Classic introduction to 406 AD thanks to the Rolling Stones


Please, allow me to introduce…

SnailFrog. … At least you know where I come from. Right from the land where eating snails or frog legs smothered with parsley and garlic butter is an art de vivre. Yes, art. The way one lives one’s life is an art.

You can live like you are working in a factory, repeating the same routine or free as a ? … no, not a bird. Free in your head, free to dream the skiy nobody has really seen but the lucky few from space.

Here I am: SnailFrog. Ranter before the Eternal. As this blog will proceed, you will learn more about me, my delights, my rages and my shameless disinginuosity. Blog, beware…

A snail can crawl a long way for a long time; a frog can leap and a blog can be fun.

So, a few answers:

Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto.

Terence. Publius Terentius Afer.

– Why Terence? If you cared to read about me.

Terentius is or rather was a very smart Roman playwright born in North Africa. Did I read his plays? Yes. Do I remember any? Err, no. None the less, his plays have been honoured by Moliere. To be admired by this great man well over 1500 years later is proof the that writer had this little something which is qualified as Intelligence. Plus Montaigne had the very quote painted on the ceiling of his library. Read Terence, guys. You cannot go wrong. By the way, I would not be surprised if a certain man from Stratford-upon-Avon had not also pilfered our African friend.

In 406, the Empire was already quite uncivilized or rather accepting that it was way too wide not to include foreign troops. Already, some smart cookies had become key military players and made welcomed in some provinciae. These guys would accomodate the local thriving bureaucraty (i.e. tax collectors). In less than a century, the Franks would be so well assimilated that SnailFrog’s Gallo-Roman great…grandmother would decide to make her mumbling hapless Frankish suitor happy (whether he wanted to be happy or not, that is).

While the Franks were discovering Gallic Haute Cuisine and the fine art of collecting taxes, Romans were leaving Britain and cancelling their electricity subscription. Yup, Dark Ages.

Mainland Europe was having to make do with errant Barbaric tribes unable to find a proper camping site while ‘I am the Scourge of God’ Attila himself was showing his prowess up to France. Mainland Europe as seen from Britain as having it ‘easy’ must have felt slightly miffed by Britain as the Romano-British were complaining ‘only’ – at least Gildas was complaining – of the ’coming’ of Jutes, Angles and Saxons.

Let us compare and contrast : 3 measly tribes over so many decades oozing from ridiculously small ships on one side and countless tribes fleeing from Hunnic invasions. You get the point. It was like today. An EU of common misery versus the worshippers of orderly queues of invaders. The invaders did not like queuing. Arthur did try his best; but it was a temporary relief.

The difference, if there is and there was a difference was that some mainland tribes realized that the local bureaucrats holding the key to yearly inland revenue, by keeping in place said bureaucracy , they had solved chronically depleted coffers. Within less than one hundred years (before Mount Badon) said savage immigrants had become enough civilized to keep to themselves and their ethnic groups some delightful Barbarian family customs (such as bloody family feud) while becoming theoretically Christian and a lot more learnt in Latin. Iam not saying life was easy: Barbarians rulers had stopped the invasions; but familial infighting meant the poor peasant/slave/sod stiill got killed. Though this time it was not the invading Wisogoth but the Neustrian cousin. One cannot always win.

In Britain, possibly some invaders missed the point of the usefulness of a successful Treasury/Exchequer, killed a few/a lot of priests and more or less wasted 100 years till…

My own story begins. Yup, I have a big project. Top secret. Do not therefore be surprised if this blog will be discussing 449 AD and Whitby Synod plus Merovingian recipes. Plus a foultitude as in many, many more subjects like Alexandre Dumas (why Hollywood is stupid enough not to make a movie out of this man’s amazing biography) or ‘where to drink tea in Paris and …enjoy!’.

Finally, let it be obvious that I consider that Waterloo was the best thing which happened to France after Bonaparte got killed by Napoleon. Yup, Wellington is shredding his boots whilst Napy is eating his hat. But it put France on the right tracks. Yes, History loves twists… And SnailFrog will to go to work. Soon. As in now.

Till we meet again.

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