The Truth About George

5 04 2007

Update: Anyone else think that there might be a modern parallel here :)? Think about it! George???

I was reading “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” by Edward Gibbon, over the weekend, and came across a very curious note about one George of Cappadocia. Funnily enough, this bit-part player in history was raised on the shoulders of early Christian martyrdom, and is today known as St. George, who is the patron saint of England, amongst other things.

What I found quite amusing, and ironic, is that given the way Gibbon presents this character, the only words I can use to describe him are, “a greedy, two-faced, conniving weasel. A ruthless, vile opportunist who abused his position to pursue his own violent agenda.”

Hell of a role model for the Brits isn’t he? 🙂 Sorry to all the Brits reading this, but I just couldn’t resist pointing this out.

For anyone interested in reading about the historical evolution of Europe from the Roman Empire to the Dark Ages, I highly recommend this book. As a case in point, in his recounting of the rise of Islam as a factor in the decline of the Roman Empire, Gibbon presents a balanced view of Mohammed and the early days of Islam, by analysing the situation from a mix of religious, political and social angles. I doubt many would have argued with him in his time if he taken a condescending attitude and tackled the topic from solely a religious “Christian vs. Muslim” angle.

Granted, he does question if the holy and religious aspects of the story of Mohammed are nothing more than political ploys to consolidate power. But, he is consistent with this type of questioning throughout this book. Frankly, I find that this work presents an accurate summary of the events of over a thousand years in an objective manner, despite all the religious and political upheavals its covers.

I will warn you its a quite a bit of reading though. Gibbon wrote 3 volumes worth.

I’m enclosing my favorite excerpts about St. George from the book here so that you can all can see that I’m not making this stuff up.
Update: I decided to remove the excerpt text from here as it just cluttered things up a bit too much. The entire excerpt can be found here http://www.ccel.org/ccel/gibbon/decline/files/volume1/chap23.htm#disg towards the bottom of the page. Easier thing would be do a search for the term George once you hit that page. This is from Chapter 23 of Volume 1. The entire text of this book is available online at http://www.ccel.org/ccel/gibbon/decline/files/decline.html

Advertisements

Actions

Information

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: