Classic EssaysWilliam Pierce

Who We Are #18 — On Christianity, Rome and Britain

By Dr. William L. Pierce

Christianity Spreads from Levant to Dying Roman Empire, then to Conquering Germans
Germans ‘Aryanize’ Christian Myths, but Racially Destructive Ethics Retained
British Resistance Rallies under King Arthur, but Saxons Continue Conquest
Britain: Blend of Celt, Roman, German

DURING THE TURBULENT and eventful fifth century the Germans largely completed their conquest of the West. In the early years of that century German tribesmen, who had been raiding the coast of Roman Britain for many years, began a permanent invasion of the southeastern portion of the island, a development which was eventually to lead to a Germanic Britain.

In 476 Odoacer, an Ostrogothic chieftain who had become a general of Rome’s armies, deposed the last Roman emperor and ruled in his own name as king of Italy. Meanwhile the Visigoths were expanding their holdings in Gaul and completing their conquest of Spain, except for the northwestern region already held by their Suebian cousins and an enclave in the Pyrenees occupied by a remnant of the aboriginal Mediterranean inhabitants of the peninsula, the Basques.

And throughout the latter part of the century the Franks, the Alemanni, and the Burgundians were consolidating their own holds on the former Roman province of Gaul, establishing new kingdoms and laying the basis for the new European civilization of the Middle Ages. Everywhere in the West the old, decaying civilization centered on the Mediterranean gave way to the vigorous White barbarians from the North.

Oriental Infection

But the Germans did not make their conquest of the Roman world without becoming infected by some of the diseases which flourished so unwholesomely in Rome during her last days. Foremost among these was an infection which the Romans themselves had caught during the first century, a consequence of their own conquest of the Levant. It had begun as an offshoot of Judaism, had established itself in Jerusalem and a few other spots in the eastern Mediterranean area, and had traveled to Rome with Jewish merchants and speculators, who had long found that city an attractive center of operations.

It eventually became known to the world as Christianity, but for more than two centuries it festered in the sewers and catacombs of Rome, along with dozens of other alien religious sects from the Levant; its first adherents were Rome’s slaves, a cosmopolitan lot from all the lands conquered by the Romans. It was a religion designed to appeal to slaves: blessed are the poor, the meek, the wretched, the despised; it told them, for you shall inherit the earth from the strong, the brave, the proud, and the mighty; there will be pie in the sky for all believers, and the rest will suffer eternal torment. It appealed directly to a sense of envy and resentment of the weak against the strong.

Lions vs. Christians

Because of this it was a subversive religion, of course, and the Roman authorities took measures to curb it. Unfortunately, however, they did not take sufficiently strong measures; the persecutions of the Christians were sporadic, depending upon the momentary civic zeal of individual emperors rather than upon any long-range national program to eliminate the menace. The new religion spread from the slaves to the freedmen, that motley conglomeration of Syrians, Egyptians, Jews, Armenians, and members of a dozen other nations who made up Rome’s mercantile, petty entrepreneur, and free worker class. It even began to catch on in some of Rome’s legions.

Christianity had a number of competitors during this period, which had also come to Rome from the conquered Orient, but the former had one decisive advantage over the others: its superior organization. From the beginning the Christians set up a tightly organized, highly centralized, hierarchical structure which eminently suited their needs. The occasional periods of persecution served to keep them on their toes and to pull their organizational structure even more tightly together.

Edict of Milan

By the end of the third century Christianity had become the most popular as well as the most militant of the Oriental sects flourishing among the largely non-Roman inhabitants of the decaying Roman Empire. Even as late as the first years of the fourth century, under Emperor Diocletian, the Roman government was still making efforts to keep the Christians under control, but in 313 a new emperor, Constantine, decided that, if you can’t lick ’em, join ’em, and he issued an imperial edict legitimizing Christianity.

Although one of Constantine’s successors, Julian, attempted to reverse the continuing Christianization of the Roman Empire a few years later, it was already too late: the Goths, who made up the bulk of Rome’s armies by this time, had caught the infection from one of their own slaves, a Christian captive whom they called Wulfila. Wulfila was a tireless and effective missionary, and the Goths were an uprooted and unsettled people, among whom the new religion took hold easily. Wulfila’s translation of the Bible into Gothic greatly speeded up the process.

Conversion of the Franks

Before the end of the fourth century Christianity had also spread to the Vandals, Burgundians, Lombards, Gepids, and several other German tribes. A little over a century later the powerful nation of the Franks was converted. By the beginning of the second quarter of the sixth century, the only non-Christian Whites left were the Bavarians, Thuringians, Saxons, Frisians, Danes, Swedes, and Norse among the Germans — and virtually all the Balts and Slavs.

One can only understand the rapid spread of Christianity during the fourth and fifth centuries by realizing that, for all practical purposes, it had no opposition. That is, there was no other organized, militant, proselytizing church competing effectively with the Christian church.

Athanaric the Goth

The Christians had many individual opponents, of course: among the Romans several of the more responsible and civic-minded emperors, such as Diocletian, as well as what was left of the tradition-minded aristocracy; and among the Germans many farsighted leaders who resisted the imposition of an alien creed on their people and the abandonment of their ancient traditions. Athanaric, the great Gothic chieftain who led his people across the Danube in 376 to save them from the invading Huns, was notable in this regard.

Athanaric and the other traditionalists failed to halt the spread of Christianity, because they were only individuals. Although there were pagan priests, the traditional German religion never really had a church associated with it. It consisted in a body of beliefs, tales, and practices passed from generation to generation, but it had no centralized organization like Christianity.


German religion was a folk-religion, which grew organically out of the people and out of the land they occupied. The boundary between a tribe’s most ancient historical legends and its religious myths, between its long-dead heroes and chieftains and its gods, was blurred at best. Because German religion belonged to the people and the land, it was not a proselytizing religion; the German attitude was that other peoples and races likewise had their own folk-religions, and it would be unnatural to impose one race’s religion on another race.

And because German religion was rooted in the land as well as in the people, it lost some of its viability when the people were uprooted from their land. It is no coincidence that the conversions of the Goths, Vandals, Burgundians, Lombards, Franks, and many other German tribes took place during the Voelkerwanderung, a period of strife, disorientation, and misery for many of those involved: a period when whole nations lost not only their ancient homelands but also their very identities.

Fire and Sword

After the Voelkerwanderung ended in the sixth century, the Christianization of the remaining pagan peoples of Europe proceeded much more slowly — and generally by fire and sword rather than by peaceful missionary effort. Whereas the Franks had become Christians more or less painlessly when their king Clovis (Chlodweg) converted for political reasons at the end of the fifth century, it was another 300 years before the Frankish king Charlemagne (Karl the Great) was able to bring about the conversion of his Saxon neighbors, and he accomplished that only by butchering half of them in a series of genocidal wars.

Early Christianity, in contrast to German religion, was as utterly intolerant as the Judaism from which it sprang. Even Roman religion, which, as an official state religion, equated religious observance with patriotism, tolerated the existence of other sects, so long as they did not threaten the state. But the early Christians were inspired by a fanatical hatred of all opposing creeds.

Also in contrast to German and Roman religion, Christianity, despite its specifically Jewish roots, claimed to be a universal (i.e., “catholic”) creed, equally applicable to Germans, Romans, Jews, Huns, and Negroes.

“Every place … shall be yours.”

The Christians took the Jewish tribal god Yahweh, or Jehovah, and universalized him. Originally he seems to have been a deity associated with one of the dormant volcanoes of the Arabian peninsula, a god so distinctly Semitic that he had a binding business contract (“covenant”) with his followers: if the Jews would remain faithful and obedient to him, he would deliver all the wealth of the non-Jewish peoples of the world into their hands. Observant Jews even today remind themselves of this by fastening mezuzoth to the door frames of their homes, wherein the verses from their Torah spelling out the Jews’ side of their larcenous deal with Yahweh are inscribed (Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 11:13-21; Yahweh’s reciprocal obligations are in the verses immediately following).

Nevertheless, the early Christian church, armed with an effective organization and a proselytizing fervor, and armored with a supreme contempt for everything non-Christian, was able to supplant Jupiter and Wotan alike with Yahweh.

The Germans, however, recreated the Semitic Yahweh in the image of their own Wotan, even as they accepted the new faith. The entire Christian ritual and doctrine, in fact, were to a large extent “Aryanized” by the Germans to suit their own inner nature and lifestyle. They played down the slave-religion aspects of Christianity (“the meek shall inherit the earth”) and emphasized the aspects which appealed to them (“I come bearing not peace, but a sword”). The incoherence and the multitude of internal inconsistencies of the doctrine made this sort of eclecticism easy.

Yule, Easter, Harvest Festival

In general, the Germans accepted without difficulty the Christian rituals — especially those which, like Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving were deliberately redesigned to correspond to pagan rituals and festivals of long standing — and the myths (parthenogenesis, turning water into wine, curing the blind, resurrection from the dead, etc.), and they ignored the ethics (turn the other cheek, all men are brothers, etc.).

A Frank of the seventh or eighth century would tremble in superstitious awe before some fragment of bone or vial of dried blood which the Church had declared a sacred relic with miracle-working powers — but if you smote him on the cheek you would have a fight on your hands, not another cheek turned.

As for the brotherhood of man and equality in the eyes of the Lord, the Germans had no time for such nonsense; when confronted with non-Whites, they instinctively reached for the nearest lethal weapon. They made mincemeat out of the Avars, who were cousins to the Huns, in the seventh century, and the Christianized Franks or Goths of that era would know exactly what to do with a few hundred thousand rioting American Blacks; they would, in fact, positively relish the opportunity to do what needed doing.

It could not have been expected to be otherwise. In the first place, a totally alien religion cannot be imposed on a spiritually healthy people — and the Germans were still essentially healthy, despite the dislocations caused by the Voelkerwanderung. Christianity had to be modified to suit their nature — at least, temporarily. In the second place, the average German did not have to come to grips with the alien moral imperatives of the Sermon on the Mount. All he had to do was learn when to genuflect; wrestling with Holy Writ was exclusively the problem of the clergy.

It was not until the Reformation, in the sixteenth century, that the laity began studying the Bible and thinking seriously about its contents. Even then, however, the tendency was to interpret alien teachings in a way that left them more or less compatible with natural tendencies.

Slave Morality

But Christian ethics — the slave morality preached in the Roman catacombs — was like a time bomb ticking away in Europe — a Trojan horse brought inside the fortress, waiting for its season. That season came, and the damage was done. Today Christianity is one of the most active forces working from within to destroy the White race.

From the Christian churches came the notion of “the White man’s burden,” along with the missionaries who saw in every African cannibal or Chinese coolie a soul to be saved, of equal value in the eyes of Jehovah to any White soul. It is entirely a Christian impulse — at least, on the part of the average American voter, if not the government — which sends American food and medical supplies to keep alive swarming millions of Asiatics, Africans, and Latins every time they have a famine, so that they can continue to outbreed Whites.

The otherworldly emphasis on individual salvation, on an individual relationship between Creator and creature which relegates the relationship between individual and race, tribe, and community to insignificance; the doctrine of human irresponsibility (“be, therefore, not anxious about tomorrow,” for the Lord will provide); the inversion of natural values inherent in the exalting of the botched, the unclean, and the poor in spirit in the Sermon on the Mount — the injunction to “resist not evil” — all are prescriptions for racial suicide. Indeed, had a fiendishly clever enemy set out to concoct a set of doctrines intended to lead the White race to its destruction, he could hardly have done better.

The “White guilt” syndrome exploited so assiduously by America’s non-White minorities is a product of Christian teachings, as is the perverse reverence for “God’s chosen people” which has paralyzed so many Christians’ wills to resist Jewish depredations.

Moses Replaces Hermann

Not the least of the damage done by the Christianization of Europe was the gradual replacement of White tradition, legend, and imagery by that of the Jews. Instead of specifically Celtic or German or Slavic heroes, the Church’s saints, many of them Levantines, were held up to the young for emulation; instead of the feats of Hermann or Vercingetorix, children were taught of the doings of Moses and David. Europeans’ artistic inspiration was turned away from the depiction of their own rich heritage and used to glorify that of an alien race; Semitic proverbs and figures of speech took precedence over those of Indo-European provenance; Europeans even abandoned the names of their ancestors and began giving Jewish names to their children: Samuel and Sarah, John and Joan, Michael and Mary, Daniel and Deborah.

Despite all these long-term consequences of Christianity, however, the immediate symptoms of the infection which the conquering Germans picked up from the defeated Romans were hardly noticeable; White morals and manners, motivations and behavior remained much as they had been, for they were rooted in the genes — but now they had a new rationale.

Today’s Christian Patriots

And it is only fair to note that even today a fairly substantial minority of White men and women who still think of themselves as Christians have not allowed their sounder instincts to be corrupted by doctrines suited to a following of mongrelized slaves. They ignore the Jewish origins of Christianity and justify their instinctive dislike and distrust of Jews with the fact that the Jews, in demanding that Jesus be killed, became a race forever accursed (“His blood be on us and on our children”).

They interpret the divine injunction of brotherhood as applying only to Whites. Like the Franks of the Middle Ages, they believe what suits them and conveniently forget or invent their own interpretation for the rest. Were they the Christian mainstream today, the religion would not be the racial menace that it is. Unfortunately, however, they are not; virtually none are actively affiliated with any of the larger, established Christian churches.

Roman Britain

Let us return now to a development mentioned briefly at the beginning of this installment: the German conquest of Britain. Since the first century Britain had been part of the Roman Empire. By the last quarter of that century the Roman conquest of what is now England and Wales was essentially complete. The Celts who would not submit to the Romans had been pushed into Scotland or into Cornwall, neither of which was pacified or permanently occupied by the Romans.

In 123, during the reign of Emperor Hadrian, the Romans built a wall across northern Britain between Solway Firth and the mouth of the Tyne, 70 miles long, and stationed an army nearby to keep the marauding Scots and Picts out of England. (The Picts, or Picti, were Celts native to Scotland — called Caledonia by the Romans. The Scots, or Scotti, were actually Celts who sailed over from Ireland, although they often landed in Caledonia and then raided overland into Roman territory. Later many Scots settled permanently in Caledonia and gave their name to the territory.) A few years later another wall was erected about 80 miles north of Hadrian’s Wall, between the Firth of Clyde and the Firth of Forth, adding southern Scotland to the area claimed by the Romans, but they were never able to make this later claim stick.

Aside from sporadic raids by unsubdued Celts from Scotland and Ireland — and, later, by Germans from the Continent — Celtic Britain under Roman rule was relatively peaceful and prosperous. Agriculture, as everywhere else in the Empire, was the basic industry, but Britain was also an important exporter of lead, tin, and copper. Although the Romans expanded British mining considerably and improved it technologically, they made little impact on agricultural methods, except that three centuries of Roman-enforced peace and the excellent network of roads developed by the Romans undoubtedly increased the agricultural output of the island substantially.

St. Patrick

By the middle of the third century Christian missionaries were already at work among the conquered Celts of Britain, and by the end of the fourth century the entire area under Roman rule had been converted. From Roman Britain Christianity spread in the fifth century to Ireland, which was never occupied by Rome. The semi-legendary St. Patrick (ca. 389-ca. 461), who is credited with converting all of the pagan Irish to Christianity, was a British Celt.

Throughout the fourth century Roman Britain was subjected to increasingly more frequent raids by Saxons and other non-Christian Germans, particularly along the southeastern coast, which accordingly was known as the Saxon Shore. In the year 367 a concerted attack by Saxons from the south and east, Picts from the north, and Irish Celts from the west shattered Britain’s Roman defenses and almost overran the island. The Roman count of the Saxon Shore was killed, Hadrian’s Wall was breached, and London was besieged. The Romans had to rush another army to Britain from the Continent, and it was three years before the island was again secured.

Spiritual and Economic Decay

Three processes, by no means independent of one another, were taking place simultaneously in Britain — and throughout the West — during the fourth century: the economic breakdown of the Empire; the Christianization of the population; and growing pressure from the unconverted and untamed Germans, who saw in the peaceful and still prosperous island, with its subdued and domesticated people, a rich prize for the taking. More and more the Saxon raiders began to think in terms of seizing and holding land, rather than merely plundering the coast and then sailing back to the Continent.

The economy of the Roman Empire was a slave economy; it sustained itself to a large extent through slave labor and tribute exacted from conquered peoples. As long as the Empire was still expanding — still winning new slaves and booty — the economy was strong enough to tolerate many mistakes and abuses. But when, in the second century, imperial expansion bogged down and then ground to a halt, the economy faltered. It was no coincidence that abuses, instead of being reined in at this time to give the economy a chance, were exacerbated: the expensive and tax-hungry bureaucracy multiplied, while official corruption grew apace. Racial decadence was taking its toll in all spheres of Roman life: civic, military, economic, and spiritual.

Rome Cuts Its Losses

Beset on all fronts and pressed for sufficient manpower for its armies — as well as the means to pay them — Rome found the continued defense of its far-flung colonial possessions an increasingly expensive and less-profitable proposition. Britain was the farthest flung of all, and early in the fifth century the Germans forced the issue.

Obliged to withdraw troops from Britain in the first decade of the fifth century in order to meet the threat posed to Italy by Alaric’s Gothic army, the Romans left Britain ill-prepared to deal with stepped-up German assaults. In the winter of 406 a horde of Germans from several tribes, as well as a large contingent of Sarmatian Alans driven from their eastern homeland by the Huns, crossed the frozen Rhine into Gaul, effectively cutting the lines of communication between Britain and Rome.

Alaric’s sack of Rome four years later marked the end of all Roman claim to Britain. In 410 Emperor Honorius sent word to the civil authorities in Britain, telling them that henceforth they were on their own; Rome could no longer give them any assistance.

Fighting Fire with Fire

About 15 years later, around 425, a Roman-British aristocrat, Vortigern, became leader of the British. Beset by continued Scottish and Pictish raids, which were even more troublesome at the moment than the Saxon raids from the Continent, Vortigern made the fateful decision to fight fire with fire: he invited a group of Germans, led by a chieftain of the Jutes named Hengist, to settle in Britain, offering them land in what is now Kent, in the southeastern corner of the island, in return for their help in defending Britain from pagan Celtic raiders. The Germans accepted the offer, and then they invited their friends to come as well. Vortigern ended up with a lot more Germans than he had counted on, and around the year 442 they rose against him and after a struggle of some ten years defeated him.

A British Christian monk, Gildas, who detested the pagan Germans, describing these events a century later condemned his fellow Britons for their folly:

To hold back the northern peoples, they introduced into the island the vile, unspeakable Saxons, hated of God and man alike…. Nothing more frightful had ever happened to this island, nothing more bitter…. What raw, hopeless stupidity! Of their own free will they invited in under the same roof the enemy they feared worse than death…. So the brood of cubs burst forth from the lair of the barbarian lioness, in three ‘keels,’ as they call warships in their language….

All the greater towns fell to the enemy’s battering rams; all their inhabitants, bishops, priests, and people, were mown down together, while swords flashed and flames crackled…. Some of the wretched survivors were caught in the hills and slaughtered in heaps; others surrendered themselves to perpetual slavery in enemy hands …; others emigrated overseas…. Others entrusted their lives … to the rugged hills, the thick forests and the cliffs of the sea….

English Origins

For the next half century bands of Germans continued to sail over from the Continent, and most of them stayed to settle in the lands which they easily wrested from the Christianized Britons, who were thoroughly demoralized after Hengist’s victory over Vortigern. The English historian Bede (673-735), in his classic statement on the origins of the English people, wrote: “The race of the English, or Saxons (Anglorum sive Saxonum gens), came from three very strong tribes of Germany, that is, from the Saxons, the Angles, and the Jutes.”

Actually, several other tribes were represented as well: namely, Franks, Frisians, and Suebians. All of these immigrants came from the area of Germany between Jutland (Denmark) and the lower Rhine, centered on the lower Elbe, and they had already amalgamated on the Continent to the extent that they formed a reasonably homogeneous cultural-ethnic group by the middle of the fifth century. Thus, it is not especially significant that the name “Saxon” is most commonly used in referring to all of the fifth-century immigrants as a group, while it was the Angles who eventually gave their name to the newly conquered land (England, or “Angle-land”). Later the people and their culture came to be known as “Anglo-Saxon.”

King Arthur

Toward the end of the fifth century British resistance seems to have stiffened a bit, and the Germans apparently suffered a major setback in their progressive takeover of the island by losing a battle against their Celtic opponents at Mount Badon, around the year 500. British tradition associates the name of Arthur, a Celtic king, with this period. King Arthur, as the leader of the British resistance movement against the Saxons, is the subject of a great mass of colorful legend, but very little of it can be accepted as actually historical.

In any event, by the middle of the sixth century the invaders had regained the initiative, and there was no holding them back. The Germans (that is, the English) pushed the Celts (that is, the British) into the remoteness of Cornwall and Wales (welsch being the name the Germans applied to all their Romanized neighbors) or off the island altogether. Many Britons in this latter category settled in Gaul, in the peninsula which came to be called Brittany as a consequence.

So thorough was the Saxons’ conquest of Britain that the Romano-Celtic culture of their predecessors was virtually wiped out; the language, the religion, the art, and the lifestyle all became German. By the year 600 Anglo-Saxon Britain had been organized into seven or eight major kingdoms and a number of minor ones. Already, however, it was customary for a single king, designated the bretwaida (Britain-wielder, Britain-ruler), to have primacy. At the beginning of the seventh century it was the king of Kent who had primacy.

Neighboring kingdoms were named according to the German tribal groups which had settled there and their relative geographical ordering: in Wessex, Essex, Sussex, and Middlesex lived the western, eastern, southern, and middle Saxons respectively. East Anglia, settled by Angles, was divided into two sections, Norfolk and Suffolk, occupied by the North Folk (northern Angles) and the South Folk (southern Angles). Christianity was relegated to the so-called “Celtic fringe”: Wales, Cornwall, southwestern Scotland, and Ireland.

After a century and a half Celtic Christian missionaries finally found it safe to ply their trade in Anglo-Saxon England; about the same time Pope Gregory I dispatched a batch of missionaries to England from Rome, and a gradual process of conversion began. Often the key to conversion was to offer a Christian wife from a royal family on the Continent to a Saxon king. Such was the case with the first royal Anglo-Saxon convert, King Ethelbert of Kent. His Frankish Christian wife Bertha prevailed upon him to welcome the Pope’s missionaries, and in 597 he yielded to her pleadings and was baptized. The following century saw the conversion of most of the English.

Vikings and Normans

This is not a political history, and so we will not concern ourselves to a great extent with subsequent events in Britain, except to note the ninth-century conquest of most of England (and part of Ireland) by Vikings from Norway and Denmark — the topic of a later installment dealing also with other Viking conquests — and the 11th-century conquest by Normans. Both these conquests brought new waves of immigrants, but they were substantially German (the Vikings, were purely German, while the Normans, though originally Vikings themselves, had spent 150 years in France and absorbed a great deal of Latin culture) and tended to reinforce the Anglo-Saxon racial element already in Britain.

Britain’s Population

Prior to the racial chaos unleashed in Britain following the Second World War, then, we have the following successive racial elements going into the makeup of the population of Britain: First, during the Ice Age, were the Upper Paleolithic big-game hunters, the Cro-Magnon race, who roamed the tundra of southern Britain, which remained unglaciated, and crossed freely between Britain and the Continent over dry land.

Second, during the Neolithic, came a Mediterranean element from the south.

Third were the Nordic Indo-Europeans, who began arriving in Britain before 2,000 B.C. In the fifth century B.C. the first wave of these Indo-Europeans who were clearly Celts arrived, and they became the dominant racial and cultural element in Britain and Ireland for the next millennium. Fourth came the Romans, in the first century A.D. Three Roman armies, totaling about 100,000 men, were stationed in Britain (at York, Chester, and Carlisle), and for nearly 300 years these men took Celtic wives or girlfriends. Many of them settled in Britain, in coloniae, after their terms of service. In the third and fourth centuries these Roman occupation armies were heavily German, but in the first and second centuries they came mostly from Italy and introduced, therefore, some additional Mediterranean blood into the British population.

Finally, in the fifth century A.D. came the first wave of German invaders — the Anglo-Saxons — followed by two further Germanic waves, the Vikings and the Normans.

* * *

Source: National Alliance

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