An Evaluation of Carroll Quigley’s Thoughts on the Illuminati, Buonarroti and the Carbonari

Terry Melanson

Webmaster/editor of Conspiracy Archive; author of Perfectibilists: the 18th Century Bavarian Order of the Illuminati.

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12 Responses

  1. Will B says:

    A fascinating post one which I think illustrates Quigley’s curious inability to grasp the implications of his particular choice of words in his books or that the authority of his academic position served to validate some theories he professed to dislike.

  2. Well put. Thanks for the comment.

  3. Robert F. Beaudine says:

    Nice work. I can’t believe Quigley’s mind is so disordered that he misses dates by a hundred years and can’t remember one book from another, very unusual for a great historian … even a minor one. For some reason, I thought he’d be more articulate as well. Nice to know the truth.

    BTW, any evidence whether Mazzini created the Mafia … or not?

  4. Some mafiosi like to tell the tale that Mazzini was their founder and that they stem from the Carbonari. Their rituals probably come from the latter (admixed with masonry), though there’s no direct historical link to Mazzini himself. When the Carbonari and Freemasons were arrested during revolutionary disturbances in the 19th century, they were treated with respect by criminals in jail. It’s at this time that the rituals of the Carbonari in particular – daggers, knives, blood, fire and swearing upon a saint – circulated among convicts and made it’s way into the eventual rise of the Sicilian mob. A really good study is Letizia Paoli’s Mafia Brotherhoods: Organized Crime, Italian Style. She discusses the origins in the Carbonari and criminal sects of the period as well as the more recent infiltration of masonry by an inner controlling group of the ‘Ndrangheta called the Santa (composed of 33 members). This secret mafia within a mafia were set up for the sole purpose of allowing Freemasons to join and vice versa. It occurred in the 1970s at precisely the time when Licio Gelli’s P2 was wielding power and influence.

  5. Looking at the information here and on Wikipedia, and what Lucheti told me in response to my comment on his Bonnevile article, gives me allot of reason to suspect that Buonarrotti was Nubius. The Conflict with Mazzini, claiming the mantle of Weistphut, dieing mysteriously in the late 1830s, ect. It all fits pretty well.

    Only half of the total P2 membership was actually exposed, so the idea that those 2 things correlate is highly probable. But the Mafia strictly speaking is distinct form Neapolitan gangs like the Camorra and the Ndranghete.

    • Mazzini didn’t claim the mantle of Weishaupt. The two had nothing to do with each other.

      There’s no mention of Buonarroti dying mysteriously. No one is recorded as putting up a stink at all.

      • Lucheti said Buonarroti claimed the mantle of Weishaupt.

        Wikipedia says he died “suddenly”.

        • If that’s what he said, then he’s wrong. Both were conspirators, sure. And Buonarroti certainly was influenced by the methods of the Illuminati regarding infiltration, but there was no “mantle” being passed by anyone – not even between Buonarroti and Mazzini – and they certainly didn’t claim that there was.

          Wikipedia doesn’t cite a source in the whole article. I suspect that it is lifted wholesale from another place that played loose with facts. Elizabeth Eisenstein’s monograph on Buonarroti doesn’t even mention what he died from let alone that it was sudden, implying that people suspected poison.

  6. WARR Lord says:

    In fairness to Prof. Quigley, the above quotes were made in the course of a rather tangential segment of the recorded interview (I found this article searching for text so I could understand his heavy Boston brogue). Quigley never claimed to be an expert on secret societies. His work was focused on the role of what is sometimes called “the shadow government” and organizations like the Round Table Group, CFR, etc. I have an original copy of Tragedy & Hope and I’ve read it cover to cover, rereading certain parts several times. It’s an extremely important tome, but it’s often misused by overzealous conspiracy theorists and alternative historians.

    I’m not saying that there isn’t a place for alternative history or its historians, and it’s definitely fair to say that any version of history that doesn’t entertain the role of organizations like the Illuminati or Carbonari is certainly incomplete. Quigley recognizes this so he offers tertiary conjecture on the subject when queried, but he doesn’t seem to realize he’s getting baited by the interviewer.

    • Quigley was not an expert on everything, as much as he may have liked to appear that way. I focused on his Illuminati discussion because that is something I have been studying for a long time.

      Tragedy and Hope is indeed an important work. The only audience it received, however, was in conspiracy circles. Rarely has it ever been cited by other scholars, and it was only reviewed two or three times in academic journals. The scholars that he mentions in this interview, by contrast, have innumerable citations by their peers; and they fell over themselves to praise and review the next Eisenstein or Brinton book.

      Quigley was really good at communicating the big picture of history and how the world really works. I think the book was intended for his classroom more than anything. Obviously it wasn’t intended for other scholars because there’s not a single endnote to be found.

      As for his posthumous Anglo-American Establishment book; until recently most scholars were oblivious that it even existed. None of his peers reviewed it and it is not cited by academia at all.

  7. I can’t currently find any information in English on Adriano Lemmi, besides people repeating the claim of Fagan that I’m unconvinced of. Wikipedia does list him as a Grand Master of Italian Freemasonry.

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