Dear Reader: I open this blog with four quotations instead of my usual single quotation. I do this in the hopes that, if your time here in this blog is limited, then at the very least, take these four quotations into your mind and let them stew.
1. “In other words, the elite was not so much irreligious as it was an elite that had adopted a different religion than the masses, the ‘religion behind the religion,’ the philosophy of the Metaphor.”
— Joseph P. Farrell, “Financial Vipers of Venice,” page 136.
2. “They themselves, through triumph of their system of private money issuance, had now in reality come to sit in the place of the gods.”
— David Astle, “The Babylonian Woe,” page 92.
3. “The passageways and steps of Greek mines were dug out with the same concern for proportion and harmony found in their temples.”
4. From Scripture:
“Every man acts unreasonably and without knowledge.
Every metalworker will be put to shame because of the carved image;
For his metal image is a falsehood,
And there is no spirit in them.
They are a delusion, a work of mockery.
When their day of reckoning comes, they will perish.”
— Jeremiah 10:14,15.
Jeremiah was a Biblical prophet who likely knew the Murasu family.
“The Religion Behind the Religion” of Temple Coinage
In Part III of this series, we were introduced to the Murasu banking family of the Judean community headquartered in Nippur, Babylonia, five hundred years before Christ. Can it be just a coincidence that the Judean lenders of the Persian empire climaxed their power and influence at the same time that State-coined money was coming into use in Lydia and other Greek provinces? The Murasu Archive is very clear on the role that this Hebrew-born family played in financing the installation of Ochus aka Darius II to the throne of the most powerful empire of that century, Persia.
But how did a confederacy of non-native deportees ensconce themselves with the authority and power needed to manipulate games of thrones? The answer screams to us from a little round piece of metal, recently re-invented and stamped with the face of a god. And so we continue our tale of Grandfather Herschel as he and Grandson Asher tour the treasury at the Temple of the great Babylonian goddess Inanna in the sacred city of Nippur, province of Babylonia, Empire of Persia, on a late summer morning in the year 415 B.C.E. The chapter opens:
The business of the day was already humming in the compound as workers and attendants set about their assigned tasks at the Temple of Inanna. A crew of maintenance workers at the southwest corner appeared to be upgrading the security system at the side entrance. At the opposite side of the property, another crew was performing routine inspection along a retaining wall. A small river barge was docking now here on the Chebar Canal, an important tributary of the mighty Euphrates River. I was surprised to see quite a team of heavily armed soldiers guarding this shipment. There appeared to be more guards than shipmates on this particular delivery.
“Grandfather,” I queried, “why such a hoard of arms for such a small boat?”
Herschel smiled and folded his arms across his chest. “Because that cargo, my son, contains the greatest tool of wealth and power known to man: silver coins stamped with the approval of both God and King.”
“Approval of what, Grandfather?”
“Why, the approval to grant wishes like magic wherever we want, or impose perpetual debt slavery wherever we want! Those crates contain the newly minted silver coins from the Laurium mines in Greece,” he laughed boisterously and slapped me on the back.
“You mean, ‘wherever the king wants,’ surely? You mean that King Darius decides who receives his favor and who receives his scorn, right, Grandfather? You don’t mean “us,” the Murasu Firm employees?” I was very confused.
Herschel nearly doubled over in laughter and wiped tears of amusement from his eyes. “Boy, you have a lot to learn. Follow me. Let your initiation begin today.”
We entered the limestone coolness of the Temple and proceeded down a long hallway. Scribes and clerks were busy setting up stone slabs, sharpening their stylus, arranging parchment scrolls and refilling ink wells. As we walked along the cobbled floor, Grandfather explained about the coins.
“A piece of metal is not much different from a piece of fruit. But when you introduce another agent, which in this case, is the approval of the God and King, something alchemical happens to that piece of silver. It becomes more than what it is. That is the great secret of the Inanna trinity metaphor that can be applied in hundreds of different ways. The triad is usually described in the following way:
* The thesis is an intellectual proposition.
* The antithesis is simply the negation of the thesis, a reaction to the proposition.
* The synthesis solves the conflict between the thesis and antithesis by reconciling their common truths and forming a new thesis, starting the process over.
I stopped cold in my tracks and grandfather sensed my anguish. He bellowed out yet another explosion of laughter. “Too much information, Asher? Don’t worry. In time, you will understand. For now, just realize that, as a banker, you can take a piece of silver, like a raw seed, and with manipulation, you can breathe a sort of life into it, a life that surpasses its original inanimate nature. And you, the banker, become its Creator, its God.”
I decided to just file all of that away in the back of my brain. Briskly I hurried to catch up with Herschel up a long staircase and then down yet another hallway that was concealed from view of the huge public doors downstairs. We passed through no less than three security checks. Finally we arrived at a small vault.
Enormous oil lampstands revealed the dazzling glint of silver coins arranged in long trays made of pottery. Beyond the trays were larger vessels so that quantities of coins could be managed in graduated amounts. Without thinking, I dipped my hand into the nearest tray of silver coins and let my fingers rifle through the shimmering cascade and tinkle of the metal.
Herschel chuckled. “Asher, I wish you could see the expression on your face. You had the same look when you were five years old upon being presented with your first bag of coins to play with. But now you will really learn how to play with silver. Come along.”
Grandfather whisked us out of the vault and across the hallway to another interior room. A more senior scribe ushered us into the anteroom of what appeared to be a site used for conferences and negotiations.
“Asher, tomorrow you will take your seat at this table to learn and observe how wealth is created from simply making a mark with a stylus on a clay tablet. This is the real secret of the Temple: setting up future events that require some amount of finance and then meeting those demands by obtaining no more than the sacrificial signature of our client.”
I did understand the principles of ledger credit finance, the concept of Debits and Credits, and the equilibrium that we financiers orchestrate between the two opposing columns. But I did not know what Grandfather meant by “setting up future events.” As if we could also predict Fate and Future? So I inquired further.
“I look forward to learning this craft, Grandfather. But what do you mean by ‘setting up future events’?”
Herschel had anticipated my ignorance. “Take for example our current king, Darius II. Do you know how he came to seize the throne of Susa? You don’t think he just walked up and asked for it, do you?” His eyes were teasing me now.
It’s true that I did not know exactly how Ochus, the illegitimate son of the old King Artaxerses, managed to depose the short-lived but more legitimate heir Sogdianus. However, I did know that our family suddenly began entertaining a much wider circle of friends and enjoying many more luxuries ever since that happened.
I could feel another family tale coming on. “Ochus lived far away from Susa, but close to us here in Nippur. When his weasel half-brother Sogdianus first seized the throne, Ochus knew it would be only a matter of time before the “invitation” would arrive from that slimeball Soggy. Oh sure, Sogdianus would feign a gesture of friendship to his illegitimate brother Ochus. But Ochus wasn’t stupid. He knew that summons would be an invitation to his own death.”
Herschel continued, “Being a resident of our territory here in Babylonia, Ochus was like-minded with our noble clients. These clients are the lords of the feudal titles around here whose position depends on maintaining good relations with the Crown. Of course, we all know that these feudal lords have been skimming a portion of the taxes due from the farm production of their titles for decades. The only way to keep that scam running is to make sure that their boy gets his butt onto the throne of Susa!”
“But you’re going to need quite an army to support your candidate. Food, provisions, weapons, chariots, money for bribes — oh it was quite a laundry list. The nobles held a meeting and counted up their assets but realized they were coming up short. They needed a loan,” Herschel’s eyes twinkled with a slightly devilish grin. “And that’s where the Murasu Firm came in.”
Grandfather let out a long self-satisfied sigh. “It was right here in this very conference room where the deed was done. The Murasu Firm put up the credit needed to fill the shopping list for Ochus’s march on Susa. In return for the Murasu generosity, these hereditary noble-blooded idiots — whoops I mean clients — fell right into our hands. They put up their feudal titles as collateral for the loans! HAHAHA, after decades and decades of being the overlords of our Jewish brothers, they themselves became serfs of their own castles!”
“Ahh. That was the best day of my life.” For a moment Herschel almost appeared transfixed.
“But Grandfather, wasn’t that risky for us? Giving away such a large pile of silver, betting it all on just one man?” I quizzed.
“But that’s what’s so beautiful about it. We never gave away a single coin. All the silver stored here in our vaults before that deal was still here after the deal. People are sheep, my boy. Once you let them see that you have a pile of silver behind you, they seem to believe that the silver will always be there, like a tree that lives a thousand years. Once we bankers gained their confidence, we just issue credit receipts around town to buy what we need. And for those merchants who are smart enough to demand payment in actual coin, well no problem. We pay them the coin, then they gather up their coins and deposit it back into their account with us here at the Temple. Then we turn around and issue more paper credits backed by their deposit. But the truly beautiful thing is, we issue credits to the tune of 90 times more than their deposit! HAHAHA, what a scam.”
Something seemed fishy to me there but I couldn’t put my finger on it. “Grandfather, that sounds a bit unethical. Isn’t that … gulp … a crime of usury?” I asked.
“It’s only a crime if you do it on a small scale and then get caught. That’s why our confederates came up with a system of stamping the coins with the approval of God and King. If the system were to fail, the people won’t blame us. They will blame the person whose face is stamped on their money. But you bring up a good point which is the next link in this system. Listen up, Asher and follow me.”
Together we climbed yet another stairway that opened the roof of the temple. Grandfather had quite a penchant for rooftop patios. Herschel brought me to the edge of the barricade, facing south.
“Take a good long look in that direction. What comes from that direction?”
“Well, that breeze blows from Athens and from the Laurium mines.” I did know my geography.
“Glad to see my tutors have not wasted their time. You are correct, Asher. The breeze now blows from Athens. You must understand that when we turned our feudal lords into serfs of their own castles, they were happy to get their man placed on the throne. But once that happened, they realized what they had done to themselves. And they would just as soon depose their banker as they would the previous heir to the throne.”
Herschel grabbed me by the shoulders and looked me squarely in the eyes. “Asher, you must always stay one step ahead of the enemy, and you will make enemies of your own clients. The secret to your success and continued survival is to always be forging the path of the next king-to-be. Always be the Puppet Master of the next empire.”
I could feel my stomach tighten at the thought of such a daunting task. Pulling the strings of an entire empire??!!
Grandfather loosened up and laughed heartily again. “Not to worry son! The magic is in the math. Let those debits and credits work their spell for you. All you have to do is wield the accounting as a tool. Arithmetic sprang from the mind of God. He who uses it deftly achieves the status of a god.”
“But speaking of the Power of God, there is yet another branch of your education that even eclipses the power of ledger credit bookkeeping. It is one thing to invent a system of money to buy weapons and technology. It is quite another to engineer the source of such ultimate power in your own hands. Have you ever been curious about Kabbala?”
I was both curious and afraid. I did not know that Grandfather was himself an initiate. My face must have gone white as an Egyptian cotton sheet. Grandfather Herschel hurriedly added, “Well, enough for one day. What are we doing up here on the roof in this heat? Let’s go sample the new brewery along the canal.”
The power of the triad Topological Metaphor is bound up with the first family credited in the Bible with introducing the concept of organized religion. From this concept sprang a plethora of other evils including financial debt slavery.