Thursday, 26 May 2016

Good And Bad

Gratillonius' enemies list the powerful individuals and significant groups that support him:

Senator Apuleius Vero, tribune of Aquilo;
praetorian prefect Ardens;
Stilicho, dictator of the Western Empire;
army veterans settled in Armorica thanks to Gratillonius;
former outlaws transformed into forest rangers;
tribes people benefiting from the suppression of pirates and bandits and from the revival of trade.

They never ask why, if he has done all this good, they regard him as bad. What they do consider is whether to oppress the Ysan colony with increased taxation and then they pragmatically discuss whether a tax would be insufficiently ruinous or unenforceable or resisted. Dispersing the Ysans would humble them and save their souls, of course. It is possible not only to oppress a social group but also to feel pious about it.

Martin Luther King wrote that laws cannot change the heart but can restrain the heartless. Something similar happens to the anti-Gratillonians. Bishop Martinus, the future St Martin, knows claivoyantly that these three men are currently plotting against Gratillonius in the basilica so he sends his kinsman, Sucat, the future St Patrick, to command them not to afflict the Ysans. This would after all hinder their evangelization.

Sucat does not wait for an answer. The principle plotters agree between themselves to heed the bishop but only as long as he remains alive and only because they fear his political and supernatural power. Blinded by hatred, they do not suspect that they are agents of the kind of evil that they claim to oppose.


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    I agree with what you said about both Gratillonius' friends and enemies. And I had been wondering when you would mention the Praestorian Prefect of the West who ruled in favor of Gratillonius.

    I forget his name, but one of Gratillonius' enemies, the procurator of the province, did have an honorable or at least understandable reason for opposing him. The procurator feared Gratillonius' policies and ideas would lead to the rise of a regional separatism which would split the Empire apart. Even to the rise of what has to be called Gallo/Roman warlordism.


    1. Sean,
      Whereas, of course, the locals did have to self-organize when the Empire withdrew.

    2. Kaor, Paul!

      Hence the rise of local "strong men" like Gratillonius. Something which often happens when a unifying central power collapses or retreats.