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


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"I wait outside the pilgrim's door
With insufficient schemes."


It was also in 1241 that Frederick appealed, unsuccessfully, to the Order of Preachers, the Dominicans, to join him in his struggle against the papacy. The Dominicans and Franciscans were known as wandering mendicants or pilgrims.

"1241 He made desperate efforts to detach Genoa from the pope and even to win over the Order of Preachers."

- The Imperial Menace to The Freedom Of Religion: The Emperor Frederick II

There was some sympathy with Frederick's cause, on the part of the mendicants, as they also felt the church should not be involved in the accumulation of wealth and power. Nevertheless, Frederick's schemes were insufficient to gain the allegiance of the Dominicans (pilgrims).

"St. Dominic wandered around Spain barefoot to symbolize poverty, and preached to the common folk against heresy.
St. Francis preached against the wealth and temporal power of the Church; felt that Christ was poor, and so should be the Church."

- The Decline of the Late Medieval Church by Dr. Anthony Silvestri

Like the "keeper of the keys", the pilgrimage idea also refers to Rome.

"In the absence of pilgrimages to the Holy Land, still in dispute with the Moslems, the visit to the seven basilicas crowned the Christian life. Soon the proverb was born: 'All roads lead to Rome.' From the furthest horizons of Europe, from all walks of life, the pilgrims bound for Rome came flooding in."

- A History of Rome and the Romans
From Romulus to John XXIII

By his treaty with the Moslems in 1229, Frederick had enabled pilgrimages to the Holy Land ; an outcome of the sixth Crusade. Curiously, the crusaders were also called "pilgrims" and Frederick had indeed waited "outside the pilgrim's (crusader's) door with insufficient schemes" before finally launching his Crusade in 1228.

"Stream after stream of pilgrims poured ceaselessly into Brindisi. A few turned back en route , but they did not perceptibly reduce the masses who poured on. Many of the pilgrims had travelled by way of Rome. A swindler, disguised as Vicar of the Pope, took up his station at the gate of St. Peter offering to release the pilgrims from their vows, without detriment to their indulgences, for the sum of four silver marks. The Romans looked on this comedy with great amusement and did not interfere. It was weeks before the Pope, who was in Anagni, heard of the affair and hastily put the "vicar" out of action.
It would have been no bad thing if more pilgrims had bought themselves off in Rome. We cannot attempt even an approximate estimate of actual numbers, but gradually an appalling horde of crusaders had accumulated in the pilgrim's camp at Brindisi--immensely more than the Emperor had calculated on or provided for. In spite of all preparations the ships were insufficient ; the pilgrims ran out of food.
In the middle of August a terrible plague broke out to which the Crusaders succumbed in shoals, while it was said that tens of thousands fled from the plague-camp and scattered over Italy. Many of the German nobles also died of the disease, and finally the Emperor himself caught it - postponing the Crusade till after his complete recovery."

- Frederick II
by Ernst Kantorowicz
(p. 169)

"The pilgrimage idea, the outgoing quest, appears in mystical literature under two different aspects. One is the search for the "Hidden Treasure which desires to be found." Such is the "quest of the Grail" when regarded in its mystic aspect as an allegory of the adventures of the soul. The other is the long, hard journey towards a known and definite goal or state. Such are Dante's "Divine Comedy" and Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress"; each in their manner faithful descriptions of the Mystic Way. The goal of the quest--the Empyrean of Dante, the Beatific Vision or fulfillment of love--is often called Jerusalem by the Christian mystics: naturally enough since that city was for the mediaeval mind the supreme end of pilgrimage. By Jerusalem they mean not only the celestial country Heaven, but also the spiritual life, which is "itself a heaven."

- Mysticism by Evelyn Underhill

The album embodies this dual notion of the pilgrimage (the medieval axiom "As above, so below"). In metaphysical terms, the pilgrimage is towards the alchemical union of opposites symbolized by the sun and moon, while Frederick's "known and definite goal" is Rome. Or, more precisely, a unified kingdom headquartered in Rome and free from papal interference.
However, judging from his conduct in the Holy Land and the activities at his court, he ultimately sought a union of earthly opposites, of East and West, Moslem and Christian. Frederick was not to realize either of these objectives.

"The age-old revival dream of the German Emperors thus flamed up once more in Frederick II, and as he sought to requicken not merely Roman forms (like his predecessors) but Roman life, the ancient state-life of the Romans, his renovatio ended by heralding the Renaissance. From the revival of the ancient State, Italy was led to the re-birth of the ancient man. Rome was to be the capital of a united Italy, and Italy herself the centre of the Roman Empire. Frederick, it is true, realised his dream only in part, but the vision never faded--Dante took it up and gave it a soul."

- Frederick II
by Enrst Kantorowicz
(p. 456)




In the Court of the Crimson King ~ The Keeper of the City Keys return to
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