Wednesday, 22 April 2015

St George - the "Ewwwwww" version

It's St George's Day tomorrow and I'm sure that we're all familiar with the story of him killing a dragon and saving a princess:

Sensibly, she has hidden up a tree

What, you might wonder, happened to him after that?  It's a hard act to top, after all. Did he do anything else spectacular?

"Who needs skin?"

Oh yes. He DIED AND THEN WAS RESURRECTED THREE TIMES, in a marathon of torture at the hands of the Emperor Diocletian (or possibly Dacian, King of the Persians ... accounts differ.) We might have forgotten here in the West, but the Ethiopian Orthodox Church keeps the original story alive in all its totally mental snuff-movie glory.

Death One:

Stretched out and skin flayed off:
Harnessed to a rack that draws him apart:
Beaten, after which salt is poured into his wounds, which are rubbed with a haircloth:
Pressed in a box pierced with nails:
Impaled on sharp stakes:
Boiled alive in water:
Head crushed in by a hammer.
NONE OF THIS WORKS! God comforts George in prison and informs him that he will die three deaths before entering Paradise*.
Swallows two doses of poison with no ill-effects:
Lacerated on a wheel of swords:
Cut into ten pieces, and thrown into a well that is sealed with a stone. 

Death Two:
God appears with the archangel Michael to resurrect the saint. Dacian - who is seriously hard to persuade - tries again:
George is tied to a red hot iron bed:
Molten lead is poured into his mouth and eyes:
Sixty nails are driven into his skull:
He's hung upside down over a fire with a stone tied around his neck:
And shut into the revolving belly of a metal ox tombola, filled with swords and nails:
Finally he's sawed in two and boiled to bits, but five days later, before he is buried, God raises him.

Deaths Three and Four:

A glowing iron helmet is fastened to George's head
He's resurrected again and walks to the temple of Apollo, whose statue promptly leaves the temple and confesses his fraudulence. The saint stamps his foot, and the ground swallows up the false god.
Having survived seven years of torture he is finally decapitated and ascends to Heaven."

Probably with a sense of profound relief that it's all over at last.
Decapitation always works, you notice.  My theory is that the early martyrs were all vampires.

There have to be easier ways to get famous.

* An unusual use of the word "comfort". With friends like that...

1 comment:

Jo said...

Wow. Was GRR Martin writing the world at that point?