Origins of Freemasonry

The origins of Masonic ideas can be traced far back into antiquity. The beginnings of these ideas can be found from the Epic of Gilgamesh to the cultures of ancient Egypt, from Plato in the Hellenistic world to the Middle Ages at the time of the Knights Templar.

Influences from these cultural circles are recognizable in today’s Freemasonry. Masonic ideas can even be found in the Arthus legend.

The oldest surviving document on Freemasonry is the famous “Regius Poem“, dating from around 1389, a manuscript on parchment bound in Russian leather. It bears witness to a spirit of “building” that can be clearly traced almost 350 years later in the “Old Duties” of 1723.

Freemasons all over the world derive their current nature from the rituals of the medieval stonemasons’ brotherhoods. Strasbourg Cathedral was the center of the German cathedral building lodges.

This is also where the oldest regulations for stonemasons in Strasbourg were drawn up, dating back to 1459. The Strasbourg stonemasons’ regulations from 1563 show that the building lodges not only set themselves denominational guidelines, but also incorporated ethical and social aspects.