Markus Meumann and Uta Wallenstein (eds.)
Freimaurer und Mysterien Ägyptens in Gotha
scientific companion volume and catalogue to the exhibition from 23 April to 15 October 2023 in the Ducal Museum Gotha
Michael Imhof publishing house, 2023
The catalogue provides extensive insights into the lodge life of the Freemasons and the Illuminati Order in the royal seat of Gotha during the regency of Ernst II of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg. The enlightened duke had been a member of the Gotha Masonic Lodge "Zum Rautenkranz" since 1774 and was the Provincial Grand Master of the Great Provincial Lodge of Germany from 1775 to 1777. From 1782 he promoted secret lodge leadership through the Gotha-based Illuminati Order, which he joined in 1783. A look at Ernst II's private Masonic library reveals his great interest in the mysteries of Egypt. Supposedly the oldest and most perfect mystery culture, Ancient Egypt was considered by 18th century Freemasons to be the epitome of symbolic expression and mysteries. A special thematic section of the catalogue is dedicated to this spiritual enthusiasm for Egypt, which also left its mark in Gotha.