My God, armies slaughtered one another across the plains of Europe, popes hurled anathemas, emperors met, hemophiliac and incestuous, in the hunting lodge of the Palatine gardens, all to supply a cover, a sumptuous facade for the work of these wireless operators who in the House of Solomon were listening for pale echoes from the Umbilicus Mundi.

Umberto Eco, Foucault’s Pendulum