The DaVinci Code: Rewriting History

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Tim took me to see the DaVinci Code (thanks Tim!) because go-karting was closed. I had not read the book, but everyone has been telling me how much i will like it. Well, as far as movies go, i thought it was very good, but i am willng to scream “bullshit” in the theatre and continue watching. I don’t think i would have continued with the book. The historical rewrites were too much and i just cannot sanction rewriting history to better jive with the historically-ignorant masses’ conception of their cultural past. What we think of our heritage says more about us than our ancestors. I am not condemning anyone for not knowing its bullshit…i am far from an expert on everything. I liked the movie. I squealed like a stuck pig when Silas came out of nowhere. It was suspenseful and dramatic. It ended nicely. Much better than most of the pseudo-histories on the silver screen, but books should live up to a higher standard. I really will read Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum now.

So…to enlighten the unhistorically informed before they make asses out of themselves by believing Dan Brown’s re-write:
1. The Knights Templar were not condemned as heretics by the Church. They were condemned as heretics by the King of France who needed liquid assets immediately to pay off a death. They were targeted instead of the Hospitaliers because of the LIQUID nature of their fortunes stemming from their banker past.
2. The cult/sect like nature of the Knights Templar was made up by the Free Masons who wanted to create a heritage for themselves in the 19th and 20th centuries. We know very little about the original knights other than that they were incredible fighters and devout monks.
3. The witchhunts did not occur in the Middle Ages. They are a Reformation and Enlightenment phenomenon…Burning Times is a crock-of-shit if you have ever seen it. In fact, my Professor, Shannon McSheffrey, is actually one of the world’s leading experts on witchtrials in Europe and she has made it a policy to denounce the “documentary” in every one of her classes.
4. This said, the Malus Malefacarum (or however it’s spelt) was not around in any time period remotely close to the establishment and indoctrination of the world to Catholicism.
5. I would like someone to show my ONE hard fact evidencing that women were treated as equals in “pagan” societies. “Pagan” societies had been in contact with the Roman Empire since the times of Augustus, Tiberius and at the least Hadrian. Just because feminists want it to be so, doesn’t make it the case.
Please note that i am not an expert on medieval history. I am an undergrad who has taken a couple of classes, yet i find myself fighting with people all the time about just these five facts…and their argument is inevitably “because Dan Brown said so” or because they saw or read it in another movie or book. Please remember, that fiction and reality are different. I don’t know a thing about computers, but that doesn’t mean i have to fall for TRON as a possibility or something equally stupid. Because some novelist wrote a novel that became insanely popular doesn’t mean anything he says actually happened.
Now…if Umberto Eco wrote it, that would be a different story…but look at the man’s creditentials. He can spin a yarn without smudging the facts…

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14 thoughts on “The DaVinci Code: Rewriting History

  1. and after being comdemned by the King of France, the story of the “curse” of the french Kings after that is really interesting. Have you read “Les Rois Maudits”??? reallllllly good.

  2. Heather, firstly yay ๐Ÿ™‚ Historical rewrites piss me off too, and catholicism is not the GREAT EVIL that everyone always accuses it of being.

    That said, i’m dissapointed. Your latin is FAR better than mine and even I know that it’s Malleus Maleficarum (Malleus = Nominative Masculine Singular = Hammer, Male-fica-rum (Genitive Fm. Pl of Maleficus, Maleficus ( I think) meaning nefarious or wrongdoing).

    Sorry, just that this is probably the only chance i’ll have at correcting yoru latin ๐Ÿ™‚ Have fun, and hope to see you on the 17th

  3. yeah, yeah. i could have figured it out. if i wanted to. but i didn’t. now everyone knows the real spelling and we can all get on with our lives.
    thanks for the correction bryan. it’s true. i might actually be able to figure out the spelling, but i imagine 95% of my readers can’t read Latin (is Julie still a reader? because she can, and she’s damn good at it), so it was unfair to spell it wrong for their sakes. i stand corrected.

  4. This may be a bit irrelevant, but it somewhat touches on your topic of history re-writes.

    If you have time, go check out a novel called “Roma Eterna” by Robert Silverberg. It’s actually a collection of short stories based on the premise that the Roman empire never fell.

    It would be fun for a history buff, especially with the little “date game” that the author plays.

  5. To Angelo:

    I READ THAT LAST SUMMER. I loved it.

    Heather, it’s a great, quick read – not more than 400 pages.

  6. I could’ve sworn I’d read somewhere that Dan Brown himself was complaining about this. That people were taking what is supposed to be obviously fiction and believing every part of it to be true. He said it was never his intention to try and make up some new historical theory, only to write an interesting story that happened to be inspired by historical events and figures.

  7. ah. but he rewrote a book by Umberto Eco – so i cannot forgive him for messing with my idol.
    the title of this blog was very close to being “i wanna be umberto eco.” i’ve moved on now though, and it would more likely be “i wanna be hans baron,” but i still vacillate a little.

  8. It is hard to believe,although not suprising-being close to America, that your views are so narrow-minded. You ought to read HISTORY before forming your mis-guided and mis-informed opinions. I do not find it worth while pointing out all the inconsistencies in your remarks, a french King( actually Pepin II) would not be able to condemn anyone as a heretic this was the domain of the church. Witch hunts did not exist?? If David Irvine was your professor then I suppose you would believe the Nazi holocaust did not happen too!!

    Keep to something that you have a vague knowledge of, home-making for example.

  9. wow. did i say that witch-hunts didn’t exist?
    i love how people always feel the need to jump to the holocaust.
    this is my first hate mail. awesome. good thing i have broad shoulders.

  10. HISTORY, is that a book or a journal? Who wrote that one? Andrew, come on man, how are we all supposed to read HISTORY if you won’t tell us how to get our hands on it!?

  11. well, if we’re gonna be dissing… French is capitalized as an adjective in English. but i’m not going to go further with tearing that comment to pieces as far as grammar goes as after doing an IP search, i discovered that the author is, in fact, not a native English speaker (from Copenhagen if the search is right). I will do a better job of defending myself when the aforementioned hate-mail section gets put together. Let’s commend Andrew nonetheless for providing me with his email address…and no, i won’t be sending forwards anytime soon.

  12. Dear Heather,

    This was not in anyway meant to be hate mail, only a rant at your discourse on a subject of which you have only a superficial grasp. However, before I try to make a fuller statement, I was shocked to see you picked up on French spelled with an ‘f’.

    The personal pronoun ‘I’ is a capital something you constantly over-look. “unhistorically informed” ??????????? Do you mean the historically uniformed ? Always start a sentence with a capital:

    That said, let’s have a look at point 1. which I touched upon last time,

    PepinII (known as Pepin the Fat) wanted the Templars extinguished, excuse the pun, as he did indeed need cash to pay of a *death’? did you mean debt? as this was the cas, he,Pepin, owed the Templars vast amounts of money, monies he could not repay, he was also jealous of their power, they were blessed by the Pope when their order was established in ca.1112, When you state their bankers past, it was the Templars who pretty much invented international banking, letters of credit were issued wo tradesmen in one country and honoured in another, this being made possible by the Templars large number of fortresses and perceptories through-out Europa. So it was still a part of their daily business when they were arrested in 1307.

    Anyone looking for literature on the Templars should look at:

    The Templars – P.P.Reid
    The Head of God – Keith Laidler
    Templar Revalation – L.Picknett & C.Prince

    Point 2. It is a little hard to follow your train of thought here. If I should hazard a guess, what you are saying is that the Templars were not a cult/sect in the 12-13th centuries. If we look at the meaning of cult/sect then we take it be an unauthourized/non-standard religion: eg The Moonies. A sect could also be a subversive movment within an already established religion: eg The Teleban in Islamic religion. Now the Templars were devout Catholics and their intention was to protect the roads in the Holy Land for pilgrims wishing to visit to Jerusalem. Now, how on earth could 7 knights hope to accomplish this? For the first 9 years of the order there were only 7 of them, and infact we know just about all there is to know about these knights their names, ages, countries/towns of birth, family histories etc…So you cannot say we know nothing about them. During the years they spent in the HolyLand they did no defending of pilgrims, gaurding roads, which was their raison d’etre, they spent all their time excavating below the Temple of Solomon, now this is where historians come up blank, they assume they were searching for,and some say found, the Holy Grail(whatever that might be, or the Ark of the Covenant.

    3 & 4. Witch-hunts did indeed exist before the insanity and slaughter of the witch-hunts that began duing the Reformation(1490-1700). There are many sourced documents on the subject. You are correct re. The Malleus Maleficarum which was written in 1498 on a directive(Papal Bull) from Pope InnocentVIII.

    5. Paganism, well this is not my field, so I cannot really comment, although women were better regarded in paganism, as the god of the earth was feminine, it was the Old Testament that denegraded women in Genesis…’and thy desire shall be to thy husband and he shall rule over thee….’ This ideology runs throught the 3 main religions. Paganism shows a little more egalitarian status to women, but I’m no expert.

    Having never read the Da Vinci Code, but I have read all the academic books that D.Brown used to create his novel, I thought it’d be an idea to see the film,which I did last night, and to be honest I knew all these theoris before-hand, the only facet that has been proved to be ficticious is the Priory of Sion, which was uncovered as a hoax about 15 years ago, a great story perpetuated by Pierre Plantard-Sinclair, the then Grand-Master, who claimed to be of the Merovingian line(the blood-line of the Christ-although that’s a strange name: from the Greek Kristos=the annointed one or the heir apparent).

    If you want to read the original story then read Holy Blood Holy Grail, it covers all points covered in the film, except from Opus Dei(very scarry people!!), then try the Second Messiah.

    Greetings to all in Canada,

    Andrew

    Ps I’m sure you have beautiful shoulders.

  13. PPS

    I seem to have missed out the point regarding the cult/sect point.

    So one could say they were a sect within the Catholic church as they were not wholly governed by the catholic principles, indeed when they were arrested as heretics they were accused of trampling and spitting on the cross, worshiping a head(Baphomet), sacrificing babies, blasphomy, sodomy etc so you could indedd regard them as a sect as they seem to be rather unconventional in their ideas of Catholocism! So you woiuld find it hard to prove that the masons invented the cult status attached to them some 700 years later. Read -The Temple and the Lodge.

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