Did I ever tell you about the Michael Line? There are five ancient monasteries dedicated to St Michael the Archangel spread across Europe. Starting from the East, Skellig Michael off the coast or Ireland, then St Michael’s Mount, off the coast of Cornwall in England. Then the greatest of them, Mont St Michel, off the coast of Normandy in France. Then in the Italian Alps, Sacra St Michele, then on the ‘heel of the boot’ in Italy, Monte Gargano, otherwise known as Monte Archangelo.
All five are in an exact geographical straight line, and if you extend the line eastward it goes through Athens to Jerusalem. I had the line checked by a satellite cartographer. Not only is the line straight, but it only varies over that vast distance by about 15 miles off the dot, and it allows for the curvature of the earth. Each of the monasteries is very ancient and all have legends of being founded and placed where they were because of visions of the Archangel Michael.
So what is one to make of such esoterica? Well, I’m intrigued by it. I realize that some people can go off the deep end and become so fascinated by odd things that they become odd themselves (or perhaps they were odd already and so became intrigued by odd things) The experts in medieval cartography say medieval people couldn’t have come up with such a thing. Others point out that Christian worship sites were often situated on the sites of former pagan sites and there are some churches in France on hilltops dedicated to ‘St Michel de Mercure’ thus linking St Michael with the winged pagan god Mercury.
For me it remains a mystery simply proving that there are more things in the world than our techno scientific brains have accounted for, and that medieval people (and ancient people too) were smarter than we give them credit for–they were just smarter about different stuff–and that I prefer that kind of smart to the techno science smart of our day.
But in saying that I’m not giving my iPhone to nobody…