- chapter index -
pg. 1 - The Metaphysical Record | pg. 2 - The Wall on Which the Prophets Wrote
pg. 3 - The Union of Opposites | pg. 4 - Alchemy | pg. 5 - The Crimson King

- page index -
Joachim of Fiore | Bid me face the East

site index

    Alta Vista Translations
  Translate from  

Tryptych of the Mystical Marriage of St. Catherine, Hans Memling, 1479
The apocalyptic mood of the thirteenth century had been sparked by Joachim of Fiore.

"The inventor of the new prophetic system, which was to be the most influential one known to Europe until the appearance of Marxism, was Joachim of Fiore (1145 - 1202). After many years spent brooding over the Scriptures this Calabrian abbott received, some time between 1190 and 1195, an inspiration which seemed to reveal in them a concealed meaning of unique predictive value.
The idea that the Scriptures possessed a concealed meaning was far from new; traditional methods of exegesis had always given a large place to allegorical interpetations. What was new was the idea that these methods could be applied not simply for moral or dogmatic purposes but as a means of understanding and forecasting history."

- The Pursuit of the Millenium
by Norman Cohn (p. 108)

According to Joachim of Fiore, two previous ages, the age of the Father (from Adam to Abraham) and the age of the Son (Elijah to Christ), were soon to be followed by the new age, the age of the Spirit.

"According to St. Matthew forty-two generations lay between Abraham and Christ. Taking a generation as thirty years Joachim was able to place the culmination of human history between the years 1200 and 1260."

- The Pursuit of the Millenium
by Norman Cohn (p. 110)

The three cosmic ages of Joachim of Fiore
(c. 1130-1202)

Joachim of Fiore further maintained that each age was preceded by an "incubation" period and that previous to the inauguration of the new age there would arise...

" supreme teacher, novus dux , who would lead all mankind away from the love of earthly things and towards the love of the things of the spirit. During the three and a half years immediately preceding the fulfilment of the third dispensation Antichrist would have his reign. He would be a secular king who would chastise the corrupt and worldly Church until in its present form it was utterly destroyed. After the overthrow of this Antichrist the Age of the Spirit would come in its fulness."

- The Pursuit of the Millenium
by Norman Cohn (p. 110)

During this same period, Virgil's Fourth Eclogue was being subjected to a new and popular interpretation. In his Fourth Eclogue, Vergil had discussed a birth to the house of Caesar in messianic terms. Frederick's birth, as son of the Holy Roman Emperor, was considered a birth to the house of Caesar.

"The final age, foretold by Cumaean song, is here:
the great cosmic order of ages is born anew.
Now the Virgin Astraea returns; Saturn's kingdoms return.
Down from heavenly realms, offspring of the gods,
a child is born. The age of iron comes to an end.
In every region of the world the golden race appears anew.

That child, blest with life of the gods, will
witness hero and deity once more united, and under their
watchful eye, will rule a world restored to peace."

- Vergil's Fourth Eclogue

"Between the iron gates of fate"

"Even before the birth Godfrey of Viterbo, the tutor of Henry VI, had in sybilline speech informed his master that the coming son was destined to prove the long-awaited King of all the World, who should unite East and West as the Tiburtine sybil had foretold. And later the story ran that East and West had cried aloud with joy at the birth of the imperial heir."

- Frederick II
by Ernst Kantorowicz
(p. 4)

Because his mother was at the advanced age of forty at the time, the birth of Frederick II was seen as miraculous. This seems very ordinary to us, but in 1194 it was an unusual event and, to some, it was seen as an omen With this background, and being the absolute ruler, it was inevitable that Frederick would be connected with Zeus and with other mythology.

"The eagle is a variant of the uroboros, for it is said to devour its own wings and feathers (Jung, MC 144n, 445); it thus presages the resurrection of the Emperor."

- The Pythagorean Tarot by John Opsopaus

"When the news of his death was published, all Europe was deeply shaken Doubts arose that he was really dead; false Fredericks appeared everywhere; in Sicily a legend grew that he had been conveyed to the Aetna volcano; in Germany that he was encapsuled in a mountain and would return as the latter-day emperor to punish the worldly church and peacefully reestablish the Holy Roman Empire. Yet he was also thought to live on in his heirs. In fact, however, within 22 years after his death, all of them were dead, victims of the battle with the papacy that their father had begun."

- Emperor Frederick Hohenstaufen by Ed LoPresti

return to page index
site index

"The wall on which the prophets wrote
Is cracking at the seams."

"His treaty and alliance with the Moslems in Jerusalem was the high point as well as the turning point of Frederick's conception of sovereignty. Eschatological prophecies concerning his rule were now made, and the Emperor considered himself to be a messiah, a new David. His entry into Jerusalem was compared with that of Christ on Palm Sunday, and, indeed, in a manifesto the Emperor, too, compared himself to Christ.

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

"Bid me face the east closed me in questions
Built the sky for my dawn . . ."

"It has at all times been the case in Western history that none might reach the heights of world domination save the Conqueror of the East, the man who brought the Orient into his Empire. It seems almost a natural law that each World Ruler must renew his youth in the land of the rising sun, and return thence crowned with glory to build up his Western power. World monarchs have been few, but all have brought from the East the authority and the halo of God. From that moment the Hohenstaufen began to dream of world power the Crusade became their proudest ambition."

- Frederick II
by Ernst Kantorowicz
(p. 167)

King Arthur by Charles Ernest Butler
"Frederick now claimed the right to be crowned king of Jerusalem. The coronation ceremony was very simple. The crown was laid on the altar; a thousand candles burned; Frederick wearing his richly embroidered imperial robes marched up to the altar, seized the crown and placed it on his own head. Thereupon Hermann of Salza read out a long speech in celebration of the event, in which God, David, Christ and Frederick were mystically united."

- The Dream and the Tomb
A History of the Crusades
by Robert Payne (p. 317)

Pope Gregory IX (during whose reign the Inquisition proper came into existence) said of Frederick, after learning of his conduct in Jerusalem:

"A great beast has come out of the sea ... this scorpion spewing passion from the sting in his tail ... full of the names of blasphemy ... raging with the claws of the bear and the mouth of the lion, and the limbs and the likeness of the leopard, opens its mouth to blaspheme the Holy Name …behold the head and tail and body of the beast, of this Frederick, this so-called emperor...."

Frederick replied like a Father of the Church, pained at the pope's lack of charity--"the pharisee who sits on the plague-stricken seat, anointed with the oil of wickedness." Frederick makes a most dutiful profession of faith and retorts that the pope is a liar. It is he who is the sole cause of the trouble, and the emperor too quoted the Apocalypse: "And a second horse came out fiery-red, whose rider was empowered to take away all peace from the world, bidding men slay one another."

This symbolic evocation of doom is reminiscent of a similar declaration by the Crimson King:

"The black queen chants
the funeral march,
The cracked brass bells will ring;
To summon back the fire witch
To the court of the crimson king."

The fire witch is employed as a literary device similar to the way Frederick uses the red horse of Revelation.

"Shortly thereafter Pope Gregory IX died to be eventually succeeded by Innocent IV. Frederick II was again excommunicated. Five years of bloody war followed, with the usual alternations of unexpected defeats and unexpected victories. Frederick II died, December 13, 1250. His cause was lost and the pope was on the way to become King of Sicily as well as pope--a story that must be sought in the bitterly contested pages of Italian church history. Just four years after Frederick, Innocent IV too died."

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

King Crimson and Frederick II: The Metaphysical Record return to
chapter & page index

King Crimson and Frederick II: The Union of Opposites

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
Works Lyrics
Gallery Guestbook
Links Discography E-mail:
Peter Sinfield
Jon Green
Page One

Return to the Song Soup On Sea Homepage

These Pages Created and Maintained using Arachnophilia
Copyright 1998 - 2001 ~ Jon Green /All rights reserved