APOCALYPSE, KNIGHTS OF THE, a secret society founded
in Italy in 1693 to defend the church against the expected
Antichrist. Agostino Gabrino, the son of a merchant of
Brescia, was its founder. On Palm Sunday 1693, when the
choir of St Peter’s was chanting Quis est iste Rex Gloriae?
Gabrino sword in hand, rushed to the altar crying Ego sum Rex
Gloriae. Though Gabrino was treated as a madman, the society
flourished, until a member denounced it to the Inquisition, who
arrested the knights. Though chiefly mechanics they always
carried swords even when at work, and wore on their breasts a
star with seven rays. Gabrino styled himself monarch of the
Holy Trinity. He was credited by his enemies with a desire
to introduce polygamy.
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