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Ruffians

The traitors of the Third Degree are called Assassins in Continental Freemasonry and in the advanced Degrees. The English and American Freemasons have adopted in their instructions the more homely appellation of Ruffians. The fabricators of the high Degrees adopted a variety of names for these Assassins (see Assassins of the Third Degree), but the original names are preserved in the instruetions of the York and American Rites. There is no question that has so much perplexed Masonic antiquaries as the true derivation and meaning of these three names. In their present form, they are confessedly uncouth and without apparent signification.. Yet it is certain that we can trace them in that form to the earliest appearance of the legend of the Third Degree, and it is equally certain that at the time of their adoption some meaning must have been attached to them. Brother Maekey was convinced that this must have been a very simple one, and one that would have been easily comprehended by the whole of the Craft, who were in the constant use of them.

Attempts, it is true, have been made to find the root of these three names in some recondite reference to the Hebrew names of God. But there is in Doctor Mackey's opinion, no valid authority for any such derivation. In the first place, the character and conduct of the supposed possessors of these names preclude the idea of any congruity and appropriateness between them and any of the divine names. And again, the literary condition of the Craft at the time of the invention of the names equally precludes the probability that any names would have been fabricated of a recondite signification, and which could not have been readily understood and appreciated by the ordinary class of Freemasons who were to use them. The names must naturally have been of a construction that would convey a familiar idea would be suitable to the incidents in which they were to be employed, and would be congruous with the character of the individuals upon whom they were to be bestowed.

Now all these requisites meet in a word which was entirely familiar to the Craft at the time when these names were probably invented. The Ghiblim are spoken of by Anderson, meaning Ghiblim, as stonecutters or Masons; and the early amounts show us very clearly that the Fraternity in that day considered Giblim as the name of a Mason; not only of a Mason generally, but especially of that class of Masons who, as Drummond says, "put the finishing hand to King Solomon's Temple"--that is to say the Fellow Crafts. Anderson also places the Ghiblim among the Fellow Crafts; and so, very naturally, the early Freemasons, not imbued with any amount of Hebrew learning, and not making a distinction between the singular and ph1ral forms of that language, soon got to calling a Fellow Craft a Giblim.

The steps of corruption between Giblim arid Jilbelum were not very gradual; nor can anyone doubt that such corruptions of spelling and pronunciation were common among these illiterate Freemasons, when he reads the Old Manuscripts, and finds such verbal distortions as Nembroch for Nimrod, Eaglet for Euclid, and Aymon for Hiram. Thus, the first corruption was from Giblim to Gibalim, which brought the word to three syllables, making it thus nearer to its eventual change. Then we find in the early works another transformation into Chibbelum. The French Freemasons also took the work of corruption in hand, and from Giblim they manufactured Jiblime and Jibulum and Habmlum. Some of these Freneh corruptions eame back to English Freemasonry about the time of the fabrication of the advanced l)egrees, and even the French words were distorted. Thus in the Iceland Manuscript, the English Freemasons made out of Pytagore, the French for Pythagoras, the unknown name Peter Gower, which is said so much to have puzzled John Locke.

So we may through these mingled English and French corruptions trace the genealogy of the word Jubelum; thus, Ghiblim, Giblim, Gibalim, Chibbelum, Jiblime, Jibelum, Jabelum, rind, finally, Jubelum. It meant simply a Fellow Craft, and was appropriately given as a common name to a particular Fellow Graft who vas distinguished for his treachery. In other words, he was designated, not by a special and distinctive name, but by the title of his condition and rank at the Temple.

He was the Fellow Craft, who was at the head of a eonspiraey. As for the names of the other two Ruffians, they were readily constructed out of that of the greatest one by a simple change of the termination of the word from am to a in one, and from uoz to o in the other, thus preserving, by a similarity of names, the idea of their relationship, for the old works said that they were Brothers who had come together out of Tyre. This derivation to Doctor Mackey seems to be easy, natural, and comprehensible. The change from Giblim, or rather from Gibalim to Jubelum, is one that is far less extraordinary than that which one half of the Masonic words have undergone in their transformation from their original to their present form (see Ritual).

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I received the watch amd it was beautiful.

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Darayush” Brother Darayush, Quebec, Canada