Talk:Pope Innocent I

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Innocent I and pagan deities[edit]

(Note: Originally posted on the Haruspex wiki page discussion. Since I'm removing both, I thought I'd repost here, for clarity.


If there is no source, should it not be removed? As for being "not too far-fetched", it doesn't sound far from Dan Brown-esque conspiracy nuttery. Also, one of the links is broken, and the other leads to the Vatican Museum, and has a picture of a small statue of a soothsayer. Of the two book sources, both are specifically about the origins of Greek haruspicy. So once again, whence came the stuff about Innocent I? The Innocent I article mentions Zosimus, but the Zosimus article makes no mention of this anecdote (and should ancient anecdotes really be taken without some caution?); book 5 of Zosimus' history as translated in one of the links on his wiki page gives this account:

On this the Romans, being convinced that it was really Alaric who attacked them, and despairing therefore of all things that conduce to human strength, called to mind the aid which the city had formerly met with in emergencies; and that they, by transgressing their ancient institutions, were now left destitute of it. While they were occupied in these reflections, Pompeianus, the prefect of the city, accidentally met with some persons who were come to Rome from Tuscany, and related that a town called Neveia had delivered itself from extreme danger, the Barbarians having been repulsed from it by storms of thunder and lightning, which was caused by the devotion of its inhabitants to the gods, in the ancient mode of worship. Having discoursed with these men, he performed all that was in his power according to the books of the chief priests. Recollecting, however, the opinions that were then prevalent, he resolved to proceed with greater caution, and proposed the whole affair to the bishop of the city, whoso name was Innocentius. Preferring the preservation of the city to his own private opinion, he gave them permission to do privately whatever they knew to be convenient. They declared however that what they were able to do would be of no utility, unless the public and customary sacrifices were performed, and unless the senate ascended to the capitol, performing there, and in the different markets of the city, all that was essential. But no person daring to join in the ancient religious ordinances, they dismissed the men who were come from Tuscany, and applied themselves to the endeavouring to appease the Barbarians in the best possible manner.

Emphasis mine. According to Zosimus' account, it didn't even happen! Some source... Sanders-Pehrson in Barbarians and Romans, University of Oklahoma Press 1983 (p.110) claims that "this anecdote may be a pagan fabrication." The Dictionary of Christian Biography (under Alaric), in wikibooks, is similarly sceptical about Innocent's assent, and notes that the story is otherwise well-attested (is it? Does anyone know?); other than that, I can only find sources relating to Pope Zosimus, who, funnily enough, succeeds Innocent I.

This legend reappears on the page about that Pope, again unsourced, and the Catholic Encyclopaedia article used as a primary source makes no mention of it! In fact, it notes his "great zeal for the purity of the Catholic Faith". The article on Innocent I on wiki then returns to what is in the Catholic Encyclopaedia article by asserting that the Pope was outside the city when the supposed permission was given (which raises the question of how it was given when he couldn't get in...). Curiouser and curiouser. As such, I'm deleting the comment for now from both articles, since it is unsourced, and doesn't sound terribly in-character, given the Catholic Encyclopaedia article. IMO it's too odd to go unsourced. If you feel otherwise please un-delete, but I would like an explanation of your reasoning here, please, or a source listed. I shall attach this comment to the Innocent I discussion page, too, for clarity. 87.115.1.57 (talk) 01:25, 13 August 2009 (UTC)Khenty-khety