Friday, April 18, 2014

The Mallorcan Book Of Revelation

Islands and revelations have historical form. John, possibly the Apostle John or possibly not, was on a small Greek island - Patmos - when the vision came to him from Jesus. Included in the Book of Revelation is the Second Coming, which seems an appropriate concept to mention on a Good Friday but which is purely incidental to today's theme. There is a cast list of characters as well, among whom are the famous - the four horsemen, the false prophet and the whore of Babylon - and those whose renown has been less engrained into everyday culture. Sometimes considered the work of a madman, the purpose of Revelation continues to be debated. It may indeed have been a vision of the fall of the Roman Empire, but there again, maybe it wasn't.

On a different island - Mallorca - the Roman Empire had arrived a couple of centuries before John had gone island-hopping in the Aegean in the hope of receiving a vision. The Romans took a fancy to Alcúdia. Not that they called it Alcúdia of course. It was Pollentia and it was the most important settlement on Mallorca; initially more important than the one in the south, i.e. Palma. There is some evidence of a mini-settlement along the coast from where the minor port of Pollentia was established (somewhere around the Barcares region of Alcúdia; no one really knows precisely where). The Romans may have had something going on in Puerto Pollensa as well, but whatever it was, it was peripheral to the main story of Pollentia as also is evidence of the Romans in Crestatx.

Had things panned out differently, we would now be referring to Alcúdia as the capital of Mallorca and of the Balearics. It would be a modestly sized city in the same way as Palma is of modest size (relatively speaking for a capital). But things didn't pan out differently. The Romans bequeathed a small town and, by the by, another one along the coast.

Mallorca, which has been described as being like Sicily without the guns, is littered with its small towns and its small-town mentalities. It is an island of historical feuds and vendettas that once rendered Mallorca all but lawless. Feuds still exist, but their precise backgrounds are often the stuff of folklore rather than established fact. Determining what is the truth is not easy. Writing a Mallorcan Book of Revelations, revealing the truth of what goes on in small-town Mallorca would be nigh on impossible. It would also be a decidedly dodgy thing to do. Oral histories of the backgrounds to feuds are one thing. Putting them into print is another one entirely.

Of course, there are plenty of people who know of these revelations and who act accordingly. Not by open feuding but by turning their backs. Or sometimes by resorting to the courts. There are plenty of people who don't know, though, and it is this which sticks in the throats of many. I know only the half of these revelations, but I am convinced of their truths when, as has happened recently, I say to someone who could reveal a great deal himself, that there are people who I wouldn't waste my shit on. (And I was referring mainly to Alcúdia, though not exclusively.) It is the response which tells all. He reels off some names. Yes, yes and yes.

There wouldn't be a Book of Revelation for very good reasons. A shame as it would make for a rollicking good read, which was what, in a Biblical context, John managed back in the day on Patmos. There would be no four horsemen just the conclusion that would make you ask yourself: why would I go here or there now that I know?

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