CHAPTER THREE:

IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING



- 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 -
When No One Sets the Rules | The Fate of All Mankind

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"Knowledge is a deadly friend
When no one sets the rules.
The fate of all mankind I see
Is in the hands of fools."


A clear reference to nuclear technology but, applied to the life of Frederick II, the passage takes on a different meaning. Frederick II believed that Justice (Justitia) was handed down directly from God to the Emperor alone.

Rider-Waite Justice tarot card
"According to revived Roman Law... the mystic identity of the Emperor, with the living God, the fountain of Justitia, qualifies him to propound law and so expound right. The Emperor thus becomes himself the fountain of Justitia in the state : through God and like unto God." (p. 231)

- Frederick II
by Ernst Kantorowicz

Therefore, if the Emperor was not setting the rules, the fate of all mankind was in the hands of fools.

"The Church maintained her lead even in the pursuit of jursiprudence : all of the important Popes of this century were jurists ; a knowledge of canon law came to absorb theology, or rather : theology and law-mongering came to be dangerous rivals within the Church, and jurisprudence even became seriously harmful. Hence Dante wrathfully calls curses on the collection of Decretals, because from poring eternally over the thumbmarked manuscripts Pope and Cardinals had forgotten Nazareth. (p. 232)

- Frederick II
by Ernst Kantorowicz

Although it was deeply involved in jurisprudence, Frederick did not appear to recognize the judicial efforts of the Church. It would seem that, in the realm of law, the Church was "no one".

"When no one sets the rules"

"In all the welter of law study there was only one work really outstanding and pre-eminent : Frederick's Liber Augustalis." (p. 229)

"The concluding words of the Liber Augustalis run : 'Posterity must believe of us in centuries to come that we collected this Book of Laws not merely to serve our own renown, but rather to wipe out in our day, the injustice of earlier times during which the voice of justice has been silent.' Frederick here referred not just to the injustice of earlier times but to the actual "dumbness" of justice, the lack of law creation."(p. 232)

"All the metaphors of the Book of Laws point in the same direction. The Emperor was the sole source of Justice. His Justice flows as a flood. He must find new remedies daily for new vices, for amid the changes of time and circumstance the ancient laws do not suffice." (p. 234-5)

- Frederick II
by Ernst Kantorowicz

"The hands of fools"

"The Emperor frequently boasts that he - in contrast to those who judge "without glancing at the facts of Nature" - has himself "studied the true science of Nature's laws." His knowledge of natural law now reinforces his unity with God and further established his infallibility ; he goes on to say "therefore we scorn to err." The Pope under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost may be infallible in matters of faith, similarly the Emperor "overfilled by Justitia" is infallible in matters of law." (p. 232)

- Frederick II
by Ernst Kantorowicz



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"The fate of all mankind"

"Following classical lines of thought, Frederick deduced from the Fall, ...that Paradise being a thing of the past, and men being now inclined to crime and hate, they would destroy and annihilate each other but for the restraining hand of a Ruler. (p. 242)

"The fate of all "imperial Europe" hung on the heeding or non-heeding of the tiniest state necessity ; hence each present need of the state rightly assumes an immense importance in the Emperor's eyes till it became a cosmic need, a part of the world-plan of God and of divine Providence. (p. 245)

"Frederick II treated the inevitability of himself and of his state as a matter of immense importance, an affair of World Neccesity., he himself becoming the Fate incarnate of his subjects. The imperial doctrine, that without an Emperor the world would perish of self-annihilation, showed to what degree the Emperor was Fate. (p. 249)

- Frederick II
by Ernst Kantorowicz

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow


Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, Out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

- Shakespeare, Macbeth V., v., 17


" Confusion will be my epitaph.
As I crawl a cracked and broken path
"

"Frederick's character was marked by sharp contradictions, undoubtedly the result of his insecure and emotionally barren childhood."

" Nothing he's got he really needs "

Enchanting amiability and gaiety were paired with cruelty; harshness and rigidity."

" Death seed, Blind man's greed. "

÷existed side by side with superior intelligence and a keen sense of reality; tolerance and intolerance went hand in hand; impulsive sensuality did not stand in the way of genuine piety; imbalance and inner discord pervaded his personality and his achievements."

Thirteenth Century Schizoid Man

And confusion is indeed his epitaph. Much propaganda was generated on both sides during his long struggle with the papacy. Consequently his legacy will forever be shrouded in confusion.

- Encyclopedia Britannica

" March For No Reason "

Just as the medieval neo-Platonists and the Catholic Church were opposed to exercising the intellect, this is a march against reason, opposed to reason. Frederick, being an early scientist and skeptic, was generally opposed to such ideas.
The other reading is that there is "no reason" for this march. One of the most momentous episodes in Frederick's life can be appropriately entitled "Crusade for No Reason":

"For six years Frederick delayed the sailing date for his crusade, and each time the pope accepted the excuses he made. But in 1227 this pope died, to be succeeded by one of the toughest popes who have ever reigned, a relative of Innocent III who called himself Gregory IX. He immediately began to put pressure on Frederick, who responded by assembling a great army and a fleet of transports at Brindisi. On September 8, 1227, he sailed, but two days later put back into port--the plague had caught his troops, they were dying by the hundred. The pope simply ignored his explanation and excommunicated him for breaking his vow (September 29). Frederick replied by a violent attack on the pope."

- The Church in Crisis: A History of the General Councils: 325-1870


" If we make it we can all sit back
and laugh.
But I fear tomorrow I'll be crying,
Yes I fear tomorrow I'll be crying.
"

The "we" in this passage is not just the human race, but Frederick's empire and the Hohenstaufen dynastic line. Furthermore, Epitaph well expresses the prevailing mood in the years following the death of Frederick II.

"After it had been preceded by earthquakes, hurricanes and famine, the Black Death broke out, spreading terror and desolation through Southern Europe. Men saw in these frightful calamities the judgments of God, but looked in vain for any to show them a way of deliverance and escape. Some believed that the last day was approaching; some, remembering an old prophecy, looked with hope for the return of the Great Emperor Frederick II. to restore justice and peace in the world, to punish the wicked clergy, and help the poor and oppressed flock to their rights."

- Theologica Germanica





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