Napoleon's Sorcerers: The Sophisians

Napoleon's Sorcerers: The Sophisians

by Darius A. Spieth


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During Napoleon's rule, Freemasonic circles in France invented rituals that allegedly first took place in the temple structures of ancient Egypt. This book looks at the cultural environment and intellectual background of the pseudo-Egyptian secret society the Sacred Order of the Sophisians. Founded in Paris in 1801, the Sophisian Order initially catered to veteran military leaders, Egyptologists, scientists, writers, and artists who had joined Napoleon's Egyptian campaign (1798–1801). Soon the order branched out to attract new adepts from the world of the Parisian stage. This study is based on previously unpublished archival materials relating to the Sophisians, including the group's so-called Golden Book at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. A richly illuminated manuscript envisioned by Marie-Nicolas Ponce-Camus, a student of Jacques-Louis David, the Golden Book features underground mazes, cave settings, pyramids, and temple structures as theatrical settings to re-create Ancient Egyptian initiation practices.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781611493030
Publisher: University of Delaware Press
Publication date: 10/01/2007
Pages: 215
Product dimensions: 8.80(w) x 11.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Darius A. Spieth is associate professor of art history at Louisiana State University.

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