Irony In Death: The Tale Of Amalaric
A few of us have heard of the mighty Alaric the Goth – more so if you’ve played Age Of Empires or Civilization – a proud proponent of the Christian heresy of the time known as Arianism. No, it has nothing to do with Aryans, Hitler, Nazis, ect. It’s founder, Arius, denied the doctrine of the Trinity as well as some other ideas which today are strangely emanated by Jehovah’s Witnesses. Apparently some ideas can stand the test of time.
Arius would die almost a SouthPark like death. The last bowel movement he passed, resulted in quite a few organs coming out with it – including parts of his liver and organs. His detractors would look upon his death as divine vengeance. (Arius was also known as a rather dangerous schemer in how he acquired power)
Gaul – today known as north and eastern Spain – would be “conquered” and settled by the Goths after the fall of Rome.
Amalaric was the son of of the mighty Alaric II and would be the first Visgothic King to establish his court in Spain in the city of Seville. Arguably, he is the first Gothic Spaniard, though the term “Spaniard” wouldn’t be really utilized for at least a few centuries. He would continue in the Arianism of his forefathers and fellow Goths. Amalaric however, would differ in his rule – apparently acquired through dubious means.
What made Amalaric unique as a ruler was that he revered the Sabbath, so much so that he refused to engage in battle or conduct war. He would insist that his soldiers remain in prayer throughout the day with him. His enemies however would not do the same. He would be defeated in battle by the Franks and flee to Barcelona.
In the recesses of his palace, an assassin would strike him. It would be an act of betrayal, committed by one of his own men. He would die, but not before he gave a startling order – if the story about his death is to be believed.
Amalaric before passing away , he would insist that his murderer go unpunished and remain free and unhindered. Well, so much for the curse with the last breath of the enemy who struck you down.
What would cause him to show this kind of forgiveness?
Amalaric would see it as justice from the hand of heaven. He believed that heaven was in fact chastising him for the same exact crim he himself had apparently committed many years before in order to attain power. I suppose, that’s one way to look at death.
It’s a fascinating way to take responsibility for a death inflicted on you by those who’ve betrayed you, but marks a stark difference in today’s culture – in which nothing is your fault, but everyone elses – where such a thing would be unheard of.
(His legacy would include an early example of religious tolerance by avoiding undue partiality for his own Arianism and treating the Orthodox like he did his fellow Arian brothers. )
This story is partially plagiarized from The Historians Of The World. vol X – Spain and Portugal. Copyright Henry Williams – 1904, 1907