I swear, by the time I’m done with Ioudas, I’ll have become some form of biblical scholar just from the random research I’ve done, both out of necessity and for my own amusement regardless of what direction I am taking the plot at any given moment.
Take this week, for example. While there’s been the usual slew of Judas-related conspiracy theories (my personal favorite so far has been that Judas is actually some kind of celestial and/or alien being, sent by Evil Alien Overlords (TM) to prevent our ascension to higher thinking by destroying our Messiah. He’s due back any day now, in the form of the Great Beast of Revelations. It’s really hard to take any of this stuff seriously, folks.) and who knows how many “Mary Magdalene is the Holy Grail, I know it because I saw The DaVinci Code!” pages, I’ve been dredging up all kinds of fun stuff about the Lance of Longinus.
Yeah. That thing. The Lancea Sanctum, the Holy Pilum, the Spear of Destiny, all that rot. For those not up on their Christian mythology, it’s supposedly the spear of a centurion that pierced the side of Jesus to check if he was dead or not (and thus finish him off and end his suffering, if he wasn’t.) Fun side note: The centurion who did this (ostensibly Longinus, sometimes Cassius, sometimes Cassius Longinus and sometimes “Some dude who drew a bad detail that day”) was both converted to Christianity and redeemed for his action (as his piercing proved Christ’s divinity) but was either rendered blind or turned into a vampire or both (for daring to harm the Holy One. Despite the fact that He was supposedly already dead at that point.) As always, the way necessary and/or preordained actions are “rewarded” in certain religions baffles me.
Now, I’m sure most of you have heard the tales that claim Hitler laid hands on the thing, and that when it was removed from his possession (either by disloyal Nazis, U.S. or other Allied forces, the Will of God (TM) or just plain bad luck), it led to his falling fortunes, eventual defeat and suicide. Other, similar stories claim Austria had possession of it for a while; the U.S. supposedly has it in Warehouse 13 or buried beneath the White House (and potentially has recently lost it, leading to our supposedly forthcoming downfall), etc, etc. Supposedly possession of the Lancea Sanctum makes one invincible, unconquerable and grants the favor of the One True God in all your endeavors.
Some “scholars” of the subject, on the other hand, point out that all traceable (or purported) locations of the Spear have had more than their share of bad luck. Rome? Fell. Judea? Hundreds of years of domination and civil war. Austria? Assassinations and puppet rulers aplenty. Germany? Turns into a psychotic, world-domineering, genocide-minded military state that ends up falling apart. They state the exact opposite of conventional wisdom is true; that possession of the Spear brings down the wrath of God upon the possessors.
But after dredging through all that, I found some even more entertaining stories. I thought I’d share my personal favorite. Supposedly, at the dawn of time, Adam was supposed to be tending the Garden of Eden. Of course, being a mere mortal man and probably no more than five-eight or so, he’d have needed tools to get the fruit and dead branches off of the tall trees that likely dotted the place. So God gave him the first pruning fork. Adam, in turn, passed it on to Cain, who used it with reverence and glee, until that day he got a bug up his butt about Abel.
So, the story goes, Cain went and shaved down the flat edge of that pruning hook, creating a point, and used that to kill Abel. Now Cain’s not just the first murderer (and, according to some, the first city-builder), he’s also the first blacksmith, the first weaponsmith, and the first person to discover that lawn darts is only fun and games until someone needs an emergency room.
Then, Adam takes the weapon and enshrines it in memoriam of his dead child, wherein it gets passed to Seth, then to Seth’s children and so on. After being used to assassinate a couple of other biblical worthies, it somehow falls into the hands of the Philistines, who arm their greatest warrior, Goliath, with it. Apparently prehistorical murder weapons don’t fare so well against rocks, however; David ganks that mighty warrior and claims the spear for himself. Then it disappears for a while, to resurface during the Roman occupation, where the Romans say “Hey, look at this cool spear! Let’s use it for ceremonial purposes!” and add a few embellishments, then start passing it around ceremonial postings like a piece of candy, when it eventually lands in the hands of our buddy Longinus (or Cassius. Or Bob.) since he’s apparently some kind of herald and overseer, not just the centurion who happens to be guarding Golgotha that day.
Now, I don’t necessarily believe that such a thing is true (I apologize to the religious out there, but while I accept that most of the individuals in this little drama probably did exist in one form or another, I have great difficulty believing that God handed down a celestial tree-cutter, that it got turned into a spear, that it was used for the first murder, and then got passed around for a couple thousand years until it landed in the right place to stab a half-divine entity, at which point it entered the cosmic whirl-go-round and continues to exist as an object of power today), but it certainly has interesting implications and mythology to mine for details when writing a story that can essentially be summed up as “He’s the immortal betrayer of Christ! She’s an immortal hooker who loved him! Together, they fight monsters!”
Anyway. All of that said, I just thought some of that was amusing. Maybe not as amusing as the time-traveling alien Judas who’s also the Antichrist, but hey. I’ll take what I can get.
And now I have to go write some more backstory chapters, since I think I’m going to use this “Spear of Destiny has always existed” story.