I managed to injure my wrist shoveling heavy, wet snow yesterday, so it is a little difficult for me to type today. As a result, I am going to (try to) be brief. In Ancient Origins this week, eco-apocalyptic thinker Lucy Wyatt tries to make an argument about why the Knights Templar were interested in the ancient city of Harran, the longtime seat of the Sabians, until rural Muslim militias destroyed their community in the 1030s. Wyatt argues that St. Bernard of Clairvaux and the Knights Templar participated in the Second Crusade in 1145 in order to have a pretext for invading Harran to steal the Sabians’ Hermetic and alchemical secrets, since the Sabians were well-known Hermetic philosophers.
It is important to reflect at this point on what might have been the genuine mission of the Knights Templar. There is no doubt that St Bernard played a key role in creating the cover story that this select group of religiously inspired crusaders existed to protect the routes to Jerusalem. But given the low numbers of Templars, at least to begin with, this explanation does not make sense.
We can dispense with this with a few facts. First, the Sabians were gone in 1145, having been driven out a century earlier and their lunar temple and its sacred relics destroyed. (Later, the traveler Jordanus had only this to say about Harran: “Concerning Aran I say nothing at all, seeing that there is nothing worth noting” [Mirabilis 10, trans. Yule]). Second, there was no secret about Harran to uncover. The Sabians were famous in their day, known across the eastern world as keepers of Hermetic secrets. For centuries, Islamic writers had described them and their secrets, and their “Egyptian” wisdom was so proverbial that their version of astrological paganism became a watchword for any pre-Islamic pagan faith. Their practices, similarly, were not unknown. Here is Al-Dimashqi describing their “secret” rites performed at the Giza pyramids in his Cosmography before 1327:
According to the opinion of the Sabians, one of these pyramids is the tomb of Agathodaemon, identical with the prophet Seth, and the other is that of Hermes or Idris the prophet, whom we have previously mentioned; the colored pyramid belongs to Sāb b. Hermes who gave the name to the Sabians. They make pilgrimages (here) and immolate a rooster, by whose convulsions at the moment of immolation they claim to know that which is hidden about the future. (my trans.)
Al-Maqrizi, however, said that the holocaust of roosters occurred in honor of the Sphinx, not the pyramids. Either way, it doesn’t really matter for our purposes. The point is that this stuff wasn’t a secret and was widely discussed across the Eastern world. The Templars need not have invaded in search of it, since the caliphs made off with whatever secrets there were in their many encounters with the Sabians over the years.
That leads me to Wyatt’s other misrepresentation. Consider this passage discussing how the Sabians maintained their independence after the coming of Islam:
What kept the Sabians safe and allowed them to continue with their practices was a reference to them in the Koran. The Koran acknowledged that the Sabians were of the religion of Noah and therefore accorded them respect. The precariousness of their existence is, however, recorded in the story of the Caliph of Baghdad who passed through Harran in 830 AD.
This is not exactly how the story goes. The Qur’an mentions “Sabians,” but the people of Harran only adopted the name when the caliph told them that they would be destroyed unless they accepted Islam or were “peoples of the book” protected by Allah’s command. So they hired a lawyer who discovered that “Sabians” weren’t defined in the Qur’an. Therefore, they promoted Hermes to the status of their prophet—not because they were, as Wyatt alleges, refugee Egyptian priests preserving Hermetic lore—but because Islam itself recognized Hermes Trismegistus as the Islamic prophet Idris and the Jewish patriarch Enoch. (“The Hebrews say that he is the same as Enoch, which is to say in Arabic, Idris,” as the Persian astrologer Abu Ma’shar wrote around 850 CE.) By having a suitably Islamic prophet and a Qur’anic (if fictitious) name, they out-lawyered the caliph, who had to leave them alone.
Needless to say, Wyatt’s sources are all fringe books, like those of Adrian Gilbert, rather than actual historians, much less primary sources.
11/20/2019 09:26:14 am
Sorry about the way injury, Jason. Take care of your wrist, hope it’s not too serious and you mend quickly.
11/20/2019 09:31:42 am
11/20/2019 01:06:46 pm
You can't prove that they weren't!!!
11/20/2019 06:49:17 pm
Nothing extraordinary. Early crusader period detritus in and below the former stables of Solomon within the hollowed out tunnels, amongst which were found Templar style crosses.
11/20/2019 07:10:33 pm
You'll forgive me for being skeptical. That's the Ancient-origins.net line, therefore suspect, but even they say William of Tyre is not a reliable source on this question.
11/20/2019 07:48:56 pm
You bring up two good points. First, it’s a shame, but because the fringe has essentially co opted the subject of the Templars for their conspiracy theories, any discussion these days about their history or the archaeological research concerning them is tainted by association. I don’t blame you for having Ancient Origins spring to mind. It’s just frustrating and annoying that the conspiracy theorists have glommed onto what is actually a very interesting topic, one that’s fascinating on its own without their fantasies attached.
11/21/2019 05:39:09 am
I don't think Templar specific crosses even existed. The usually claimed Templar Cross is from the Portuguese Knights of Christ and the famous Maltese Cross wasn't adopted by the Hospitlars until after the dissolution of the Templars.
11/21/2019 09:46:18 am
11/21/2019 12:37:07 pm
"There is archaeological evidence that shows
11/21/2019 02:50:39 pm
Joe Scales: “Jason knows that Joe and I are two different people.”
Joe, Americanegro, Kent
11/21/2019 03:21:33 pm
Three very different people, and that's so transparently obvious.
11/21/2019 07:31:46 pm
“Obvious” is the right word.
Jr. Time Lord
11/21/2019 11:01:51 am
11/21/2019 11:47:54 am
Hey Jr. Time Lord. Thanks for responding.
11/24/2019 10:00:16 am
The symbols of the Templars seem to be different that the symbols of The Portuguese Knights of Christ. It looks like the military order of the Knights of Christ was after the expulsion of the Templars. The specific Knights of Christ cross had 45 degree ends on the vertical and horizontal bars and is shown in the new world on carvings at Dighten rock site as well as the recorded symbol of the cross on the fishing ships which were under the control of the Portuguese military.
11/20/2019 07:15:34 pm
Nothing to forgive. I prefer the skeptic way of thinking myself. Personally I loathe Ancient Origins.
Origin of the rubbish
11/21/2019 08:34:58 am
The fantasy crap about the Templars going on an archaeological mission to the Jerusalem Temple originated in 1966 in the book by Jules Charpentier Les mystères de la cathédrale de Chartres
11/21/2019 08:42:40 am
Boring - after all, he was inevitably going to find Templar relics in a place that was occupied by the Templars. This does not support Charpentier's crap.
11/21/2019 09:59:39 am
Exactly, Charles. Hello brother!
Evidence of History
11/21/2019 10:38:01 am
What a load of rubbish - Roman masonry is embedded within the Jerusalem Temple - that means the Templars could not have discovered anything that would previously have been discovered by the Romans before the Templars.
“EVIDENCE FROM HISTORY” DROPS THE BALL
11/21/2019 10:53:21 am
Of course there is Roman masonry in the Temple. You do realize that Romans rebuilt areas of the city that they previously devastated? Not the areas of the Temple we are concerned with here.
Evidence of History
11/21/2019 01:32:16 pm
There was no Ark of the Covenant because there was no Exodus, there were no 10 Commandments on two tablets of stone, there was no crossing of the Red Sea, there was no Mount Sinai. There is only the contrived story in a book called The Bible.
Jerusalem Temple Facts
11/21/2019 01:37:11 pm
The Temple was razed and rebuilt again and again. It was entirely demolished by Titus under Vespasian in 70 AD, and the vaults underneath were altered after that period, Roman masonry being found embedded in later work. The Knights Templar did not, repeat not, find anything astounding to the Church on the site of the Temple, for nothing could have existed there which had not long been discovered before.
11/21/2019 01:37:47 pm
The whole vaulting is Roman
11/21/2019 01:51:00 pm
"The whole vaulting, supported by semicircular arches, is Roman. I consider therefore that the last restoration was made by order of Justinian."
11/21/2019 02:23:21 pm
That's actually a quote by Shimon Gibson from Jerusalem Explored: Being A Description of the Ancient and Mosern City by Ermete Pierotti, Volume 1, 1864 (free googlebooks download)
11/21/2019 02:58:14 pm
Very interesting facts concerning the vaulting’s construction history and what still remains today.
11/21/2019 11:47:05 pm
Evidence of History
11/22/2019 02:47:27 am
All that "ineffable esoteric" crap just does not add up to anything at all - fill the blank in with whatever preferred desired belief.
Jr. Time Lord
11/23/2019 05:17:05 pm
The Ark of the Covenant is the same as the Royal Arch. Applying Geometry to a perceived celestial sphere at fixed points creating a 180° reference point. ALL of it boils down to the stars and wandering planets.
11/23/2019 09:10:20 pm
What an asshole. I cannot control myself.
No One Cares
11/23/2019 09:12:55 pm
180 degrees if pi bitch. Nothing to do with stars or Freemasons.
History of evidence
11/24/2019 07:38:28 am
"Fill in the blank" is exactly the point. Geometry symbolizes the universal source and extended circumference of everyone's belief, irrespective of what that particular belief is, regardless of how it evolves.
11/24/2019 12:20:31 pm
What if I believe in the mass killing of all Freemasons and canning them in their own natural juices? First Amendment, right?
11/24/2019 12:49:28 pm
Kent:,,"What if I believe in the mass killing of all Freemasons and canning them in their own natural juices? First Amendment, right?"
11/24/2019 02:35:29 pm
11/24/2019 03:17:59 pm
What if is extraneous dough-head
11/24/2019 04:51:08 pm
What if Jim could put together a sentence that actually meant something?
11/24/2019 05:30:20 pm
People in the US actually do have the freedom to fire a gun in their front yard depending on particular circumstances. The issue was the concept of freedom but with often significant limitations. You are free to shoot a pit bull that is mauling your child in your front yard. You are free to shoot someone trying to rape your wife in the front yard. Some towns and cities never actually outlawed discharging a firearm in city limits just for target practice. I lived in an area that looked like suburbs but was unincorporated township and it was legal to shoot deer in your front yard.
Two Live Crew
11/24/2019 07:10:48 pm
One can be arrested for making terroristic threats. If the President was a redhead and kent said that he was going to kill him because he is a redhead then Kent is going to jail. One can be arrested for disturbing the peace for saying just about anything in the wrong place at the wrong time. One can be arrested for repeatedly interrupting a court proceeding to announce that you are mad that the judge is a redhead and you think he belongs in a concentration camps.
11/24/2019 10:50:56 pm
Where I live, we have something called a [REDACTED] within which one is not allowed to discharge a firearm. I happily obey that law.
11/25/2019 10:28:14 am
You say lots of idiotic things here. So, throwing a fit and saying something that lands you in jail is plausible as it would be for many people in this country. The issue isn't whether one would have to be an idiot to do something. It is the limitations on things like speech and how saying what wants isn't a blanket freedom idiot or not. That was established and now you are trying to move the goalpost.
F. Lee Bailey
11/25/2019 11:04:15 am
There are many locales where it is illegal to own an unlicensed firearm AND illegal to discharge it in your yard. However, there are cases where authorities refuse to arrest or charge someone for doing this if it is clear-cut self-defense. Cases like this are sometimes discussed in the Armed Citizen section of National Rifleman magazine. There are many occasions where something may be illegal but people have the freedom to break the law under particular circumstances. I don't normally have the freedom to drive 90MPH down mainstreet but if I am being pursued by a gang of people shooting at me I would hope that I am free to do so without being arrested for felony speeding. Self-preservation trumps any number of laws in the US. Kent is well on his way to conducting a seminar on fractal wrongness in his discussion here.
Bezalel and HofA
11/28/2019 12:15:24 pm
Joe Scales aka Kent did say "what if..." to his credit.
11/28/2019 02:48:39 pm
"Immoral"? Calm the heck down dude.
11/29/2019 09:14:57 am
"Joe Scales aka Kent..."
11/29/2019 11:34:49 pm
11/29/2019 11:52:47 pm
It's not quite clear who you think you're talking to. I'm not a Buddhist and I don't come here so bozos can give me suggested readings.
11/30/2019 07:00:12 am
Actually it is I who do not come here so bozos can give me suggested readings. Bozo.
11/30/2019 09:39:17 am
Bezalel, you imbecile...
11/30/2019 03:12:50 pm
Sorry Bezalel, I didn't give you suggestions for reading other than "y'know, books" and wasn't even suggesting you read, just pointing out that information is available.
12/1/2019 12:06:09 am
ATTALUS OF PERGAMON
11/21/2019 10:13:50 am
Ah yes, Adrian Gilbert. The man who helped Robert Bauval write THE ORION MYSTERY back in 1991, and he’s been helping to drive the alternate history train ever since.
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