The death of John the Baptist and the miracles of his head.

Aiged Eoin Baisti 7 Mirbuili a chind andso
Yellow Book of Lecan

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by Erik Stohellou
© Erik Stohellou - 2011

There was an evil and ruthless king in the eastearn world, viz Herod, the son of Antipater, and it is through him that John the Baptist was killed, and here's why this wonderful young believer was put to death, namely: (there was) a noble judge, who lived during the reign of Herod, who, to everyone, made a fair trial, and thus he restored peace because he told justice and law. Viz, Philip was his name, and his ruptation and his success were great. The name of the city where he lived was Ardargais. Then he fell ill, and in a short time, he died. He had a beautiful and look shapely woman. Nowhere in the world was her peer for the grace and the perfection of his body and his face, his beautiful eloquence and skill. And Herod felt a great affection for her when her husband himself was still alive, viz the judge Philipp. And if the man had not been so powerful, he would often had tried to forcibly kidnap her. But now (the events were:) as the king of Ashkelon, viz Philip, son of Antipater, viz the brother of Herod, had learned that Herodias, that is, the wife of Philip, in widow's seclusion lived, he hurried with a retinue in the city where Herodias was, took her with him and they were long in the state of sin.

In the heart of Herod crept a strong and violent jealousy and an unbearable rage because the only woman he loved in the world, was torn by his own brother, and he could not turn away, so great was his love, although his Brother possessed her. Then the king assembled a large retinue and went to Askalon, just like if it were on a royal tour - until he came to the city of his brother. Philipp rose to his brother, gave him a kiss, welcomed him and gave him a house to settle. He had him installed with dignity and Herod was given food and drink until he had had enough. Then when the meal was over, he got up full of affliction and with him many of his soldiers, armed and prepared. Viz, he had given them command. In this crew, he made the way to the house in which Philip and Herodias were. And Herod trembling (with rage) had no other weapon that a large whip. When he was inside, he sat in a high and beautiful chair (illuminated) by gold and (based) on its columns. Philip was there, and Herodias at his side. Herod was shaken by the anger of the head to foot, he raised his hand and dealt a ruthless blow on the head of Philip with the whip which he had with him. Then he leapt from the chair, hastened to the side of Herodias, and kissed her. The bed of his brother was prepared for him and he took the wife of his brother and spent the night with her. The next morning, he took her home with him, and then she lived with him and loved him more. When John the Baptist, the son of Zacharias, had heard that, he found it shameful that the sinful woman was staying with Herod. For, between John the Baptist and Herod there were close relations. Viz Casanntra, daughter of Gomer, was the mother of Herod and Philip, and Elizabeth, daughter of Gomer, was the mother of John the Baptist. And he commanded him to leave this woman, and would often come to him to say that. And she is the sinner first ever publicly decried in the world. He, John, however, was the first martyr and the first pilgrim, the first monk and the first true believer of Christianity. A prophet amongst the prophets was that man and a pilgrim among pilgrims, a pastor among pastors, pure among the pure and an apostle among the apostles. For the Lord had given him a sublime testimony when he said: "There is not in the world a son born of a woman, as great as John the Baptist."

Herod then came (to Judah), and there was a banquet hosted by him. Herodias had two daughters, viz. Sailiusa and Neptis were their names. One of the two (excelled) in singing and playing pipe, and she provided great music, namely Neptis, the other on the other hand [escelled] in feats of skill, jumps and dance. Herod had them come to him so that they serve in the exercise of their art, which reveled in the spirit and meaning of the nobles and princes of the kingdom throughout the house. The maidens said they would not exercise their craft, unless they were granted what they choose as a reward. This the king promised them, and they engaged his word by the testimony of the nobility present so that he satisfied the obligation imposed on him. And Herod consented to this, as they ordered themselves. So now they executed wonderful tricks, beautiful and difficult. And the nobles of the house praised those very arts which they operated. When they had finally completed their demonstrations, they went where their mother was, viz Herod's wife, to get advice about the claim they should ask the king to the king. "Request the head of John the Baptist," said the queen, "and do not accept any proposal other than that, and it will be brought to you a wide dish!"

The maidens returned to Herod and demanded the head of John the Baptist. This seemed terrible to Herod. He says he would rather give them the greatest part of his kingdom and his land, "rather than the head that you claim." And they would have none, but as he had pledged his royal word for them, he gave them that John was beheaded. And so John the Baptist was beheaded. And the head was presented on a large dish that held a woman on her head. And if it is true, no one was found to decapitate him, until finally, Mog Ruith, the Irishman, do it for a reward. And that is what brought cold, famine and disease on all Irish. However, Herod was worried because he was afraid of the People because of his crime: having beheaded John. Then the head was brought to Herodias. And John's disciples asked for the body, that it be endowed. He was handed over to them. He was buried with full honors. Meanwhile, the head was buried by Herodias, without the disciples and friends, John had, are informed.

Now two holy monks came to Jerusalem from the Eastern world. It was a different period, and a long time had passed. There they wanted to fast in honor of the Lord. On the way, they met an angel who told them: "There is a house in Jerusalem, and there is the head of John the Baptist, and I want to show you where it is, take it out and away with you." The monks came to Jerusalem and they went to the place that the angel told them. They dug up the head. And when the head was still on the body, it did not have better color and form, as at that hour. And they put it in the bag they had to take it in their home country. When the monks were on the way of the land of their fathers, another man came to them on the road, viz a good blacksmith artist, which had left his own native land, driven on the road because he was in the need. The monks made him carry the bag in which was the head of John on his head. The monks stopped in another city that was on the way, and they stayed there overnight. That night, John the Baptist appeared to the blacksmith and he spoke: "I am John the Baptist," he said, "and my head is in the bag that is near you. Arise," he said, "and left the monks and takes the head. And I will provide food and clothing." The blacksmith stood up, left the monks and took the bag, in which the head was. He arrived in a city called Insena. And there he lived a long time. And in this city, he came to high honor, and they loved him and they had faith in him. Then the blacksmith fashioned a golden shrine for the head and to put a lock, a bolt and a closing. But then, the blacksmith died after that and left his fortune to his sister, a devout widow. Then, the woman also died and left the shrine, in her last will, to his heir. Then, however, another man, named Eodraissinus, received the shrine in which was the head. And then he accomplished many wonderful miracles through the grace of the head he had. Through it, diseases and epidemics were healed in the people. Then the wonders and miracles of John the Baptist became notorious. When the man became so famous, he was expelled from the region. There, a saint came to his place in the house where he had lived. This man was called Marsellus. And inside was the Head of John the Baptist hidden in the earth. John appeared at night to Marsellus and revealed that the head was in the ground and told him the location, and said it should be removed.

When Marsellus heard this, he informed Lubrabanus, viz the bishop. It was the leader of the city of Emisena. They went together, along with the population of the city, and remove the head of John from the cavity and psalms and hymns were sung in honor of John. And all praised him, because they saw all the miracles that made every day the head of the pure and the martyr, viz the head of John the Baptist. A prayer for Mc. Firbisich who wrote himself this book, and after his son him. Finit.

© Erik Stohellou - 2011
Sources : Käte Müller-Lisowski, Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 14