“Ninety percent, perhaps even more, of history is not documented. And as for the little that is documented or recorded, much of it may not be history at all but the warped perception, dissimulation, cover-ups, and bias of those documenting or recording it. The task of the true historian is to detect the history that is not told, much like a cosmologist detects the structure of the universe that is not seen. To read between the lines or see between the empty spaces, that is the exciting challenge . . .”
Hiding the Truth in Plain Sight
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.”
This book was a very ambitious project, and I readily admit that researching and writing it was not only a thrilling experience but also a very daunting one, as well. The complexity of the topic and the sheer volume of research material made it feel like I was recklessly challenging a bookish Goliath with only a reed twig in my hand to bring him down! Yet the temptation to quest and sleuth a historical mystery of this scale was too tantalizing to pass over. There was, certainly, the initial apprehension that all authors have when taking on such a task. A long, dark tunnel must be crossed solo, and then at the other end await the inevitable lashes by experts whose feathers you are bound to have ruffled. But such qualms are then quickly dismissed by a weird—almost perverse—gladiatorial thrill of marching into the arena to do battle again with that old foe: academic consensus.
A decade ago I wrote with Graham Hancock Talisman: Sacred Cities, Secret Faith. In this book we explored the Hermetic tradition and tracked its journey out of Egypt and its influence on the design of major capital cities of the Western world. Academics, needless to say, ignored it. And the only academic who didn’t ignore it ended up repaying us by blatantly plagiarizing a discovery we made regarding the layout of ancient Alexandria. I bring this up because there was also a tiny—although immensely important—“city” that Graham and I barely touched in our book: the Vatican City in Rome. With hindsight I can say that we had thus overlooked the most important piece of that huge historical puzzle we had set about to solve. After much deliberation I finally decided to reopen the case for the Vatican City in late 2011. It was at this point that I invited the Italian author Chiara Hohenzollern and also Dr. Sandro Zicari to join me.
Let me quickly get to the point: it is often stated by historians of art and architecture that the Piazza St. Peter’s at the Vatican was designed to represent “the open arms of Mother Church.” This, in fact, is indeed claimed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini himself, the architect responsible for the design. We believe it to be a truth, but not the whole truth. Truth often comes in many layers. Revealing only one layer yet dissimulating another will make this partial truth seem to be something very different indeed. This is why today a person on the stand in a court of law will be sworn in to tell not only the truth, but rather the whole truth. We believe that there is another, far more important layer in which rests the whole truth behind Bernini’s grandiose design. This whole truth he, nonetheless, took to his grave, for it was such an unspeakable truth, such a taboo, such a forbidden fruit in his time that the mere mention of it might have brought down the whole edifice of Mother Church—that is to say, the Vatican itself. Yet the amazing daringness of Bernini’s ploy was to hide the truth in plain sight for all to see. Indeed, so well did he do this that everyone who looked—and there have been millions since—did not see it all. And when finally some did see it, so out rageous, so fantastic was its implication that they simply preferred to dismiss it as mere coincidence. Bernini clearly intended it to be a sort of intellectual time bomb meant to be detonated not in his time but when the time was right, when its revelation would not bring down the Vatican, but do, instead, the opposite. To fully appreciate the magnitude of this revelation, and to make our case worthy of the most serious consideration, we had to undertake a chase across nearly two millennia of history, from Greco-Roman Alexandria to Renaissance Rome, sometimes moving at breakneck speed, making Dan Brown’s Angels & Demons seem like a Sunday stroll in the park. It was a thrilling undertaking and, most of all, an amazing eye-opener. No matter what one may think of it, one thing is certain: Christianity and Western culture will never seem the same again.
But enough said. The die is cast. You have the evidence in your hands. No need to tarry.
We are ready to present our case . . .
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: The True Religion of the World
- THE CITY OF MEMORY
- THE MAKING OF A GOD
- MAGIC IS NOT “RELIGION”
- A PLACE TO FLOURISH
- WHAT HAVE THE ROMANS DONE FOR US?
- AN APOSTLE IN ALEXANDRIA
- EXCURSION ONE, TO ROME, 45 CE
- “BY THIS SIGN YOU SHALL CONQUER”
- ROMAN CATHOLIC CHRISTIANITY
- THOTH BECOMES HERMES TRISMEGISTUS, AND HIS SACRED BOOKS
- BECOME THE HERMETICA
- THE LAMENT
Chapter 2: The Hermetic Movement, Part I