Friday, October 29, 2021

Something About Some Events in 482

Fun times in the Fifth Century.

Bellairs's first book truly began several centuries ago – likely far earlier than the story of those two wizards – with the birth of Saint Fidgeta in the 5th century. I'm sure a lot was happening at the time, but the historical record is a bit thin on what happened in 482 (Saint Fidgeta and Other Parodies; 11).

One important event of note occurred six years before Fidgeta's birth. In Sept. 476, the Germanic barbarian king Odoacer deposed the last emperor of the Western Roman Empire in Italy, Romulus Augustulus. Mere weeks before, over in the Eastern Roman Empire, Zeno (pictured above) had just been renamed emperor for a second time. So fun times afoot there. Fast forward to the year in question when Zeno issued his Henotikon (Greek: "act of union"). This was an attempt to reconcile the differences between the supporters of the Council of Chalcedon and the council's opponents, the non-Chalcedonian Christians. I can't help wonder if these two groups would have been popular enough in later centuries for Professor Childermass to build boats for his bathtub. Probably not, but it's the thought that counts. Some may remember Zeno today for, among other things, being a keen player of a game called tabula, something similar to modern backgammon. I don't think he is associated with the pizzeria where I once ate.

The Council of Chalcedon (Oct. 1-8, 451), the fourth ecumenical council of the Christian church, began in Chalcedon, Bithynia (modern-day Kadıköy, Turkey) and re-asserted the doctrine of Council of Ephesus against heresies attempting to dismantle and separate Christ's divine nature from his humanity and to limit Christ as solely divine in nature. The non-Chalcedonian denominations obviously rejected the council. Heavy stuff, I'm sure.

Anyway, one other significant event occurring "around" 482 was the birth of Justinian I (482-565), the eventual Byzantine emperor from 527 to 565. He lived longer than Fidgeta and had a more extraordinary life: initiating a building program yielding the Hagia Sophia and having lavish parties (according to Brewster).

One wonders if Brewster ever babysat Fidgeta. Now there's some serious fanfiction for you.

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