The English word free is derived from the Old English freo "free, exempt from, not in bondage," also "noble; joyful," from Proto-Germanic *frijaz (cognates: Old Frisian fri, Old Saxon and Old High German vri, German frei, Dutch vrij, Gothic freis "free." All these languages derive their meaning from the Greek word "phry" which has the same meaning.
In the history of the brotherhood of the East and West over the last 2,000-3,000 years, not every nation or people were considered free or free-men. Some of the first recorded people to have been specifically called free were known by the Greek word 'Phrygians,' Фр£ог meaning 'free men'. The Phrygians came from a country that in mythology and history books was called Phrygia, and today is known as the Mediterranean island of Crete.
These people from Crete I have written about numerous times in the past. They have been known by plethora of various names just like the island of Crete has been called Arcadia, Caphtor, Candia, Minoa, Cappadocia, Phrygia etc. For example, the people of Crete have been called Cretans, Minoans, Philistines, Jews, Hellenes, Phoenicians, and the Sea Peoples just to name a few. This was the birthplace to not only modern civilization, but it was also the home of almost all the Greek Gods, many Cretan Kings, royal Jewish families, Roman Emperors, Gnostics, Christianity and some of the first Fathers and Saints of the Church.
According to Herodotus and Strabo, these people were originally known as the Phoenicians who accompanied Cadmus out of Phoenicia, and were to settle on and around Mount Ida on the island of Crete. Homer had said that one of their rulers was known as ‘Idomensus,’ the grandson of the ruler of Knossos. Idomensus was said to have fought side by side with the Achaeans against the Trojans in the Trojan War. The children of Idomensus were whom Homer had called the royal and warlike ‘Idomen,‘ and who we would know of today as the Judeans (Idaeans, Tribe of Judah).
In the bible, the Tribe of Judah was the leading tribe of the Kingdom of Judah, and occupied most of the territory of the kingdom. Jesus Christ is also a member of the tribe of Judah. Eventually, the tribe of Judah was conquered, but the special religious roles decreed for the Levis and Kohanim were preserved. Crete would be invaded by their Roman cousins and these people would be subjugated by their Roman masters. This happened in approximately 70 A.D. during the great Judean rebellion and siege of Jerusalem.
But even in the Roman Empire, the priestly Levites and Kohanim were given special roles and tax free statuses in Rome. Hence, they became what the Doctor of the Church, Saint Bede had called, attached to the church. These were the only freemen left of the Tribe of Judah, the Jews and the ancient people of Crete who would be considered Phrygians, freemen or freemasons.
For example, It is said, that in order to make some amends to the Kohanim of Kos for the loss of such a valuable treasure of their island, Augustus had given them special taxation status and would forgive a considerable part of their annual tribute to Rome. In 53 A.D., the Roman Emperor Claudius had granted the Kohen (Cohen, Kohain; Hebrew: כֹּהֵן, plural כֹּהֲנִים Kohanim) immunity from taxes. These are the first non-Roman people in recorded history who were given such tax free privileges from Rome.
As the Roman Empire started to grow, they devised a system where Roman slaves could also obtain their freedom. This is when the word Phrygian had become part of history. As part of the Roman ceremonies when a slave would obtain his freedom, he had his head shaven, and then placed upon his head, the Phrygian Cap which was also known as the Cap of Liberty. This cap became the iconic symbol of freedom with the phrase "servos ad pileum vocare" to call the slaves to the Pileus (or cap). Often, these slaves would win their freedom by taking up arms with the Roman army with the promise of future liberty as the reward symbolized by the Phrygian Cap.
The Phrygian Cap was also known as the Mithraic Cap, and sacrificial Cap. This cap was also worn by the priesthood who were freemen during a sacrifice.
British Freemason and Rosicrucian, Hargrave Jennings had written in his Rosicrucians; "Their Rites and Mysteries says that the Phrygian Cap, the classic Mithraic Cap, sacrificial Cap, and mitre all derive from one common ancestor."
This common ancestor may be known as Attis, Atys, Attes (Ancient Greek: Ἄττις or Ἄττης). The name Attis signifies “The Sinner,” and according to Herodotus, he was known as the son of the god. The Phrygians are said to be the oldest race in Asia Minor who worshiped Attys as the “only begotten son,”and as a savior.
It is Attis who is often depicted in art in a tunic, tucked up, and wearing a Phrygian cap.
Other ancestors who wore the Phrygian caps were the three Jews called Shadrach and his two companions, Meshach and Abednego who were well known for their exclusive devotion to God and mentioned in the book of Daniel Chapters 1–3. They were three Jews born from royal families in the tribe of Judah. They are said to have been saved by divine intervention from the Babylonian execution of being burned alive in a fiery furnace under King Nebuchadnezzar. Eventually he would give them powerful positions in the king's court and over the whole province of Babylon.[v.24-30]. In art, they are almost always depicted wearing the Phrygian cap. Later King Nebuchadnezzar even had made a legal decree, whereby people of any nation who say anything against the God of the Jews are to be killed.
Later is history, those freemen who would wear the Phrygian Cap would prove themselves to be possessors of initiate knowledge. A sign of the "Enlightened."
The Phrygian cap was worn by the revolutionists during the masonic French Revolution in the 18th century. After the overthrow of the French Monarchy, the French Declaration of Human Rights was said to be officially recorded as the Masonic values of the new French government, whose new motto was “Liberté, Égalité et Fraternité” (Freedom, Equality and Brotherhood). The official document of the Declaration of Human Rights is guarded by Masonic pillars and contains several occult symbols such as the all seeing eye of God, and the red phrygian cap, a symbol of freemen or freemasons representing the enlightened ones.