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Favourite Medieval Heretics

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Komnenos View Drop Down
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  Quote Komnenos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Favourite Medieval Heretics
    Posted: 24-Nov-2005 at 16:29
During the Middle Ages a number of heretics challenged the Catholic Church and the worldly authorities. Most of them found a sticky end at the hands of the Papacy or some earthly ruler.

Whos your favourite medieval heretic?

My choice would be Hans Boheim of Niklashausen in Southern Germany, known as the Piper ( or Drummer) of Niklashausen.
Boheim was a simple young shepherd, who had a part time job as the musician at local feasts and weddings, where he used to play the pipes and drums.
One day in early 1476 he astonished his village by announcing that he had had a visitation by the Virgin Mary, who had told him to burn his instruments and to dedicate his life to rescuing his sinful neighbours from eternal damnation.
Boheims preaching soon attracted an enormous following, the good people of Franconia streamed to Niklashausen to hear him and pray to the Mother of God who had inspired him. He would have passed by somewhat unnoticed as one of the many peasant preachers who appeared in the 15th century, if Marys next revelation hadnt been rather controversial.
Boheim began to proclaim that the main obstacle to salvation was the feudal state, and thus demanded the abolition of all worldly and clerical authority, Popes, Emperors, Dukes and the like. All men should become brothers and equally share the spoils of the earth. Feudal obligations, taxes etc. were to be abolished; all land to become common property.
Naturally, these demands further increased Hans Boheims popularity amongst the common folk of Germany, who now flocked in their ten-thousands to the small village. Their enthusiasm, however, wasnt shared by the authorities who began to take him and his movement seriously. After a few months, the Bishop of the nearest greater town, Wuerzburg, had enough, and on July 12, 1476, Hans Boheim was arrested and brought to Wuerzburg.
Boheims followers pursued the captors and, under the leadership of a few impoverished knights laid siege to the castle of Wuerzburg, demanding the release of their prophet.
After some minor tussles, the Bishop persuaded them to lift the siege and go home, with the promise that Boheim would get a fair hearing.
On July 19, Hans Boheim was burnt at the stake in Wuerzburg.

By all accounts, Boheim was a completely illiterate and uneducated young man, who had never come across any ideas that might have influenced his preaching. That he combined his fundamentalist spiritualism with radical political and social demands, must have been the expression of a deeply rooted popular desire to overcome the oppressive feudal system, and to get rid of all those institutions that bled the peasantry dry. Boheim wasnt the first to preach a Christian proto-communist society, and his ideas returned in hardly changed form 50 years later during the Great German Peasant war of 1525.
In 1970 the German film-director Hans Werner Fassbinder made a film, based on Boheims life as one of the tragic medieval heretics.



Hans Boheim, the Piper of Niklashausen, preaching
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  Quote Kynsi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Nov-2005 at 12:00
Probably the favourite heretic for us finns would be Lalli.

Acording to the legend it was in the winter some where in the 1200-century when Bishop Henry was on a expedition, to christianize folk, deep in the land of Tavastia when he visited lord(or some kind of a "aristocrat") Lalli's house when Lalli was out. Some say that that it was Henry who took food and beer with out payment and some say it was Lalli's wife Kerttu who tricked Lalli and lied to him that the bishop had taken food and beer with out payment.

Furious Lalli left to chase the bishop down and catched him on the lake of Kyli where he hacked him down with an axe. But when Lalli got home God had cursed Lalli and hes hair fell off.

Now days it is believed that the whole first crusade to finland was fiction.



Statue of Lalli.
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forget the past then you are blind in both eyes -old russian saying
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  Quote ulrich von hutten Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Nov-2005 at 12:39
jan hus a professor of the karls -university of prague was burnt in Constanz in 1415. he appointed to the authority of the bible.oh ,sorry the dinner is prepared,later more ..

jan hus at constanz  council


Edited by ulrich von hutten

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  Quote Jhangora Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Nov-2005 at 12:56

For Indians it would be Kabir.

Kabir
Mystic Philosopher

1398-1518


 

Kabir ranks among the world's greatest poets. In India, he is perhaps the most quoted author, with the exception of Tulsidas. Kabir has criticized perhaps all existing sects in India, still he is mentioned with respect by even orthodox authors. Vaishnav author Nabhadas in his Bhakta-Mal (1585) writes:

hindU turuk pramAn ramainI sabadI sAkhI
pachchhapat nahiN bachan sabahiN ke hit kI bhAkhI

[His "ramaini" "shabda" "sakhi" (sections of his "Bijak") are accepted by Hindus and Turks alike. He spoke without discrimination for the good of all]

He lived perhaps during 1398-1448. He is thought to have lived longer than 100 years. He had enormous influence on Indian philosophy and on Hindi poetry.

His birth and death are surrounded by legends. He grew up in a Muslim weaver family, but some say he was really son of a Brahmin widow who was adopted by a childless couple. When he died, his Hindu and Muslim followers started fighting about the last rites. The legend is that when they lifted the cloth covering his body, they found flowers instead. The Muslim followers buried their half and the Hindu cremated thier half. In Maghar, his tomb and samadhi still stand side by side.

Here I quote some of his verses from his "Bijak", from the section called "sakhi". My translation follows the Gurumukh TIkA by Puran Sahib done perhas a century ago. He was associated with the Kabirpanthi center at Burhanpur. Kabir's writings can be hard to translate, not only because the language is old, but Kabir's expressions are different from what we are used to seeing.

The verses below use the term "hira" (diamond). It should be noted that during the time of Kabir, diamonds were very rare. At that time, diamonds were found only in India and nowhere else.

Bijak/Sakhi 168:

hIrA soi srAhiye
sahai ghanan kI choT
kapaT kurangI mAnavA
parakhat nikrA khot

Admire the diamond that can bear the hits of a hammer. Many deceptive preachers, when critically examined, turn out to be false.

[Here diamond is siddhanta (the basic principles or doctrine).An experienced diamond cutter can hit the diamond using a chisel so that the chips will break off as expected. A diamond because if its crystalline structure tends to break off at specific angles. Similarly the true doctrine would come out shining when it is critically examined].

Bijak/Sakhi 170:

hIrA tahaN na kholiye
jahaN kunjroN kI hAT
sahajai gaNthI bANdhike
lagiye apni bAT

Don't open your diamonds in a vegetable market. Tie them in bundle and keep them in your heart, and go your own way.

[Don't discuss gyan (knowledge) with those who can not understand it].

Bijak/Sakhi 171:

hIrA parA bajAr maiN
rahA chhAr lapaTAy
ketihe murakh pachi mUye
koi pArakhi liyA uThAy

A diamond was laying in the street covered with dirt. Many fools passed by. Someone who knew diamonds picked it up.

[Those who understand gyan-siddhanta (true knowledge/principles), pause to acquire it].



Translated by Rabindranath Tagore


baagon naa jaa re naa jaa

Do not go to the garden of flowers!
O friend! go not there;
In your body is the garden of flowers.
Take your seat on the thousand petals of the
 lotus, and there gaze on the infinite beauty.


koi prem ki peng jhulaao re

Hang up the swing of love today!
Hang the body and the mind between the
  arms of the beloved, in the ecstasy of love's joy:
Bring the tearful streams of the rainy clouds
  to your eyes, and cover your heart with
  the shadow of darkness:
Bring your face nearer to his ear, and speak
  of the deepest longings of your heart.
Kabir says: `Listen to me brother! bring the
  vision of the Beloved in your heart.'

http://www.cs.colostate.edu/~malaiya/kabir.html

 

Jai Badri Vishal
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  Quote Komnenos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Nov-2005 at 08:25
Originally posted by ulrich von hutten

jan hus a professor of the karls -university of prague was burnt in
Constanz in 1415. he appointed to the authority of the bible.oh ,sorry
the dinner is prepared,later more ..

jan hus at contanc council



Are you still eating? I know the Germans serve huge portions, but you have been at it all night.

Yes, good old Jan Hus, he was promised safe-conduct by Emperor Sigismund, but as soon as he reached Constance, he was arrested, tortured, tried and finally burned at the stake by the good Christian Church authorities.
But his movement didn't die with him,his followers, the Hussites, fought a long war for their religion and their country against the Catholic Imperial authorities, and took revenge for Hus' death by laying waste to parts of Czechoslovakia and Germany.

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  Quote Constantine XI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Nov-2005 at 20:01
My favourite, only just edging in first ahead of the Paulicians and Manichaeans would be the Lutherans, also known as Protestants. Luther, their leader, protested against the gross corruption of the Papacy and lead the way to establish a Christian church which relied on the essential teachings of the Bible without the superfluous influence of ceremonial and landed authority. The new sect grew rapidly, primarily in Northern European nations where the emphasis on unceremonious worship and greater stress on worship taking a less overt form were appealing to the peoples in Northern Europe. Freed from the restrictions imposed by the traditional religious structures, people began increasingly to turn their attention to secular matters, in particular the pursuit of personal wealth and enterprise.
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  Quote Emperor Barbarossa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Nov-2005 at 20:08
Jan Hus, as mentioned in this thread, is one of my favorites. I especially like one of the Hussites though, Jan Zizka. He fought with the Poles at Grunwald and would later lead the Hussites through the first few Crusades. I like the War Wagon Tactic.

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  Quote Constantine XI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Nov-2005 at 20:10
Hm, I just realized that Luther is not quite Medieval, but cuts quite close. Mani, founder of the Manichaeans, belongs to the ancient world. In that case I will go with the Paulicians.
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  Quote ulrich von hutten Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Nov-2005 at 01:42
Originally posted by Komnenos

Originally posted by ulrich von hutten

jan hus a professor of the karls -university of prague was burnt in
Constanz in 1415. he appointed to the authority of the bible.oh ,sorry
the dinner is prepared,later more ..

jan hus at contanc  council



Are you still eating? I know the Germans serve huge portions, but you have been at it all night.

 

it was only a snack ,but then i felt asleep about your ancient jokes.
but indeed your informations about jan hus are right then.

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  Quote Serge L Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Nov-2005 at 16:15
I'd vote for Giordano Bruno
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  Quote Maju Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Nov-2005 at 17:11
Originally posted by Serge L

I'd vote for Giordano Bruno


I never thought as Giordano Bruno as an heretic but rather a scientist that was prosecuted for his open mind not for keeping any diferent doctrinal position. After reading your link, I still find no ground to consider him a heretic, just a free thinker.

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  Quote Maju Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Nov-2005 at 17:47
Basques were prone to witchery and eventually their monarchs adopted Protestantism as well, but the more curious Basque heressy is that of the Begards of Durango.

C. 1425, Franciscan priest fray Alonso de Mella, brother of the Bishop of Zamora, preached his Begard heressy in Durango, now Biscay but then a separate district. His doctrine was as follow: combating the worship of the cross, and the sacraments, particularly marriage and communion, they practiced the "community of goods and women" (communism and promiscuity) and proposed a re-reading of the Bible according to the theory of the Three Ages: of the Father (Old Testament), of the Son (New Testament) and of the Spirit (theirs). They favored personal freedom, which they considered an experience of the Spirit, and they considered themselves saints.

It seems that fray Alonso had many followers, specially women, many of them originary from the Franciscan order (still very strong in the Basque Country). His predicament took place for about 20 years without any major intervention (Durango was a semi-independent territory). The Begard/Beguine heressy (originary from northern Europe), that promoted perfection of nature in Earth, had anyhow been condemned a century before by the Council of Vienne and the particularly radical proposal of the Durangese Begards actually was closer to that of the Brothers of the Free Spirit, condemned even before by Boniface VIII.

Eventually the King (of Castile) intervened and put violently an end to that heressy, burning many people on the stake (the martyrs of Durango for some). Most obviously avoided punishment, through opportune "repention" but the mystic-communist experience was supressed anyhow. Fray Alonso managed to flee to Granada, then under Muslim rule, where he tried to reproduce the experiment, attracting also many people. Yet the Kings of Granada did not tolerate this for long and promtly executed him.


Cross of Krutziaga, Durango, apparently erected after destroying the heressy.

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  Quote Maju Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Nov-2005 at 18:31
Other heretics of my interest are the Assasins, Hashishims or Ismailite Nizaries of the period of Alamut. Hassan i' Sabbah is a true character, as would be later the Great Master of Syria, Sinan ed Din, the Sheikh of the Mountain of western myths, who apparently succeeded to coerce Saladin himself into "peace".  There are many legends about how this happened, including that he threatened Saladin's mother with the total extintion of the lineage but one that I liked most tells that the envoy of Sinan asked Saladin to speak in private. Saladin promtly send everyone out but for two guards. And these?, asked the Assasin. They are like my sons, you can speak freely, replied the King. Then the envoy spoke to the guards: If I order you in the name of my master to kill this man, would you do it? To the surprise of Saladin, both handed their swords and replied: Whatever you command, we will obey. The exact truth though will never be known but Saladin never fought again against the Assasins.


The remains of Alamut, shattered by many earthquakes after its times of glory.

But much more interesting for my taste was the third Pir of Alamut and 23rd Imam of the Ismaili Nizaris, Hassan II (aka Mowlana Ala Zikrihis-Salam). This spiritual leader not only gave a new impusle to the "terrorist" policies of the Assasins but also, due to the pressure by more orthodox Muslims, he dared to proclaim the Qiyama or Resurrection. After he announced the New Era to men, angels and djinns in Alamut, they "santified" it by drinking wine while giving their backs to the direction of Mecca.

This Qiyama didn't last for long and Hassan II was poisoned five years later by some his own followers, returning the sect if not to orthodoxy at least to Islam. The Assasins were only destroyed by the Mongols, who captured Alamut. Curiously enough, though it's not well known, the Ismaili Nizari sect still exists and their leader and current Imam is the Agha Khan. Most of their followers live in India though.

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  Quote eaglecap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Nov-2005 at 18:41
Sometbing I will have to think about but one interesting book I read was:
The Cheese and the Worms : The Cosmos of a Sixteenth-Century Miller by Carlo Ginzburg

It takes place in the 16th c. but it is still interesting.



http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/search-handle-url/index%3D stripbooks%2526field-author%3Dcarlo%2520ginzburg%2526results -process%3Ddefault%2526dispatch%3Dsearch/ref%3Dpd%5Fsl%5Fov% 5Ftops-1%5Fstripbooks%5F8104504%5F1/103-8059046-3168612
Λοιπόν, αδελφοί και οι συμπολίτες και οι στρατιώτες, να θυμάστε αυτό ώστε μνημόσυνο σας, φήμη και ελευθερία σας θα ε
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  Quote Decebal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Nov-2005 at 16:00

Originally posted by Maju

Other heretics of my interest are the Assasins, Hashishims or Ismailite Nizaries of the period of Alamut. Hassan i' Sabbah is a true character, as would be later the Great Master of Syria, Sinan ed Din, the Sheikh of the Mountain of western myths, who apparently succeeded to coerce Saladin himself into "peace".  There are many legends about how this happened, including that he threatened Saladin's mother with the total extintion of the lineage but one that I liked most tells that the envoy of Sinan asked Saladin to speak in private. Saladin promtly send everyone out but for two guards. And these?, asked the Assasin. They are like my sons, you can speak freely, replied the King. Then the envoy spoke to the guards: If I order you in the name of my master to kill this man, would you do it? To the surprise of Saladin, both handed their swords and replied: Whatever you command, we will obey. The exact truth though will never be known but Saladin never fought again against the Assasins.


The remains of Alamut, shattered by many earthquakes after its times of glory.

But much more interesting for my taste was the third Pir of Alamut and 23rd Imam of the Ismaili Nizaris, Hassan II (aka Mowlana Ala Zikrihis-Salam). This spiritual leader not only gave a new impusle to the "terrorist" policies of the Assasins but also, due to the pressure by more orthodox Muslims, he dared to proclaim the Qiyama or Resurrection. After he announced the New Era to men, angels and djinns in Alamut, they "santified" it by drinking wine while giving their backs to the direction of Mecca.

This Qiyama didn't last for long and Hassan II was poisoned five years later by some his own followers, returning the sect if not to orthodoxy at least to Islam. The Assasins were only destroyed by the Mongols, who captured Alamut. Curiously enough, though it's not well known, the Ismaili Nizari sect still exists and their leader and current Imam is the Agha Khan. Most of their followers live in India though.

Actually there's a substantial community of Ismailis in Canada. I've met at least 3 unrelated Ismaili persons. They are all nice (at least on the surface), usually very well off, and very secretive about their religion. Quite interesting...

I do agree though: the Assassins are fascinating. I like the story of the visit of Count Henry of Champagne who visited the Assassins in 1194, and is supposed to have witnessed a remarkable display of loyalty on behalf of the followers of the "Old Man of the Mountain".

While walking together in the castle one day, Henry and the Assassin chief began to talk of obedience. Some youths in white were sitting on top of a high tower. "I will show you what obedience means", the chief said; he gave a sign, and immediately two of the youths leapt from the tower and were dashed to pieces at the foot of the rock.

Apparently the Count of Champagne took many of the Assassins organizational methods and employed them in the founding of the Templars. 

What is history but a fable agreed upon?
Napoleon Bonaparte

Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth.- Mohandas Gandhi

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  Quote Maju Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Nov-2005 at 17:02
There is some unclear legend about the Templars being influenced by the Assasins, but I'm not sure how much of truth is in it. 

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  Quote Komnenos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Nov-2005 at 19:21
Originally posted by Maju

There is some unclear legend about the Templars being influenced by the
Assasins, but I'm not sure how much of truth is in it.


The theory goes, that the very idea of a strictly organised warrior/monk order as the Knights Templar, was adopted from the similar structured Assassins after the Christian knights had first come into contact with them. Although I have never seen it conclusively proven, the notion doesn't seem to be that absurd.
It might not have been the most decisive influence on the foundation of the Templars, but it might have occured to Hugo de Payens to build a Christian counter organisation to the by then rather powerful and influential Muslim order.
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  Quote Serge L Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Jan-2006 at 12:44
Originally posted by Maju

Originally posted by Serge L

I'd vote for Giordano Bruno


I never thought as Giordano Bruno as an heretic but rather a scientist that was prosecuted for his open mind not for keeping any diferent doctrinal position. After reading your link, I still find no ground to consider him a heretic, just a free thinker.


I suppose you can be right, it depends on one's definition of heretic. In my definition, heretics . . . just not exist. Everybody has his or her own opinions and that is all.

However, in such cases I usually take a pragmatist approach, and, since he was condemned as heretic (pls. see article). I included him here
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  Quote Scealai Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Jan-2006 at 17:39

Joan of Arc.  She may not have been the best military leader, but she did amazing things.  Even though she was Catholic, and France was predominantly Catholic, her claim to hear the voice of St. Catherine led her to be labled a heretic.  She was seventeen, and just a peasant-woman from Domremy, but she still had the power of voice to gain military power for two years, until her death at age nineteen.  (She was burned at the stake.)

But whether or not she actually heard the voice of St. Catherine--I have some theories on that.  1- It is possible that she suffered from schizophrenia, (sp?) and thought that she heard the voices.  Possible--but not probable, as the characteristics of schizophrenia are vile voices, that say horrible things, whereas Joan of Arc heard voices of Good--a Higher Power.  2- She could have lied about it, thinking that she had good military tactics, and could free all of France from the English.  3- She really could have heard the voices.  What are your opinions and theories? 



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  Quote Quetzalcoatl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Jan-2006 at 23:26
Originally posted by Scealai

Joan of Arc.  She may not have been the best military leader, but she did amazing things.  Even though she was Catholic, and France was predominantly Catholic, her claim to hear the voice of St. Catherine led her to be labled a heretic.  She was seventeen, and just a peasant-woman from Domremy, but she still had the power of voice to gain military power for two years, until her death at age nineteen.  (She was burned at the stake.)

But whether or not she actually heard the voice of St. Catherine--I have some theories on that.  1- It is possible that she suffered from schizophrenia, (sp?) and thought that she heard the voices.  Possible--but not probable, as the characteristics of schizophrenia are vile voices, that say horrible things, whereas Joan of Arc heard voices of Good--a Higher Power.  2- She could have lied about it, thinking that she had good military tactics, and could free all of France from the English.  3- She really could have heard the voices.  What are your opinions and theories? 

 

Joan of Arc a heretic? what the hell are you smoking mate? Nah, she didn't suffer from any form of schizophrenia, that's a nonsense from Luc Besson. She probably had a dream or something and was driven by faith alone.



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