Last updated on February 13th, 2021
Ark of the Covenant: known in Hebrew as Aron Ha-berit. It represents the heavily ornate, gold-plated wooden chest that traditionally contained the two tablets of the Law in biblical times given to Moses by God, and is sacred to both Judaism and Christianity. The Ark was kept in the part of the Tabernacle of the ancient Temple ofJerusalem known as the Holy of Holies. It w~ permitted to be seen only by the high priest of the Israelites onYorn Kippur, the Day ofAtonement. The Ark was carried by the Levites (who were the priestly officials) while the Hebrews were wandering in the desert. The Israelites sometimes took it with them into battle. King David took it to Jerusalem, and eventually King Saul placed it in the Temple of Solomon. Its present whereabouts are unknown.
Baphomet: The word “Baphomet” could be a corruption of “Mahomet” or “Mohammed” in English, the Muslim prophet. Some say that the word comes from the joining of two Greek words meaning “absorption into wisdom.” During their persecution, the Knights Templar were accused of worshipping an idol named Baphomet, to which they admitted under torture. It was said to take the form of either a head or a black cat. It is believed that the imagery of the Baphomet derives from the ancient Egyptian god Amon, meaning “The Hidden One,” who is also known as the Goat of Mendes. Eliphas Levi, the nineteenth century occultist, described some of the more common and varied descriptions of Baphomet in various combinations of animal and human heads, and, perhaps most significantly with the head of a goat and the body of a man, but with wings and cloven feet (the Sabbatic Goat.) This concept of the Sabbatic Goat led to the present-day perception of the devil. Not only the British occultist, Aleister Crowley, but also Church of Satan founder, Anton LaVey, adopted the Baphomet imagery. When theTemplars’ Paris preceptory was raided another !3aphomet head was found bearing the legend “Caput 58M.” It is reasonable to assume that when you add the two digits five and eight and reach thirteen, the combination of the two digits and the letter referred to Mary Magdalene, as “M” is the thirteenth letter of the alphabet. The origin of the Baphomet has also been ascribed to the head of John the Baptist, who was considered by the Templars to be the true messiah, in favor of Christ who was considered to be false. The Eliphas Levi image of the Baphomet now represents the Devil in the Waite version of the Tarot cards as the androgynous half male, half female, half human, half animal.
Bergers d’ Arcadie, Les: When Berenger Sauniere visited Paris with the parchments that he had found in Rennes-leChateau, he bought reproductions of three paintings. One of these was the picture Les Bergers d’Arcadie (The Shepherds of Arcadia) by Nicolas Poussin. It had a history. Abbe Louis Fouquet, was the brother of Nicholas, the Superintendent of Finances to Louis XIV of France, and he paid Nicolas Poussin a visit in 165 6 while Poussin was living in Rome. Shortly afterwards, the Abbe wrote to his brother saying that he had discovered secrets that would give him, through Poussin, “advantages which even kings would have great pains to draw” from him and which, according to him, it is possible that nobody else will ever rediscover in the centuries to come. The enigma of this mystery remains, but shortly after he received the letter, Nicholas Fouquet was arrested and imprisoned for the rest of his life. The King, Louis XIV went to great lengths to buy the painting, Les Bergers d’Arcadie, and kept it hidden in the Palace ofVersailles. The picture consists of three shepherds and a shepherdess looking at a tomb on which is written the inscription “ET IN ARCADIA EGO.” It was generally considered that the tomb and the landscape in which it is located were products of Poussin’s imagination. However, in the 1970s an identical tomb was found, in an identical landscape, six miles from
Rennes-le-Chateau. The tomb had been there for as long as the local people could remember, and there is apparently a mention of it in a memoir dating back to 1709. Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln received a possible explanation for the inscription on the tomb from one of their TV viewers. It is an intriguing anagram of the Latin:
I TEGO ARCANA DEI (BEGONE! I CONCEAL THE SECRETS OF GOD)
It is said in the documents of the Priory of Sion that “Et in Arcadia Ego” was also the official device of the Plantard family from the twelfth century. David Wood and Ian Campbell in Poussin’s Secret say that Professor Cornford analyzed Les Bergers d’Arcadie in the BBC Chronicle film The Priest, the Painter and the Devil, in which he pointed out the construction of the paintin:g being a combination of the Golden Section and Perllagonal geometry. This pentangle is centered on the womb of the shepherdess. The churches and other important features in the Rennes-le-Chateau area also form such a pentagram.
Cana, the wedding feast: Cana was a small ancient town in Galilee where Christ attended a marriage feast during which he is said to have performed the first miracle of changing water into wine. Mary also attended the wedding feast, and she asked Jesus to replenish the supply of wine. Mary told the servants to do whatever Jesus wants them to do. The servants responded as if they felt it natural for Jesus and Mary to give them orders. However, it seems improbable that two guests at a wedding feast would take upon themselves the responsibility of the ensuring that there was sufficient wine. It also seems unlikely that Jesus would use this opportunity to perform his first miracle as some kind of “party trick.” It is far more likely that this was the marriage ofJesus, and he was responsible for providing more wine. Also, the Gospel of St. John 2:9-10 reports that the “Governor of the Feast,” whose role was perhaps similar to that of the present-day Best Man, tastes the wine: “the governor of the feast called the bridegroom. And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth
Da Vinci Code Decoded Glossary
good wine; and when the men have well drunk, then that which is worse; but thou has kept the good wine till now.” He must have been addressing Jesus as the provider of the wine, and therefore the bridegroom.
Cathars: (from Greek katharos, “pure”) is also written “Cathari.” They were considered heretics in the Middle Ages. They practiced a form of neo-Manichaean dualism which believed that the world was ruled by two equally powerful gods. One was the spiritual and “good god” or the God of Love. The other god represented the material world which was fundamentally evil, and he was known as “Rex Mundi” or “King of the World.” This was at odds with Catholicism which maintained that even though evil comes from the Devil, it becomes apparent through man and his actions. The Cathars abhorred the riches and wealth of the Catholic Church, and preferred to live a life of denial. Because they believed that matter was evil, they denied that Jesus could consume material as a man and still be the Son of God. They saw him as being no different from any other man who was crucified. Some believed that Jesus was just a pure spirit who could not possibly be able to suffer and die. They also believed that procreation was wrong, although they stopped short of banning sex, no doubt for practical reasons from every point of view. They were fish-eating “vegetarians.” From the 1140s the Cathars were an organized church with a hierarchy, a liturgy, and a system of doctrine. Its popularity in France and Italy perhaps led to its downfall. Eventually Pope Innocent III (1198 -1216) tried to get Raymond VI, count of Toulouse, to help him put down the heresy. However, it went badly wrong. The representative of the Pope was murdered in January 1208, and the Count was suspected of being an accessory to the crime. Therefore in 1209 the Albigensian Crusade was organized to deal with the Cathars. An army of about 30,000 attacked the southern French region of Languedoc, and massacred all in their wake as well as destroying the crops, towns and cities. The last stronghold of the Cathars, Montsegur, fell in 1244. Some think that the Cathars were party to a secret and/or the guardians of a great treasure which they managed to smuggle out of Montsegur.
Constantine, the Donation of: The Donation of Constantine appeared in the eighth century -created supposedly four hundred years before it was found. The Roman Church claimed that it had been written by Emperor Constantine the Great to Pope Sylvester, presumably before Constantine’ death in 3 3 7 AD. It was to express Constantine’s gratitude to the Pope for having cured him ofleprosy. In recognition and acknowledgement of his thanks, he transferred the entire power of the Holy Roman Empire to the Church. This included the right to select and deselect monarchs. Lorenzo Valla tested its authenticity during the Renaissance, and found evidence that it could not have been written ai rhe time of Constantine. However, although the Donation of Constantine was proven to be a fraud, the Church has neva: admitted so, and has continued to wield the rights that i gained illegitimately.
Desposyni, the (the descendants of Christ): According to th close friend of Constantine the Great, the Bishop Eusebius, the historian Julius Africanus who lived in the period . 160 -240, wrote, “Herod, who had no drop of Israeli · blood in his veins and was stung by the consciousnes of his base origins, burnt the registers of their families … A ew careful people had private records of their won, ha,in either remembered the names or recovered them from copies, and took pride in preserving the memory of ch · aristocratic origin. These included the people … kno ‘Il -Desposyni (meaning the Master’s People) because of ch · · relationship to the savior’s family.” St. Paul himself said he had married, and was, in fact, a widower. There · no record of the brother of Jesus, James, having had anr children. However, he was a truly devout Jew, and would therefore have without doubt married, as it was the la,v . .-\ according to Eusebius, the descendants of Jesus’ fu.mil)~ including, perhaps, those of Jesus himself, became lead of various Christian churches, and followed rules of dynastic succession. He traces them back to rhe era o Emperor Trojan, that is AD 98 -117. During the time o Constantine, in AD 3 1 8, a deputation of the Despo yni me1 Pope Sylvester to make various demands of him, including resumption of funds being sent to their church in Jerusalem, and its recognition as the Mother Church. Needless to say, all their demands were rejected. The Mother Church was, for better or worse, well established in Rome by that time, and there was no question of that situation changing.
Holy Grail: referred to in early manuscripts as Sangraal, and, it was spelled by Sir Thomas Malory ( the writer of Le Morte d’Arthur printed in 1483), as Sangreal. It is probable that one of these versions was the original. The word can clearly be split into either San Graal (meaning “Holy Grail”), or Sang Real (meaning “Royal Blood”), referring to the bloodline of Jesus Christ which led to the Merovingian dynasty. Alternatively, there is the chalice, known as the Holy Grail, that the Catholic Church recognizes as that which was used by Jesus Christ at the Last Supper, and which the Popes in Rome used until St. Lawrence took it to Spain. It can now be seen in Valencia Cathedral in Spain
Knights Templar: The Knights Templar were founded in 118 8, the same year as the possibly allegorical tale of the “Cutting of the Elm” which describes some sort of split or rift. Whether or not this has anything to do with the Priory of Sion and the Knights Templar, the Priory of Sion documents describes the new-found independence of the Templars from the Priory, and the beginning of their autonomy from 1188. The purpose of the Knights Templar was ostensibly to protect pilgrims on their way to the Holy Land. The quarters that they were given were on the site of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem. This is perhaps of special significance, as it would have given the Templars the opportunity to investigate any secret that the site had to offer. The order became so wealthy that Philip the Fair of France (Philip IV) felt increasingly threatened by them -he also owed them a large amount of money. He persuaded Pope Clement V to join with him in the persecution of the Knights Templar, and this began on Friday, October 13, 1307, when their property was confiscated, and the Knights Templar were tortured into making various confessions, including “devil worship,” after which they were brutally executed.
Merovingians: thought to be the monarchs that descended,
through the Davidic line, from the descendants of Jesus
Christ who arrived in France with Mary Magdalene. It was a dynasty that reigned in Gaul and present-day Germany from about 500 -750, and their lands were gradually extended as their success and prosperity grew. After the controversial assassination of King Dagobert II, the impression was given that the line had died out, and it was replaced by their former servants -“Mayors of the Palace” -who formed the Carolingian line. These monarchs, including Charlemagne, married Merovingian princesses themselves, thus keeping the Davidic line alive.
Opus Dei: (in full, Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei) is a controversial Roman Catholic organization consisting of laymen and priests. It was founded in Spain in 1928 by Josemaria Escriva de’ Balaguer y Albas who was canonized in 2002. Some members of Opus Dei, who are known as numeraries, devote themselves wholeheartedly to the organization. They are required to remain unmarried and to take vows of celibacy, obedience, and chastity, but they live in the world and pursue secular occupations; they are known to practice self-mortification. Others are allowed to marry, and contribute to the organization financially. Several members were involved in the economic reforms implemented by Generalissimo Franco, the fascist Spanish dictator, in 1956. After Franco’s death in 197 5, the influence of Opus Dei in Spain lessened, although it is still popular there. Opus Dei denies the frequent accusations leveled against it of aggressive recruiting practices, including the brainwashing of new recruits, and the isolation of members from
Pierre Plantard de Saint-Clair: re-established the Priory of Sion in 195 6. He was the last alleged Grand Master of the Priory of Sion, and was interviewed several times by Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln for their books Holy Blood, Holy Grail and The Messianic Legacy. In 197 9, when he was SecretaryGeneral, he told them that the Priory of Sion possessed the treasure from the Temple of Jerusalem which had been plundered by the Romans during the revolt ofAD 66 and eventually taken perhaps to the south of France, near Rennes-leChateau. He also said that the treasure would be returned to Israel when the “time was right.” Apparently he took up the office of Grand Master on January 17, 1981, and stepped down in 1984. It is not known who was in office between him and Jean Cocteau, who had died in 1963.
Priory of Sion: a secret society that dates back to the twelfth century. Its history can be traced until the sixteenth century, but seemed to go underground in about 161 9 when it appeared to operate under different names, and sometimes disappeared entirely. The modern form of the organization was re-founded in 1956 by Pierre Plantard de Saint-Clair and some of his associates. It was officially disbanded in 1984. The purpose of the organization is thought to be to protect and promote the interests of the Merovingian dynasty that the Priory considered to be the rightful rulers of Europe.
Rosicrucians: There is no evidence of the Rosicrucians existing before at least the end of the sixteenth century. The earliest document that mentions it is the Fama Fraternitatis (“Account of the Brotherhood”), first published in 1614. The organization devoted itself to the study of metaphorical and mystical lore, and they were particularly interested in the transmutation of metals, the lengthening of life, and control of the elements. Its name comes from the combination of the rose and the cross. The movement is said to have been founded by a mythical fifteenth century knight, Christian Rosenkreuz, who was allegedly born in 13 7 8 and lived for 106 years. The story is that he acquired esoteric wisdom when traveling in Egypt, Damascus, Damcar in Arabia, and Fes in Morocco. He then handed on this knowledge to others when he returned to Germany. He is thought to have had eight disciples who spread his knowledge throughout the world. These days the name is used by similarly focused groups.
Sauniere, Berenger: appointed to the church of the village of Rennes-le-Chateau in the area of southern France known as
Languedoc, in 1855. The village church had been dedicated to Mary Magdalene. One of the first tasks Sauniere set himself was the refurbishment of the church. During this he found parchments hidden in a pillar which appeared to be in code. He took them to show his Bishop who sent him immediately to Paris. There he met Abbe Bieil, the Director General of Saint-Sulpice, and his nephew, a well-respected scholar of linguistics and cryptography. He also met many celebrities of the day during these three weeks he spent in Paris. Once he returned to Rennes-le-Chateau, he decorated the church with a confusing mixture of ambiguou imagery, and placed a statue of Asmodeus, “Rex Mundi” in the entrance. He adopted strange habits, such as walking around the countryside collecting stones and rocks. He also visited by various important people, and suddenly became very rich. He built a house next to the church, and a tower on the mountainside, as well as paying for a road that led up the mountain to the village. He died in mysterious circumstances in 1916, and his housekeeper lived on in the house until her death, perhaps taking his secret to the grave..