Even today, nearly 300 years after its foundation in the modern era, there are three crucial questions about Freemasonry: What is the historical origin? What kind of institution is it? What are its aims? Fabio Venzi aims to answer these questions with careful and rigorous analysis of historical documents and Masonic evidence. From the point of view of the origins, he examines many documents, particularly those of British origin, and from these it appears that the foundation of modern Speculative Masonry was drawn from multiple sources, the most fundamental of which was Neo-Platonism with all its philosophical currents. Freemasonry, however, in itself stands as a continuation of the esoteric initiatory Tradition of the West. In this sense, then, the author says that Freemasonry is a Traditional association, whose nature is esoteric initiation. The book contains analysis of the symbols and rituals that follow various esoteric currents, including, in particular, Hermeticism, Kabbalah, Alchemy and the Rosicrucians; symbolic allusions and also refers to the Mysteries of Ancient Greece. The main aims and founding of Freemasonry, then, are those specific to each esoteric initiatory association which aims for the improvement of knowledge, both ethical and metaphysical. This ground breaking work by Fabio Venzi, is invaluable for its wealth of historical and analytical content; it allows the reader to understand what modern Masonry truly is and what its goals are in the current era.