"As you can see, my dear," Teabing
said, hobbling toward a bookshelf, "Leonardo is not the only
one who has been trying to tell the world the truth about the Holy
Grail. The royal bloodline of Jesus Christ has been chronicled in
exhaustive detail by scores of historians." He ran a finger
down a row of several dozen books.
Sophie tilted her head and scanned the list of titles:
THE TEMPLAR REVELATION: Secret Guardians of the True Identity of
THE WOMAN WITH THE ALABASTER JAR: Mary Magdalene
and the Holy Grail
THE GODDESS IN THE GOSPELS: Reclaiming the Sacred
(Chapter 60, p. 253)
This is one
of the many places where Dan Brown claims that 'historians' support
the things his characters are claiming. This is the only one, however,
where he details who these 'historians' actually are. Unfortunately,
none of the books cited here are works of historical analysis and
none of the authors mentioned are professional historians; they
are all amateurs with no academic credibility at all. After all
of Langdon and Teabing's repeated assurances about 'historians',
'scholars', 'academics' and 'experts' who, apparently, all agree
with their assertions about Jesus, Mary, Constantine, the gospels,
the 'Holy Grail' and this supposed 'Bloodline', it is interesting
that the books Teabing then uses to bolster these claims are not
by 'experts' at all.
Revelation, for example, is by Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince.
Lynn Picknett describes herself as a 'researcher into the paranormal,
the occult and historical and religious mysteries'. She got her
start as a writer for magazines such as The Unexplained and
has worked with Clive Prince on several books, including The
Stargate Conspiracy: The Truth about Extraterrestrial life and the
Mysteries of Ancient Egypt, which argues that the ancient Egyptian
gods were extraterrestrials who will soon return to Earth. Neither
she nor Prince has any relevant academic qualifications and their
books are generally regarded as works by a pair of New Age eccentrics.
Their other claim to fame is that they appear as extras in the 2006
film of The Da Vinci Code, sitting on a London bus near Langdon
is another amateur who, after reading Holy Blood Holy Grail,
left the Catholic Church and set out to establish her own spirituality
based on her firm belief that Mary Magdalene and Jesus were married
and established a 'bloodline' in southern Gaul. She has no qualifications
in history and her works are regarded as little more than fringe
New Age-Christian speculation by actual historians, but they have
been received with great enthusiasm by some spiritual feminists
and those on the mystical left wing edges of Christianity, particularly
by the movement for the ordination of women. She is the author of
The Woman with the Alabaster Jar, where she conflates several
Biblical figures with Mary Magdalene, invents a royal heritage for
her and then connects her with much later medieval legends about
her, which 'Starbird' takes entirely at face value as factual and
historical. She takes these themes much further in The Goddess
and the Gospels: Reclaiming the Sacred Feminine; both books
forming a major part of Brown's ideas about Magdalene and the role
of women in the early Church.
The fact that
these books are presented by Brown, via Teabing, as the work of
'experts' and 'historians' is an indication of exactly how unscholarly
and non-academic his sources of 'information' are. Conspicuously
absent from this list are any works by actual historians
or anyone with any standing in the academic world.
"Here is perhaps the best-known tome,"
Teabing said, pulling a tattered hardcover from the stack and handing
it to her. The cover read:
HOLY BLOOD, HOLY GRAIL
The Acclaimed International Bestseller
Sophie glanced up. "An international bestseller?
I've never heard of it."
"You were young. This caused quite a stir back in the nineteen
eighties. To my taste, the authors made some dubious leaps of faith
in their analysis, but their fundamental premise is sound, and to
their credit, they finally brought the idea of Christ's bloodline
into the mainstream."
(Chapter 60, pp. 253-254)
Holy Grail, of course, was the 1982 book by Michael Baigent
and Henry Lincoln and Richard Leigh which was solely responsible
for bringing the fake 'Priory of Sion' to the attention of the English-speaking
public and reviving interest in Pierre Plantard's already debunked
It is interesting
that Brown has Teabing comment that 'the authors made some dubious
leaps of faith in their analysis', since Holy Blood actually
forms the main basis for the entire Jesus/Mary/'Bloodline' theory
which forms the background 'history' of The Da Vinci Code,
as well as being Brown's sole source for his ideas about Constantine,
the Council of Nicea and the Templars.
of Holy Blood was so extensive and so blatant that the two
of its authors took his publishers to court in early 2006 in a plagiarism
case that attracted international headlines. They argued that Brown
had lifted the entire 'intellectual architecture' of their book
and used it as the main framework for his novel. They lost the case,
since the judge ruled that a fiction author cannot be said to have
plagarised a work which claimed to be non-fiction, but even he acknowledged
what anyone who has read both books would realise: Brown based the
bulk of his 'research' on Holy Blood.
Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln are not historians, art experts or any
kind of experts at all. Baigent has a degree in psychology, Lincoln
is a former actor and scriptwriter for the science fiction TV series
Dr Who and Leigh is a former fiction author.
Covers Up the 'Bloodline'
"What was the Church's reaction to the book?"
"Outrage, of course. But that was to be
expected. After all, this was a secret the Vatican had tried to
bury in the fourth century. That's part of what the Crusades were
about. Gathering and destroying information. The threat Mary Magdalene
posed to the men of the early Church was potentially ruinous. Not
only was she the woman to whom Jesus had assigned the task of founding
the Church, but she also had physical proof that the Church's newly
proclaimed deity had spawned a mortal bloodline. The Church, in
order to defend itself against the Magdalene's power, perpetuated
her image as a whore and buried evidence of Christ's marriage to
her, thereby defusing any potential claims that Christ had a surviving
bloodline and was a mortal prophet."
Sophie glanced at Langdon, who nodded. "Sophie, the historical
evidence supporting this is substantial."
(Chapter 60, p. 254)
of the various churches to Holy Blood Holy Grail was actually
a combination of outrage, derision and exasperation. This was not
because the book had somehow uncovered a centuries-old attempt at
suppression of information, but because its scholarship was so shoddy,
its leaps of logic so wild and its piling up of conjecture and supposition
so ridiculous that it was amazing that anyone could take it seriously.
Despite this, many people did and (predictably) several church leaders
spoke out against it. Since the book was only a brief bestseller
in the English-speaking world, however, most of those churchmen
were from the Anglican Church in Britain. The Catholic Church there
also dismissed the book but the Vatican itself did not even bother
The idea that
the Crusades were partly about 'gathering and destroying information'
about this supposed 'Bloodline' is pure fantasy and there is no
evidence of any such activity during those campaigns. As for Langdon's
solemn assurance that the historical evidence to support the rest
of what Teabing claims here 'is substantial' this is yet another
instance where Brown has his characters make this assertion without
actually saying what this 'substantial' historical evidence might
be. This is because it simply does not exist.
Goes to France
"The point here," Langdon said, motioning
back to the bookshelf, "is that all of these books substantiate
the same historical claim."
"That Jesus was a father." Sophie was still uncertain.
"Yes," Teabing said. "And that Mary Magdalene was
the womb that carried His royal lineage. The Priory of Sion, to
this day, still worships Mary Magdalene as the Goddess, the Holy
Grail, the Rose, and the Divine Mother."
Sophie again flashed on the ritual in the basement.
"According to the Priory," Teabing continued, "Mary
Magdalene was pregnant at the time of the crucifixion. For the safety
of Christ's unborn child, she had no choice but to flee the Holy
Land. With the help of Jesus' trusted uncle, Joseph of Arimathea,
Mary Magdalene secretly traveled to France, then known as Gaul.
There she found safe refuge in the Jewish community. It was here
in France that she gave birth to a daughter. Her name was Sarah."
Sophie glanced up. "They actually know the
"Far more than that. Magdalene's and Sarah's lives were scrutinously
chronicled by their Jewish protectors. Remember that Magdalene's
child belonged to the lineage of Jewish kings - David and Solomon.
For this reason, the Jews in France considered Magdalene sacred
royalty and revered her as the progenitor of the royal line of kings.
Countless scholars of that era chronicled Mary Magdalene's days
in France, including the birth of Sarah and the subsequent family
(Chapter 60, p. 255)
This is another
cluster of claims by Brown, via Teabing, which have no basis in
any historical evidence. Just as there is no real evidence Jesus
married anyone, let alone Mary Magdalene, there is similarly no
evidence that Mary was pregnant at his execution or that she had
a child. The 'Priory of Sion' never actually existed and even the
fake one created by Pierre Plantard never made any claims about
Jesus, Mary, a child or any 'holy bloodline'. This is a fantasy
that Brown seems to have got from 'Margaret Starbird' and is supported
by no evidence at all.
about Mary Magdalene fleeing to Gaul comes from (yet again) Holy
Blood Holy Grail, which put forward this 'possibility' as part
of the many piled up 'maybes', 'perhapses' and 'hypotheses' which
make up its insubstantial theory. Their 'maybes' were filled out
by 'Margaret Starbird' in The Woman with the Alabaster Jar,
who built up a much more detailed story of Mary, her journey to
Gaul and her 'daughter', Sarah.
So where did
the Holy Blood authors and 'Starbird' get their idea that
Magdalene fled to France with a child? The earliest traditions do
not mention Gaul/France at all, they state that she died and was
buried in Ephesus in Asia Minor (now Turkey) and her remains were
taken to Constantinople by the Byzantine Emperor Leo in 886 AD.
This is still the tradition believed by the Greek Orthodox Church.
The French legends
about Mary Magdalene came much later. As Christianity took root
in western and northern Europe between 500 and 1000 AD, European
medieval Christians began to develop stories and legends about Biblical
characters visiting their part of the world. These stories began
as folk-tales, since medieval European Christians seemed to feel
that at least some of the people in the Bible must have paid some
attention to their part of the world. So, in the first 500 years
of Christianity in Europe, many of these folk-tales arose and many
of them became accepted as historical fact.
'missing years' gap in the gospel accounts of Jesus' life between
12 and 30, some English medieval Christians circulated stories about
how a young Jesus actually visited England - then Roman Britain.
According to these medieval legends, Jesus was taken by his uncle,
the rich trader, Joseph of Arimathea, to Britain, where he visited
Glastonbury. These legends said Joseph later returned to Glastonbury,
died there, and was buried. By a roundabout way, these legends became
entangled with the stories of the 'Holy Grail' and Joseph and his
descendants became part of the evolving 'Grail' legends. That aside,
Joseph was venerated at Glastonbury, even though there is no evidence
the legends that said he went there (with Jesus) are anything other
than folk tales.
There is also
no evidence that he was Jesus' uncle. All the gospels say about
him is that he was a 'rich man' who provided a tomb for Jesus' body.
Many of these medieval legends also made marginal Biblical figures
like Joseph into relatives of each other. In some, for example,
Mary Magdalene was supposedly betrothed to the disciple John.
Other such Biblical
figures developed similar European legends. Saint James was supposed
to have traveled to Spain and died at Compostella, where his alleged
tomb is an object of Catholic pilgrimage to this day. The legends
about Mary Magdalene are even more varied and wide-ranging: she
is supposed to have traveled and preached in places as widely separated
as Egypt and Northumbria. But the place where most later medieval
legends about her became strongest was southern France.
and contradictory) stories evolved into legends slowly however and
there is no indication that they are based on any historical reality.
Medieval Tales of Mary Magdalene
The first French
medieval story of Magdalene in France dates to the Eleventh Century,
but it clearly circulated in folk-tale form before then. Sometime
in the early Eleventh Century a medieval French monk wrote the Apostolic
Life of Mary Magdalene, which says simply that she traveled
to France (Gaul) and preached there. From there, various other legends
about Mary in France developed; all increasing in detail and the
number of characters.
By the Thirteenth
Century the legends had developed to the point where Mary was accompanied
by Martha of Bethany, Martha's brother Lazarus (who Jesus raised
from the dead) and/or one 'Maximinus' and 'many others'. She is
variously described as preaching or retiring to live as a hermit
in a cave 'clothed only in her hair'. Versions of these stories
were circulated in the immensely popular medieval book, the Legenda
Aurea, which recorded a large number of medieval religious folk-tales
and legends which detailed the 'lives' of various figures that the
Bible inconveniently left as mere mentions. It is hard to say how
literally these stories were taken even then, but they became part
of the quasi-religious folklore of medieval Europe.
One place where
Mary was the focus of a series of these developing medieval legends
was Vézelay, in Burgundy. This was one of a number of places
across the Mediterranean and Europe that claimed Mary Magdalene's
tomb. Exactly how a Galilean woman came to be buried in Burgundy
was a problem for the monks of Vézelay, who claimed her body
was buried somewhere under their monastery church. One Eleventh
Century account from the monastery was reduced to observing, somewhat
testily, that 'all is possible to God', implying that her body made
its way there miraculously. The same writer, however, (perhaps aware
that not everyone was convinced by vague appeals to the miraculous
transferal of bones) claimed he had seen a vision of Magdalene beside
her supposed tomb who assured him that is where she lay.
By the Thirteenth
Century these claims seem to have lost their pulling power for pilgrims
- a lucrative source of income for an abbey. Around this time, therefore,
the legend of Mary Magdalene of Vézelay suddenly became much
more detailed, with Jacobus de Voragine adding the claim that she
had originally been buried in Provence, but had been brought to
Vézelay by Gerard de Rousillon (who just happened to be the
semi-legendary Eighth Century founder of the abbey) to protect her
bones from Muslim raiders.
had a French rival for the claim to Mary Magdalene's bones. On September
9, 1279, at Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume in Provence the 'real'
tomb of Mary Magdelene was 'discovered'. The abbey of Vézelay
and Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume then began a competition to see
who could attract the most pilgrims to the 'genuine' tomb of Mary.
It is clear
to see that these medieval French legends about Magdalene were just
that - legends. It would be ridiculous to pretend that any of them
The figure that
is missing from all these varied, contradictory and evolving medieval
legends of Mary Magdalene is 'Sarah', who Teabing confidently asserts
was the child of Jesus and Magdalene. But this 'Sarah' does not
appear in any of the legends of Saint Mary Magdalene of Vézelay
or in any of the other various medieval legends of Magdalene. So
where did Brown get this idea that Jesus and Mary had a child called
The answer is,
yet again, from 'Margaret Starbird'.
or 'Sara' is still revered by the Roma (or 'Gypsy') people in an
annual pilgrimage and procession at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, in
the Camargue district of southern France. The town gets its name
from the church built there to 'Mary Salome', the mother of disciples
James and John, and 'Mary Jacobe', the mother of the disciple James
the Lesser. Medieval legend claims these two Marys came to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer
in a boat with no oars and settled there, founding its church. 'Sarah'
only appears in the story much later, in 1521, where she is said
to have been the Egyptian maidservant of the two women. The stories
about her vary, but she came to be venerated as a saint herself
by the Roma, though she was 'decanonised' by the Catholic Church
in the Twentieth Century because of insufficient early evidence
that she ever existed.
that she was Mary Magdalene's daughter purely on the basis that
one version of the Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer legends says that Magdalene
was also a passenger on the magical boat. None of the legends connect
'Sarah' to Magdalene in any way and 'Starbird' seems to be the only
person to have decided there was any such connection and that she
was Mary and Jesus' child.
her reasoning to researcher, Tony Robinson, in the British Channel
Four documentary The Real Da Vinci Code in 2004:
legend is that Mary Magdalene and her brother and sister and friends
showed up in this little boat with no oars. And they brought with
them the Holy Grail - the Blood Royal. Well, you don't carry the
Blood Royal around in a jar. It's actually a child that carries
the Blood Royal. And there is a legend then
there is a child
on the boat. That's the thing, I think, that struck me when I started
praying about this story: there was a child on the boat. Everyone
thinks the child has to be male, but in this case the child on the
boat was female and her name was Sarah.
'princess' in Hebrew and the legend calls her Sarah. So if there's
a little girl on the boat and her name is Sarah, which is Hebrew
for 'princess', well, who do you think she is?!
I just drew
I just made a 'deduction'. It was a deductive leap."
It was certainly
a leap, but not much deduction was involved (though apparently some
prayer was). The Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer legends focus on two other
Marys, not Magdalene, who only appears in one late version of the
story as a bit player. The legends say nothing about any of these
Marys bringing the 'Holy Grail' and 'Starbird's' idea that this
therefore means the 'Blood Royal' is based on her own, rather fanciful
interpretation of Holy Blood Holy Grail. 'Sarah' does mean
'princess' in Hebrew, but the legends make it clear she was a servant,
not a princess. And 'Starbird's' prayerful 'deductive leap' that
this name is significant is based on her own fantasy that Magdalene
had royal blood, which seems to be another 'deductive leap' that
she has made, perhaps aided by more prayer.
can say about her rather muddled interpretations of these stories,
they are not historical and they are not even a reasonable hypothesis.
'Wishful thinking' would be one of the kinder ways to describe them.
This means that
all of Teabing's authoritative statements about Jesus and Mary and
their child Sarah are actually founded on nothing more than a confused
New Age fantasy cobbled together out of a number of conflicting
medieval legends and folk stories.
His bold assertion
that 'Magdalene's and Sarah's lives were scrutinously (sic) chronicled
by their Jewish protectors' is pure nonsense - there are no legends
about Magdalene having a child at all and the jumbled medieval legends
of the two are not connected and evolved 1000 years after the fact
anyway. Similarly, his statement that 'countless scholars of that
era chronicled Mary Magdalene's days in France, including the birth
of Sarah and the subsequent family tree' is also total fantasy.
'History is written by the Winners'
Teabing chuckled. "No more so than they
can confirm the authenticity of the Bible."
"Meaning that history is always written by the winners. When
two cultures clash, the loser is obliterated, and the winner writes
the history books - books which glorify their own cause and disparage
the conquered foe.
As Napoleon once said, 'What is history, but
a fable agreed upon?' "He smiled. "By its very nature,
history is always a one-sided account."
Sophie had never thought of it that way.
(Chapter 60, p. 258)
an excellent general, but it seems his grasp of how history is recorded
and analysed was as bad as Teabing's.
Or Dan Brown's
for that matter. Brown takes up this theme of 'history is written
by the winners' in the FAQ on his website:
SOME OF THE
HISTORY IN THIS NOVEL CONTRADICTS WHAT I LEARNED IN SCHOOL. WHAT
SHOULD I BELIEVE?
Since the beginning of recorded time, history has been written by
the "winners" (those societies and belief systems that
conquered and survived). Despite an obvious bias in this accounting
method, we still measure the "historical accuracy" of
a given concept by examining how well it concurs with our existing
historical record. Many historians now believe (as do I) that in
gauging the historical accuracy of a given concept, we should first
ask ourselves a far deeper question: How historically accurate is
(www.danbrown.com - Frequent
a very shallow, rather childish and totally misguided concept of
how history is studied. There is no doubt that historical sources
are often written by the 'winners', but to say that they are always
written by the victors is flatly wrong. Almost all of our information
about the Roman Empire's collapse and the Germanic invaders who
replaced it comes from the Romans themselves, for example, with
virtually nothing from the Germanics. In this case the Romans were
definitely the 'losers', they just happened to be the more literate
But the main
problem with this idea that 'history is written by the winners'
is that it assumes historians simply take their sources at face
value. This is completely ridiculous. No professional historian
simply reads a source, let alone an ancient source, and believes
it outright. The main skill involved in historical source analysis
lies in putting sources into context, examining their biases and
likely biases, looking at who wrote them, why, who they were written
for and what their objectives and intentions were. So even if history
was solely recorded by the winners (which it is not), their biases
are taken into sceptical account by historians as a matter of course.
This idea also
ignores the fact that historians use a wide range of sources to
get as many perspectives as possible. Many of these may be by 'the
winners', others are often by 'the losers' (who have their own biases).
Others are by neutral observers. Then there is archaeological data,
coins, inscriptions, diaries, letters, household accounts and a
host of other sources of information.
The idea that
history is unreliable and therefore just a matter of opinion, faith
or fancy may be appealing to some - because it means they can believe
whatever they like - but it is a cartoonish caricature of how history
is actually studied.
Greal documents' and the Book of Q
"The Sangreal documents simply tell the
other side of the Christ story.
In the end, which side of the story you believe becomes a matter
of faith and personal exploration, but at least the information
has survived. The Sangreal documents include tens of thousands of
pages of information. Eyewitness accounts of the Sangreal treasure
describe it as being carried in four enormous trunks. In those trunks
are reputed to be the Purist Documents - thousands of pages of unaltered,
pre-Constantine documents, written by the early followers of Jesus,
revering Him as a wholly human teacher and prophet.
(Chapter 60, p. 256)
documents' simply do not exist. Here Teabing is talking about documents
which are supposedly texts found by the Knights Templar under the
Temple in Jerusalem. Except there is no evidence they found any
'treasure' there, let alone that this supposed 'treasure' consisted
of 'Purist Documents'. Therefore the idea of these supposed 'documents'
which are supposedly part of this supposed 'treasure' consist of
texts written by 'the early followers of Jesus' is yet another supposition
based on several others, with none of them actually supported by
any evidence at all.
Also rumored to be part of the treasure is the
legendary "Q" Document - a manuscript that even the Vatican
admits they believe exists. Allegedly, it is a book of Jesus' teachings,
possibly written in His own hand."
"Writings by Christ Himself?"
"Of course," Teabing said. "Why wouldn't Jesus have
kept a chronicle of His ministry? Most people did in those days.
Another explosive document believed to be in the treasure is a manuscript
called The Magdalene Diaries - Mary Magdalene's personal account
of her relationship with Christ, His crucifixion, and her time in
(Chapter 60, p. 256)
Most of the
various documents Teabing claims are 'rumoured' to be in the Templars'
supposed cache of texts are fictional - the 'genealogy of Jesus'
and 'The Magdalene Diaries' for example. The 'Q Document', however,
is not a figment of Brown's imagination.
But it is also
not thought to be 'written in (Jesus') own hand' and nor is it something
the Church 'admits' exists. 'Q', as it is known, is not really a
document at all, but a hypothesis.
In the Nineteenth
Century, Biblical scholars compared the texts of the three 'Synoptic
Gospels' - Matthew, Mark and Luke - and found they contained a great
deal of text in common. It became clear that they were interrelated
in some way. Eventually a majority of scholars came to believe that
the reason so much of Mark is also found, almost word for word,
in Luke and Matthew is that these two gospels' writers actually
used the earlier Mark as their major source of information. Further
comparison of Matthew and Luke also found that they shared other
text in common with each other, but which was not found in Mark
or anywhere else. They hypothesised that, as well as using Mark
as a source; they both had access to another source which they drew
on extensively. These German scholars dubbed this lost, common source
'Quelle' (German for 'Source') or 'Q' for short.
Looking at the
hypothetical 'Q' material in Luke and Matthew, they determined that
it seemed to be a collection of sayings attributed to Jesus and
concluded that this now lost 'Q' must have been a very early Christian
writing. There is no evidence, however, that it was 'written in
(Jesus') own hand' and it is not something 'the Vatican' somehow
reluctantly 'admits' existed - a majority of Catholic Biblical scholars
agree with other experts that its existence is the best explanation
of this common material found in Matthew and Luke, but not in Mark.
Of course, no copy of 'Q' has yet been found, it remains a scholarly
hypothesis and some conservative scholars (mainly Protestant ones)
dispute the whole idea of 'Q'.
"Yes, but the brotherhood had another, more
important duty as well - to protect the bloodline itself. Christ's
lineage was in perpetual danger. The early Church feared that if
the lineage were permitted to grow, the secret of Jesus and Magdalene
would eventually surface and challenge the fundamental Catholic
doctrine - that of a divine Messiah who did not consort with women
or engage in sexual union." He paused. "Nonetheless, Christ's
line grew quietly under cover in France until making a bold move
in the fifth century, when it intermarried with French royal blood
and created a lineage known as the Merovingian bloodline."
This news surprised Sophie. Merovingian was a term learned by every
student in France. "The Merovingians founded Paris."
"Yes. That's one of the reasons the Grail
legend is so rich in France. Many of the Vatican's Grail quests
here were in fact stealth missions to erase members of the royal
bloodline. Have you heard of King Dagobert?"
Sophie vaguely recalled the name from a grisly tale in history class.
"Dagobert was a Merovingian king, wasn't he? Stabbed in the
eye while sleeping?"
"Exactly. Assassinated by the Vatican in collusion with Pepin
d'Heristal. Late seventh century. With Dagobert's murder, the Merovingian
bloodline was almost exterminated.
(Chapter 60, p.257)
Here Brown veers
back to the suppositions laid out in Holy Blood Holy Grail,
which claims that the confused legends of Mary in France are historical,
that 'Sarah' was her child and that her lineage became connected
to the Merovingian Frankish kings - the earliest French royal dynasty.
Brown wisely has Teabing skip around the 'evidence' for this rather
creaking tale which consists of little more than a bizarre wild
Baigent et al
based their idea that the Merovingian Dynasty was significant on
the fact it was the focus of Pierre Plantard's faked 'Priory' documents,
which they foolishly accepted as genuine. Their problem was how
to link the Fifth Century Merovingians to the stories of Mary Magdalene
in France, which they had decided were historical and which therefore
had to date to 500 years before. They 'solved' this problem by a
fleeting reference to a legend about the shadowy Fifth Century founder
of the Merovingian Dynasty, Merovech, related in the Seventh Century
in The Chronicle of Fredegar. According to this rather fanciful
story, Merovech's mother, conceived after encountering a sea monster
called a 'Quinotaur'. By a totally acrobatic leap of logic, Baigent
and his co-authors decided that this somehow meant that Merovech
was an offspring of Mary Magdalene's descendants, since she 'came
from the sea'.
It is probably
a good thing Brown did not include this rather ridiculous piece
of 'deduction' in Teabing's summary, since it would have stretched
the credulity of even the most gullible reader.
the rather ridiculous nature of the Magdalene-Merovingian 'link',
much of the rest of what Brown's characters say about the Merovingians
here is nonsense. Sophie must not have been paying attention in
class if she thought the Merovingians 'founded Paris', since Paris
had been the tribal centre of the Parisii tribe before the coming
of the Romans in 52 BC - a good 500 years before the Merovingian
Even more misleading
is Brown's lightning-fast sprint across the history of the later
Merovingian Dynasty. The murdered 'King Dagobert' Teabing mentions
seems to be a reference to Dagobert II, who reigned in the confused
and tumultuous final years of the Seventh Century. His reign was
brief, from 676-679 AD, and he seems to have left most of the governing
to his chief official, the 'Mayor of the Palace' Wulfoald, while
he devoted himself to founding monasteries and abbeys. He probably
should have paid more attention to the savage factional struggles
within his kingdom, because he was killed in a hunting 'accident'
in 679 AD which was probably actually an assassination by a rival
He was not 'stabbed
in the eye while sleeping' as Sophie erroneously 'remembers' from
her school days (perhaps she was sleeping - Merovingian politics
is horrendously complex and rather boring) and he died without issue.
'The Vatican' had absolutely nothing to do with his death, nor did
Pepin of Heristal, Mayor of the Palace of the Frankish sub-kingdom
Fortunately, Dagobert's son, Sigisbert, secretly
escaped the attack and carried on the lineage, which later included
Godefroi de Bouillon - founder of the Priory of Sion."
"The same man," Langdon said, "who
ordered the Knights Templar to recover the Sangreal from beneath
Solomon's Temple and thus provide the Merovingians proof of their
hereditary ties to Jesus Christ."
(Chapter 60, p. 258)
died without any children and this 'Sigisbert' seems to be purely
an invention of Pierre Plantard as part of his 'Priory of Sion'
hoax. Dagobert was actually succeeded by Theuderic III, the ruler
of the Frankish sub-kingdom of Neustria. Far from being 'almost
wiped out' the Merovingian Dynasty continued until 751, when Childeric
III, the fourteenth and last king of the dynasty, was deposed by
the then Mayor of the Palace, Pepin the Short, who set himself up
as the first king of a new dynasty, the Carolingians.
Since this 'Sigisbert'
was a total invention, the idea that Godefroi de Bouillon was his
descendant is pure fantasy. As is the idea that Godefroi founded
the 'Priory of Sion'. This whole breathless 'history' lesson is
a grab bag of errors, myths and modern fantasies and has absolutely
no credibility whatsoever.
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