Extended Liner Notes and Lyrics


When listening the intro one can visualize a Crusader Army crossing the merciless desert in mystical, unknown and hostile lands. The short musical part referring to the Fatherland intro, of a previous Ancient Rites album, symbolizes the homeland (or Avondland) the men remember and which seems nothing but a far away echo of the life they have left behind. Ahead the unknown awaits…”

CRUSADE (intro)

“To this day The Crusades stir up emotions. Strangely enough, those who played leading parts in these epic clashes between Cross and Half Moon seem to be forgotten, covered by the dust of time. The Arabian knight Saladin is a familiar name in the West but quite unknown in the Islamic world of today. Templar Grandmaster Geraard van Ruddervoorde of Flanders is never mentioned in history books or appears incorrectly as the “French” knight “Gerard de Ridefort” as documents of that time often were written by French historians. Van Ruddervoorde, a proud but hard headed man was captured by Saladin after the battle of Hattin. The group commanded by this Crusader revealed courage but were no match for the Saracens who had avoided the Templars charge by opening their ranks, then closing the gap again, surrounding them and thus sealing the crusaders fate. Hot Desert winds and lack of drinking water helped to undermine the Templars’ grave position on the plateau at the Horns of Hattin which was set ablaze by the Muslim forces to increase the heat. The tired crusaders were outnumbered by ten to one. Expecting certain death the Christians fought recklessly but all in vain. The result was a catastrophe for the Western Army. The captured Knights were ritually executed: each Templar and Hospitaller was forced to his knees while Moslem soldiers beheaded them. According to historical sources”none complained and each met his death with utter silence and humility, for such was the way of the order”. The Grandmaster was spared and released after Saladin received a ransom. Saladin also demanded Van Ruddervoordes’ surrender of Gaza. Instead of withdrawal the Templar participated in the battle of Acre in 1189. When the other Christian forces retreated the Grandmaster considered this an unacceptable decision. He took on Saladin alone, was taken prisoner for a second time and executed on October the first on the spot. Other sources claim he fell on the battlefield. Although arch enemies, encountering in battle twice, Saladin and Geraard van Ruddervoorde, ironically, share the same obscure fate: the majority of their folk do not recall their existence. Both strong personalities, with their positive and negative sides, deserve better.”


Clad in Armour, strong of Will
Eye for an eye, Kill for a Kill

“Allah Akhbar”, “God Wills it”
Cross and Half Moon in total War
“Allah Akhbar”, “God Wills it”
No quarter given, life evened the score
“Allah Akhbar”, “God Wills it”
Moving into the Holy Land
“Allah Akhbar”, “God Wills it”
Empires clashing in desert Sand

Jerusalem a city lit
Did God demand? Did God forbid?

Pilgrims Slaughtered by Saracen Band
Saracens Slaughtered by Christian Hand
Templar van Ruddervoorde in Command
Templars’ Grandmaster of the Flemish Land

Battling Saladin, Knight of the Moon
At the Siege of Acre meeting his Doom
Outnumbered he fell, in a far away Land
The Templars’ life took an End

Azure eyed and golden haired
Forth the Knights Templar fared
While above Troops Devoted
Heraldic Banners Floated

“A song to Mithras” is taken from Rudyard Kipling's Puck of Pook's Hill. In Songs from Books and verse this poem is subtitled 'Hymn of the XXX Legion: Circa A.D. 350’. In which the spirit of Mithraism can be seen. Mithraism was the Heathen rival religion of Christianity. Spread by travelling merchants and Legions. The Thirtieth Legion was known as Legio XXX Ulpia Victrix and were founded by Emperor Trajanus Ulpius in 105. Its name means 'the victorious legion of Ulpius' due to valiant behaviour in the Dacia campaign, hence the honouring title. Later the Thirtieth legion was to stay at Xanten in Germania Inferior for centuries. Mithras shrines are spread all over the ancient world. Mithras, Sol Invictus!”


Mithras, God of the Morning, our trumpets waken the wall!
'Rome is above the Nations, but Thou art over all'

Mithras, God of the Morning, our trumpets waken the wall!
'Rome is above the Nations, but Thou art over all'
Now as the names are answered, and the guards are marched away,
Mithras, also a soldier, give us strength for the day!
Mithras, God of the Sunset, low on the Western main,
Thou descending immortal, immortal to rise again!
Now when the watch is ended, now when the wine is drawn
Mithras also a soldier, keep us pure till the dawn!
Many roads Thou has fashioned: all of them lead to the Light,
Mithras, the Soul of a soldier, teach us to die aright.
Mithras! Mithras!
Mithras, God of Midnight, here where the great bull dies,
Look on thy childern in darkness. Oh take our sacrifice!

Mithras, God of the Noontide, the heather swims in the heat,
Our helmets scorch our foreheads; our sandals burn our feet,
Now in the ungrit hour; now ere we blink and drowse,
Mithras also a soldier, keep us true to our vows!
Mithras, God of Midnight, here where the great bull dies,
Look on thy childern in darkness. Oh take our sacrifice!
Many roads Thou has fashioned: all of them lead to the Light,
Mithras, also a soldier, teach us to die aright.
Mithras! Mithras! Mithras! Mithras!

“Although extraordinary valour was displayed by the entire corps of Spartans and Thespians, yet bravest of all was declared the Spartan Dienekes. It is said that on the eve of the battle, he was told by a native of Trachis that the Persian archers were so numerous that, when they fired their volleys, the mass of arrows blocked out the sun. Dienekes, however, quite undaunted by this prospect, remarked with a laugh, ‘Good. Then we’ll have our battle in the shadows’. --Herodotes, the Histories”.

“The Persian Empire ruled the Eastern world and had already occupied several Hellenic islands and Greek city states in Asia Minor; the next goal was to put foot on European ground. The states on the mainland acknowledged that halting the mass invasion was a matter of survival and buried their differences. The Hellenic allies send troops to Thermopylae to fight an impossible battle. King Leonidas and his Spartans, very aware of their suicide mission, had one goal: to uphold the Persians and their allies as long as possible in order for the Hellenic cities to organise a defence. The Spartans send their allies home to prepare for more important battles to come. Only the Thespians, lead by Demophilus, remained at their site. When a Persian negotiator came to point out the impossible situation Leonidas’ men were in and that they should turn over their weapons, the Spartans replied in their typical laconic way: “Molon Lave” (“come and get them”). Awaiting the battle the Spartans practised athletics, prepared their weapons, paid attention to personal hygiene; symbolic actions displaying their fearless attitude and acceptance of fate. For days the Persian Hordes were thrown back and the impossible was achieved by using the notorious Spartan Falanx technique, a good strategic position on the narrow mountain pass and above all their willpower. Thousands of enemies fell by their hand as in many an epic tale, only this time it was no fiction but one of these rare occasions when people grow larger than life by own willpower. Xerxes witnessed the battle seated on a throne from a safe distance, king Leonidas fought in the front ranks fulfilling the Pythia’s prophecy: “Either your glorious town shall be sacked by the children of Perseus, Or, in exchange, must all through the whole Laconian country Mourn for the loss of a king”. In return for a financial reward a Greek local showed the Persian troops a pass to attack the remaining Spartans and Thespians in the back. When the last Spartan finally fell under Persian arrows an enraged Xerxes ordered to behead King Leonidas’ corpse. However, the sacrifice of Laconia was not in vain: the Hellenic allies had won precious time; the Persian invasion army finally was defeated during a Naval Battle at a later stage. The Greek fleet consisted mostly of the Athenian Navy but was symbolically placed under the command of a Spartan. Unlike Athens or Corinth, whose beautiful ancient art, temples and culture still inspire millions of modern tourists, Sparta has nothing of the kind to offer to remember their glory…But their splendour was contained within their Lion Hearts. Shortly after the battle a simple remembrance stone was erected at Thermopylae were the men of Laconia took their last stand, bearing the inscription: Go, tell the Spartans, stranger passing by, That here, obedient to their laws, we lie.”


Sons of Laconia, under Lycurgian Law
300 noblemen, ancient world in Awe
Facing Xerxes Might, no hope for Victory
Still Persian blood coloured the Aegian Sea

Go, tell the Spartans, stranger passing by,
That here, obedient to their laws, we lie.

Lacedaemon’s mothers gave birth to men,
Withstanding thousands again and again
None will behold the Eurotas valley no More
This sacrifice needed to silence Persia’s Roar

No matter how fierce the Spirit or Mind
blades striking, The Kings’ heart declined
Round he spun, and down he fell
No scream, no word, no cowardice yell

Symbolic Sacrifice, All for the Hellenic Land
Spartan codes of honour an inspiring guiding Hand

No Spartiate soul left alive to tell
How bravely they fought, by treason they fell
Not a stone on their turf, nor a bone in their graves
They live on in history that immortally saves

Go, tell the Spartans, stranger passing by,
That here, obedient to their laws, we lie.

“In search for the historical Jesus one will encounter different alternative theories. A philosopher or prophet, as there were many before and after him, declared God by Christian leaders who considered martyrdom, miracles and fear useful tools to control the masses. When early religious leaders discussed which gospels to include in the Holy Books, they did not hesitate to adjust or leave out dogma’s in order to push their own views. Those visions often were not favourable towards women, as is often seen in male supremacist religions from the Middle East. Some sources imply that the Jesus figure is a combination of different prophetic tales dating back to the early days of mankind projected on one person and adopted by Christianity. Other sources suggest that Jesus did not even exist as his name did not appear in Roman registers. No sign of a Jesus of Nazareth entering the city on Palm Sunday. Yet it is quite strange that such a mass manifestation would go by unnoticed by the Roman rulers who had to report everything unusual to Rome…Amusing is the fact that Prophet Mohammed demanded his wives to wear veils in public according to elite Arabic fashion of that time (and most likely, also selfish reasons were involved). Today it is a whole religious issue leading to conflicts. If Mohammed had decided to share the beauty of his women with the outside world things would have been totally different. Bizarre actually, how a personal decision, made centuries ago, is followed by millions. One can wonder how close organised religion still is to their original intention. Christmas, regarded as the most popular feast of Christianity is actually rooted in Heathendom: the tree, the gifts, the lights, actually all based on the celebration of Pagan Midwinter. The somewhat provocative, demystifying title of the song is intended to put a more human light on the Christ figure; from a realistic point of view, and if the man existed, he more likely was a Galilean with strong moral views instead of the son of God that church leaders made of him, adding more miracles on his account as time passed by…Same goes for Mohammed and all self declared prophets on a mission. Beware of Gods messengers and their Enslaving Pen…”


A Saviour that failed to Save, Preaching lack of Will
A Cave for a grave, midst convicts on Golgotha’s Hill
The coming of a Messenger, Promises of a Holy Land
Dating back to Pagan Days, another Son Heaven Send

Crucified Nazarene Thou did not bring the Light
Poisoned Mohammed where is your Garden of Delight?
Prophets of Christians and Musulmen, prophets of Hebrews
Turn Man into Lamb, an Obeying flock to Use
Crucified Nazarene Thou did not bring the Light
Poisoned Mohammed where is your Garden of Delight?
Holy Books cleverly written but by the hand of Men
Beware of Gods’ Messengers and their Enslaving Pen

Guiding Lines indeed required or else civilization fails
Yet Pilate the one condemned in Mythical religious Tales
The worlds most known Legends, but no historical Facts
Devoted mass Hysteria, although still Evidence Lacks

Each character in the Books of Faith an own epic part to Play
But without Judas no Martyr Jesus and did Mohammed not Slay?
Hail to the Lions, Hail to the Romans, representing Reality
Jehovah’s or Allah’s’ chosen Ones do not appeal to me


The Rubicon is the ancient Latin name for a river in northern Italy. According to Roman Law it forbade any general from crossing it with a standing army. The law thus protected the republic from internal military threat. When Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon in 49 BC, supposedly on january 10 of the Roman calendar, in pursuit of Pompeus Magnus he broke that law and made armed conflict inevitable. Breaking the roman Law was considered treason and death penalty awaited traitors. According to Suetonius he spoke the famous phrase “Alea iacta est” ("the die is cast"). With only the 13th Legion at his side it was a risky enterprise. The Roman writer Suetonius described how Caesar was apparently still undecided as he approached the river, and the author gave credit for the actual moment of crossing to a supernatural apparition. The phrase "crossing the Rubicon" has survived to refer to any person committing himself irrevocably to a risky course of action, another way of saying crossing the point of no return. Everyone should be able to cross his own Rubicon. As Vergilius stated: “Audentis Fortuna Luvat” (Fortune favors the brave).


Sie das Morgenrot im Osten!
Die Welt ist ein Feuer!
Sie das Morgenrot im Osten!
Befreit Ihre Seele

(Behold the Red Dawn in the East!
The World is a Fire!
Behold the Red Dawn in the East!
Liberate Thy Soul)

If Caesar crossed the Rubicon, so can Thee
Rise like a Phoenix, conquer Land and Sea
By will, Alexander Emperor before thirty three
Set Thy Goals, Let thy Fierce Spirit float Free

History written by Wolves, not written not by Sheep
No glory in hiding, no splendour in Sleep
Victory or Valhalla might be Thy Fate
It does matter not, Willpower one should rate
History written by Wolves, not written by Sheep
No glory in hiding, no splendour in Sleep
Rise and Fall, But Above All Rise Again
Abolish past Pains, Thrown down Thy Chain

Let Each of Thee amid the Fires
Search thy own Willpower and Desires
Dwell this Earth like a Wolf with Hunger
Strengthen Thy Inner Self and Wander

Follow a Path that made Pilate’s Laurel
Learn of a Wolf packs much feared Howl
Might is Right when Legions gather Here
Cast out Weakness, cast out Fear

It was New Years Eve in Ypres. After midnight I decided to take a walk and abandoned the party I attended. I passed the impressive Flanders Fields museum which is dedicated to the trench war of 1914-1918. Without thinking I was heading for the “Meense Poort” monument were every night one can hear the Last Post in honour to the fallen. The region had to suffer a great deal from this war which left its marks. I was reading some of the names of the fallen engraved on the monument, walked to nearby tombstones and sat down on a quiet place near the trees. My mind travelled to the unknown soldiers of all sides, their misery, their fate. On a far away distance I heard fire works and the noise of celebrating people. Big contrast to the place I found myself at. The sounds seemed to fade. Influenced by the environment and mood I saw, in my mind, a soldier in a torn uniform standing at the edge of the park, under the leafless trees. The appearance was symbolizing all those men deprived from a decent grave, whose last years on earth had offered no beauty. The “ghost” did not speak a word. Nor did I find the right thing to say to a lost soul, who after all, was only visualized in my mind. What was there to say? Only mad people talk to someone who cannot be seen, who isn’t actually there. I guess my mind wanted to put a face to the ones without a name. The soldier offered a cigarette, a quiet reaching out. A last cigarette was custom amongst soldiers when they prepared to crawl out of their trenches and attack the enemy’s lines by the sign of the whistle, their only comfort while heading for their inevitable doom. The imaginary “presence” did not make me feel uncomfortable; it was a serene atmosphere. When reading the soldiers’ diaries in their own language, one understands both sides lived the same misery and fear. The lyrics to this song were born in my head that night, a rather poor attempt to honour the forgotten ones whose dreams, hopes and bodies were buried in the mud of West Flanders. The gloomy, desolate yet beautiful landscape of the “Westhoek” is quite unaltered since the days of the Great War: as if the presence of the thousands who died can still be felt. Here’s to all of you men, no matter where you came from. On Flanders Fields the red poppies still grow, no stone on your turf, no coffin to shelter your bones but nature provides a bouquet on your unmarked graves…


On this site of reflection, you came to me as a ghost
Near this monument of the Fallen, where one hears the sad Last Post

Celebration in the City of Ypres, again a New Year was born
Not on this place of eternal silence, where quietly souls mourn
For time did not matter on this site, of the graveless dead
Near the leafless trees, we somehow met

On this site of reflection, you came to me as a ghost
Near this monument to the Fallen, where one hears the sad Last Post

Born in different times, We never knew each other,
Born in different times, we never even met
But on this night when the world celebrates, believe me:
But on this night when the world celebrates, I regret your dead

On this site of reflection, you came to me as a ghost
Near this monument to the Fallen, where one hears the sad Last Post
Thousands of names engraved, Poor souls Fate did not spare
The Night was cold, The wind unkind, Still wondering what brought me there

Born in different times, we never even met
but on this night when the world celebrates believe me: I regret your dead

Tragic appearance, your uniform torn, your skin full of dirt
We did not speak, nor laugh or cry, did not utter a single Word

We kept an honourable distance, borders of time cannot be crossed
As there is between the living, who hold on to live at any cost
And the dead, whose lives and dreams along with their bodies lost
Here you appear, probably a trick of the mind that I might have lost

Arminius was the Latin name of a son of Segimer, leader of the Teutonic Cherusci tribe. He served in the Roman Legions and obtained the rank of knight after participating in campaigns in Thracia, Macedonia, Armenia, and Pannonia . When returning home he found his folk oppressed by the Roman governer of Germania, Quintilius Varus. His experience in the Roman army gave him valuable insight into the art of war and policy as practiced by the Romans. In 9 AD, during the reign of Augustus, a battle took place at the Teutoburger Forest that literally changed the course of Roman and European history. A Roman army of approximately 16,500 men where attacked by 3 German tribes. By the time the battle was over, governor Varus had committed suicide on the battlefield and 3 Roman legions, along with 3 cavalry units and possibly ten thousand camp followers were utterly decimated. When the news reached Rome, the shock to the emperor and the Roman people was profound and long lasting. Emperor Augustus advised the future emperor Tiberius to not cross the Rhine.

From Suetonius, "The Divine Augustus" 1:23: ”Upon receiving intelligence of this disaster, he gave orders for keeping a strict watch over the city, to prevent any public disturbance, and prolonged the appointments of the prefects in the provinces, that the allies might be kept in order by experience of persons to whom they were used. In short, we are informed that he was in such consternation at this event, that he let the hair of his head and beard grow for several months, and sometimes knocked his head against the door-post, crying out, O, Quintilius Varus! give me back my legions! And ever after he observed the anniversary of this calamity, as a day of sorrow and mourning”… “Arminius whose real Germanic name is uncertain (Erminameraz is suggested a possibility), is referred to today as Hermann, symbol of Germania’s freedom. Modern Historians think the actual battle did not take place at the Teutoburg Forest but still the name Teutoburg Wald is forever connected to this event in history, also known as the”Varus disaster”.


Chill the air, although only September
Silent the Woods as in a deep Slumber
Here in Germania, Slain by Cheruscan Hand
The Glory of Rome has come to an End

Gaul on its knees, under Jupiters Reign
This side of the Rhine, still Wodan’s Domain
For Noble Arminius is Germanic Again
Rome’s Mighty Eagle received with Disdain

Altars Erected where Three Legions stood
None escaped oblivion, silent the Teutoburg Wood
Scattered bodies All Over, Captured Standards as a Sign
Heads nailed to the trees, symbol of Decline


Midst the Battle the governor fell
Fell by his very own Hand
Romans took their last desperate Stand

“Future Emperor Tiberius, Do not cross the Rhine
On this natural border Rome should draw its Line”
Symbol of preservation, of Germania’s Freedom
Saved the untamed land of the Northern Heathen

Emperor Augustus by this loss driven to despair:
“Give me back my Legions! Oh Varus, I do Declare!”

“If one dares to stand out from the masses or speak his mind against the moral majority inevitably animosity will cross one’s path. When a person continues to walk his own path, regardless outside pressure, venom systematically will be served in larger doses and one’s downfall becomes the goal. When a certain level of personal success is achieved, no matter how modest that success might be, Serpents will gather, feed on you and if that is not possible, try to destroy you. It should matter not. Continue your travel. It is far more healthy and productive to focus on creative matters that lift a person to a higher level. Don’t offer the other cheek but do not waste precious time. No splendour in hiding and no glory in obsessive hate for it might obstruct higher personal achievements.”

INVICTUS (William Ernest Henley 1849-1903)

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

Invictus! Invictus!
I have not winced nor cried aloud
My head is bloody, but unbowed
I am the master of my fate
I am the captain of my soul

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

It matters not how strait the gate,
I am the master of my fate

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the Shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

Zowel toen als daarvoor, hoorde of zag men geen ridder, die zo heldhaftig ten strijde trok, als de hertog” is the modern Dutch/Flemish translation of the (whispered) lyrics at the end of the song. These lines were written in 1288 by Jan Heelu, praising Duke Jan van Brabants’ valiant behaviour at the battle of Woeringen of that same year. Historians claim that the Duke actually spoke the quoted words which are translated to English in this lyric, before engaging into battle. Duke Jan van Brabant lived up to what most people have in mind of chivalry. Not only personally confronting and taking out foes at the front line but also appreciating song and dance, writing poems and loving…beer. To this day there are beers in Holland and Belgium who bear his name, even a merry folk tune still is sung to his name. I always honoured this historical figure by raising a glass (or two), now I felt the time was right to pay tribute through a song.”


Bravery displayed by each side
None seeked shelter, none did hide
Their Faces directed towards foe
Causing wounds with every Blow

Neither Then or Before
Was heard of such a Man
The Duke of Brabant brave in War
Chivalry still treasured then

Een Standaard van Goud en Zwart
Schitterend in de Namiddagzon
Men streed met Leeuwenhart
Bij Woeringen waar de Hertog won

A Banner of Black and Gold
Rising above the Battlefield
For Friend and Foe to Behold
At Woeringen their fate was sealed

“All of Thee stay at my Side,
don’t withdraw, cover my Flanks
Frontal Assaults I will Fight
But Kill me if I break our ranks”
Noch doen, noch eer en wert vernomen
Riddere en geen, noch oec gesien,

Soe condichlike ten wige wert tien,
Alse die Hertoge, alse die Hertoge.

“Listener and reader, I do hope you have enjoyed this musical/lyrical journey through time. To some this work might be an inspiration, be it historical or philosophical. Strength on your travel through life, respect and “live” the historical places you might visit. May the deeds of your ancestors, who set an example and who made what you are, be a guiding line…Who knows we meet one day in the shadow of a Frankish fortress, under Hippocrates tree, midst the in water sunken graves of a forgotten polis in Asia Minor, at an ancient Germanic place of Worship in a snow covered forest, on horseback in Southern mountains or being part of the same camel caravan. At least in mind I will have returned. Travel in Mind and Soul, even through time. Wealth of a richer kind will be your share. For Without history there is no future. Members of the Ist cohort of the XVIIIth Legion, we greet you. 1 (A) 18 (R) in our hearts!

Gunther, Flanders, January 2006”