Resistance to Imperial Command

Liber Pontificalis

(cited by Gibbon, Decline and Fall XLIX)

“Therefore, the pious man, looking back upon the profane order of that prince, armed himself against the emperor as if against an enemy, rejecting his heresy, writing to take care of the Christians everywhere, because such an impiety had arisen. The people of Pentapolis were all moved, and the armies of the Venetians resisted the order of the emperor, saying that they would never descend to the murder of the pope, but would fight in a manly fashion in his defense.”

Respiciens ergo pius vir profanam principis jussionem, jam contra Imperatorem quasi contra hostem se armavit, renuens haeresim ejus, scribens ubique se cavere Christianos, eo quod orta fuisset impietas talis. Igitur permoti omnes Pentapolenses, atque Venetiarum exercitus contra Imperatoris jussionem restiterunt; dicentes se nunquam in ejusdem pontificis condescendere necem, sed pro ejus magis defensione viriliter decertare

Forget Virtue, Study Vice!

Poggio Bracciolini, Facetiae 23:

“In the Roman Curia, Fortune holds the most power, and I was searching to see whether it be a place for intelligence or for virtue. But all things are obtained by ambition and opportunity (not to mention money, which appears to reign all over the world.) A certain friend of mind, who was vexed that many people inferior to him in learning and morals were nevertheless preferred to him, was complaining to Angelotto, the cardinal of St. Mark’s, that his virtue was of no account but was an afterthought when compared to those who were not his equals. He recollected all of his studies, and all of his labors in learning. Then, the cardinal, who was always ready to chastise the vices of the Curia, said, ‘Here knowledge and learning will do you no good. But go on and apply yourself to forgetting them and learning instead some idle vices, if you want to be accepted into the Pope’s favor.”

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In Curia Romana ut plurimum Fortuna dominatur, cum perraro locus sit vel ingenio, vel virtuti; sed ambitione et opportunitate parantur omnia, ut de nummis sileam, qui ubique terrarum imperare videntur. Amicus quidam, qui aegre ferebat praeferri sibi multos doctrina et probitate inferiores, querebatur apud Angelottum cardinalem Sancti Marci nullam haberi suae virtutis rationem, sed postponi his, qui nulla in re sibi pares essent. Sua insuper studia commemoravit, et in discendo labores. Tum promptus ad lacessendum Curiae vitia cardinalis, “Hic scientia et doctrina” inquit “nihil prosunt. Sed perge et aliquod tempus ad dediscendum et addiscendum vitia vaca, si vis Pontifici acceptus esse”.

Tired of Life? Join the Essenes!

Pliny, Natural History 5.15:

“To the west lie the Essenes, who escape the noxious effects of the shores. They are a solitary race, and marvelous beyond others in the whole world: living without a woman, having given up venereal pleasure, and lacking money – they are the companions of the palm trees. Every day, their number is increased by the masses of people flocking to them, whom Fortune has driven them, tired of life, upon her waves to the society of the Essenes. And so through thousands of ages – marvelous to say! – has their race in which no one is born continued. So fruitful for them is the fatigue which people feel with life!”

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Ab occidente litora Esseni fugiunt usque qua nocent, gens sola et in toto orbe praeter ceteras mira, sine ulla femina, omni venere abdicata, sine pecunia, socia palmarum. in diem ex aequo convenarum turba renascitur, large frequentantibus quos vita fessos ad mores eorum fortuna fluctibus agit. ita per saeculorum milia — incredibile dictu — gens aeterna est, in qua nemo nascitur. tam fecunda illis aliorum vitae paenitentia est!

St. Anthony: SUPER LAME!

Athanasius, Life of St. Anthony:

“Antonius was an Egyptian by birth, of good parents who had gotten hold of enough wealth to make them self-sufficient, and since they were Christians, he himself was brought up as a member of that sect. Being a child, he was brought up by his parents, not knowing anything except them and their household. But when the boy was growing, and on the verge of leaving his youth, he did not suffer to learn his letters, with the intention of remaining estranged even to the other children. He possessed an all-consuming passion, as was written of Jacob, to live wholly uncultured in his own house. He was, to be sure, raised with his parents in the Lord’s House. And he did not simply play around as a child, nor as he advanced through his youth did he grow haughty; rather, he always obeyed his parents and attended to their lessons, and paid careful attention to the profit which he received from them. Nor again, as a child brought up in a fairly rich family, did he bother his parents for fancy and expensive food, nor did he seek pleasure from it. He was satisfied with what he came upon, and sought nothing more.”

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 ᾿Αντώνιος γένος μὲν ἦν Αἰγύπτιος, εὐγενῶν δὲ γονέων καὶ περιουσίαν αὐτάρκη κεκτημένων, καὶ  Χριστιανῶν αὐτῶν ὄντων, Χριστιανικῶς ἀνήγετο καὶ αὐτός. Καὶ παιδίον μὲν ὢν, ἐτρέφετο παρὰ τοῖς γονεῦσι, πλέον αὐτῶν καὶ τοῦ οἴκου μηδὲν ἕτερον γινώσκων· ἐπειδὴ δὲ καὶ αὐξήσας ἐγένετο παῖς, καὶ προέκοπτε τῇ ἡλικίᾳ, γράμματα μὲν μαθεῖν οὐκ ἠνέσχετο, βουλόμενος ἐκτὸς εἶναι καὶ τῆς πρὸς τοὺς παῖδας συνηθείας· τὴν δὲ ἐπιθυμίαν πᾶσαν εἶχε, κατὰ τὸ γεγραμμένον περὶ τοῦ ᾿Ιακὼβ, ὡς ἄπλαστος οἰκεῖν ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ αὐτοῦ. Συνήγετο μέντοι μετὰ τῶν γονέων ἐν τῷ Κυριακῷ· καὶ οὔτε ὡς παῖς ἐῤῥᾳθύμει, οὔτε ὡς τῇ ἡλικίᾳ προκόπτων κατεφρόνει· ἀλλὰ καὶ τοῖς γονεῦσιν ὑπετάσσετο, καὶ τοῖς ἀναγνώσμασι προσέχων, τὴν ἐξ αὐτῶν ὠφέλειαν ἐν ἑαυτῷ διετήρει. Οὔτε δὲ πάλιν ὡς παῖς ἐν μετρίᾳ περιουσίᾳ τυγχάνων ἠνώχλει τοῖς γονεῦσι ποικίλης καὶ πολυτελοῦς ἕνεκα τροφῆς, οὔτε τὰς ἐκ ταύτης ἡδονὰς ἐζήτει· μόνοις δὲ οἷς ηὕρισκεν ἠρκεῖτο, καὶ πλέον οὐδὲν ἐζήτει.