Chapter Three The Davidic and Merovingian Bloodlines


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 cen ­tral 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 ofJerusalem 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 a~hieving 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 ofAbraham.”

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 1 1 8 8, 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 de! 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.

The Merovingians

The Merovingians ruled much of present-day France and Germany between the fifth and seventh centuries. The beginning of this time coincides with not only the Grail sto­ries, but with the era of King Arthur, who was so central to many of these tales. There was never any question that the Merovingians were the rightful rulers of the Franks. They were not “created” as kings. The sons who were entitled became kings automatically on their twelfth birthdays. Their role was not to govern -that was left to the “Mayors of the Palace.” They were simply expected to exist as representa­tives of the role, holding similar power and status to a twen­ty-first century constitutional monarch. They were also allowed the delights of polygamy and sometimes took great advantage of this privilege.

The origin of the Merovingian family name comes from that of their progenitor, Merovee ( also styled “Merovech” or “Meroveus”). The name is reminiscent of both the French word for “mother” and the French and Latin words for “sea.” The legend is that Merovee was born of two fathers ­the story that is told is no doubt allegorical and refers to the alliance of two dynasties through his birth. It was said that his mother was already pregnant by her husband when she went swimming in the sea. She was seduced by a sea crea­ture who impregnated her for a second time. When Merovee was born therefore, the blood of two sources, that of his Frankish father, the ruler, and that of a “sea animal” ran through his veins.

From that time on, the Merovingians had a reputation for the occult and the supernatural. They were looked upon as priest-kings, much as the Egyptian pharaohs were regarded. The healing powers they were said to have possessed extend­ed even to the tassels of their robes, which were believed to be of particular curative powers. As we shall see in Chapter Four, after the death of Berenger Sauniere a procession of people passed by his robed corpse, each removing a tassel from it. The Merovingian kings were said to have had a cer­tain birthmark that took the form ofa Templar type red cross, either over the heart or between the shoulder blades.

King Childeric I was the son of Merovee and the father of Merovingian King Clovis. When his tomb was found in the seventeenth century in the Ardennes region of Belgium, it contained such items of sorcery as a severed horse’s head, a golden bull’s head and a crystal ball.

One of the abiding symbols of the Merovingians was the bee. Hundreds of pure gold bees were found in King Childeric’s tomb. The custom endured through the centuries. When Napoleon was crowned emperor in 1804, he made sure that golden bees were attached to his coronation robes. He was fas­cinated by the Merovingians and commissioned their genealo­gies to be compiled in order to find out whether the dynasty had survived after it had been deposed. These formed the basis of the genealogies found in the Priory of Sion documents.

The Merovingians claimed two different origins: from Noah, and from Troy. The latter would explain place names in France such as Troyes and Paris. Also, according to Homer, there were a number of Arcadians at Troy. The bear was considered to be sacred in Arcadia and the forbears of the Merovingians, Sicambrian Franks, also held the bear in great esteem. Another possible connection is that the Welsh word for “bear” is “arth” which may explain the origin of King Arthur’s name.

By the time the Sicambrians had moved into present day France to escape the invasion of the Huns, they had already established themselves as a sophisticated society which had developed along Roman lines. Therefore the Merovingians, who inherited their culture, could be perceived to follow the Roman imperial modal. The culture of the Franks thrived and prospered under the Merovingian dynasty from this point onwards. The Merovingians accumulated enor­mous wealth during this period, and the equal-armed cross that their coins bore was exactly the same as that used dur­ing the Crusades for the Frankish Kingdom of Jerusalem.

Clovis I is perhaps the most famous of the Merovingian monarchs, as it was he who introduced Roman Christianity into France. His Catholic wife had given him more than a little encouragement to go in this direction, but it is likely that there was another reason for his being won over to the idea.

Christianity at this time took many different forms. The Roman Church was in constant conflict with the Celtic Church. In 496 AD, Clovis had a number of secret meetings with Saint Remy. This led to a deal being struck between Clovis and the Roman Church in which Clovis would act as the strong arm of the Church. In return for this, he was to rule over what had been Constantine’s Holy Roman Empire, which the Visigoths and Vandals had destroyed.

It was of enormous importance to the Roman Church that this should work as it would mean a new Roman and Christian Empire, administered by the secular Merovingian dynasty. And so Clovis was baptized by Saint Remy at Rheims in France. In this way, the Roman Church was mak­ing a pact not only with Clovis, but with all ofhis descendants.

Clovis carried out his side of the bargain enthusiastically. He increased the size of his empire to embrace much of what is now France and Germany. He was particularly keen to defeat the Visigoths and eventually did so at the Battle of Vouille. The Visigoths were turned further and further back and they finally established themselves in the Razes area, at Rhedae -the present village of Rennes-le-Chateau.

After Clovis’ death, his realm was divided, according to the tradition at the time, amongst his four sons. This led to a breakdown of the cohesion that had previously existed, and gave the Mayors of the Palace the perfect opportunity to gain more power. However, they had Dagobert II to contend with.

Dagobert was born in 651 and when Clovis, his father, died in 656, all efforts were made to prevent him from inheriting Austrasia, the north-eastern realm of Clovis. The leading Mayor of the Palace of the time, Grimoald, kidnapped Dagobert as soon as his father died and managed to persuade the court first that Dagobert was dead, and second that Clovis had wanted Grimoald’s son to inherit the throne. So convincing was he that even Dagobert’s mother believed him.

However, Grimoald had been unable to bring himself to murder Dagobert and had taken him to the Bishop of Poitiers, who had the child King exiled to Ireland. Here he grew up and was educated at the monastery of Slane near Dublin. He married a Celtic princess, Mathilde, and moved to York in northern England, where he got to know Saint Wilfred, the Bishop of York. At this time, the Merovingian alliance with the Roman Church was not as strong as it had been at the time of Clovis.

Wilfred was very keen to bring the Celtic and Roman churches together, which both sides had agreed upon at the Council of Whitby in 664. However, it seems that Wilfred also recognized the valuable potential of Dagobert -the rightful King ofAustrasia -returning to France and reclaim­ing the land as the militant representative of the Church.

Dagobert’s wife died in 670 and Wilfred was swift to ensure that Dagobert’s next wife was chosen with care. She was Giselle de Razes, the daughter of the Count of Razes-and the niece of the King of the Visigoths. This alliance between the Merovingians and the Visigoths would not only have brought much of France under the same rule, it would have empowered Rome over the Visigoths.

They married at the church of St. Magdeleine in Rennes-le­Chateau. Having had four daughters through his two mar­riages, Dagobert now became the father to a son in 676 -Sigisbert IV.

After living three years at Rennes-le-Chateau, Dagobert was proclaimed the King of Austrasia. He quickly set about re­establishing order throughout his new kingdom and in so doing greatly increased his wealth.
He did not, however, live up to Wilfred’s expectations, angering the Roman Church by attempting to limit its influ­ence in his realm. Through his marriage into the Visigoth dynasty, he also acquired much of what is now the Languedoc region in southern France. The Visigoths had never felt allegiance to Rome. They _preferred the heretical “Arian” form of Christianity which insisted that Christ was an ordinary human being who had been born as all other men and Dagobert seemed to be following their example.