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For a classic of pop pseudo-history, LincolnBaigentLeigh's book Holy Blood, Holy Grais sure is a font of great information. I keep having those "I didn't know THAT" moments and, when I explore it further, I just keep learning and learning.

For example, it turns out that absolute monarchs and secret societies were not very compatible for a good while. I've pointed this out in a post on Melusine's thread (Knights Templar and Mysticism). Add to the mix problems with the Church and heretics, and we get a fine mess of politics and religion somehow manipulated, to one extent or another, by those with the finances to play on the greed and lust for power of those leading both church and state. Who gets caught in the middle but the artists, writers, and performers?

Seventeenth century France was the poster country for this scenario. Its people were actually or ostensibly Catholic. Its king, Louis XIV an absolute divine right monarch, and its society full of corrupt nobles, hypocrites, heretics, secret societies, and artists seeking to succeed and make a living in this hotbed of conflicting interests some of which were operating behind the scenes.

Moliere, the finest playwright of the century, found a great ally and patron in King Louis XIV, who gave Moliere financial support, legitimacy as an artist, a venue for performances, and a theater. Needless to say, Moliere returned the favors with support of the king, even when lampooning some of the king's more amusing antics and those of the nobles and members of the church and secret societies.

When Moliere's great play "Tartuffe or The Imposter" was published and performed in 1664 it caused great commotion and controversy with several groups including the Church, the Jansenists, and a secret society called The Company of the Holy Sacrament (also a front for the Rosicrucians), who got the play banned and even forced the King to keep it banned against his wishes for a while. It turns out that secret societies had earlier tried, unsuccessfully, to destroy Mazarin and the monarchy during the Fronde decade and were still working to undercut it through art and writing... and they did not take it well when Moliere made veiled and cutting references to them in Tartuffe. It appears that they supported writers like La Rochefoucauld and La Fontaine, whose fables were aimed at putting down the monarchy. The Catholic Church of course did not like the way the play took swipes at hypocritical piety, so the secret society found an unlikely ally in the Church and in the Jansenists who were also offended. The king, nobles, and professional classes however liked it; and eventually the play returned to the boards and was very popular.


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monarchy, church, heretics, secret societies, & Moliere 880 ananda 03-Mar-04 20:39
Re: monarchy, church, heretics, secret societies, & Moliere 217 Lee McGiffen 04-Mar-04 09:53
PP and PoS 215 ananda 04-Mar-04 13:00
Re: PP and PoS 200 Thirdwave 04-Mar-04 13:17
Re: PP and PoS 197 ananda 04-Mar-04 15:00
Re: PP and PoS 309 Thirdwave 04-Mar-04 15:54
Plus - 173 Thirdwave 04-Mar-04 16:11
Re: PP and PoS 211 ananda 04-Mar-04 16:18
Re: PP and PoS 316 Thirdwave 04-Mar-04 16:28

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