The Da Vinci Code

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The Da Vinci Code
DaVinciCode.jpg
The first U.S. edition
Author Dan Brown
CountryUnited States
Series Robert Langdon #2
Genre Mystery, Detective fiction, Conspiracy fiction, Thriller
Publisher Doubleday (US)
Transworld & Bantam Books (UK)
Publication date
April 2003
Pages689 (U.S. hardback)
489 (U.S. paperback)
359 (UK hardback)
583 (UK paperback)
ISBN 0-385-50420-9 (US) / 978-0-55215971-5 (UK)
OCLC 50920659
813/.54 21
LC Class PS3552.R685434 D3 2003
Preceded by Angels & Demons  
Followed by The Lost Symbol  

The Da Vinci Code is a 2003 mystery thriller novel by Dan Brown. It is Brown's second novel to include the character Robert Langdon: the first was his 2000 novel Angels & Demons . The Da Vinci Code follows "symbologist" Robert Langdon and cryptologist Sophie Neveu after a murder in the Louvre Museum in Paris causes them to become involved in a battle between the Priory of Sion and Opus Dei over the possibility of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene having had a child together.

Contents

The novel explores an alternative religious history, whose central plot point is that the Merovingian kings of France were descended from the bloodline of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene, ideas derived from Clive Prince's The Templar Revelation (1997) and books by Margaret Starbird. The book also refers to The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail (1982) though Dan Brown has stated that it was not used as research material.

The Da Vinci Code provoked a popular interest in speculation concerning the Holy Grail legend and Mary Magdalene's role in the history of Christianity. The book has, however, been extensively denounced by many Christian denominations as an attack on the Catholic Church, and consistently criticized for its historical and scientific inaccuracies. The novel nonetheless became a massive worldwide bestseller [1] that sold 80 million copies as of 2009 [2] and has been translated into 44 languages. In November 2004, Random House published a Special Illustrated Edition with 160 illustrations. In 2006, a film adaptation was released by Columbia Pictures.

Plot

Louvre curator and Priory of Sion grand master Jacques Saunière is fatally shot one night at the museum by an albino Catholic monk named Silas, who is working on behalf of someone he knows only as the Teacher, who wishes to discover the location of the "keystone," an item crucial in the search for the Holy Grail.

After Saunière's body is discovered in the pose of the Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci, the police summon Harvard professor Robert Langdon, who is in town on business. Police captain Bezu Fache tells him that he was summoned to help the police decode the cryptic message Saunière left during the final minutes of his life. The message includes a Fibonacci sequence out of order.

Langdon explains to Fache that Saunière was a leading authority on the subject of goddess artwork and that the pentacle Saunière drew on his chest in his own blood represents an allusion to the goddess and not devil worship, as Fache believes.

Sophie Neveu, a police cryptographer, secretly explains to Langdon that she is Saunière's estranged granddaughter, and that Fache thinks Langdon is the murderer because the last line in her grandfather's message, which was meant for Neveu, said "P.S. Find Robert Langdon," which Fache had erased prior to Langdon's arrival. However, "P.S." does not refer to "postscript", but rather to Sophie the nickname given to her by her grandfather was "Princess Sophie". Neveu is troubled by memories of her grandfather's involvement in a secret pagan group. However, she understands that her grandfather intended Langdon to decipher the code, which leads them to a safe deposit box at the Paris branch of the Depository Bank of Zurich.

Replica cryptex: prize from Google Da Vinci Code Quest Contest Davincicryptex01wiki1.jpg
Replica cryptex: prize from Google Da Vinci Code Quest Contest

Neveu and Langdon escape from the police and visit the bank. In the safe deposit box they find a box containing the keystone: a cryptex, a cylindrical, hand-held vault with five concentric, rotating dials labeled with letters. When these are lined up correctly, they unlock the device. If the cryptex is forced open, an enclosed vial of vinegar breaks and dissolves the message inside the cryptex, which was written on papyrus. The box containing the cryptex contains clues to its password.

Langdon and Neveu take the keystone to the home of Langdon's friend, Sir Leigh Teabing, an expert on the Holy Grail, the legend of which is heavily connected to the Priory. There, Teabing explains that the Grail is not a cup, but a tomb containing the bones of Mary Magdalene.

The trio then flees the country on Teabing's private plane, on which they conclude that the proper combination of letters spell out Neveu's given name, Sofia. Opening the cryptex, they discover a smaller cryptex inside it, along with another riddle that ultimately leads the group to the tomb of Isaac Newton in Westminster Abbey.

During the flight to Britain, Neveu reveals the source of her estrangement from her grandfather ten years earlier. Arriving home unexpectedly from university, Neveu secretly witnesses a spring fertility rite conducted in the secret basement of her grandfather's country estate. From her hiding place, she is shocked to see her grandfather with a woman at the center of a ritual attended by men and women who are wearing masks and chanting praise to the goddess. She flees the house and breaks off all contact with Saunière. Langdon explains that what she witnessed was an ancient ceremony known as hieros gamos or "sacred marriage."

By the time they arrive at Westminster Abbey, Teabing is revealed to be the Teacher for whom Silas is working. Teabing wishes to use the Holy Grail, which he believes is a series of documents establishing that Jesus Christ married Mary Magdalene and bore children, in order to ruin the Vatican. He compels Langdon at gunpoint to solve the second cryptex's password, which Langdon realizes is "apple." Langdon secretly opens the cryptex and removes its contents before tossing the empty cryptex in the air.

Teabing is arrested by Fache, who by now realizes that Langdon is innocent. Bishop Aringarosa, head of religious sect Opus Dei and Silas' mentor, realizing that Silas has been used to murder innocent people, rushes to help the police find him. When the police find Silas hiding in an Opus Dei Center, he assumes that they are there to kill him and he rushes out, accidentally shooting Bishop Aringarosa. Bishop Aringarosa survives but is informed that Silas was found dead later from a gunshot wound.

The final message inside the second keystone leads Neveu and Langdon to Rosslyn Chapel, whose docent turns out to be Neveu's long-lost brother, whom Neveu had been told died as a child in the car accident that killed her parents. The guardian of Rosslyn Chapel, Marie Chauvel Saint Clair, is Neveu's long-lost grandmother. It is revealed that Neveu and her brother are descendants of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene. The Priory of Sion hid her identity to protect her from possible threats to her life.

The real meaning of the last message is that the Grail is buried beneath the small pyramid directly below the La Pyramide Inversée , the inverted glass pyramid of the Louvre. It also lies beneath the "Rose Line," an allusion to "Rosslyn." Langdon figures out this final piece to the puzzle; he follows the Rose Line to La Pyramide Inversée, where he kneels to pray before the hidden sarcophagus of Mary Magdalene, as the Templar knights did before him.

Characters

Reaction

Sales

The Da Vinci Code was a major success in 2003 and was outsold only by J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix . [3]

It sold 80 million copies worldwide. [4]

Historical inaccuracies

A woman protesting against The Da Vinci Code film outside a movie theater in Culver City, California. The TFP acronym in the banner stands for the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property. Davinciprotestor.JPG
A woman protesting against The Da Vinci Code film outside a movie theater in Culver City, California. The TFP acronym in the banner stands for the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property.

The book generated criticism when it was first published for inaccurate description of core aspects of Christianity and descriptions of European art, history, and architecture. The book has received mostly negative reviews from Catholic and other Christian communities.

Many critics took issue with the level of research Brown did when writing the story. The New York Times writer Laura Miller characterized the novel as "based on a notorious hoax", "rank nonsense", and "bogus", saying the book is heavily based on the fabrications of Pierre Plantard, who is asserted to have created the Priory of Sion in 1956.

Critics accuse Brown of distorting and fabricating history. For example, Marcia Ford wrote:

Regardless of whether you agree with Brown's conclusions, it's clear that his history is largely fanciful, which means he and his publisher have violated a long-held if unspoken agreement with the reader: Fiction that purports to present historical facts should be researched as carefully as a nonfiction book would be. [5]

Richard Abanes wrote:

The most flagrant aspect... is not that Dan Brown disagrees with Christianity but that he utterly warps it in order to disagree with it... to the point of completely rewriting a vast number of historical events. And making the matter worse has been Brown's willingness to pass off his distortions as 'facts' with which innumerable scholars and historians agree. [5]

The book opens with the claim by Dan Brown that "The Priory of Sion—a French secret society founded in 1099—is a real organization". This assertion is broadly disputed; the Priory of Sion is generally regarded as a hoax created in 1956 by Pierre Plantard. The author also claims that "all descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents… and secret rituals in this novel are accurate", but this claim is disputed by numerous academic scholars expert in numerous areas. [6]

Dan Brown himself addresses the idea of some of the more controversial aspects being fact on his web site, stating that the "FACT" page at the beginning of the novel mentions only "documents, rituals, organization, artwork and architecture", but not any of the ancient theories discussed by fictional characters, stating that "Interpreting those ideas is left to the reader". Brown also says, "It is my belief that some of the theories discussed by these characters may have merit" and "the secret behind The Da Vinci Code was too well documented and significant for me to dismiss." [7]

In 2003, while promoting the novel, Brown was asked in interviews what parts of the history in his novel actually happened. He replied "Absolutely all of it." [8] In a 2003 interview with CNN's Martin Savidge he was again asked how much of the historical background was true. He replied, "99% is true… the background is all true". [9]

Asked by Elizabeth Vargas in an ABC News special if the book would have been different if he had written it as non-fiction he replied, "I don't think it would have." [10]

In 2005, UK TV personality Tony Robinson edited and narrated a detailed rebuttal of the main arguments of Dan Brown and those of Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln, who authored the book Holy Blood, Holy Grail , in the program The Real Da Vinci Code, shown on British TV Channel 4. The program featured lengthy interviews with many of the main protagonists cited by Brown as "absolute fact" in The Da Vinci Code.

Arnaud de Sède, son of Gérard de Sède, stated categorically that his father and Plantard had made up the existence of the Prieuré de Sion, the cornerstone of the Jesus bloodline theory: "frankly, it was piffle", [11] noting that the concept of a descendant of Jesus was also an element of the 1999 Kevin Smith film Dogma .

The earliest appearance of this theory is due to the 13th-century Cistercian monk and chronicler Peter of Vaux de Cernay who reported that Cathars believed that the 'evil' and 'earthly' Jesus Christ had a relationship with Mary Magdalene, described as his concubine (and that the 'good Christ' was incorporeal and existed spiritually in the body of Paul). [12] The program The Real Da Vinci Code also cast doubt on the Rosslyn Chapel association with the Grail and on other related stories, such as the alleged landing of Mary Magdalene in France.

According to The Da Vinci Code, the Roman Emperor Constantine I suppressed Gnosticism because it portrayed Jesus as purely human. The novel's argument is as follows: [13] Constantine wanted Christianity to act as a unifying religion for the Roman Empire. He thought Christianity would appeal to pagans only if it featured a demigod similar to pagan heroes. According to the Gnostic Gospels, Jesus was merely a human prophet, not a demigod. Therefore, to change Jesus' image, Constantine destroyed the Gnostic Gospels and promoted the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, which portray Jesus as divine or semi-divine.

But Gnosticism did not portray Jesus as merely human. [14] All Gnostic writings depict Christ as purely divine, his human body being a mere illusion (see Docetism). [15] Gnostic sects saw Christ this way because they regarded matter as evil, and therefore believed that a divine spirit would never have taken on a material body. [14]

Literary criticism

The book received both positive and negative reviews from critics, and it has been the subject of negative appraisals concerning its portrayal of history. Its writing and historical accuracy were reviewed negatively by The New Yorker , [16] Salon.com, [17] and Maclean's. [18]

Janet Maslin of The New York Times said that one word "concisely conveys the kind of extreme enthusiasm with which this riddle-filled, code-breaking, exhilaratingly brainy thriller can be recommended. That word is wow. The author is Dan Brown (a name you will want to remember). In this gleefully erudite suspense novel, Mr. Brown takes the format he has been developing through three earlier novels and fine-tunes it to blockbuster perfection." [19]

David Lazarus of The San Francisco Chronicle said, "This story has so many twists—all satisfying, most unexpected—that it would be a sin to reveal too much of the plot in advance. Let's just say that if this novel doesn't get your pulse racing, you need to check your meds." [20]

While interviewing Umberto Eco in a 2008 issue of The Paris Review , Lila Azam Zanganeh characterized The Da Vinci Code as "a bizarre little offshoot" of Eco's novel, Foucault's Pendulum . In response, Eco remarked, "Dan Brown is a character from Foucault's Pendulum! I invented him. He shares my characters' fascinations—the world conspiracy of Rosicrucians, Masons, and Jesuits. The role of the Knights Templar. The hermetic secret. The principle that everything is connected. I suspect Dan Brown might not even exist." [21]

The book appeared at number 43 on a 2010 list of 101 best books ever written, which was derived from a survey of more than 15,000 Australian readers. [22]

Salman Rushdie said during a lecture, "Do not start me on The Da Vinci Code. A novel so bad that it gives bad novels a bad name." [23]

Stephen Fry has referred to Brown's writings as "complete loose stool-water" and "arse gravy of the worst kind". [24] In a live chat on June 14, 2006, he clarified, "I just loathe all those book[s] about the Holy Grail and Masons and Catholic conspiracies and all that botty-dribble. I mean, there's so much more that's interesting and exciting in art and in history. It plays to the worst and laziest in humanity, the desire to think the worst of the past and the desire to feel superior to it in some fatuous way." [25]

Stephen King likened Dan Brown's work to "Jokes for the John", calling such literature the "intellectual equivalent of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese". [26] The New York Times , while reviewing the movie based on the book, called the book "Dan Brown's best-selling primer on how not to write an English sentence". [27] The New Yorker reviewer Anthony Lane refers to it as "unmitigated junk" and decries "the crumbling coarseness of the style". [16] Linguist Geoffrey Pullum and others posted several entries critical of Dan Brown's writing, at Language Log, calling Brown one of the "worst prose stylists in the history of literature" and saying Brown's "writing is not just bad; it is staggeringly, clumsily, thoughtlessly, almost ingeniously bad". [28] Roger Ebert described it as a "potboiler written with little grace and style", although he said it did "supply an intriguing plot". [29] In his review of the film National Treasure , whose plot also involves ancient conspiracies and treasure hunts, he wrote: "I should read a potboiler like The Da Vinci Code every once in a while, just to remind myself that life is too short to read books like The Da Vinci Code." [29]

Lawsuits

Author Lewis Perdue alleged that Brown plagiarized from two of his novels, The Da Vinci Legacy, originally published in 1983, and Daughter of God, originally published in 2000. He sought to block distribution of the book and film. However, Judge George Daniels of the US District Court in New York ruled against Perdue in 2005, saying that "A reasonable average lay observer would not conclude that The Da Vinci Code is substantially similar to Daughter of God" and that "Any slightly similar elements are on the level of generalized or otherwise unprotectable ideas." [30] Perdue appealed, the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the original decision, saying Mr. Perdue's arguments were "without merit". [31]

In early 2006, Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh filed suit against Brown's publishers, Random House. They alleged that significant portions of The Da Vinci Code were plagiarized from The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail , violating their copyright. [32] Brown confirmed during the court case that he named the principal Grail expert of his story Leigh Teabing, an anagram of "Baigent Leigh", after the two plaintiffs. In reply to the suggestion that Henry Lincoln was also referred to in the book, since he has medical problems resulting in a severe limp, like the character of Leigh Teabing, Brown stated he was unaware of Lincoln's illness and the correspondence was a coincidence. [33] Since Baigent and Leigh had presented their conclusions as historical research, not as fiction, Mr Justice Peter Smith, who presided over the trial, deemed that a novelist must be free to use these ideas in a fictional context, and ruled against Baigent and Leigh. Smith also hid his own secret code in his written judgement, in the form of seemingly random italicized letters in the 71-page document, which apparently spell out a message. Smith indicated he would confirm the code if someone broke it. [34] After losing before the High Court on July 12, 2006, they then appealed, unsuccessfully, to the Court of Appeal. [33] [35]

In April 2006 Mikhail Anikin, a Russian scientist and art historian working as a senior researcher at the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, stated the intention to bring a lawsuit against Dan Brown, maintaining that he was the one who coined the phrase used as the book's title and one of the ideas regarding the Mona Lisa used in its plot. Anikin interprets the Mona Lisa to be a Christian allegory consisting of two images, one of Jesus Christ that comprises the image's right half, one of the Virgin Mary that forms its left half. According to Anikin, he expressed this idea to a group of experts from the Museum of Houston during a 1988 René Magritte exhibit at the Hermitage, and when one of the Americans requested permission to pass it along to a friend Anikin granted the request on condition that he be credited in any book using his interpretation. Anikin eventually compiled his research into Leonardo da Vinci or Theology on Canvas, a book published in 2000, but The Da Vinci Code, published three years later, makes no mention of Anikin and instead asserts that the idea in question is a "well-known opinion of a number of scientists." [36] [37]

Possibly the largest reaction occurred in Kolkata, India, where a group of around 25 protesters "stormed" Crossword bookstore, pulled copies of the book from the racks and threw them to the ground. On the same day, a group of 50–60 protesters successfully made the Oxford Bookstore on Park Street decide to stop selling the book "until the controversy sparked by the film's release was resolved". [38] Thus in 2006, seven Indian states (Nagaland, Punjab, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh) banned the release or exhibition of the Hollywood movie The Da Vinci Code (as well as the book). [39] Later, two states lifted the ban under high court order.[ citation needed ]

Release details

The book has been translated into over 44 languages, primarily hardcover. [40] Major English-language (hardcover) editions include:

Film

Columbia Pictures adapted the novel to film, with a screenplay written by Akiva Goldsman, and Academy Award winner Ron Howard directing. The film was released on May 19, 2006, and stars Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon, Audrey Tautou as Sophie Neveu, and Sir Ian McKellen as Sir Leigh Teabing. During its opening weekend, moviegoers spent an estimated $77 million in America, and $224 million worldwide. [42]

The movie received mixed reviews. Roger Ebert in its review wrote that "Ron Howard is a better filmmaker than Dan Brown is a novelist; he follows Brown's formula (exotic location, startling revelation, desperate chase scene, repeat as needed) and elevates it into a superior entertainment, with Tom Hanks as a theo-intellectual Indiana Jones... it's involving, intriguing and constantly seems on the edge of startling revelations." [29]

The film received two sequels: Angels & Demons , released in 2009, and Inferno, released in 2016. Ron Howard returned to direct both sequels.

See also

Related Research Articles

Dan Brown American author (born 1964)

Daniel Gerhard Brown is an American author best known for his thriller novels, including the Robert Langdon novels Angels & Demons (2000), The Da Vinci Code (2003), The Lost Symbol (2009), Inferno (2013) and Origin (2017). His novels are treasure hunts that usually take place over a period of 24 hours. They feature recurring themes of cryptography, art, and conspiracy theories. His books have been translated into 57 languages and, as of 2012, have sold over 200 million copies. Three of them, Angels & Demons, The Da Vinci Code, and Inferno, have been adapted into films.

Robert Langdon Fictional character

Professor Robert Langdon is a fictional character created by author Dan Brown for his Robert Langdon book series: Angels & Demons (2000), The Da Vinci Code (2003), The Lost Symbol (2009), Inferno (2013) and Origin (2017). He is a Harvard University professor of history of art and "symbology".

<i>The Templar Revelation</i>

The Templar Revelation: Secret Guardians of the True Identity of Christ is a book written by Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince and published in 1997 by Transworld Publishers Ltd in Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand. It proposes a fringe hypothesis regarding the relationship between Jesus, John the Baptist and Mary Magdalene, and states that their true story has been suppressed by the Roman Catholic Church through, among other tactics, the conscious selection of the texts that make up the canonical New Testament, their campaigns against heresy, and their propaganda against non-Christians.

<i>The Da Vinci Code</i> (film) 2006 American mystery thriller film by Ron Howard

The Da Vinci Code is a 2006 American mystery thriller film directed by Ron Howard, written by Akiva Goldsman, and based on Dan Brown's 2003 best-selling novel of the same name. The first in the Robert Langdon film series, the film stars Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, Sir Ian McKellen, Alfred Molina, Jürgen Prochnow, Jean Reno and Paul Bettany. In the film, Robert Langdon, a professor of religious symbology from Harvard University, is the prime suspect in the grisly and unusual murder of Louvre curator Jacques Saunière. On the body, the police find a disconcerting cipher and start an investigation. Langdon escapes with the assistance of police cryptologist Sophie Neveu, and they begin a quest for the legendary Holy Grail. A noted British Grail historian, Sir Leigh Teabing, tells them that the actual Holy Grail is explicitly encoded in Leonardo da Vinci's wall painting, The Last Supper. Also searching for the Grail is a secret cabal within Opus Dei, an actual prelature of the Holy See, who wish to keep the true Grail a secret to prevent the destruction of Christianity.

<i>The Va Dinci Cod</i>

The Va Dinci Cod: A Fishy Parody is a parody of the New York Times BestsellerThe Da Vinci Code. It was written by British critic and novelist Adam Roberts under the pen name Don Brine. The character names in the novels are reminiscent of the well-known characters: Sophie Nudivue, Robert Donglan, and Curvy Tash. It was published in 2005 by Harper Collins.

Michael Baigent was a pseudo-historian, who published a number of popular works questioning traditional perceptions of history and the life of Jesus. He is best known as a co-author of the book The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail.

The Da Vinci Code, a popular suspense novel by Dan Brown, generated criticism and controversy after its publication in 2003. Many of the complaints centered on the book's speculations and misrepresentations of core aspects of Christianity and the history of the Catholic Church. Additional criticisms were directed toward the book's inaccurate descriptions of European art, history, architecture, and geography.

The Jesus Papers

The Jesus Papers: Exposing the Greatest Cover-Up in History is a book by author Michael Baigent published in 2006. Providing his detailed history of Jesus' life and crucifixion, using papers that were covered up, the book documents the political context of Jesus' birth, and then goes on to examine the history of the migration of the family of Jesus, the chronicles of his teachings, and his death. The book was published on the same day that The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown became available as a paperback in the US.

<i>The Da Vinci Code</i> (video game)

The Da Vinci Code is a 2006 adventure puzzle video game developed by The Collective and published by 2K Games for PlayStation 2, Xbox and Microsoft Windows. Although the game was released on the same day that the film of the same name opened in theaters, it is based directly on the 2003 novel by Dan Brown rather than the film. As such, the characters in the game do not resemble nor sound like their filmic counterparts.

The Jesus bloodline refers to the proposition that a lineal sequence of descendants of the historical Jesus has persisted to the present time. The claims frequently depict Jesus as married, often to Mary Magdalene, and as having descendants living in Europe, especially France but also the UK. Differing and contradictory Jesus bloodline scenarios, as well as more limited claims that Jesus married and had children, have been proposed in numerous modern books. Some such claims have suggested that Jesus survived the crucifixion and went to another location such as France, India or Japan.

The Hawkstone Grail is a small stone cup located at Hawkstone Manor in Shropshire, England which is purported to be a Holy Grail by owner Graham Phillips. According to Phillips, archaeologists and historians at the British Museum have identified it as a 1st-century Roman scent jar. However, Phillips cautions that this is not the Marian Chalice, the cup that Jesus' apostles reputedly drank from during the Last Supper. The Hawkstone Grail's small size makes it a poor choice for that use. Rather, Phillips believes that this cup could instead have been used to collect a small amount of Jesus' blood as he was dying on the cross or to hold ointments for his body during his internment in the tomb.

Rose Line

Rose Line is a fictional name given to the Paris Meridian and to the sunlight line defining the exact time of Easter on the Gnomon of Saint-Sulpice, marked by a brass strip on the floor of the church, where the two are conflated, by Dan Brown in his 2003 novel The Da Vinci Code. Brown based this on material found in the Priory of Sion documents of the 1960s, where neither the Zero Meridian nor the sunlight line in St Sulpice are called Rose Line.

The Woman with the Alabaster Jar: Mary Magdalene and the Holy Grail is a book written by Margaret Starbird in 1993, claiming Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene were married, and that Mary Magdalene was the Holy Grail.

Priory of Sion French fraternal organization associated with a literary hoax

The Prieuré de Sion, translated as Priory of Sion, was a fraternal organisation founded and dissolved in France in 1956 by Pierre Plantard in his failed attempt to create a prestigious neo-chivalric order. In the 1960s, Plantard began claiming that his self-styled order was the latest front for a secret society founded by crusading knight Godfrey of Bouillon, on Mount Zion in the Kingdom of Jerusalem in 1099, under the guise of the historical monastic order of the Abbey of Our Lady of Mount Zion. As a framework for his grandiose assertion of being both the Great Monarch prophesied by Nostradamus and a Merovingian pretender, Plantard further claimed the Priory of Sion was engaged in a centuries-long benevolent conspiracy to install a secret bloodline of the Merovingian dynasty on the thrones of France and the rest of Europe. To Plantard's surprise, all of his claims were fused with the notion of a Jesus bloodline and popularised by the authors of the 1982 speculative nonfiction book The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, whose conclusions would later be borrowed by Dan Brown for his 2003 mystery thriller novel The Da Vinci Code.

Margaret Leonard Starbird is the author of seven books arguing for the existence of a secret Christian tradition that held Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, calling it the "Grail heresy", after having set out to discredit the bloodline hypothesis contained in The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail.

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<i>Robert Langdon</i> (film series) 2006 American film directed by Ron Howard

The Robert Langdon films are a series of American action-adventure mystery-thriller films directed by Ron Howard. The films, based on the novel series written by Dan Brown, center around the fictional character of Robert Langdon. Though based on the book series, the films have a different chronological order, consisting of: The Da Vinci Code (2006), Angels & Demons (2009) and Inferno (2016). Despite negative critical reception, the film series as a whole has grossed almost $1.5 billion worldwide.

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Further reading