AVARICE

Raja, giver of almsSo what’s this about the seven deadly sins?

During the 1300s, at the very beginning of the Renaissance, European artists celebrated these sins, thereby gaining popularity in a culture governed by the Church. Allegories depicted each sin as an animal:

Greed (or avarice)…toad
Gluttony…pig
Lust…goat
Sloth…snail
Wrath…lion
Envy…snake
Pride…peacock

Now I understand my fondness for goats, aside from being born during the Year of the Goat. And when it tastes good, I’m going to lustfully eat all that I can. If we didn’t possess these sins, what would there be to write about?

And who would want to read what you wrote?

Greedily I lusted for her, sheltered in the slothful luxuriance of her arms, my envy a snake seeking her darkest pit, filled with gluttonous desire as her arc-ing shadow embraced me, consumed by the wrath of a lion, furiously turquoise, then fiery pink with passion; proud as a Peacock am I! Well…it seemed like a good blurb at the time.

Also posited are the corresponding virtues: charity, temperance, chastity, diligence, patience, kindness, and humility. Case closed.

Avarice: ahhh, avarice.

Throughout history, almsgiving has been with us, a tradition of religious cultures everywhere. An ecclesiastic, gorgeously attired in flowing robes of maroon and gold, swept down the aisle of the Renaissance Church, waving an Alms bag of embroidered purple, and thundering, Radix malorum est cupiditas! radix malorum est cupiditas! radix malorum est cupiditas! as the poor, overwhelmed by the mysterious words of the Holy tongue, under the spell of the Church, dropped coins into the bag. Radix malorum est cupiditas! radix malorum est cupiditas!

History has taught us well:

Long after other sins are old, avarice remains young.

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