8-MARRANOS

 

When the prelates decided to revamp the image of the revered messiah Apollonius by changing his name and turning him into the son of God, the founding fathers had a problem. The Apollonius lookalike had to be an Essene from Palestine, and that meant he had to be a Jew. How does one build a Roman religion based on the teachings of a Jew? Well, they did it by likening the money-lending Jews of the Temple of Jerusalem to Jews in general. By conjuring up a story where the invented messiah was violently opposed to the Jewish usurers, and where these same usurers were responsible for his horrible death on the cross, it would be one way to turn him into a very acceptable Jew. Furthermore, the faithful would readily accept the idea that Apollonius, their long-departed Greek messiah, had, some 300 years prior, accomplished miracles and was indeed the Son of God as touted by the prelates of the Church of Rome. Whether the results were desired or not, Jews would henceforth bear the Christ-killer stigma. Christians, believing that Jews were responsible for the death of their Christ, wouldn’t be unduly upset to see them tortured, burned at the stake, or despoiled and banned from their homes.

Geographically, France is the hub of Europe, and it naturally became the cornerstone of Christianity when the Church of Rome took over the administration of Gaul and the Western Roman Empire after Constantin’s departure for Byzantium. Clovis, a Frank, was the Church’s first anointed king of divine right, and during his reign, he did his best to persecute and convert the ‘barbarians’ who were by then called Arians.

Once the converting tactics were well under way, the Church of Rome turned its attention to the Jews. In 629 CE, the Pope directed King Dagobert to expulse the Jews from Christian Gaul. Later, in 996 CE, when King Robert the Pious came to power in France, he burned a great number of Jews at the stake. When in 1009 the Muslims burned the alleged Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, the Christians blamed the Jews, and consequently, many French Jews were again tortured and massacred. Later, in 1096, Jews started being systematically despoiled, and burned at the stake or expulsed from the realm. It was the start of the first crusade, and Philip 1st and his noblemen had taken advantage of the situation in order to replenish their coffers. By despoiling the Jews and expulsing them, they were killing two birds with one stone. Philip was not only doing his Christian duty but he had found a way to finance the crusade ordered by Pope Urban II. Over the next centuries, when King Philippe Augustus and others needed money they would let the Jews back in for a fee, and the whole process would start over again. However, in 1394, Charles VI officially declared the definite expulsion of Jews from France, and as many as 100 000 French Jews made their way to Spain.

They chose Spain not only because it was close to France, but it was also because the Muslims were by then in full control of Spain and were more tolerant towards other religious groups. But when the Christians reconquered the Iberian Peninsula in 1478, the Pope ordered an Inquisition as soon as it became feasible. The Jews were again forced to convert to Christianity, and if they refused, they were burned at the stake. Understandably, many Sephardim chose to convert while continuing to practise their religion in secret, and they became known as Marranos. In 1492, they were expelled from Spain and many of them fled to Portugal and Morocco.

In 1536, there was another Inquisition directed at Jews in Portugal. Once more, facing torture and death, many Jews fled. This time, because a world shattering event had just taken place in England, many of the great banking and shipbuilding Jewish families chose to go there. It had to do with Henry VIII after the Pope had refused to annul his marriage. The Pope, who was in the habit of arranging and annulling royal marriages for political and religious reasons, had refused to grant Henry VIII his divorce, and here’s why. King Henry had married a Spaniard, Catherine of Aragon, and since the Church of Rome considered the Kingdom of Spain much more important than the Kingdom of England, it was therefore unwilling to displease the King of Spain. When the Pope refused to grant Henry VIII his request, the latter was so determined to have a son that his present wife could not give him that he declared himself head of the Church in England, separated from Rome, and divorced Catherine.

In the process, England was deprived of the financial services of Rome. At first, Henry sold off all the unprofitable Church property and even had his friends rummage through the unsold properties for possible treasures and valuable materials, but it was a futile move. Most of the revenue derived from these operations ended up in the hands of those doing the demolishing and the selling, and very little revenue reached the state coffers. Not surprisingly, many old aristocratic families are to this day indebted and loyal to the King of England.

With no other option, Henry decided to admit the Jews back into England. The Jews had been expelled from England since 1290, but these were special Jews. The Marranos or Conversos, as they were called, professed to be Christians when in fact they still practised their religion in secret. But Henry overlooked their deceitfulness, for he was in dire financial straits and needed their financial skills. In accepting Jews for their financial skills and Huguenots for their great entrepreneurship, Henry caused a breach in the foundation of the Holy Roman Empire as a financial and political power.

4-GREED AND SEXUALITY

When hominids became intelligent, their natural disposition towards envy, greed, and lust took on a new dimension. Natural selection being thrashed, they started physically overpowering the females, for it didn’t take them long to figure out that the most accessible and mind-boggling pleasures were those relating to fornication. Up till then, the right to pass on genes had been reserved to the alpha who had to constantly fight the other males for that privilege. However, the alpha never paid much attention to the female unless she was in heat at which time he was made aware of her by the characteristic odor she exuded. This, however, was no longer the case, and it left the door wide open for the now intelligent lower order males.

In a blink of an eye, many lower order males became aspiring alphas, for they had the wherewithal to outwit the traditional alpha in their effort to get a female and experience the intense pleasures of copulation. Realizing that they didn’t have to wait for the entrancing odors given off by the female in heat in order to satisfy their urge, hominids became very focused on ‘diddling’, and it caused a lot of violence and cruelty within the group. Males were ready to move heaven and earth in order to experience the wondrous sensations fornication procured them. They fought, cheated, lied, and were even disposed to maim and kill in order to satisfy the urges that the female triggered in them.

Unfortunately for the females, using his intelligence instead of his nose in order to find a partner meant the male was inclined to discriminate. Up till then, all the females had had the services of the best male available, the alpha, but now, the lower ranking males found ways to party as well, and that changed the order of things. Not only did the males start forcing themselves upon the females, but they became selective. They figured out that if they wanted to increase their chances at having many healthy offspring, it was not only better to seek out a young female with generous hips, but if a female had big breasts, a well-proportioned body, and harmonious facial features, she was more apt to be nurturing, healthy, and resourceful.

In the millennia that followed, frantic sexual activity among lower-ranking partners made the breeding stock deteriorate, while the rate of sexually transmitted diseases increased, and fewer children survived. Fortunately, the law of natural selection intervened one last time by transforming the oestrous cycle of females into a menstrual cycle in order to favor reproduction. Over the millennia that followed, females became reproductive all year round and were receptive to males more often. More pregnancies resulted. A uterus with thicker walls better protected the embryos, and more fetuses came to term. At the end of each menstrual cycle, the flow of blood freed the female genitals of harmful bodies, increased vaginal secretions made the vagina a hostile place for bacteria, and the rate of sexually transmitted diseases dropped. However, this hostility also applied to the spermatozoa, and since only the strongest of the latter made it to the ovum in order to fertilize it, it tended to enhance the quality of the genetic pool. And since the female received several males, paternity was confused, and males wanting to have a reproductive female with whom to have his own offspring dared not kill the babies of that nursing female, for he didn’t know if the offspring were his own. Thus, our species survived in spite of the fact that we became intelligent.

But there was another problem. Because every Tom, Dick, and Harry were now fornicating with every Sue, Jane, and Mary and the quality of the breeding stock was dropping, there were fewer Adonis and Venus lookalikes and more individuals with inadequacies and shortcomings. And since hominids were now intelligent, they weren’t only conscious of where they stood on the social ladder, but they also knew if they’d been short-changed genetically. Feeling the need to compensate for their shortcomings, they took the easiest path. Lying, cheating, posturing, and bringing others down to their level as a way of making themselves feel adequate was the order of the day. They found it harder and harder to admit to being wrong or ignorant, and they were even prepared to commit cruel and dastardly deeds to prove they were as good as anybody else. Hominids became unnatural and fragile animals, and it engendered a lot of ugliness in them.

Though denaturalized, hominids were truly ingenious monkeys, and they knew that they couldn’t afford to alienate the group members. They were dependent on the group, and they knew it was in their best interest to have the others think highly of them. They were torn between their uncontrollable urge to satisfy their desires and their need to be liked. Regardless, they were becoming hard to handle, and physical force alone could no longer keep them in line and maintain cohesion within the group. Many individuals were aware of the advantages that altruism and cooperation procured, but there were too many who didn’t.

As it became obvious that hominids’ disposition with regards to greed and lust was making cohesion within the group impossible, the elders had to find ways to make everyday life bearable. Through stories and myths, they promoted the notion of omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient beings who could inflict the worse punishments on those who didn’t behave as expected. At night, hominids were constantly reminded of these threats as they sat around the communal fire listening to the tall tales. They saw the evil red eyes piercing through the thick surrounding blanket of darkness, and as they listened to the howls of monsters that prowled the night, they trembled. The precursor of the bad mean god who could condemn one to the consuming fires of hell for eternity was being created.