(Oct 12th to 18th)

Format: Triple

…(he) said to me: “Serve Caesar. You are not canvas I can cut to advantage at present. But if you serve Caesar you will be obeying at least some sort of law.” He talked as though I were a barbarian. Weak as I was, I could have snapped his back with my bare hands. I told him so. “I don’t doubt it,” he said. “But that is neither here nor there…what concerns you now is that, by taking service, you will be rid from the fear that has ridden you all your life”…


This is from “The Manner of Men” in Limits and Renewals.

Sulinor, a Roman sea captain, is recounting how he had carried the Apostle Paul as a prisoner to Rome, on a voyage in which his ship was wrecked, and Paul had shown great steadfastness and leadership. Here he is remembering how Paul had urged him to keep faith with Caesar.

‘…We saw the twinkle of night-fires all along the guard towers, and the line of the black catapults growing smaller and smaller in the distance. All these things we knew till we were weary; but that night they seemed very strange to us, because the next day we knew we were to be their masters.’…


This is from “The Winged Hats” in Puck of Pook’s Hill.

Parnesius and his friend Pertinax have been made Captains of the Wall (Hadrian’s Wall) against the onslaughts of wild northern invaders, by Maximus who aims to make himself Emperor of Rome. They know that they do not have enough men to be sure of victory, and that Maximus may well fail. But in the meantime they are steadfast against the ‘winged hats’.

He threw himself into a curious tale about the God of the Christians, Who, he said, had taken the shape of a Man, and Whom the Jerusalem Jews, years ago, had got the authorities to deal with as a conspirator. He said that he himself, at that time a right Jew, quite agreed with the sentence, and had denounced all who followed the new God. But one day the Light and the Voice of the God broke over him, and he experienced a rending change of heart—precisely as in the Mithras creed.


This is from “The Manner of Men” in Limits and Renewals.

There is trouble in Jerusalem between orthodox Jews and Christians, which poses a sore problem for the Roman administration. Here Paul, who had persecuted the Christians, is giving an account of his own conversion to Christianity.

Later Valens, a young Roman officer, is stabbed by a Christian zealot, but insists that no vengeance should be taken, since the zealots ‘don’t know what they are doing’. Paul offers to baptise him as a Christian before he dies. But Simon Peter, seeing the parallel between this and Christ’s words on the cross, asks, with powerful authority: ‘‘Think you that one who has spoken Those Words needs such as we are to certify him to any God?”.