Tuesday, 3 May 2016

St Martin

Gratillonius meets St Martin of Tours on p. 62 of Poul and Karen Anderson, Gallicenae (London, 1988). Thus, a fictional character who is becoming a legendary figure meets a historical figure. (Gratillonius also meets a few other historical figures.) I visited a St Martin's Church in Birmingham recently.

Martinus travels around destroying temples - an abominable act. He is backed by the power of the Empire. Gratillonius reflects:

"...was it only, or also, that the Gods of the land were failing, that in some secret way folk knew they had no more reason to honour Them? Gratllonius remembered what Forsquilis had said in Ys..." (p. 64)

She had said that the old age was dying.

In Poul Anderson's The Boat Of A Million Years, the immortals convert to Christianity when expedient but then outlive all gods.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

It's a long time since I reread THE KING OF YS, but I don't agree it was abominable for St. Martin to destroy pagan temples. BUT, let me explain! First, and most importantly, my recollection was that the pagans themselves allowed St. Martin to destroy those temples on CONDITION that he staked his life doing so. Since every such contest between Christ and the pagan gods ended with St. Martin not being killed, the pagans concluded their gods were not gods and undeserving of worship.

However, I would have preferred not to have destroyed those temples. Far better to have "converted" them into Christian churches. I'm reminded of how St. Bede, in his ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH PEOPLE wrote about how St. Augustine, the first Archbishop of Canterbury, asked Pope Gregory the Great asked what should be done about the pagan temples abandoned by new converted Anglo/Saxons. The pope replied there was no need to destroy the temples, it was enough to rededicate them as Christian churches. That was exactly what was being done with some of the pagan temples in Rome itself!


Paul Shackley said...

We would say now that some buildings should be preserved as a record of the past.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I certainly agree with that. Where possible, interesting and historical buildings should be preserved.

And I'm vexed by my typos in my first comment! I need to learn to be less hasty!