The Golden Fleece and the Hiramic Legend

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by jonesvilletexas, Jan 2, 2010.

  1. jonesvilletexas

    jonesvilletexas Premium Member

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    The Golden Fleece and the Hiramic Legend
    by Brother C. Bruce Hunter

    What do the Golden Fleece and the Hiramic legend have in common? Nothing, really. But
    putting them together helps make a point. Most people think the story of the Golden Fleece is a
    myth, but it isn't. It's a legend. The difference, of course, is that one doesn't have an historic basis,
    while the other does.

    The real golden fleece
    In this case the historic basis is the fact that, according to many historians, the ancient people of
    the Caucasus (to the east of the Black Sea) had a secret process for extracting gold from their
    rivers. They placed a sheepskin in the river and weighted it down to keep it from floating away.
    Since river sand didn't stick to the fleece but gold did, the sheepskin eventually became laden
    with gold dust. It literally became a golden fleece, from which a significant amount of the valuable metal could be extracted.

    The legend named for this technology recalls efforts by the ancient Greeks to learn the secret
    process for their own benefit. And since the Hiramic story is generally regarded as a legend, it
    may well have a similar historic basis. Indeed, apparently it does. It is set at the time of the
    building of King Solomon's Temple and tells of a Tyrian architect who came to Israel to build the
    temple and who brought with him a secret, which some of the local workmen tried to extract
    from him. The point to remember is that the architect was from Tyre, while his workers were
    presumably Israelites. This may seem a trivial distinction in the legend's history, it goes without
    saying that Masonic legends operate on more than one level, and one of the levels on which this
    legend operates is purely historical. By King Solomon's time, Tyre had become a world trading
    power. It had been in business for about two centuries and had acquired considerable wealth.
    And along with its wealth, it had developed considerable skill in a variety of arts and crafts, not the least of which was architecture. Meanwhile, Israel was still a largely agricultural society. Its tribes had only recently united under a single king, and they were
    just beginning to turn their attention to acquiring the necessities and benefits that go along with
    being a nation.

    At the time, Israel lacked many of the things a people need if they want to call themselves a
    nation. For example, it didn't have a national temple, and this is one thing its third king,
    Solomon, meant to rectify. The problem was that another thing Israel didn't have was anyone
    who knew how to build a temple large enough and grand enough to serve all the people.
    Fortunately, Tyre did.

    This is why Solomon imported an architect from Tyre, and it may well be the "historic" reason
    some of the workers tried to extract his secret. Hiram's historic secret

    Undoubtedly a Tyrian architect would know a number of trade secrets stemming from his
    country's architectural heritage, which at the time was far ahead of Israel's. And it is quite
    reasonable to assume that some in Israel would pay a great deal to have those secrets-or more
    precisely, they believed they would be paid a great deal if they had them. Trade secrets are, after
    all, a valuable commodity, and Israel was on the move. It was developing rapidly, and its people
    must have been envious of-and eager to acquire-a share of their northern neighbor's relatively
    advanced culture.

    We should have no trouble believing that the Israelites, like the Greeks with the golden fleece,
    were keen to ferret out a few of their neighbor's "tricks of the trade" for their own benefit. If so,the early Masonic ritualists probably knew the scenario they were creating was plausible on historic as well as symbolic grounds. In fact, it may well have been the "historic" grounds that
    suggested the legend to them in the first place.

    Consequently, it seems the central Masonic legend, which operates on other levels as well, also
    contains more of an historic foundation than we might have thought.

    1. Brother C. Bruce Hunter is a member of
    Biltmore Lodge No. 446, Asheville, North
    Carolina. He is a co-author with Andrew
    Ferguson of The Legacy of the Sacred
    Chalice. You may correspond with him at
    P.O. Box 2038, Chapel Hill, NC 27515-2038
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 4, 2010
  2. Hippie19950

    Hippie19950 Premium Member

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    Another good informational posting, I LOVE this stuff, Thanks!!
     

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