CODEX Entry 2620: Illuminati
The modern meaning of Illuminati, a global secretive organisation in league with aliens, has almost nothing to do with the original organisation called the Illuminati. This was set up by Adam Weishaupt, a professor of Canon Law and Philosophy and four students, at the University of Ingolstadt, in Bavaria, in 1776. As the only non-clerical professor, Weishaupt developed a deep hatred of the church, and resolved to spread the ideals of the Enlightenment to his students through a new secret society. Finding Freemasonry expensive, he founded his own society with its own system of ranks or grades based on those in Freemasonry. Initially called the Perfectibilists, and almost called the Bee Order, he changed it to the Illuminati, taking the Owl of Minerva as their symbol. Members choose pseudonyms, rather like superheros, and Weishaupt chose Spartacus. Membership grew chiefly due to it allowing anyone into the higher grades without costs, and the arrival of freemasons dissatisfied with the Lutheran direction of the rites in German Lodges. However, as with any club that is free and easy to join, many members, lubricated by a few beers, preferred to show off their membership rather than maintain the secrecy. Exaggerated bar room tales of the power of the Illuminati eventually reached the ears of those with real power and Charles Theodore, the Duke of Bavaria, promptly banned the society just ten years after its founding. Leading clerics condemned it from the pulpits. A certain infamy came from this, and has ensured the Illuminati remained synonymous with secret societies, particularly with the large exodus of Bavarians to the United States in the early 19th century. Without the internet this whimsical organisation would have been long forgotten.