By Nick Harding
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Extra resources for Secret Societies
Selivanov claimed that he inherited the throne under the name of Peter III and was forced to marry Catherine II who rapidly decided that her new husband, not being a complete man, was not for her and decided that he must be assassinated. Forewarned of this, the ‘Tsar’ ﬂed, swapping identities with a soldier who met the fate planned for a speedily retreating Peter III. Once free, the man who had ruled Russia took on the mantle of a peasant and changed his name to Selivanov. His popularity with the members of the aristocracy, who later ﬂocked to join the cult, was proof enough for his followers that he had indeed once been of a privileged status.
The ultimate reward was that of a happy afterlife. Whereas Christianity was open to all (or, at least, the majority of the population), Mithraism had an elitist attitude and only those considered worthy could become adherents. This elitism contributed to Mithraism’s decline. Christianity thrived but, as Christianity has always done, it adopted much that the other faith had to offer, most notably the emotive ritualistic side of Mithraism. Modern Christians are mostly un- • 52 • T H E C U LT O F M I T H R A aware that some of what they hold dear derives from the Persians and their worship of the sun.
64 • THE GARDUNA Moves were made against them but the Garduna remained under the protection of the Inquisition. It was at this point that they became a proper secret society with nine degrees of initiation. The serenas or sirens were more reﬁned women and the fuelles or bellows made friends with potential victims. The grand master was known as the Hermano Mayor and his laws were absolute. These he issued to his capataz or regional bosses who would then utilise their ﬂoreadores, the muscle, and the ponteadores, the swordsmen, to enforce his will.