The commisars of "orthodox" history are constantly working to debunk any talk of the Templars having a hidden agenda or an esoteric component. To them the Templars were just another powerful order of warrior monks, no different than the Hospitalers or the Teutonic Knights.
All of this falls apart when you study the history of the order itself.
Far from being fanatical holy warriors, the Templars fought against the Saracens when it suited them, and sought separate peaces when it didn't. Their original mandate-- to protect pilgrims on the way to Jerusalem-- doesn't make much sense when you realize there were only nine of them at the outset.
They set up camp in the ruins of Solomon's Temple-- a Phoenician artifact as much as a Jewish one-- and set about excavating for hidden tunnels and treasure. Their seals were filled with pre-Christian iconography. Even given the widespread use of torture, their confessions of heresy were too widespread and consistent to totally rule them out.
There was a parallel belief system at work, which is hardly surprising given how their pagan Norman predecessors didn't take too well to the violent imposition of what they saw as a weak and degenerate foreign religion. And the Templars' vast, elaborate and stunningly modern banking system certainly put the lie to the "Poor Knights" part of their name.
And then there's the whole thing of rebuilding the Phoenician Empire under the Templar flag. You know, that.
It seems obvious that the Knights Templar were created to complete the work started by the Normans and their Venetian partners. The Templars seemed to be created to extend the reach of the Normans into places they could not reach without the blessing of the ecclesiastical authorities. It's obvious that the Normans were following the path of the ancient Phoenicians. Under the Templar flag, Norman boots are planted in the very heart of Phoenicia itself-- Tyre, Sidon, Tripoli.
Sicily, Cyprus, Malta, Antioch, and Carthage-- Phoenician colonies all-- were put under the Norman and/or Templar flag, as well as former Phoenician spheres of influence like southern Spain and Lebanon, the western and eastern borders of Phoenician power. And the ruthless Venetian campaign to control maritime trade in Italy seems like nothing less than a conquest of an old enemy, a settling of a very old debt. Which makes no sense if we believe that Venice was ruled by Italians and perfect sense if believe that Venice was ruled by Hellenized Phoenicians who rose to power in Rome with the Syrian Emperors.
What is certain is that the Knights Templar became what the Phoenicians had been, and what the Normans themselves could not. They became a stateless state, an international corporation with a powerful navy and army with vast holdings and an financial system in place that bears an uncanny similiarity to our own. Predictably, the wealth, power and cosmopolitanism of the Templars aroused the same envy and resentment that the Phoenicians had and the Knights too ended up slandered, slaughtered and dispersed. Game over.
Or so we're told.
But the Templars may well have followed in ancient footsteps yet again. The Capetian dynasty that engineered the Templars' downfall was widely despised all across Europe and rumors had it that the Pope himself had deep misgivings as to the crusade leveled against the Templars.
Many knights outside France were allowed to slip quietly into other orders or simply change the Templar name and remain intact. In Portugal the Templars simply changed their name to the "Order of Christ" and offered their formidable navy to the crown, essentially kick-starting the vast and far-reaching Portuguese Empire.
No surprise then that the ancient Phoenician Mysteries of Dionysus were reborn as Carnival in the heart of the Portuguese Empire in the New World, drawing in elements from Africa and Mesoamerica-- lands well known to the Phoenicians. I might add that Venice was also a hotspot for the Carnival Bacchanalia, starting in the Renaissance.
And then there's England. The British Isles were the northern frontier of Phoenician influence, mostly due to the tin trade. But wherever Phoenicians went, esoteric religion followed. And while mainstream Phoenician society seemed to follow the traditional Sumerian-derived Asiatic pantheon (if not in an gradually Greco-Egyptianized form) there seems to have been a very powerful esoteric stream in Phoenician culture, one that continues to resonate to this day (Saul of Tarsus --a Phoenician-stronghold-- had his conversion experience on the road to Damascus, capital of Phoenicia Secunda). And Phoenician religious symbolism was well known to the Templars.
As it was to the Druids. As we saw in a previous installment, no less a figure than American founding father Thomas Paine traced Freemasonry back beyond the Templars to the Druids, who he argued were nothing less than a branch of the Heliopolitan priesthood (the Heliopolis of Egypt, not Phoenicia which we'll get to). But the distinctions may not be very important.
The Druids combined the functions of the priest, the magistrate, the scholar, and the physician. They stood to the people of the Celtic tribes ina relation closely analogous to that in which the Brahmans of India, the Magi of Persia, and the priests of the Egyptians stood to the people respectively by whom they were revered.
The Druids taught the existence of one god, to whom they gave a name "Be'al," which Celtic antiquaries tell us means "the life of every thing," or "the source of all beings," and which seems to have affinity with the Phoenician Baal.
What renders this affinity more striking is that the Druids as well as the Phoenicians identified this, their supreme deity, with the Sun. Fire was regarded as a symbol of the divinity. --Age Of Fable, Or Beauties Of Mythology by Thomas Bulfinch
Maritime empires and sun worship are the common denominators in this story, as are historical mysteries, Mystery religions and hidden power. The rise of Phoenicia coincides with the marauding Sea People, a mysterious band of pirates who storm through the Mediterranean basin and lay waste to the existing powers, yet leave Phoenicia alone.
In doing so they clear the way for Phoenicia's astonishing rise to power.
As if by design.
Given the immense importance the Phoenicians gave to the Pillars of Hercules, it may be that the Pillars play an important part in their essential identity. And part of this has to do with the eternal quest for the lost city-state of Atlantis, which could be the link between the Phoenicians of Asia Minor and the later maritime powers of northern Europe:
And it was the Phoenicians who brought Atlantean religion and culture to the ancient world. Sanchoniathon claims that the learning of Egypt, Greece, and Judæa was derived from the Phoenicians. It would appear probable that, while other races represent the conquests or colonizations of Atlantis, the Phoenicians succeeded to their arts, sciences, and especially their commercial supremacy.— Ignatius Donnelly, Atlantis: the Antediluvian WorldModern commisars may scoff, but ancient historians took Atlantis very seriously. And there's no shortage of scientists who never got the memo that Atlantis is just a "myth." A lot of people have spent a lot of money looking for this "myth," with many focusing their attention around the Pillars:
Dr Kuehne noticed that the war between Atlantis and the eastern Mediterranean described in Plato's writings closely resembled attacks on Egypt, Cyprus and the Levant during the 12th Century BC by mysterious raiders known as the Sea People. As a result, he proposes that the Atlanteans and the Sea People were in fact one and the same.And if Paine linked Christianity and Freemasonry back to Druidic sun worship, Donnelly took it a step further and traced Druidic sun worship back to Atlantis:
This dating would equate the city and society of Atlantis with either the Iron Age Tartessos culture of southern Spain or another, unknown, Bronze Age culture. A link between Atlantis and Tartessos was first proposed in the early 20th Century.
It appears, as another confirmation of the theory of the Atlantis origin of these colonies, that their original religion was sun-worship; this, as was the case in other countries, became subsequently overlaid with idol-worship. In the reign of King Tighernmas the worship of idols was introduced. The priests constituted the Order of Druids. Naturally many analogies have been found to exist between the beliefs and customs of the Druids and the other religions which were drawn from Atlantis. We have seen in the chapter on sun-worship how extensive this form of religion was in the Atlantean days, both in Europe and America.The Druids would be defeated by the Roman Church, or absorbed into it, depending on your reading of history. If Paine is to be believed and Freemasonry was indeed a Druidic revival, should we be surprised that one of the key figures in this revival sought to revive Atlantis as well. I'll hand the baton to Manly P. Hall, who introduced us to this figure in The Secret Teachings of All Ages:
Father of modern science, remodeler of modern law, editor of the modem Bible, patron of modem democracy, and one of the founders of modern Freemasonry, Sir Francis Bacon was a man of many aims and purposes. He was a Rosicrucian, some have intimated the Rosicrucian. If not actually the Illustrious Father C.R.C. referred to in the Rosicrucian manifestoes, he was certainly a high initiate of the Rosicrucian Order, and it is his activities in connection with this secret body that are of prime importance to students of symbolism, philosophy, and literature.Hall believed that Bacon-- the ultimate polymath-- understood that the Mysteries were defeated by Constantine but the Mysteries had stowed away deep in the heart of the new state cult and were waiting for some genius to come along and liberate them:
Though Christianity shattered the material organization of the pagan Mysteries, it could not destroy the knowledge of supernatural power which the pagans possessed. Therefore it is known that the Mysteries of Greece and Egypt were secretly perpetuated through the early centuries of the church, and later, by being clothed in the symbolism of Christianity, were accepted as elements of that faith.Hall summons imagery which would be familiar to all of these lost, sea-faring seekers, whether Atlantean, Phoenician, Norman or Templar:
Sir Francis Bacon was one of those who had been entrusted with the perpetuation and dissemination of the arcana of the superphysical originally in the possession of the pagan hierophants, and to attain that end either formulated the Fraternity of R.C. or was admitted into an organization already existing under that name and became one of its principal representatives.
The cryptic writings of Francis Bacon constitute one of the most powerful tangible elements in the mysteries of transcendentalism and symbolic philosophy. Apparently many years must yet pass before an uncomprehending world will appreciate the transcending genius of that mysterious man who wrote the Novum Organum, who sailed his little ship far out into the unexplored sea of learning through the Pillars of Hercules, and whose ideals for a new civilization are magnificently expressed in the Utopian dream of The New Atlantis.Bacon's dreams for a enlightened new world -- or at least for the USA-- seem farther away than ever, as the "New Atlantis" sinks into the Medieval muck of the New World Order. But before we get too ahead of ourselves, our next installment will backtrack to the ancient world and explore how the Phoenicians- or at least a significant minority within that nation-- seem to have created the esoteric traditions that the Templars and the Rosicrucians drew upon.
There are very good reasons for why the Phoenicians alone could have created these alternative, syncretic and initiatory systems. The Mystery religions and Gnosticism later were an expression of a restless people with a very, very, very long memory.
A memory of a time when men walked with gods...
TO BE CONTINUED