SAINTS AND HEROS TO THE END OF THE MIDDLE AGES by George Hodges

Saints and HerosDuring my Medieval Period, which does not refer to my age but to the period a while back when I was very interested in the Middle Ages and read quite a bit about it, was when I came across this nice book and snagged it, but never actually got around to reading it before my Literary ADD kicked in and I was off on another hobby horse.  I saw it in my List of Books I Will Probably Not Live Long Enough to Read, and decided, what the heck, I could use a role model right about now, so I gave it a go.

This little abbreviated history of the Christian saints of Europe and England was written in 1911.  I also tend to like things written in the early part of the 20th century…. they have a soothing and gentler tone to them that today’s works don’t seem to possess.  And not just because today they are mostly about zombies rather than saints.

We start off with Cyprian, who lived from 200 – 258 AD.  He was born in Carthage, and Christianity was in its early stages, still heavily under attack and the emperor Septimius Severus even made it a crime to invite anybody to join the Christian society.  So unlike today when certain unnamed Republicans would make it a crime NOT to join the Christian society.  Ya live long enough, you’ll see it all…..

Then we learn about Athanasius (yeah, I never heard of him either), Ambrose, Chrysostom, Jerome, and of course Augustine, Benedict, Gregory, Charlemagne, Hildebrand, Anselm, Bernard, Becket, Langton, Dominic, Francis, Wycliffe, Hus (another one who is not part of my memory banks) and Savonarola.

We see that from this author’s mind, at least, the Saints tend to be the founders of the various Catholic Church priestly orders, but we also see that all those good intentions soon turned to naught, and that money, power and greed for both always wiggles its way into the picture.

As it turns out, this series (there are several more) was written for young people, so it is an historical account uncluttered by a plethora of mind-numbing details.  It does leave holes here and there for questions as to actual succession of facts, but it did teach me that I have a Young Person’s mind, because I enjoyed this so much more than many other volumes on history which I have read in the past.

I have also decided not to aspire to sainthood.  Too much work and pure thoughts.

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