Good and bad polytheists (parts 11-13)

These three parts are all united by a common theme of relations with Rome, either noble resistance, or dishonorable treason. The stories of the good polytheists are also well known by their respective native peoples and don’t require too much elaboration, although several links are provided for the curious. 

Part 11:

VIRIATHUS (died 139 BCE)

Lusitanian warriorHe was a Lusitanian warrior that lived sometime after the Roman conquest of Iberia (Spain), following the Second Punic War. He then commanded the Lusitanian tribes (the people inhabiting a region east of Portugal and west of Spain), among other neighboring Iberian tribes (both Celtic and indigenous), in their rebellion against Rome for almost 20 years. During that time, Viriathus managed to score several admirable victories, by means of his great bravery, spirit, and cunning, and gave great distress to the Roman forces till his death by treachery. He would later inspire the Cantabrian rebellion of Corocotta and Gauson. Read more about Viriathus here. 

AUDAX, DITALCUS, and MINURUS

These were three associates of soldiers of Viriathus who treacherously murdered him during his sleep. They had been sent as emissaries to the Romans, but were bribed by Servilius Caepio. However, after the assassination, they sought an official reward from the Romans, but instead of receiving one, they were put to death by Caepio who was now disgraced by the deed and refused a triumph by the Senate for his conquest over Iberia. The Romans would still suffer from sporadic resistance, especially in the north, for a hundred more years.

 

Part 12:

SPARTACUS (died 71 BCE)

He was a Thracian slave (from today’s Bulgaria) who was trained as a gladiator in Roman Italy. The Romans at that time were corrupt and greedy, especially the rich Senators. Spartacus led a revolt of gladiators, which later spread to many parts of Italy, and his army of plundering and rebellious slaves grew as he passed through everyGladiators town. He scored many victories against Roman garrisons and even armies. Plutarch states that his original intention was to liberate his men (most of whom were Celts and Germans) by marching north, but it seems that he changed his mind and chose to plunder Italy or liberate Sicily, which had revolted twice before. His army was at last defeated by the very rich Senator Crassus, and all the rebels that survived the battle (about 10,000), perhaps including women and children, were mercilessly crucified. Read more about Spartacus here

RHESCUPORIS II (died in the middle of the 1st century CE)

This was a Thracian king who ruled over half of the Odrysian kingdom, but later coveted the other half, which was allotted to his nephew Cotys VIII, according to the intercession of Emperor Augustus. As soon as Augustus died, however, he tried by negotiation to gain the other lands, but when failing, he turned to treachery, by inviting Cotys to a banquet on pretence of negotiation, and then imprisoning him, leading to suicide. Augustus’ successor, Tiberius, ordered a trial of Rhescuporis, who was found guilty and exiled to Egypt. Having avoided execution for his dishonorable deed, this Rhescuporis still tried to escape, but was killed by Roman soldiers. Although his son ruled after him, the Odyrsian kingdom soon came to an end, because after an assassination as revenge for Cotys’ life, the Romans seized the territory and adjoined it to their empire.  

 

 Part 13:

 HERMANN (called Arminius by the Romans, died 21 CE)

ArminiusThis was the German nobleman who was raised by the Romans as a hostage, becoming a citizen and knight of theirs. Nothing need be said about him beyond that he was the savior of all the German tribes, because of his noble treachery of the Romans, leading to the most disastrous massacre of at least 15,000 men at the battle of Teutoburg forest during the time of Augustus. The Romans never truly recovered their shame and never really attempted another invasion of the region that lay to the north of the Danube or the east of the Rhine. If it were not for this man, who was unfortunately later poisoned by his jealous or treasonous rivals, the Germans would have lost their native culture and language like the Celts. His rebellion directly inspired that of Boudica, which was very hopeful and just (though very bloody), but unfortunately did not succeed. Read more about Hermann here. 

 CATUALDA (flourished in the early 1st century CE)

This German noble was the antipode of Hermann. After the massacre of Teutoburg forest, the Emperor Tiberius sent his son Drusus to spread division among the Germans. Catualda, who had been an exile, was chosen for this purpose, and proceeded with an army to the kingdom of the Marcomanni (his native tribe) in the south of Germany to corrupt the nobles. He succeeded in deposing their king, Marboduus, who was already weak after an internal war with Hermann. However, before the project of corrupting other tribes went forward, Vibillius, a neighboring king, attacked Cataulda with a greater force and overthrew him.  

 

 

 

 

15 thoughts on “Good and bad polytheists (parts 11-13)

  1. heathenembers

    Excellent post Melas, well written and informative as always. It’s always interesting seeing the good and the bad together. Arminius is probably the most influential figure in European history, certainly in the history of Germanic people, that most people have never heard of.

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    1. Melas the Hellene Post author

      Many thanks! I know that the Germans know Arminius well, although I have discovered lately (to my great disappointment) that he is no longer taught with reverence at schools, because of Nazism and what not. How shameful will it be if future generations of Germans forget of their savior!

      Liked by 1 person

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      1. Jessica Triepel

        You think that’s bad? Get this: there’s this growing trend in Germany to Anglicise the German language. At first I thought they were just trying to sound cool — although failing miserably, because they sound like morons — but no! The reason is because they are “ashamed of their country’s WWII history”, as if this is the only historical feature worth noting. Every f’ing country has some blemish in their past — the astronomical genocide of native Americans comes to mind. The German folk have been completely severed from their ancestral roots, that they have forgotten who they are and have forsaken their ancestors. For centuries, the Germanic people were a force to be reckoned with. Even post conversion to Christianity, the Germans played a major role in the shaping of European history. The Germanics have endured persecution (think the Verden Massacre), struggled against the expanse of the roman empire, picked up the pieces of a crumbling holy roman empire and turned it into perhaps the greatest power in Europe, from them, came some of the best composers, philosophers, technological advancements, etc, etc! How can they let one stain on their background destroy their sense of pride? Meanwhile Americans did something far worse yet still cheer that they are the greatest nation on earth!
        OK, done ranting now. Sorry.

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      2. Melas the Hellene Post author

        Although I have written against the practical application of nationalism (in favor of regionalism), I must acknowledge (if I am to be reasonable) that there is such a thing as national pride (let’s call it a set of ideas and history to celebrate), which should never be violated or forgotten. I see the decay of culture in Germany as the result of globalism, particularly the European Union. But how can changing a language remove a stain, when doing so is adding another stain? I foresee the European Union will fall, but its policies may damage so many more parts of Europe before it does. One day I hope Germans (as I hope for Greeks and all others) will come to see that ethnic polytheism is the solution and middle way between extreme protectionism and global socialism, between national extremism and cultural decay!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Jessica Triepel

        You’re probably right about Europe. I expect the same thing. Ethnic polytheism sounds good to me — well, that’s actually a reality in my personal life. Regionalism sounds to me like tribalism, with a modern spin? I’m all for tribalism, but sadly, that ship has sailed. Or sunk. 😕

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      4. Melas the Hellene Post author

        Yes, regionalism is quite related to tribalism. Tribalism exists today in the form of ideologies in the West, but I am for restoring it ethnically and culturally as it still is in several parts of the East. It is possible to bring it back for the few (not the many), but only after much hard work, which I am willing to undertake one day!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Melas the Hellene Post author

      Thanks, Jessica. Nothing is more powerful to inspire us than stories. I may not be the best story teller, but I do hope to bring attention to our forgotten history, while we continue to re-appear in the world—there are too many examples to learn from!

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  2. K

    Germanics have a lot more to worry about right now than the Roman Empire. Between mental and spiritual slavery, degradation, and cultural malaise, I don’t see much fight left. I guess I still have some, but I am of partial Irish descent as well. We need another Hermann and then some.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Melas the Hellene Post author

      Alas, you are right! Perhaps the European Union is very much like the Roman Empire, in regard to its policies of globalization and tyranny? Surely the Union has its benefits, but the harm is greater. Germans need not be ashamed of what had happened 75 years ago, since it is passed and we can learn from it. Hitler corrupted the spirit of Hermann by mixing those of Napoleon and Darwin with it!! Polytheism (as a system, beyond religion) is the true way to confidence, freedom, harmony, and prosperity!

      Liked by 1 person

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