Thursday, August 02, 2012

Eastern Mystery Cults in Roman London

"Say all these things with fire and spirit, until completing the first utterance; then, similarly, begin the second, until you complete the seven immortal gods of the world. When you have said these things, you will hear thundering and shaking in the surrounding realm; and you will likewise feel yourself being agitated. Then say again: "Silence!" (the prayer) Then open your eyes and you will see the doors open and the world of the gods which is within the doors, so that from the pleasure and joy of the sight your spirit runs ahead and ascends." [1]
The Sacred Valley of the Walbrook

The legendary history of Geoffrey of Monmouth [2] claims that Brutus, a descendant of the Trojan Aeneas, founded London, his New Troy (Trinovantum), when he came to the shore of the Thames. After leaving Greece, Brutus came to the island of Loegecia where he experienced a vision at the Temple of Diana, the goddess of the woods, where a statue gave answers to those who consulted her. He was foretold to travel to an island in the west and build a second Troy. [3] If Brutus brought a religion with him it seems likely that it would have been a cult from the east.

According to Geoffrey, when Lud, brother of Cassibellaun, king of the Britons who made war against Julius Caesar, (Geoffrey's version of the historical British chieftain Cassivellaunus) obtained the government of the kingdom, he surrounded the city with walls and towers, and having abolished the name Troy, renamed it KaerLud, the city of Lud. He commanded the citizens to build houses and all kinds of structures within it so that no foreign country could show more beautiful palaces. [4] However, we know that the London Wall was built by the Romans during the Severan period, toward the end of the 2nd and early 3rd centuries, around the 'square mile' of the City of London. If Geoffrey's early temple to an eastern goddess of the woods exists at all, it must be within the Walls of the first city.