The Early Modern Bavarian Illuminati: What’s Real, and What Isn’t?

The society’s goals were to oppose superstition, obscurantism, religious influence over public life, and abuses of state power. Introduction The Illuminati[1] is a name given to several groups, both real and fictitious. Historically, the name usually refers to the Bavarian Illuminati, an Enlightenment-era secret society founded on 1 May 1776 in Bavaria, today part of[…]

Augustin Barruel: Father of the Illuminati Conspiracy Theories

Barruel wrote that the French Revolution was planned and executed by the secret societies. Introduction Augustin Barruel (October 2, 1741 – October 5, 1820) was a French publicist and Jesuit priest. He is now mostly known for setting forth the conspiracy theory involving the Bavarian Illuminati and the Jacobins in his book Memoirs Illustrating the[…]

Simonini’s Letter: A 19th-Century Text and Illuminati Conspiracy Theories

The dangerous legacy of a letter received by Augustin Barruel, a French Catholic priest and famous conspiracy theorist, in the early 1800s. Introduction A French Catholic priest called Augustin Barruel is generally regarded as one of history’s most famous conspiracy theorists. His multi-volume 1797 book, Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobinism, about an alleged conspiracy[…]

Medieval Conspiracy Theories: The Lepers’ Plot of 1321

The hysteria quickly spread and local authorities used it as an excuse to attack both Jewish and leper communities. Introduction The 1321 lepers’ plot was an alleged conspiracy of French lepers to spread their disease by contaminating water supplies, including well water, with their powders and poisons.[1] According to the American historian Solomon Grayzel, lepers[…]

The Pisonian Conspiracy: The Beginning of the End for Nero

The plot reflected the growing discontent among the ruling class of the Roman state with Nero’s increasingly despotic leadership. The conspiracy of Gaius Calpurnius Piso in AD 65 was a major turning point in the reign of the Roman emperor Nero (reign 54–68). The plot reflected the growing discontent among the ruling class of the[…]