marxism is no more an economic theory than Nazism or fascism is a biological theory. Both are reductionist, reducing all human things to a much lower, material basis. The theory is very simple, though the “economic” part is only one section. Long ago we collected the basic points of the theory, into these axioms  . We have a different understanding of things as an “intellectual” perversion, or an inversion of the imagination. But as was said, both forms of twentieth century totalitarianism begin in atheism. They then combine to this a strange historicism and an understanding of a necessary march of history, from Hegel, as though what is were not in the beginning. The reason can be described in  terms as a throwing of the baby out with the bathwater in rejecting the medieval assumptions.

   Marx is 1) an inversion of “religion, 2) an inversion of Hegel, 3) an economic determinism setting principles of Locke into historical or dialectical motion, and 4) A strange revolutionary conclusion, since, to be sarcastic, all history is class struggle, and this in the final opposition, that of the bourgeois and Proletariat.” But Marx taught us to see ourselves, our constitution in the broadest sense, as Capitalism,” an utter absurdity if one considers any of the greats of the American Revolution, let alone all of them.

   And for the many who are poor and the few who are rich, Aristotle notices that these are in every human polity. Or, as Jesus says, the poor you will always have with you…” But it is not at all clear, for example, that if there were no rich, simply everyone might be poor, no reason to assume some constant store of natures goods for equal distribution. If income inequality were to increase, it still might be true that the many are twice as rich and the rich four times, etc….

Within each of these four categories or axioms, there is an account with three or four points in each, so that as we say, Marx has only 12 or 16 thoughts.

   In the first, Marx considers the “criticism of religion” to have been completed by Hegel and Freurbach. Religion is now known to have been all along an illusion, an expression of human unhappiness with the world, and flowers on the chains of slavery or the opiate to keep the many pleased with their condition. The truth is that man is the supreme being for man. Knowing this, “religion” can now be resolved into its secular basis, its human core.

   In the second, Hegel was correct that history develops “dialectic-ally,” but was wrong, about the priority of “spirit” to mater. Hence the Marxist dialectic is dialectical materialsm as opposed to the Hegelian dialectic of spirit or “phenomenology of the mind.”The end of history is not in mind but in matter or economic realities, again simply assumed axiomatically to be so, as if by perception acquiring first principles. “Philosophy” is now to “become active, transforming the human material conditions, and here we say that Marxism is a spiritual atheism. Consequently, all history is the dialectical history of class struggle.

Third, All profit or value comes from human activity, or human labor in making or producing value out of the nearly worthless contribution of material nature. Therefore all “capitalist” profits come from the “exploitation” of labor. Marx does not want to hear about Henry Ford meta-making a system that makes the labor of each one more productive of value, nor about the difference in value of our labor in the project of some brainy guy, like labor for a craftsman, compared to the value of our labor in our own back yard, so that we leave home and go to work each morning, if we are able. It is all “exploitation.” Further, as technology increases, and the owners of the “factors” of production become larger, fewer workers are needed, so that an “industrial army of the unemployed” is formed necessarily. Again, Marx does not want to hear of labor unions formed to oppose the owners politically should their use their wealth to compel or tyrannize the workers, nor about the stock ownership that might cultivate a middle class. An impoverished proletariat is a revolutionary proletariat, and Marx just knows this is the last stage of a long history of class conflict.

   And here in the fourth section Marx becomes obviously spiritual, if in a materialistc sense, as ther is absolutely no empirical reason to think that because of factories in early eighteenth century London, the last stage of the historical dialectic is soon to arrive. But man, the supreme being for man, produces his own essence, which is then “alienated” when he does not himself own the factors of production, as he would, one imagines, if he chased down rabbits and devoured the for himself alone, without cooking. Indeed, since the present condition is, we just know it, the last and most essential class conflict,, the present condition is that of the alienation of the human essence, and hence the proletariat will embody the human essence, and the bourgeois the opposite. Here all ethics is subjected to class, as in fascism, all human ethics becomes a matter of race. But the seizure of the means of production is to be the “return of man to himself, and one of the few things said about the communist utopian condition is that the lack of division of labor allows man to contemplate his own essence in the products of his labor. One imagines that young fellow in the Catskill mountains who burned a hole in the center of a tree large enough to make a house, but Marx does not go this far, because the theory is a delusion, or an inversion of the things said about the coming of the kingdom, or the things imagined from the things said. He talks of each holding every sort of job randomly, which again might make any sensible person consider the value created by expertise and the division of labor.

   But for the sake of this delusion, or as said, perversion of the imagination, a “dictatorship of the proletariat” is to be instituted not by persuasion but by force, through a violence called spiritual, or philosophy become active, a tyranny for the purpose of transforming human nature by eradicating the character of the bourgeois. This condition is to universal, occurring everywhere, and involving a magical transformation of the senses. Private property and private families are to no longer exist, as in the Acts of the Apostles or among the few guardians in Socrates’ description of the best regime, though this has nothing to do with many. There is to be no tension between man and the state, nor between man and nature. Nature is to be conquered or subjected by the revolutionary proletariat. And until then , there is to be literally a tyranny with an aristocracy of those who know the march of history, a vanguard elite., in every communist nation. That is Marxism in a nutshell.

   Hence, as it would not be possible to present so concisely the thought of a genuine philosopher, we say that Marx is not a philosopher at all.

 

Arthur, Guinevere and the Ancient British

   A tweeter of Archaeology photos had asked: “Why did the Anglo-Saxons not become more British?”
   A friend asked me then to write a blog for his site, wanting pictures and something short rather than an “opus,” and not too “intellectual,” as would be an account of the mystery of Baptism. Since he is Welsh, and I have long inquired into these things as far as I have been able, I thought I would edit my brief account of the History of Arthur and Guinevere. Including, then, some comedy and photos, we will write of this tragedy:
   The reason that the English did not become more British turns out to be a bit of a long story, involving the legend of King Arthur and Guinevere, and what can be gleaned from history prior to the intentional embellishment in the Middle Ages, the loss of all civilization in the Dark Ages, and the intentional obscuring of the origins of Saint Helen, the mother of the great emperor Constantine. St. Helen is of course the empress who originated the collecting of Relics, finding the true cross and lance when, after Constantine became emperor, she visited Jerusalem in the late 320’s. Constantine was born about the year 272, and it is he who turned the Roman Empire away from the ten persecutions of Christianity from Nero to Diocletian to, astonishingly, Rome itself becoming Christian with the edict of toleration, in the year 313. Constantius had a palace at York, where he died and where Constantine was crowned. He is also said by Eusebius to have had many offspring, Constantine being the eldest, and as for most of his career he was only co-emperor, with Maxentius the extremely cruel tyrant at Rome, it would have been a near certainty that Constantius would have kept the family out of Rome and hidden away in Britain, at the fringes of the empire, for safety. Geoffrey writes that Guinevere came from York, and we are going to suggest the possibility that Guinevere is descended from the famous St. Helen and Constantius of York, with about 180 years- 210 years intervening.

    There she is, in the second earliest known photographic image (the first being the Turin shroud). People looked more like wood in those days.

If you would like to play a song in the background while you consider the psychological background of our inquiry, David Crosby, of the band Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, wrote this: Guinnevere Illustrated via

   Arthur is of course real, and the history is right in front of us, if we would look. The date of the kingship of Arthur is said to have been 516-542, and the Chronology of British events forming the background of the Arthurian legend is Roman Christian Britain after it had been cut off from the written history of the Roman world, just as the darkest period of the dark Ages descends over Britain. Arthur is said to be

  In a word, it is the Welsh or Brits that are “way cool.” Arthur is real. The reason people doubted whether Arthur was even real is that, as Holinshed writes “Gildas and Bede speak not anything of him.” Does Holinshed realize that for the same reason, we might doubt that there ever was a Saint Patrick? But Bede was English, writing in the Seventh Century. And the omission of Gildas, “the most ancient British writer, will be addressed below.

   Guinevere is from York, where Constantius, two centuries prior, crowned Constantine about 308 AD. Constantius is the husband of St. Helen, the mother of Constantine, responsible for the recovery of the sacred sites and the iconic traditions, at least of the Western Roman Empire. Constantius seems to have ditched her and Constantine their son when her “married” Theodora, the daughter of the then Roman emperor Maxentius, in order that Constantius become co-emperor. The latter marriage was more consistent with his co-emperorship. St. Ambrosius writes of her being a barmaid and stablemaid, all consistent with the legend of her being the daughter of Old King Coel Hen, from the territory just West of York, where there had been a Roman garrison since the time of Severus. These are the first Christian Roman Emperors. We even have photos of these folk:

   Constantine and his father Constantius (Co-Emperor 293-305), the first Roman Christian emperors, posing for photos without St. Helen (People looked more like metal in those days. Perhaps Helen was not in Rome at the time):

Photos above from Limitless Walls and Google
Photos below from American Heritage Bullion:

There she is!

   But there she is, in coins minted later, while Constantine was emperor, about the late 320’s. Women indeed looked more like gold in those days, if the men more commonly were like silver. Perhaps she was in Troy, once, or Britain, or digging about the trash dumps near the temple of Venus in Jerusalem, wearing rags and feathers.
   The Socratic account of the image in love turns out to be related to the honoring of contingent beings called idolatry in religion. While, as Socrates in Plato’s Phaedrus and the poet Steisichourus say, in error, that the blindness of Homer was cured by writing that Helen was not in Troy, it is Greekness or Helenica that indeed was not there. (Hellas was not at all at stake in the dishonor, if it was allowing Helen to run off with Paris, though if she were kidnapped, it might be a matter for war to avenge, so that insults and outrages not continue.) Hence the purpose of that war was naught, and the Trojans might have avoided the destruction of their condominiums and their city had they simply given Helen up, making the Platonic statement literally true, as Helen would have no longer been in Troy. But then we would not have had all those interesting descendants that have made for Western civilization! Yet indeed, “the beautiful” is not in the woman. Rather, it is an eidolon or phantom that, in love, we see, and Socrates, in the Republic, says that it was a phantom of Helen that was at Troy. And the same is true for our idolatry in religion. Our idolatry cannot be cured by simply changing names for the correct name.

   Constantius may more correctly be called the first Christian emperor because, as Co- Emperor, in a story from Eusebius (Life of Constantine, VII. xvi), he did the following: The usual test for Christians was to make them kiss an idol of the emperor, and when they refused, they would be subject to martyrdom, i.e., torture and murder. Constantius pretends to do this, to have those among his servants kiss the idol as if continuing the Diocletian persecution, but then those who would not kiss the idol, he takes into his service- those who would lay down their lives for their friend- and simply dismissed the servile pagans. When Constantius married St. Helen, begat Constantine (about 272), and the boy grew to recall the image of the cross seen in the sky, with the saying “by this conquer,” the conversion of the Roman empire was sealed. Constantius died at York as sole Emperor (305-306, after having been co-emperor with the cruel tyrant Maxentius for some years, and Constantine was crowned there.

   Guinevere was likely descended from the imperial nobility at York, and so, two centuries later, the most eligible bachelorette for King Arthur. York suffered as the Saxons expanded, and it would be likely that the family of Guinevere would have to flee, and she is said to have been raised in safety at Cornwall. Lancelot, though, is first written of by Cretien La Trios, the Welsh being unlikely to say such things about the Queen. Geoffrey has Guinevere seized by Mordred, and does not tell of her kissing Lancelot. But from the knowledge of the soul, one may suspect that some such thing would be at the root of the destruction of the round table, the depression of the king, the recession in the realm, and the battle being a civil war, against Mordred, rather than against the Angles, Saxons and Jutes, since the English had been defeated and were no longer advancing. Gerald of Wales writes that the Saxons had been expelled by Arthur, but that Mordred, repeating the error of Vortigern a century earlier, invited them back to help him against Arthur.

   Arthur reigned about 516-542, apparently dying at a battle of Mt. Badon. Ambrosius also fought a battle at Mt. Badon, against the invading English. Avalon of course is Glastonbury Abbey. It was once an island with many apple trees, a sort of paradise, and a good place for a monastery. The monks there preserve a tradition that goes back to Joseph of Arimathea, who came with the Grail in 70 AD, fleeing to the edge of the civilized world from the Roman persecution of the early Christians. The first to write about the Grail in connection with Joseph of Arimathea and the hill at Glastonbury is said to be Robert de Boron writing about the year 1200 (Matarasso, The Quest of the Holy Grail, p. 12)

To pretend to dominion over the conscience is to usurp the prerogative of God. By the nature of things the power of sovereigns is confined to political government; they have no right of punishment except over those that disturb the public peace the most dangerous heresy is that of a sovereign who separates himself from the part of his subjects because they believe not according to his belief
                                                                   (Durants, IV, p. 100-101).
At this time, Constantius, a man of exceptional kindness and Courtesy, who governed Gaul and Spain during the lifetime of Diocletian, died in Britain. His son Constantine, the child of Helena his concubine, succeeded him as ruler of Gaul. Eutropius writes that Constantine, proclaimed Emperor in Britain, succeeded to his father’s domains…
                                                History of the English Church and People, I.8
   Following the tyranny of Vortigern and immigration of the Saxons beginning about 449, the British were further defeated and impoverished. Of Aurelianus Ambrosius, Gildas, writes:
(pgp-gh 25)…that they might not be brought to utter destruction, took arms under the conduct of Ambrosius Aurelianus, a modest man, who of all the Roman nation was then alone in the confusion of this troubled period by chance left alive. His parents, who for their merit were adorned with the purple, had been slain in these same broils, and now his progeny, in these our days, although shamefully degenerated from the worthiness of their ancestors, provoke to battle their cruel conquerors, and by the goodness of our Lord obtain the victory.
(Pgph 26) After this, sometimes our countrymen, sometimes the enemy, won the field to the end that our Lord might in this land try after his accustomed manner these his Israelites, whether they loved him or not, until the year of the siege of Bath hill, when took place also the last almost, though not the least slaughter of our cruel foes, which was (as I am sure) forty four years and one month after the landing of the Saxons, and also the time of my own nativity. And yet neither to this day are the cities of our country inhabited as before, but being forsaken and overthrown, still lie desolate; our foreign wars having ceased, but our civil troubles still remaining. For as well the remembrance of such a terrible desolation of the island, as also of the unexpected recovery of the same remained in the minds of those who were eyewitnesses of the wonderful events of both, and in regard therof, kings, public magistrates, and private persons, with priests and clergymen, did all and every one of them live orderly according to their several vocations. But when these had departed out of this world, and a new race succeeded, who were ignorant of this troublesome time, and had only experiences of the present prosperity, all the laws of truth and justice were so shaken and subverted, that not so much as a vestige or remembrance of these virtues remained among the above named orders of men, except among a very few, who, compared with the great multitude which were daily rushing headlong down to hell, are accounted so small a number, that our reverend mother, the church, scarcely beholds them, her only true children, reposing in her bosom; whose worthy lives being a pattern to all men, and beloved of God, inasmuch as by their holy prayers, as by certain pillars and most profitable supporters, our infirmity is sustained up, that it may not utterly be broken down…
                                                                                    (translated by J.A. Giles)
   “The purple” need not be a share in Imperial office, but may also have referred to the Roman equestrian order, that is, knighthood. Holinshed calls this one- the father of Geoffrey’s Constans, Aurelius Ambrosius and Uther Pendragon- Holinshed calls him “Constantine,” a Roman General who entered Britain from Brittany, was, according to Holinshed, made king of the Britons in 433, but murdered, as was his son, whom Geoffrey calls Constans, but Holinshed “Constantine.” The parents of Aurelius Ambrosius, according to Gildas, were “slain in these wars.”  Bede writes that the parents of Ambrosius were “of royal birth and title (I.16), and addresses the confusion of two Constantines, for when Gratian was killed by Maximus in 388…
…in his place Constantine, a common trooper of no merit, was chosen emperor solely on account of his auspicious name. Once he had obtained the power, he crossed into Gaul…Before long, at the orders of Honorius, Count Constantius entered Gaul with an army, besieged Constantine in the city of Arles, captured him, and put him to death. His son Constans, a monk whom he had created Caesar, was put to death by Count Gerontius in Vienne.
   The parents of Ambosius, the Grandparents of Arthur and parents also of Uther Pendragon, were of one or the other of these two Roman lines bearing the names from the first Constantius and Constantine. Holinshed, too, tries to clarify this confusion of Constantines in the third and fourth generation from the Great one who died in 339. It does seem likely, though, that either line could be related to one of the sons of Constantine in the previous generation or two.
   The writer of the Welsh Annales, recording history preserved among the scattered Welsh, writes of Patrick, and sets the death of Gildas at 570, making Gildas either 77 or 113, and writing of the events following Aurelianus’s battle at Badon either when he was about 7 or about 51. The dates for Arthur, the same in Geoffrey and Nennius, are 516-542. Our dates themselves are set on certain assumptions, and Bede too is famous for the discussion of the Calendar.
   In his second section, where Gildas reprimands four or five war lords who seem to have reigned before Arthur and after Aurelianus Ambrosious, Constantine, after taking an oath, killed two royal youths at the altar. Who would these two royal youths be if not sons of Aurelius Ambrosius or Uther? Aurelius Conanus is the son of non-Christian parents who were killed in the prime of their youth. Vortipore is called “tyrant of the Dametians, naughty son of a good king, now graying, guilty of murders and adulteries. He is likely the son of Vortipore, who was the son of Vortigern. Cuneglasse is said to be the rider and ruler of many, a contemner of God and a hater of the Church who set aside his wife to marry her sister, who was a nun. The fifth is “Megalocune.” Megalocune is addressed as nephew to the king, heaping upon his “kingly shoulders” a load of sins. But upon examination, the last addressed is Christian, and may well be Arthur or Uther Pendragon. Two points from Gerald of Wales make this seem an un-excluded possibility (is it yet included?): the great size of the bones of Arthur and the inscription saying that Guinevere was his “second wife.” Gildas may speak as Churchmen do who judge by convention, and identify, for example, conventional marriage with true marriage and artificial piety with natural virtue. For it seems this Megalocune is given to hearing bards tell flattering tales in song, “rung out after the fashion of the giddy rout of Bacchus by the mouths of thy villainous followers…vessel…This Megalocune is said to have married his nephew’s wife, and for this is accused of two murders, of each, though Gildas may simply mean the murder of their souls in convention, if the first marriages were conventional and the second based on true love. Finally, Gildas writes:
And, the just king (according to the prophet) raiseth up his region. But warnings truly are not wanting to thee, since thou had for thy instructor the most eloquent master of almost all Britain. Take heed, therefore, lest that which Solomon noteth, befall thee, which is, “Even as he who stireth a sleeping man out of his heavy sleep, so is that person who declareth wisdom unto a fool, for in the end of his speech will he say, What hadst thou first spoken?
Gildas speaks to this one as the present king, and says enough that it can be known he is a Christian king. He says says nothing inconsistent with this one being the Arthur known not to the poets that come later, but to history, addressed so as to remain within propriety, and early enough in his career, say, 516-524, to cohere with the other things written previously pertaining to the time of peace with the Saxons but civil turmoil following the death of Ambrosius Aurelianus and the first battle of Badon in 493. The revellings sound quite like a liberally educated prince having fun and living a normal life of the liberal arts from the view of an austere Churchman, who, however, may be more correct than wrong in his warning to Arthur. The “most eloquent master of almost all of Britain” may be Gildas himself, or Merlin Ambrosius, someone likely to be famed rather than forgotten completely.
   Concluding the first section, Gildas says that he does not wish to declare the concealed vices of his countrymen to the wider world so much as to “bewail the wickedness of those who have become servants not only to their bellies, but also to the devil rather than to Christ…”  In the second section, he then writes first against 5 warlords who ruled after Aurelianus Ambrosius, that is, after 449+44=493 AD. And then against the churchmen of Britain, going therough the old and new testaments while railing at them in tones again similar to Luther. This, a time of great corruption due to the luxury following the victory of Ambrosius, is the circumstance into which the real Arthur is born, about 501 AD. If Megalocune” is not Arthur- and I do think he is-, then Gildas, or the part of his writing we have preserved, just barely missed the event of Arthur, though Nennius lists the death date of Gildas as 570. He wrote at least the first 26 paragraphs in a time of peace, when Ambrosius was the last victorious British general. There seems little reason to hypothesize the identification of Arthur with Ambrosius, the brother of Uther, nor, to say thye least, with Riothamus, though the work of Ashe is impressive and quite helpful in seeing into the period. Those histories would have been preserved, or at least writers would write in a way that cohered with other things known, such as the time and effect of the Saxon invasion, and its geography, pushing the Roman Britons gradually West, from St. Martins and London (Lud-don, or Lud’s city, also called Trinovantium, or “New Troy”) to the area of Westminster and Silchester, near Arthur’s Camelot, and finally to Glastonbury-Avalon and North into what is now Wales, toward Snowdon, and even into Scotland where some of my own MacDomnwald ancestors became “Lords of the Isles.”
   The first was at the mouth of the river called Glein. The second, third, fourth and fifth were on another river, called the Douglas, which is in the country of Lindsey. The sixth battle was on the river called Bassas. The seventh was in celyddon Forest, that is the battle of Celyddon Coed. The eighth battle was in Guinnon fort, and in it Arthur carried the image of the holy Mary, the everlasting Virgin, on [his shield,]…The ninth battle was fought in the city of Legion. The tenth battle battle was fought on the bank of the river called Tryfrwyd. The eleventh battle was on the hill called Agned. The twelfth battle was on Badon hill, and in it 960 men fell from a single charge of Arthur’s…
                                                                     Nennius,
Whoever suffers death for the sake of his brothers offers himself as a living sacrifice to God and follows with firm footsteps behind Christ himself, who did not disdain to lay down his life for his brothers…
Dubricius is thinking of the passage in John, (15:13) “Greater love has no  man than that he lay down his life for his friends…” Death in war as penance and absolution is  a slightly different if related idea. We say that our police do this “every time they punch the clock,” as do our citizens accidentally shot.
…   But we have not only the name Constans, but also a Constantine who is one of the five addressed by Gildas, As in the line of the Roman emperors, the name is repeated as successive generations bear the name of honored progenitors. Hence we have a Constantine II, then a Constantius II, then a Constans in the first Christian century of the Roman emperors, and in little more than a century, the connection of Britain with Rome is severed.
   Holinshed has, though, some report of the parents of Canstans, Aurelius Abrosious and Uther Pendragon that will assist us in connecting the royal line of Arthur himself with that of the Roman Constantius and his Son Constantine. Following the report of “our writers on this matter, Holinshed, writing in the 1500’s, of the time (409-449) between the abandonment of Britain by the Romans and the arrival of the Saxons invited by Vortigern, One Constantuius the brother of Aldroenus, King of Armorica or Brittany across the channel, a General of the Romans, a Century after the first Constantius, entered Britain to help the British against the more barbarous Scots (Irish) and Picts Holinshed, following Geoffrey and especially Matthew of Westminster sets the following as a capsule and summary:
…When the Britons had thus overcome their enemies they conveyed their captain the said Constantine unto Cicester, and there in fulfilling their promisde and covenant made to his brother, crowned him king of Great Britain, in the year of our Lord 433, which was about the fifth year of the emperor Valentinianus the second and the third year of Coidius king of the Frankers after called Frenchmen, which then began to settle themselves in Gallia, whereby the name of that country was afterwards changed and called France. Constantine being thus established as king, ruled the land well and nobly, and defended it from all invasion of enemies during his life. He begat of his wife three sons, as the British later affirm) Constantius, Aurelius Ambrosius, and Uter surnamed Pendragon. The eldest, because he perceived him to be dull of wit, and not very toward, he made a monk, placing him within the abbey of Amphibalus in Winchester.
                            Book V, p. 533 (London 1807 J.Johnson, NY, 1965 edition)
In France, the Marovingian dynasty is being set, as Clovis inherits the throne in 481 at age 15. Clovis defeated the remnants of a Roman arnmy in 486, and marri9ed a Nicene Christian Clothide, converting the Kingdom of the French away from the Arianism of the Visigoths and Burgundians He divided France among his three sons, who added Burgundy and Provence to France around the end of the days of Arthur (537-539). This is the Marovingian dynasty that soon became the mere figurehead monarchy replaced by Charles Martel, the grandfather of Charlemagne, in the 700’s. Also in 537, Pope Silverius is removed from Rome by Belasarius, the General of the Eastern emperor Justinian (527-565), who closed the academy at Athens in the second year of his reign. Monophysite heresy was by then the question, the Arian and Pelagian issues having been settled. By 597, Pope Gregory would send Augustine to convert the English as well, though thwere is neve a question of Heresy in Britain. One expects that following Constantius and St. Helen, the Brits were simply Nicene Christians who rejected Pelagius and never even had to consider the Monophysite question, as the empire was then remote from Britain for a century. Geoffrey shows a Roman army attacking Arthur, but the threat would have been less serious than it was for the Franks.
   The list of the emperors becomes quite tangled due to the practice of co-emperors and the division between the Eastern and Western emperors. The Roman emperors who may be descended from the British house at York, if Constantine was indeed crowned there and Constantius died there, would then be Constantuis (293-305), Constantine (313-337, Constantine II (337-340), Constantius II 337-361, and Constans (337-350). Note also, in the appendice below, that at the time when Britain was abandoned by Rome (409), about the time Patrick was born, a “Constans II” held some share in the Imperial office. This is the name- Constans- Geoffrey takes for the brother of Aurelianus Ambrosius made king by Vortigern so that the latter could usurp the tyranny. This Constans, killed between 439 and 449, would be the son of one or the other Constantine. 
   It is amusing that, following the end of the Roman empire marked at 478, the death throes having continued from the sack of Rome by Aleric in 410, Aurelius Ambrosius, and hence Uther and Arthur, would actually be the last of the Roman Emperors. In the story of the Round table, where the question of heresy does not arise, but rather the quest is for the Grail. The possibility here is that, were it not for the destruction of the Round Table, what occurred regarding Charlemagne- the beginnings of the Holy Roman empire and the centering of the Western empire in France would have occurred regarding Britain instead, especially since the Roman British Christian were a Christian nation older than the Barbarian French, and indeed older than Roman Christendom. the Brits having been converted as a nation, again, in 176, while the Romans were killing Christians until the early 300’s.

 

   The Arthurian line died out, as Arthur and Guinevere had no heir that is well known. We will return to Geoffrey, who is full of interesting details, such as that Arthur had a sister (aunt?) Anna married to Loth who defended the realm when Uther was ill. One son of Arthur is mentioned, but the history is quite unclear following Arthur. It is likely that at this time, the Saxons completed the scattering of the Welsh, and writing became very rare. If Gildas remained after the last battle of Mordred and Arthur, he may have had no news in Brittany from Britain.
What Geoffrey has is that when Arthur killed Mordred but received his mortal wounds, …
He handed the crown of Britain over to his cousin Constantine, the son of Cador, duke of Cornwall: this in the year 542 after our Lord’s incarnation.
                                                           The History of the Kings of Britain, xi.2
   It was in the house of Cador, we recall, that Guinevere is said to have been raised. Cador had married the sister of Ygern, the mother of Arthur. This next Constantine continued to fight the sons of Mordred with success, died and was buried inside the Giant’s ring beside Utherpendragon. The nephew of this Constantine, called Aurelius Conanus, succeeds to rule, taking the crown which should have gone to an uncle, likely another brother of Constantine the cousin of Arthur. He is followed within three years by a Vortiporius, a Malgo and a Keredic. Aurelius Conanus provides a connection to Gildas, as this is also the name of one of the five princes addressed by Gildas. This Conanus likely either is or is descended from the one addressed by Gildas, supporting the theory of a gap between the two sections of Gildas, as if Gildas had thrown his books on Arthur into the sea, and addressed 5 princes of about 542, just after Arthur.
   The civil wars following Arthur are the occasion on which Goeffrey makes the first “House Divided” speech, taken up again by Abraham Lincoln:
You foolish people…Keep up with your civil squabbling and forget what the Gospel says: ‘Every kingdom divided against itself shall be brought to desolation, and a house divided against itself shall fall.’ Because your kingdom was divided, against itself, because the lunacy of civil war and the smoke cloud of jealousy obscured your mind, because your pride did not permit you to obey a single king, that is why you see see your fatherland ravaged by the most impious heathens and your homesteads overturned one upon the other, all of which things those who come after will lament in the future…
   This, and the recession in Wales, though, from after 516-542, may indeed have been the result of the depression of the king and something like what is thought to have occurred regarding Lancelot. Two lines of Royal blood may have been joined in the marriage of Arthur and Guinevere, although it may be too that, being from York, and of such beauty, as with the Christ, the true linage is through the maternal line, while the legal lineage is through Joseph, as described in the opening of Matthew- though both are of the tribe of Judah and David, as was prophesied (in addition to his being born in Bethlehem, and called a Nazarene. Herod’s slaughter of the innocents verifies that this is what was thought even then, and Rachael weeping for her children is yet another prophecy, as the tomb of Rachael is in Bethlehem of Judea. Joseph was, of course, a very old man, and so is gone by the time of the ministry of Jesus, while Mary was very young, a virgin dedicated by Anna and Juachim to the temple, married to Joseph by lot and placed in his care (See The Nativity of Mary). Hence the “brothers” of Jesus, such as James the Just, are likely sons of Joseph and the brothers of Jesus in law.
   Arthur Retook York from the Saxons, and found everything destroyed, and rebuilt the churches. Geoffrey writes:
In York there were three brothers sprung from the royal line, Loth, Urien and Auguslus, who had been princes in those parts before the Saxon victories. Loth”in the days of Aureliaius Ambrosius had married that king’s own sister, and had two sons by her, Gawain and Mordred.”
Loth is set up over Lothian.  Geoffrey then writes of Arthur:
He himself married a woman called Guinevere. She was descended from a noble Roman family and had been brought up in the household of Duke Cador. She was the most beautiful woman in the entire island.”
                                                                                   (ix, 9)
   St. Helen may have been the daughter of Old King Cole (Geoffrey ). Another tradition is that she came from the regions that became the Eastern Empire, apparently based upon the naming of a city in Bithynia of the Eastern Empire after St. Helen, as were two other cities. No other origin of Helen has even been suggested. The dates projected backward from the genealogy of the Welsh, the Harleian Genealogies. Hen means “the old,” And hence this is Old King Coel, the merry old soul, alive at just the time a bride of Constantius would have been, and further, suspected to have been a Roman General in the area just West of York. When he died, he divided his estate among his children.
…Projections back from dated individuals suggest that Coel Hen lived around AD 350–420, during the time of the Roman departure from Britain.[8] In his book The Age of Arthur, historian John Morris suggested Coel may have been the last of the Roman Duces Brittanniarum (Dukes of the Britons) who commanded the Roman army in northern Britain, and split his lands among his heirs after his death(Wikipedia).[10]
   The same would make perfect sense out of the meeting of Constantine and St. Helen in York, where she was a simple and industrious and unpretentious Christian princess, and of Constantine having a palace and family at York where he died and Constantine was crowned, becoming Emperor of Rome, while the rest of the family remained behind in York, leading to the birth of Guinevere some 5 or 6 generations later, forgotten because York too was nearly abandoned in the years that followed. After being forced by circumstances to marry Theodora the daughter of the wicked co- emperor Maximian, it is not surprising that Helen and Constantine were sent away, the later becoming a hostage of Diocletian, but Helen most likely returning to the palace at York.
The following too appears on Wikipedia under Coel Hen, with notes 20-22 to Geoffrey’s History:

Colchester legend

By the 12th century, Coel had become attached to the “Colchester legend”, which claimed he was a ruler of Colchester in Essex and the father of Saint Helena, and therefore the grandfather of Constantine the Great. The legend originated from a folk etymology indicating that Colchester was named for Coel (supposedly from “Coel” and “castrum“, producing “fortress of Coel”). However, the city was actually known as Colneceaster until the n was dropped in around the 10th century; its name likely comes from the local River Colne.[12][13]

Ah, but Colin, the Scottish name passed down in our family, is also from Coel. We have Colin-s and Colin James’ going back at least to Kingsville Ontario from about 1860, then a Peter, the father of this Colin, then we lose the scent. But I have seen the midwife’s book recording the birth of this Colin, written by his grandmother Julianna Wigle, shown to me by Madeline Malotte. The French line is traces into the 1500’s

Around the same time, a further development of this legend that King Coel of Colchester was the father of Empress Saint Helena, and therefore the grandfather of Constantine the Great, appeared in Henry of Huntingdon‘s Historia Anglorum and Geoffrey of Monmouth‘s Historia Regum Britanniae.[14][15][16] The passages are clearly related, even using some of the same words, but it is not clear which version was first. Henry appears to have written the relevant part of the Historia Anglorum before he knew about Geoffrey’s work, leading J. S. P. Tatlock and other scholars to conclude that Geoffrey borrowed the passage from Henry, rather than the other way around.[17][18] The source of the claim is unknown, but may have predated both Henry and Geoffrey. Diana Greenway proposes it came from a lost hagiography of Helena;[17] Antonia Harbus suggests it came instead from oral tradition.[19]

   Ah, but Colchester- with question marks- is the sixth city listed among the 28 cities of Briain recorded by Nennius in 809. 

   Geoffrey’s largely legendary Historia Regum Britanniae expands upon Henry’s brief mention, listing Coel as a King of the Britons following the reign of King Asclepiodotus.[20] In the Historia, Coel grows upset with Asclepiodotus’s handling of the Diocletianic Persecution and begins a rebellion in his duchy of Caer Colun (Colchester). He meets Asclepiodotus in battle and kills him, thus taking the kingship of Britain upon himself. Rome, apparently, is pleased that Britain has a new king, and sends senator Constantius Chlorus to negotiate with him. Afraid of the Romans, Coel meets Constantius and agrees to pay tribute and submit to Roman laws as long as he is allowed to retain the kingship. Constantius agrees to these terms, but Coel dies one month later.[20] Constantius marries Coel’s daughter, Helena, and crowns himself as Coel’s successor. Helena subsequently gives birth to a son who becomes the Emperor Constantine the Great, giving a British pedigree to the Roman imperial line.[21]

   Local tradition came to suggest that Coel was responsible for some of the ancient buildings in Colchester; a public conduit in the High Street was named “King Coel’s Pump”, the Balkerne Gate in the Roman town walls was known as “King Coel’s Castle” and the remains of the Temple of Claudius over which Colchester Castle was built were called “King Coel’s Palace”.[22]

   In the Welsh Descent of the Men of the North, there is an Arthwys” in the third generation from Coel, and a Gwenoleu in the fifth, showing that similar names would occur among the descendants of Coel, increasing the possibility that Guinevere was a descendant of Coel, though the fifth generation would likely bring us only to about 370-420, still nearly a century short of Arthur and Guinevere.
   Hence, Helen was not in Troy, but the new Helen was very near to Trinovantium, and likely drank from King Coel’s pump and grew up in his palace before moving North to York, where her father as a General of Constantius and a Christian married her to the Christian Emperor Constantius as his first and true wife, while his later legal wife remained in Rome. Geoffrey explains that there were three ancient noble families of British York:
There were in York three brothers sprung from the royal line, Loth, Urien and Auguselus, who had been princes in those parts before the Saxon victories…
Arthur gives Scotland to Auguselus, Morray to Urien, and Loth…
Who in the days of Aurelius Ambrosius had married that King’s own sister, and had two sons by her, Gawain and Mordred, he restored to the dukedom of Lothisan and other nearby territories…
Soon Loth is also given Norway…
Loth, who was his brother in law. Loth was nephew of Sichelm the King of Norway…his son Gawain had been sent by Arthur’s brother in law to servfe in the household of Pope Silpicius who had dubbed him a knight…
Geoffrey too writes that Guinevere was from an ancient family of York, but does not say which might be descended from Helen and Constantius. Our suggestion is that Guinevere too is a Cole. When the families of Ambrosius Aurelianus and York nobility join, it is as two lines descended from Constantius converging. A further strange coincidence is the name “Arthwys” in the Cole Coel line, as opposed to the Uther line, when Guenevere was a child refugee from York raised by Cowder in Cornwall, as was Arthur the supposed child of Uther.
         The Arthurian British, the ancient Roman Christian British, converted the world and the Roman Empire to Christian orders, replacing the barbarism of the non-Greek gentiles, had a church at St. Martins in London (following Bede, 4; 26), having been converted under King Lucius in the second century (156 AD, Bede 4; 26), one of the first if not the first of the Christian nations, long before Rome ceased the famous 10 persecutions of the church, and long long before the latter Augustine converted the invaders on the site of old St. Martin’s Church in Canterbury (Bede, 26). According to Holinshed, citing Hector Boecius, the Scottish historian, The first Coill was a Briton killed by Fergus, about 600 BC. Another was the father of Lucius, the first king to receive Christianity. Bede (I.4) writes that in 156 AD, in the reign of Marcus Aurelius and Commodius, “and while the holy Eleutherius ruled the Roman Church,
…Lucius, a British king, sent him a letter, asking to be made a Christian by his direction. This pious request was quickly granted, and the Britons received the Faith and held it peacefully in all its purity and fullness until the time of the Emperor Diocletian.
And Holinshed, out of Hector Boetius, writes:
Coell, the son of this Marius, had issue Lucius, counted the first christian king of this nation. He converted the three archflamens of this land into bishopriks, and ordered bishops onto each of them…
The three bishoprics were at London, York and Caerleon
   Celtic and English Christianity were then joined at the Synod of Whitby (664 AD), under Oswald. This is an interesting name, as it reappears too in Shakespeare’s King Lear). St. Colomba had brought Irish Christianity over to Scotland from Ireland, where, again, it had been planted by St. Patrick. St. Colomba was right in the neighborhood of my old McDonalds, Lords of the Isles, incorrigible old Celts, and we had a guy (The “murderous MacDonwald” the rebel killed by MacBeth at the opening of the play). Donvallo Malmutius, a B.C. British guy, may be the Donald of whom some Mac is the son.
   Geoffrey (xii.1) includes the story based on the account of Bede (II. 6?) of what occurred in 597 when Pope Gregory sent the later Augustine over to convert the English, and the British monks at Bangor and elsewhere would have nothing to do with the English. Ethelfrid, King of Kent, declared war on the British, who suffered then further massacres, one of 1200 monks at Bangor. As with Rome, changing the religion to Christian did not change Rome or mankind very much, while it warped the presentation of Christianity.
   But to conclude where we began, the relic called the Shroud of Turin may well be genuine. Pollen from Jerusalem in the first century was found on it, and the part tested by carbon 14 dating was a repair of the thirteenth century, after the shroud was damaged in a fire. If it is a forgery, no one can tell yet how it might have been made, as it is a three dimensional photographic negative, i.e., truly not only the first graphics, but the first photograph. The best suggestion- enough and more to convince our faithless scientific age- in which some still know the that, but most do not know WHY murder is wrong (why do you say?)- is that it is the impression on the burial shroud of Jesus of the light of the resurrection.

Led Zeppelin – The Battle Of Evermore https://youtu.be/7_3yDImIQYU via @YouTube

Which of these photos was the first photographic image ever produced?

  • The Niépce Heliograph HARRY RANSOM CENTER LOBBY GALLERY HOURS (ALSO MONDAY 10:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M.) The invention of photography was announced simultaneously in France and England in 1839, dazzling the public and sending waves of excitement around the world.

Earlies photo with discernible humans, from History Lover’s Club, Twitter:

Image

9:14 PM · Aug 4, 2019Twitter Web App
Monty Python and the holy grail (1974) Sir Galahad ends up in a castle full of d – http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x4hy4xu via @DailymotionUSA
Joan Baez – Diamonds and Rust (With Lyrics) https://youtu.be/1ST9TZBb9v8 via @YouTube

Bibliography:

Ashe, Geoffrey. The Discovery of King Arthur. (NY: Debrett’s Peerage;  Anchor Press, 1985.

Bede. Ecclesiastical History.

Durants, Will and Ariel, The History of Civilization, Volume IV,.

Geoffrey of Monmouth. The History of the Kings of Britain.

Gerald of Wales. Description of Wales.

Gildas the Wise. History of Britain. Translated Giles, J. A. London, James Bohn, 1841.

McDonald, Mark A. On Shakespeare’s King Lear: On the Discovery of Nature and the Shakespearean Recovery of Socratic Natural Right.  Roman and Littlefield1997. Appendix F “On the origin of the Arthurian Legend and Gildas, the Most Ancient British Author.” 

Movie: The Mists of Avalon.

Nennius: Chronicle This is the first written mention of Arthur, giving credence to the report of Geoffrey on his secret sources.

 

Appendix I:

From the Life of Constantine by Eusebius (translated by )

   …His father was Constantius 3077 (and we ought to revive his memory at this time), the most illustrious emperor of our age; of whose life it is necessary briefly to relate a few particulars, which tell to the honor of his son.
Chapter XIII.—Of Constantius his Father, who refused to imitate Diocletian, Maximian, and Maxentius, 3078 in their Persecution of the Christians.3074 [Alluding probably to Ecclesiastes xi. 28, “Judge none blessed before his death; for a man shall be known in his children.” Or, possibly, to the well-known opinion of Solon to the same effect. Vide Herod. i. 32; Aristot. Eth. Nicom. i. II.—Bag.] Compare also above, chapter 7.

Notes

3075 The persecuting emperors. Compare Prolegomena, Life.
3076 He was brought up with Diocletian and Galerius. Compare Prolegomena, Life.
3077 Constantius Chlorus, Neo-Platonist and philanthropist. Compare following description.
3078 The author of the chapter heading means of course Galerius. Maxentius was not emperor until after the death of Constantius.
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At a time when four emperors3079 shared the administration of the Roman empire, Constantius alone, following a course of conduct different from that pursued by his colleagues, entered into the friendship of the Supreme God. For while they besieged and wasted the churches of God, leveling them to the ground, and obliterating the very foundations of the houses of prayer,3080 he kept his hands pure from their
abominable impiety, and never in any respect resembled them. They polluted their provinces by the indiscriminate slaughter of godly men and women; but he kept his soul free from the stain of this crime.3081 They, involved in the mazes of impious idolatry, enthralled first themselves, and then all under their authority, in bondage to the errors of evil demons, while he at the same time originated the profoundest peace throughout his dominions, and secured to his subjects the privilege of celebrating without hindrance the worship of God. In short, while his colleagues oppressed all men by the most grievous exactions, and rendered their lives intolerable, and even worse than death, Constantius alone governed his people with a mild and tranquil sway, and exhibited towards them
a truly parental and fostering care. Numberless, indeed, are the other virtues of this man, which are the theme of praise to all; of these I will record one or two instances, as specimens of the quality of those which I must pass by in silence, and then I will proceed to the appointed order of my narrative.
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Chapter XIV.—How Constantius his Father, being reproached with Poverty by Diocletian, filled his Treasury, and afterwards restored the Money to those by whom it had been contributed. In consequence of the many reports in circulation respecting this prince, describing his kindness and gentleness of character, and the extraordinary elevation of his piety, alleging too, that by reason of his extreme indulgence to his subjects, he had not even a supply of money laid up in his treasury; the emperor who at that time occupied the place of supreme power sent to reprehend his neglect of the public weal, at the same time reproaching him with poverty, and alleging in proof of the charge the empty state of his treasury. On this he desired the messengers of the emperor to remain with him awhile, and, calling together the wealthiest of his subjects of all nations under his dominion, he informed them that he was in want of money, and that this was the time for them all to give a voluntary proof of their affection for their prince.
As soon as they heard this (as though they had long been desirous of an opportunity for showing the sincerity of their good will), with zealous alacrity they filled the treasury with gold and silver and other wealth; each eager to surpass the rest in the amount of his contribution: and this they did with cheerful and joyous countenances. And now Constantius desired the messengers of the great emperor3082 personally to inspect his treasures, and directed them to give a faithful report of what

Notes:

3079 [Diocletian, Maximian, Galerius, and Constantius.—Bag.]
3080 For account of these persecutions, see Church History, Bk. 8, and notes of McGiffert.
3081 Compare the Church History, 8. 13, and Lactantius, De mort. pers. 15. The latter says he allowed buildings to be destroyed, but spared human life.
3082 Or the senior Augustus. “Diocletian is thus entitled in the ancient panegyrists and in inscriptions.”—Heinichen. It was “towards the end of the second century of the Christian era” that there began to be a plurality of Augusti, but “from this time we find two or even a greater number of Augusti; and though in that and in all similar cases the persons honored with the title were regarded

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NPNF (V2-01) Eusebius Pamphilius they had seen; adding, that on the present occasion he had taken this money into his own hands, but that it had long been kept for his use in the custody of the owners, as securely as if under the charge of faithful treasurers. The ambassadors were overwhelmed with astonishment at what they had witnessed: and on their departure it is said that the truly generous prince sent for the owners of the property, and, after commending them severally for their obedience and true loyalty, restored it all, and bade them return to their homes. This one circumstance, then, conveys a proof of the generosity of him whose character we are attempting to illustrate: another will contain the clearest testimony to his piety.

Chapter XV.—Of the Persecution raised by his Colleagues. By command of the supreme authorities of the empire, the governors of the several provinces had set on foot a general persecution of the godly. Indeed, it was from the imperial courts themselves that the very first of the pious martyrs proceeded, who passed through those conflicts for the faith, and most readily endured both fire and sword, and the depths of the sea; every form of death, in short, so that in a brief time all the royal palaces were bereft of pious men.3083 The result was, that the authors of this wickedness were entirely deprived of the protecting care of God, since by their persecution of his worshipers they at the same time silenced the prayers that were wont to be made on their own behalf.

Chapter XVI.—How Constantius, feigning Idolatry, expelled those who consented to offer Sacrifice, but retained in his Palace all who were willing to confess Christ. On the other hand, Constantius conceived an expedient full of sagacity, and did a thing which sounds paradoxical, but in fact was most admirable. He made a proposal to all the officers of his court, including even those in the highest stations of authority, offering them the following alternative: either that they should offer sacrifice to demons, and thus be permitted to remain with him, and enjoy their usual honors; or, in case of refusal, that they should be shut out from all access to his person, and entirely disqualified from acquaintance and association with him. Accordingly, when they had individually made their choice, some one way and some the other; and the choice of each had been ascertained, then this admirable prince disclosed the secret meaning of his expedient, and condemned the cowardice and selfishness of the one party, while he highly commended the other for their conscientious devotion to God. He declared, too, that those who had been false to their God must be unworthy of the confidence of their prince; for how was it possible that they should preserve their fidelity to him, who had proved themselves faithless to a higher power? He determined, therefore, that such persons should be removed altogether from the imperial court, while, on the other hand, declaring that those men as participators of the imperial power, still the one who received the title first was looked upon as the head of the empire.”—Smith, Dict.
Gr. and Rom. Ant.

Note

3083 Compare accounts of martyrs in the palaces, in the Church History, 8. 6.
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who, in bearing witness for the truth, had proved themselves to be worthy servants of God, would manifest the same fidelity to their king, he entrusted them with the guardianship of his person and empire, saying that he was bound to treat such persons with special regard as his nearest and most valued friends, and to esteem them far more highly than the richest treasures.

Chapter XVII.—Of his Christian Manner of Life.
The father of Constantine, then, is said to have possessed such a character as we have briefly described. And what kind of death was vouchsafed to him in consequence of such devotion to God, and how far he whom he honored made his lot to differ from that of his colleagues in the empire, may be known to any one who will give his attention to the circumstances of the case. For after he had for a long time given many proofs of royal virtue, in acknowledging the Supreme God alone, and condemning the polytheism of the ungodly, and had fortified his household by the prayers of holy men,3084 he passed the remainder of his life in remarkable repose and tranquillity, in the enjoyment of what is counted blessedness,—neither molesting others nor being molested ourselves.      Accordingly, during the whole course of his quiet and peaceful reign, he dedicated his entire household, his children, his wife, and domestic attendants, to the One Supreme God: so that the company assembled within the walls of his palace differed in no respect from a church of God; wherein were also to be found his ministers, who offered continual supplications on behalf of their prince, and this at a time when, with most,3085 it was not allowable to have any dealings with the worshipers of God, even so far as to exchange a word with them.

Chapter XVIII.—That after the Abdication of Diocletian and Maximian, Constantius became Chief Augustus, and was blessed with a Numerous Offspring. The immediate consequence of this conduct was a recompense from the hand of God, insomuch that he came into the supreme authority of the empire. For the older emperors, for some unknown reason, resigned their power; and this sudden change took place in the first year after their persecution of the churches.3086
From that time Constantius alone received the honors of chief Augustus, having been previously, indeed, distinguished by the diadem of the imperial Cæsars,3087 among whom he held the first rank; but after his worth had been proved in this capacity, he was invested with the highest dignity of the Roman empire, being named chief Augustus of the four who were afterwards elected to that

Notes:

3084 “Is said to have” is added conjecturally here by an earlier editor, but Heinichen omits, as it would seem Eusebius himself did.
3085 Other readings are “with the others,” or “with the rest,” but in whatever reading it refers to all the other emperors.
3086 The persecution was in 303 or 304. Compare discussion of date in Clinton, Fasti Rom. ann. 303–305. The abdication was in 305.
3087 Eusebius uses the terms Augustus, king, autocrat, and Cæsar with a good deal of interchangeableness. It is hard to tell sometimes whether king (βασιλεύς) means emperor or Cæsar. In general, Augustus has been transferred in translations, and king and autocrat both rendered emperor, which seems to be his real usage.
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honor. Moreover, he surpassed most of the emperors in regard to the number of his family, having gathered around him a very large circle of children both male and female. And, lastly, when he had attained to a happy old age, and was about to pay the common debt of nature, and exchange this life for another, God once more manifested His power in a special manner on his behalf, by providing that his eldest son Constantine should be present during his last moments, and ready to receive the imperial power from his hands.3088

Chapter XIX.—Of his Son Constantine, who in his Youth accompanied Diocletian into Palestine. The latter had been with his father’s imperial colleagues,3089 and had passed his life among them, as we have said, like God’s ancient prophet. And even in the very earliest period of his youth he was judged by them to be worthy of the highest honor. An instance of this we have ourselves seen, when he passed through Palestine with the senior emperor,3090 at whose right hand he stood, and commanded the admiration of all who beheld him by the indications he gave even then of royal greatness. For no one was comparable to him for grace and beauty of person, or height of stature; and he so far surpassed his compeers in personal strength as to be a terror to them. He was, however,
even more conspicuous for the excellence of his mental3091 qualities than for his superior physical endowments; being gifted in the first place with a sound judgment,3092 and having also reaped the

488
advantages of a liberal education. He was also distinguished in no ordinary degree both by natural intelligence and divinely imparted wisdom.

Chapter XX.—Flight of Constantine to his Father because of the Plots of Diocletian.
3093 The emperors then in power, observing his manly and vigorous figure and superior mind, were moved with feelings of jealousy and fear, and thenceforward carefully watched for an opportunity of inflicting some brand of disgrace on his character. But the young man, being aware of their designs, the details of which, through the providence of God, more than once came to him, sought safety in flight;3094 in this respect again keeping up his resemblance to the great prophet Moses. Indeed, in every sense God was his helper; and he had before ordained that he should be present in readiness to succeed his father.

Notes:

3088 Constantine reached him just before his death, though possibly some weeks before. Compare Prolegomena.
3089 Diocletian and Galerius.
3090 Diocletian. He was on his way to Egypt in the famous campaign against Achilleus in 296–297.
3091 Or “psychical,” meaning more than intellectual.
3092 Rather, perhaps, “self-control.”
3093 Eusebius himself speaks in the plural, and other writers speak of plots by both Diocletian and Galerius. Compare
Prolegomena.
3094 Compare detailed account in Lactantius, De M. P. c. 24.
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Chapter XXI.—Death of Constantius, who leaves his Son Constantine Emperor.3095
Immediately, therefore, on his escape from the plots which had been thus insidiously laid for him, he made his way with all haste to his father, and arrived at length at the very time that he was lying at the point of death.3096 As soon as Constantius saw his son thus unexpectedly in his presence, he leaped from his couch, embraced him tenderly, and, declaring that the only anxiety which had troubled him in the prospect of death, namely, that caused by the absence of his son, was now removed, he rendered thanks to God, saying that he now thought death better than the longest life,3097 and at once completed the arrangement of his private affairs. Then, taking a final leave of the circle of sons and daughters by whom he was surrounded, in his own palace, and on the imperial couch, he bequeathed the empire, according to the law of nature,3098 to his eldest son, and breathed his last.

Chapter XXII.—How, after the Burial of Constantius, Constantine was Proclaimed Augustus by the Army. Nor did the imperial throne remain long unoccupied: for Constantine invested himself with his father’s purple, and proceeded from his father’s palace, presenting to all a renewal, as it were, in his own person, of his father’s life and reign. He then conducted the funeral procession in company with his father’s friends, some preceding, others following the train, and performed the last offices for the pious deceased with an extraordinary degree of magnificence, and all united in honoring this thrice blessed prince with acclamations and praises, and while with one mind and voice, they glorified the rule of the son as a living again of him who was dead, they hastened at once to hail their new sovereign by the titles of Imperial and Worshipful Augustus, with joyful shouts.3099 Thus the memory of the deceased emperor received honor from the praises bestowed upon his son, while the latter was pronounced blessed in being the successor of such a father. All the nations also under his dominion were filled with joy and inexpressible gladness at not being even for a moment deprived of the benefits of a well ordered government. In the instance of the Emperor Constantius, God has made manifest to our generation what the end of those is who in their lives have honored and loved him.

Notes:

3095 Βασιλεύς. The writer of the chapter headings uses this word here and Augustus in the following chapter, but it does not seem to mean technically “Cæsar,” and so the rendering emperor is retained.
3096 This seems to imply that Constantine reached him only after he was sick in bed, i.e. at York in Britain; but other accounts make it probable that he joined him at Boulogne before he sailed on this last expedition to Britain. Compare Prolegomena.
3097 Literally, “than immortality [on earth].”
3098 It will hardly be agreed that imperial succession is a law of nature anyway. Rather, “the succession [where it exists] is established by the express will or the tacit consent of the nation,” and the “pretended proprietary right…is a chimera” (Vattell, Law of Nations, Phila., 1867, p. 24, 25). That primogeniture is a natural law has been often urged, but it seems to be simply the law of first come first served. The English custom of primogeniture is said to have risen from the fact that in feudal times the eldest son was the one who, at the time of the father’s death, was of an age to meet the duties of feudal tenure (compare Kent, Commentaries, Boston, 1867, v. 4, p. 420, 421). This is precisely the fact respecting Constantine. His several brothers were all too young to be thought of.
3099 The verdict was not confirmed at once. Galerius refused him the title of emperor, and he contented himself with that of
Cæsar for a little. Compare Prolegomena.
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Chapter XXIII.—A Brief Notice of the Destruction of the Tyrants. With respect to the other princes, who made war against the churches of God, I have not thought it fit in the present work to give any account of their downfall,3100 nor to stain the memory of the good by mentioning them in connection with those of an opposite character. The knowledge of the facts themselves will of itself suffice for the wholesome admonition of those who have witnessed or heard of the evils which severally befell them.
489

Chapter XXIV.—It was by the Will of God that Constantine became possessed of the Empire. Thus then the God of all, the Supreme Governor of the whole universe, by his own will appointed Constantine, the descendant of so renowned a parent, to be prince and sovereign: so that, while others have been raised to this distinction by the election of their fellow-men, he is the only one to whose elevation no mortal may boast of having contributed.

 

Chapter XXV.—Victories of Constantine over the Barbarians and the Britons.
As soon then as he was established on the throne, he began to care for the interests of his paternal inheritance, and visited with much considerate kindness all those provinces which had previously been under his father’s government. Some tribes of the barbarians who dwelt on the banks of the Rhine, and the shores of the Western ocean, having ventured to revolt, he reduced them all to obedience, and brought them from their savage state to one of gentleness. He contented himself with checking the inroads of others, and drove from his dominions, like untamed and savage beasts, those whom he perceived to be altogether incapable of the settled order of civilized life.3101 Having disposed of these affairs to his satisfaction, he directed his attention to other quarters of the world, and first passed over to the British nations,3102 which lie in the very bosom of the ocean. These he reduced to submission, and then proceeded to consider the state of the remaining portions of the empire, that he might be ready to tender his aid wherever circumstances might require it.

Chapter XXVI.—How he resolved to deliver Rome from Maxentius.
3100 But he has done this himself in his Church History. Compare also Lactantius, De mortibus persecutorum.
3101 The Franci, Bructeri, &c.
3102 [Eusebius here speaks of a second expedition of Constantine to Britain, which is not mentioned by other ancient writers;
or he may have been forgetful or ignorant of the fact that Constantine had received the imperial authority in Britain itself,
Constantius having died in his palace at York, a.d. 306. Vide Gibbon’s Decline and Fall, chap. 14.—Bag.] It seems to be a part
of the confusion about his crossing to Britain in the first place.
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While, therefore, he regarded the entire world as one immense body, and perceived that the
head of it all, the royal city of the Roman empire, was bowed down by the weight of a tyrannous
oppression; at first he had left the task of liberation to those who governed the other divisions of
the empire, as being his superiors in point of age. But when none of these proved able to afford
relief, and those who had attempted it had experienced a disastrous termination of their enterprise,3103
he said that life was without enjoyment to him as long as he saw the imperial city thus afflicted,
and prepared himself for the overthrowal of the tyranny.
Chapter XXVII.—That after reflecting on the Downfall of those who had worshiped Idols, he made
Choice of Christianity.
Being convinced, however, that he needed some more powerful aid than his military forces
could afford him, on account of the wicked and magical enchantments which were so diligently
practiced by the tyrant,3104 he sought Divine assistance, deeming the possession of arms and a
numerous soldiery of secondary importance, but believing the co-operating power of Deity invincible
and not to be shaken. He considered, therefore, on what God he might rely for protection and
assistance. While engaged in this enquiry, the thought occurred to him, that, of the many emperors
who had preceded him, those who had rested their hopes in a multitude of gods, and served them
with sacrifices and offerings, had in the first place been deceived by flattering predictions, and
oracles which promised them all prosperity, and at last had met with an unhappy end, while not
one of their gods had stood by to warn them of the impending wrath of heaven; while one alone
who had pursued an entirely opposite course, who had condemned their error, and honored the one
Supreme God during his whole life, had found him to be the Saviour and Protector of his empire,
and the Giver of every good thing. Reflecting on this, and well weighing the fact that they who had
trusted in many gods had also fallen by manifold forms of death, without leaving behind them either
family or offspring, stock, name, or memorial among men: while the God of his father had given
to him, on the other hand, manifestations of his power and very many tokens: and considering
farther that those who had already taken arms against the tyrant, and had marched to the battle-field
under the protection of a multitude of gods, had met with a dishonorable end (for one of them3105
had shamefully retreated from the contest without a blow, and the other,3106 being slain in the midst
490
of his own troops, became, as it were, the mere sport of death3107); reviewing, I say, all these
considerations, he judged it to be folly indeed to join in the idle worship of those who were no
gods, and, after such convincing evidence, to err from the truth; and therefore felt it incumbent on
him to honor his father’s God alone.
3103 Referring to the unsuccessful expeditions of Severus and Galerius.
3104 Compare chapters 36 and 37; also Lactantius, De M. P. chap. 44.
3105 Galerius.
3106 Severus.
3107 This last phrase has exercised the ingenuity of translators greatly. This translation does well enough, though one might
hazard “was easily overcome by death,” or “was an easy victim to death.”
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Chapter XXVIII.—How, while he was praying, God sent him a Vision of a Cross of Light in the
Heavens at Mid-day, with an Inscription admonishing him to conquer by that.
Accordingly he called on him with earnest prayer and supplications that he would reveal to him
who he was, and stretch forth his right hand to help him in his present difficulties. And while he
was thus praying with fervent entreaty, a most marvelous sign appeared to him from heaven, the
account of which it might have been hard to believe had it been related by any other person. But
since the victorious emperor himself long afterwards declared it to the writer of this history,3108
when he was honored with his acquaintance and society, and confirmed his statement by an oath,
who could hesitate to accredit the relation, especially since the testimony of after-time has established
its truth? He said that about noon, when the day was already beginning to decline, he saw with his
own eyes the trophy of a cross of light in the heavens, above the sun, and bearing the inscription,
Conquer by this. At this sight he himself was struck with amazement, and his whole army also,
which followed him on this expedition, and witnessed the miracle.3109
Chapter XXIX.—How the Christ of God appeared to him in his Sleep, and commanded him to use
in his Wars a Standard made in the Form of the Cross.
3108 Note here the care Eusebius takes to throw off the responsibility for the marvelous. It at the same time goes to show the
general credibility of Eusebius, and some doubt in his mind of the exact nature and reality of what he records.
3109 This very circumstantial account has met with doubters from the very beginning, commencing with Eusebius himself.
There are all sorts of explanations, from that of an actual miracle to that of pure later invention. The fact of some, at least
supposed, special divine manifestation at this time can hardly be denied. It is mentioned vaguely by Paneg. 313, and on the
triumphal arch shortly after. It is reported as a dream by Lactantius about the same time with the erection of the arch, and alluded
to in general, but hardly to be doubted, terms by Nazarius in 321. Moreover, it is witnessed to by the fact of the standard of the
cross which was made. As to the real nature of the manifestation, it has been thought to be as recorded by Constantine, and if
so, as perhaps some natural phenomenon of the sun, or to have been a simple dream, or an hallucination. It is hardly profitable
to discuss the possibilities. The lack of contemporary evidence to details and the description of Lactantius as a dream is fatal to
any idea of a miraculous image with inscriptions clearly seen by all. Some cross-like arrangement of the clouds, or a “parahelion,”
or some sort of a suggestion of a cross, may have been seen by all, but evidently there was no definite, vivid, clear perception,
or it would have been in the mouths of all and certainly recorded, or at least it would not have been recorded as something else
by Lactantius. It seems probable that the emperor, thinking intensely, with all the weight of his great problem resting on his
energetic mind, wondering if the Christian God was perhaps the God who could help, saw in some suggestive shape of the clouds
or of sunlight the form of a cross, and there flashed out in his mind in intensest reality the vision of the words, so that for the
moment he was living in the intensest reality of such a vision. His mind had just that intense activity to which such a thing is
possible or actual. It is like Goethe’s famous meeting of his own self. It is that genius power for the realistic representation of
ideal things. This is not the same exactly as “hallucination,” or even “imagination.” The hallucination probably came later when
Constantine gradually represented to himself and finally to Eusebius the vivid idea with its slight ground, as an objective
reality,—a common phenomenon. When the emperor went to sleep, his brain molecules vibrating to the forms of his late intense
thought, he inevitably dreamed, and dreaming naturally confirmed his thought. This does not say that the suggestive form seen,
or the idea itself, and the direction of the dream itself, were not providential and the work of the Holy Spirit, for they were, and
were special in character, and so miraculous (or why do ideas come?); but it is to be feared that Constantine’s own spirit or
something else furnished some of the later details. There is a slight difference of authority as to when and where the vision took
place. The panegyrist seems to make it before leaving Gaul, and Malalas is inaccurate as usual in having it happen in a war
against the barbarians. For farther discussion of the subject see monographs under Literature in the Prolegomena, especially
under the names: Baring, Du Voisin, Fabricius, Girault, Heumann, Jacutius Mamachi, Molinet, St. Victor, Suhr, Toderini,
Weidener, Wernsdorf, Woltereck. The most concise, clear, and admirable supporter of the account of Eusebius, or rather
Constantine, as it stands, is Newman, Miracles (Lond. 1875), 271–286.
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He said, moreover, that he doubted within himself what the import of this apparition could be.
And while he continued to ponder and reason on its meaning, night suddenly came on; then in his
sleep the Christ of God appeared to him with the same sign which he had seen in the heavens, and
commanded him to make a likeness of that sign which he had seen in the heavens, and to use it as
a safeguard in all engagements with his enemies.
Chapter XXX.—The Making of the Standard of the Cross.
At dawn of day he arose, and communicated the marvel to his friends: and then, calling together
the workers in gold and precious stones, he sat in the midst of them, and described to them the
figure of the sign he had seen, bidding them represent it in gold and precious stones. And this
representation I myself have had an opportunity of seeing.
Chapter XXXI.—A Description of the Standard of the Cross, which the Romans now call the
Labarum.3110
491
Now it was made in the following manner. A long spear, overlaid with gold, formed the figure
of the cross by means of a transverse bar laid over it. On the top of the whole was fixed a wreath
of gold and precious stones; and within this,3111 the symbol of the Saviour’s name, two letters
indicating the name of Christ by means of its initial characters, the letter P being intersected by X
in its centre:3112 and these letters the emperor was in the habit of wearing on his helmet at a later
period. From the cross-bar of the spear was suspended a cloth,3113 a royal piece, covered with a
profuse embroidery of most brilliant precious stones; and which, being also richly interlaced with
gold, presented an indescribable degree of beauty to the beholder. This banner was of a square
3110 [From the Bretagnic lab, to raise, or from labarva, which, in the Basque language, still signifies a standard.—Riddle’s
Lat. Dict. voc. Labarum. Gibbon declares the derivation and meaning of the word to be “totally unknown, in spite of the efforts
of the critics, who have ineffectually tortured the Latin, Greek, Spanish, Celtic, Teutonic, Illyric, Armenian, &c., in search of
an etymology.”—Decline and Fall, chap. 22, note 33.—Bag.] Compare the full article of Venables, in Smith and Cheetham,
Dict. 1 (1880), 908–911, with its references and cuts.
3111 Thus rather than “on.” Compare cuts in article of Venables. “It [the monogram of Christ] is often set within a crown or
palm branch.”—Wolcott, Sacred Archæalogy, p. 390.
3112
[Χιαζομένου τοῦ ῥ κατὰ τὸ μεσαίτατον. The figure would seem to answer to the description in the text. Gibbon gives two
specimens, and – as engraved from ancient monuments. Chap. 20, note 35.— × Bag.] The various coins given by Venables all have
the usual form of the monogram . Compare also Tyrwhitt, art. × Monogram, in Smith and Cheetham; also the art. Monogramme
du Christ, in Martigny, Dict. d. ant. (1877), 476–483.
3113 That this was no new invention of Constantine may be seen by comparing the following description of an ordinary Roman
standard, “…each cohort had for its own ensign the serpent or dragon, which was woven on a square piece of cloth, elevated on
a gilt staff, to which a cross-bar was adapted for the purpose…under the eagle or other emblem was often placed a head of the
reigning emperor.” Yates, art. Signa militaria, in Smith, Dict. Gr. and Rom. Ant. (1878), 1044–1045.
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form, and the upright staff, whose lower section was of great length,3114 bore a golden half-length
portrait3115 of the pious emperor and his children on its upper part, beneath the trophy of the cross,
and immediately above the embroidered banner.
The emperor constantly made use of this sign of salvation as a safeguard against every adverse
and hostile power, and commanded that others similar to it should be carried at the head of all his
armies.
Chapter XXXII.—How Constantine received Instruction, and read the Sacred Scriptures.
These things were done shortly afterwards. But at the time above specified, being struck with
amazement at the extraordinary vision, and resolving to worship no other God save Him who had
appeared to him, he sent for those who were acquainted with the mysteries of His doctrines, and
enquired who that God was, and what was intended by the sign of the vision he had seen. They
affirmed that He was God, the only begotten Son of the one and only God: that the sign which had
appeared was the symbol of immortality,3116 and the trophy of that victory over death which He had
gained in time past when sojourning on earth. They taught him also the causes of His advent, and
explained to him the true account of His incarnation. Thus he was instructed in these matters, and
was impressed with wonder at the divine manifestation which had been presented to his sight.
Comparing, therefore, the heavenly vision with the interpretation given, he found his judgment
confirmed; and, in the persuasion that the knowledge of these things had been imparted to him by
Divine teaching, he determined thenceforth to devote himself to the reading of the Inspired writings.
Moreover, he made the priests of God his counselors, and deemed it incumbent on him to honor
the God who had appeared to him with all devotion. And after this, being fortified by well-grounded
hopes in Him, he hastened to quench the threatening fire of tyranny.
C

Appendix I: From Eusebius Life of Constantine

His father was
Constantius3077 (and we ought to revive his memory at this time), the most illustrious emperor of
our age; of whose life it is necessary briefly to relate a few particulars, which tell to the honor of
his son.
Chapter XIII.—Of Constantius his Father, who refused to imitate Diocletian, Maximian, and
Maxentius,3078in their Persecution of the Christians.
3074 [Alluding probably to Ecclesiastes xi. 28, “Judge none blessed before his death; for a man shall be known in his children.”
Or, possibly, to the well-known opinion of Solon to the same effect. Vide Herod. i. 32; Aristot. Eth. Nicom. i. II.—Bag.] Compare
also above, chapter 7.
3075 The persecuting emperors. Compare Prolegomena, Life.
3076 He was brought up with Diocletian and Galerius. Compare Prolegomena, Life.
3077 Constantius Chlorus, Neo-Platonist and philanthropist. Compare following description.
3078 The author of the chapter heading means of course Galerius. Maxentius was not emperor until after the death of Constantius.
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At a time when four emperors3079 shared the administration of the Roman empire, Constantius
alone, following a course of conduct different from that pursued by his colleagues, entered into the
friendship of the Supreme God.
For while they besieged and wasted the churches of God, leveling them to the ground, and
obliterating the very foundations of the houses of prayer,3080 he kept his hands pure from their
abominable impiety, and never in any respect resembled them. They polluted their provinces by
the indiscriminate slaughter of godly men and women; but he kept his soul free from the stain of
this crime.3081 They, involved in the mazes of impious idolatry, enthralled first themselves, and then
all under their authority, in bondage to the errors of evil demons, while he at the same time originated
the profoundest peace throughout his dominions, and secured to his subjects the privilege of
celebrating without hindrance the worship of God. In short, while his colleagues oppressed all men
by the most grievous exactions, and rendered their lives intolerable, and even worse than death,
Constantius alone governed his people with a mild and tranquil sway, and exhibited towards them
a truly parental and fostering care. Numberless, indeed, are the other virtues of this man, which are
the theme of praise to all; of these I will record one or two instances, as specimens of the quality
of those which I must pass by in silence, and then I will proceed to the appointed order of my
narrative.
486
Chapter XIV.—How Constantius his Father, being reproached with Poverty by Diocletian, filled
his Treasury, and afterwards restored the Money to those by whom it had been contributed.
In consequence of the many reports in circulation respecting this prince, describing his kindness
and gentleness of character, and the extraordinary elevation of his piety, alleging too, that by reason
of his extreme indulgence to his subjects, he had not even a supply of money laid up in his treasury;
the emperor who at that time occupied the place of supreme power sent to reprehend his neglect
of the public weal, at the same time reproaching him with poverty, and alleging in proof of the
charge the empty state of his treasury. On this he desired the messengers of the emperor to remain
with him awhile, and, calling together the wealthiest of his subjects of all nations under his dominion,
he informed them that he was in want of money, and that this was the time for them all to give a
voluntary proof of their affection for their prince.
As soon as they heard this (as though they had long been desirous of an opportunity for showing
the sincerity of their good will), with zealous alacrity they filled the treasury with gold and silver
and other wealth; each eager to surpass the rest in the amount of his contribution: and this they did
with cheerful and joyous countenances. And now Constantius desired the messengers of the great
emperor3082 personally to inspect his treasures, and directed them to give a faithful report of what
3079 [Diocletian, Maximian, Galerius, and Constantius.—Bag.]
3080 For account of these persecutions, see Church History, Bk. 8, and notes of McGiffert.
3081 Compare the Church History, 8. 13, and Lactantius, De mort. pers. 15. The latter says he allowed buildings to be destroyed,
but spared human life.
3082 Or the senior Augustus. “Diocletian is thus entitled in the ancient panegyrists and in inscriptions.”—Heinichen.
It was “towards the end of the second century of the Christian era” that there began to be a plurality of Augusti, but “from this time
we find two or even a greater number of Augusti; and though in that and in all similar cases the persons honored with the title were regarded
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they had seen; adding, that on the present occasion he had taken this money into his own hands,
but that it had long been kept for his use in the custody of the owners, as securely as if under the
charge of faithful treasurers. The ambassadors were overwhelmed with astonishment at what they
had witnessed: and on their departure it is said that the truly generous prince sent for the owners
of the property, and, after commending them severally for their obedience and true loyalty, restored
it all, and bade them return to their homes.
This one circumstance, then, conveys a proof of the generosity of him whose character we are
attempting to illustrate: another will contain the clearest testimony to his piety.
Chapter XV.—Of the Persecution raised by his Colleagues.
By command of the supreme authorities of the empire, the governors of the several provinces
had set on foot a general persecution of the godly. Indeed, it was from the imperial courts themselves
that the very first of the pious martyrs proceeded, who passed through those conflicts for the faith,
and most readily endured both fire and sword, and the depths of the sea; every form of death, in
short, so that in a brief time all the royal palaces were bereft of pious men.3083 The result was, that
the authors of this wickedness were entirely deprived of the protecting care of God, since by their
persecution of his worshipers they at the same time silenced the prayers that were wont to be made
on their own behalf.
Chapter XVI.—How Constantius, feigning Idolatry, expelled those who consented to offer Sacrifice,
but retained in his Palace all who were willing to confess Christ.
On the other hand, Constantius conceived an expedient full of sagacity, and did a thing which
sounds paradoxical, but in fact was most admirable.
He made a proposal to all the officers of his court, including even those in the highest stations
of authority, offering them the following alternative: either that they should offer sacrifice to demons,
and thus be permitted to remain with him, and enjoy their usual honors; or, in case of refusal, that
they should be shut out from all access to his person, and entirely disqualified from acquaintance
and association with him. Accordingly, when they had individually made their choice, some one
way and some the other; and the choice of each had been ascertained, then this admirable prince
disclosed the secret meaning of his expedient, and condemned the cowardice and selfishness of the
one party, while he highly commended the other for their conscientious devotion to God. He
declared, too, that those who had been false to their God must be unworthy of the confidence of
their prince; for how was it possible that they should preserve their fidelity to him, who had proved
themselves faithless to a higher power? He determined, therefore, that such persons should be
removed altogether from the imperial court, while, on the other hand, declaring that those men
as participators of the imperial power, still the one who received the title first was looked upon as the head of the empire.”—Smith, Dict.
Gr. and Rom. Ant.
3083 Compare accounts of martyrs in the palaces, in the Church History, 8. 6.
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487
who, in bearing witness for the truth, had proved themselves to be worthy servants of God, would
manifest the same fidelity to their king, he entrusted them with the guardianship of his person and
empire, saying that he was bound to treat such persons with special regard as his nearest and most
valued friends, and to esteem them far more highly than the richest treasures.
Chapter XVII.—Of his Christian Manner of Life.
The father of Constantine, then, is said to have possessed such a character as we have briefly
described. And what kind of death was vouchsafed to him in consequence of such devotion to God,
and how far he whom he honored made his lot to differ from that of his colleagues in the empire,
may be known to any one who will give his attention to the circumstances of the case. For after he
had for a long time given many proofs of royal virtue, in acknowledging the Supreme God alone,
and condemning the polytheism of the ungodly, and had fortified his household by the prayers of
holy men,3084 he passed the remainder of his life in remarkable repose and tranquillity, in the
enjoyment of what is counted blessedness,—neither molesting others nor being molested ourselves.
Accordingly, during the whole course of his quiet and peaceful reign, he dedicated his entire
household, his children, his wife, and domestic attendants, to the One Supreme God: so that the
company assembled within the walls of his palace differed in no respect from a church of God;
wherein were also to be found his ministers, who offered continual supplications on behalf of their
prince, and this at a time when, with most,3085 it was not allowable to have any dealings with the
worshipers of God, even so far as to exchange a word with them.
Chapter XVIII.—That after the Abdication of Diocletian and Maximian, Constantius became Chief
Augustus, and was blessed with a Numerous Offspring.
The immediate consequence of this conduct was a recompense from the hand of God, insomuch
that he came into the supreme authority of the empire. For the older emperors, for some unknown
reason, resigned their power; and this sudden change took place in the first year after their persecution
of the churches.3086
From that time Constantius alone received the honors of chief Augustus, having been previously,
indeed, distinguished by the diadem of the imperial Cæsars,3087 among whom he held the first rank;
but after his worth had been proved in this capacity, he was invested with the highest dignity of
the Roman empire, being named chief Augustus of the four who were afterwards elected to that
3084 “Is said to have” is added conjecturally here by an earlier editor, but Heinichen omits, as it would seem Eusebius himself
did.
3085 Other readings are “with the others,” or “with the rest,” but in whatever reading it refers to all the other emperors.
3086 The persecution was in 303 or 304. Compare discussion of date in Clinton, Fasti Rom. ann. 303–305. The abdication was
in 305.
3087 Eusebius uses the terms Augustus, king, autocrat, and Cæsar with a good deal of interchangeableness. It is hard to tell
sometimes whether king (βασιλεύς) means emperor or Cæsar. In general, Augustus has been transferred in translations, and king
and autocrat both rendered emperor, which seems to be his real usage.
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honor. Moreover, he surpassed most of the emperors in regard to the number of his family, having
gathered around him a very large circle of children both male and female. And, lastly, when he had
attained to a happy old age, and was about to pay the common debt of nature, and exchange this
life for another, God once more manifested His power in a special manner on his behalf, by providing
that his eldest son Constantine should be present during his last moments, and ready to receive the
imperial power from his hands.3088
Chapter XIX.—Of his Son Constantine, who in his Youth accompanied Diocletian into Palestine.
The latter had been with his father’s imperial colleagues,3089 and had passed his life among them,
as we have said, like God’s ancient prophet. And even in the very earliest period of his youth he
was judged by them to be worthy of the highest honor. An instance of this we have ourselves seen,
when he passed through Palestine with the senior emperor,3090 at whose right hand he stood, and
commanded the admiration of all who beheld him by the indications he gave even then of royal
greatness. For no one was comparable to him for grace and beauty of person, or height of stature;
and he so far surpassed his compeers in personal strength as to be a terror to them. He was, however,
even more conspicuous for the excellence of his mental3091 qualities than for his superior physical
endowments; being gifted in the first place with a sound judgment,3092 and having also reaped the
488
advantages of a liberal education. He was also distinguished in no ordinary degree both by natural
intelligence and divinely imparted wisdom.
Chapter XX.—Flight of Constantine to his Father because of the Plots of Diocletian.
3093
The emperors then in power, observing his manly and vigorous figure and superior mind, were
moved with feelings of jealousy and fear, and thenceforward carefully watched for an opportunity
of inflicting some brand of disgrace on his character. But the young man, being aware of their
designs, the details of which, through the providence of God, more than once came to him, sought
safety in flight;3094 in this respect again keeping up his resemblance to the great prophet Moses.
Indeed, in every sense God was his helper; and he had before ordained that he should be present
in readiness to succeed his father.
3088 Constantine reached him just before his death, though possibly some weeks before. Compare Prolegomena.
3089 Diocletian and Galerius.
3090 Diocletian. He was on his way to Egypt in the famous campaign against Achilleus in 296–297.
3091 Or “psychical,” meaning more than intellectual.
3092 Rather, perhaps, “self-control.”
3093 Eusebius himself speaks in the plural, and other writers speak of plots by both Diocletian and Galerius. Compare
Prolegomena.
3094 Compare detailed account in Lactantius, De M. P. c. 24.
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Chapter XXI.—Death of Constantius, who leaves his Son Constantine Emperor.3095
Immediately, therefore, on his escape from the plots which had been thus insidiously laid for
him, he made his way with all haste to his father, and arrived at length at the very time that he was
lying at the point of death.3096 As soon as Constantius saw his son thus unexpectedly in his presence,
he leaped from his couch, embraced him tenderly, and, declaring that the only anxiety which had
troubled him in the prospect of death, namely, that caused by the absence of his son, was now
removed, he rendered thanks to God, saying that he now thought death better than the longest
life,3097 and at once completed the arrangement of his private affairs. Then, taking a final leave of
the circle of sons and daughters by whom he was surrounded, in his own palace, and on the imperial
couch, he bequeathed the empire, according to the law of nature,3098 to his eldest son, and breathed
his last.
Chapter XXII.—How, after the Burial of Constantius, Constantine was Proclaimed Augustus by
the Army.
Nor did the imperial throne remain long unoccupied: for Constantine invested himself with his
father’s purple, and proceeded from his father’s palace, presenting to all a renewal, as it were, in
his own person, of his father’s life and reign. He then conducted the funeral procession in company
with his father’s friends, some preceding, others following the train, and performed the last offices
for the pious deceased with an extraordinary degree of magnificence, and all united in honoring
this thrice blessed prince with acclamations and praises, and while with one mind and voice, they
glorified the rule of the son as a living again of him who was dead, they hastened at once to hail
their new sovereign by the titles of Imperial and Worshipful Augustus, with joyful shouts.3099 Thus
the memory of the deceased emperor received honor from the praises bestowed upon his son, while
the latter was pronounced blessed in being the successor of such a father. All the nations also under
his dominion were filled with joy and inexpressible gladness at not being even for a moment
deprived of the benefits of a well ordered government.
In the instance of the Emperor Constantius, God has made manifest to our generation what the
end of those is who in their lives have honored and loved him.
3095 Βασιλεύς. The writer of the chapter headings uses this word here and Augustus in the following chapter, but it does not
seem to mean technically “Cæsar,” and so the rendering emperor is retained.
3096 This seems to imply that Constantine reached him only after he was sick in bed, i.e. at York in Britain; but other accounts
make it probable that he joined him at Boulogne before he sailed on this last expedition to Britain. Compare Prolegomena.
3097 Literally, “than immortality [on earth].”
3098 It will hardly be agreed that imperial succession is a law of nature anyway. Rather, “the succession [where it exists] is
established by the express will or the tacit consent of the nation,” and the “pretended proprietary right…is a chimera” (Vattell,
Law of Nations, Phila., 1867, p. 24, 25). That primogeniture is a natural law has been often urged, but it seems to be simply the
law of first come first served. The English custom of primogeniture is said to have risen from the fact that in feudal times the
eldest son was the one who, at the time of the father’s death, was of an age to meet the duties of feudal tenure (compare Kent,
Commentaries, Boston, 1867, v. 4, p. 420, 421). This is precisely the fact respecting Constantine. His several brothers were all
too young to be thought of.
3099 The verdict was not confirmed at once. Galerius refused him the title of emperor, and he contented himself with that of
Cæsar for a little. Compare Prolegomena.
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Chapter XXIII.—A Brief Notice of the Destruction of the Tyrants.
With respect to the other princes, who made war against the churches of God, I have not thought
it fit in the present work to give any account of their downfall,3100 nor to stain the memory of the
good by mentioning them in connection with those of an opposite character. The knowledge of the
facts themselves will of itself suffice for the wholesome admonition of those who have witnessed
or heard of the evils which severally befell them.
489
Chapter XXIV.—It was by the Will of God that Constantine became possessed of the Empire.
Thus then the God of all, the Supreme Governor of the whole universe, by his own will appointed
Constantine, the descendant of so renowned a parent, to be prince and sovereign: so that, while
others have been raised to this distinction by the election of their fellow-men, he is the only one to
whose elevation no mortal may boast of having contributed.
Chapter XXV.—Victories of Constantine over the Barbarians and the Britons.
As soon then as he was established on the throne, he began to care for the interests of his paternal
inheritance, and visited with much considerate kindness all those provinces which had previously
been under his father’s government. Some tribes of the barbarians who dwelt on the banks of the
Rhine, and the shores of the Western ocean, having ventured to revolt, he reduced them all to
obedience, and brought them from their savage state to one of gentleness. He contented himself
with checking the inroads of others, and drove from his dominions, like untamed and savage beasts,
those whom he perceived to be altogether incapable of the settled order of civilized life.3101 Having
disposed of these affairs to his satisfaction, he directed his attention to other quarters of the world,
and first passed over to the British nations,3102 which lie in the very bosom of the ocean. These he
reduced to submission, and then proceeded to consider the state of the remaining portions of the
empire, that he might be ready to tender his aid wherever circumstances might require it.
Chapter XXVI.—How he resolved to deliver Rome from Maxentius.
3100 But he has done this himself in his Church History. Compare also Lactantius, De mortibus persecutorum.
3101 The Franci, Bructeri, &c.
3102 [Eusebius here speaks of a second expedition of Constantine to Britain, which is not mentioned by other ancient writers;
or he may have been forgetful or ignorant of the fact that Constantine had received the imperial authority in Britain itself,
Constantius having died in his palace at York, a.d. 306. Vide Gibbon’s Decline and Fall, chap. 14.—Bag.] It seems to be a part
of the confusion about his crossing to Britain in the first place.
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While, therefore, he regarded the entire world as one immense body, and perceived that the
head of it all, the royal city of the Roman empire, was bowed down by the weight of a tyrannous
oppression; at first he had left the task of liberation to those who governed the other divisions of
the empire, as being his superiors in point of age. But when none of these proved able to afford
relief, and those who had attempted it had experienced a disastrous termination of their enterprise,3103
he said that life was without enjoyment to him as long as he saw the imperial city thus afflicted,
and prepared himself for the overthrowal of the tyranny.
Chapter XXVII.—That after reflecting on the Downfall of those who had worshiped Idols, he made
Choice of Christianity.
Being convinced, however, that he needed some more powerful aid than his military forces
could afford him, on account of the wicked and magical enchantments which were so diligently
practiced by the tyrant,3104 he sought Divine assistance, deeming the possession of arms and a
numerous soldiery of secondary importance, but believing the co-operating power of Deity invincible
and not to be shaken. He considered, therefore, on what God he might rely for protection and
assistance. While engaged in this enquiry, the thought occurred to him, that, of the many emperors
who had preceded him, those who had rested their hopes in a multitude of gods, and served them
with sacrifices and offerings, had in the first place been deceived by flattering predictions, and
oracles which promised them all prosperity, and at last had met with an unhappy end, while not
one of their gods had stood by to warn them of the impending wrath of heaven; while one alone
who had pursued an entirely opposite course, who had condemned their error, and honored the one
Supreme God during his whole life, had found him to be the Saviour and Protector of his empire,
and the Giver of every good thing. Reflecting on this, and well weighing the fact that they who had
trusted in many gods had also fallen by manifold forms of death, without leaving behind them either
family or offspring, stock, name, or memorial among men: while the God of his father had given
to him, on the other hand, manifestations of his power and very many tokens: and considering
farther that those who had already taken arms against the tyrant, and had marched to the battle-field
under the protection of a multitude of gods, had met with a dishonorable end (for one of them3105
had shamefully retreated from the contest without a blow, and the other,3106 being slain in the midst
490
of his own troops, became, as it were, the mere sport of death3107); reviewing, I say, all these
considerations, he judged it to be folly indeed to join in the idle worship of those who were no
gods, and, after such convincing evidence, to err from the truth; and therefore felt it incumbent on
him to honor his father’s God alone.
3103 Referring to the unsuccessful expeditions of Severus and Galerius.
3104 Compare chapters 36 and 37; also Lactantius, De M. P. chap. 44.
3105 Galerius.
3106 Severus.
3107 This last phrase has exercised the ingenuity of translators greatly. This translation does well enough, though one might
hazard “was easily overcome by death,” or “was an easy victim to death.”
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Chapter XXVIII.—How, while he was praying, God sent him a Vision of a Cross of Light in the
Heavens at Mid-day, with an Inscription admonishing him to conquer by that.
Accordingly he called on him with earnest prayer and supplications that he would reveal to him
who he was, and stretch forth his right hand to help him in his present difficulties. And while he
was thus praying with fervent entreaty, a most marvelous sign appeared to him from heaven, the
account of which it might have been hard to believe had it been related by any other person. But
since the victorious emperor himself long afterwards declared it to the writer of this history,3108
when he was honored with his acquaintance and society, and confirmed his statement by an oath,
who could hesitate to accredit the relation, especially since the testimony of after-time has established
its truth? He said that about noon, when the day was already beginning to decline, he saw with his
own eyes the trophy of a cross of light in the heavens, above the sun, and bearing the inscription,
Conquer by this. At this sight he himself was struck with amazement, and his whole army also,
which followed him on this expedition, and witnessed the miracle.3109
Chapter XXIX.—How the Christ of God appeared to him in his Sleep, and commanded him to use
in his Wars a Standard made in the Form of the Cross.
3108 Note here the care Eusebius takes to throw off the responsibility for the marvelous. It at the same time goes to show the
general credibility of Eusebius, and some doubt in his mind of the exact nature and reality of what he records.
3109 This very circumstantial account has met with doubters from the very beginning, commencing with Eusebius himself.
There are all sorts of explanations, from that of an actual miracle to that of pure later invention. The fact of some, at least
supposed, special divine manifestation at this time can hardly be denied. It is mentioned vaguely by Paneg. 313, and on the
triumphal arch shortly after. It is reported as a dream by Lactantius about the same time with the erection of the arch, and alluded
to in general, but hardly to be doubted, terms by Nazarius in 321. Moreover, it is witnessed to by the fact of the standard of the
cross which was made. As to the real nature of the manifestation, it has been thought to be as recorded by Constantine, and if
so, as perhaps some natural phenomenon of the sun, or to have been a simple dream, or an hallucination. It is hardly profitable
to discuss the possibilities. The lack of contemporary evidence to details and the description of Lactantius as a dream is fatal to
any idea of a miraculous image with inscriptions clearly seen by all. Some cross-like arrangement of the clouds, or a “parahelion,”
or some sort of a suggestion of a cross, may have been seen by all, but evidently there was no definite, vivid, clear perception,
or it would have been in the mouths of all and certainly recorded, or at least it would not have been recorded as something else
by Lactantius. It seems probable that the emperor, thinking intensely, with all the weight of his great problem resting on his
energetic mind, wondering if the Christian God was perhaps the God who could help, saw in some suggestive shape of the clouds
or of sunlight the form of a cross, and there flashed out in his mind in intensest reality the vision of the words, so that for the
moment he was living in the intensest reality of such a vision. His mind had just that intense activity to which such a thing is
possible or actual. It is like Goethe’s famous meeting of his own self. It is that genius power for the realistic representation of
ideal things. This is not the same exactly as “hallucination,” or even “imagination.” The hallucination probably came later when
Constantine gradually represented to himself and finally to Eusebius the vivid idea with its slight ground, as an objective
reality,—a common phenomenon. When the emperor went to sleep, his brain molecules vibrating to the forms of his late intense
thought, he inevitably dreamed, and dreaming naturally confirmed his thought. This does not say that the suggestive form seen,
or the idea itself, and the direction of the dream itself, were not providential and the work of the Holy Spirit, for they were, and
were special in character, and so miraculous (or why do ideas come?); but it is to be feared that Constantine’s own spirit or
something else furnished some of the later details. There is a slight difference of authority as to when and where the vision took
place. The panegyrist seems to make it before leaving Gaul, and Malalas is inaccurate as usual in having it happen in a war
against the barbarians. For farther discussion of the subject see monographs under Literature in the Prolegomena, especially
under the names: Baring, Du Voisin, Fabricius, Girault, Heumann, Jacutius Mamachi, Molinet, St. Victor, Suhr, Toderini,
Weidener, Wernsdorf, Woltereck. The most concise, clear, and admirable supporter of the account of Eusebius, or rather
Constantine, as it stands, is Newman, Miracles (Lond. 1875), 271–286.
740
NPNF (V2-01) Eusebius Pamphilius
He said, moreover, that he doubted within himself what the import of this apparition could be.
And while he continued to ponder and reason on its meaning, night suddenly came on; then in his
sleep the Christ of God appeared to him with the same sign which he had seen in the heavens, and
commanded him to make a likeness of that sign which he had seen in the heavens, and to use it as
a safeguard in all engagements with his enemies.
Chapter XXX.—The Making of the Standard of the Cross.
At dawn of day he arose, and communicated the marvel to his friends: and then, calling together
the workers in gold and precious stones, he sat in the midst of them, and described to them the
figure of the sign he had seen, bidding them represent it in gold and precious stones. And this
representation I myself have had an opportunity of seeing.
Chapter XXXI.—A Description of the Standard of the Cross, which the Romans now call the
Labarum.3110
491
Now it was made in the following manner. A long spear, overlaid with gold, formed the figure
of the cross by means of a transverse bar laid over it. On the top of the whole was fixed a wreath
of gold and precious stones; and within this,3111 the symbol of the Saviour’s name, two letters
indicating the name of Christ by means of its initial characters, the letter P being intersected by X
in its centre:3112 and these letters the emperor was in the habit of wearing on his helmet at a later
period. From the cross-bar of the spear was suspended a cloth,3113 a royal piece, covered with a
profuse embroidery of most brilliant precious stones; and which, being also richly interlaced with
gold, presented an indescribable degree of beauty to the beholder. This banner was of a square
3110 [From the Bretagnic lab, to raise, or from labarva, which, in the Basque language, still signifies a standard.—Riddle’s
Lat. Dict. voc. Labarum. Gibbon declares the derivation and meaning of the word to be “totally unknown, in spite of the efforts
of the critics, who have ineffectually tortured the Latin, Greek, Spanish, Celtic, Teutonic, Illyric, Armenian, &c., in search of
an etymology.”—Decline and Fall, chap. 22, note 33.—Bag.] Compare the full article of Venables, in Smith and Cheetham,
Dict. 1 (1880), 908–911, with its references and cuts.
3111 Thus rather than “on.” Compare cuts in article of Venables. “It [the monogram of Christ] is often set within a crown or
palm branch.”—Wolcott, Sacred Archæalogy, p. 390.
3112
[Χιαζομένου τοῦ ῥ κατὰ τὸ μεσαίτατον. The figure would seem to answer to the description in the text. Gibbon gives two
specimens, and – as engraved from ancient monuments. Chap. 20, note 35.— × Bag.] The various coins given by Venables all have
the usual form of the monogram . Compare also Tyrwhitt, art. × Monogram, in Smith and Cheetham; also the art. Monogramme
du Christ, in Martigny, Dict. d. ant. (1877), 476–483.
3113 That this was no new invention of Constantine may be seen by comparing the following description of an ordinary Roman
standard, “…each cohort had for its own ensign the serpent or dragon, which was woven on a square piece of cloth, elevated on
a gilt staff, to which a cross-bar was adapted for the purpose…under the eagle or other emblem was often placed a head of the
reigning emperor.” Yates, art. Signa militaria, in Smith, Dict. Gr. and Rom. Ant. (1878), 1044–1045.
741
NPNF (V2-01) Eusebius Pamphilius
form, and the upright staff, whose lower section was of great length,3114 bore a golden half-length
portrait3115 of the pious emperor and his children on its upper part, beneath the trophy of the cross,
and immediately above the embroidered banner.
The emperor constantly made use of this sign of salvation as a safeguard against every adverse
and hostile power, and commanded that others similar to it should be carried at the head of all his
armies.
Chapter XXXII.—How Constantine received Instruction, and read the Sacred Scriptures.
These things were done shortly afterwards. But at the time above specified, being struck with
amazement at the extraordinary vision, and resolving to worship no other God save Him who had
appeared to him, he sent for those who were acquainted with the mysteries of His doctrines, and
enquired who that God was, and what was intended by the sign of the vision he had seen. They
affirmed that He was God, the only begotten Son of the one and only God: that the sign which had
appeared was the symbol of immortality,3116 and the trophy of that victory over death which He had
gained in time past when sojourning on earth. They taught him also the causes of His advent, and
explained to him the true account of His incarnation. Thus he was instructed in these matters, and
was impressed with wonder at the divine manifestation which had been presented to his sight.
Comparing, therefore, the heavenly vision with the interpretation given, he found his judgment
confirmed; and, in the persuasion that the knowledge of these things had been imparted to him by
Divine teaching, he determined thenceforth to devote himself to the reading of the Inspired writings.
Moreover, he made the priests of God his counselors, and deemed it incumbent on him to honor
the God who had appeared to him with all devotion. And after this, being fortified by well-grounded
hopes in Him, he hastened to quench the threatening fire of tyranny.
C

Appendix II : From Wikipedia: The Roman Emperors of the end of the Empire

Const.chlorus01 pushkin.jpgConstantius Chlorus
IMPERATOR CAESAR MARCVS FLAVIVS VALERIVS CONSTANTIVSHERCVLIVS AVGVSTVS
(WEST)

March 31, c. 250, DardaniaMoesia Adopted as junior co-emperor (‘Caesar’) and heir by Maximian in 293 May 1, 305 – July 25, 306 1 year, 2 months and 24 days 306 (aged 56)
Natural causes

SEVERUS II RIC VI 76b-2590375 (obverse).jpg

Valerius Severus
IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS VALERIVS SEVERVS AVGVSTVS
(WEST)

? Adopted as junior co-emperor (‘Caesar’) and heir by Constantius Chlorus in 305; succeeded as Augustus in 306; opposed by Maxentius and Constantine I Summer 306 – March/ April 307 1 year September 16, 307 (aged ?)
Captured by Maxentius and forced to commit suicide (or murdered)Rome-Capitole-StatueConstantin.jpgConstantine the Great
IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS VALERIVS AVRELIVS CONSTANTINVSAVGVSTVS
(WEST)

then, after 324

(EAST and WEST)

February 27, c. 272, NaissusMoesia Superior Son of Constantius I Chlorus, proclaimed emperor by his father’s troops; accepted as Caesar (west) by Galerius in 306; promoted to Augustus (west) in 307 by Maximian after death of Severus II; refused relegation to Caesar in 309 July 25, 306 – May 22, 337 30 years, 9 months and 27 days May 22, 337 (aged 65)
Natural causesMaxentius02 pushkin.jpgMaxentius
IMPERATOR CAESAR MARCVS AVRELIVS VALERIVS MAXENTIVS AVGVSTVS
(WEST)

c. 276 Son of Maximian, seized power in 306 after death of Constantius I Chlorus, in opposition to Severus and Constantine I; made Caesar (west) by Maximian in 307 after the death of Severus October 28, 306 – October 28, 312 6 years October 28, 312 (aged 36)
Died at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, against Constantine I

Aureus of Licinius.pngLicinius I
IMPERATOR CAESAR CAIVS VALERIVS LICINIANVS LICINIVSAVGVSTVS
(EAST)

with

Valerius Valens

AVRELIVS VALERIVS VALENS

and

Martinian

SEXTVS MARCIVSMARTININANVS

c. 263, Felix RomulianaMoesia Superior Son-in-law of Constantius Chlorus, appointed Augustus in the west by Galerius in 308, in opposition to Maxentius; became Augustus in the east in 311 after the death of Galerius (shared with Maximinus II); defeated Maximinus II in civil war to become sole eastern Augustus in 313; appointed Valerius Valens in 317, and Martinian in 324 as western Augustus, in opposition to Constantine, both being executed within weeks. November 11, 308 – September 18, 324 15 years, 10 months and 7 days 325 (aged 61/62)
Defeated in civil war against Constantine I in 324 and captured; executed on the orders of Constantine the next year.

Daza01 pushkin.jpgMaximinus II
IMPERATOR CAESAR CAIVS CALERIVS VALERIVS MAXIMINVS AVGVSTVS
(EAST)

November 20, c. 270, Dacia Aureliana Nephew of Galerius, adopted as Caesar and his heir in 305; succeeded as Augustus (shared with Licinius I) in 311 May 1, 311 – July/August 313 2 yearsJuly/August 313 (aged 42)
Defeated in civil war against Licinius; probably committed suicide thereafterCampidoglio, Roma - Costantino II cesare dettaglio.jpgConstantine II
IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS CLAVDIVSCONSTANTINVS AVGVSTVS
(WEST)

316, ArelateGallia Narbonensis Son of Constantine I; appointed Caesar in 317, succeeded as joint Augustus with his brothers Constantius II and Constans I May 22, 337 – 340

3 years 340 (aged 24)
Died in battle against Constans I

Constance II Colosseo Rome Italy.jpg Constantius II
IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS IVLIVS CONSTANTIVS AVGVSTVS
(EAST)

then, after 356

(EAST and WEST)

August 7, 317, SirmiumPannonia Son of Constantine I; succeeded as joint Augustus with his brothers Constantine II and Constans I; sole emperor from 350 May 22, 337 – November 3, 361 24 years, 5 months and 12 days 361 (aged 44)
Natural causes

Emperor Constans Louvre Ma1021.jpg Constans I
IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS IVLIVS CONSTANSAVGVSTVS
(MIDDLE)

then, after 340

(WEST)

c. 323 Son of Constantine I; succeeded as joint Augustus with his brothers Constantine II and Constantius II May 22, 337 – 350 13 years 350 (aged 27)
Assassinated on the orders of the usurper Magnentius

Solidus Vetranio (obverse).jpg

Vetranio
IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS VETRANIO AVGVSTVS
(WEST)

?, Moesia General of Constans, proclaimed Caesar against Magnentius and temporarily accepted as Augustus of the west by Constantius II. March 1, 350 – December 25, 350 9 months and 24 days c. 356 (aged ?)
As a private citizen, after abdication.

Giuliano l'Apostata, IV secolo, Museo archeologico nazionale, Atene.jpg

Julian
IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS CLAVDIVSIVLIANVS AVGVSTVS
(WEST)

then, after 361

(EAST and WEST)

331/332, ConstantinopleThracia Cousin of Constantius II; made Caesar of the west in 355; proclaimed Augustus by his troops in 360; sole emperor after the death of Constantius February 360 – June 26, 363 3 years June 26, 363 (aged 31/32)
Mortally wounded in battle

Jovian1.jpgJovian
IMPERATOR CAESAR FLAVIVS IOVIANVS AVGVSTVS
(EAST and WEST)

331, SingidunumMoesia General of Julian’s army; proclaimed emperor by the troops on Julian’s death June 26, 363 – February 17, 364. 7 months and 22 days: February 17, 364 (aged 33)
Natural causes (suffocated on fumes)