October 24, 2012
Thanks to W.
When I speak with Christians, many describe the spiritual growth their relationship with Jesus has given them. I know they are sincere but I always wonder how they would feel about Jesus if they were forced to take an Oath of Fealty to his earthly representative.
A 7th century Anglo Saxon “Oath of Fealty” between a serf and his Lord still exists. It states: “By the Lord before whom this sanctuary is holy, I will be true and faithful, and love all which he loves and shun all which he shuns, according to the laws of God and the order of the world. Nor will I ever with will or action, through word or deed, do anything which is unpleasing to him, on condition that he will hold to me as I shall deserve it, and that he will perform everything as it was in our agreement when I submitted myself to him and chose his will.”
Christianity may be considered a religion, but it was actually developed and used as a system of mind control to produce slaves that believe God decreed their slavery. From their position as the “Pontiff Maximus” – the official title for Caesar’s position as head of the pagan college of Roman priests – the Pontiffs of the Roman Catholic church oversaw the feudal system wherein Christianized serfs gave their work product to the authorities without complaint. Their docility was caused by the fact that they were Christians and therefore believed the Apostle Paul when he wrote: “slaves should be obedient to their masters in everything”. (Titus, 2)
Though serfs were indeed slaves – the word “serf” can be traced back to the Latin word servus, meaning “slave” – the group that became serfs did not start out as slaves and were originally called coloni (sing. colonus), a Latin word meaning a farmer who farmed his own land. (One interesting etymological point is that the word “colonized” was first used to depict a colonus changing wild land into farm land.)
When Rome was a Republic the coloni had numerous rights including the ability to sell their land, but these freedoms steadily eroded during the imperial era. Around 300 CE the Caesar Diocletian implemented a tax that unified a plot of land with its inhabitants. It thereby became more difficult for coloni to sell their plots.
In 306 CE, upon the death of his father Constantius, Constantine became co-Emperor with his brother-in-law Maxentius. The two were bitter rivals however, and war soon broke out. Before the battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312 CE, Constantine had his famous but absurd vision in which Christ purportedly instructed him to place a particular sign on the battle standards of his army. This symbol was called the chi-rho
(The Chi Rho superimposed the first two letters of the Greek word “ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ” or Christ in such a way to produce a monogram that invoked the crucifixion of Jesus) and was described by Eusebius as “a long spear, overlaid with gold, which included a bar crossing the spear to form the shape of the Christian cross. On the top of the whole was fixed a wreath of gold and precious stones, and within this the symbol of the Savior’s name, two letters indicating the name of Christ by means of the initial letters, the letter X intersection P at the center.” Included with the banner were the words: “In hoc signo vinces” (in this sign thou shalt conquer).
Armed with the “power of Jesus”, Constantine defeated his rival and became dictator. His reign is best remembered for the Edict of Milan in 313, which fully legalized Christianity, and the Council of Nicea, which he chaired in 325, that began the era where the religion enjoyed the power of the Roman state.
Because of his assistance in making Christianity the state religion, Constantine enjoys a positive historical legacy. In fact he was among the most wicked men in history. What has been overlooked by historians is that his efforts on behalf of Christianity were just one half of his legal “reforms” and when when one half is juxtaposed to the other an entirely different picture emerges. Constantine used Christianity to make the enslavement of most of the European population acceptable to the victims because it was an act of God.
Constantine’s other edicts were the true beginning of medieval serfdom. They officially ended the coloni’s ability to sell their land but bound them to it forever. Another set of edicts forbade the lower classes from changing profession. Constantine thereby froze an unfair society into place. And to prevent any intellectual resistance from the newly created slaves, Constantine also began the process that made Christianity the state religion. When viewed in their true historical context, it is self-evident that the sole purpose for the specific combination of Constantine’s edicts was to enslave serfs and make rebellion a sin.
Below is the order of rank that Constantine’s edicts created – the Feudal System :
Knights / Vassals
Eventually the degradation of the coloni’s legal status to serf was formalized with the creation of a ceremony known as “bondage”. During the ceremony a serf placed his head in the lord’s hands – akin to the ceremony where a vassal placed his hands between those of his overlord. The serf would then swear oaths that bound him to his lord in a feudal contract which defined the terms of his slavery. Thus, the Oath of Fealty, which still exists to this day, producing an attitude of servitude in those who willingly submit to the authority structure.