The World of Our Imagination:Three Historical Figures(King Arthur,Emperor Barbarossa,the 12th Imam-Mahdi) who Never Died,and are Still Alive
1.That is to say that they are not dead but sleeping and one day will wake up,or if not alseep still alive anyway.They are Frederic Barbarossa of Germany (1122-1190), King Arthur of Britain (lived around the 6th century AD) and the 12th Imam (born in 869) of Shia Islam,called the Mahdi(Guided One).
2.For the first two this belief is now part of folklore,but before there were some who believed it.
3.The three very similar beliefs say that a historical figure never died,is still alive and will bring peace and justice to his country or even the world (in the case of the 12th Imam-Mahdi).
Case number 1: King Arthur
The figure of King Arthur was inspired by a real historical character, according to most scholars. It is believed that Arthur was a Celtic leader and warrior of what is now England,who had organized the defense of Britain against Saxon invaders in the late fifth century or early sixth century AD.But with time legends were added and a real myth appeared.The word “Artos” in the Celtic language means both “bear” and “warrior “.
Sources of the legend
1.Arthur first appears in Welsh poems and stories,such as the “Annals Cambriae.”
2.Later more legends about him appear in the “Historia regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain)” written by Geoffrey of Monmouth in the twelfth century.
3. In the twelfth century French writer Chrétien de Troyes adds Sir Lancelot and the Holy Grail.The Holy Grail is the cup used by Jesus on the night of his arrest, before being crucified.
The fascinating story of King Arthur, and how he became king
1.The father of King Arthur was Uther Pendragon, King of the Britons.This king was in love with a married woman and the magician Merlin changed the body of the king, and the king had the physical appearance of the woman’s husband.That way Uther Pendragon slept with her and the result was Arthur.
2.The baby was taken by Merlin and Arthur was raised by humble people, without knowing that he was the true heir to throne.King Uther had put a sword in a rock and said that he who could pull the sword out would be the next king.At age of 16, Arthur obtained the throne by pulling the sword, while many knights before him had failed.
Camelot, the castle.and the sword Excalibur
1.Arthur founded an organization known as the Knights of the Round Table.All the knights had a seat around a real round table, to show that all are equal. The knights organized expeditions to correct injustices and also in search of the Holy Grail of Jesus.Arthur ruled from a castle called Camelot.
2.Arthur unfairly threatens a knight with his sword, the one pulled from the rock and the sword breaks.Later Arthur receives another sword, with magical powers, from Viviane, the Lady of the Lake, the famous “Excalibur”.
Guinever,the wife of Arthur, Sir Lancelot and Arthur’s End
1.Lancelot is French and the best knight of the Round Table but he and queen Guinever, the wife of Arthur, have an affair.She cheats on her husband.Lancelot has a son,not the son of Guinevere,but from another woman,called Sir Galahad. He is so pure and worthy that it is he who finds the Holy Grail.
2.In addition Arthur has and incestuous affair with the witch Morgana, his half-sister, and the result is his son Mordred.
3.Mordred is also a knight of the Round Table but wants the throne for himself, he leads an army against his father,in the Battle of Camlann. Mordred almost kills Arthur but his father, to avoid being killed by his son, kills him instead.
King Arthur is not dead but alive, literally
His wounded body was sent in a boat to the island of Avalon where he is asleep through magic and will return one day when Britain is in danger to save his country.And before leaving for Avalon he threw Excalibur into a lake and a hand came out of the lake and took the sword.
The novel “A Connecticut Yankee at King Arthur’s Court” (1889) by Mark Twain (1835-1910), the Greatest American Writer
Mark Twain wrote “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” (1885), the best American literary work.It is not even written in English but in dialect. The hero Huckleberry Finn,a boy, recounts his adventures himself in dialect.The action takes place in the southern United States before the abolition of slavery.
“A Connecticut Yankee at King Arthur’s Court” is a satirical novel that presents 6th century England and medieval culture through the eyes of Hank Morgan, a resident of Connecticut of the 19th century.After a blow on the head, he wakes up to find himself inexplicably transported to the time of King Arthur.He has many adventures and finally Merlin puts him to sleep and Hank wakes up after 1,300 years in his country again.
Read a summary of the novel here:
Case number 2: Emperor Barbarossa
After the death of Emperor Frederick II of Hohenstaufen (1194-1250) there rose the legend in the 13th century that Frederick was not dead but asleep.It was a magical sleep inside Etna,a volcano in Sicily.
Later in the 15th century the legend was changed and it was his grandfather Emperor Frederick Barbarossa (1122-1190) who is asleep. Barbarossa drowned in a river while leading a huge army to reconquer Jerusalem, which had been taken by Saladin in 1187.The cave where he sleeps is in the mountain called Kyffhäuser in Germany.One day, according to the new version, Emperor Barbarossa will wake up and save Germany when the country needs it..
The famous Operation Barbarossa of 1941
Such was the prestige of this figure and his legend that Hitler even gave the name Operation Barbarossa to the attack of 3 million German soldiers and their , Italian and Hungarian allies (the largest number in history) against the Soviet Union.
Case number 3: the 12th Imam-Mahdi
1.Approximately 90% of Muslims are Sunni and 10% are Shia,it is the largest division of Islam.
2.In 680, at the Battle of Karbala, Hussein, grandson of Muhammad,and son of Ali and Fatima, the daughter of Muhammad, was beheaded by the soldiers of Yazid I, the Omeyad caliph, because that he had refused to recognize him as caliph.That is the beginning of Shia Islam.
The two types of Shias
1.There are Twelver Shias, who are the majority, and Ismaili Shias(Sevener Shias).They were originally one group,who had their religious leaders,called imams,who were descendants of Mahomet.The seventh iman died in 765,he was Jafar as-Sadiq.
2.Twelver Shias say that the true heir to the Imamate was the younger son Musa al-Kazim, but the Ismailis say it was Ismail, the eldest son.
Who are the Twelver Shias?
For the Twelver Shias, who are the majority among the Shias, the Twelfth Imam Muhammad al-Mahdi (born around 869), a descendant of Muhammad and also of Ali, the son-in-law and cousin of Mohammed, was hid in a well in Iraq when he was 5,6 or 7 years old.It is said that:
1.He either fell inside
2.Or that his mother hid him there
3.Either way he went in and was never seen again.
The 12th Imam is still alive,sleeping or not, and he is almost 1,200 years old
He disappeared but remains alive today to guide the community through the Shia clergy.
1.It is called the Great Occultation and will end when the hidden imam returns to earth to bring world justice and peace.
2.He will be accompanied by Jesus,and the two will conquer the world for Islam. I have to say that the Sunnis also believe that one day there will be a Mahdi, a descendant of Mohammed, but not the same as the 12th Imam,a different man.The Sunni Mahdi and Jesus will conquer the world for Islam.