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ancient secret societies

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posted on Jan, 16 2008 @ 11:55 AM
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This thread I open to discuss and educate myself on subjects I (and many others) know little about:

1. What are the most ancient known secret societies and fraterneties?

2. Is it true that fraternal priesthoods and secret societies were part of ancient egyptian culture?

3. Is there any link whatsoever between ancient egypt and modern societies as far as ritual and belief go?

4. What were the secret socieities or fraternities in ancient rome and greece?

5. What are some Asian secret societies? What are some asian fraternities?


I have been hanging around google since about an hour but have not found the information I am looking for. I am hoping there are some experts out there who can shed light on at least some of the points.




posted on Jan, 16 2008 @ 01:58 PM
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reply to post by Skyfloating
 


I had to write several papers in undergrad on #4 - although that was a few years ago, so new research may have been done since then. But, for what its worth:

The "secret societies" of Rome were almost exclusively religious in nature. I do not think there were any secret societies as we think of them - as close as it comes is the mystery religions. However, these mystery religions had many of the modern day characteristics of a secret society: secret initiation, the claim to hidden knowledge, and occasionally served as a refuge for the most educated and elite.

Interestingly enough, what we know about them is not from some ancient "exposure" or other means, but by finding tiny bits of information about them and their ritual and piecing it together from the ruins of their ancient temples.

Most of the secret societies of Rome were based on a god/man figure that - while his name changed (Mithras comes to mind for Rome) - the ritual initiation almost always involved a multi-day festivity of traveling to the temple in a parade like form, being shown a morality play about the god/man, and being ceremonially reborn. Only the priests, the initiates, and members of the mystery religion were allowed to view this.

And before anyone screams it out, yes, some of these characteristics show up in masonry. But they also show up in every major world religion and civic organizations, as well. I would highly recommend a book called "Western Esotericism and Rituals of Initiation" by Henrik Bogdan for a very academic look at how some of these ancient societies influenced western philosophy and institutions.

[edit on 16-1-2008 by LightinDarkness]



posted on Jan, 16 2008 @ 03:39 PM
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reply to post by LightinDarkness
 


LinD, I have always been extremly interested in ancient history, specfically Roman, and the mention of the Mystery Religion's initiation rites always piqued my curiosity while purusing my collection of historical reference books.

Do you have any further information, or more detailed descriptions of what they entailed? They are typically glossed over when mentioned in regards the Emperors,or their retinue, becoming members. Perhaps you can shed some light one them? Pun intended.



posted on Jan, 16 2008 @ 03:47 PM
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Originally posted by LightinDarkness

The "secret societies" of Rome were almost exclusively religious in nature. I do not think there were any secret societies as we think of them - as close as it comes is the mystery religions. However, these mystery religions had many of the modern day characteristics of a secret society: secret initiation, the claim to hidden knowledge, and occasionally served as a refuge for the most educated and elite.


[edit on 16-1-2008 by LightinDarkness]


This is the type of academically sound information I am looking for, yes. Thank you. Any more info welcome.



posted on Jan, 17 2008 @ 04:09 AM
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It should be possible to discuss other subjects on this forum than the usual masonic vs. anti-masonic trite.



posted on Jan, 17 2008 @ 04:39 AM
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Well, this group may not be a "secret society" as such but they had alot of power and influence. It also ties into my fascination of ancient Persia, the group I'm referring to is the Magian priestly society of the Medes (and later the whole Persian Empire), courted by Kings until Alexander's invasion the still managed to exist and eventually regained much of their lost power with the establishment of the Sassanian Empire (then they lost their position, once again, with the invasion of the Arabs).

There's a bit of wiki-(may or may not be true)-info on them:
Magi

However, I'm no expert on the Magi (something I really have to research when I get some time) as my main investigations have been on the relations within the Satrapies of the Achaemenid period (as well as the interaction with the "west" and India, China, etc).



posted on Jan, 17 2008 @ 05:06 AM
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yes, ancient shamanic castes and the origin of various such worldviews also ties in well with this thread.

The wiki-article is interesting as it sheds light on possible origins of the word "magic".



posted on Jan, 17 2008 @ 05:20 AM
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reply to post by Skyfloating
 


I'll take #3, any link between ancient Egyptian religion and modern society. The only part I know of with any juice in it would be through Aleister Crowley, while he was very mix-and-match syncretistic, his main quality revelation was couched in terms of the Egyptian pantheon. I've never heard of anybody outside of Crowleyanity praying to Thoth for any reason, for example.



posted on Jan, 17 2008 @ 06:08 AM
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Alright. But Crowleys fascination with ancient egypt (a fascination I and many others share) does not constitute an academically documented link between modern secret societies and ancient egypt.

I would be pleased to find evidence that the egyptians did practice (by their own account!) rituals similar to the one´s we know.

Then we could say "Ah, so this all dates back to the egyptians" (if not before that).

As far as "magic" goes for example, you can find solid, scholary proof of the kabballah in the 3rd Century. Thats not far back, but far enough back to be fascinating.



posted on Jan, 17 2008 @ 06:16 AM
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Originally posted by Skyfloating

4. What were the secret socieities or fraternities in ancient rome and greece?



Hey Skyfloating

A couple of Plato's discourses (off the top of my head from Republic, but I'd have to check that) discuss the secrecy and initiation into the trade guilds. It being Greece, they were of course fraternal, none of those nasty women allowed in there, bah.

Plato uses the guilds secrecy as a comparison to the Sophists, who were willing to impart knowledge in exchange for a fee - ie is knowledge more valuable and or elitist when it is secret and guarded or when it can be exchanged for payment. Very interesting.

Generally you will find that Plato and Socrates for that matter, looked down up on the Sophists, prefering selection of initiates and the exclusion from knowledge of those not priviledged enough to be selected.



posted on Jan, 17 2008 @ 06:59 AM
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Originally posted by KilgoreTrout
Hey Skyfloating

A couple of Plato's discourses (off the top of my head from Republic, but I'd have to check that) discuss the secrecy and initiation into the trade guilds. It being Greece, they were of course fraternal, none of those nasty women allowed in there, bah.

Plato uses the guilds secrecy as a comparison to the Sophists, who were willing to impart knowledge in exchange for a fee - ie is knowledge more valuable and or elitist when it is secret and guarded or when it can be exchanged for payment. Very interesting.



Very interesting.

How much do you think the Greeks learned from Egypt in this respect?



posted on Jan, 17 2008 @ 07:13 AM
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There's also the Assassins (More medieval than ancient I know) who some have said provided a structure that many secret societies use to this day. I started a thread quite a while ago about them and in my second post I put quite a few links loaded with info.

Assassins

Enjoy, I hope!



posted on Jan, 17 2008 @ 07:17 AM
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yep, the assasins are certainly a source of later societies. Amazingly, some claim they still exist today.


I will now go read that thread of yours.



posted on Jan, 17 2008 @ 08:08 AM
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Originally posted by Skyfloating
How much do you think the Greeks learned from Egypt in this respect?



Good question....but I don't know.

My best guess would be that it is possible that the secrecy was imported from Egypt via trade and expertise. Egypt relied upon Greece for raw materials mainly, (also copper and tin from Anatolia) but finished goods tended to be imported from Eygpt to Greece. As trade expanded westwards, tradesmen may have settled in Greece in order to process raw materials at source rather than send them the Eygpt, then back again - it would have made better economic sense - plus any sea crossing involved the risk of piracy.

Ancient Greece also had exhcanges with Persia, Protagoras (Sophist) was said to have gained some of his education there, but as we have lost so much of the Greek knowledge it is very difficult to assess what influences came from where. Protagoras was pretty much suppressed (due to his thoughts on the gods, namely agnoticism) and almost no trace of his work exists, we know most of that via Plato.

Can you explain a little more about the nature of the secret societies in Egpyt or of the use of secrecy? I may be better able to draw comparisons. My knowledge of Egypt (and pre-european civilisation)doesn't really extend beyond Tutemkamum!!!! But I do know a bit about the development of trade and economies, so there may be some cross over that I am unaware of.



posted on Jan, 17 2008 @ 08:43 AM
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Originally posted by KilgoreTrout

Can you explain a little more about the nature of the secret societies in Egpyt or of the use of secrecy? I may be better able to draw comparisons. My knowledge of Egypt (and pre-european civilisation)doesn't really extend beyond Tutemkamum!!!! But I do know a bit about the development of trade and economies, so there may be some cross over that I am unaware of.



No I cannot explain. Hence this thread. There is a lot of rumour of rosicrucian, masonic, templar etc. traditions traceable to egypt, but I am not looking for hearsay.



posted on Jan, 17 2008 @ 09:19 AM
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This may come as a shock but Joseph, Moses and Jesus all studied the Egyptian Mysteries under the priests of Egypt and its documented in the bible. The most difficult to understand of all secret schools, is still to this day what has become the Christian Mysteries. This is not what many think it is. Its not a part of modern churches today.

Books on the subject if anyone will transfer them will run several hundred each and not likely have listings or linkages as far as rosters etc.

It is said the modern bible has all of the Christian Mysteries encoded into it, if you know how to find them.

[edit on 17-1-2008 by Illahee]



posted on Jan, 17 2008 @ 10:31 AM
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I would have to strongly disagree that anyone in the Bible was in an egyptian mystery school. At the absolute most, the biblical characters may have been _familiar_ with them - as in, heard them talked about. There is no historical evidence that they were actually in one - and I just happen to know that because I read an article about it in a religion journal. The evidence was overwhelmingly against it. I can get you the cite, if you want.

As far as the roman schools:

I'll get some more sources together later today. I read a book over the summer that had what was (at the time it was published - about a year ago I think) the most up to date scholarship on what we currently know about the most popular roman mystery religions/secret societies. Particularly interesting is that a lot of the premier philosophers of the roman world seemed to write about their experiences with these institutions with a sort of reverential awe that was unmatched elsewhere in their writing. Given that they were the most learned men of their time, it is quite remarkable that - while they knew much of the spectacle of initiation was an illusion (the "normal" initiate did not always think that) - they still found it profoundly moving while absolutely critiquing and blasting other forms of religion.

By the way, I absolutely love the positive of tone of the thread - flagged and starred!



posted on Jan, 17 2008 @ 11:17 AM
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Originally posted by LightinDarkness
I would have to strongly disagree that anyone in the Bible was in an egyptian mystery school. At the absolute most, the biblical characters may have been _familiar_ with them - as in, heard them talked about. There is no historical evidence that they were actually in one - and I just happen to know that because I read an article about it in a religion journal. The evidence was overwhelmingly against it. I can get you the cite, if you want.

By the way, I absolutely love the positive of tone of the thread - flagged and starred!


Yes, agreed that was far reaching. I was referring to the text in the Lewis book, and he clearly states this based on registration rolls, however it has been a controversy for over a century, since the registrations were never produced. What is odd is that not one member of the church was able to refute what was written. That is however a whole conspiracy in itself and I should not have mentioned it.


I'm pretty sure they state the same sort of thing in Illumination II: The Christian Mysteries, but its been a long time so that would just be guessing.


Another possible lead may be in the Huna works by Max Long. He mentions the Huna tradition linked to the Berber tribesmen through language, but here again fuzzy memory may not be helping out much.

Keep in mind I'm just tossing possible leads out there from memory and one time a long long time ago I could have been wrong.

Yes I like the positive tone too.



posted on Jan, 17 2008 @ 11:19 AM
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Originally posted by LightinDarkness
I would have to strongly disagree that anyone in the Bible was in an egyptian mystery school. At the absolute most, the biblical characters may have been _familiar_ with them - as in, heard them talked about. There is no historical evidence that they were actually in one - and I just happen to know that because I read an article about it in a religion journal. The evidence was overwhelmingly against it. I can get you the cite, if you want.


Bear in mind reading an article in a religion journal is going to give you slanted conclusions, being that defending the faith of a said religion is (in my opinion) at the forefront, and all conclusions are going to reinforce that goal.Actually it is not a stretch to believe that Moses would have been initiated into the Egyptian mystery schools if he had indeed been raised as the son of a Pharoh's daughter.I used to have a really good article with archaeological evidence of Judaism's early polythestic roots, I am swamped with work this week, but during the weekend, I will try to dig around for it if the site that I found it on is even still existent.



posted on Jan, 17 2008 @ 12:00 PM
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I would prefer to believe that it all originates in ancient egypt and before in order to confirm my own bias...but alas...where is the documentation? I will stay neutral on the abraham-moses-egypt connection because I just dont know.

What I do know is that I own several books claiming such connections...the last one I read was "The Hiram Key".

Still wondering where all these elaborate rituals come from...



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