Book Review

 

History of the Grand Orient of Italy

Edited by Emanuela Locci

Westphalia Press (August 26, 2019)
Paperback, 256pp
ISBN  978-1633918252

 

 

Review by Dr Emanuela Locci

 

The initiative to write this volume is derived from the intention to fill a bibliographic gap: a publication in English that fully depicts the history of Italian Masonry. To this end, it offers to bridge this gap, and contribute to expanding the Anglo-Saxon audience on the history of a major Obedience in Italy: the Grand Orient of Italy.

The volume consists of eight chapters, starting with an introduction on the eighteenth century Italy, and the penetration of Freemasonry in the peninsula.

The paper by Giulia Delogu offers a comprehensive review on Masonry since the 1700s to Napoleonic times, and reveals broadly the challenges faced by Freemasonry in its introduction in the early modern Italian domains. Although lodges were established in Rome, Florence, Naples and Milan by the first half of the eighteenth century, almost all of these encountered struggles and even persecutions. The most notable “incident” happened in Florence, where the poet and Freemason Tommaso Crudeli was imprisoned by the Florentine Inquisition.

Nevertheless, Freemasonry endured and in the 70s gained prominence again, mainly in the Kingdom of Naples, favoured by Queen Maria Carolina, the Grand Duchy of Tuscany under Pietro Leopoldo, and in the Austrian Lombardy. Freemasonry nurtured the birth of cultural networks and contributed to the dissemination of philosophies.

A noteworthy example of the intertwinement of cultural, political, and masonic attributes observed in Italy, during the period of enlightenment, is the Neapolitan reformism of Gaetano Filangieri and Francesco Mario Pagano.

Giuseppe Luca Manenti describes in detail the Napoleonic age and Risorg­imento, and traces the events of Italian Freemasonry from the period of en­lightened despotism to the unification of the peninsula. In addition to pro­viding useful insight on the inner social shift in the lodges, the endorsing or adversary roles the Brethen played from time to time towards the estab­lishment, and the extent of rites and intellectual influences the lodges expe­rienced or acted on, Manenti reports a framework of the historiographical debates on the success in politics and culture of the affiliates in the span under his review.

The third and fourth chapters by Demetrio Xoccato and Emanuela Locci, respectively, focuses on the history of Italian Freemasonry in the liberal period, from the unification of Italy up to the first decade of the twentieth century.

This section is pivotal in the scheme, as it depicts the birth of the first strictly Italian Obedience: the Grand Orient of Italy. The transforma­tion of the Italian Grand Orient as the Grand Orient of Italy facilitated the executive and basic affirmation of the newborn National Obedience.

The authors pay particular attention to the merger of Italian Freemasonry un­der the Grand Orient of Italy.The chapters encapsulate the efforts of three successive Grand Masters who served as the Head of Obedience: Adriano Lemmi, Ernesto Nathan, and Ettore Ferrari. Given their impressive accom­plishments, these three leaders have left an indelible mark on the coeval masonry.

The next chapter, by Nicoletta Casano, offers a comprehensive review of the Grand Orient of Italy during the WWI and outlines one of the gloomi­est eras in its history, faced with fascism. The Masonry of Palazzo Giustini­ani played a key role in the Italian involvement in the WWI as a part of the Entente.

Due to the influential in-house and foreign socio-political role of Italian Freemasonry in the early twentieth century, this Obedience acted on the public opinion in a more subtle manner than the interventionist po­litical parties. The country actually emerged with a ‘mutilated’ victory and a deep crisis that profoundly changed the scenario nationwide, leading to Freemasonry to withdraw in light of the emergent fascist dictatorship.

The sixth chapter, written by Emanuela Locci, briefly addresses the exile of Italian Freemasonry, and highlights the struggle of the Grand Orient of Italy in managing not to suffer oblivion, which was largely accomplished by some representatives of the Italian masonry fleeing abroad. Particular emphasis is given to the figure of Augusto Albarin, the first Grand Master of exiled masonry.

The seventh chapter anew by Emanuela Locci, centres on foreign lodges of the Grand Orient of Italy, by operating within the frame of Italian com­munities. He refers to, as case studies, the Italian lodges in Turkey (former Ottoman Empire), Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and Eritrea.

While this section provides a fairly comprehensive description of the history of Italian lodges in Turkey and North Africa, the proposed depiction about Eritrea comes bare, as the research carried out by Locci is currently in itinere.

The last chapter is dedicated to the alliance between Freemasonry and sec­ular solidarity. Written by Demetrio Xoccato, the chapter entitled ‘Masonic solidarity in the liberal age: education and philanthropy’ highlights one of the inherent sides of masonry: the apparatus of worldly charity.

The essay offers an overview of the Masonic commitment to social life in the liberal age. Subsequent to the first few years of post-unification and the pursuant attempts to merge the entire Masonic force into one, Freemasonry could finally incorporate its actions within the civil society.

To this end, since the late 60s of the nineteenth century, there were several efforts to fund educa­tional and welfare institutions in Italian cities. The issues of schooling, con­current to occupation and poverty had emerged and prevalent expansive­ly; after several attempts, and some encouragement, the lodges responded mainly in two ways: by following foreign models of intervention (such as Economic Kitchen Houses and Night Shelters); or through specific initia­tives, that would lead to different fortunes.

The volume concludes its chronic–historical framing with the banishment of the Grand Orient of Italy during fascism. Subsequent to WWII—and the associated fascism—the Grand Orient of Italy resumed its affairs on10th June, immediately after the liberation of Rome, where the Obedience regained its name, and disseminated a manifesto stating the rebirth of the masonic communion.

Over the decades that ensued, the Grand Orient of Italy has strengthened to reclaim its position as the pivotal Obedience in Italy as demonstrated by its numbers in membership, affiliates, and activi­ties. However, several subsequent issues of bearing, in particular the widely relevant issue concerning Propaganda 2 lodge in ’80, has resulted in the negative reputation Freemasonry has in Italy.

An additional factor was the split that gave rise to the Grand Regular Lodge of Italy, founded in Rome on April 17, 1993, by some lodges supporting Giuliano Di Bernardo, the Grand Master of the GOI at the time. The chronicles of the Grand Orient of Italy, even the recent volumes, are extensive, the narration of which we hope will be accomplished in future publications.

Article by: Dr. Emanuela Locci

Dr. Emanuela Locci PhD History and Institutions of Modern and Contemporary Asia and Africa Historical, Political and International Department Faculty of Political Sciences University of Cagliari/Italy.

 

 

Recent Articles: book reviews

Book Review - A Path to Providence: The Creation of the Middle Chamber Program

Masonic Education has regrettably been reduced to teaching protocol, traditions, and catechism while ignoring the esoteric essence of the ritual. By Shaun Bradshaw (Author), Ben Wallace (Author), Flynn Ryan (Cover Art)

more....

Book Review - A Glossary Of The Craft And Holy Royal Arch Ritual Terms

This handy little book describes the origins and original meanings of the sometimes obscure words used in our ritual by Brigadier A.C.F. Jackson

more....

Book Review - Making A Daily Advancement

In this work the author brings together a whole range of Masonic facts including the origins of our customs, our rituals and our practices, by Michael Lawrence

more....

Book Review - Nobly Born: An Illustrated History of the Knights Templar

The Templars were an unusual Order in that they lived both an active and contemplative life; making them effectively the first warrior-monks in the western world. by Stephen Dafoe

more....

Book Review - A Deserving Brother: George Washington and Freemasonry

Like several of America’s founding fathers, George Washington was a Freemason. In 'A Deserving Brother', Mark Tabbert presents a complete story of Washington’s known association with Freemasonry.

more....

Book Review - Taken by Surprise

Never again will a Freemason be caught out by a last-minute request to make a response. - Taken by Surprise by Yasha Beresiner

more....

book review - Whence Come You

The message of the book is essentially one of Freemasonry being unequivocally esoteric – spiritual – and that is something that many Masons may balk at but it is a topic that needs discussing rationally.

more....

Book Review - The Other Brotherhood: When Freemasonry Crossed the English Channel

An excellent book, being perfect for Freemasons and non-Freemasons alike who want to explore the origins of Freemasonry and to examine how it influenced French thought in the eighteenth century

more....

Book review - The Tracing Boards of the First Degree

The Tracing Board is a picture that encloses the quintessence of the ritual of the Degree and transmits it through symbols and images. By Enrico Marcia

more....

Book Review - Becoming a Craftsman -The Masonic Tutor's Handbooks: Volume 3

Becoming a Craftsman -The Masonic Tutor's Handbooks: Volume 3 - The relationship between a Fellowcraft and their Master is how the traditional wisdom of our Craft is passed on.

more....

Book Review - Freemasonry in London from 1785

This book is a well-researched study by a competent masonic scholar who has welded links from the changing scenes that arose in an era in which the most important step forward in organised Freemasonry was taken…

more....

Book Review - Meditations of a Flawed Ashlar

Many readers will probably be familiar with Bill Hosler – he is a much-respected and veteran American Freemason and a regular contributor to the Midnight Freemasons blog.

more....

Book Review - The Masonry of the «Moderns»: History and Rituality

The Masonic ritual world dates back to the 18th century, both from England and from France, which is still our most valuable reference.

more....

Book Review - Three Stages of Initiatic Spirituality - Angel Millar

Angel Millar is a well-known lecturer on Freemasonry, initiation, and esotericism as well as an artist and student of the martial arts. The author of several books.

more....

Book Review - The Rite of Seven Degrees

This book examines the deeply esoteric eighteenth-century Rite of Seven Degrees.

more....

Book Review - The Green Book of the Elus Coens

The Green Book of the Élus Coëns is the most fascinating insight yet into the secrets and mysteries of the eighteenth century’s most esoteric of masonic societies – The Order of Knight-Mason Elect-Cohens of the Universe.

more....

Book Review - Freemasonry for the Heart and Mind

Freemasonry for the Heart and Mind: A glance at Freemasonry during the Enlightenment and the American and French revolutions.

more....

Book Review - The Masonic Pageant

The Masonic Pageant is published by Cornerstone Book Publishers and features a nice foreword by Chris Hodapp, 33°.

more....

Book Review - Invisibles

It is reasonable to suggest that when published, Invisibles was the most comprehensive, comparative study, to date, of the Rosicrucian mega-meme.

more....

Book Review - Mnemonic Methods

Within this book 'Mnemonic Methods by Robert Fludd', translator Paul Ferguson introduces us to the English translation of two of Fludd's short treatises on memory

more....

Book Review - English Illuminati

This book gives us a deep look into the European occult revival of the late nineteenth century and some of its key figures…

more....

Book Review - Emulation: A Ritual to Remember

How does one begin to review a masonic classic which has faithfully served generations? Perhaps starting with the title Emulation: A Ritual to Remember.

more....

Book Review - The Rosslyn Hoax

Robert Cooper asks, would you like to know the truth about Rosslyn Chapel ?

more....

Book Review - Mastering Masonic Ritual

Mastering Masonic Ritual is focused on preparing for a successful and fulfilling journey around the floor to the Chair.

more....

Book Review - Companions of Christian Rosenkreutz

A review of Companions of Christian Rosenkreutz - Collected Papers 2008-2016

more....

Book Review - Freemasonry: Material Moral and Mystical

A review of Freemasonry: Material, Moral, and Mystical by Tony Baker

more....

Book Review - Three Distinct Knocks - John Meeks

"Why don't these new guys come back?" This is the question I often hear; and it is this same question that pushed me to write this book. - John Meek

more....

Book Review - Soldier and Mason

Soldier and Mason: The Life of Charles Warren Napier-Clavering

more....

Book Review - Bohemian Masonic Glass

A completely unique narrative publication mapping the phenomenon of glass production for the needs of Masonic lodges

more....

Book Review - This Chequered Existence

Gerald Reilly reviews this new book covering the near-modern history of Freemasonry in England and Wales during the 20th-century.

more....

Book Review - The EA, FC, MM Handbooks

Essential reading for every Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, and Master Mason - these seminal books by J.S.M Ward are what every Mason needs!

more....

Book Review - The Freemasons who won America's War for Independence

Find out who were the Freemasons who won America's War for Independence

more....

Book Review - Black Freemasonry: From Prince Hall to the Giants of Jazz

A book review of Black Freemasonry: From Prince Hall to the Giants of Jazz by Cécile Révauger 

more....

Book Review - Cagliostro the Unknown Master

The book review of the Cagliostro the Unknown Master, by the Editor of the book

more....

Book Review - Crime and the Craft

Crime and the Craft reveals that the Freemasons have been involved in treason, murder, conspiracy, fraud, and scandal from the time of the English Civil War to the 1980s.

more....

Book Review - Focus on Ric Berman

Focus on Ric Berman a British historian who writes about the intersection of freemasonry, politics and society.

more....

Book Review - The Temple That Never Sleeps

Freemasons and E-Masonry Toward a New Paradigm

more....

Book Review - The Secret School of Wisdom

The Authentic Rituals and Doctrines of the Illuminati is a pioneering text

more....

Book Review - Charles Warren: Royal Engineer in the Age of Empire

Sir Charles Warren, the Police Commissioner who failed to catch 'Jack the Ripper'

more....

Book Review - Freemasonry and the Press in the Twentieth Century

During the latter part of the twentieth century, the Press and Freemasonry had a tense relationship.

more....

Book Review - Who was Hiram Abiff?

Every Freemason must have at some point asked himself the above question.

more....

The Masonic Book Club (MBC)

The new MBC will have a different business model than the old.

more....

Book Review - Jesse James and the Lost Templar Treasure

Lost Templar Treasure: Secret Diaries, Coded Maps, and the Knights of the Golden Circle 

more....

Book Review - The Enigma of the Royal Arch

Holy Royal Arch What's it all about

more....

Book Review - The Craft

Review of the new book The Craft by John Dickie, Professor of Italian Studies at University College London

more....

Book Review - For Hills and Valleys

For Hills and Valleys, Mobile Schools and Republicanism in the Zêzere Valley By Aires Henriques

more....

33 and Beyond: The Royal Art of Freemasonry

33 & Beyond: The Royal Art of Freemasonry, is perhaps the most fascinating and important documentary ever made on the on the subject matter of Freemasonry.

more....

Book Review - History of Freemasonry in Bessarabia

Book review by guest reviewer Gheorghe Bichicean on the History of Freemasonry in Bessarabia by Alexandru Rufanda

more....

Game Review - On The Square

A new board game based on The Freemasons

more....

dvd review

A MIGHTY GOOD MAN / THE TRUE STORY OF THE ROSICRUCIANS (double dvd)

A drama-documentary of the life of Elias Ashmole including a reconstruction of the first personally recorded Free Masonic Initiation into a Lodge anywhere in the world.

more....

Prestonian Lecture 2020/21

This year's Prestonian Lecture - ‘A System of Morality – Aristotle and the Making of the Ritual’ - is authored, and presented by Professor G.R. Boys-Stones PAGDC.

more....

The Lost Keys of Freemasonry

Introduction to The Lost Keys of Freemasonry by Manly P. Hall

more....

Book Review - History of the Grand Orient of Italy

In depth book review in to the History of the Grand Orient of Italy by the author

more....

Book Review – Freemasonry It's Hidden Meaning

Youtube Book review by Baruti KMT-Sisouvong

more....

masonic knowledge

to be a better citizen of the world

share the square with two brothers

click image to open email app on mobile device

Share this article ....

Contents