The Sicilian Briton

I finally found my history book, the Age of Arthur, by John Morris. I read this a long time ago, a very good read, but one individual and his words stood out.

The Sicilian Briton was an unknown monk who wrote about the unfairness of wealth versus poverty and ranted against the rich and powerful. Considering the mood of today, I find his words even more pertinent. I’m not convinced I agree with everything he has said, but here are some lines that really strike home and could apply to any time period. Ours especially.

“Listen to your rich man calling your poor man ‘wretch’, ‘beggar’, ‘rabble’, because he dares to open his mouth in ‘our’ presence, because in his rags he reproaches ‘our’ morality and conduct, … as if the rich alone had a right to speak, as if the understanding of truth were a function of wealth, not of thought.”

I loved this next bit as he called out the hypocrisy of rich Christians, who sought to wriggle out of Jesus’ comparison of a rich man with a camel.

” ‘But,’ you say, ‘it does not mean a camel, which cannot possibly pass through a needle’s eye, but a camelus, which is a kind of ship’s hawser.’ What intolerable subtlety when human greed … grasps at the names of ropes to keep its earthly wealth! It is a rotten argument that will do the rich no good. As if it were easier to get a huge rope through the needle’s eye than that well known animal the camel! If you want an excuse to live estranged from heaven’s throne with an easy mind … ships are no good to you, with their huge great fittings. You had better try the weaving trade, and search for some kind of thread called camelus. Such idiocy may amuse men … but it will carry little weight with God.”

He wrote with such passion. A shame we know so little of him. He was a potent enemy of the powerful and caused a lot of agitation at the time, especially with his slogan ‘abolish the rich’. Pretty surprising that hasn’t been reclaimed by protestors today. The sentiment is the same, though.

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One comment on “The Sicilian Briton

  1. uppitymonkey says:

    Reblogged this on uppitymonkey and commented:

    Reposting because it continues to have relevance and I continue to find the Sicilian Briton a fascinating man.

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