EsoBites: Ancient Source of the Fama Fraternitatis (Part 1)

Greetings, one and all,

Thanks to the work of many scholars, especially Christian Rebisse, the persons responsible for authoring and printing the Fama Fraternitatis have been established. For details, I refer you to Rebisse’s book, Rosicrucian History and Mysteries (see books on the AMORC site).

Still, scholars perceive the Fama as a de novo production of the authors. While, it is reasonable to presume that the narrative details, as to CRC and his Fraternity are a de novo creation secondary to insufficient factual material, the essential story is much older and dates to the Babylonian reigns of Nebuchadnezzar II (c. 605 – 562 BCE) and Cyrus the Great (c. 600 – 530 BCE).

Nebuchadnezzar was the eldest son and successor of Nabopolassar, an Assyrian official who rebelled and established himself as king of Babylon in 620 BCE; the dynasty he established ruled until 539 BCE, when the Neo-Babylonian Empire was conquered by Cyrus the Great.

Nebuchadnezzar is first mentioned in 607 BCE, during the destruction of Babylon’s arch-enemy Assyria, at which point he was already crown prince. In 605 BCE he and his ally Cyaxares, ruler of the Medes and Persians, led an army against the Assyrians and Egyptians, who were then occupying Syria, and in the ensuing Battle of Carchemish, Necho II was defeated and Syria and Phoenicia were brought under the control of Babylon.

Following the death of his father, Nabopolassar, in 605 BCE, and Nebuchadnezzar returned to Babylon to ascend the throne. For the next few years his attention was devoted to subduing his eastern and northern borders, and in 595 BCE. In 594 BCE the army was sent again to the west, possibly in reaction to the elevation of Psammetichus II to the throne of Egypt. King Zedekiah of Judah attempted to organise opposition among the small states in the region, but his capital, Jerusalem, was taken in 587 BCE (the events are described in the Bible’s Books of Kings and Book of Jeremiah). In the following years Nebuchadnezzar incorporated Phoenicia and the former Assyrian provinces of Cilicia (southwestern Anatolia) into his empire and campaigned in Egypt. The kings who came after him ruled only briefly and Nabonidus, apparently not of the royal family, was overthrown by the Persian conqueror Cyrus the Great less than twenty-five years after Nebuchadnezzar’s death.

Nebuchadnezzar is the King in the apocalyptic Book of Daniel. Daniel was an exile to Babylon after the destruction of the Temple and forced exile of the Jews in 586 BCE. While, the historicity of the Book of Daniel is questioned, it is important for establishing Nebuchadnezzar’s great interest in learning, occultism, and theology and is supportive of the reports that he brought many scholars and priests back to Babylon after his conquests to Egypt and the Levant.

The flow of knowledge from the circumference of the world wheel to its hub is the first part of our tale as to the initiating source of the Fama.


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