Yesterday, I reminded readers of this blog about a curious feature of the Lirey badge, namely the lattice work design on the reverse side. It’s not a simple lattice either, the lattice elements alternating with unpatterned areas.
I reminded folk of my interpretation of that pattern as representing a horizontal grid on which would stand the Templars subjected to execution by slow-roasting as per Jacques de Molay and Geoffroi de Charney in their hundreds (allegedly) in the terrible events in Paris.
Some might think that a bit of a long shot, and indeed have said that this retired scientist has no business attempting to interpret a centuries-old artefact, claiming that should be left to historians etc.
That rebuke was the signal for a long hard review of the thought processes that led to my linking the Shroud with the Templars via Geoffroi de Charny, Lord of Lirey, instead of the more conventional link made with Jacques de Molay, Grand Master (e.g. by Lomas and Knight).
Part of that review involved looking at my earliest posting on the Lirey badge, the immediate piqued and scatter-gun response from Across The Way that I was daring to make a study of an artefact which, in passing, the host had never himself mentioned previously in his own hundreds of postings (and who then proceeded to make out that I was confused about this or that detail – when I wasn’t), not even a mention of Mario Latendresse’s 2012 posting on sindonology.org
I then came across a comment posted here and over there by the like-him-or-loathe-him hyper-imaginative Max Patrick Hamon, and on that rare occasion I liked him, despite the accompanying abuse (par for the course) . Why? For making a link with St.Lawrence and his death by slow-roasting, which he said could explain a trellis. Yes, I actually thanked him, and those thanks were acknowledged, and I did some research that did indeed provide support, but not enough to go to press, so to speak.
Well, guess what? I have just repeated that research, and look what turned up on the site below? An artist’s impression of St.Lawrence being roasted HORIZONTALLY on a grid or trellis, not vertically at a stake as one is prone to imagine. OK, it’s square lattice work, not diamond admittedly, but that’s a detail that should not detract from the likely symbolism and hinted-at utilitarian role for the Lirey lattiice.
It’s all falling into place now. Jacques de Molay and Geoffroi de Charney may not have been roasted vertically, as artists have led us to believe. They too were roasted horizontally, as St.Lawrence above, and indeed it may be that it was the saint’s macabre torture that inspired the decision to do it the same way. That would explain features of the man, correction, victim, on the front side of the badge – the puffed-up look alluded to earlier, suggesting overall exposure to heat, and the way that knees appear to be burned to the bone (as they would be if closer to the coals than would be the case of the victim had been standing). It offers an alternative explanation for why the man on the TS is disposed horizontally, but, more importantly, WHY BOTH FRONT AND BACK ARE SHOWN, and in a sepia tone that looks for all the world like a SCORCH. And if wondering why both sides of a man could be roasted on a grill, when one would be sufficient to torture and finally kill, see this passage in the wiki entry on Lawrence (my bolding):
… a great gridiron prepared, with coals beneath it, and had Lawrence’s body placed on it (hence St. Lawrence’s association with the gridiron). After the martyr had suffered the pain for a long time, the legend concludes, he made his famous cheerful remark, “I’m well done. Turn me over!”
For those who missed my flow chart from yesterday, linking de Charny of Lirey, de Charny the executed Knight Templar, the Lirey Mark 1 Shroud and the Lirey badge, here it is again.
I believe the trellis feature on the rear of the Lirey badge to be an important component of the argument that says that the TS depicts a roasted Templar (receiving the St.Lawrence treatment). But it’s not difficult to see how the imagery could be gradually “re-interpreted” to suggest that the man depicted on the Shroud was a latter-day proxy (?right word) for Jesus of Nazareth, and bit by bit to drop all mention of the Templar connection, and make the final quantum leap – to claiming it was Christ’s own burial shroud. All that was needed to make that final transition was the addition of bloodstains in all the biblically-correct anatomical locations (though some might think they rather overdid it with the 372 scourge marks).
Postscript(s): 1. the site quoted above has some more interesting information, accompanied with two graphics, namely that that martyrdom of St.Lawrence produces its own relics that are on display today, namely the alleged iron grid on which the saint was martyred, and interestingly, the slab he was laid on after death (with suggestions of blood stains). What comes around goes around?
Here’s the link again.
2. Were those so-called “L-shaped poker holes” on the TS really the result of an accident?
3. Here’s the introduction to that splendid article (pdf) by Ian Wilson in the current edition of the BSTS newsletter (No.78).
So what might have been the “cult” of which the local bishop approved? One does not normally think of an established church approving of cults (assuming the translation from the French is pin sharp in its meaning and connotations)? What if it had been a cult based around St.Lawrence? What if the central object of devotion had been an image supposedly (or “officially”) of the martyred St.Lawrence when , in reality, it had been fabricated to commemorate a martyred Templar , roasted just a few decades earlier (at a time when it was probably still not a good idea to be openly sympathising with the plight of that liquidated order)?
Eureka! Have just spotted the rope in the first picture at the top, one man on each end, being used (presumably) to lift and lower the victim higher or lower to prolong the agony. Where have we seen that rope before? Clue: Wilson called it a blood-belt, and I called it a chain (while puzzled as to why it looked so coiled, more, er, rope-like). Hey, we have another blog post to write, a real humdinger!
PS: It was through deciding the original picture posting was too small, and needed to be resized, that I spotted on the enlargement that it was rope that was being used, not the pitchforks, poles etc that one sees in so many other depictions of the martyrdom.
So far I have been unable to trace the provenance of the picture, but it looks early to me, possibly not too far removed from the 14th century. We shall see.