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The Davidic and Merovingian Bloodlines
After detailed and lengthy research, the authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail (Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln) reached some fascinating conclusions about the Christian faith and Western history in particular. They do not maintain that these conclusions are 100% accurate, but the evidence that they marshal is compelling.
The concept of the Holy Grail being the bloodline of Jesus Christ is one of the basic themes of The Da Vinci Code. Belief in it negates the purpose of the present-day Christian hierarchy and it would be a matter of no surprise that efforts would be made to suppress proof of its existence at any cost. If accepted, it destroys the fabric of the Church itself, challenging not only its doctrines, but its legitimacy as the minister of Christ's church. Monarchies and governments, past and present, legitimized throughout history by representatives of the Christian denominations, would be rendered invalid.
Some of the Priory of Sion documents state that the Merovingian pedigree can be traced back to the Old Testament and ancient Troy. They are suspected of being from one Israelite tribe in particular - that which was headed by Benjamin. Their territory embraced what is now the area around Jerusalem before the city became the capital of David and Solomon.
However, the Benjamin tribe fell out with the other tribes of Israel who were then forbidden from giving their daughters to a Benjamite man in marriage, because of the Benjamites' support for the worshippers of the heathen god Belial. This god is often associated with the bull or calf, similar to the Golden Calf that the Benjamites are said in the Bible to have worshipped. The tribe recovered from this problem eventually and went on to supply Israel with its first King, Saul.
Despite their restored position, by this time it appears that many of the Benjamites had gone into exile, and some evidence shows that the place they chose to land was the central area of Greece: Arcadia. From there they progressed into present-day Germany and intermarried with the Teuton tribes. Eventually these became the Sicambrian Franks, from whom the Merovingians descended. As discussed in Chapter Two, before Godfroi de Bouillon left on the First Crusade, he was so confident that he would be asked to become King of Jerusalem that he rid himself of all his property. This confidence would have arisen through his knowledge that his Merovingian ancestry would place him in a better position than anyone else for the title.
The Benjamites would no doubt have asked their sea-faring allies, the Phoenicians, for help in achieving their exile. In The Greek Myths, Robert Graves writes about the myth Belus and the Danaids: "This myth records the early arrival in Greece of the Helladic colonists from Palestine by way of Rhodes, and their introduction of agriculture into the Peloponnese." The cult of the Mother Goddess Ishtar (known in Phoenicia as Astarte), which originated in Sumeria, became the established cult of the Arcadian, and thrived for centuries.
Other evidence points to the similarities of the Spartans to the Merovingians. They both believed that their long hair gave them their strength upon reaching manhood, a trait also attributed to the Biblical character Samson. Also, it states in Maccabees 1 that: "It has been found in writing concerning the Spartans and the Jews that they are brethren and are of the family of Abraham."
Trade routes throughout southern France and up the Rhone had been established by the Phoenicians. Semitic objects found in this area indicate the dynastic alliances that had arisen through the intermarrying of the Phoenician kings and those of Israel and Judah in the ninth century BC.
A Jewish colony was established in Rome between 106 and 48 BC and after the sack of Jerusalem in 70 AD, a large number of Jews escaped to both Italy and France. Additionally, there were many Jewish slaves who had accompanied their masters throughout Europe and who were eventually freed to form their own communities.
The first time that the Magdalene appears in the New Testament with any real significance is when she is described as being the first person to see Christ after the Resurrection - one reason why she is revered as a saint in France and other places where churches are dedicated to her. One of the most persistent stories about the Holy Grail is that it was brought by the Magdalene to France where, according to fourth century legend, she landed at Marseilles. This is the French port city on the Mediterranean where the river Rhone, an established Phoenician trade route, reaches the sea.
The original Grail romance was written by Chretien de Troyes. He was associated with the court of the count of Champagne and his story was called Le Roman de Perceval or Le Conte del Graal. The tale was written in about 1188, which was also the year, of course, that the Priory of Sion divided from the Order of the Temple, and the year that Jerusalem fell.
In Le Conte del Graal, the main character, Perceval, described as the "Son of the Widow Lady," leaves his mother in search of fame and fortune. He meets a mysterious fisherman, the "Fisher King," who invites him to stay in his castle for the night. During the course of the evening, the golden Grail appears, studded with gems, carried by a damsel. Perceval does not realize that he is supposed to ask the Grail a question and the question that he is supposed to ask is "Whom does the Grail serve?" In fairness, he can be excused for there was no way of knowing that this is what was expected of him. However, when he wakes up in the morning, as a result of his omission, which had clearly been taken very seriously, he discovers that the castle is deserted and the surrounding land has been destroyed. He also discovers that the "Fisher King" is his own uncle. At this point, it is hard to believe that anyone could blame him for feeling disillusioned with just about everything and Perceval says that he can no longer continue loving or believing in God.
Chretien died before the poem was completed. Some say that he died mysteriously in a fire that broke out in Troyes that year, 1188. During the next few years the idea of the Grail spread quickly throughout Europe and became most closely associated with the legend of King Arthur. Until this time, however, it had not been associated with Jesus.
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