- chapter index -
pg. 1 - Epitaph | pg. 2 - The Iron Gates of Fate
pg. 3 - The Fate of All Mankind | pg. 4 - Moonchild
pg. 5 - The Court of the Crimson King | pg. 6 - The Purple Piper
pg. 7 - Averroes | pg. 8 - The Keeper of the City Keys
pg. 9 - The Pilgrim's Door | pg. 10 - The Return of the Fire Witch
pg. 11 - The Gardener Plants An Evergreen | pg. 12 - The Prism Ship
pg. 13 - The Grinding Wheel | pg. 14 - On Soft Gray Mornings
pg. 15 - Divining Signs | pg. 16 - The Yellow Jester
pg. 17 - Remember the Future | pg. 18 - The Return of the King
pg. 19 - The I Ching | pg. 20 - Octants

- page index -
In the Court of the Crimson King

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Sun symbolism also explains the dramatic segue between Moonchild and The Court of the Crimson King . The long instrumental passage of Moonchild represents the night. Vague forms are evoked, as if in a dream, and then, like the sun breaking over the horizon, or into Castel del Monte, The Court of the Crimson King comes roaring into view.

"The transition from 17.Moon to 18.Sun represents the alchemical Magnum Opus. The sea of 17.Moon is saturated with the alchemical salt, whose corrosiveness represents the Nigredo (Blackening), which reduces the soul to prime matter. The sun represents the alchemical Sulphur, the libido, the psychic life force, the generative and transformative power, and as the solar disk appears over the horizon we enter the Citrinitas (Yellowing), in which the prime matter is ennobled. When the sun reaches the zenith, the Rubedo (Reddening) is achieved, which is the highest state."

- The Pythagorean Tarot by John Opsopaus

The Court of the Crimson King

"Immense, august, like some Titanic bloom,
The mighty choir unfolds its lithic core,
Petalled with panes of azure, gules and or,
Splendidly lambent in the Gothic gloom,
And stamened with keen flamelets that illume
The pale high-alter."

- Edith Wharton, Chartres

"This is a place of awe. Here is the court of God and the gate of heaven"

- words intoned in the Mass at the opening of Chartres in 1260

"The Castel del Monte, on its lofty site near Barletta, is the best preserved and the best known of the Hohenstaufen castles. It's ground-plan is unique, and like many other of the Emperor's buildings it was probably sketched by Frederick himself. Every fraction of the structure displays the mental catholicity of the Hohenstaufen court : oriental massiveness of the whole, a portal foreshadowing the Renaissance, Gothic windows and rooms with groined and vaulted roofs. The defiant gloom of the tiny windowed rooms was mitigated by the furnishings ; the floors were of mosaic ; the walls covered with sheets of reddish breccia or white marble. Majesty and grace were fused in one." (p. 322)

- Frederick II
by Ernst Kantorowicz

"Among the visitors to Castel del Monte there are not many who notice one diffuse symbol involved and invested in the entire fabric of the structure. This "protagonist " is the red color that, in its more tenuous shadings, appears in the rosato and carnicine marble and in the limestone of the walls. It then prevails within the unforeseeable arabesques of the showy coralline breccia...until definitively surprising in the unusual blood chiazzature of the cipollino marble columns which support the symbolically celestial cupola."

- The Color of Castel del Monte

The Castle of the Crimson King

"Frederick meant men to revere his state as an 'imperial church' (imperialis ecclesia),
in which he himself was the high priest of justice..."

- The Holy Roman Empire
by Friedrich Heer (p. 84)

"What mysteries, what unimagined revelries contemporaries pictured taking place behind the mute walls of these castles ! What amazing brilliance they caught a glimpse of now and then ! In the rambling castle of Foggia, which is described as a palace rich in marble, with statues and pillars of verd-antique, with marble lions and basins, those legendary banquets will have taken place amid riot and revelry the glamour of which still clings round the memory of the Hohenstaufen court.

'Every sort of festive joy was there united. The alternation of choirs, the purple garments of the musicians evoked a festal mood. A number of guests were knighted, others adorned with signs of special honor. The whole day was spent in merriment, and as the darkness fell, flaming torches were kindled here and there and turned night into day for the contests of the players.'

So tells the chronicler, and yet another reports the wonders of the inner courts which the English prince Richard Earl of Cornwall, was privileged to see. The English noble was returning home from the crusade in summer heat : they first with baths and blood- lettings and strengthening draughts made him forget the toils and hardships of the journey and the war, and then entertained him with every type of sport. He listened in amazement to strange airs on strange instruments, saw the jugglers display their skill, was ravished by the sight of lovely Saracen maidens, who to the rhythm of cymbals and castanets came dancing in, balanced on great balls that rolled across the many-colored polished floor. Tales and romances tell of the feasts of Frederick and the glories of his court : how hundreds of knights from all nations were entertained in silken tents, how minstrels streamed in from every corner of the earth and foreign embassies displayed the rarest jewels. The messengers of Prester John brought an asbestos garment, an elixir of youth, a ring of invisibility, and, lastly, the philosopher's stone."

- Frederick II
by Ernst Kantorowicz
(p. 322-3)

"This stone is to be found only on the summit of the highest mountain - the polar mountain of the midnight sun -, it is the lapis elixir which undergoes a whiteness (albedo) a blackening (nigredo) and, in order to complete itself, in the royal red (rubedo). This stone of the ways is the stone of the royal art, which unfolds black, white and red in the color sequence of the hermetic realm."

- Two Emperors of the Evening Lands
Charlemagne and Frederick II

Further, people told how the Emperor's court astrologer, Michael Scot, whose name was named with shuddering curiosity, on a hot day at a feast assembled thunderclouds at the Emperor's command and performed other miracles."

- Frederick II
by Ernst Kantorowicz
(p. 322-3)

The Image

"The sun rises over the earth:
The image of progress.
Thus the superior man himself
Brightens his bright virtue."

- Chin, 35th Hexagram of the I Ching

Imagine Frederick, the poet, alone in his palace, towards the end of his life, lost in thought. Images flood his mind, recounting a life of triumph, tragedy and betrayal. Like Hammill's Emperor In His War Room, he is haunted by ghosts, "torn apart by nightmares and with dreams". This is the Frederick portrayed on the album cover.

The song begins with a line proclaiming the sun's victory over the moon, confirming the Crimson King's status as solar deity.

" The rusted chains of prison moons
Are shattered by the sun.

Greet the Dawn by Keith Parkinson

"On his westward journey, Odysseus is ensnared and kept in temporary bondage by the amorous nymph of darkness, Kalypso (kalnptw, to veil or cover). So the zone of the moon-goddess Aphrodite inveigles all-seeing Zeus to treacherous slumber on Mount Ida; and by a similar sorcery Tasso's great hero is lulled into unseemly idleness in Armida's golden paradise, at the western verge of the world. The disappearance of Tannhauser behind the moonlit cliff, lured by Venus Ursula, the pale goddess of night, is a precisely parallel circumstance."

- Myths and Mythmakers by John Fiske

"The detail of Frederick Barbarossa's somnolence in a Thuringian grotto positively links his legend to that of the heroic knight Tannhäuser, which is celebrated in the Wagnerian opera of the same name."

- In Quest of the Grail

Curiously, the first line of the song is also the antithesis of a statement made by Frederick's guardian, Pope Innocent III.

"...just as the moon derives its light from the too the royal power derives the splendour of its dignity from the pontifical authority" (Quotations from Tierney, 1964: 132). -Innocent III

- Innocent III and the Great Schism by Yuri Koszarycz

"In the very beginning of the world, God, whose counsels are secret, set up two lights in the firmament of heaven, a greater and a lesser: the greater to rule the day and the lesser to rule the night. These two are set up in such a manner in their own places in the zodiac that even if they are often placed side-by-side, the one does not interfere with the other; rather, the higher shares his brightness with the lower. By means of a similar eternal provision God wished there to be two powers in the firmament of the earth, the priesthood and the empire, the one for security, the other for protection, so that man, who was for too long separated into the two components of body and soul, should be restrained by double bonds, and the world have peace when all excesses have been curbed.
The Roman pontiff of our time, a Pharisee sitting in the seat of false doctrine and anointed with the oil of evil beyond all his fellows, has stopped following the heavenly order and strives to abolish, all this."

- Frederick II
In Exordio Nascentis Mundi (1239)

"The theory of the duo luminaria (luminary pair) had been proposed in those years with particular vehemence by Innocence III, the former tutor of Frederick II: the Pope, descended from God and representing the sun, shined on the moon, the emperor, a reflection of the Pope's reflected light. Therefore, just as the moon is submitted to the sun, the emperor would have to submit to the Pope, from which is derived all authority and all powers on the earth."

- Descrizione del Castello Maniace

"The thirteenth century experienced that rather baffling revival of imperial-solar concepts under Frederick II. In the both apocalyptic and messianic climate of the age the idea of the Sun-Emperor could not easily be separated from that of the Savior-Emperor. In fact, Frederick II appeared as Sol in a prophecy from Tibur. Sol mundi is Frederick in the eyes of a South Italian poet. Also a North Italian poet writes

Sol novus est ortus, pax gloria, Semita, portus . . . ,

a line reflecting the messianic atmosphere hovering around that emperor."

- Dante's Two Suns
from Selected Studies
by Ernst Kantorowicz

"Obvious from his own comments is the intention of Frederick II to identify himself with the sun. The evidence of this inent we have in the letter Manfred writes to his brother, Conrad, in response to the death of the father. As this is a private letter where the necessity is not felt to adopt a curial ceremonial, it therefore suggests the Frederick=Sun comparison was of common usage: Cecidit quidem sol mundi qui lucebat ingentì, cecidit sol justitiae,cecidit autor pacis . Often Frederick II had been called "King Sun" and at times (as in Castel del Monte) had been represented by the symbol of the crown of beams. Moreover, there is a parallel with Christ, as identified with sol in medieval iconography.

Returning constantly to this symbol is one prerogative of Swabian architecture and the plan of another Hohenstaufen castle, Maniace Castle, must have had, without a doubt, such iconological references: Tower-circle-sun(Christ)-empire-Frederick; plant-square-earth-empire. Without wanting to engage the anti-clerical controversy Sun (Christ)=Frederick II, and not the Pope, it must be seen in this important Swabian construction an ulterior affirmation of the temporal power of Frederick II over the spiritual and temporal power of the Church."

- Descrizione del Castello Maniace

" I walk a road, horizons change"

Frederick's guardian was the Pope, but as he matured, his horizon's changed.

"Moreover, Frederick's court was an itinerant one. When in 1239 he slowly moved south from Parma to the regno , he was not going to a final destination; he was moving from one transit camp to another, in a ceaselessly itinerant life."

- Frederick II: A Medieval Emperor
by David Abulafia (p. 253)

"The tournament's begun. "

The tournament is his struggle with the papacy.

"The champion of the rights of the crown over the power of the Church, to his armies he drew resources and men from almost all the corners of the world. On one occasion he fought against the cities of Lombardy with knights sent by Henry III of England, from the Count of Toulouse and King of Castile; even the Sultan of Egypt sent his chosen warriors to display their valour under the Imperial eagle, as if to some great tournament."

- The Hohenstaufen Emperors and the Rise of Milan

In the Court of the Crimson King ~ Moonchild return to
chapter & page index

In the Court of the Crimson King ~ The Purple Piper

Sign the Dreambook Dreambook Read the Dreambook

Chapter One The Metaphysical Record In The Court Of the Crimson King In The Wake Of Poseidon Lizard The King In Yellow The Sun King Eight
The Lake Which Mirrors the Sky In the Beginning Was the Word In the Beginning was the Word...side two Eros and Strife Dark Night of the Soul...Cirkus Dark Night of the Soul...Wilderness Big Top Islands
Islands Two Footnotes in the Sand Still Still 2
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