Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Monumental (Part Three): Restored to Life by the True Light of Empire


David concludes his musings on why God is in the detail of a London Walk (scroll down for parts 1 & 2)…

“Here's the inscription on the medal from yesterday's post. (And indeed why it's called the Arras Medallion)

‘And so it was fitting that, as soon as you stepped onto that shore, a long-desired avenger and liberator, a triumphal crowd poured forth to meet Your Majesty, and Britons exultant with joy came forward with their wives and children, venerating not you alone, whom they gazed at as one who had descended from heaven, but even the sails and oars of that ship which had conveyed your divinity, and prepared to feel your weight upon their prostrate bodies as you disembarked. Nor is it any wonder if they were carried away by such joy after so many years of miserable captivity; after the violation of their wives, after the shameful enslavement of their children, they were free at last, at last Romans, at last restored to life by the true light of empire.’
Panegyrici Latini (VIII): Panegyric of Constantius

This panegyric, which was delivered in the presence of Constantius in AD 297, on the anniversary of his appointment as Caesar, congratulates him for the recovery of Britain the year before.

Struck in AD 310 at Trier, the nine solidi Arras Medallion depicts, on the reverse, the personification of London kneeling before the city gate, which is approached by a Roman warship. Constantius is portrayed mounted on horseback in the guise of a triumphant emperor, holding a spear in one hand and a globe in the other, with the inscription ‘restorer of eternal light.’ Part of a treasure hoard found in Arras, France in 1922, the medallion sold at auction for $341,000 in 1996.”

David can be found in his beloved City every Sunday leading the London Walk Shakespeare's & Dickens's London.


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