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Illuminati

Illuminati, "the Enlightened Ones" (1) a name adopted by several mystical sects who maintained that they had received a special revelation or possessed a more intimate knowledge of holy things than was granted to the mass of mankind. The most important were the Alombrados, who arose in Spain early in the 16th century, and were finally suppressed by the Inquisition, and the Guerinets, a French sect founded by Antony Bucknet about a century later. (2) A semi - religious, semi-political association founded in 1776 by Adam Weishaupt (1748-1830), professor of canon law in the uniirsity of Ingolstadt. Its main object was to counteract the influence of the Jesuits and promote freedom of thought in religious matters, but it also endeavoured to extend republican principles. It as divided into three classes: the novices or intervals, the Freemasons or Scotch Knights, and the pupils in the small and great mysteries. After the adhesion of Baron von Knigge, in 1780, the number of the Illuminati rapidly increased, but in 1784 Weishaupt and Von Knigge quarrelled, and in 1785 a persecution began which led in a few years to the total collapse of the order.

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