In 1605, in Toledo, Spain, a certain man bought a tattered document from some rag sellers. He thus obtained a rumored manuscript, written by one Cide Hamete Benengeli, Arabic historian. The authentic history told of an older gentleman who had become daft from reading too many books about “knights errant”, who were persons like the Lone Ranger but from medieval times. (Background: How The Arabs Saved Civilization, Ersjdamoo’s Blog, March 24, 2015.)
In 1739, also in Spain, a certain Alphonse, a young Walloon officer (of Wallonia in Belgium), was travelling to join his regiment in Madrid. He soon found himself mysteriously detained at a highway inn in the strange and varied company of thieves, brigands, cabbalists, noblemen, coquettes and gypsies. Alphonse wrote about various events connected with his encounters. His manuscript, like the manuscript of Cide Hamete Benengeli, was fortuitously found: At the siege of Saragossa, Spain of roughly February 1809, an officer in the French army chanced upon the old notebook in an abandoned house and decided to keep it.
The Saragossa manuscript was later published, though there was some dispute about who exactly had written it. The author of the Introduction to the Penguin Classics edition of 1996 notes that there were controversies about the authorship back when The Manuscript Found in Saragossa was first published, and that the dispute continued “for a long time.” The authorship has been pinned upon a Polish nobleman, Count Jan Nepomucen Potocki. However a minority even yet dispute Potocki’s authorship.
Count Jan Potocki himself is sort of an odd character. An Egyptologist, linguist, nobleman, and probable Freemason, Potocki also had a strong interest in the occult. “Occult” is a loaded term, but it basically means “the hidden.” Potocki may have revealed too much in a work supposed to have been written by he himself alone. He is said to have shot himself in the head with a silver bullet, but who knows? Potocki had “flirted with secret societies.” He may have paid the ultimate price for violating a Masonic oath of secrecy.
For I am convinced the book contains true facts hidden behind a veneer of fiction. Circa 750 A.D. a showdown between two Muslim dynasties, the Umayyads and the Abbasides, had occurred. Unsuspecting Umayyad princes were assassinated en masse. “Out of an entire royal family numbering into the hundreds, only one young member… was able to escape and make it to the safety of Spain. Abd-ar-Rahman I, the last of the Umayyad princes of Damascus, was proclaimed Emir of Cordoba in AD 756.” In the Middle East at the time of the original Crusades, the “Old Man of the Mountain” ruled over the Ishmaelite Order of the Assassins. A Spanish “old man in the mountains” is described in the purported Potocki work of fiction.
In the disputed Saragossa manuscript, on Day 61, Alphonse encounters the Great Sheikh of the Gomelez. “Young Nazarene,” says the Sheikh to Alphonse, “you have recognized in me the hermit who gave you shelter in the valley of the Guadalquivir and you have guessed that I am the Great Sheikh of the Gomelez.” The Sheikh heads an underground empire in Spain, which continued even long after the Spanish Reconquista.
The underground empire of the Gomelez family, besides being figuratively “underground,” is also literally underground. On Day 62, the Sheikh explains he is “the fifty-second successor of Massoud ben Taher [Abd-ar-Rahman I?], the first Sheikh of the Gomelez.” Tellingly, the Sheikh goes on to detail how “the Abbasids exterminated nearly all the Ommayads, but the descendants of Ali gained no advantage from this. On the contrary, one of the Ommayads even came to Spain and became the Caliph of Córdoba.” Although Potocki’s work is “fiction,” it nonetheless tallies with what Prince Michael of Albany, controversial claimant to the Scottish throne, also says, i.e., that a showdown between two Muslim dynasties, the Umayyads and the Abbasides, occurred, and that “Abd-ar-Rahman I, the last of the Umayyad princes of Damascus, was proclaimed Emir of Cordoba in AD 756.”
At Albicín, on the outskirts of Granada, “the population lives in caves on the mountainside,” relates the Sheikh of the Gomelez on Day 63. “Some of these strange dwellings were connected to certain caves which extended as far as our own underground domains.” The rise of the Abencerrages, a rival Muslim family, hostile to the Gomelez, caused a progressive moral decline, in the Sheikh’s version. The Abencerrages were gentle and courteous towards women. Prince Michael of Albany covers the rise of chivalry in his book, The Knights Templar Of The Middle East, tracing it to a new status given to women in Moorish Spain. Women “were perceived as different beings from men and were described as remote and mysterious creatures. The mystery of woman would engender a cult of selfless devotion to the feminine,” in other words, chivalry. But the Gomelez disagreed with the trend, in Potocki’s account. The Gomelez allied with another powerful family, the Zegris, and together they slaughtered the Abencerrages in the Alhambra, in 1485. “This disastrous event deprived Granada of a considerable number of its defenders and precipitated its fall.” Some of the Moors did not flee Spain. A portion pretended to convert to Christianity. Others hid in the mountains, in caves and underground, if The Manuscript Found in Saragossa speaks true.
(Portions of the above blog entry are excerpted from my book, Melchizedek Communique (http://tinyurl.com/ncqyxae), available as an e-book from Lulu.com. Sources for the excerpt are included in my book.)