Monday, September 19, 2011

Save the Children: c. 800

He was very enthusiastic in supporting the poor, and in that spontaneous generosity which the Greeks call alms, so much so that he made a point of not only giving in his own country and his own kingdom, but even overseas when he discovered that there were Christians living in poverty in Syria, Egypt and Africa...
--From Two Lives of Charlemagne--

There's a point where charity becomes vanity and I often wonder where that point lies; something as simple as sending money to poor people in Africa used to be the sort of thing only Emperors would think of doing.

3 comments:

chickenlittle said...

Ancient Romans made table cloths and napkins of asbestos. After a messy night of gorging on food and wine, they would simply toss the fabric into a fire to cleanse it. Charlemagne was rumored to have done the same trick to impress guests with his "powers" by removing the cloth undamaged from a fire. link.

Before the discovery of how bad asbestos dust was (and its subsequent banning), even the common man could pull off the same magic trick.

I wonder what the Roman track record on charity was? They did leave us a word clue, caritas.

Jason (the commenter) said...

I wonder what the Roman track record on charity was?

Bread and circuses!

Julia Ionov said...

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