EDITOR’S NOTE (Continued)
Despite the best efforts of the Emperor, however, some external evidence does exist, two statements mentioning that which he had decreed remain taboo.
After much tenacious effort on my part, I discovered two references to the event recorded by independent sources. It is fortunate for me that I find historical minutiae, however bland to the layman, fascinating; otherwise I might never have discovered these two miniscule statements. Miniscule I term them due to their brevity; each constitutes a single sentence. In terms of their importance to my argument, however, they are monumental in scope.
The first, the one I estimate to be contemporary to Christopher’s captivity in Rome, is from the minor historian Carnaedes (221-269 AD), whose records encompass two decades of the third century, roughly 245-265. Carnaedes chronicles the tumultuous state of the politics of his day, in addition to such mundane fare as climate, crop yields, and even his own personal relationships. It is for one statement alone that he is of interest to us. This occurs as part of a longer treatise which has been dated to AD 250. (The astute reader will note that this lines up quite nicely with the dates put forward in the Confessions. Christopher’s captivity in Rome occurred during the brief reign of Emperor Decius. As Decius ruled only from AD 249-251, Christopher had to have been captured, held prisoner, and then escaped sometime during this two-year interval.)
In its entirety, Carnaedes’ passage reads: “Though women continue to see our werewolf somewhere in the vicinity each passing night, I am convinced the foul creature has vacated the city.”
Note that Carnaedes mentions this almost in passing, as though taking for granted that the reader will be familiar with the events described. Did it occur as part of a longer narrative, one in which Carnaedes discusses at length the matter of the werewolf, one later destroyed by the author under duress of law? It is worth noting that this section of Carnaedes’ chronicle is incomplete. Might this one sentence have remained extant purely by accident, overlooked by the author, when all other reference to the werewolf had been excised?
The second source dates from half a century later, coming to us from the scribe Tullius (294?-347). To judge by the text, Tullius was an inveterate gambler. The majority of his writings deal with gladiatorial contests, with the author frequently raving over some (formerly) favored combatant having failed and disappointed Tullius. “I shall soon be a pauper!” he laments in one section. “That man’s [a gladiator] blood, less precious to him than to me, it seems, has cost me a fortune in his spilling it!”
The passage concerning us is as follows: “A man longs for the days when, to the roars of the spectators, the werewolf felled men and beasts alike.”
There we have it. Two independent references, one alluding to Christopher’s time in the Coliseum, the other to his escape. Modern historians have delegated these to the status of folklore. Taken alongside the Confessions manuscript, on the other hand, they are far more suggestive. That this is not enough to convince the mainstream is regrettable. It is my hope that continued scholarship in the future will unearth even more in the way of substantive evidence in support of the legitimacy of the Confessions.