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Naymus Grecus

The curiously puzzling problem of Naymus Grecus which is discussed on page 700 is in a sense a Rosetta Stone for the archeology of early Masonic Manuscripts, therefore the large amount of time devoted to it by Masonic scholars has not been out of proportion. Robert I. Clegg's penetrating suggestion in that article that Naymus Wrecks was Magna Graecza is respected as one of the reasonable solutions. On page 94 of his History of Freemasonry Mackey refused to commit himself except to reject Krause's theory that Naymus had been Nannon, a Greek scholar of the period of Charles the Bold. Edmund H. Dring contributed to Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, Vol. XVIII., page 178, a treatise in which he brought his great erudition to bear to prove that Naym?~s Grecus was a corruption of the name Alcuin. R. F. Gould had proposed the theory that Naymus meant "some one with a Greek name." Wm. E. Upton believed that Grecus was a genuine surname. Wyatt Papworth enumerated eight possible derivations. Howard advocated the theory that a Greek colony in France named Nemausus or Nismes was referred to; and with this W. J. Hughan agreed. Sidney Klein took Naymus Grecus to be an anagram of Simon Grynaeus, a 15th century editor of Euclid. Russell Forbes took Naymus to have been an architect who worked under Charlemagne. Speth and Yarker identified him with Marcus Graecus. (The data immediately above are collected from the discussions appended to Dring's treatise.)

To these may be added yet another suggestion. Jewish scholars who divide the history, religion, and literature of the Jews into the three periods of Eebraic, Israelitish, and Judaic, begin the third period at the time when the Jews enlarged their own culture to include, first, Hellenic culture, with its Greek language and dialects, and (at a somewhat later period) Arabic culture. Mohammed received most of what little education he possessed from Jewish teachers in his home community, and it is certain that his Allah was his own theological presentation of Moses Jehovah, a pure monotheism; when Mohammedanism swept through the Near East and into North Africa and Spain it carried with it a saturation of Old Testament and Talmudic lore. During the long period when the regnant culture in North Africa, Egypt, Arabia, the Near East, and some of Greece was an amalgam of Jewish, Hellenic, and Mohammedan elements the word naymus was everywhere in use by it. In Greece a naysus was a law-giver, or teacher, or great scholar. In the Talmud he was a prophet, the term being taken to denote an orator, leader, scholarly reformer, etc. Among Arabs a naymus was a "cryer out," or prophet or teacher; Mohammed himself was called a naytnus. Perhaps in that whole culture (of which 80 much infiltrated into Europe from Greece, Sicily, Spain, and from the Crusades) the most famous Greek naymus was Pythagoras; and since he is in the Old Manuseripts connected with Euclid, Naymus Grecus could easily have referred to Pythagoras as the Greel; "Naymus." This is not to suggest that the author of the Old Charges intended Naymus Grecus to be Pythagoras; rather it is to suggest that originally Naymus Grecus had been a title, but that the author of the 0ld Charges took this title to be a name; and it may be that it originally had been a title used of Pythagoras.

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