Origins of the word Freemason

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Often newcomers to the Order are asking “What means this word ?, why ?, do you say where it came from ?”

Freemasonry is an institution of initiation, philanthropic, and philosophical nature, founded on the feeling of brotherhood. It aims to search for truth and fosters the intellectual and moral development of human beings as well as social progress. Masons, are organized into structures called lodges basis, which in turn may be grouped into higher-level organization usually called “Grand Lodge”, “Big East” or “Grand Priory”.

Appeared in Europe in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century, modern or “speculative” Freemasonry has often been described as a particular system of morality illustrated by symbols. It presents itself as a training tool, with a particular method, based on the symbolism of the building, allows its members to develop their listening skills, reflection and dialogue, to transmit these values ​​to their environment.

As to the origin of the word “Freemason” or “Francmason”, there are several stories, one of which relates that in 1375, Pope Gregory XI exempted working corporations or guilds (masons), the fact of paying taxes to the Church, since they were building cathedrals and Catholic churches. So they started to say “Freemasons” instead of “Masons”. It is worth observing that used a Gallicism (ie, a term derived from the French) because in those distant times of the eighteenth century, French was the language most popular in Europe, as today it is English. Along other lines about the origin of the word mason; the Mason word has its origins in the early Middle Ages, in earlier times the empire of Charlemagne. According to St. Isidore machionis (builders) were called to the construction workers, because of machinas (scaffolds) that used to reach the height of the walls. This machio word derived terms Macon (French), Mason (English), Mason (Spanish), Maurer (German) and Muratore (Italian). Therefore, its current usage goes back to the eighth century, although it is frequently found in ancient monastic texts Latin Magister Caementarius  the concept to define the master mason,this medieval builders or bricklayers, possessed venues and shelter, called lodges, usually in the vicinity of the works. It was common to those artisans of the time provided with the regulations and standards of conduct of procedure. They would also follow a ritualized pattern to give members access to certain knowledge or the exercise of certain functions. Masons emphasized especially in these aspects.

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The guilds of builders, masons and architects are mentioned in several of the oldest codes of law, including that of Hammurabi (1692 BC). But often regarded as the first regulator specifically Masonic code was that King Athelstan of England gave these corporations in 926, called the York Constitutions. This manuscript was lost in the fifteenth century and was rewritten from memory by those who knew him. For this reason, the Charter or Bylaws of Bologna, written in 1248, is the oldest Masonic Original document known. Try to legal, administrative and customs of guild points. Next in ancient documents as the Regius Poem or Halliwell Manuscript (1390), the Cooke Manuscript (1410), Manuscript in Strasbourg (1459), the Statute of Regensburg (1459), the Schaw (1598), those of Absolion (1668) and Sloane (1700). These manuscripts refer to “operational” or union, which specify mainly played the “office” and historians often refer to them in a generic sense as “Gothic Constitutions”.

At some point, these workers were given certain privileges and franchises becoming guilds or corporations often enjoyed special freedoms, including move freely throughout Europe. It is for this reason that the masons (workers) became Freemasons (freemasons, freimaurer, francomuratori etc.). However, at present, it is used interchangeably with either words (Mason, Freemason) to identify those who belong to Masonry.

This article was written by Psalm Triginta

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