Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Introducing Albert Pike

The other day Mary told me that it occurred to her that she should send me photos of something other than Milo and flowers -- and now she has been good to her word.

Serving jury duty today, Mary came upon this statue:

At the base of this statue, there is a Latin phrase. One of my client prides himself on his Latin so I sent him the phrase asking him what this means:

Laborum ejus superstites sunt fructus

In the email, I made my own guess:

Work is meaningless without fructose?

He soon replied:

Need Coke to function properly?

So I tried one of the online translators that offered this: 

To sink ejus superstites are fruit

What this statue is saying in Latin will have to remain a mystery for now. Who is Albert Pike?

This is kind of interesting in that if you read his entire Wikipedia entry, you keep waiting for some amazing accomplishment that would merit such a large statue in DC. The statue says he's an "author" but his written work was mostly poetry, the bulk of which was published post-humously by his daughter. So I believe that Wikipedia may be right in saying this is a Masonic thing:

Albert Pike (December 29, 1809–April 2, 1891) was an attorney, Confederate officer, writer, and Freemason. Pike is the only Confederate military officer or figure to be honored with an outdoor statue in Washington, D.C. (in Judiciary Square) mostly due to his masonic connection with President Andrew Johnson, who pardoned Pike for treason after the American Civil War.


Mary turned out to be a better research librarian than I, but she comes by it honestly since her father was head librarian at Penn State when  librarians were scholars, not data manipulators.

So first, she found a translation for the Latin. Mary says it means:

He has lived. The fruits of his labors live after him.

Then she discovered:

Albert Pike was a complicated character - Northerner, Westerner, Southerner, poet, General, religious philosopher. The statue in Washington DC was moved from in front of the Scottish Rite Temple to where it is now next to the Department of Labor and the DC Municipal building in 1977. The Scottish Rite had friends in Congress and they see this as fitting that he was given a prominent space by official Washington. The woman at the base of the statue is Minerva (the Roman goddess of Masonry) or Athena (Greek version of Minerva - goddess of wisdom). Edgar Allen Poe praised his poetry.

And for her final bit of info, she brings the topic up to the present day with this tidbit:

Lyndon LaRouch hates him and wants his statue removed because he believes he is the father of the KKK

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