Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Church And State

In Gallicenae by Poul and Karen Anderson (London, 1988), the King of Ys is " '...high priest and Incarnation of Taranis...' " (p. 30), needed in the city for " '...ceremonial and sacral tasks...' " (p. 29). However, the present King is also the Roman prefect in the city. He must leave Ys for an extended period for three purposes:

to make a personal report on political and military matters to the Co-Emperor, Maximus Augustus;
to find a replacement for the deceased Christian minister in Ys;
to seek elevation to the rank of Father in the Mystery of Mithras in order to be able to found a Mithraeum in Ys.

Can the Incarnation of one God give allegiance to another?

Gratillonius retorts:

" 'Have we become Christians here, to deny respect to everything divine other than the Lord of our narrow sect?...Or sects, rather. They might as well have a dozen different Christs, the way they quarrel about His nature.' " (p. 30)

I sympathise with Gratillonius, the Mithraist Incarnation of Taranis. Issues of faith could be settled neither by experience nor by reason but only by authority backed, originally, by Constantine's military might. Gratillonius supports civilisation, therefore the Empire, but thinks that its citizens should be free to serve Christ, Mithras or Someone Else - with which I agree.

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