Our History


1 May 1776

First Small Group Is Born

Adam Weishaupt (1748–1830) a professor at the University of Ingolstadt in the Electorate of Bavaria with four students created new order. Original name for the new order was Bund der Perfektibilisten, or Covenant of Perfectibility, taking the Owl of Minerva as their symbol. The members were to use aliases within the society. Weishaupt became Spartacus. Law students Massenhausen, Bauhof, Merz and Sutor became respectively Ajax, Agathon, Tiberius and Erasmus Roterodamus.

April 1778


In April 1778 the order became the Illuminatenorden, or Order of the Illuminati. By the end of summer 1778 the order had 27 members in 5 commands; Munich (Athens), Ingolstadt (Eleusis), Ravensberg (Sparta), Freysingen (Thebes), and Eichstaedt (Erzurum). During this early period, the order had three grades of Novice, Minerval, and Illuminated Minerval, of which only the Minerval grade involved a complicated ceremony. In this the candidate was given secret signs and a password. Favoured candidates were rich, docile, willing to learn, and aged 18–30. The actual character of the society was an elaborate network of spies and counter-spies. Each isolated cell of initiates reported to a superior, whom they did not know.


Munich 1779


Weishaupt decided to join the Freemasons order to recruit members for the Illuminati. With little difficulty, Weishaupt obtained a warrant from the Grand Lodge of Prussia called the Royal York for Friendship, and the new lodge was called Theodore of the Good Council, with the intention of flattering Charles Theodore, Elector of Bavaria. It was founded in Munich on 21 March 1779, and quickly packed with Illuminati. The first master, a man called Radl, was persuaded to return home to Baden, and by July this masonic lodge was run by the illuminati. The next step involved independence from their Grand Lodge. By establishing masonic relations with the Union lodge in Frankfurt, affiliated to the Premier Grand Lodge of England, lodge Theodore became independently recognized, and able to declare its independence. As a new mother lodge, it could now spawn lodges of its own controlled by the Illuminati. The recruiting drive amongst the Frankfurt masons also obtained the allegiance of Adolph Freiherr Knigge. Weishaupt and Knigge, who organised rituals structure, greatly expanded the secret organisation within Freemasons.

January 1782

New system

Knigge's initial plan to obtain a constitution from London would, they realised, have been seen through by the chapter. Until such time as they could take over other masonic lodges that their chapter could not control, they were for the moment content to rewrite the three degrees for the lodges which they administered.

On 20 January 1782 Knigge tabulated his new system of grades for the order. These were arranged in three classes:

  • Class I – The nursery, consisting of the Noviciate, the Minerval, and Illuminatus minor.
  • Class II – The Masonic grades. The three "blue lodge" grades of Apprentice, Companion, and Master were separated from the higher "Scottish" grades of Scottish Novice and Scottish Knight.
  • Class III – The Mysteries. The lesser mysteries were the grades of Priest and Prince, followed by the greater mysteries in the grades of Mage and King.
Bavarian Ban


Bavarian Ban, hunt on Illuminati, end or...

Knigge's recruitment from German Freemasonry was far from random. He targeted the masters and wardens, the men who ran the lodges, and were often able to place the entire lodge at the disposal of the Illuminati. The government and Catholic Church felt threatened from the rise of the Illuminati, this fear produced Bavarian Ban, issued by the government of Karl Theodor, Elector of Bavaria. With this start hunt on Illuminati, where a lot of them was killed or imprisoned, Weishaupt himself, managed to escape dressed as a craftsman. It seems as this was end of the order of the Illuminati, but the order was forced to go deep in secrecy and to exile, in other countries. Thanks to the Bavarin Ban today order of the Illuminati is spread around the world and still exist as a secret society.