Nicaea and the World

VANDALS -- GONE

In AD460, the Romans launched an attack and destroyed most of the Vandal fleet, and in  AD468, the Eastern and Western Empire united, sending a whole fleet against the Vandals.  Genseric surprised the fleet, destroying 600 of their ships, and capturing others. When Genseric died in AD478, the kingdom began to decline.

Various kings ruled, some persecuting Catholics.  King Hilderich was a Vandal, and a Roman on his mother’s side.  He had adopted Roman ways and renounced the Arian faith.  Gelimer lost patience with him and put him in prison, taking the throne himself. 

Justinian sent a harsh letter telling Gelimer to stop the persecution immediately.  He replied that “nothing was more desirable than the monarch should mind his own business.”  47 

This reply gave Justinian the excuse he needed to mount a crusade against the Vandals. He must save the Catholics in North Africa.

Historian J.F.C. Fuller  wrote,  “Justinian  was  called  ‘the Emperor who never sleeps’.  He looked upon himself not only as heir of the Caesars, but also as the supreme head of the Church, and throughout his reign he held two fixed ideas:  the one was the restoration of the Western Empire, and the other the suppression of the Arian heresy. Hence all his Western wars took on the character of crusades, for he felt that his mission was to lead the heathen peoples into the Christian fold.”  48

Belisarius, Justinian’s General, landed in North Africa with a fleet of 500 ships, 20,000 sailors, 10,000 infantry, 5,000 cavalry, and 92 smaller warships rowed by 2,000 slaves.  Gelimer was unaware that the army had even left Constantinople.

Later, when he realised his kingdom was lost, he did not surrender.   He planned to transport his part of Vandal treasure and surviving supporters to Visigoth Spain where he had some long-lost Vandal cousins.   But the Romans intercepted him and he lost his treasure.  Gelimer fled to the mountains. 

A year later he was surrounded by a Roman force who urged him to give up.  He received Emperor Justinian’s word that the Romans would treat him as a king and would arrange for him to become a patrician (Roman nobleman) and have a dignified, comfortable retirement as a Catholic.   He refused.   He would not give up his Arian beliefs. 

Justinian defeated the Vandals and brought North Africa back into the Roman fold. One million people died, and the rest were sent as slaves to Persia.  Many fled to Algeria.  Others joined the Goths.  The Vandals ceased to be a distinct ethnic unit.  49

The Vandals “never formed a cohesive ethnic group again.” 50

George Finlay, Scottish historian wrote, “There are few instances  in  history  of a nation disappearing so rapidly and so completely as the Vandals of Africa.” 51

The Shorter Cambridge Medieval History stated that the Vandals “disappeared as a mist”. 52

Nelson’s Encyclopaedia wrote, “As a nation, the Vandals soon ceased to exist.” 53

Britannica stated, “The Vandals disappeared from history.”   54

One more Arian horn to go!

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The Ostrogoths were now established in Italy under the rule of Theodoric.   His 33-year rule gave the country good fortune and he was judged to be in all respects their best king.  

Justice was now established in the realm. The Senate continued to function normally, and the laws of the Empire were still recognised as ruling the Roman population.  The Goths were ruled under their own traditional laws.  Although Theodoric did not possess the power to issue his own laws, the army and all military offices were the exclusive right of the Goths.

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Theodoric said, “The true mark of civilitas is the observance of law.  It is this which makes life in communities possible, and which separates man from the brutes.”   Civilitas was traditional Roman civic culture.     55  

The reign  of an Arian king  brought  peace  and  quietness  in all the Ostrogoth realm of Italy.  Such peace and security had never been known before.  56

However, in the city of Rome, there was no peace.  The bishop had no control.   At a papal election in AD499, there was civil war; “the city and streets ran with blood”, while the rest of the country maintained its peace.  57

The land in Italy had been largely uncultivated, but now it was worked and vitalised.   Grain was planted and for the first time Italy could export it, rather than rely on North Africa for supplies.

Theodoric  was  greatly  loved  by  all.     He  allowed  his  Catholic subjects to practise their religion freely.   This was not simply a matter of tolerance, but a genuine recognition of the rights of conscience.  When his own mother chose to become a Catholic, Theodoric did not interfere.  He treated the Catholic priests with honour and reverence. 

He made no assault on the Catholic religion, but said, “Religion is not something we can command.  No one can be forced into a Faith against his will.” 58

The separation of Church and State, between civil and religious power, was clear.

Theodoric built a number of baptisteries for the special ceremony of baptism by immersion.

Boris Breytoman – Dreamtime.com      

Pope John

The  warrior  lifestyle  was  paramount.   To settle and farm the land was considered a dishonour to their warrior code.   When Catholic Rome tried to force them to settle and assimilate, they resisted. 

Heruli men were hired out as mercenaries by any nation who sought their services. The Gothic historian Jordanes stated that “there was at that time (AD400-550) no race that did not choose from the Heruli its light-armed troops for battle.” 25   Most became soldiers of the Roman army.

The Heruli, like a great many tribes in Eastern Europe, were subjugated by the Huns until the death of Attila, after which they re-emerged along with a branch of the Goths.

In AD476, the Heruli revolted from their service to Rome and proclaimed Odoacer their king, who was also a general in the Roman army.  They marched on Ravenna, the Western capital and deposed the Emperor Romulus Augustus.   It was the end of the Western Roman Empire that had stood for 1000 years.  26     

“Romulus, the last of the Roman Emperors in the West, was overthrown by the Germanic leader Odoacer who became the first barbarian to rule in Rome.”   27

The Roman Empire lost control of the country and Odoacer formed the kingdom of Italy. Emperor Zeno in the East reluctantly recognised Odoacer’s authority over Italy and granted him the title of patrician. 

Odoacer declared himself rex Italiae, the King of Italy, and decided not to take the title of Emperor.  He sent the Imperial regalia back to Constantinople and informed the Eastern Emperor he  would  be  content  with  his military title and recognition as a German king.  The Emperor agreed. 

The fall of Rome was less catastrophic than imagined, and Odoacer “was even commended by the Emperor in Constantinople.”  28

The picture of ferocious pagan hordes over-running the country is not a true picture.  They were “not intoxicated catamites (perform male incest), but ascetic and otherworldly Christians, if a little different from the standard one…” 29 

After Rome fell,  no noticeable changes took place  in its institu- tions,  and   the  usual  violence  that  accompanies  such events, did not take place. 30 

“Although Odoacer was an Arian Christian, he rarely intervened in the affairs of the orthodox and Trinitarian state Church of the Roman Empire.” 31    Italy was at peace.

Pope  Simplicius  died in AD483,  and  a  new  pontiff  needed  to  be chosen.   Odoacer desired a Pope well-disposed to himself, and when the preliminary assembly failed to agree with his choice of candidates, the Pretorian Prefect intervened in Odoacer’s name and declared that no election would be valid without the king’s voice. The assembly favoured Felix II, who was Odoacer’s recommendation, however, his interference in the Papal election cast a seed of distrust, and Rome could not forgive.   32

This was the opportunity the Papacy needed to get rid of Odoacer and the Heruli. 

Odoacer then added another unforgiveable act by issuing a decree forbidding the sale of Church estates and possessions.  “This was represented as a presumptuous invasion of the rights of the bishop of Rome, not only to do what he would with his own, but above all as protector of the property and estates of the Church.” 33 

“The Bishop could not extend forgiveness, and nothing short of uprooting the Herulian power could atone for it. The Catholic hierarchy began to plot his overthrow.” 34

By AD486, the friendly relations between Odoacer and Emperor Zeno had become strained.  The king of Italy was seen as a rival, especially as he was extending his territory close to Constantinople.  Zeno refused to tolerate usurpation of Imperial power.  His mind was now ready to fulfil the designs of the Bishop of Rome.  

Emperor Zeno  was  well aware of the capabilities of  Theodoric  the

Ostrogoth, and he needed his help.  As an excuse for his own involvement, Zeno stated that he wanted to return the Empire to its former glory.  Theodoric would be his means to an end in more ways than one. Thus Emperor Zeno consigned an Ostrogoth campaign into Italy. 

“All  that  is  left  of  their  culture  in Italy is essentially the Arian baptisteries, a mosaic-covered church in Ravenna and Theodoric’s mausoleum.” 68

Belisarius had no respect for Theodoric. He entered the Ostrogoth mausoleum and unceremoniously took the body of the king and discarded it.   

Bertram L Conway, a Catholic priest wrote, “… the bishop of Rome did not formerly reach his worldly high position until AD538 when he subdued the Ostrogoths.” 69

He is right.

Justinian was elated and “proceeded without delay to the full establishment of the Catholic Church.”  70

In AD538, the prophesied 1260 years of Papal dominion began, resulting in the martyrdom of over 50,000,000 men, women and children.

Their blood cries out, together with the saints martyred before them, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?”  Revelation 6:10.


 

  

 

 

 

HERULI -- GONE

In AD489, under leadership of Theodoric, the whole nation, a million strong, took up the 700-mile march in the Winter. 

It is considered “the emigration of an entire people:  the wives and children of the Goths,  their aged parents,  and most precious effects, were carefully transported… and at length, surmounting  of  obstacles  by  skilful conduct and persevering courage, he descended from the Julian Alps and displayed his invincible banners on the confines of Italy.”   35

Theodoric and Alaric his brother-in-law tried laying siege to Odoacer in Ravenna, but the city was easy to supply from the sea and the Goths had no navy. 

The siege dragged on and on. Eventually Theodoric and Odoacer agreed to make peace.  They would rule Italy together, both as Consuls. 

That night at a banquet, Theodoric murdered Odoacer.   As he was dying, Odoacer said to Theodoric, “Where is God?”  It seemed strange to Odoacer that one of his own faith should kill him. Theodoric replied. “This is what you did to my kinsmen.”  The relatives of Theodoric are believed to have been a royal couple killed by Odoacer. 36 

The kingdom of the Heruli had been conquered, never again to rise as a nation. “When Odoacer was killed by Theodoric in AD493 we hear no more about the Heruli.” 37  

Although Odoacer was dead and the battle won, it took time to eradicate the whole nation, but by “mid-6th century they (the Heruli) vanished from history.”  38 

Cardinal  John  Henry  Newman  said, “Odoacer was  sinking  before Theodoric, and the Pope was changing one Arian master for another.” 39  

The historian John C. Ridpath wrote, “The fact that the Heruli and Ostrogoths were both Arian in belief did not restrain the scheming pontiff from using the one to destroy the other when the outcome resulted in his advancement in power.” 40 

Emperor Zeno promptly declared Theodoric King of Italy.  On paper he was a vassal of the Eastern Empire, but de facto, he was independent.  He also suggested Theodoric lay aside the clothing of a private citizen and dress in the garb of his race.  He thus put on royal robes with a kingly mantle.  He was now king of both the Romans and the Goths.

Nicollo Machiavelli stated that “Nearly all the wars which the northern barbarians carried on in Italy, it may be here remarked, were occasioned by the pontiffs; and the hordes, with which the country was inundated, were generally called in by them. The same mode of proceeding still continued, and kept Italy weak and unsettled.” 41  
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We will come back to the Goths later, but first the Vandals of North Africa.

The Vandals were not Goths, though they were part of the broad  migration  with  East Germanic  people.  They  originated from the region of modern Poland.   The name Vandal has been linked with the word vandalism.  It is probable it has been linked in modern times, as the ancient word is ‘vandilii’, meaning ‘wanderers’.

After leaving their homeland, the Vandals migrated south-east into the area of Hungary and Austria.  Conflict drove them into France, and south into Spain.   In AD439, Genseric, the great king of the Vandals, led them across the Mediterranean, where they established their capital at Carthage, North Africa. 


 

Chapter 11

Papal Victories

 
Malachi Martin, a Catholic writer stated that by AD420, Western Europe, Italy and Rome in particular, were now overrun by barbarian tribes.

“Suddenly, almost without warning – a whole series of violent storms swept across the Empire and down over Rome.  Like hurricanes, these storms have names:  Vandals Goths, Lombards, Franks.  In sum, perhaps 10 million of them, barbarians, all armed to the teeth, virtually all illiterate… and all determined to glut themselves on the wealth of the Empire.

The miracle is that despite the blood and the corruption – Rome eventually swallowed the barbarians and not the other way around.   It took a thousand years, but it happened;  and in the dungheap, Western civilisation flourished.” 1 

Martin stated further on, “the only figurehead and leader that survived it all was the pope.” 2 

In this chapter we will look at the demise of the three uprooted kingdoms of Daniel 7.  Firstly the Franks.

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The Franks were a confederation of smaller Germanic tribes originally composed of a mix of groups who settled between the Rhine and the Weser Rivers. 

The origin of the name ‘Franks’ is debated. Some historians have claimed a link with the English word ‘frank’ meaning ‘truthful’, while  others  link  it  with the  Germanic/Norse  word  ‘franka’ for the javelin, which the Franks favoured in battle.  The Romans referred to them as ferocious and cited their skilful use of the throwing axe, a francisca (Latin). 3

The Franks were pagans, but the kings surrounding them in Gaul were all Arian – the Lombards, Burgundians, Suevi, Visigoths and the Ostrogoths.  The Alemanni were pagans at this time.   Some of the Frankish citizens were Arian, but others were pagan or Catholics;  the latter being in the minority. 4

The Catholic Church was concerned with this large concentrate of power, and they determined to do something about it.  

  Arian baptistry

Frederico Cimino – Dreamstime.com 

Clovis had adamantly refused to convert from paganism to Catholicism, so the Church found him a wife, Clotilda a Burgundian princess from the Catholic Faith.  5

Clotilda wanted their son baptised a Catholic, but Clovis absolutely refused.   She did it anyway.   While still in his baptismal gown, their son died.  This strengthened Clovis’ resistance to conversion.  Clotilda  had  their  second  son  baptised  without  her  husband’s  permission,  and  after  his baptism he also became very ill, but survived. 

Clovis and his army were fighting the Alemanni, and they were losing.   In desperation, the king called upon the gods for help, but no help came.

According to Gregory of Tours, a Gallo-Roman historian, Clovis then lifted his eyes up to heaven, and “moved to tears”, prayed, ‘Jesus Christ, Clotilda proclaims you are the living God.  You said you will give aid to those in need and to grant victory for those who have hope in You.’  6

The battle turned and Clovis won a victory over the Alemanni. He did not make his decision for God, but continued to war for more territory.  

Clovis remained unconvinced as to his choice of Faiths.   Arians were in his family and also pagans.  One of his sisters was an Arian. She was married to Theodoric who was also Arian.   Clotilda’s uncle, the new king of Burgundy was an Arian. However, he also knew about the Catholic Faith as his father had worked devotedly with Rome’s bishops.

On Christmas day AD496, Clovis made his decision to become a Catholic.   He was baptised in St Martins, a church that had been dedicated to him by Pope Symmachus in thankfulness to God for his conversion.

It was a victory for Catholicism.  

“Rome hailed the auspicious event as a token of a long series of similar triumphs; and she rewarded the devotion of Clovis by bestowing on him the title, which he has transmitted… to his successors the kings of France, of the ‘Eldest Son of the Church’.”  7 

Clovis  “had  the   powerful  support  of  the  whole  body  of  the Catholic clergy, in whose hearts the interests of their church far outweighed all other considerations.” 8

“The Frankish king threw his sword into the scale against the Arian cause and became the champion and hope of the Catholic population all over Gaul.”  9

A Catholic statement confirmed this fact.  “The conversion of Clovis was the decisive event for the history of Gaul.  Henceforward the whole  weight  of  Catholic influence  was given to the Franks.   The struggle between a heathen nation with a heathen chief and the united forces of Gothic and Roman Christianity might have been a doubtful one;  but the submission of the Frank to the Church secured him the friendship of a party within the camp of the Goths…  ‘Thy faith is our victory’, said the Catholic Church to the new convert’;  and a very few years proved the truth of the prophecy.” 10

Clovis would change the face of the map and eradicate the Arians on behalf of the Papacy.

The historian Milman stated that this was the “first time the diffusion of belief in the nature of the Godhead became the avowed pretext for the invasion of a neighboring territory.” 11

After recovering from an illness, Clovis complained to the assembly of princes and warriors in Paris, “It grieves me to see that the Arians still possess the fairest portion of Gaul.  Let us march against them with the aid of God; and having vanquished the heretics, we will possess and divide their fertile province.” 12

Clovis turned his attention to the Burgundians.  Their general Gundobad was forced to flee to Avignon.   It was besieged until he agreed to pay tribute.

His next campaign was against the Visigoths, who, “deprived of martial weapons became an easy prey to the rapidly advancing Franks.”  13   The Visigoths had given up their weapons when they converted to Arian Christianity.

In AD507, Alaric II was defeated by Clovis, and when Alaric died, the Visigoth power came to an end.   After the capital was set up at Toledo, the two cultures began to merge.   A number of the defeated Visigoths fled to Spain.

Now in AD508, after his victory over the Goths, Clovis travelled to Tours to hold a celebration.  At St Martin’s cathedral, Clovis put on a purple tunic, a vestment that was part of the uniform of Imperial officials, and a diadem on his head. He then mounted a horse and rode in procession into the city, tossing gold coins to those who lined the streets. 
 

Salvian,  the  Catholic  presbyter  of  Marceilles, in  his  book  on  the government of God, lashed out at the vices of his own Roman and Catholic Christians.  Again and again he placed before them, as an example of Christian life and practice, the ‘ill-instructed’ barbarians who sojourned in the land. 

He wrote, “Their lives were better than their creed… As concerns the conversation (lives) of the Goths and Vandals, wherein could we either prefer or compare ourselves?”   He argued that the Goths and the Vandals were more virtuous despite their imperfect knowledge of the true Faith.  59

Continuing, “To speak first of love and charity – all barbarians, one may say, who are of one race under one king, love one another;  all Romans mostly persecute one another. The poor are pillaged, the widows mourn, the orphans are trampled underfoot, so much so that many of them flee to the enemy, seeking, I suppose, Roman humanity among the barbarians, when they could no longer bear barbarous inhumanity among the Romans.” 60 

After the Ostrogoth rule in Italy had ended, one researcher said he could not find a single hint of an Arian persecuting a Catholic.

Writing of Theodoric, it was said, “Save for this one black deed of treachery (the killing of Odoacer) there is little to record against him in his reign of more than thirty years.   He was a barbarian, but with the conquest of Italy he stayed his sword, seeking no further conquests, but only the good of the conquered people.” 61

When  Theodoric  died  in  AD526,  it  was  soon  apparent  that much of his success was due to his own personality. His achievements began to collapse and his successors had to face the Eastern Roman Empire in war.

In AD535, Justinian sent Belisarius to attack the Ostrogoths. 

Belisarius first gained victory over Naples.   On seeing his success, other Italian towns opened their gates to him.  Pope Silverius sent word to the General that he would be welcome in Rome. 

His “unexpected progress alarmed the Ostrogoths, most of whom blamed it  on the vacillating leadership of their king Theodatus.”   He was more interested in riches than defending his realm.  “Sensing trouble, Theodatus tried to flee, but was attacked and killed by his own people on the road to Ravenna.” 62 

The Ostrogoths, 150,000 strong, laid siege against Justinian’s army stationed in Rome. “The whole nation of the Ostrogoths had been assembled for the attack, and was almost consumed in the siege.”  62 

Thomas Hodgkin in his record of history stated that Roman soldiers “dug the grave of the Gothic monarchy.” 63  

Michael Ridpath, American educator, historian and editor, speaking of the final defeat of the Goths said there was “inflicted on the barbarians a defeat so decisive as to refix the status of Italy.   The  greater  part  of the Gothic army perished either by the sword or in attempting to cross the river...  As for the Goths themselves, they either retired to their native seats beyond the mountains or were absorbed by the Italians.” 64

Belisarius had “entered Rome in December AD536”, and withstood “the enemy's siege until it was raised in AD538.” 65

The Encyclopaedia Britannica stated, “In AD538, Justinian’s force evicted the Ostrogoths...  They were extinct before AD554.”  66

With their final defeat, “the Ostrogothic name wholly died.” 67

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Carthage was “a house of ill-fame, swarming in each street and square, and haunted by men of highest rank…. Chastity outside the ranks of the clergy was a thing unknown… the closet vices, the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah, were practiced, avowed, gloried in…

Into this city of sin marched the Vandal army… With all their cruelty and all their greed, they kept themselves unspotted from the licentiousness of the splendid city.  They banished the men who were earning their living by ministering to the vilest lusts.   They rooted out prostitution with a wise yet not cruel hand.    In short, Carthage, under the rule of the Vandals, was a city transformed, barbarous, but moral.”  42

The Vandals became a great seafaring nation, controlling all the major islands of the southern side of the Mediterranean.   They also controlled Rome’s grain supply. 

Being Arians, the difference of religion was a constant source of tension. Genseric protected his Catholic subjects, but all in public office must be Arians. 

In AD455, the Vandals planned to conquer Rome.   

Pope Leo I  met Genseric at the gates and requested he not destroy the ancient city or murder its inhabitants.   Generic gave promises that there would be no killing, no torturing to discover hidden treasure and no destruction of buildings, public or private. 

The gates of Rome were thrown open to him and his men.  Emperor Maximus, fled rather than fight, and was killed by a Roman mob outside the city. 

This is how the Catholic Encyclopaedia reports it.  “When in 455 the city was captured by the Vandals under Genseric, although for a fortnight the towns (of Italy) had been plundered, Leo's intercession obtained a promise that the city (of Rome) should not be injured and that the lives of the inhabitants should be spared. These incidents show the high moral authority enjoyed by the pope, manifested even in temporal affairs.” 43 

Again, records show that the sacking of Rome was relatively ‘clean’, in that there was little violence.   No buildings were burned. 

Although  not  every  record  is  generous  towards  either  the Vandals or the Visigoths, in general, their  ‘enemies’ speak of them as being ‘humane’ in their warfare.

“Gaiseric (Genseric) took hundreds of Roman prisoners captive, many of them high-profile citizens, but treated them well and offered them freedom if they would swear never to take up arms against the Vandals again.” 44

While Genseric stayed at the Imperial palace, his men took all the treasures, part of the gilded roof of the temple of Jupiter, as well as the gold from pagan statues.   45

A former curator of the Royal Danish Arsenal Museum wrote, “Despite the negative connotation their name now carries, the Vandals conducted themselves much better during the sack of Rome than did many other invading barbarians.” 46

Some say the Vandals destroyed the statues in Catholic churches, but this is not so.  They did not destroy consecrated statues, even if they were of another Faith.  Sadly, much error has been reported of the Vandals, simply because of the modern connotations of their English name.

At Tours, Clovis received official recognition with the titles and dignity of Roman Patricius, and the insignia of the consulship from the Greek Emperor Anastasius. 14 

This coronation united the civil and the religious powers.

The Church, together with Clovis, began to restore order, religious and political, to a region that had long endured a political vacuum left by the decline of Roman Imperial authority.

Clovis bowed to laws developed by others under the Lex Romana Visigothorum law code, but reinforced them by his own authority.  With each law he found means to reinforce the authority of the State.

“By his conversion he (Clovis) had led the way for the triumph of Catholicism; he had saved the Roman Catholic Church from the Scylla and Charybdis (both near Sicily) of heresy and paganism, planted it on a rock in the very centre of Europe, and fixed its doctrines and traditions in the hearts of the conquerors of the West.” 15

It is said of Clovis, that “God thus daily prostrated  his  enemies  under  his  hands,  and  enlarged  his  kingdom,  because  he walked before Him with an upright heart, and did that which was well-pleasing in His sight.” 16  

Due to his success, the ecclesiastical power of Rome was stirred everywhere.  In northern Africa, it began to stir the Vandals. In Spain it began to rise against the Visigoths.  Everywhere the ecclesiastics increased their power as mediators, negotiators of treaties, and agents in the submission and revolt of cities.

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In AD527, Justinian came to power.  He was born in Macedonia, but received his education at Constantinople.  His first great burden was the full restoration and glory of the former Empire which the barbarians had divided, and  the  recovery of those  rights  over  the

West which his predecessors had maintained.

“As a result of his conquests in Africa, Italy, and Spain, Justinian became the acknowledged and legitimate overlord of barbarian kings who had established themselves in Roman territory.”  17

His second important achievement was the codification of the vast mass of Roman law, called the Corpus Juris Civilis.   This was completed in AD534 and consisted of the Codex and the Pandects.   The Pandects had been completed the year earlier, a very important work of the writings of the great Roman jurists.  18

His third desired achievement was the regulation of ecclesiastical and theological matters.   He began this in AD533 with an Imperial Decretal Letter that exalted the Papacy to the highest position possible -- making the Bishop of Rome Head of all the churches. This laid the legal foundation for papal ecclesiastic supremacy.  19  

Theodoric's mausoleum



Justinian wrote his letter to the Pope. “We have made no delay in subjecting and uniting to Your Holiness  all the priests  of the whole East…. We cannot suffer that anything which relates to the state of the Church, however manifest and unquestionable, should be moved, without the knowledge of Your holiness, who are THE HEAD OF ALL HOLY CHURCHES.”   By placing the letter in his law, Justinian made it legal correspondence. 20

It was never revoked.

Justinian determined to make the rule of the Papacy universal within his dominion.   He considered no surer way of reducing all segments to one religion than by the acknowledgement of the authority of ecclesiastical Rome, as head of the Church and the promoter of unity among all people.  21

 “At the very beginning of his reign, Justinian deemed it proper to promulgate by law the Church's belief in the Trinity and the incarnation; and to threaten all heretics with the appropriate penalties.” 22

“Justinian protected the purity of the Church by suppressing heretics. He neglected no opportunity for securing the rights of the Church and clergy…”  23    

This edict was to unite all men in one faith, whether Jews, Gentiles or Christians.  Whoever did not profess the Catholic Faith in three months was declared infamous and excluded from all employment.  Personal estates were to be confiscated.

As a result, large numbers were driven from their homes destitute.  Many were inhumanly massacred by the Catholic peasants or soldiers who guarded the passes.

However, the elevation of the bishop of Rome to Head of the churches, would remain in decree only until three nations were uprooted, the Heruli, the Vandals and the Ostrogoths.

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No one seems sure where the Heruli originated, except that they were an East Germanic nomadic tribe.  The name Heruli is the Latin form of the Germanic heruloz (plural), which literally means ‘belonging to the marauding band’.  In ancient Germanic cultures there were two kinds of military forces:  the fyrd who were the defensive forces to protect the land and possessions, and the heri who went out marauding against other tribes.  The word ‘to harass’ comes from heri.  24

The Heruli were the fiercest, fastest, tallest and strongest of all the Germanic warriors, who fought exclusively on foot, only lightly armed and virtually naked in order to prove their courage and manliness.

OSTROGOTHS -- GONE

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