- The Illuminati do not exist.
- The Illuminati never existed.
- The Illuminati will never exist.
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In the Media
In recent years, major English-language media outlets have published a number of pieces briefly and vividly describing the origins of the Illuminati order. For example, “What’s the real story behind the Illuminati conspiracy?” by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), or “Where Conspiracy Theorists Steal Their Ideas From | Truth Hurts” by Vice Media. These popular videos argue that modern notions of the Illuminati were merely a joke of Discordians, passed from the subcultural underground into mainstream culture, thanks primarily to The Illuminatus! Trilogy. It is also claimed that, in fact, this was preceded by the Illuminati Society or Bavarian Illuminati, but did not survive long and subsequently disbanded.
Remarkably, the English Wikipedia says the Illuminati also marks the beginning of this tradition with Bavaria. The same can be said of the German article the Order of the Illuminati. However, the French article on the Illuminati presents a very different picture of the history of the Illuminati, and in the article the description of the Bavarian society is preceded by the following sections:
- The Alumbrados of Spain;
- The myth of the Illuminati of Spain in France: Rose-Croix and Guérinets;
- The French Prophets;
- The Illuminati of Avignon.
That is, modern Francophone sources, unlike Anglophone sources, link the origins of the Illuminati to more ancient groups, noting their history of origin from Spanish communities. The Spanish Illuminati were called “alumbrados”:
The alumbrados (Spanish pronunciation: [alumˈbɾaðos], Illuminated) was a term used to loosely describe practitioners of a mystical form of Christianity in Spain during the 15th-16th centuries. Some alumbrados were only mildly heterodox, but others held views that were clearly heretical, according to the contemporary rulers. Consequently, they were firmly repressed and became some of the early victims of the Spanish Inquisition.
The historian Marcelino Menéndez y Pelayo found the name as early as 1492 (in the form aluminados, 1498), and traced the group to a Gnostic origin.
Further, according to the work “Guérinets” of the French literary scholar and Jesuit Henri Brémond, a little later French Illuminati were also persecuted.
The French Wikipedia article, mentions that the Camisard, Protestant Highlander peasants of the Cévennes who rebelled against the French king during the War of the Spanish Succession, were also called “Illuminati” by their contemporaries. Some of them emigrated to London under the leadership of Élie Marion and some to Geneva.
The Illuminati of Avignon, said to have appeared 8 years later than the Bavarian ones, but which English-speaking sources also prefer not to mention. The Illuminati of Avignon were founded by the renounced Benedictine Antoine-Joseph Perneti and operated in various countries of Europe, including the Russian Empire. In Berlin, Avignon and St Petersburg members of the society were persecuted and the organization was soon dissolved.
In all these cases, the Illuminati were characterized as heretics, heterodox and opponents of the Catholic Church, while in the case of the Camisares, they are outright Protestants, despite the fact that the Camisares had their beginnings in the Cevennes, in the south of Catholic France. For some reason the popular Anglo-Saxon (predominantly Protestant) tradition in modern times prefers not to mention or not to associate all these groups with the term “Illuminati”, identifying the historical Illuminati exclusively with the Bavarian order. This may be because modern religious history links the origins of Protestantism to Germany, while the Illuminati societies in question demonstrate that chronologically the origins of such protest ideas originated first in Spain and then in France.