The Templar Treasure at Gisors Jean Markale (Inner
Traditions) When French King Philip the Fair ordered the arrest of the Knights
Templars and the con fiscation of their property in 1307, the Templars were one
of the most powerful forces ii Europe, answerable only to the Pope. It was also
one of the richest, despite its knights' vow of poverty. Yet not a penny of
their immense treasure was ever found. The hunt for this lost treasure has
centered on a number of locations, among which is the medieval city of Gisors a
site on the Normandy and French border that is honeycombed with complex
underground passageways and chambers. Mysteriously, all attempts to discover
what may be concealed in these subterranean corridors are rigorously discouraged
by contemporary authorities.
of the treasure is but one of the many unsolved mysteries concerning this order
that continues to haunt our imaginations. Who were these "poor knights of Christ
who made denial of Jesus a requirement of acceptance into the order? What were
their true purposes and what was the nature of their secret that drew the wrath
of the king of Franc down on their heads? Was there really a treasure and, if
so, what was it-material wealth o something more powerful, such as the Holy
Grail or the secret to the philosopher's stone Was there a secret order within
the order that authorized the heretical practices for which they were condemned?
In a search for answers to these and other questions, Celtic any medieval
scholar Jean Markale goes back to original source documents in an attempt to
clear away the baseless assumptions that have sprung up about the Templars and
to shine new light on their activities.
philosopher, historian, and storyteller, Jean Markale has spent a lifetime
researching pre-Christian and medieval culture and spirituality. He is the
author of more than 40 books, including The Druids, The Pagan Mysteries of
Halloween, Merlin, Women of the Celts, and The Epics of Celtic Ireland. He is a
specialist in Celtic studies at the Sorbonne and lives in the Brittany region of
Celts by Jean Markale (Inner Traditions) While
historians have tended to accord the Celts a place of minor significance in
comparison to the Romans,
The Celts firmly aligns the Celtic peoples as the
primary European precedent to the Greco-Roman hegemony, restoring this culture
to its true importance in the development of European civilization. An expert in
Celtic studies, Markale regards myth as a branch of history, and explores
mythological material to reveal the culture that gave rise to it. The
alternative historical vision that emerges is both convincing and exciting.
One of the most comprehensive treatments of Celtic civilization ever written. A cornerstone of Western civilization and the major source of its social, political, and literary values, Celtic civilization occupied the whole of
Women of the Celts by Jean Markale (Inner Traditions) Historian Markale explores the rich heritage of Celtic women in history, myth, and ritual, showing how those traditions compare to modern attitudes toward women.
This book was a surprise to me--I expected a book of
mythology, and instead it was a book of psychological, sociological, and
philosophical theory with Celtic mythological overtones. Its structure reminded
me of Simone de Beauvoir's _The Second Sex_, a book which Markale quotes often.
Women of the Celts begins with a historical discourse on the role of women
in ancient Celtic society, and then studies myths centered around female
characters in a search for subconscious attitudes about women.
Markale discusses the role of women in the various Celtic
societies without generalizing or idealizing; he spends many pages on each of
the Celtic lands, and focuses on specific legal codes that concerned women's
rights and limitations. His studies reveal a people caught somewhere between
equality and sexism; women still held nearly equal rights with men but were
He then launches into several chapters of comparative
mythology, seeking common archetypes that can be found in many Celtic stories,
such as "The Submerged Princess", "The Great Queen", "Our Lady of the Night",
"The Rebellion of the Flower-Daughter", and "The Lady of the Orchard." He draws
parallels between the various stories and looks for the psychological
undertones. The conclusion he finally draws is that men both desire and fear a
deep union with a woman; and that this union leads to a true understanding of
what is truly important in life. When a person is truly in love, the workaday
world loses the meaning it formerly held.
In the third section of the book, Markale outlines his new
vision for a more sexually equal society, based on some of the ideas held by the
ancient Celts. His theory would take too long to explain here, but it is
interesting and thought-provoking.
I give this book four stars for its scholarship, the
interesting nature of the Celtic stories, and for the very thought-provoking
social theories suggested at the end. I have only two gripes. (1)Markale can get
very long-winded and "high-falutin" at times, leaving the reader wondering,
"Where is he going with this?" (2)I think Markale may be overgenerous in his
application of Freudian "Oedipal complex" theory. After a while, the reader also
wonders, "Can every last Celtic myth really be about man's desire for sexual
union with his mother?" But, in the end, the focus is not on incest, but on the
union-in-love that returns the lover to a state of bliss and understanding.
by Jean Markale (Inner Traditions) Markale draws from historical records, myth,
and literary texts for this revealing portrait of the real Merlin.
Merlin, the wizard, has always attracted our attention whether as children or
adults. Personally, I can't say exactly why, but after reading Markale's book, I
was convinced he might have some answers for that question.
A wonderful and very complete research work; this book contains quite a lot
about Merlin and all the mythology around the character. I started reading this
book merely to spend my free time in something insightful, but after a couple of
pages, I was really interested in the content.
Covering nearly every aspect of Merlin's figure, it analyses not only ancient
texts regarding Merlin the wizard, but parallel texts and poems, middle ages'
romances and even some doubtful sources. I found quite interesting not only the
focus on the legend but also the analysis of related subjects such as Vivian,
the Lady of the
The book might not be the best choice for a neophyte willing to start
familiarizing with the myths and truths about Merlin, since it seems to be
written in quite a formal and scholar style, but after one gets used to this,
the fun part begins. I never was such a fan of Merlin and all the Arthurian
legends, but this book turned me into a celtophile!
Druids by Jean Markale (Inner Traditions) A
comprehensive and revealing look at the druids and their fundamental role in
Celtic society that dispels many of the misconceptions about these important
religious figures and their doctrine * Written by the world's leading authority
on Celtic culture. Druidism was one of the greatest and most exalting adventures
of the human spirit, attempting to reconcile the unreconcilable, the individual
and the collective, creator and created, good and evil, day and night, past and
future, and life and death. Because of the oral nature of Celtic civilization
our understanding of its spiritual truths and rituals is necessarily incomplete.
Yet evidence exists that can provide the modern reader with a better
understanding of the doctrine that took druidic apprentices 20 years to learn in
the remote forests of the British Isles and Gaul.
Using the descriptions of the druids and their beliefs provided by the
historians and chroniclers of classic antiquity--as well as those recorded by
the insular Celts themselves when compelled, under Christianity's influence, to
utilize writing to preserve their ancestral traditions--Jean Markale
painstakingly pieces together all that is known for certain about them. The
druids were more than simply the priests of the Celtic people; their influence
extended to all aspects of Celtic life. The Druids covers everything concerning
the Celtic religious domain, intellectual speculations, cultural or magical
practices, various beliefs, and the so-called profane sciences that have come
down from the Celtic priesthood.
King of the Celts by Jean Markale (Inner Traditions) opens with an
argumentative introduction about historians' general reluctance to deal with
myths and oral traditions. She moves directly into a discussion of how Arthurian
lore in the medieval world was comcreated by ardent and undiscriminating
propagandists of the courtly nobility who misappropriated Celtic legends and in
the process betrayed and ridiculed them. Her survey of Arthurian legendry in
Celtic history purports that through such Celtic notions of kingship, especially
the king's obligation to the people, his role was clarified as more than one of
personal gain or divine right. For serious students of Arthurian legends and
The Pagan Mysteries of Halloween by Jean Markale (Inner Traditions) Though the name comes from the Christians' All Saints' Eve, Halloween can be traced back thousands of years to Samhain--the beginning of the "dark half" of the Celtic yearly calendar. As a feasting and merrymaking festival, Samhain lasted about three days, and attendance was mandatory, according to Markale. It was also the time when fairy folk made themselves available to humans, and the borders between the worlds of the living and the dead were said to blur. Markale is a thorough historian, offering a plausible account of how Samhain evolved into the modern day celebration. For readers seeking general Halloween information, Markale may be too dry and detailed. But for those intrigued by pagan festivals and lifestyle, this could be as delectable and coveted as a bag of Halloween candy.
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