Image from page 128 of “Christian Cynosure” (1872)
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Title: Christian Cynosure
Year: 1872 (1870s)
Authors: Blanchard, Jonathan, 1811-1892.
Subjects: Secret societies – Religious aspects – Christianity.
Publisher: Chicago, IL: Ezra A. Cook
Contributing Library: Buswell Memorial Library, Wheaton College (IL)
Digitizing Sponsor: CARLI: Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois
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urray, Robt Oliver, E Owen,J 8 Persham, L Perry (2), L. H. Pier-R H Powell, E Puokett,a Piiley, E E Prindle0 P Rogers, J P Stoddard, F Stuart,nyder, Robt Stockwell, J R Smith,R M C Thompson, Wm Vinyard,John Winkleblech, Rev J Wilkinson, I S A, Alex Beatty, F W Bariow, win Booth, D Brown, S P Bushnell, arey, N Callepder, Rev Mr Cun- jham, T J Connor, Geo Candee. John Denny, John Eckels. M A Elliot, •V S Foster, A Floyd, D Foreman, J Foord, M Glendenning, S M Gates GratUn, J L Geyer, H Harrison, ml Harper, C H Howard, J M Harrell T Holgeson, J Jenkins. W W Kenyon, 1. Lamphoar, E W Mead, C C Miles. T J McSouth, Frank Miller, T J M -, D E Sfiddlekauf, Abner Moore, D Manning, J G Malcolm, R L McCor- lick, Geo F McAllister. R 0 Nichols J B Nessell, C Pope, Isaac Preston, E Puckett, T H Pollock. A S Rigg: Reynolds, 3 J M Robinson, W H Smith, A Shambaugh, H T Stanghen- haupt, J W Snodgraas, D H Shelley, C Staples, S Smith, Wm Steel, J W HILLS ARCHIMEDEAN THE CHAMPION LAWN MOWER OF THE WORLD
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Hills Mmeig&n liwn Uower Co., COLTS AanoRV, Masonic Books, FOR SAJX AT THE CYNOSURE Mackeys Masonic Ritualist i aONITORIAL mSTEUOTION BOOK Freemasonry Ezposed, CAPT.WM. UORGAlr. MOB.CAXT BOOK. B Ityl Hall PoBt-p&ld. Light on Freemasonry, EY ELSEB D. SSBITABD, Light on Freemasonry, BY ELDEH D. BERNARD, ANn-MSONIC BOOKS C]iristian Cvnosure, Addnss, EZBA A. COOK k CO. CUICAOO, of price. ipt CONFESSION OP THE MUEBEE WM. MORGAN Dr, John 0. Emery of Racine Co.,Wia. HENRY L. VALANCE. THE BROKEN SEAL OE FEESONAL BEMINISCENOES Walslis Review of Ffeemasoniy, REVISED EDITION, Finnev on Masonry. BOUND IN CLOTH, PRICE .0).CHEAP EDITION, Sindi Appiili: to Li^hl m Uiioirj mim wm or m loise, MACKETS TEXT BOOK MASONIC JUEISPEDDEKCE. Rickrdtoat UDiitor if rrsiiniioirj, euU. SoMw. son™ Sfai isliip tf Misn m. Oliftrs Biitor; if Initiitiin,liucui Mm Misl ud Uoiik rotod witti KxpUnatoiT SDgKTlDg*. ELDER STEARNSBOOKS. AN INQUIRY Freemasonry, liotters on Masonry, A New Chapter on Mason-ry, Addres
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House of the Black Heads II
Image by A.Davey
The Brotherhood of Blackheads is an association of local unmarried merchants, ship owners, and foreigners that was active in Livonia (present-day Estonia and Latvia) from the mid-14th century till 1940 but still remains active in present day Hamburg.
The Brotherhood of Blackheads was founded as a military organization but the non-military aspects of the association gradually became more pronounced until the Brotherhood became a predominantly social organization after the end of the Great Northern War.
The brotherhood traces its origin to a group of foreign merchants who, according to the legend, had participated in the defense of Reval (present-day Tallinn in Estonia) during the St. George’s Night Uprising between 1343 and 1345 when the indigenous population of Estonia unsuccessfully tried to exterminate all foreigners and eradicate Christianity from Estonia.
The earliest documented mention of the Brotherhood comes in an agreement with the Tallinn Dominican Monastery from 28 March 1400 that confirms the Blackheads’ ownership of all the sacred church vessels that they had deposited in the St. Catherine’s Church of the Dominicans. In the same agreement the Blackheads commit themselves to decorating and lighting the altar of St. Mary that the brotherhood had commissioned for the church, and the Dominicans in their turn undertake to hold services in front of this altar to bless the souls of the Blackheads.
On 12 September 1407, the Tallinn City Council ratified the statutes of the Brotherhood, also known as the Great Rights. The statutes of the Brotherhood in Riga date back to 1416.
According to the Great Rights in Tallinn, the Brotherhood of Blackheads committed itself to defending the city from any enemy invasion.
Among other duties, the Brotherhood provided the city with a cavalry detachment. The Blackhead cavalrymen patrolled the city wall and six of them made rounds inside the wall every evening after the city gates were locked at sunset.
In 1526 the Brotherhood presented the city council of Tallinn with 8 rock-hurling machines, 20 cannon-carriages, and 66 small-caliber guns. Money was donated for making cannons for Narva, and it was stipulated that the Blackheads’ coat of arms be on all the guns.
During the 25-year-long Livonian War (1558-1583), members of the Brotherhood of Blackheads in Tallinn participated in many battles and successfully helped to defend the city against the Russians who unsuccessfully besieged Tallinn in 1570–1571 and again in 1577.
After the end of the Great Northern War of 1700-1721, Livonia became part of the Russian Empire.
The Hanseatic towns in Livonia lost much of the importance that they had enjoyed during the Middle Ages and the Brotherhood of Blackheads gradually transformed from a military society to a predominantly social organization. Although the chivalric code of honor the Brotherhood subscribed to and the rules governing close combat were mostly preserved, the military importance of Blackheads gradually diminished. However, in Tallinn the cavalry detachment with its own uniform survived until 1887.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, the local brotherhoods of Blackheads were important as social organizations that sponsored social events, such as parties and concerts, and collected objects of fine art.
In Tallinn and Riga, the houses of the Brotherhood, along with the medieval traditions still practiced in them, became important cultural and social centers for social elites.
In 1895, the Brotherhood of Blackheads in Tallinn was formally reconstituted into the Blackheads Club.
The brotherhoods in Tallinn and Riga carried on in independent Estonia and Latvia until the beginning of the Soviet occupation of the Baltic States in 1940, when the occupation authorities dissolved the Brotherhood.
Most of the members were able to flee to Germany, where they tried to continue their traditions. In 1961 the Brotherhood of Blackheads was officially registered in Hamburg, where it survives to this day.
Originally the membership of the Brotherhood of Blackheads in Tallinn included mostly merchants who were not yet eligible for the membership in the Great Guild: merchants who were legally not independent or who had no established business in Tallinn, local unmarried merchants, and foreign merchants.
The Brotherhood was renting the property at 24-26 Pikk Street, Tallinn, already in 1406. In 1531, the Blackheads acquired the building from the town councilor Johann Viant and his wife Kerstine Bretholt (Breitholtz) and rebuilt it in the Renaissance style of the period.
It remained in the possession of the Blackheads until the summer of 1940 when the Soviet Union occupied and annexed Estonia.
An equally magnificent House of Blackheads in Riga that had been sold to the Blackheads in 1713 was destroyed on 28 June 1941 when the German army conquered Riga, and the burnt out walls were demolished by the Soviets in 1948. The Blackheads’ House in Riga was reconstructed between 1995 and 2000.
The coat of arms of the Brotherhood of Blackheads
The exact origin of the term blackhead is unknown. The patron saint of the Brotherhood of Blackheads is the black Egyptian Christian Saint Moritz whose head is also depicted on the Brotherhood’s coat of arms.
Whether the patron saint was chosen because of the name, or whether the saint precedes the name remains unclear.
The origin and the dual nature of the Brotherhood of Blackheads as a military organization and a commercial association is unique in European history.
The military aspect of the Brotherhood can be attributed to its founding during the days of the last great anti-Christian revolt of the indigenous people of Northern Europe in the wake of the Northern Crusades. The commercial aspect of the Brotherhood reflects its origin in the early days of the Hanseatic League that marked the beginning of a new era, less military and more commerce oriented, in Northern Europe.
Some traditions of the Blackheads survive in the customs of Baltic-German Corps and Estonian and Latvian student corporations.
As a rule, most corporations accept new members twice a year. Ceremonial consumption of alcohol, elaborate drinking vessels, personal code of honor, and strict rules governing the relationship between members, including institutionalized fines and punishments, resemble in many respects the traditions of the Blackheads.
The military aspect of the Brotherhood survives in the ceremonial use of specialized swords. In the regional structure of the Estonian Defence League, corporation members in the former Blackhead centers Tallinn and Tartu maintain their own military malevkonds (major subunits of malevs) whose main duty is the defence of their respective cities against possible enemy invasion.
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