THE ISLAMIC ORIGIN OF THE ROSE-CROIX - intro
By Emile Dantinne ( Sar Hieronymus)
Originally published in the review "Inconnues" 1951
To know the history of the mysterious Order of the Rose-Croix, it is indispensable to refer to the ancient documents which attest to its existence in Europe at the beginning of the 17th century.
The most important of these documents and the earliest is entitled: Allegemeine und generale Reformation des gantzen weiten Welte,heneben der Fama Fraternitatis des löblichen Ordens des Rosenkreutzes an alle Gelehrte und Haupter Europae geschrieben .... This anonymous text of 147 pages in octavo appeared in Cassel from the printery of Wilhelm Wessel in 1614.
The essential and original part of the Reformation is the Fama Fraternitatis comprising pages 91 to 118 of the 1614 edition. 1
The Fama Fraternitatis speaks of a secret fraternity founded two centuries before by Christian Rosenkreutz2 whose life it recounts.
Born of a noble family, Christian Rosenkreutz became orphaned at an early age. He grew up in a convent which he left at the age of sixteen years in order to travel in Arabia, Egypt and Morocco (Sedir, Histoire des Rose-Croix, p 42).
It is during the course of these travels in Islamic countries that he was put into contact with the sages of the East, who revealed to him the universal harmonic science derived from the Book M which Rosenkreutz translated.
It is on the foundation of this teaching that he conceived the plan for simultaneous universal religious, philosophic, scientific, political, and artistic reform. For the realization of this plan he united with several disciples to whom he gave the name of Rose-Croix.
The founder of the Order of the Rose-Croix belonged, as affirmed by his historians, to a noble family, but no document allows us to affirm this peremptorily. But that which is certain is that he was an orientalist and a great traveler.
The Fama tells us "that in his youth he attempted a journey to the Holy Sepulchre with a brother P.A.L. Although this brother died in Cyprus and so did not see Jerusalem, our brother C.R. did not turn back, but embarked for the other coast and directing himself towards Damascus, wanting to continue by visiting Jerusalem, but die to sickness of body, he stopped himself and thanks to the use of some drugs (which were not foreign to him) he received the favor of the Turks and entered into contact with the Sages of Damasco (Damcar) in Arabia...."3
He became acquainted with the miracles accomplished by the Sages and how the whole of nature was unveiled to them. Not being able to contain his impatience, he made an agreement with the Arabs that they would take him to Damcar for a certain sum of money.
If one admits the date 1378 as the date of birth of Christian Rosenkreutz, it is incontestable that the beginning of his voyage to the Middle East is situated in the first years of the 15th century during the interregnum of 1389 to 1402, during the epoch of Sultan Sulieman the First (1402-1410)4. ...but incontestably before the great catastrophe of 29th May 1453, the date of the taking of Constantinople by the Turks. Before that time, there is no doubt that relations between Europe and the Islamic world were quite normal and that a young lover of things Arabian such as C. Rosenkreutz would not have lost the opportunity to be accepted in the learned circles of Islamic countries.
In spite of the intellectual decadence which marked the end of the Caliphate " the universities of Cairo, Baghdad and Damascus were highly reputed5."
There is nothing at all surprising that this young German savant should go to Jerusalem and have the desire to know about the Arab philosophy whose influence had been so considerable on medieval scholasticism since Gregory IX had lifted the prohibition on Aristotle and the Arab philosophers6.
The text of the Fama relative to the relationship of C.Rosenkreutz with the Sages of Damasco is not yet as clear as one thinks. Does it suggest Damascus? This village in Arabia is named Damashqûn. In addition, the ancient capital of the realm of Damacène, the capital of Syria, is not at all in Arabia.