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Secret Societies of the Middle Ages

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Author Topic: Secret Societies of the Middle Ages  (Read 2073 times)
Trena Alloway
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« Reply #180 on: February 04, 2009, 01:20:12 pm »

court (the Frohnboten) if the candidate had gone through all the formalities requisite to reception, and when that officer had answered in the affirmative, the count revealed to the aspirant the secrets of the tribunal, and communicated to him the secret sign by which the initiated knew one another. What this sign was is utterly unknown: some say that when they met at table they used to turn the point of their knife to themselves, and the haft away from them. Others take the letters S S G G, which were found in an old MS. at Herford, to have been the sign, and interpret them Stock Stein, Gras Grein. These are, however, the most arbitrary conjectures, without a shadow of proof. The count then was bound to enter the name of the new member in his register, and henceforth he was one of the powerful body of the initiated.

Princes and nobles were anxious to have their chancellors and ministers, corporate towns to have their magistrates, among the initiated. Many princes sought to be themselves members of this formidable association, and we are assured that in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries (which are the only ones of which we have any particular accounts) the number of the initiated exceeded 100,000.

The duty of the initiated was to go through the country to serve citations and to trace out and denounce evil-doers; or, if they caught them in the fact, to execute instant justice upon them. They were also the count's assessors when the tribunal sat. For that purpose seven at least were required to be present, all belonging to the county in which the court was held; those belonging to other counties might attend, but they could not act as assessors; they only formed a part of the bystanders of the court. Of these there were frequently some hundreds present.

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