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This is an article about the groups. For information on the games, see Illuminati (game) and Illuminati: New World Order

The Illuminati is the name of many groups, modern and historical, real and fictitious, verified and alleged. Most commonly, however, The Illuminati refers specifically to the Bavarian Illuminati, described below. Most alleged and fictitious uses refer to a shadowy conspiratorial organization which controls world affairs behind the scenes, usually a modern incarnation or continuation of the Bavarian Illuminati.

Table of contents
1 Origins
2 Other References
3 Cultural Influences
4 See also
5 External Links


Since Illuminati literally means 'enlightened ones' in Latin, it is natural that several unrelated historical groups have identified themselves as Illuminati, generally on the basis of their possessing some gnostic texts or other arcane information not generally available.

The designation illuminati was also in use from the 15th century, assumed by enthusiasts of another type, who claimed that the illuminating light came, not by being communicated from an authoritative but secret source, but from within, the result of exalted consciousness.

To the former class belong the alumbrados of Spain. The historian Menendez Pelavo found the name as early as 1492 (in the form aluminados, 1498). but traced them to a Gnostic origin, and thought their views were promoted in Spain through influences from Italy. One of their earliest leaders, born in Salamanca, a labourer's daughter known as La Beata de Piedrahita, came under the notice of the Inquisition in 1511, as claiming to hold colloquies with Jesus and the Virgin Mary; some high patronage saved her from a rigorous denunciation. (Menendez Pelavo, Los Heterodoxos Espanioles, 1881, vol. v.). Ignatius Loyola, while studying at Salamanca in 1527, was brought before an ecclesiastical commission on a charge of sympathy with the alumbrados, but escaped with an admonition. Others were not so fortunate. In 1529 a congregation of naive adherents at Toledo was subjected to whippings and imprisonment. Greater rigors followed, and for about a century the alumbrados sent many victims to the Inquisition, especially at Cordoba.

The movement (under the name of Illuminés) seems to have reached France from Seville in 1623, and attained some following in Picardy when joined (1634) by Pierce Guerin, curé of Saint-Georges de Roye, whose followers, known as Gurinets, were suppressed in 1635.

A century later, another, more obscure body of Illuminés came to light in the south of France in 1722, and appears to have lingered till 1794, having affinities with those known contemporaneously in Britain as 'French Prophets', an offshoot of the Camisards.

Of different class were the so-called Illuminati, better known as Rosicrucians, who claimed to originate in 1422, but rose into notice in 1537; a secret society, that claimed to combine with the mysteries of alchemy the possession of esoteric principles of religion. Their positions are embodied in three anonymous treatises of 1614, mentioned in Richard and Giraud, Dictionnaire universel des sciences ecclésiastiques. Paris 1825.

A short-lived movement of republican freethinkers, to whose adherents the name Illuminati was given, (but who called themselves "Perfectibilists'), was founded on May 1, 1776 by the ex-Jesuit Adam Weishaupt (d. 1830), professor of canon law at Ingolstadt. Its members, pledged to obedience to their superiors, were divided into three main classes; the first including novices, minervals and lesser illuminati; the second consisting of freemasons, ordinary, Scottish and Scottish knights; the third or mystery class comprising two grades of priest and regent and of magus and king. Relations with masonic lodges were established at Munich and Freising in 1780. The order had its branches in most countries of the European continent, but its total numbers never seem to have exceeded two thousand. The scheme had its attraction for literary men, such as Goethe and Herder, and even for the reigning dukes of Gotha and Weimar. Internal rupture preceded its downfall, which was effected by an edict of the Bavarian government in 1785.

The Illuminati Order or Bavarian Illuminati was a short-lived revolutionary and rationalist secret organisation founded in Ingolstadt, Germany on May 1, 1776 by Adam Weishaupt and Baron Adolph von Knigge. The Illuminati drew membership chiefly from Masons and former Masons. In the conservative state of Bavaria, dominated by the Roman Catholic Church and the aristocracy, such an organization could not go long before being suppressed by the powers that be. In 1784, the Bavarian government banned the Illuminati as well as the Freemasons.

Later, the title Illuminati was applied to the French Martinists, that had been founded in 1754 by Martinez Pasqualis, and to their imitators, the Russian Martinists, headed about 1790 by Professor Schwartz of Moscow; both were occultist cabalists and allegorists, absorbing eclectic ideas from Jakob Boehme and Emmanuel Swedenborg.

Despite the organization's short lifespan, the 'Bavarian' Illuminati have cast a long shadow in popular history, thanks to the writings of their opponents. The lurid allegations of conspiracy theory that have colored the image of the Freemasons have practically opaqued that of the Illuminati. In 1798, a Scottish Mason and professor of natural history named John Robison published Proofs of a Conspiracy Against all the Religions and Governments of Europe, in which he presented evidence of an Illuminati conspiracy. More recently, Antony C. Sutton suggested that the secret society Skull and Bones was founded as the American branch of the Illuminati. Robert Gillete has claimed that these Illuminati ultimately intend to rule the world through assassination, bribery, blackmail, the control of banks and other financial powers, the infiltration of governments, and by causing wars and revolution to move their own people into higher positions in the political hierarchy. Thomas Jefferson, on the other hand, claimed they intended to spread information and the principles of true morality. He attributed the secrecy of the Illuminati to what he called "the tyranny of a despot and priests".

Both seem to agree that the enemies of the Illuminati were the monarchs of Europe and the Church. Abbe Augustin Barruel said that the French revolution (1789) was caused by the Illuminati, and later conspiracy theorists also claims the Russian Revolution (1917) to be caused by the conspiracy, although the order was officially shut down in 1790. Very few historians give credence to these views, regarding such claims as the products of over-fertile imaginations.

This account relies in part on the Encyclopaedia Britannica'', 1911: "Illuminati".

Other References

Cultural Influences

The (historical) Illuminati have had several influences on popular culture, not all of them entirely serious:

There is also a snowboard maker called Illuminati Snowboards.

See also

External Links