There is just so much terrible information on the internet that it becomes depressing wading through it all. This past week, for example, Ancient Origins ran a crappy article claiming that the mythic founder of Rome, Romulus, was a real person and thus speculating on how he really died. There is no evidence that Romulus ever lived, so the recounting of various ancient explanations for his death offer no proof of life, only testimony to the ancients’ penchant for inventing details to flesh out the lives of fictional characters.
But much worse was an article from the same author, Valda Roric, alleging the existence of a medieval myth of a Black Knight of Neutrality, one who happens to be a Sith Lord. Yes, a Sith, the made-up evil order of dark Star Wars villains. The author alleges that there was a secret order of Black Knights that emerged in the eighth century under the name of Sith and spent the Middle Ages as mercenaries. While the name “Black Knight” was occasionally used in early literature (often to refer to Moors), the phrase is most closely associated with two fictional works: the Black Knight from Ivanhoe, written in the 1800s, and the “black Knight” from The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia, written in the late 1500s.
According to Roric, the Sith knight encountered a force of “neutrality,” separating good and evil, known as Il Separatio (Italian for “The Separation” despite being a Latin text).
But Roric’s piece just gets weirder as it badly summarizes a poorly translated blog post from 2012 alleging to be an abstract of an early modern Latin philosophical document called the Codex Lugubrum (c. 1535), which is said to exist only in a single manuscript owned by Codrin Ştefănescu, a Romanian politician with a special interest in medieval Romanian demonology. This man, in turn, became associated with the text in online discussions after claiming in 2009 to have seen angels. (See comments here.)
The 2012 post appears to be a word-for-word translation of this one in Romanian from 2011, which imagines that the allegory is somehow anomalous medieval knowledge of quantum astrophysics. (Don’t ask; it involves binary code symbolized by good and evil, and it degenerates into the worst sort of Deepak Chopra-style pseudo-profound quantum nonsense with a dash of DNA contrivance.). The same text was also discussed on an alchemical forum slightly earlier. Someone trying to defend the existence of the text posted low resolution photos of the alleged Codex only to have the distinctive frontispiece reveal it to be the D. Hilarii Pictauorum episcopi Lucubrationes quotquot extant: olim per Des. Erasmum Roterod. haud mediocribus sudoribus emendateanno, Erasmus’ edition of St. Hilary of Poitiers’ works, in which the story does not appear, so far as I know.
Perhaps intriguingly, the seemingly irrelevant addition of quantum physics to the story is actually present in the oldest reference I can find, from a 2010 Romanian discussion forum posting in which the Codex is cited as containing secret truths about Enoch, the Watchers, and the Nephilim (but of course!) that reveal the truth about the quantum state of the universe and how subatomic particles are involved in ceremonial magic.
I have no way of knowing whether a real manuscript exists—it’s not impossible that there was an allegorical text about a force that separates good and evil, but neither has anyone provided evidence that (a) the text exists or (b) that it refers to any historical truth. If real, it would join other early modern allegorical works that have no basis in fact. However, the weird growth of the story suggests a hoax originating in Romanian political culture.
What’s interesting is that Roric seems to have poorly understood the alleged contents of the Codex Lugubrum, eliminated any references to specific texts, and filled in uncertain details with Star Wars myths. The original blog post made clear that it was a fictitious allegory, but our Ancient Origins writer, apparently hearing the story secondhand, misunderstood it as real. Roric has also interpolated into it the name “Ashor,” which doesn’t appear in the 2011/2012 versions, where the character’s name is Amantes. I’ll be damned if I can figure out how Roric’s changes came about, though the story is clearly the one from the 2011 discussions, albeit in slightly altered form.
12/1/2015 04:28:24 pm
You forgot about the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.....
12/1/2015 04:42:26 pm
Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, suckled by a she-wolf. I know what happened to them, they were abducted by Aliens from star system Sirius. They then returned to earth in the nineteen twenties as Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy.
An Over-Educated Grunt
12/1/2015 05:09:39 pm
A Sith lord? Really? The force of Neutrality?
12/1/2015 06:16:24 pm
EVER HEARD OF THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE?
An Over-Educated Grunt
12/1/2015 07:24:36 pm
And if you knew what you were talking about you'd recognize that the wars of religion fractured the HRE badly, and that Swiss independence as a de facto matter existed from the 1530s and a de jure matter from the Treaty of Westphalia. Even more, you'd recognize that being a member of a larger polity, especially one with such tenuous central control as the HRE during its Spanish phase, does not eliminate the fact of local government. By your argument no UN member is a real nation today, no state in the US has its own government, there is no Scottish parliament... especially in an age where the fastest communication is by pigeon, what the center orders and what happens at the edge are two different things.
12/1/2015 07:43:17 pm
HRE was over the Cantons of Switzerland
12/1/2015 07:46:27 pm
And Cromwell's Lord Protectorship only lasted the duration of his lifetime because society back then did not know what to replace Kingship with. Democratic rule by elections had not yet been defined and had to wait a considerable period of time for that to be worked out, long time after the deposition of James II,
12/1/2015 07:51:12 pm
When Charles I was decapitated Cromwell did not introduce the Cult of Reason or the worship of the Supreme Being in England as was the case during the French Revolution, because there was no Freemasonry in existence during Cromwell's lifetime. However, it is interesting that United Grand Lodge of England got going after the deposition of James II, and that his son, Bonnie Prince Charlie, had a Roman Catholic version of Freemasonry to rival UGLE until it was proscribed by the Vatican.
An Over-Educated Grunt
12/1/2015 07:59:04 pm
Uh huh. Multiple back to back posts separated by minutes. Posts in all caps. No substantive response to content. But I'm the one ranting. That's nice.
12/1/2015 08:35:54 pm
You don't give the full information, it's true that the Cantons of Switzerland successfully broke away from the HRE, but it's society was split between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, and everything was in a state of flux and reflux, The first president of the Swiss Confederation was Jonas Furrer, 1848-1849.
12/1/2015 11:58:07 pm
I like the way some people discuss the murder of Roberto Calvi without mentioning P2.
12/2/2015 02:54:10 pm
Hey, GIGO! Shakespeare's Julius Ceaser, referencing the Roman Senate--you know, the ELECTED GOVERNING BODY of Rome--was written in the year Cromwell was born. It includes references to the selling of votes for Senate seats.
12/2/2015 03:32:35 pm
Yeah, even Plato predates Cromwell
12/2/2015 03:35:15 pm
>>>American Revolution took place BEFORE the French Revolution
12/2/2015 03:36:37 pm
>>>American Revolution took place BEFORE the French Revolution
12/1/2015 06:18:57 pm
Grunt, if I were you, I'd listen to Time Machine. What he just said certainly sounds germane and not at all shoehorned into the conversation.
12/1/2015 06:26:22 pm
LOL - Grunt missed that bit out of his rants.
12/1/2015 11:49:09 pm
Sorry, Shane. It looks like someone is incapable of understanding sarcasm. Better luck next time.
12/2/2015 01:13:01 am
Aww, rats. =P
12/2/2015 05:46:27 am
Appropriate word. Rats...
12/1/2015 05:56:44 pm
One of the comments on Ştefănescu's YouTube video "Legenda Cavalerilor Negri - partea 4 /4"
12/1/2015 06:05:21 pm
So he seems to really be the origin of this conspiracy theory. How weird. It must make more sense in Romania than it does here. Also: Romania has an all-conspiracy show featuring members of their parliament?
12/1/2015 11:40:33 pm
Star Wars and Star Trek meet in a weird parallel universe where it's like Rome or something, but there are Watcher aliens there and dark knights, and even Batman. This is a fun piece.
12/2/2015 02:44:22 am
Well, it did happen a long time ago, in a... place... moderately far away.
12/2/2015 09:48:41 am
As I recall, on Star Trek Mr.Spock's evil twin had a beard.
12/2/2015 11:50:38 am
>>>Mr.Spock's evil twin had a beard
12/2/2015 04:04:28 pm
"Il Separatio" asserts its presence in the "final frontier...boldly going where no force has gone before". (paraphrasing, of course)
12/5/2015 09:51:28 am
Colavito shows his illustrious idiocy in this article. That article at AO clearly states " a series of legends" yet he writes as if the author was claiming historical fact.
12/5/2015 04:39:49 pm
Obvious Ancient Origins shill is obvious.
12/7/2015 06:09:17 pm
"A series of legends" that has no existence outside one single point source, and has no notable historical references (say, the names of various kings, the locations, etc.) but plenty of modern ones (Sith, "the system", even D&D alignments)? Sorry, legends need to be better attested than that. And ad hominem attacks only display the level of knowledge of the attacker, not the target.
12/7/2015 06:27:12 pm
Re: "... society back then did not know what to replace Kingship with..."
12/30/2015 06:59:21 am
Ok, I have never been here before so I don't know exactly if you are being sarcastic or if the author changed the article after the fact, but I didn't see nary one mention of any Sith.. It just relates the story as I have read it every where now.. Hoax or not, it's a great story.. but your article is the first I read of Sith Lords..
1/13/2016 08:14:27 am
They seem to have deleted the reference to "Sith" now. Any chance you could write an update covering this and anything else you've found since, including the new article:
2/6/2016 01:03:23 pm
A link to see the Codex Lugubrum:
8/16/2020 04:29:27 pm
Where's that "sith" part you mentioned? Reading the referenced article, I don't see any mention of anything Star Wars related at all. Has it perhaps been changed in these past five years?
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
Enter your email below to subscribe to my newsletter for updates on my latest projects, blog posts, and activities, and subscribe to Culture & Curiosities, my Substack newsletter.
Terms & Conditions
Please read all applicable terms and conditions before posting a comment on this blog. Posting a comment constitutes your agreement to abide by the terms and conditions linked herein.