“A great master of his craft, Ervin von Steinbach; but not he alone, For many generations labored with him, Children that came to see these saints in stone, As day by day out of the blocks they rose, Grew old and died, and still the work went on, And on and on and is not yet completed.” Henry Longfellow
All over the world you will find that many ancient peoples had tried to communicate and document their worlds permanently etching and carving their history into the immortal stones of the landscapes they had inhabited. It was as if they were leavig these marks as testaments of their will to serve God and to create a kingdom of heaven on earth for us, their descendants.
Over time, various cultures such as the Ancient Egyptians had developed their own methods of documenting their lives, laws, and histories in the form of magical writing known only to them called hieroglyphs. This style became the precursor to ideographs and a more magical type of writing that only the initiated could read and understand with the Phoenician/Hebrew alphabet and soon thereafter the Greek, Latin, and English writing systems were created.
Since the most ancient times, it was the stonemasons who had developed a symbolical system of immortally marking their work in stone as a means for both identification of the tribe and or craftsman, communication, and also the identification of their Masonic guild. The oldest sets of symbols to come out of this Freemasonic system which has remained virtually unchanged for thousands of years and can be found all over the world are known as “Mason Marks.”
It is from these Masons and the Marks they left behind that I contend that we derive the modern-day Masonic Lodge, corporation, and also the corporate logo. I will detail these facts in another future essay.
In order to research who were the first people to incorporate these Mason Marks and document this history, it is important that we search back in time to locate the first people and or Tribe who may have developed and contributed to their distribution all over the world.
What I have discovered is that this Masonic symbology had originated on the Ancient Holy Island of Crete who along with the Greek Athenians I contend were the true progenitors of the Ancient Charges of Operative Freemasons. Masons such as one of the first immortal Masons, Daedelus of Crete who I had written about previously in my essay, “Hiram’s First Masons: The Cunning Daedalus Invented the Masonic Working Tools.”
The Great Work of Daedelus has been known for well over 2,000 years as being credited with inventing the Masonic Working Tools used in the various degrees of Masonry such as the plumb-line and the axe, most of the tools used in carpentry, and of glue and he is also known as world-famous Cretan Labyrinth, according to the statements of Diodorus Siculus and Pliny. Homer had said that the statue of the daughter of Minos, King of Crete, Ariadne at Knossos was made by Daedalus.
33rd Degree Freemason, Albert Mackey had said the genealogy of Daedelus was from the old Athenian race of kings. Mackey had written in An Encyclopedia of Freemasonry and Its Kindred Sciences;
“A famous artist and mechanician, whose genealogy is traced in the Greek myths as having sprung from the old Athenian race of kings, the Erechtheidae. He is said to have executed the Cretan labyrinth, the reservoir near Megaris in Sicily, the Temple of Apollo at Capua, and the celebrated altar sculptured with lions on the Libyan coast.
He is said to be the inventor of a number of the “Working Tools” used in the various degrees of Masonry such as the compasses and square, the plumb-line and the axe, most of the tools used in carpentry, and of glue. Of him is told the fable of his flying safely over the AEgean by means of wings made by himself. His nephew, Perdix, is the reputed inventor of the third Great Light in Masonry, the Compasses, which are dedicated to the Craft. (page 945)”
In studying this history and the Athenian Kings who Daedelus had descended, I have found that a city of Crete once anciently called Tenos, which was sacred to Poseidon, and now The Holy Village of Ayios Nikolaos (Saint Nicholas) was a political community said to be created by King Theseus who is documented as the founder-king of Athens.
Before I get into the mythology, I wanted to share a little archaeology with you showing the evidence of these first Freemasons with a coin dated from Olous, Crete dated circa 300-270 BC showing the head of Artemis Britomartis and on the reverse is a Masonic square. The coins that have been unearthed here are known as the “Coins of Olous” this coin with a Freemasonic Square with what looks like the letter G in the middle which is the oldest representation of Masonry on a coin that I could find anywhere.
The mythology around this area of the island and King Thesus tells us that he was rescued from the Labyrinth by the Cretan King Minos’ daughter Ariadne and for her Great Work, she was given the Crown that was legally called Gnosis Corona, and she has officially surnamed Gnosis, from the City of the Goddess in Crete – Knossos.
To corroborate Mackey’s claims about Daedelus’ relation to royalty with actual archeological science, you will find a divine place on Crete that was once known as “The Plateau of St Nicholas” and is more commonly called “The Plateau of Isopata”. It is from this location where you will obtain a most spectacular “royal view” of the city of Knossos and the Harbor below and also the Royal Tomb of Isopata that is said to date back approximately 3,500 hundred years and also where the famous 3,500-year-old sarcophagus of Hagia Triada was discovered.
The symbols, Mason Marks, divine biblical history and the importance of Crete and Athens to true Masons are a testament to these facts spanning 3,000 years to in the building of the new world and in bringing wisdom to the world in an attempt to civilize of humankind.
For example, the symbols of these Masons have been found all over Crete in the Minoan palaces at Knossos, Malia, and Phaestos, which were listed and enumerated by author S. Hood in his publication, “Mason’s Marks in the Palaces,” in “The Function of the Minoan Palaces: Proceedings of the Fourth International Symposium at the Swedish Institute in Athens, 10-16 June 1984).
Searching the internet for more information, I discovered there were more than 220 mason’s marks at Phaistos mostly connected to the First Palace that was reported by Luigi Pernier in 1935 and Hood in 1987, who reported 750 mason marks at Knossos and 130 at Mallia that were dated to 1900-1700 BC. making them the oldest that I could locate anywhere in the world.
These are the main Mason Marks and symbols found all throughout the palaces of Knossos, Phaistos, and Mallia found in the book, Cretan Pictographs and Prae-Phoenician Script which the meaning were largely unknown at the time of this book.
The meanings of the symbols in Cretan Pictographs and Prae-Phoenician Script are largely unknown or were at the time of this book.
Here is a later interpretation of the meaning of the symbols (S. Hood Oxford, 1994).
The oldest and most important symbols used by these Masons you will find are used all over the globe in almost all their building projects such as the Doubled Headed Axe of the Goddess Cult;
8 Pointed Star of Jupiter, Cross of Jerusalem, and the Swastika to name a few plus various other symbols and derivates thereof carved onto the pillars at Knossos.
“Incised signs on base blocks of Early Palace walls, Knossos” (Evans 1921)
Here is the beautiful stonework that can be found in the west court of the Phaistos Palace mason’s marks found in the book of Luigi Pernier (Pernier 1935)
In the museum at Malia, there have on display some of these ancient Mason Marks that were found there and at the other palaces on Crete.
These same Mason Marks first created on Crete can be found in many important stone buildings and Christian Cathedrals all throughout the world such as Melrose Abbey.
Places like Culross Abbey in Culross, Scotland
The Mediaeval Masons’ Marks that can be found all over the sone building structure in Herefordshire like the Templar Church of Garway also known as St Michael’s Church in the Herefordshire village of Garway
Here is a list of all the Mediaeval Masons’ Marks found in Herefordshire
King Richard’s Tower, Nottingham Castle
Interestingly as time would move forward, the Mason Marks of particular Freemasons that reside mainly in France, and Germany by the Cathedrals that the German Princes had built in which they had refined these symbols down to what appears to be a few core symbols being that of the Cross of Jerusalem, Star of Jupiter, Tau Cross, and the Russian Cross, as a secret inheritance to these Rites of their Greco-Roman Masonic Building Ancestors.