Few groups have the same reputation among conspiracy theorists as do the Illuminati. With it’s trademark Eye of Providence, the group captures the imagination of people who usually aren’t interested in neither conspiracy narratives nor esoteric societies. Although writers like Dan Brown and to a much, much lesser extent (depressingly enough) Robert Anton Wilson have done their part to popularize the Illuminati, the very reason that they could write about the Illuminati rather than any other esoteric society from the 18th century (and these were plentiful) required a certain notoriety on behalf of the Illuminati.
One blog post will not be enough to cover the Illuminati so TFC will run a short series of posts about these allegedly nefarious people.
The story of the Illuminati begins om May 1, 1776 (although many claim its roots go as far back as ancient Babylon or even Atlantis). When Bavarian enlightenment philosopher Adam Weishaupt formed the “Perfectibilist” movement who opposed the Divine Right of Kings and preached Liberty, Reason and Equality.
The movement spread rapidly. To noone’s surprise, this ideology was not a favorite of rulers and kings, let alone of the Duke of Bavaria, Charles Theodore who banned the Illuminati, as the movement has become known as, in 1785.
Weishaupt had to flee his native Ingolstadt for exile (he didn’t have to flee very far, in fact, only 300 kilometers, as Duke Ernest II of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg offered him protection), which he spent writing on philosophy and his ideology until he died in 1830.
And that would be then end of that chapter in history, had it not been for the conspiracy theorists. Next time, we’ll take a look at what supposedly (i.e. almost certainly not) became of the Illuminati and how they were “rediscovered”.