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THE BROADLEY MARK TOKEN

Image of Broadley Token

Alexander Meyrick Broadley, the first Mark Provincial Grand Master of Malta and Tunis (1879) after whom our lodge is named, was a much travelled barrister of Lincolns Inn, a collector, man of letters, and prominent cartoonist of his day, resident in Egypt and Tunis, as well as in Malta. There was a former Broadley Lodge, No 248, with attached Lodge Sanct Elmo Royal Ark Mariner Lodge, whose candidates were originally drawn mostly from the Lodge of St John and St Paul, still operational in Malta.

His 1880 book on the History of Masonry in Malta shows he was keenly aware of the Masonic significance of the links between Malta, Carthage, Egypt, and Phoenicia (modern day Lebanon, where the city of Tyre is situated). He was a proponent of the Hermetic tradition alluding to inheritance of ancient knowledge in Egypt by which it is said during the building of the Pyramids, the guilds of Tyrian builders had learned their trade, and later were called upon by David's friend King Hiram to embark on the building of King Solomon's Temple at Jerusalem in Judah. The friendship and generosity of King Hiram towards King Solomon's father David is referred to in many biblical references.

King Hiram of Tyre sent a trade mission to David; he provided him with cedar logs and with stonemasons and carpenters to build a palace. (1 Chronicles 14:1) The mystery of the unique Maltese language being closest to the Lebanese language, can be explained by the fact that Malta along with Carthage was one of the prominent colonies from which the considerable Phoenician/Tyrian influence over the Mediterranean in times of antiquity was exerted.

Tyrian builders involvement centre stage during the biblical era, with the Pyramids, King Solomon's Temple, and the later construction of Ancient Carthage from 650BC are well known to historians. Although we acknowledge divine inspiration for the plans, from recent knowledge and research, the design for King Solomon's Temple appears to be based closely on the Temple of Melqart at Tyre later adopted and renamed Heracles by the Greeks. There are clear Tyrian Masons marking and numbering on the stonework to the walls arches and columns at the site of Ancient Carthage, and even the old city gates of Tunis in modern day Tunisia. In Malta, there is a very long tradition of building in stone, and the Neolithic Temples at Ggantija in Gozo, date from around 3500 BC, Hagar Qim, and Mnajdra two centuries later. The temple at Tarxien is the most elaborate, and largest. Many stones reused by the Knights of St John in building their considerable fortifications in Malta appear to bear Tyrian masons marks.

An old Phoenician poem, hints in its sentiment at the dawn of Speculative Masonry. It is translated here:

I have a tale and I will tell it,
a word and I will repeat it,
a tale of wood and a whisper of stone,
a tale that mankind may know
and that the multitudes of the earth may understand...

The design of our token commemorates the enthusiasm of Alexander Meyrick Broadley for this important degree in Freemasonry. It also celebrates the Phoenician's skill and energy as Mariners as well as their "Marking Well" as builders. It indicates concisely our connection with Malta, and our links with the Tyrian builders of old.