My friend, Frank, suggested I research into the Merovingian kings – and their fascination for bees. More recently this part of beelore has been popularised by Dan Brown’s best seller “The Da Vinci Code”. Much of this book was based on previous research, some of which is shown below:
From “Bloodline of the Holy Grail” by Laurence Gardner:
The Merovingian kings were noted sorcerors in the manner of the Samaritan Magi, and they firmly believed in the hidden powers of the honeycomb. Because a honeycomb is naturally made up of hexagonal prisms, it was considered by philosophers to be the manifestation of divine harmony in nature. Its construction was associated with insight and wisdom – as detailed in Proverbs 24:13-14: “My son, eat thou honey, because it is good… So shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul…”
To the Merovingians, the bee was a most hallowed creature. A sacred emblem of Egytian royalty, it became a symbol of Wisdom. Some 300 small golden bees were founded stitched to the cloak of Childeric I (son of Meroveus) when his grave was unearthed in 1653. Napoleon had these attached to his own coronation robe in 1804. He claimed this right by virtue of his descent from James de Rohan-Stuardo, the natural son (legitimized in 1667) of Charles II Stuart of Britain by Marguerite, Duchesse de Rohan. The Stuarts in turn were entitled to this distinction because they, and their related Counts of Brittany, were descended from Clodion’s brother Fredemundus – thus (akin to the Merovingians) they were equally in descent from the Fisher Kings through Faramund. The Merovingian bee was adopted by the exiled Stuarts in Europe, and engraved bees are still to be seen on some Jacobite glassware.”
…….strange, but the other day I found some French (La Rochère) glassware in our local town – and it had bees on it – so we had to get some – and it has been fantastic!
It is good to see that this French glassmaker is continuing the tradition of celebrating the Merovingian or Napoleonic bee!