A dialog from The Masonic Society Forum
In Ahiman Rezon, the following are found. First, in a list of toasts in the 1756 edition, there is Since the list also includes such as "To the Memory of P. H. Z. L. and J. A." and "The Memory of our Sister, Allworth, of New-Market", I didn't give this much thought. (The name, by the way, was probably pronounced Simon, not Kymon.) But then in the 1803 addenda, I came to this stanza in the Knights Templars Song And a couple poems later, one extolling "Carberry Lodge," has this excerpt
Who is "poor Cymon"? I found two references to a Cymon - one a Greek myth about a crude young man who fell in love with Iphigenia, and became a polished and mannerly gentleman to win her affections. The other was a General Cymon or Cimon (c.465 BC), effectively the head of the Delian League, a hedgemon of city-states lead by Athens. Neither of these seems to fit any Masonic sense.
Simon according to Christian's New Testament was a man from Cyrene who was pressed to carry the cross. Contemporary works such Templar Revelations suggests that Simon did more than physically carrying the cross. Islam's Koran or Quoran stated that someone else was crucified while Michael Baigent's The Jesus Paper postulated a plot that staged the crucifiction. Baigent wrote interesting data about Simon e.g. due to large Jewish community at Cyrene, Simon could be a black Jewish man on a visit to Jerusalem at the time he was "picked" to the now famous task. The book however, is about historical or mystical Jesus (depending which side the reader is on) not about a footnote of history or myth or religious belief---not about Simon of Cyrene. It is equally interesting to note that the York Rite's Order of Knights Templar uses a symbol called "Cross of Cyrene."
"Freemasonry taught us not to accept its own lessons on its face value. There are meaning and messages behind the allegory, symbols and illustrations. As a creature expected to utilize our “corporeal and mental faculties to their fullest energy,” rational thinking minds will lead us to ask what other things in the Bible that might change in the future? And for the Knights Templars, who really was Simon of Cyrene?"
Reflections and Transformation
Following on what Brother Olano has already said, Simon of Cyrene can be found in three passages in the Christian gospels, and I think a retelling of those passages sheds some light on the Masonic Templar context.
Interestingly enough, The Gospel of John makes no mention of Simon of Cyrene.
My take on this is that Simon bore Christ’s Cross and Templar Masons do this symbolically. As such, Cymonic Masons are Christian Masons (Templars) who carry the responsibility of following their faith.
I don’t think there is anything deeper or esoteric than that.
Thank you gentlemen for those comments so far. While I tend to think you're right, I'm still not entirely convinced, however.
To stir the pot a little, I've found another reference, this time spelled "Simon". This is one stanza from "Knights Templars Song" This sounds more like it might be a reference to the apostle Simon the Zealot.
(As an aside, looking up S.Z., I was reminded of that classic movie scene
(Which could lead to musings on another fictional adventurer, "The Saint", Simon Templar. But now I'm either getting too far off subject, or circling back to its origin.)
What about Simon Peter?
What about him? And don't call me Peter.
The last reference you posted Owen refers to Simon of Syracuse, who betrayed the Templars and his head was place on the "highest spire". The others I believe refer to Cymon of Cyrene — though the term Cymonic masons is new to me. Anyways, I beleive we are discussing two Cymon/Simons.
The story of Cymon and Iphigenia comes from Boccaccio's "The Decameron", a collection of 100 novellas written between 1349 and 1353.
In the story "the well-born and handsome young Galesus was renamed Cymon - meaning beast - on account of his brutishness. On a mild afternoon in May, Cymon chanced upon the sleeping Iphigenia, sensing at once that she was 'the loveliest object that any mortal being had ever seen'. Falling instantly in love, he became a lifelong devotee of beauty and philosophy" (from a web page of the Art Gallery of New South Wales).
Freemasons may well have seen the tale as an allegory for the transformative power of Freemasonry - "making good men better".
Boccaccio's story was a source of inspiration for poets, dramatists and painters for centuries and thus was probably well known to cultured and educated men of the 18th century. It was translated into English verse by John Dryden (1631-1700) "as well as later, in 1767, being turned into a dramatic romance with music by Thomas Augustine Arne - with the great actor David Garrick in the leading role. Arne had already enjoyed considerable success with a cantata for solo voice based upon the story of Cymon and Iphegenia which had been sung in public by a Mr. Lowe at Vauxhall Gardens in 1750. Earlier artists had painted the subject including Rubens, Lely, Reynolds and Benjamin West" (from a web page of Liverpool's Lady Lever Art Gallery).
The following is described as a "squashed version"of the tale, from the website 'Squashed Writers'.
Later additional comments: There is an analysis of this story in the book "The Italian Renaissance Imagery of Inspiration: Metaphors of Sex, Sleep, and Dreams" by Maria Ruvoldt
Cambridge University Press, 2004
ISBN 0521821606, 9780521821605
pages 99 et seq
(see Googlebook extract online)
Thank you, gentlemen, for expanding my understanding a bit more. The information on Simon of Syracuse was entirely new to me. The mythological Cymon of Cyprus I had pretty much discounted before, but now that you point out his relation to Cyprus and Rhodes, two locations also significant to Knights Templars, perhaps that also bears re-examining.
And Cymon of Cyprus sounds an awful lot like the hero of my favorite story ever, Princess Bride.
Anyway, the cast of the usual suspects is growing: Simon Zealot, Simon Peter, Simon the Cyrean, Cymon of Athens, Cymon of Cyprus, Cymon of Syracuse,
Signatures were not included in the reproduction of this discussion above, but the quotation John Bridegroom used for his generated some interesting side comments.
I heard this words before. Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven? The movie portrayed Knights Templar as vicious, murderous lunatics who deserved to get their head chopped off by "righteous" adversary. I read some books about Crusade including Brother John J. Robinson's Dungeon, Fire and Swords and though Templars are not exactly angels with ax and swords, Scott's version of Templar is just what it was — Hollywood.
For relative topic. To a Brother Templar.
Ah, yes, they did portray SOME templars that way in Kingdom of heaven, but it does not lessen the wisdom in the statement in my signature. Finding truth in a particular piece of literature does not indicate an uncompromising endorsement of the body's sentiment. The movie has a few great lines. The other, spoken by the King, is "Remember that howsoever you are played, or by whom, your soul is in your keeping alone. Even though those who presumed pray you kings or men of power, When you stand before God you cannot say "but I was told by others to do thus" or that "virtue was not convenient at the time." This will not suffice. Remember that." Shall we discount these truisms because in this drama they needed antagonists and chose not to make them all muslim? Maybe a better viewpoint, is that in any organization, there are bad seeds, and they must not be allowed to prevail. After all, the comment in my signature refers to the very characters you speak of, failed templars in this case, and as such only serve to prove the lesson spoken...
No one implied that the statement in your signature “lessen the wisdom” or painted a picture that because the declaration was extracted literally from a recent movie, the assertion is rubbish. The lines you quoted came from unknown screenwriter(s) and not from a crusader or King of Jerusalem. Just like the great line from Brother Marion Morrison AKA John Wayne, “life is hard especially, if you’re stupid.” I am not sure which Hollywood movie it was from but it was a gospel to me delivered with strong emotion and amazing articulations by company commanders i.e. drill instructors during my boot camp days.
If my memory serves me right, the warrior-priest was talking about the excuse of why people hacks each other to pieces and not about Templars in particular. After all, there are other interested parties e.g. Hospitallers, Teutonic Knights and of course, the Saracens, Mamluks who are also slashing their way to Heaven, Nirvana, whatever. Maybe some were just to win Iphigenia or Cassandra so they could “live very happily to the end of their days” in Cyprus or Rhodes.(Boccaccio, 1349-1353).
Thanks to Brother Richard for providing the source and backgrounder.