image: Wikimedia commons (link).
At the death of the Roman Emperor Theodosius I (AD 347 - 394), the formal panegyric was given by Ambrose, the Archbishop of Milan (AD 340 - 397), and amidst all the eulogy's praise of the departed emperor, Ambrose makes reference to the penitence of Theodosius, weaving this incident quite effortlessly and eloquently into a very beautiful metaphor within a larger theme of humanity's need for mercy and therefore the need to be merciful and forgiving to one another.
The reference itself refers to an incident that took place in AD 390, in which citizens of the region of Thessalonika revolted, apparently in anger at the presence of Gothic soldiers in the service of the empire stationed in their midst. It is worth pointing out that the stationing of military forces among the citizenry is one of the hallmarks of tyrannical states, and the use of foreign-born troops to do it is another pattern in history, as they are less likely to feel an affinity with or sympathy for the local populace.
Note that both of these specific grievances were part of those listed by the authors and signatories of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 against the King of Great Britain to support their argument that he showed "a history of repeated injuries and usurpations" with the "direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States":
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States [. . .]
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
We don't have a similar statement from the Thessalonikans who revolted, but we can image that they were similarly outraged by the behavior of the foreign "mercenaries" stationed among them by the Empire (these happened to be Goths), and the impunity with which those mercenaries were allowed to behave and the violations of natural law which they perpetrated -- hence the revolt.
Contemporary historians of the time tell us that Theodosius reacted to their revolt by authorizing the Goth commander to slaughter a stadium full of the Thessalonikans, cutting down innocent and guilty alike, as if they were stalks of wheat at harvest time.
Contemporary historians of the time tell us that Theodosius reacted to their revolt by authorizing the Goth commander to slaughter a stadium full of the Thessalonikans, cutting down innocent and guilty alike, as if they were stalks of wheat at harvest time.
Ambrose apparently criticized Theodosius for this ruthless slaughter, barring the emperor from entering church or taking communion for several months, and ordering him to do penance for several months before he could enter again and receive the host (the painting above, from around 1620 or 1621, depicts Ambrose on the right as we look at it, wearing a gold mitre on his head and gold-and-blue robes, barring the entrance to the Milan Cathedral from the hopeful but disappointed Theodosius, who is on the left as we look at the painting, wearing the royal purple, which looks more like what we would probably call crimson today).
Ambrose makes reference to this penance of the emperor in the official panegyric, which can be read in an English translation online here (beginning on page 307 of that 1953 text, which is actually page 335 of the "e-text" linked, since the e-text includes some front matter in its page count that comes before the pagination count began in the 1953 print book itself). There, on page 319 in the original book's pagination, or page 347 in the e-text reader linked above, Ambrose says of Theodosius:
And so because Theodosius, the emperor, showed himself humble and, when sin had stolen upon him, asked for pardon, his soul has turned to its rest, as Scripture has it, saying 'Turn my soul unto thy rest, for the Lord hath been bountiful unto thee.'
The scriptural reference is to Psalm 116:7. The paragraph itself is numbered 28 in the text of Ambrose's speech.
Let's just pause to note that this is actually a fairly astonishing situation. The absolute ruler of the entire Roman Empire, Theodosius I, who is basically the supreme authority and seemingly answers to no one, is apparently being refused entrance to the Mass by the Archbishop of Milan (it is important to know that Milan, located in northern Italy, was then the western seat of the empire, after Constantine earlier moved the center of political power east to Constantinople, a fact which plays a part in the theory discussed below). Not only that, but the emperor is being ordered to repent, humble himself, and do penance by the Archbishop, and the emperor does so for several months before being reinstated to the privilege of taking communion.
The fact that this incident is mentioned in the official eulogy of the emperor by Ambrose is a pretty good indication that it actually happened: if it did not, there would have been plenty of people who could have said so at the time. And so, we can see here an indication that the emperor himself was answerable to the most powerful bishops in some matters, who were obviously seen as representatives of an even higher power.
We might also note that the relatives of those several thousands who were slaughtered in Thessalonika were probably not particularly satisfied at this evidence of the accountability of Theodosius for his war crime -- a few months of being barred from taking communion, and all was forgiven.
In fact, this incident -- and the larger significance of the reign of Theodosius and his actions as emperor -- along with other important pieces of evidence preserved in that eulogy written by Ambrose, provides remarkable support for the revolutionary theory presented by Flavio Barbiero in The Secret Society of Moses: The Mosaic Bloodline and a Conspiracy Spanning Three Millennia (2010). In the analysis of Flavio Barbiero, the hierarchical Christianity that Ambrose represented was part of an incredible conspiracy to take over the Roman Empire from the inside, launched centuries earlier by survivors of the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem and the Roman campaign to suppress revolt in Judea, led by the generals Vespasian and his son Titus in AD 67 - 70 (the main years of the First Jewish-Roman War).
According to Barbiero's analysis, and backed up by a compelling chain of evidence, the culminating actions of that three-hundred-year-long conspiracy took place with the installation of Constantine as emperor in AD 312, and the finishing touches on the victory were overseen by the ruthless Theodosius I, who became emperor in AD 392. For more details on this theory of ancient history, which I believe to be very convincing, see previous posts such as this one and this one, as well as this online explanation of some important aspects of the theory that Flavio Barbiero wrote for the Graham Hancock website, and of course see his book itself, which is filled with historical detail and a complete blow-by-blow of the entire takeover and its aftermath.
You may also wish to see The Undying Stars, in which I discuss this theory in the context of the evidence that the ancient history of the human race is far different from what we have been taught -- that there is evidence of advanced scientific, technological, spiritual, and shamanic knowledge in humanity's ancient past, at least some of which endured in "the West" right up until the takeover that Barbiero talks about, but which was deliberately and systematically stamped out in the West after this literalistic hierarchical Christian takeover -- a suppression which may have continued in the following centuries and even right up to this day! (Note that my incorporation of his theory into my own analysis should not be interpreted as an indication that Flavio Barbiero supports any of my analysis in any way).
The actions taken by Theodosius during his reign can be seen as powerful confirmation of the theory of Flavio Barbiero, many of which are discussed in Barbiero's book. The relationship between Ambrose and Theodosius can also be seen as confirmation of the larger pattern Barbiero describes.
Some of the metaphors and anecdotes used by Ambrose in the panegyric at the death of the emperor, I believe, can additionally be seen as startling confirmation of my placement of the revolutionary theory of Flavio Barbiero within the larger context of the deliberate subversion of the ancient esoteric system that connects the scriptures that became the Old and New Testaments with the ancient wisdom of the rest of the world's cultures -- with an especially close tie to the expression of the ancient wisdom in Egypt. These additional metaphors and anecdotes from the eulogy delivered by Ambrose are not part of Flavio Barbiero's analysis.
According to the theory of Flavio Barbiero, the reason that the generals who put down the rebellion in Judea in AD 67 to 70 were able to become emperors and found the Flavian dynasty (first Vespasian and then his son Titus upon the death of Vespasian) was the financial assistance they received from a vanquished leader of the rebels, who gave them access to the vast hidden treasures of the Temple of Jerusalem itself. This leader and those he selected to come with him were spared from the summary execution that Vespasian and Titus meted out to most of the rebel leaders, and brought back to Rome to enjoy privileged status for the rest of their lives.
Barbiero finds evidence that these leaders, who possessed deep experience running a religious system, decided to set about building a "spiritual Temple" to replace the one that had been burned down by the Romans, and to use it to advance their fortunes in their new setting. They succeeded to a degree that is absolutely astonishing.
Using the twin devices of literalist Christianity (the public and open religious system which they co-opted upon or shortly following their arrival in Rome) and the secret society of Sol Invictus Mithras (the secret and exclusive underground society which they created and operated behind the scenes), they created a mechanism for passing on their vision and accomplishing their goals many generations after the original group which had been brought from Judea to Rome passed from the scene.
The secret society of Mithraism became influential in the Praetorian Guard, then among the imperial bureaucracy, the important imperial checkpoints over commerce such as the customs service, and finally and most importantly over the officers of the Roman Army stationed in various provinces and along the far-flung frontiers of the empire.
All the while, the leaders of the Mithraic system operated in utmost secrecy, protected by strict oaths of secrecy sworn to by all those invited into the society. The old aristocratic families of the empire perceived that something was going on that was a major threat to their control, but they never identified the real nerve center of that threat -- instead, they concentrated on the public face of the two-pronged attack, which was the fledgling literalist Christian religion. Safe from persecution, the leaders of the Mithraic conspiracy could maneuver their pieces on the political chessboard with steady and unwavering focus over the years.
One of their first major victories was the accession to the throne of the murderous Commodus, who reigned from AD 177 to 192, and whom Flavio Barbiero believes to have been the first emperor to have actually been an initiate into the Mithraic society (more discussion of the significance of Commodus, and some of the evidence to support this conclusion, is found in this previous post).
There were many significant setbacks after the reign of Commodus, but in general the interruptions (usually by generals who stormed into power with the support of their legions, only in most cases to be quickly assassinated by members of the Praetorian Guard or other agents of the secret society) were fairly brief (albeit violent and tumultuous), and a new emperor whom they controlled would eventually be maneuvered into the throne by the society of Sol Invictus. Each time, the network's grip over the levers of power increased, and it looked as though their careful campaign was succeeding famously.
This pattern was seriously disrupted in AD 284, upon the accession to the throne of Diocletian (who was born in AD 244 and died in AD 311), who was in fact an initiate of the cult of Mithras. However, Diocletian instituted a cunning (if unwieldy) strategy to ensure that he did not end up being eliminated by the secret society behind the throne if he crossed their will (as had happened to so many of his predecessors). He created what has come to be referred to as "the Tetrarchy," splitting up power with an ally, Marcus Aurelius Maximian, and determining that each of the two co-emperors (Diocletian and Maximian) would name a "caesar" who would be the successor to each when they decided to retire, and who would have certain authority and powers even before that time.
It was a terribly way to run things (just imagine a major corporation with four CEOs at the same time, or even two CEOs plus two "sub-CEOs" with nearly as much power as the CEOs), but by dividing the empire up this way and having it run by an alliance of four, it helped to ensure that the secret society of Sol Invictus Mithras could not bring in a new power-hungry general from another part of the empire to overthrow the existing emperor when he did something they didn't like, as had happened so many times before.
According to Flavio Barbiero, this was the turning point which determined a change in the strategy by the "power behind the throne" -- from now on, they would rule through the public mechanism that they had created, literalist Christianity, instead of the secret society of Mithras.
And that is why, after a violent power struggle that ensued after Diocletian and Maximian left office, the emperor who took control decided to proclaim openly that he was now a Christian, and that Christianity would henceforth be officially tolerated in the empire. That emperor was Constantine I, who ruled from AD 312 until his death in AD 337.
One of the important moves which Constantine made, and one which adds credence to this theory of Flavio Barbiero, was his decision to move the seat of the emperor to Constantinople and out of Rome. The "power behind the throne" (which had been hidden in the society of Mithras, and which was now identical with the upper reaches of the hierarchy of the Christian church) could thus operate out of Rome without interference from the emperor or from pesky usurpers marching in from other parts of the empire to try to seize the throne.
However, Constantine did not declare Christianity to be the sole religion of the Roman Empire: far from it. His reign was only the first decisive move in the "endgame" of this centuries-long chess-match for control of the Roman world. The "checkmate" would come during the reign of Theodosius I, who was born about ten years after the end of Constantine's reign and who came to power in AD 392. It was Theodosius who administered what Flavio Barbiero calls "the fatal blow to paganism and what little still remained of the ancient Roman senatorial aristocracy" of the Roman Empire (216).
Theodosius ordered in AD 380 that all Christians must profess their faith in the bishop of Rome, thus outlawing alternative dogmas besides the one promulgated by the hierarchical structure controlled by the descendants of those long-ago transplants from Judea.
He outlawed paganism outright in AD 392, decreeing the death penalty for anyone practicing augury or some of the other practices of the traditional Roman pagan rites.
He closed the ancient Oracle at Delphi in AD 390, and ended the Eleusinian Mysteries in AD 392, as well as (according to some scholars) the Olympic games after that same year.
Prior to his death, Theodosius issued decrees that the rule would be split between his two sons (who were quite young at the time of his death), one ruling in the east and the other in the west. It was a decision that would eventually lead to the breakup of the empire: Theodosius I was the last to rule a united empire, and eventually the trappings of the western empire would evaporate completely, and western Europe would be run by a variety of different kings and nobles and -- exercising tremendous control over their actions -- the hierarchy of the Christian religion centered in Rome.
In light of this theory, we can see that Ambrose and Theodosius were actually close allies in the final execution of a long-reaching plan. We can also see that Ambrose, as a high-ranking member of the hierarchy that represented the "power behind the throne" was actually in some ways the superior of the emperor himself -- and his ability to impose sanctions on Theodosius may be an indication of exactly that.
All of the actions above from the life of Theodosius certainly can be interpreted as strong supporting evidence for Flavio Barbiero's theory (among many other pieces of supporting evidence from the preceding centuries, which are recounted in detail in Flavio Barbiero's book).
But there is another incredible piece of evidence hidden in the speech of Ambrose given at the death of Theodosius which also tends to confirm this revolutionary alternative view of Roman history, and to tie it into the larger theory that I expound (and which, as I said, is not part of Flavio Barbiero's theory and should not be taken as an assertion that he supports this wider theory).
In The Undying Stars, and in many of the blog posts including this one containing an index of links to over fifty such myths from around the world, I argue that virtually all of the world's sacred traditions and scriptures appear to be based upon a common esoteric system of sophisticated celestial metaphor.
As I explain in this previous post entitled "The Cobra Kai sucker-punch (and why we keep falling for it, over and over and over)," I believe that these esoteric ancient myths are actually designed to convey a worldview which is best described as shamanic (and in fact, as what I would call "shamanic-holographic"). This worldview included the belief in an unseen world which actually contains the "source code" for this ordinary, material world which is in fact only a projection of the "real world that is behind this one."
It also included techniques for making contact with and actually traveling to that unseen realm, in order to gain information or make changes to the "source code" there, which could have tremendous impact on events back here in "the ordinary world."
If my theory is correct, then the high-ranking priests who escaped the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem and the wars of Judea during the time of Vespasian and Titus may well have understood that worldview, and may even have known how to use that knowledge to help them in their plans. They created a literalist, hierarchical religion which suppressed this shamanic ancient knowledge, but they themselves may have known the esoteric secrets and continued to pass them down within their inner circle.
In the eloquent speech of the Archbishop Ambrose given at the death of his fellow-worker Theodosius the emperor, I believe we can see amazing confirmation of this possibility.
In paragraph 40 of his speech (just one paragraph after Ambrose has invoked a literalist vision of heaven and declared that Theodosius and his predecessor Gratian are both enjoying everlasting light and the company of all the saints, as well as a literalist vision of hell and declared that Theodosius' enemies "Maximus and Eugenius are in hell" to "teach by their wicked example how wicked it is for men to take up arms against their princes," thus showing how useful these literalist interpretations are for supporting the divine right of the ruler), Ambrose takes up the example of Constantine's mother Helena, whom he introduces as "great Helena of holy memory, who was inspired by the Spirit of God" (found on page 325 of the original pagination of the 1953 text linked above).
Specifically, Ambrose at this part of his panegyric, tells us that once Constantine had killed the last of his enemies and become the sole emperor (Ambrose puts it more tactfully, saying that she was "solicitous for her son to whom the sovereignty of the Roman world had fallen," as if Constantine was just innocently eating lunch one day and the rule of the entire empire happened to fall into his lap), Helena "hastened to Jerusalem and explored the scene of the Lord's Passion" to see if she could find any relics from the Crucifixion with which to aid her son in his new job (paragraph 41, on page 325 of the original pagination of the 1953 text linked above).
As Ambrose explains, it turns out that she did find "three fork-shaped gibbets thrown together, covered by debris and hidden by the Enemy [that is to say, by the Devil, whom she addresses rhetorically in the preceding paragraph, declaring that she will find proof of the resurrection in spite of the Devil's attempts to conceal it]" (paragraph 45, on page 327 of the original pagination of the 1953 text linked above).
One of these "fork-shaped gibbets," Ambrose tells us, was "the Cross of salvation," which Helena was able to recognize by the fact that "on the middle gibbet a title had been displayed, 'Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews'" (paragraph 45, on page 327 of the original pagination). In paragraph 47 Ambrose tells us in addition that:
She sought the nails with which the Lord was crucified, and found them. From one nail she ordered a bridle to be made, from the other she wove a diadem. page 328 of the original text linked above.
Ambrose, who displays the allegorical virtuosity for which he is noted by historians, then expounds further upon this decision to make one nail into a crown and the other into a bridle:
On the head, a crown; in the hands, reins. A crown made from the Cross, that faith might shine forth; reins likewise from the Cross, that authority might govern, and that there might be just rule, not unjust legislation. May the princes also consider that this has been granted to them by Christ's generosity, that in imitation of the Lord it may be said of the Roman emperor: 'Thou has set on his head a crown of precious stones.'
[. . .]
But I ask: Why was the holy relic upon the bridle if not to curb the insolence of emperors, to check the wantonness of tyrants, who as horses neigh after lust that they may be allowed to commit adultery unpunished? What infamy do we not find in the Neros, the Caligulas, and the rest, for whom there was nothing holy upon the bridle?
What else, then, did Helena accomplish by her desire to guide the reins than to seem to say to all emperors through the Holy Spirit: 'Do not become like the horse and mule,' and with the bridle and bit to restrain the jaws of those who did not realize that they were kings to rule those subject to them? Paragraphs 48 - 51, pages 328 - 330 in the original pagination of the 1953 text.
Now, this is truly remarkable, to anyone who understands the ancient system of celestial allegory -- as Ambrose here indicates that he thoroughly and masterfully did.
We have discussed in a series of previous posts, beginning with "Scarab, Ankh, and Djed," that the Cross of the New Testament clearly parallels the "Djed-column raised up," which also closely parallels the sacrifice of Odin upon the World-Tree, and the Vajra-Thunderbolt of the Vedas, and many other important images around the world.
All of those posts discuss the fact that this sacred symbol of profound significance is also closely connected to the "vertical pillar" of the zodiac wheel, which runs from the winter solstice at the "bottom of the year" straight up to the summer solstice at the "top of the year" (for more on that "pillar" see this year's summer solstice post).
Ambrose has just told us that, upon finding the True Cross, Helena the mother of Constantine took two of the original nails, and made one into a crown and the other into a bridle. The choice to incorporate one nail into a crown is pretty obvious for the "top of the column," which represents both the dome of heaven and also the "dome of heaven" at the top of each human being, the head (microcosm and macrocosm). But how could the other nail's incorporation into a horse-bridle have anything to do with the bottom of the zodiac-Djed-column?
Have a looking at the zodiac wheel below and see if there are any zodiac signs at the bottom which could help explain this choice:
If you said Sagittarius (who at the bottom of the wheel just before winter solstice, peeking out below and partially obscured by the yellow label that says "The Djed raised up"), then I would agree. Sagittarius is an archer, but he is also a horseman (often a centaur). He is indicated in many myths within the system of celestial metaphor by "horse" imagery. It is almost a certainty that Ambrose is indicating an understanding of this ancient system, with this story about Helena and the discovery of the Djed-column / True Cross, and the fashioning of one nail into a crown for the head, and of the other into a bridle for a horse.
But we don't actually have to guess about whether or not Ambrose understood this esoteric system: he provides breath-taking confirmation of the fact in paragraph 46, when he declares:
She discovered, then, the title. She adored the King, not the wood, indeed, because this is an error of the Gentiles and a vanity of the wicked. But she adored Him who hung on the tree, whose name was inscribed in the title; Him, I say, who, as a scarabaeus, cried out to His Father to forgive the sins of His persecutors. 327 - 328 of the original pagination.
What was that metaphor? It is certainly not one which, I would venture to say, most modern Christians are accustomed to hearing their preachers use regarding Christ upon the Cross. But it is one which, the footnote tells us, Ambrose used quite a lot. It is the metaphor of Christ on the Cross as a scarab!
And here we see that Ambrose undoubtedly understood the ancient system of celestial metaphor, and what is more that he understood it to the degree that he could employ metaphors common to ancient Egypt when referring to the top of the Djed-pillar! We have seen, in more than one of the previous posts linked above, that the scarab beetle with its upraised arms was connected directly to the sign of Cancer the Crab (at the top of the zodiac wheel, beginning at the point of summer solstice).
The scarab was also esoterically connected to the crown of the skull, as shown in the image below which can be found in previous posts on this subject as well:
This should suffice to explain why the first nail was made into a crown, while the other went into a bridle -- one is connected to the sign of Cancer and the other to the sign of Sagittarius, two signs at either end of the Djed-column or the "solstice pillar," of which the True Cross is yet another manifestation (and which, we might add, is a central image in many shamanic rituals around the globe).
This deep familiarity with these symbols by Ambrose should also suffice to convince most readers that Ambrose knew full well that there was no physical Cross or nails to be found -- any more than one could "find" the vertical pillar that connects the winter and summer solstices and fashion some kind of crown or bridle out of it (he almost certainly would also have known that both "heaven" and "hell" were zodiac metaphors and not literal eternal destinations for the departed soul). But it should demonstrate conclusively that he was a master of the ancient esoteric system of celestial metaphor -- and that we can assume this knowledge had been passed down to him from his predecessors stretching back through the centuries, no doubt to generations long before the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem.
Together, Ambrose and Theodosius offer powerful evidence which supports the revolutionary alternative theory published by Flavio Barbiero.
Additionally, pieces of evidence such as the silencing of the Oracle at Delphi and the Mysteries of Eleusis by Theodosius, as well as the clear hints Ambrose drops indicating his masterful understanding of the esoteric system, provide powerful confirmation of the wider theory that this ancient successful conspiracy to take over the Roman Empire was also part of something far bigger: a conspiracy to smash the ancient shamanic-holographic wisdom bequeathed to humanity, and to keep it within a small group who could then use it to "rule the school" (in the "Cobra Kai metaphor") while giving everyone else a literalistic interpretation which they themselves knew to be false.