I was completely unaware of the following legend until I came across it on an episode of Ancient Aliens recently, which then led me delve into the subject. This legend concerns a real sword in the stone and an Italian man called Galgano, which is a development of the medieval personal name 'Galvano', an equivalent of the Celtic Gawain (Old French Gauvain).
The Sword in the Stone
(1148 –1181) was a Catholic saint from Tuscany born in Chiusdino
, in the modern province of Siena, Italy. His mother's name was Dionigia, while his father's name (Guido or Guidotto) only appeared in a document dated in the 16th century, when the last name Guidotti was attributed.
The canonization process to declare Galgano a saint started in 1185, only a few years after his death, and his canonization was the first conducted with a formal process by the Roman Church. A lot of Galgano's life is known through the documents of his canonization process in 1185 and other Vitae: Legenda beati Galgani
by anonymous, Legenda beati Galgani confessoris
by an unknown Cistercian monk, Leggenda di Sancto Galgano
, Vita sancti Galgani de Senis
, Vita beati Galgani
The son of a feudal lord, Galgano became a knight, and is said to have led a ruthless life in his early years.
Galgano died in 1181. Soon after, in 1184, a round chapel was built over his claimed tomb to commemorate him; pilgrims came there in large numbers, and miracles were claimed. In that year, Cistercian monks took over Montesiepi at the request of Hugh, Bishop of Volterra, but most of Galgano's monks left, scattered over Tuscany, and became Augustinian hermits. By 1220, San Galgano Abbey, a large Cistercian monastery, had been built below Galgano's hermitage: he was then claimed and recognized as a Cistercian saint. His cult was lively in Siena and Volterra, where numerous representations survive. The ruins of his hermitage can still be seen, while his cloak is kept in the church of Santuccio at Siena.Session 21 June 1997
MJF: It is curious that it should be the Cistercians who took over the Abbey, as they are linked with Knights Templar through St Bernard of Clairvaux, who composed their rule. Moreover, it is strange that Galgano’s monks should become Augustinian hermits when one considers that it was Augustinian Canons who were charged with serving the sanctuaries at the Abbey of ‘Sainte-Marie du Mont Syon et du Saint-Esprit’ (Holy Mary of Mount Sion and of the Holy Ghost). The other name these Augustinian Canons took was Chevaliers de l’Order de Notre Dame de Sion (Knights of the Order of Our Lady of Sion). Jerusalem was overrun by the Saracens in 1187, three years after the chapel was built and six years after St Galgano’s death so there may be no connection at all with these two groups of Augustinians. However, the C’s had drawn Laura’s attention to the Augustinians in the following excerpt from the transcripts:
Q: … And this painting is modelled on the painting of St. Anthony, the hermit, who is shown being tempted by creatures that can only be described as 'aliens.' Now, there is also a Magdalena, a St. Anthony, and even a Pearce on the map near this crash site. And when I drew little lines connecting them all, they enclosed this plain of San Augustin....
A: And who was Saint Augustine/San Augustin... Augustus, Augustine Monks, etc?
Hence, this might suggest that we were on the right track when considering the role of the Augustinians in my earlier post ‘The Augustinian Canons of Notre Dame de Sion’. However, could the C’s have also had in mind the Augustinian hermits of Saint Galgano?
You will also note that the monks constructed a round-shaped chapel to house St Galgano’s tomb after his death. It should be recalled that the Knights Templar were famous for building round churches and chapels as well. One wonders if Galgano could perhaps have been a Templar knight in the Holy Land and the famous legend was just a cover story. If so, the question still remains - how did the sword come to be stuck in the stone? And then there would also appear to be evident links here with the Arthurian myth of Excalibur and the sword in the stone - for which see more below.
San Galgano's Sword in the Stone
In the Media
The sword in the stone (see above) can be seen at the Rotonda at Montesiepi, near the ruins of the Abbey of San Galgano
. The handle of a sword protrudes from a stone, and is said to be the sword of Galgano. An analysis of the metal done in 2001 by Luigi Garlaschelli
confirmed that the "composition of the metal and the style are compatible with the era of the legend". The analysis also confirmed that the upper piece and the invisible lower one are authentic and belong to one and the same artefact (see more below).
I am also attaching the following article on Saint Galgano with some comments of my own tacked on at the end.
Galgano's "sword in the stone" story was featured in a season 7 episode of TV series, Forged in Fire
. Bladesmiths had to recreate "Excalibur", a medieval broadsword inspired by Galgano's story. The episode explained the story as follows: the actual Sword in the Stone is located in Siena, Italy, and believed to have belonged to Galgano.
Saint Galgano and the Sword in the Stone in Montesiepi
Everyone knows the Arthurian myth of Excalibur, the sword in the stone, a key element in the life and legend of King Arthur and his valiant Knights of the Round Table. Yet they may not be aware, however, that this iconic myth may have been inspired by a sword that emerged in the Tuscany
region of Italy.
Much like the legend of Arthur, this story is intrinsically connected to the inner world as it begins with a shift in a valiant knight’s life due to a vision from Archangel Michael.
During the XII century, Galgano Guidotti
was a rich nobleman trained in the art of war and notable for his violence and hedonistic approach to life. All of this was to change due to the intervention of the Archangel Michael, often depicted wielding a sword and symbolizing the archetype of the warrior saint. Thus, the knight who once was on the edge of destruction experienced a shift and became known as the ‘Knight of God’.
The Tale of Saint Galgano
Points to consider
One day when he least expected it, Archangel Michael appeared before him and showed him the way to salvation, and kindly provided him with directions as well. Next day, Sir Galgano announced that he was going to become a hermit and took up residence in a cave. His friends and relatives ridiculed him, and Dionisia, his mother, bade him to wear his expensive nobleman's clothes and at least pay a last visit to his fiancée. On his way there, his horse reared, throwing Galgano. Spitting road dust, he suddenly felt as if he was being lifted to his feet by an invisible force, and a seraphic voice and a will he was unable to resist led him to Monte Siepi, a rugged hill close to his home town of Chiusdino.
The voice bade him to stand still and look at the top of the hill; Galgano saw a round temple with Jesus and Mary surrounded by the Apostles. The voice told him to climb the hill, and while doing so, the vision faded. When he reached the top the voice spoke again, inviting him to renounce his loose, easy living. Galgano replied that it was easier said than done, about as easy as splitting a rock with a sword. To prove his point, he drew his blade and thrust at the rocky ground. With an ease that would impress even cinderblock-splitting sword dealers at Renaissance fairs, the sword penetrated the living bedrock to the hilt. Galgano got the message, and took up permanent residence on that hill as a humble hermit. He led a life in poverty, visited by the occasional peasant looking for a blessing. He befriended wild animals, and once, when the Devil sent an assassin in the guise of a monk, the wild wolves living with Galgano attacked the killer and, according to legend, "gnawed his bones
After his death in 1182, the round temple from his vision became reality as the “Rotonda di Montesiepi” circular church
was constructed. Nowadays, The Montesiepi Chapel holds medieval items and art. Its centrepiece, the real Sword in the Stone, is now protected by plexiglass due to the various attempts to remove it and still attracts visitors who are fascinated by its history. As one of the knights of the round table is named Sir Gawaine
(Galganus), it’s possible that the myth of the sword in the stone was passed on to England through the stories told by European pilgrims of the Medieval Age as Italy’s Via Francigena played an important part in European travels.
Saint Galgano’s hero journey
shares similarities to that of King Arthur as the Christian Knight was initiated on his path by the guidance of a powerful figure, in this case Archangel Michael, a sword was instrumental in his initiation and his path was full of danger. Historically, however, the stories of Arthur and his Knights appeared decades after Galgano Guidotti’s canonization and so it is possible that the accounts of Tuscany’s sword in the stone and its Knight turned Saint influenced Britain’s Arthurian legend.
San Galgano's Abbey - The Abbey was sacked by the infamous English mercenary Captain Sir John Hawkwood and his White
Company and by 1397 the abbot was its only inhabitant.
From Arthurian legends to Templar connections, this sword has attracted many theories over the centuries as well as many who doubted its authenticity
. In 2001, the researchers from the University of Pavia proved that the sword does indeed belong to the 12th century
. A 2x1 m cavity, discovered beneath the sword with the help of radar technology, is thought to be the resting place of the Knight of God - Saint Galgano.
By visiting the Montesiepi Chapel
, you will not only experience the site of Tuscany’s Arthurian-like medieval legend, you will also discover some funny anecdotes regarding those who attempted to remove the sword from the stone or cause harm to Saint Galgano. Evidence to this is a pair of mummified hands
, carbon-dated to the 12th century. It is said they belong to an assassin disguised as a monk who attempted to attack Saint Galgano only to suffer the wrath of wolves the saint had befriended.
Montesiepi's Hermitage is decorated by Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s now faded frescoes and one depicts Saint Galgano offering the sword embedded in stone to Archangel Michael.
The Sword in the Stone of Saint Galgano
is a relic that may have played a part in inspiring the Legend of King Arthur
but, aside from that, it is evidence to the fascinating and mysterious history of the Saint-Knight who dedicated his life to God and, as such, it will surely continue to attract those who love stepping into the magic of the Medieval era to discover its mystery and legends.
The Sword’s Authenticity
For centuries, the sword was believed to be a fake to everyone but the most devout. The sword (or at least what can be seen of it) is a rather basic sword in a style typical for the 12th century, seemingly seamlessly embedded in the bedrock. The pommel is flat and of a slightly egg-shaped, truncated form, and the guard is a straight bar of steel. The dimensions are: height of grip + pommel 144 mm, guard width 172 mm, blade width 43 mm.
A similar sword, dated to c. 1173, was found near Bury St. Edmunds in England. It is described in Records of the Medieval Sword
, p. 62. In 2001, metal analysis conducted by Luigi Garlaschelli of the University of Pavia, revealed that the sword is very old, and that there's nothing that supports the opinion that the sword is a recent fake.
Ground-penetrating radar analysis revealed that beneath the sword, there is a cavity measuring 2 meters by 1 meter, which is thought to be a burial recess, possibly containing the saint's long-lost body. Carbon-dating confirmed that two mummified arms in the same chapel at Montesiepi were also from the 12th century. A version of the legend has it that anyone who tried to remove the sword had their arms ripped out.
It is argued that the legend of Saint Galgano formed the inspiration for the medieval legends about King Arthur and the Sword in the Stone, with which he proved his birthright. A story like that of Saint Galgano could travel all over Europe, and it is interesting to note that the first story about Arthur pulling a sword from a stone (or more exactly an anvil on top of the stone) appears in the decades following Saint Galgano's canonization in one of the poems by the Burgundian poet Robert de Boron
. So, in the ever-changing legends of King Arthur, it isn't unlikely that Arthurs’ pulling the sword out of the stone was inspired by the act of a reformed Italian knight...
It is interesting that Saint Michael the Archangel should play a key part in St Galgano’s story. You may recall that St Michael also played a part in John Dee’s trance medium sessions with Edward Kelley – where St Michael appeared during one session to dub John Dee on the head. It was also a star associated with St Michael that helped Graham Phillips and the Russells to locate the ancient stone artefact near Chapel Green in the village of Napton-on-the-Hill, Warwickshire in England (see my earlier article ‘The Knights Templar, Jeremiah and the Ark of the Covenant ’). However, if the sword becoming imbedded in the stone was not a miracle, then how could it have been achieved? One answer may be found in the sphere of hyperdimensional physics and the strange properties observed in vortices.
When you create a fast spinning vortex, you automatically seem to encounter hyperdimensional energies. This fact can be seen with natural vortices such as tornadoes, which have been known to produce strange effects and anomalies, including the teleporting of people and objects (the C’s have confirmed this in the transcripts). Tornados have been known to produce other strange physical effects as well such as driving pieces of straw through solid wood four inches thick, a feat that would ordinarily be impossible. This would suggest that changes must occur at the atomic level to allow a soft material like straw to penetrate solid wood. Presumably this happens under the hyperdimensional energy states that occur within a powerful tornado. I am not suggesting that the sword here became stuck in the stone when St Galgano plunged it in because he happened to be inside a tornado at the time (although not impossible). Rather, I would propose that some high energy source enabled an iron sword to pass through the stone as if it was plunged into butter. Perhaps it might be instructive to consider the fate of some of the poor US sailors on the USS Eldridge whose bodies became melded with the superstructure of the ship to gain more of an idea of how the sword became embedded in the stone (the two mummified arms might also bear testimony to this). Therefore, short of a miracle, I believe that someone must have been playing with high energy physics to have accomplished this feat.
Etymology of the names:
Galgani is typically Tuscan, where it is very widespread, but it also includes the Eagle and in Rome, Galgano is specific to the area that includes Irpinia and Potentino, Gargani has a strain between Florentine and Pisan and one from Lazio, especially in Rome. Roman and Rieti and frusinate, Gargano is instead widespread throughout southern Italy, may derive from the Gargano region, a promontory of the Foggia area, or even, and it is more likely, from the medieval name Garganus, of Celtic origins from the Celtic divinity Gargan father of Belenon the Celtic god of light
, or from Galganus, we remember St. Galgano
beatified in the year 1180, a saint who became famous throughout the world and is still remembered today for the alleged miracle of the sword stuck in the rock preserved in the little church of San Galgano in Montassiepi; in a paper of 1165 we read: "Galganus Vulterranensis episcopus consensu canoncorum se obligavit Sylvester abbas St. Marie de Serena if not edificaturum ecclesiam in castro burgo de Cluslino nec litem facturum de ecclesiam S. Iacobi et S. Martini iuxta muros de Cluslino
. ". additions provided by Fabio Galgani Galgani is a Tuscan surname borrowed exclusively from the cult for San Galgano Guidotti, a hermit and Cistercian monk of Chiusdino (Siena), who lived in the 12th century, to whom is dedicated the abbey of San Galgano near Chiusdino. The etymology of the surname, according to recent studies based on the apocalyptic prophecies of Gioacchino da Fiore (1138-1202), leads to the ancient paleonym that belonged to the biblical locality of Gàlaad (area east of the Jordan river occupied by the tribes of Ruben and Gad), also a masculine personal name, from which the family of the Gileadites originated
. The name Galaad also belonged to the virgin knight, son of Lancelot (Arthurian cycle), a model of purity, which represents the cavalry inspired by total spirituality. (excerpt from the book by Fabio Galgani Onomastica Maremmana, published by Centro Studi Storici, 2000.- pages 602. Supplements provided by Giovanni Vezzelli Galgano is a Lucanian surname present in Ferrandina, Migliónico, Trivigno and elsewhere; it should derive from the name of Gallicano
a common in Lazio Source: G. Rohlfs, Dictionary of historical surnames in Lucania, 1985.
Hence, we find that the name may be linked with the biblical tribes of Ruben and Gad and the Gileadites. It may also link not just with ‘Gawain’ but also with the ‘Galaad’ or Galahad of Arthurian legend. The name may even be derived from the name ‘Gallicano’ suggesting a possible link to the Gauls, from which we derive the adjective ‘Gallic’.
Thus, the sword as a buried artefact could even be one potential explanation for the C’s reference to ‘buried in Galle’.
Finally the issue of drawing the sword from the stone makes me think of the following exchange between Laura and the C’s in the session dated 18 January 2002:
Q: Why is it that we have attracted so much interest from the "spy vs. spy" types? After all, if there is something out there they are after, why do they need us?
A: They cannot "see" or "draw the sword from the stone."