Eighth Pillar of Wisdom

Eighth Pillar Of Wisdom is an autobiographical novel on the life of Thomas Edward Lawrence, famously known as "Lawrence of Arabia", a former antiquarian and British army officer, renown for his role in facilitating the Arab Revolt movement against the Ottoman Empire in World War I. Initially adhering to an accurate chronology of events that transpired during the war, the novel deviates substantially from the historical record when describing events that occurred following the end of the revolt.

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Eighth Pillar of Wisdom

The Mythology of The King of Arabia


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Thomas Edward Lawrence

Eighth Pillar Of Wisdom is an autobiographical novel on the life of Thomas Edward Lawrence, famously known as "Lawrence of Arabia", a former antiquarian and British army officer, renown for his role in facilitating the Arab Revolt movement against the Ottoman Empire in World War I. The editor is only listed with the initials S.A1, and no other publication information is provided inside the book, through composition analysis dates the writing anywhere from 1922 to 1926.

Discovered in 1936 at St. Martin's Church in Wareham, England, the book was found next to a marble effigy of T.E Lawrence which had been sculpted after his death. Suspecting a break-in, church officials notified local authorities, who were unable to detect signs of forced entry into the church, prompting the dismissal of the case due to a lack of evidence.

The book remained in police evidence for several years until its later possession by Monarch Security, who subsequently shared information on the text to the Authority. No anomalous phenomena appears to be associated with the book, besides its spontaneous appearance, and its handwriting style matching the historical T.E Lawrence.

Initially adhering to an accurate chronology of events that transpired during the war, the novel deviates substantially from the historical record when describing events that occurred following the end of the revolt. Sections of the book containing these discrepancies have been categorized below.

Historical Discrepancies



October 1918


Event Description Historical Equivalent
T.E Lawrence is promoted to Brigadier General, and ordered to accompany the Sharifian Army2 on their push to capture Aleppo, Syria. T.E Lawrence departed the Middle East shortly after the establishment of the Arab National Council in Damascus, Syria, retaining the rank of Colonel.
Jabal Shammar3 defeats Nejd4, resulting in a series of border conflicts between the emirate and Hejaz. Jabal Shammar was historically defeated by Nejd, which went on to conquer Hejaz in 1924, forming Saudi Arabia.
Prince Ali is declared the new Sharif5 of Mecca6, and ruler over Arabia, after his father Hussein bin Ali dies from a heart attack. Prince Ali inherited the throne of Hejaz after his father's death several years after the Arab Revolt.
Emir Abd el-Kader el-Jezairi, and his Druze7 followers, flee into Jabal Shammar after attempting to overthrow the Arab National Council. The Druze were exiled from Damascus after an attempted uprising to install the emir as the new head of the government.

Text Excerpt


THE GREATER AND THE LESSER


Victory had bestowed a crown of thorns upon my head, sweltering underneath that desert sun; a sentence of agony that had been extended to the gates of Aleppo. I had achieved our victory in Damascus, before the Arab chieftains, and their new government, but this war refused to relinquish its grasp over my life.

The Arab Revolt was perhaps the most infamous deception among all deceptions throughout the Great War. The British had promised Sharif Hussein of Mecca support for an independent Arab state if he were to assist in military efforts against his overlord, the Ottoman Empire. Sharif Hussein, already at odds with Caliph8 Mehmed V's call for jihad against the Entente9, was willing to raise the flag of rebellion across the Hejaz.

I was sent to Sharif Hussein from my post at the Arab Bureau10, to assist in these efforts. Sharif Hussein bin Ali had four princes under his dynasty: Prince Ali; Prince Abdullah; Prince Faisal; and Prince Zeid; who were all responsible for our victory in this rebellion. I had been assigned primarily to assist Prince Faisal, the one I found to be the most capable of leading this movement.

However, there was never an intention on the part of Britain to bind itself to this promise. Mark Sykes and François Georges-Picot had struck a private agreement between Britain and France to divide up the Ottomans among themselves and the Russians, before the Bolshevik Revolution11 publicly revealed this plan. All the regions of the peninsula, from Syria to Yemen, would merely change masters from Ottoman Muslims to European Christians, a ghastly prospect for the Arab people, but not as offensive to them as handing Palestine over to the Zionists12.

I had not been aware of these prior deceits, and fully believed in my soul the righteousness of my work in liberating a people under subjugation for the last half-millennium. When the mountain of lies and falsehoods were known to me, my mind was split between two allegiances: the arbitrary crown of my homeland, and the obligation of righteousness to the Arab cause. I resolved to walk the line between these two polarities, by allowing the Arabs so great a victory over the Ottomans that the Allied Powers would be forced to concede, if not all, some of their territorial promises. This required endless mental suffering, as I could not tell my full intentions to either side, knowing the integrity of this adventure required that balance to be maintained, until at last, we had won.

At the moment, that seemed to be the case. I was to be free of the struggles and could sojourn onward to England, but much like this conflict, that notion seemed as much an illusion. I have undergone a metamorphosis in this desert: I walked over the rivers of blood, felt the lashes of capricious cruelty, and have enabled this lie of guaranteed freedom to flourish over the hopes and dreams of those Arabs yearning for their earthly Paradise. The man I was before is no longer the one who I am today.

As I prepared to depart with Prince Faisal to France for the Peace Conference, I contemplated the meaning of our victory. Arabia has been restored from the sands of time; this kingdom of the desert, ruled by a people emancipated from their conquerors. The Ottoman Empire now lies vanquished, driven from Arabia, by tribal warriors embarking to mark their legacy upon history. Truly, big things have small beginnings.


Text Excerpt


ABD EL-KADER'S REBELLION


In those early days of the revolt, I had freed the city of Aqaba13 on the Red Sea from Ottoman hands, granting Prince Faisal and the Sharifian Army their authority in the eyes of the British military command. Damascus, the capital of Syria, was the crown jewel of our mission, the successful capture of which our success rested upon. It was here where the Arab tribal chieftains were to form the provisional government, with permission from my superior officer, General Allenby. He was in control of Anglo-Egyptian forces, capturing Palestine during our war efforts, and who subsequently denied me my request for a leave of the war theatre.

The hour of our great triumph was marked with equally stunning developments from the rest of the Middle East. Jabal Shammar, whose raiders we had had to deal with during our expeditions toward Syria, had conquered their rival power Nejd, led by the strict Wahhabist14 Ibn Saud. Jabal Shammar's emir, Abdullah Mut'ib, was in the pocket of the Ottomans, and was now threatening to launch invasions from the interior of Central Arabia towards the coasts.

More menacingly, the Druze, followers of a mystical and heterodox school of Shia Islam, had attempted to join Emir Abd el-Kader, the grandson of the famous Algerian leader, in overthrowing the Arab government council. Damascus sustained more damage from this uprising than any previous fighting in the city with the Ottomans, and several chieftains were slain on its battlefield. The surviving Arab fighters managed to push the Druze soldiers and Abd el-Kader out of the city before my contingent of men could return to the capital.

We moved quickly to banish Abd el-Kader, and his Druze mercenaries, from residing in any territories under Arabia. I felt resolved to lead a cavalry charge to finish the traitors off, but more pressing matters came to light. News had come from Mecca that Sharif Hussein passed away, succumbing to a heart attack after being hospitalized for chest pain two days prior. We at once moved to declare Prince Ali the new head of our Arab government, and Prince Faisal the King of Syria.

Prince Abdullah was preparing to move his fighters towards the Transjordan15 region, in the event our British compatriots should intend to double-cross us, or the French should attempt a surprise invasion of Syria. Prince Zeid stationed his forces in Medina, a major Islamic religious city located in the interior of Hejaz, which had been recently conquered by him after the last Ottoman soldiers surrendered, facing a deficit of equipment and supplies from the blown-to-hell Hejaz railway16. Prince Ali remained in Mecca, organizing his father's military and civil command there.

We later received word Jabal Shammar offered Abd el-Kader asylum from our Arab military. This was a catastrophic development for many reasons, the primary danger being that Jabal Shammar was making no secret of their intentions to unite the peninsula under their empowered rule. The success of their conquest against Nejd has not only made Emir Mut'ib delusional, but a security threat to the Hejaz. War would be unavoidable at this rate, and the prospect of waging another desert campaign would surely drive me to insanity, more so than it has already.

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