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Theoderic on horseback

His buildings speak to us of him as well. Some we know indirectly from contemporary reports: palace buildings in Ravenna, Pavia, and Verona, with great sculptures of the triumphant monarch outside. In thirty years, Theoderic never finished the great palace he undertook in Ravenna, but every successor regime there used it until it fell to ruin long after. The pattern was entirely imperial, complete with a connection to the circus where the ruler could watch the horse races. You could see Theoderic on horseback in a portrait in the “Seaview dining room” (triclinium ad mare), and also standing between figures representing the cities of Rome and Ravenna over the grand entrance to the palace. At Ravenna, he also restored an aqueduct built in Trajan’s reign, to ensure the water supply. Some of his work there survives more or less intact; one example is the church of San Apollinare Nuovo, which was Theoderic’s palace church. The original decoration included mosaic portraits of Theo

Theoderic’s mind in 519

These whispers were far from Theoderic’s mind in 519. All was in order and all was prepared for an orderly succession and a long and glorious future.

Then Eutharic died unexpectedly in 522 or 523, and without the crucial certainty of succession, the world Theoderic had brought together began to come undone.

Civility and toleration

Civility and toleration were the hallmarks of Theoderic’s rule in Italy—he said as much himself. If they were the civility and toleration we find in strong-armed imperial orders, they were still real, but they were not the whole of his regime, nor was his regime the whole of life in Italy. To do jus¬tice to him and to understand what was lost when his successors destroyed what he had built, we have to slow down and marvel at how life went on in his land and time.

Theoderic was not merely lucky. A good reputation follows those who are well spoken of by their contemporaries, especially when they make sure to have contempo

Theoderic and notionally alongside

Eutharic was named consul for the year 519, under the proud eye of Theoderic and notionally alongside the new emperor, Justin, as fellow consul, though of course they never laid eyes on each other. More dramatically, Justin proclaimed Eutharic his “son in arms” by an honorary adoption conferring recognition and acceptance of the highest kind. The aged Anastasius, who had been emperor since 491, had always been suspicious of Theoderic, but left him alone for the last decade, preoccupied in part by worries closer to home. Justin, more a barbarian than Theoderic ever was, came down out of the Balkans to make his way in the imperial army, and then followed talent to the top—we’ll watch him make the final leap. Theoderic clearly thought that he could now proclaim his own heritage more grandly, without imperiling the position he had succeeded in obtaining, and using this renewed statement of his Gothic identity to improve his standing both at home and in Visigothic Iberia. Whether

The Priest`s Tale part 8

I josep time in going up to his room, and fortunately found him in one of his intervals of quiet. He was sitting on the floor with his elbows on his knees and his head in his hands. The furniture was all in dis- order, and broken dishes were lying about. I admit I was a little frightened. It was rash to go in alone, but I could not turn back even if I had wished; so I went up to him, and laying my hand on his head repeated a prayer.

`When I was done he made the sign of the cross, and kissed my hand. `You are not very comfortable here, my dear Christos,` said I. Come, let us go to your uncle`s; the house is empty, and you`ll be better there. Won`t you come?`

“He rose without a word, and then said quietly: `I don`t want anybody to see me; please ask them to stay away.`

“I opened the door, and although there was no one there, I cried

“`Go away, all of you; go home!—There, Christos, the street is empty; let us go.`<

The Priest`s Tale part 7

These causes of themselves often produce tetanus, and hydrophobia and tetanus have many points of resemblance. This is what the doctors tell us. But what good does that do, it they cannot give us at the same time some means of controlling or getting rid of this secret fear? I am waiting to hear from our medical friends on this point. But I beg your pardon, father, for interrupting.

Without ever having read anything of the kind,” replied the priest, “I have often thought of that.

“Meanwhile the weeks passed by, and the peasants were beginning to forget what had happened, or at least had stopped talking about it, when suddenly one morning toward the end of September the boy`s father came to tell me that Christos was not well.

` `What`s the matter with him?`

“ `I don`t know; he`s feverish, and has no appetite.`

Little milk

“I went to see him without delay, and found him lying on the floor wPh his

The Priest`s Tale part 6

“With great difficulty I managed to persuade Christos and the men or rather women—who surrounded him, and it was at last decided to take him to Athens. He wanted to put off going until the next day; but I insisted, and finally prevailed upon him to start at once, by offering to go with him. So we mounted our donkeys and set out. The neighbors` wives showered good wishes upon us, but it was easy to see that they thought medical skill a poor substitute for the virtues of the mad plant.

“We reached Athens very late; I left Christos at the hospital, and returned to my parsonage in the middle of the night.

“As I said before, all this happened on Monday. Thursday Christos came home, still suffering from the cauterization, but he seemed well otherwise, and in a few days the burns were quite healed.

“But the peasants had no confidence in hospital treatment. Their fears arose not from the delay in cauterizing the wounds, but from the failure to apply

The Priest`s Tale part 5

Would you believe that in all the villages of this district there is not a single doctor, or even a pharmacy! I do not know if anything of the kind has been printed at Athens, but certainly we have never had here any book or pamphlet giving directions how to avoid or cure the commonest diseases—I do not mean hydrophobia, but the simple ailments of which our little children die. But never mind that now; those things will come in time.

“When Christos came home leaning on the old man`s shoulder, wounded and bloody, with his clothes torn, the whole village was in commotion. I was told at once of what had happened, and went to see him. He lived with his father in that little house in the street by the church. On the ground-floor there is a storeroom and an oil-press, while above there are two small chambers, which are reached by a stairway built on the outside facing the road.”

“Where the schoolmaster lives now?” asked Andrew.

“Yes, that`s th

The Priest`s Tale part 4

“Of all the young men of the village, Christos was the tallest; he was strong and fearless—a true pallicare; and, as we all know, danger often makes even the coward brave. Suddenly he dropped his right arm and tightly squeezed the wolf`s neck under his armpit, while with his left he clutched her head and tried to strangle her.

“The struggle was frightful. The teeth .and claws of the mad beast dug into the poor fellow`s side; he could not use his knife, because to draw it from his girdle he would have had to let go the wolf`s neck, which he still held with his left hand. He could not move his right arm without loosening his vise-like grasp upon her, and he dared not call for help, for he knew too well that he had no strength to waste in shouting.

“At last they fell to the ground, clasped in a horrible embrace. Christos was on the top, but the wolf had her head free against his breast, and she tore it savagely, in her efforts to release herself.

The Priest`s Tale part 3

“Thirteen years have passed since then—it was about the middle of August. For several days it had been rumored that a wolf was prowling near the village. Old Mitros,.who had built his little cottage that same year close by `The Eyrie,` told how he had been awakened one night by the barking of his dog, and opening his window had seen an enormous wolf outside his garden wall. He had snatched his gun and fired, but failed to kill the beast, and saw it reeling away in the moonlight with its tail down. He was too frightened to reload and fire a second time. The shepherds told of a similar encounter, so that the village was full of rumors that we had a dangerous wolf in the neighborhood, and the peasants slept with one eye open, always thinking of their flocks.

“The danger was even greater than they knew, for it was not a mere hungry wolf that they had to deal with, but a she-wolf—-and mad.

Monday Christos

“One afternoon—-it was a Monday—C

The Priest`s Tale part 2

Perceiving this, my brother-in-law sent him out of the room, in spite of his master`s ill-concealed discontent.

Quiet was once more restored, and conversation began again with renewed activity. Naturally we spoke of the exile and his various qualities—of his breed in particular and of dogs generally. One thing led to another, and the subject of hydrophobia finally came up. Andrew showed a lively interest in the matter, and asked the village priest, who was one of the guests, if he had known of many mad dogs in the country.

“No, not many, but they are by no means unknown, replied it ather Seraphim; and among others he told us of a fine dog he had been obliged to kill because he believed it to be mad.

Andrew kept interrupting the priest with questions; how did Father Seraphim know that the dog was mad? how had it become mad? what had it done? how did he kill it?

The boy`s inquiries and the father`s courteous replies gave me no little i