Neuf Sœurs

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Bijou of the Nine Sisters, with Benjamin Franklin in the center (1783). The circulating French motto reads “Your work will result in your fame”.

Neuf Sœurs, Les (German: The Nine Sisters) is the name of a French Masonic lodge in Paris during the Enlightenment . Their name is based on the Greek nine muses ; it is also called the Lodge of the Philosophers. The members of the lodge particularly supported the efforts for the American Declaration of Independence .

Foundation and naming

The lodge was founded in 1776 under the scholar Jérôme de Lalande . He was also their first lodge master . Lalande was inspired to found a scientific and philosophical lodge by his long-time friend and brother, the enlightener Claude Adrien Helvétius . The famous philosopher Voltaire also belonged to this lodge . Helvetius did not live to see the establishment of the lodge. His widow, the Salonnière Anne-Catherine de Ligniville Helvétius , headed the androgynous adoption box as Grand Master .

The name Les Neuf Sœurs refers to the daughters of Zeus and his fifth wife Mnemosyne (the memory). In her marriage to Zeus, Mnemosyne gave birth to the Muses. In the work Theogony of the Greek poet Hesiod , the number of muses is set at nine. The muses are symbolic as patrons of science and the arts.

As an active scientific association, the lodge became a member of the Society of the Paris Académie des Sciences . In the course of the French Revolution and the associated reorganization of the former royal institutions, the lodge was separated from the Academy of Sciences.

In 1792 the lodge's activities had to cease due to the revolution. Some members lost their lives during the Great Terror .

From 1805 to 1848 the lodge was reactivated.

Commitment to the independence of the United States of America

In 1778 Benjamin Franklin , John Paul Jones and Voltaire became honorary members of the Nine Sisters . A year later, Franklin was elected lodge master and confirmed in office in 1780. Franklin returned to America after a long time in Europe to help draft the United States Constitution . In his place, Thomas Jefferson was accepted as the United States envoy, along with his friend John Adams , author of the United States Declaration of Independence .

While Jefferson was living in Paris, in the House of Leaves , his neighbor Jean-François Marmontel , secretary of the Academy of Sciences, was also a member of the lodge.

Voltaire only later became an active member of Freemasonry and the Nine Sisters Lodge after his honorary membership . When he was admitted to the lodge on April 7, 1778 after his temple work , he was given the Masonic clothing of Helvetius, the spiritual father of the lodge, as a token of special honor . Voltaire later wrote about Helvetius “This man was worth more than all his enemies combined”, even if Voltaire did not share his views.

The Auteuil County

Madame Helvétius maintained the circle of Auteuil, cercle d'Auteuil , a circle of intellectuals which she named after her salon at N ° 59 rue d'Auteuil . Numerous poets and thinkers from France met there; also North American guests.

Although many of their guests were Freemasons and members of the Nine Sisters Lodge , membership of the Freemasonry Association was not absolutely necessary in order to be invited to the evening soirées .

The close ties between the Auteuil house and the lodge were reflected in the lodge's first two Midsummer celebrations. These were celebrated in the park of the Auteuil house in 1776 and 1777. Later, the lodge also became the nucleus of the Society of Thirty and the Patriots, which had a significant influence on the French Revolution , especially between 1788 and 1791 .

Well-known guests of the district were:

Members of the nine sisters


  • Nicolas Bricaire de la Dixmerie : memory for the hut of the Nine Sisters from the destruction of the Temple of the Nine Sisters: XVIIIe century , Paris 1779.
  • Louis Amiable: Une loge maçonnique d'avant 1789 , Paris 1897.
  • Louis Amiable: La Loge des Neuf soeurs; augm. d'un comment. et de notes critiques de Charles Porset , [enlarged new edition of the Paris edition, 1897], Paris 1989, ISBN 2-903846-27-8
  • Didot Jeune: Les Bijoux Des Neuf Soeurs: Ou Melanges De Pieces Fugitives (1796) , ISBN 1-104-64818-0 (print-on-demand).
To individual members
  • De La Valette-Mombrun: Maine de Biran (1766-1824) , Paris 1914.
  • Roger C. Hahn: Some new documents on Silvain Jean Bailly . In: Journal of the History of Science 8 (1955), pp. 338-353.
  • Howard C. Rice, Jr .: Thomas Jefferson's Paris , Princeton 1976.
  • Charles Porset: Voltaire franc-maçon , La Rochelle 1995, ISBN 2-903974-73-X .
  • Louis Amiable: Le franc-maçon Jérôme Lalande , Paris 1889.

Web links

  • Official website
  • Nine Sisters, Lodge of the , transcription of the article on the lodge from Mackey's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry (1909) via the website of the Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon AF & AM