(A contradiction in terms one would think)

by Niven Sinclair, London, June 10, 2004

Earl William St Clair was certainly one of the great illuminati of his day as can be seen from the care and attention which he built into every aspect of his architectural masterpiece: Rosslyn Chapel. 

There are carvings representing everything from fallen angels to a menagerie of animals, from one hundred green men to a cornucopia of physic plants, from the grotesque figures of the master mason to the weeping face of the apprentices mother, from the danse macabre to the head of Robert the Bruce.  Earl William was writing a story in stone and, yet, there is only one quotation inscribed in the whole building.  It is on one of the lintels in the South aisle. It reads:

Forte est vinu; fortior est Rex; fortiores sunt mulieres;
 sup (super) om (omnia) vincit veritas
(the words in brackets have been added for clarification) 

Paradoxically, the inscription is in Lombardic lettering which may give some indication of the country from which some of the stonemasons came.  The translation is given as: 

Wine is strong, the king is stronger, women are stronger

but above all truth conquers.

Where did this saying originate?  Why did Earl William choose to give it added emphasis by singling it out as the sole quotation?  What truth was he drawing attention to? Had it anything to do with the secret which his grandson showed to Mary of Guise who, on seeing it, promised to remain a true maistress to him and to keep the secret all the days of her life?   

These were strange words for the Queen Regent, as she was at the time, to use to one of her subjects.  Why was the boot suddenly on the other foot?  What secret did the Sinclairs hold (and may still hold) to have a Queen bend the royal knee?  

To find the answer we have to return to early Jewish writing which (there being little new under the sun) may have been adapted from earlier pagan narratives.

However, the story is best summed up in Majorie L. Kimbrough’s Stories Between the Testaments (pp.101-102)which is given overleaf:

The information, found only in First Edras, begins in Chapter 3. 

King Darius gives a banquet for all his kingdom and, after he has gone to bed, three young men of the bodyguard hold a contest to determine what one thing is the strongest.  The person giving the wisest answer is to be richly rewarded by the king.

Each contestant writes a statement, seals it and places it under the pillow of the king who, along with three nobles of Persia, will judge which is the wisest statement.

The first answer is wine: the second is the king; and the third answer is Women are the strongest but, above all things, truth is victor (312)  When the king awakes, he reads the statements and summons a company of judges and calls the three young men in to explain their answers. (3:13-17a). 

The first young man explains that wine leads the mind astray, causes changes in behaviour, neutralises intelligence, diminishes capacity, and causes loss of memory (3:17b-24).

The second man believes the king is stronger for he rules over others, sends them to war or work, and takes what they win or earn.  They watch over him when he sleeps and obey him in all matters (4:1-12). 

The third man, Zerubbabel, tells how women give birth to kings and to those who plant the vineyards that produce the wine. Men cannot exist without women and they are willing to give all they possess to be with a beautiful woman.  They will risk their lives for the love of a woman, leave their parents and hold to the wives with whom they wish to spend the remainder of their days on earth (4:13-25). Many men have lost their minds because of women and have become slaves because of them.  Many have perished or stumbled or sinned because of women (4:26-27). 

He explains how women can take the crown from the heads of kings but, strong as they are, they cannot compete with truth. (4:28-35). Truth is great and stronger than all things.  The whole earth calls upon truth and heaven blesses her.  All Gods work quake and tremble and with him there is nothing unrighteous.

Wine is unrighteous, the king is unrighteous, women are unrighteous and all such things.  There is no truth in them and their unrighteousness they will perish.  But truth endures and is strong forever and ever (4:35b-38).

When Zerubbabel had finished speaking, everyone said Great is truth and strongest of all.  Zerubbabel is declared the winner and is promised whatever he asks of the king.  Zerubbabel asks the king to honour his vow to build Jerusalem, return the Holy vessels, and rebuild the temple.  King Darius grants him and all who would go to build Jerusalem a safe passage and assistance in building.  They will not have to pay tribute and offerings will be given to the temple.  He provides land and wages for those who guard the city and sends back the Holy vessels.  Zerubbabel leaves praising God and thanking the Lord for providing him with the wisdom and they got to build the city, feasting and rejoicing for seven days (4:42-63). 

If we return to that other temple, Rosslyn Chapel, we find the figures of King Darius (asleep) and two of the young bodyguards on an architrave which runs at right angles to the lintel on which the quotation appears.  What, one wonders happened to the third bodyguard? Did too much wine cause him to fall?

And on an opposite corbel the figure of Melchizadek (?) holding a chalice.  (the grail ?) can be seen.  What can he be doing there?  Truly Rosslyn Chapel is a puzzle in stone but, of one thing we can be certain, everything had a purpose - every carving had a meaning and even the placing of those carvings was carefully worked out so that Earl Williams message for posterity would finally be understood by those initiates who had followed the path of learning and self-denial until it brought them to the doors of Rosslyn Chapel.

The answer will be given to those with the courage to explore, the vision to see and the humility to thank God for Mother Earth from which all bounty flows.  The Chapel proclaims that God and Nature is ONE ;  that every green shoot is a word of God; that, if there is any sacrilege, it is what Man has done and is doing to Mother Earth.  Every day there is less and less of the surface of the Earth capable of sustaining life.   Our oceans have become cesspits.  Our minds have become deserts.  In our arrogance, we have set ourselves above other living things and, in so doing, we have divorced ourselves from reality and from the truth.  Alas, the truth is a World which few people have the courage to explore or even to voice in this age of political correctness.  McCarthyim is not dead. 

If Earl William had stated his beliefs in the 15th Century he would have been charged with heresy and hanged so he chiselled out that message in stone. In his mind, God and Nature was ONE.  He also believed that Mankind was suffering from a medieval religious hangover of such magnitude that it was heading for Armageddon.   

 And, as we look at the World today, we must ask ourselves:  Was he wrong to think that all religions had been hi-jacked by power hungry preachers who, instead of preaching peace as their respective religions required, they ranted against the infidels and engaged in Holy Wars under the euphemistic titles of Crusades or Jihad.   No wonder the Knights Templar and, ipso facto, the St Clairs wished to establish a rapport with Islam a need which is just as great today as it was in the 14th Century.  There is nothing in the Quoran which is contrary to Christian teaching except they draw a line at accepting Jesus as being the son of God.  So do many others who are not of the Islamic faith. 

All boundaries, whether national or religious, are man made.  In the main, they make little sense because, whether we are Caucasian, Mongoloid or Negroid, we are all at one with each other in our primitive mortal needs. That and the law of Nature which is eternal and unchanging, is the truth a truth which we must embrace before homo sapiens (and that is another contradiction in terms) joins the dodo into extinction an event, d.v. which will bring about the recovery of  Mother Earth from the depredations of Man. 

Niven Sinclair                                                                    London 06:10:04


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