Aware that he was soon to die, Cerbonius bequeathed all the wisdom he had garnered over his long and colourful life to his spiritual son, Silvanus, in the form of a scroll of warnings and admonitions for young Christian believers.
Silvanus would have liked to read Cerbonius’s advice out loud and ask for explanations where necessary. But the aged Bishop was too weak. So I’ve taken the liberty of here reproducing the headlines of that catalogue, together with some comments the Saint would have voiced had he had the strength: Continue reading “Cerbonius’s Counsel”
In Late Antiquity, influenced by Platonic dualism, Christianity often promoted an other-worldliness. Let’s get out of this corrupt world as fast as possible so that we can enjoy disembodied bliss in heaven. And in the meantime, we despise all physical aspects of life.Continue reading “Religion can make you stink!”
Clothing in Late Antiquity was not the disposable commodity it is nowadays; it was valuable enough to be named in a will, used as surety for loans, or included in a dowry. Literary sources suggest that wealthy and high status individuals had many and beautiful clothes, however for the middle and lower classes clothing was an expensive necessity that was not to be wasted. This was true for the majority of the population, and ranged from enslaved and poverty stricken workers to the relatively prosperous members of the working middle class. While we might expect the former to have ragged and patched clothing, the evidence indicates that even members of the latter group might have needed used or recycled clothing as well as materials to embellish, mend and maintain their clothes.
Faith Morgan’s examination of Late Antique garments shows that even high quality garments were …
Cerbonius was a colourful character – priest, refugee, hermit, bishop, bear-tamer, animal-lover, miracle-worker and sensational papal visitor – who was later canonised by the Roman Catholic Church. He is remembered for his intimate relationship with God, “a man with a venerable life, who gave evidence of great holiness”, as St. Gregory the Great wrote in his Dialogues. Continue reading “Why the Geese?”
I’ve come to a juicy episode, part of chapter 6. And the strange thing is that I feel deep emotion for the character I’m creating. The chapter introduces a runaway slave, whom Silvanus finds in the woods. Listen to the story and let me know what you think…
“Aren’t you afraid of Jupiter and Mars and all the others? Do you pray to that god of yours?”
“Well, yes, but I don’t really know much about him.” I notice tears forming in his eyes and his voice begins to tremble. “My Mother used to talk a lot about him. Before they… killed her.” Continue reading “Pillage and Rape”
At long last I’ve planned my next trip to make friends with Silvanus and Cerbonius. It means travelling not only over 700 km south but more than 1440 years back in history. It promises to be exciting.
Unfortunately, I’ll only be a week on Elba, and that will probably pass quickly. For most of the time I’ll be in Marciana, coincidentally over San Cerbone’s Day, 10th October. I wonder what I’ll learn from him…