Excerpt: Meet the Flinstones

MEET THE FLINTSTONES

In what they call the ‘High Middle Ages,’ the couple of centuries that followed the taking of Jerusalem by the crusaders and which preceded a nasty period in Europe marked by the black plague, there were a number of prominent dynastic families that controlled much of the lands from Flanders (roughly modern Holland) to the north, extending south to what’s now Austria. At the time this large area was otherwise known as the Holy Roman Empire, even though its Emperors were German, not “Roman.” Several of the heads of these ‘Houses’ that I speak of rose to that office (of Emperor), in fact they more or less took turns. These families were all blood related and that blood was pretty prestigious. To my estimation, each of them could claim Melissena (the Byzantine princess of Melusine fame), the Counts of Hesbaye (from whom both the Robertian kings of France and the Rus line derived), the Carolingians, and maybe the Merovingians as well, as ancestors. Their blood was about as blue as you could get.

Philip, the Count of Flanders to whom the Grail romance Perceval, the Story of the Grail was dedicated, was a close ally of Frederick Barbarossa, a King of Germany who took a turn as Holy Roman Emperor. (Barbarossa meant red beard – and if I recall, the “elves” were conspicuous for their red hair.) Frederick’s father was Frederick II Duke of Swabia, the son of the previous Duke, Frederick I with whom the House of Hohenstaufen begins. The Hohenstaufen coat of arms consisted of three black lions (or a black eagle) on a field of gold.

One should never title one’s chapter with the punch-line, but, (whoops!) I did, and the reader might be able to guess where this is heading. But if you haven’t figured it out, don’t feel bad — the idea is so absurd no one would ever suspect it.

Mimicking the Hohenstaufen coat of arms with his orange frock with black spots and sharing the name of the founders of the House of Hohenstaufen is the star of a popular 60’s American cartoon – Fred Flintstone.

I didn’t first come up with this, the credit goes to the author of Ladon Gog, Tracing the Hebrew Rose. Kudos to ‘John,’ who not only discerned this connection between medieval Germanic Houses and a cartoon, he laid bare the clues that connect each dynastic house with its correlating Flinstone character.

Frederick Barbarossa’s close ally was Phillip of Flanders, and anything to do with Flanders is ‘Flemish.’ We remember the F-B-P consonant grouping, but ‘V’ and ‘W’ also fit into this group. Swap the ‘F’ of the ‘Flemish’ core-term for a ‘W’ and lose the vowels and you get WLM. Wilma. The Scottish Fleming coat of arms is a red chevron on white, and Wilma, with red hair, wears a white frock. Shaky, I know, but we’re just getting started.

The House of Wettin claimed descent from a powerful Saxon Duke who lived in the 8th century named Wittekind. Wittekind’s daughter, Hasalda, married Bruno (II), another powerful Saxon Duke. There, essentially, is your Barney-Betty union. Barney wears brown connecting him to Bruno, and Wettin transforms to Betty.

Bruno and Hasalda had a son, Liudolf (‘the Great’), who married Oda Billung, one of whose sons, another Bruno (III), lent his name to a town he founded, Brunswick. The House of Brunswick (which essentially later became the House of Hanover) got its name from this town. ‘John’ presumes that Barney represents the House of Brunswick. Maybe he does, but I would have assumed that the creators of the cartoon-myth were describing blood-lines, and I didn’t see any direct connection between Bruno and the House of Brunswick, other than the name of the town. But I checked, and it turns out that the ancestry of the official founder of the House of Brunswick, Otto I, can be traced back to the House of Billung, from which Oda (Bruno’s mother) hailed. So maybe John has it right after all.

‘John’ also suggests that the name Billung is a corruption of William, or Guillem, and indeed Oda can be traced back to Guillem de Gellone, albeit tentatively. Thickening the plot, Oda is occasionally referred to as Oda Wittelsbach, although the House of Wittelsbach didn’t officially come into existence until about 150 years after Oda’s death. Still, the name Wittelsbach certainly evokes the name of our Saxon duke, Wittekind, and even more tantalizing to our purposes is the fact that the coat of arms of Wittelsbach is blue and white, the colors of Betty’s apparel.

We can connect the Houses of Wettin and Wittlesbach (and Betty’s color scheme) more solidly to Wittekind and his close descendants through Albert ‘the Bear,’ who was a powerful Margrave of Brandenburg. I’m delighted that Albert has entered the conversation, for as in the case of Alf-red ‘the Great,’ any powerful ruler that far back in history (the 12th century) being called Alb-ert is a pretty good indicator of elven descent. Additionally, the real Albert was a contemporary of Frederick Barbarossa and accompanied him on a military campaign in Italy. Like Fred and Barney, they may well have been pals.

Albert ‘the Bear’ founded a ruling dynasty, the House of Ascania, as well as the town that became their seat of power. The town was named Wittenberg, and that, along with the fact that Albert was also descended from Oda’s family, the Billungs, should convince us that Albert was a Wettin, even if not in name. What’s more, when his line dried up and the House of Ascania became extinct the House of Wittelsbach inherited the estates of both Wittenberg and Brandenburg.

What about the kids?

Both Pebbles and Bam-Bam represent the House of Babenberg, but rival branches. The House was founded by Poppo, a Duke of Thuringia, whose branch is represented by Pebbles. The rival offshoot, Austrian branch, made its castle in the city of Bamberg, hence, ‘Bam-Bam.’ The Arms of Bamberg is themed orange and white (Bam-Bam had white hair and wore orange) and the Arms of Brandenburg features men carrying large clubs.

It took a buddy of mine to point out to me that Fred and Barney were masons in the vocational sense of the word, that is, they worked in a rock quarry – and if we didn’t pick up on that, the creators of the cartoon practically hit us over the head in making their point by fashioning Fred and Barney as members of a (fictitious) Water-Buffalo Lodge. We’re led to think that the main activity of the Water-Buffaloes was to get away from their wives one night out of the week and go bowling, but isn’t it odd that characters of a children’s cartoon would be portrayed as members of a secretive and apparently Masonic cult?

The notion that the Flintstones characters represent these medieval dynastic houses seems so ridiculous that one is compelled to pass the connections off as mere coincidence … but there are a lot of coincidences. Furthermore, these weren’t just any medieval dynastic families we’re talking about, these are families that provided Holy Roman Emperors.

‘John’ seemingly missed that these families and the Flintstones characters they spawned had anything to do with ‘the Grail,’ much less the covert war that I spoke of between what I believe were Grail-families and the Church. The Flintstones live in the town of Bedrock. What if these families that the Flintstones characters represented were truly desposynic? Couldn’t the name of the town of Bedrock be saying that, unlike the “rock” the Church claimed to have been founded on, the ‘Grail’ families of Europe were truly rooted in the ‘bedrock’ that was the blood of Jesus and the Merovingians?

Barbarossa’s son, Henry (also a Holy Roman Emperor), married the daughter of Roger II of Sicily (the recipient of the skull-and-bones — interesting!) and they had a son, another Frederick, who also took a turn as Holy Roman Emperor. This Fred, Frederick II (not to be confused with Barbarossa’s father, Frederick II of Swabia), left quite a footprint. He ruled Germany, Burgundy and Italy from his power center in Sicily, eventually marrying Yolande of Jerusalem and becoming a King of Jerusalem himself. Frederick II (HRE) was renowned for his administrative skills, was highly literate (he spoke 6 languages) and was an enthusiastic supporter of the arts. Frederick was also frequently in hot water with the Church, managing to get himself excommunicated four times.

Frederick II cultivated a stable of poets who produced around three hundred Courtly Love-themed poems in Italian. There were “love songs” in Germania as well, called ‘minnesang,’ which were written and sung from the 12th to the 14th centuries concurrent with the tradition of the Troubadours. Frederick (II) took after his father (Henry VI HRE), an enthusiastic patron of poets and who penned a few minnesang himself. One of the earliest ‘minnesangers’ was another Henry, Heinrich I, a close descendant of Albert ‘the Bear’ of the House of Ascania. The wife of this Heinrich was a Wittelsbach, Irmgard, who was the granddaughter of Otto ‘the Redhead,’ a Duke of Bavaria and one of Frederick Barbarossa’s most capable knights. Other ‘minnesangers’ included Dietmar von Aist, a knight loyal to Henry II of Austria, a Babenburg, and Friedrich von Housen, a famous minnesinger who accompanied Frederick Barbarossa on crusade to the Holy Land. The Viennese court of Frederich I of the House of Babenberg (who, ironically, was called ‘the Catholic’) was a famous center of art and poetry that produced several famous penners of minnesang, Walther von der Vogelweide and Reinmar of Hagenau among them.

Probably the most famous of the Grail Romances was Parzival, written by Wolfram von Eschenbach. Wolfram was apparently a knight, but apart from that very little is known of his life or who might have been his patron(s). His works (which included minnesang) however were written in east francian, a dialect that was spoken in and around the stomping grounds of the Hohenstaufens, the Wittelsbachs and the Babenbergs. And don’t forget, Chretien de Troyes dedicated his signature work, Perceval, the Story of the Grail, to the Count of Flanders.

Like so many ‘Hermetic’ creations of authors and painters through the ages, The Flintstones was wildly popular – it was the most financially successful animated franchise for three decades. I really think that whoever created the idea for the Flintstones at Hanna-Barbera were modern-day myth-writers (and, in my opinion, were as adept in the craft as their counterparts of ancient Greece). The only thing they left out was a dragon. Oh, wait, I almost forgot … Fred and Wilma had a pet!!! (Dino wasn’t a real dragon, but, close enough.)

Yabba-dabba-do!