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There are a number of theories that attempt to identify a historical Robin Hood. A difficulty with any such historical search is that "Robert" was in medieval England a very common given name, and "Robin" (or Robyn), especially in the 13th century, was its very common diminutive. The surname "Hood" (or Hude or Hode etc.), referring ultimately to the head-covering, was also fairly common. Unsurprisingly, therefore, there are a number of people called "Robert Hood" or "Robin Hood" to be found in medieval records. Some of them are on record for having fallen afoul of the law, but this is not necessarily significant to the legend. The early ballads give a number of possible historical clues: notably, the Gest names the reigning king as "Edward", but the ballads cannot be assumed to be reliable in such details. For whatever it may be worth, however, King Edward I took the throne in 1272, and an Edward remained on the throne until the death of Edward III in 1377. On the other hand, what appears to be the first known example of "Robin Hood" as stock name for an outlaw dates to 1262 in Berkshire, where the surname "Robehod" was applied to a man after he had been outlawed, and apparently because he had been outlawed. This could suggest two main possibilities: either that an early form of the Robin Hood legend was already well established in the mid 13th century; or alternatively that the name "Robin Hood" preceded the outlaw hero that we know; so that the "Robin Hood" of legend was so called because that was seen as an appropriate name for an outlaw. It has long been suggested, notably by John Maddicott, that "Robin Hood" was a stock alias used by thieves. [article link]

CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA - Crusades: The Crusades were expeditions undertaken, in fulfilment of a solemn vow, to deliver the Holy Places from Mohammedan tyranny - The idea of the crusade corresponds to a political conception which was realized in Christendom only from the eleventh to the fifteenth century - It has been customary to describe the (major) Crusades as eight in number


• the first, 1095-1101;
• the second, headed by Louis VII, 1145-47;
• the third, conducted by Philip Augustus and Richard Coeur-de-Lion, 1188-92;
• the fourth, during which Constantinople was taken, 1204;
• the fifth, which included the conquest of Damietta, 1217;
• the sixth, in which Frederick II took part (1228-29); also Thibaud de Champagne and Richard of Cornwall (1239);
• the seventh, led by St. Louis, 1249-52;
• the eighth, also under St. Louis, 1270.
[article link]

CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA - Crusades: The origin of the Crusades is directly traceable to the moral and political condition of Western Christendom in the eleventh century


At that time Europe was divided into numerous states whose sovereigns were absorbed in tedious and petty territorial disputes while the emperor, in theory the temporal head of Christendom, was wasting his strength in the quarrel over Investitures. The popes alone had maintained a just estimate of Christian unity; they realized to what extent the interests of Europe were threatened by the Byzantine Empire and the Mohammedan tribes, and they alone had a foreign policy whose traditions were formed under Leo IX and Gregory VII. The reform effected in the Church and the papacy through the influence of the monks of Cluny had increased the prestige of the Roman pontiff in the eyes of all Christian nations; hence none but the pope could inaugurate the international movement that culminated in the Crusades. But despite his eminent authority the pope could never have persuaded the Western peoples to arm themselves for the conquest of the Holy Land had not the immemorial relations between Syria and the West favoured his design. Europeans listened to the voice of Urban II because their own inclination and historic traditions impelled them towards the Holy Sepulchre. -- From the end of the fifth century there had been no break in their intercourse with the Orient. In the early Christian period colonies of Syrians had introduced the religious ideas, art, and culture of the East into the large cities of Gaul and Italy. The Western Christians in turn journeyed in large numbers to Syria, Palestine, and Egypt, either to visit the Holy Places or to follow the ascetic life among the monks of the Thebaid or Sinai. There is still extant the itinerary of a pilgrimage from Bordeaux to Jerusalem, dated 333; in 385 St. Jerome and St. Paula founded the first Latin monasteries at Bethlehem. Even the Barbarian invasion did not seem to dampen the ardour for pilgrimages to the East. The Itinerary of St. Silvia (Etheria) shows the organization of these expeditions, which were directed by clerics and escorted by armed troops. In the year 600, St. Gregory the Great had a hospice erected in Jerusalem for the accommodation of pilgrims, sent alms to the monks of Mount Sinai ("Vita Gregorii" in "Acta SS.", March 11, 132), and, although the deplorable condition of Eastern Christendom after the Arab invasion rendered this intercourse more difficult, it did not by any means cease. [article link]

CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA - Crusades: As early as the eighth century Anglo-Saxons underwent the greatest hardships to visit Jerusalem


The journey of St. Willibald, Bishop of Eichstädt, took seven years (722-29) and furnishes an idea of the varied and severe trials to which pilgrims were subject (Itiner. Latina, 1, 241-283). After their conquest of the West, the Carolingians endeavoured to improve the condition of the Latins settled in the East; in 762 Pepin the Short entered into negotiations with the Caliph of Bagdad. In Rome, on 30 November, 800, the very day on which Leo III invoked the arbitration of Charlemagne, ambassadors from Haroun al-Raschid delivered to the King of the Franks the keys of the Holy Sepulchre, the banner of Jersualem, and some precious relics (Einhard, "Annales", ad an. 800, in "Mon. Germ. Hist.: Script.", I, 187); this was an acknowledgment of the Frankish protectorate over the Christians of Jerusalem. That churches and monasteries were built at Charlemagne's expense is attested by a sort of a census of the monasteries of Jerusalem dated 808 ("Commemoratio de Casis Dei" in "Itiner. Hieros.", I, 209). In 870, at the time of the pilgrimage of Bernard the Monk (Itiner. Hierosol., I, 314), these institutions were still very prosperous, and it has been abundantly proved that alms were sent regularly from the West to the Holy Land. In the tenth century, just when the political and social order of Europe was most troubled, knights, bishops, and abbots, actuated by devotion and a taste for adventure, were wont to visit Jerusalem and pray at the Holy Sepulchre without being molested by the Mohammedans. Suddenly, in 1009, Hakem, the Fatimite Caliph of Egypt, in a fit of madness ordered the destruction of the Holy Sepulchre and all the Christian establishments in Jerusalem. For years thereafter Christians were cruelly persecuted. (See the recital of an eyewitness, Iahja of Antioch, in Schlumberger's "Epopée byzantine", II, 442.) In 1027 the Frankish protectorate was overthrown and replaced by that of the Byzantine emperors, to whose diplomacy was due the reconstruction of the Holy Sepulchre. The Christian quarter was even surrounded by a wall, and some Amalfi merchants, vassals of the Greek emperors, built hospices in Jerusalem for pilgrims, e.g. the Hospital of St. John, cradle of the Order of Hospitallers. -- Instead of diminishing, the enthusiasm of Western Christians for the pilgrimage to Jerusalem seemed rather to increase during the eleventh century. Not only princes, bishops, and knights, but even men and women of the humbler classes undertook the holy journey (Radulphus Glaber, IV, vi). Whole armies of pilgrims traversed Europe, and in the valley of the Danube hospices were established where they could replenish their provisions. In 1026 Richard, Abbot of Saint-Vannes, led 700 pilgrims into Palestine at the expense of Richard II, Duke of Normandy. In 1065 over 12,000 Germans who had crossed Europe under the command of Günther, Bishop of Bamberg, while on their way through Palestine had to seek shelter in a ruined fortress, where they defended themselves against a troop of Bedouins (Lambert of Hersfeld, in "Mon. Germ. Hist.: Script.", V, 168). Thus it is evident that at the close of the eleventh century the route to Palestine was familiar enough to Western Christians who looked upon the Holy Sepulchre as the most venerable of relics and were ready to brave any peril in order to visit it. The memory of Charlemagne's protectorate still lived, and a trace of it is to be found in the medieval legend of this emperor's journey to Palestine (Gaston Paris in "Romania", 1880, p. 23). -- The rise of the Seljukian Turks, however, compromised the safety of pilgrims and even threatened the independence of the Byzantine Empire and of all Christendom. [article link]

The Real History of the Crusades - The crusades are quite possibly the most misunderstood event in European history - Most of what passes for public knowledge about it is either misleading or just plain wrong -- Whether we admire the Crusaders or not, it is a fact that the world we know today would not exist without their efforts - The ancient faith of Christianity, with its respect for women and antipathy toward slavery, not only survived but flourished - Without the Crusades, it might well have followed Zoroastrianism, another of Islam's rivals, into extinction


When we think about the Middle Ages, it is easy to view Europe in light of what it became rather than what it was. The colossus of the medieval world was Islam, not Christendom. The Crusades are interesting largely because they were an attempt to counter that trend. But in five centuries of crusading, it was only the First Crusade that significantly rolled back the military progress of Islam. It was downhill from there. When the Crusader County of Edessa fell to the Turks and Kurds in 1144, there was an enormous groundswell of support for a new Crusade in Europe. It was led by two kings, Louis VII of France and Conrad III of Germany, and preached by St. Bernard himself. It failed miserably. Most of the Crusaders were killed along the way. Those who made it to Jerusalem only made things worse by attacking Muslim Damascus, which formerly had been a strong ally of the Christians. In the wake of such a disaster, Christians across Europe were forced to accept not only the continued growth of Muslim power but the certainty that God was punishing the West for its sins. Lay piety movements sprouted up throughout Europe, all rooted in the desire to purify Christian society so that it might be worthy of victory in the East. ... Yet, even while these close shaves were taking place, something else was brewing in Europe-something unprecedented in human history. The Renaissance, born from a strange mixture of Roman values, medieval piety, and a unique respect for commerce and entrepreneurialism, had led to other movements like humanism, the Scientific Revolution, and the Age of Exploration. Even while fighting for its life, Europe was preparing to expand on a global scale. The Protestant Reformation, which rejected the papacy and the doctrine of indulgence, made Crusades unthinkable for many Europeans, thus leaving the fighting to the Catholics. In 1571, a Holy League, which was itself a Crusade, defeated the Ottoman fleet at Lepanto. Yet military victories like that remained rare. The Muslim threat was neutralized economically. As Europe grew in wealth and power, the once awesome and sophisticated Turks began to seem backward and pathetic-no longer worth a Crusade. The "Sick Man of Europe" (the Ottoman Empire) limped along until the 20th century [WWI], when he finally expired, leaving behind the present mess of the modern Middle East. [article link]

Knights Templar (Modern Freemasonry) History - The Knights Templar History started with the crusades of the Middle Ages, a war between Christians and Moslems centered around the city of Jerusalem - In 1065 the Knights Templar were formed to ensure the safety of the pilgrims of the Middle Ages who flocked towards Jerusalem - Their original name was the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ - The Knights Templar History moved on and in 1128 the ecclesiastical Council of Troyes gave the Knights Templar official recognition and granted their rule of the order - In 1272 King Henry III of England died and the English Council met at the Temple in London and draft a letter to Prince Edward informing him of his accession to the throne - [later, after an extended time of abusing their positions of power and authority] They were charged with heresy - thousands of Knights Templar were arrested across Europe - Templar ships left La Rochelle, heading to Scotland [Rosslyn Chapel] - The Knights Templar leader Jacques de Molay and Geoffroi de Charney were burnt at the stake on March 18th 1314


In A.D. 637 Jerusalem was surrendered to the Saracens. The caliph of the Saracens called Omar gave guarantees for the safety of the Christian population and because of this pledge the number of pilgrimages to Jerusalem still continued to increase. In 1065 Jerusalem was taken by the Turks, who came from the kingdom of ancient Persia. 3000 Christians were massacred and the remaining Christians were treated so badly that throughout Christendom people were stirred to fight in crusades. The Knights Templar were formed to to ensure the safety of the pilgrims of the Middle Ages who flocked towards Jerusalem. Their original name was the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ. ... the Temple of Soloman At first the Knights Templar had no church and no particular place of to live. In 1118, nineteen years after the freeing of Jerusalem, King Baldwin II of Jerusalem, granted the Knights Templar a place to live within the sacred enclosure of the Temple on Mount Moriah. This place was amid the holy structures which were exhibited by the priests of Jerusalem as the Temple of Solomon. The "Poor Fellow-soldiers of Jesus Christ" became colloquially known as "the Knighthood of the Temple of Solomon" and subsequently the Knights Templars. ... They were received with great honour by Pope Honorius, who approved of the objects and designs of the holy fraternity. The Knights Templar History moved on and in 1128 the ecclesiastical Council of Troyes gave the Knights Templar official recognition and granted their rule of the order. The Council of Troyes was instigated by Bernard of Clairvaux and the Knights Templars were represented by Hugues de Payen and Andre de Montbard. The Papal approval at the Council of Troyes resulted in many new recruits joining the order - the Rules of the Knights Templar Order: In 1130, Bernard of Clairvaux drew up the rules for the new Knights Templar order. Bernard set up the order with two main classes of knighthood, the knights and sergeants or serving brethren. Sergeants or serving brothers wore a black or brown mantle to show their lower status, whilst the Knights wore a red cross granted by Pope Eugenius III. Married men who joined the order could only join as sergeants, their property coming into the possession of the Order rather than to their wives upon their death. - A Papal Bull was issued in 1139 by Pope Innocent II, a protege of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, stating that the Knights Templar should owe allegiance to no one other than the Pope himself. - The Knights Templar History saw 1146 as the year when the Knights Templar order adopted the splayed red cross as their emblem. The Battle cry of the Templars was "Beau-Séant!" which was the motto they bore on their banner. - The Knights Templar order supported the second crusade in 1148. The decision was made to attack Damascus and armies were assembled in Acre. ... The army of Jerusalem and Guy of Lusignan, the King of Jerusalem, was beaten by Turkish forces in 1184. All Knights Templar and Hospitallers who survived the battle were executed afterwards. This event prompted the Third Crusade headed by Richard the Lionheart who was supported by the Knights Templar order. The city of Acre is taken by the Crusaders in 1191. Richard the Lionheart dies in 1199 and is succeeded by his brother John. - The Knights Templar History goes on and in 1263 problems in England lead to the Baron's revolt led by Simon de Montford opposing Edward I. On the pretence of removing his mother's jewels, Edward I entered the Knights Templar Temple in London and ransacked the treasury, taking the proceeds to the Tower of London. In 1271 Edward leads another crusade and is attacked by an assassin with a poisoned knife. He survives the attack and his life was saved with drugs sent by the master of the Knights Templar, Thomas Bérard. In 1272 King Henry III of England died and the English Council met at the Temple in London and draft a letter to Prince Edward informing him of his accession to the throne, illustrating the political importance of the Knights Templar in England. - King Philip IV of France (1268-1314) who was already heavily in debt to the Knights Templar requested a further loan. The Knights Templar refused his request. King Philip IV subsequently ordered the arrest of all Knight Templars in France. The order to arrest the Templars was sent out several weeks before the date possibly giving the Templars time to hide their wealth. On 11 October, two days before the arrest of many Templar Knights, it is recorded in French Masonic history that Templar ships left La Rochelle, heading to Scotland. On Friday the 13th, in October 1307, Jacques de Molay, the Grand Master of the Knights Templar, and 60 of his senior knights were arrested in Paris. They were charged with heresy and accused of homosexual acts. Admissions of guilt were extracted due to the use of torture. Pope Clement V initiated enquiries into the order and thousands of Knights Templar were arrested across Europe. The Medieval order of the Knights Templar become extinct in 1312 when the order is dissolved by the Council of Vienne. Anyone found sheltering a Templar was under threat of excommunication. Much of the Templar property outside of France was transferred by the Pope to the Knights Hospitallers, and many surviving Templars were also accepted into the Hospitallers. - The Death of the last Medieval Master: The Knights Templar leader Jacques de Molay and Geoffroi de Charney were burnt at the stake on March 18th 1314 for rescinding their former admission of heresy under torture. Jacques de Molay cursed the Pope and King Philip and prophesied that they would soon die. Pope Clement V was dead within 40 days and King Philip died that year. Jacques de Molay was the last Master of the Knights Templar. [article link]

Rosslyn Chapel - the 12 great mysteries - What's the meaning of carvings of American plants that predate Columbus' 1492 A.D. discovery of America? - Exotic plants featured in the chapel's carving include maize (corn) and aloe vera - One theory is that some of the masons who carved the chapel were descended from Vikings who may have landed in America before Columbus but another says simply that they were added later -- Construction of the chapel began on 20 September 1456, although it is often been recorded as 1446 - The confusion over the building date comes from the chapel's receiving its founding charter to build a collegiate chapel in 1446 from Rome (wikipedia.com)


Rosslyn Chapel, just outside Edinburgh, has been a holy place for centuries. Its name means either "point of a waterfall" or "ancient knowledge down the line" depending on who you ask. -- What is the chapel's link with Freemasons? Apparently Sir William St Clair claimed patronage of the masons - a link passed and strengthened through the generations and evidenced in two seventeenth century charters. In 1736, Sir William Sinclair became the first Scottish Grand Master at the Grand Lodge of Scotland in Edinburgh. By the 1690s, the bond between the Sinclairs and the masons was commented in a celebrated letter. ... Who is the leering green man engraved more than 120 times in the chapel? Carvings of a bearded green man appear in many religious settings in much of the world, but few have as many as Rosslyn. There are many theories about who the green man was. Some say it was either John the Baptist or Hercules. He is depicted as a Robin Hood-type figure, sometimes alternatively named Jack-in-the-green or Jack-in-the-Tree. He also may have been Celtic fertility god or a tree spirit. ... Who is the man with the gash on his head? Rumour suggests that he might be the smited apprentice of pillar fame. However, he could also be Freemasonry's legendary figure, Hiram Abiff, the martyred architect of King Solomon's Temple. Academic symbologists say it could just as easily express a classic archetype of sacrifice and rebirth. ... What do the 213 mysterious cube carvings mean? The mystical symbols carved into the stone ceiling of the chapel have confused historians for generations. But recently music scientists who believe they are part of a musical notation system are making efforts to decode the signs. The series of lines and dots are thought to represent shapes created by sand on a musical instrument during the vibrations caused by sound. [article link]

Wikipedia: Thomas Aquinas (1225 - 7 March 1274), also Thomas of Aquin or Aquino, was an Italian Dominican priest of the Catholic Church, and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, known as Doctor Angelicus, Doctor Communis, or Doctor Universalis - "Aquinas" is not a surname (hereditary surnames were not then in common use in Europe), but is a Latin adjective meaning "of Aquino", his place of birth - He was the foremost classical proponent of natural theology, and the father of Thomism - His influence on Western thought is considerable, and much of modern philosophy was conceived as a reaction against, or as an agreement with his ideas, particularly in the areas of ethics, natural law, metaphysics, and political theory


Thomas is held in the Catholic Church to be the model teacher for those studying for the priesthood. The works for which he is best-known are the Summa Theologica and the Summa Contra Gentiles. As one of the 33 Doctors of the Church, he is considered the Church's greatest theologian and philosopher. Pope Benedict XV declared: "This (Dominican) Order ... acquired new luster when the Church declared the teaching of Thomas to be her own and that Doctor, honored with the special praises of the Pontiffs, the master and patron of Catholic schools." [article link]

Wikipedia: Chapters and verses of the Bible - The Bible is a compilation of many shorter books written at different times and later assembled into the Biblical canon - By the time of the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD, the New Testament had been divided into paragraphs, although the divisions were different from the modern Bible - All but the shortest of these books have been divided into chapters, generally a page or so in length, since the early 13th century - Since the mid-16th century, each chapter has been further divided into "verses" of a few short lines or sentences - As the chapter and verse divisions were not part of the original texts, they form part of the Bible's paratext


Cardinal Hugo de Sancto Caro is often given credit for first dividing the Latin Vulgate into chapters in the real sense, but it is the arrangement of his contemporary and fellow cardinal Stephen Langton who in 1205 A.D. created the chapter divisions which are used today. They were then inserted into Greek manuscripts of the New Testament in the 15th century. Robert Estienne (Robert Stephanus) was the first to number the verses within each chapter, his verse numbers entering printed editions in 1551 (New Testament) and 1571 (Old Testament - Hebrew Bible). The division of the Bible into chapters and verses has often elicited severe criticism from traditionalists and modern scholars alike. Critics charge that the text is often divided in an incoherent way, or at inappropriate rhetorical points [i.e. Isaiah chapter 53], and that it encourages citing passages out of context. Nevertheless, the chapter and verse numbers have become indispensable as technical references for Bible study. [article link]

Wikipedia: Johannes Gutenberg (1398 - February 3, 1468) was a blacksmith, goldsmith, printer and publisher who probably introduced movable type to Europe, and is likely to have developed the earliest European printing press - He is sometimes said to have started the Printing Revolution, regarded as the most important event of the modern period - It played a key role in the development of the Renaissance, Reformation, the Age of Enlightenment and the Scientific Revolution and laid the material basis for the modern knowledge-based economy and the spread of learning to the masses - Martin Luther's 95 Theses were printed and circulated widely

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