Slaughter in a Sicilian Church

In 13 History on 2011/07/28 at 1:11 AM

While Barbarians were at a primitive level of society, they nevertheless had sharp minds which gleaned knowledge from their surroundings and from their observations of what they saw and pondered.  Norsemen, having traveled southeastward on the arteries of rivers like the Volga, often found themselves in Byzantium.  Having attended the liturgy at St. Sophia, they left impressed with the grandeur and beauty of Christian worship.

Yet, at times they turned this experience into a ruse for conquest.  A brigade of Norsemen sought to take a Sicilian town, but its formidable walls frustrated their efforts.  So, they developed a clever scheme.  One of the leaders approached the townsmen and asked permission to hold a burial service in their church to commend their chieftain to God in the Christian manner as they had observed in Constantinople.  Permission was granted on the condition the funeral retinue would enter unarmed.

The large chieftain was brought in lying in an open wooden coffin and placed in the center of the main aisle of the church.  Then, began the long liturgical ritual.  Suddenly, towards the end of the ceremony, the corpse catapults from his coffin to the horror and confusion of the townspeople.  The chieftain, precisely drugged into catatonia, had been laid on a bed of swords.  Now, his men quickly drew swords from under where the ‘corpse’ laid and decimated the congregation.


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