Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Against His-Story, Against Leviathan! Chapter 16 (the Crusading West: Capitalism, Islamization, Catholic Agro-Business, genocide, commodified Earth)


Vikings, Slavs, Magyars and Byzantines confine Romanized Frankdom to a field whose dimensions are modest for an all-embracing, namely Catholic Empire.

Islam will undermine and cut short the development of any Frankish project even within the narrow field left by the others.

The incursion of Charlemagne's army into Islamic Spain does nothing for the Franks and it warns the Muslims of the existence and character of the Frankish Empire.

There isn't even a war. The two sides are too unequal. We must be careful not to project later Western traits into earlier events. The Muslims are armored with weapons and technologies of Central Eurasia's Leviathans. The Frankish Knights are armored with coats of mail which serve them best in their forest bouts against each other.

The Knights have acquired inflated conceptions of their mission and power from their megalomaniacal spiritual advisers, but they were formidable only when they bullied and slaughtered Saxon peasants. They did less well in the face of Vikings, Magyars and Moravians. They disintegrate in the face of Islam.

Charlemagne's son Louis, called the Pious, reassures himself of Frankish prowess by staying close to the icons that promise Franks the world and far from the gaping jaws of all the lions of the West, but this strengthens the western Empire about as much as Byzantium's recognition.

Pious Louis is overthrown by his own sons, who promptly turn their spears and vassals against each other.

Muslims retaliate against grandfather Charlemagne's incursions by raiding and then conquering Sicily. The decapitated Catholic Leviathan, plunged into civil war by the founder's grandsons, has already lost its ability to respond. North African Muslims move up the coast of Italy, using Palermo and then Bari on the Peninsula's very coast as bases from which they proceed inland. Soon they are pillaging Naples, fortifying themselves in Apulia, and moving toward the territory the Popes claim to have recieved from Constantine.

The Muslim invaders reach Italy from a region they name Ifiquyah, a region which was known as Carthage before it became a Roman province called Africa. The Tunisian Muslims are unwittingly and belatedly avenging the exterminated Carthaginians while the latter-day Romans are dividing their Empire into three Kingdoms, none of them capable of saving Rome.

The pathetic Vicar of Christ, supreme Pontifex of an empire that no longer exists, has to face Hannibal's successors on his own in a struggle which is neither memorable nor Roman. The fourth Leo saves only himself, by walling himself into a part of Rome. His prison will be called the Leonine City although it will have no affinity to a lion beyond the name. Still later it will be called the Vatican.

And the Pope's long-sought Frankish Empire, now divided into three Frankish Kingdoms, leaves the Pope in his prisonbecaise the Imperial grandsons are not able to cope even with their own problems. Bald Charles cannot stop Vikings from plundering the coasts of Gaul nor from reaching Paris itself. Brother Louis, called The German, can confront neither united Moravia nor the Vikings plundering the northern coasts. And Brother Lothar, supreme Lord of Lotharingia, experiences his father's fate of seeing Lotharingia split into three yet smaller parcels of Empire. One more such division and the Imperial parcels will not exceed Moravia in size.

It might be thought that the heirs of the Franks would at that point copy their neighbors and constitute themselves into nation-states. This doesn't happen. Having once tasted Empire, the Franks will be as inflexibly devoted to phantoms of past forms as the Pontifex of Rome. Changes will be imposed on both by outsiders.\

Franks and Popes will in fact pretend that the Empire never ceased to exist. The Pope will anoint whichever of Charlemagne's heirs is able to reach Rome, and when Frankish heirs become extinct, the Popes will crown any adventurer who allies with the Pontifex. The Popes will call these anointees Holy Roman Emperors, namely Emperors in the eyes of God and the Pope.

The heirs of Charlemagne, beset by invaders, do not fall defending Frankdom; they tear each other apart before the invaders reach them.

In the face of independent Moravians and raiding Magyars, the easternmost sector of Frankdom breaks out in feuds which dispose of the last heirs. The Franks are replaced by Catholic Saxon frontier commanders who devote themselves to doing to others what Franks did to the Saxons. The first of these, Henry the Fowler and his successor Otto, spread desolation among Scandinavians, Magyars, Slavic Wends and Poles. Otto visits the Pope and demands an Imperial crown for his eminently Frankish and Catholic deeds.\

The Pope, a twelfth John who calls himself Octavian, Prince of Rome, already knows that the only Roman Empire left is the Pope's own Leonine City. The Pope nevertheless crowns Otto because the genocidal Saxon frontier army is all that is left of the Catholic imperial project. The Lotharingian part of Frankdom is extinct, and the western home base of the Franks disintegrated in the face of Viking and Muslim incursions.

When Muslims established themselves on the Provencal coast and Vikings besieged Paris, a congress of Knights removed the last Frankish Emperor in order to resist the invaders. The grandson of one of these Knights, a Hugh Capet, retains the title King of the Franks, but his dominion is confined to Paris. This Capet's descendants will expand their dominion only after they are thoroughly Vikingized and Islamized.

* * *

The Northmen who besiege the heart of Frankdom are in Gaul to stay. They take over a large portion of Gaul and rename it Normandy. Their headman Hrolf or Rollo becomes Duke of the Normans. Intimately familiar with their long-time enemies, these Vikings claim, with tongue in cheek, that Normandy was a donation of the last Frankish Emperor to Duke Rollo. In time they even adopt the language and some of the ways of the Franks. And they transform Frankdom into an entity that will be familiar to us, but which is exotic and antithetical to the Catholic Franks.

The Normans bring maritime commerce--the Catholic name for it is Piracy--to the heart of Frankdom. The Normans, like their northern kinsmen and like the Venetians, are clients of Levantine mercantile houses; Normandy is another tentacle of the Islamic seaborne octopus.

French-speaking Vikings replace Jews as carriers of exotic luxuries. Their northern kin carry Muslim cloth and silver all the way to Iceland and Greenland, and Eric the Red transports Islamic luxuries all the way to Vinland (in "North America") twenty generations before other Europeans discover the existence of such a place.

The ships of the Northmen return to the Levant laden with furs, timber and enslaved human beings, although the Vinland ships do not return. The Vinlanders apparently discover something more important than Muslim silver, something they've all but lost, and they stop communicating with their Leviathanized kinsmen.

The year that their cousing Knut or Canute becomes King of England as well as Denmark, turning the North Sea into a commercial highway, French-speaking Normans, nominally Christians, accompany a mercenary called Rainulf to Muslim Sicily and seek their fortunes either as agents of the island's Islamic merchants or their successors. Hiring themselves out as mercenaries, the Normans, like their Turkish contemporaries further east, become their employers' masters and successors.

Other Normans quickly follow Rainulf's lead, and in less than a generation mercantile Normans occupy the seats of mercantile Muslims in all of Sicily and most of southern Italy.

Nominally, Christians have ousted Muslims from Italy. But the Popes who see these events know better; they know that the new merchants differ from the old only in their refusal to bow to the merciful god and in their greater rapacity.

Even Byzantine Christians recognize in the Normans a greater threat than Islam.

In a rare alliance, the Pope gangs up with the Holy Roman Emperor as well as the Byzantine Emperor to try to oust the Normans from Apulia and Sicily.

The Normans defeat the rare alliance and capture the ninth Leo, the Pope. After an unrecorded session consisting of blackmail or opportunism or both, the Pope excommunicates his Byzantine allies and embraces the Islamized Normans as his personal vassals. The next few Popes are creatures of Normans, whom the Popes invest as "Dukes of Apulia and Calabria."

The Norman successors to Italy's Muslim strongholds and subjects proceed to do what Italian Muslims had never done: they attack Christian Byzantium from the west.

Two of the former allies, the Holy Roman and the Byzantine, renew their alliance, this time against the Muslim army under the Norman Robert Guiscard fighting alongside the Pope. The two Emperors are defeated and the victorious Muslims and Normans celebrate by plundering Rome before marching eastward to conquer the Byzantine Empire. Beset by the Northmen from Sicily, Byzantine Emperor Alexius abandons the attempt to reconquer Anatolia from the Seljuk Turks who call Anatolia "Rum" or Rome. Emperor Alexius confronts the Normans with a mercenary force of Venetians and Varangians or Russian Northmen.

Robert Guiscard is not as successful as William the Conqueror; he dies in Byzantium and so does the Norman Roman Empire.

And mercenary Venice, formerly Byzantium's main fleet, defends the Empire from Normanization at the price of taking ovar all the Empire's maritime commerce.

* * *

The Venetians succeed where the Normans failed. They turn the Mediterranean into a Venetian commercial highway. Long apprenticed to Levantine merchants, like the Etruscans and Greeks before them, they now launch an independent octopus of their own. They can do this at this moment no only because their Byzantine overlord has become permanently disabled, but also because their Islamic Levantine instructors have become shackled by a Turkish Leviathan which, being land-oriented and wormlike, tends to repress the free movement of Muslim commercial tentacles.

Catholic Normans and Byzantine Venetians, enemies on watery battlefields, once apprentices to Arabic merchants and now masters, carry not only Arabic wares but also Arabic mercantile ways to the heart of Europe. Venetians will long retain their maritime trading monopoly. Normans, the metamorphosed Pope's favorites, are quickly joined by Lombards, Burgundians, Flemings, even Franks.

Markets spring up on the roads between the formerly self-sufficient manors. Serfs initially sent out by their Lords to inspect exotic wares become apprentices to the merchants and soon buy their way out of the manors.

The markets grow into mercantile towns, and each town tries to be a Venice. Each town sends out tentacles of its own and tries to impose a monopoly of trade in its own "Mediterranean."

The mercantile townspeople, called Burghers in Frankdom, maintain their independence from the armed marauders who surround them by the Arabic method of provisioning and bribing the mounted Noblemen.

While this is happening to Frankdom's south, former Scandinavian strongholds on Frankdom's northern fringes announce the formation of a league of commercial cities, the Hanseatic League, and proclaim to the world their monopoly over all maritime trade between London and Novgorod.

I'm tempted to call this transformation "Islamization" of Europe but the term would express an exaggeration. Arabic markets, mercantile ways, caravans and commodities do spread throughout Europe, but Europeans do not begin to bow to merciful Allah. Europeans remain committed to the god of Roman legions, Optimus Maximus. Their religion becomes Islamized only in the sense that they gegin to worship Optimus Maximus in the forms of hoards of Muslim silver. Such idolatry is clearly un-Islamic.

The fact that commodity markets, towns full of Burghers and silver money come to Europe from Islam will be a mystery to profound theoreticians who will seek the roots of expanded commodity production in the self-sufficient Frankish manors. But this is no mystery to Europeans who undergo the transformation. As soon as they discard their Roman antipathy to financial transactions and their Catholic antipathy to financial transactions, Europeans, especially southern, formerly Frankish Europeans, look to Islam for the rest of the armor that goes with the commercial ways.

Frankish fealty and Catholic absolution give neither warmth nor completion to Burghers' lives, and mercantile Western Europeans become avid readers of Islamic texts translated into Latin by multi-lingual Jewish scholars in Muslim Spain. The philosophy of Ibn-Sina and the mathematics of al-Biruni become more important to Burghers than the Lives of the Saints. The Plato and Aristotle of the later "western tradition" are part of the Islamic culture now absorbed by the West.

The Roman worm which the Church tried to revive during a millenium is replaced by a plethora of landborne and seaborne octopus-shaped Leviathans, by Meccas, Medinas and miniature Baghdads, by a network of Venices, each devoted to monopolizing the whole field, each considering itself an Athens.

* * *

It is precisely at this moment that the Pope of Rome, one named Urban, announces a holy war against Islam, the First Crusade:

Turn the weapons which you have stained unlawfully in the slaughter of one another against the enemies of
the faith and the name of Christ.

Frederick Turner will lucidly analyze the holy war as an externalization of the violence previously turned inward. In its genocidal sweep, in the magnitude of its lie, in its exploitation of repressions and resentments, the Pope's proclamation already announces everything the West will become.

The holy war against unbelievers begins at home, against Jews, at a time when Westerners no longer need Jews because Lombards as well as Franks are themselves carriers of merchandise. The pious Frankish and Catholic antipathy to trade becomes principled by expressing itself in massacrews at a time when the perpetrators of the massacres are starting to compete with Jews for goods and markets.

Those who hate Jewish merchants crusade alongside those who hate Jewish competitors in a holy alliance of exploiters with their own victimized clients. With one and the same stroke, the ones consider themselves regenerated into a community of free Franks while the others think themselves regenerated into Greeks translated into the Frankish Latin from Arabic.

Like all the Westerners' later religious, political and commercial propaganda, the Holy War against Infidels is a tissue of lies which has something for everyone, and what it offers to each is incompatible with what it offers all others. It offers some the prospect of becoming what they no longer are, others the prospect of becoming what they never were.

Under the banner of the big lie, people whose free communities are repressed beyond retrieval nevertheless retrieve lost communities, lost kinship and lost freedom, but only during the instant when they slaughter imagined enemies of all they lost.

Fields of corpses are the confirmation of the Westerners' regeneration. The lost humanity is regained by means of a sacrificial act. The humanity of others is the offering.

The massacre of Jews at home is only a preparation, a mere rehearsal for the first act of the holy war. Turner will say,

It is the Crusades that truly commence the pattern of large-scale, international Christian violence against all
unbelievers that at last bear arms its cindered fruit in the ruins of Tenochtitlan.

Western Catholics who do not know where the Levant is located, who for a millennium had considered Rome the center of the world, suddenly learn from Norman and Venetian merchants that Jerusalem is the real center. They find Jerusalem by following the paths of the mercantile pioneers, and once there,

they laid low, without distinction, every enemy encountered, (in the words of the Archbishop of Tyre, cited.)

Everywhere was frightful carnage, everywhere lay heaps of severed heads, so that soon it was impossible to
pass or to go from one place to another except over the bodies of the slain...It is reported that within the
Temple enclosure alone about ten thousand infidels perished...

The extermination of the Nahuatl, Quechua, Algonquian, Iroquoian, Polynesian, African and East Asisn populations is already announced. Cortez, Pizzaro, Cass, Andrew Jackson, Cecil Rhodes, Adolph Hitler and Richard Nixon will later be names for similar faceless Knights who perpetrate the same genocide on other Jerusalems.

The human face is extinguished by a Leviathanic mask which is itself masked, veiled, hidden. The purpose of the veils is to show the Western European as something he no longer is or never was, and to hide what he has become.

Still more dreadful was it to gaze upon the victors themselves, dripping with blood from head to foot,

the Archbishop tells, gazing through the veils at the Leviathanic masks.

But the victors themselves gaze only at the veils. Inspired by Troubadors who sing of Frankdom's bygone glory and by priests who chant in Latin about resurrection, the Knights, see themselves as saviors of the Holy Land from Infidels, as successors to the rebels who intended to cast fire upon the Leviathanized world, as something they will never become and never were.

Any and every lie is worn as yet another veil. Tears shed for Jerusalem's defamation by Arabic infidels are supplemented by tears for Byzantium's desolation in the face of Turkish infidels. The Crusaders demonstrate their love for poor Byzantium by tearing what's left of it to shreds.

And at the end of all the piously veiled holocausts, a Frankish Baldwion installs himself as the merchant king of Levantine Edessa, a Norman Bohemond as the merchant of Levantine Antioch, a third pious Catholic as King of Jerusalem. Instead of casting fire upon the Leviathanized world, they've thrust spears and daggers into its living inhabitants. Then they proceed to expropriate the dead, donning their clothes as well as their roles. Franks and Normans are now at the Mediterranean source of the eastern cloths and spices. They run mercantile houses that supply Venetian ships. Their sons marry Muslim women and praise Allah five times a day, for his infinite Mercy.

* * *

The western kin of the Levantine Northmen remain committed to Optimus Maximus, the god of crusading legions, and to Lugalzaggizi, the patron of aggressive Leviathans. With the towns, commercial networks and centralized political institutions thrust upon them by Muslims, Vikings and Slavs, the Westerners are hastily armoring themselves with every Leviathanic trait accessible to them. Local merchants in every quarter supplement and then replace Jews as well as Normans. Numerous cities circumvent the monopolists of Venice and grow wealthy by provisioning the overseas Crusaders and returning with Levantine spices and silver. Crusaders return from their plunder of Byzantium with kidnapped weavers and launch little cloth-producing Levants in the heart of Gaul and Italy.

Soon serfs who flee from manors in search of the free air of commerce find only the constraint of wage labor in cloth-producing cities like Florence, Ghent and Bruges. Having burned their bridges, the former serfs have little alternative but to accept what they find.

Serfs cannot safely leave their manors, but many other aspects of their humanity have not yet been expropriated. The activity, the animals as well as the crops are theirs, and they provision the Lord on terms set not by force or by markets but by custom.

This now comes to an end. The Lord starts to infringe on custom, he demands greater dues and his demands grow exorbitant.

The Lord now sells his excess grain to merchants for money, because he needs the money to buy town luxuries-and also to buy necessities. He even buys cloth now, because the cloth produced by the urbanized weavers is cheaper and often better than the cloth produced by serfs.

The concentrated urban weavers are no longer serfs. They're zeks, labor-camp inmates, instruments. Neither their activity nor their product is their own.

Theoreticians of progress will explain the Before and After by describing a "development" of cottage weavers into industrial weavers. The theoreticians can do this because, once commerce rules, merchants will get their cloth in every way possible, and any of the more modest ways can be called transitional to the grander. But the fact that Florence, Bruges and Ghent are industrial towns, namely cities with labor camps, already three generations before Mongols disable the Levantine parents of these towns. What happens later is that the camps spread, they supplant other forms of cloth production.

The activity of the Burghers pressures the proud Lord into becoming an economic calculator himself. he now weighs cloth against grain before he commissions his serfs to weave, and if he goes to town for his cloth, he needs money. To get the money, he needs more products from his serfs. He appoints a Maire, Bayle or Bauermeister to supervise the work of the serfs, and frequently the Knightly Lord, although usually the supervisor, acquires an unprecedented interest in agricultural technology.

The Knight, a horse connoisseur, now discovers that horses are faster draught animals than oxen. He or his foreman makes sure the peasants use shoulder-harnesses to get the horse to harrow and till.

And the Knight starts asking about water mills, which are taken for granted in Islamic Mesopotamia but which would have aroused only the Knight's yawns earlier.

Just as suddenly, and precisely at the time when Mongol raiders begin to close off the Kiev route along which Vikings carried slaves to Islam and silver to the West, former Franks open silver mines in the Herz Mountains and the Alps. The silver has been in the mountains all along, but Franks who didn't use money would have abhorred the thought of burrowing into caves for it.

The so-called productive forces do not give rise to Leviathanic social relations in Western Europe any more than elsewhere. The technology is nothing but the Leviathan's armory, and both arrive in the West together. The fangs and claws originate in China, Persia, Arabia and elsewhere; they come to the West from Islam, directly or by way of Viking carriers. The vaunted technological ingenuity of the Burghers will be another Western lie. The purpose of this lie will not be primarily to make people proud of the West, but to make zeks proud of the claws and fangs that reduce them to zeks.

* * *

Something else now begins in Western Europe, something we will call "population growth": a steady increase in human numbers as continuous and persistent as the Leviathan itself. This phenomenon seems to exist only among Leviathanized human beings. Animals as well as human communities in the state of nature do not proliferate their own kind to the point of pushing all others off the field.

We don't know how animals, wolves for example, limit their numbers, but we know that they do. We also know that some animals, for example locusts, do not do this very well. But locusts periodically end up pushing themselves off the field, so that not even locusts experience ongoing population growth.

Of human communities we know, from their mythologies, that they exist in a cosmic context where every living being and every member of the community has a special meaning. Such communities reproduce their part of the meaningful context, just as Earth reproduces their part of the other varied parts. They venture into meaninglessness only when they are disrupted or threatened with extinction, and even then they do not automatically have recourse to "population growth."

The zeks of the increasingly Leviathanized West, both urban and rural, no longer exist in a context. Mythologies that filled them with meaning are beyond memory's reach.

The increasingly numerous urban zeks concentrated in factories are, in fact, despoiled of every last trace of community, and in this sense they are more like domesticated cattle or sheep than like human beings in the state of nature. Zeks do not reproduce a meaningful context. They simply reproduce. No part of the context is up to them, because they are part of no natural context. So-called working communities, namely labor gangs, are as artificial as the Leviathan. They are, in fact, the Leviathan's springs and wheels, its entrails, in the Crusading West as in the first Sumerian Ur. The concentrated weavers are the first zeks in Europe since the demise of the Roman Leviathan.

Serfs are nevertheless fleeing from manors in order to breathe the free air of town zeks because the serfs themselves are being reduced to agricultural zeks. Later worshippers of a son of Optimus Maximus called Progress will deliberately obscure the despoliation of planters and cultivators; they will describe a steady ascent from a hellish Dark Age to an electrically illuminated Heaven.

We will have to burrow through libraries of lies to learn that the cultivators maimed by Roman Civilization reconstituted some form of community after the Leviathan's demise. Armored Frankish Knights with their networks of vassals and their code of martial honor seriously infringed on the integrity and freedom of the communities of cultivators, but the Knight's coat of mail and tree-length spear were ill-adapted to serious Leviathanic ventures. The Knightly domain was a coherent Leviathan only in the dreams of Catholic Churchmen. Progress-worshippers will call the period a Dark Age precisely because it lacked any coherent His-story, any Leviathanic development. After the Knights' initial disruption of the agrarian communities, manorial relations and dues were regulated by Custom, which means that they remained what they were from one generation to the next.

The agrarian communities are not only disrupted, they are destroyed beyond repair, when Custom is replaced by Market and Force. The cultivators suddenly lose their world. The land, which had always been common to all living beings, is now invaded by foremen and labor gangs intent on making Eart produce for the town market. The forests which provided game and timber as well as forage for domesticated animals are suddenly as out of bounds to serfs as the Roman Empire was to northerners. All of Earth's free gifts start to be called "waste," and the opposite of "waste" is the despoliation of Earth, animals and people for the sake of products saleable in town markets.

And the Church is at the forefront of all this change. The Church is the rough beast which, its hour come round, slouched toward Bethlehem to be born, and its hour come round again a millenium later, to be reborn. The Church will later be called an enemy of Progress and a partisan of "natural economy." The Church will always present itself as something it is not, and some will always believe its claims.

The Crusading Church is the greatest single merchant of Europe. Its prelates are experienced opportunists. Its Optimus Maximus is the father of Progress and its Lugalzaggizi is the godfather. Optimus's antipathy to the trade of others, and Lugalzaggizi's call for dominion over fish, plants and animals is an ancient invation to transform all of Earth's forms of life into commodities. In the vernascular languages coming into daily use, Optimus Maximus translates as optimal production for maximum profits.

Pious Cisterian monks are among the first Catholics to leap head-first into commercial, profit-oriented agriculture. The Cisterian ventures are Agro-Business from the very start; they are not "natural economies" that "develop" into commercial ventures because of some inner dynamic or dialectic. The Cisterian businessmonks consolidated scattered farms, centralize managerial functions, hire what they call "lay brothers," namely paid agricultural laborers, armies of them. The monks drive independent peasants off the land, and they sell their products at town markets.

The Pope takes the very offices of his Church to market. His stock of relics is a bazaar in no way inferior to Baghdad's or Cairo's, and he even traffics in intangibles such as absolutions or pardons over which he holds an absolute and unchallenged monopoly. The Church veils the rapacity with the robes of saints and apostles while rushing to stuff the Pontifex into the new Leviathan's head; only after it fails to make him the new beast's Vicar will the Church become piously moral.

* * *

The Crusading Westis already announcing what it will become. A little more lubrication will make it the most formiddable worldeater ever to emerge out of Spiritus Mundi.

Europe's southern city-states and northern nation-states are all rushing to form tentacles as long as Islam's, and successors to the post of Holy Roman Emperor are trying to embrace all the independent emirates within a unified caliphate.

The Emperor is no longer the Pope's anointed, not since the Pope's alliance with Normans and Muslims. The conflict between Pope and Emperor is not over the realm's Islamization, but over who shall rule the realm. From Barbarossa on, the Emperor wants to reduce the Church to the Empire's clerical staff, appointed by the Emperor and at his beck and call. The Emperor defends old principles and antipathies no more than the Pope. In fact, during the Crusades against Islam, Emperor Frederick the Second recruits Sicilian Muslims for his war against the Pope. The new Holy Emperors are successors to Charlemagne's Franks only in their devotion to violence and their greed for booty in the form of land.

The Islamization of the West is nevertheless complete. The Westerners do not bow to the merciful Allah, who has some but not all the attributes of Optimus and Lugalzaggizi. The Westerners do something Muhaammad enjoined his followers no to do. They bow to a stone. They worship Optimus in the form of Muslim silver, and are already worshippin Him in the form of Alpine and Herz Mountain silver. The silver is part of Earth's skeleton, but gouged out of her body it is a dead thing. This dead thing is what enjoins its worshippers to have dominion over the fliers, walkers, and crawlers, and also over the Biosphere, over Earth herself.

Phoenicians, Greeks and Arabs already despoiled Earth's life-teeming surface, but they did so with something of a bad conscience. Their Baal, Hera and Allah retained some poorly-remembered connection with Earth.

Christians plunder with a godd conscience. Their plunder is not offensive to their god. It is in fact the Dominion he calls for.

And Christian merchants add a new dimension to their plunder: they spiritualize or liquefy the land itself. Catholic Knights had already treated the land as war booty. Catholic Burghers go a step further; they treat the land as a commodity. The Frankish lust for land is democratized. A sum of silver coins is now equivalent to a parcel of land. The merchant's money is his liquid assets; when he purchases an estate he can sit on his real assets.

Manors start to liquify under the feet of Lords who failed to see the signs of the times, and even the names of Knights begin to liquefy and flow toward the households of moneyed Burghers.

The whole world is being liquefied, reduced to Value, whose solid equivalent is Silver. The Burgher's heirs will try to liquefy Earth irreversibly by reducing her to the Value embodied in another stone, a stone that fissions, uranium.

* * *

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