Medieval Secret Societies & Richard the Lion Heart 


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Our society has an aversion to giving credit to the rich, or royalty, a kind of latent political correctness, visible in that Robin Hood, the commoner, or so generally portrayed, has had at least half a dozen movies made, while his lord, Richard the Lionhearted, has none that I know of; maybe one back in the old days when we were willing to recognize greatness among aristocrats, other than Princess Diane:  Or it could be that movie writers, producers, etc. are just lazy when it comes to developing new material; after all the Invasion of the Body Snatchers, a pretty lightweight sci-fi plot, has also been produced at least three times, each time admittedly better, but don't we deserve something new rather than retreads?

 So why Richard?: Well, he is special in so many ways, most people being completely unaware of it, their knowledge of him limited to the legend that he was Robin's king, and that he also was gay; both uncertain, but what the heck, if you say it authoritatively, most people won't do the research to challenge you.  Gay, or not; Robin, or not; there are a lot of interesting facets of Richard which could make great cinema material. Start with his mother being Eleanor of Aquitaine, famous for her court being the generator of the courtly love concept, debatable; and an early beacon of letters and enlightenment, not debatable; from the days of Richard's grandfather, William; all three of them patrons of the arts, song and poetry, and the troubadour.  Where do you want to go next?: His struggle against his father to gain the thrones of Angevin and England, his defeat and pardon by his father, the arrest and imprisonment of his mother by his father, largely for her encouragement of the sons to revolt against their father; or the launch of the Third Crusade, full of challenges, from the logistics of troop movement; the  duplicity of his partner and enemy Phillip of France, a wolf waiting for Richard to be locked into the conflict in Outremer (Palestine), so he could swoop down and capture the Angevin territories in France; or lastly the long journey home from Palestine, something akin to the story of Odysseus, escaping by sea, then by land, his enemies in hot pursuit, their allies laying traps in front of him, finally capturing and imprisoning him at Dürnstein Castle on the Danube River, where his loyal troubadour finally located him 18 months later; then the rush to England to preserve his kingdom from his brother John and John's ally, Phillip of France.   All this does not mention his audacity as a warrior, causing Saladin to characterize him as a fool for the risks he took in battle, and causing any Saracen to fear meeting him in battle.

As far as fertile ground, cinema wise, can't the movie makers generate something out of the mystery and intrigue of the early Templars under Hughes de Payne.  If you can have Indiana Jones and the Raider of the Lost Ark, geeze, why can't you pull something together about the real raider, at least legend wise, and the dig under the Temple Mount.  This subject has been pursued heavily in the New Age science, the story line made popular by the De Vinci Code. The quick summary of it being that the Templars were organized specifically to find something of religious significance under the Temple Mount; they did, and in the process they became jaded about Jesus's divinity, and became enamored with something else, probably a religious view similar to that of the early Jewish Christians, which placed John the Baptist as the teacher of the true faith. There seems to be a connection between what they believed and Kabbalah, being that there is a modern similarity  between the Kabbalah and Masonry, that coming from the Templars, researched in a series of books written by Lomas and Knight as well as those by Baigent and Leigh.

Lastly my interest in the Assassins began to bud when, as a child heavily interested in historical heroes, before they got deconstructed into anti-heroes, discredited by dalliances with slave women, other men, alcohol, drugs or anything else that the deconstructionists could fling and stick to them: well so what, they're still heroes, maybe even greater, since as such they are just men overcoming all of those distractions while keeping directed enough to achieve a greatness that their detractors never touched.

So in those days of childhood fantasy, I read a little of the mysterious Man in the Mountain, and his Assassin Cult that terrorized Christian and Muslim alike. More recently, researching for the third book, The Seekers of the Scroll, I learned that  the Assassins were an offshoot of Islam, heretics to the main stream, who fought against their oppression through the mechanism of assassinating those who sought to destroy them; although sometimes they assassinated for hire, gaining temporary alliances with the enemies of those whom they terminated.  Their heretical believes seemed to have some ubiquity, in that there was an underground diffusion of it through the Muslim culture, this based on the tale that they proved  their power to Saladin; one entering his tent, drawing a sword, while Saladin's body guards turned their backs, leaving the general to the mercy of the Assassin,  who simply warned the general that he would be dead anytime that they decided he should die.  I don't think he ever led a campaign against them.

Bernard will have to wait, along with a few other things.       

Related Authors Links: Baigent,   Butler,   Eisenman,   Hancock Knight Leigh Lomas,   Van Däniken

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