I searched the internet for a good article in English about Saunière and his treasure, and apparently it''s more difficult than in French, which is logical since the original story is French. Still I found a good one which tells you the true story behind the Da Vinci Code: http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2843/is_6_28/ai_n6361828. This is NOT to expose what is false in Da Vinci Code, but to identify the true story on which it is based).
I still don''t understand why Dan Brown had to forge a complete false story, since there are already so many stories to tell about Saunière, the Cathars, the ark, etc. which would at least be more credible, as they are based on real history, or at least on myths/hypotheses that are already in currency.
There was a very good documentary on French public TV about the whereabouts of the Temple treasure (ark, table, Menorah) and one (though not the most probable one) is that the Abbe Saunière found the Table in the basement of the church. They explained the journey of the Table to Rome with Titus, then through the barbarians to their capital city south of Rome, to their small town of Rennes-le-Château, where it was found by the Abbot Saunière, eventually ending up in Mecca! The documentaries on French TV tend to be very conservative.
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Christian Arbogast continues his thoughts with a summary of what he has learned:
Titus brought the temple treasure to Rome and it was put in the Temple of Peace there (as related by Flavius Josephus), and after that temple was burned down the treasure was spread into different buildings. In 410 Alaric, king of the Visigoths (barbarians) attacked and sacked Rome. Procope, historian in the 6th century (more on him later), says they took a signicant part of the treasure of Yahweh''s temple and brought it to Cosenza, their new capital city in the Italian region of Calabra (in the south of Italy). When Alaric died, he was buried in Cosenza, we are told by a legend, with his treasure, as was their costume. This treasure has not yet been found. But then the Visigoths moved to the south
of France, where they founded a kingdom that lasted almost 100 years. And Procope tells that they put the temple treasure into the citadel of Carcassone, which still exists. They didn''t leave it in Italy to their enemies!
But the threat of their enemies of the north, the Franks, made them divide the treasure up, placing it in different cities (citadels). That''s where Rennes-le-château, now a small village in the mountains, enters the scene. It was a Visigoth city called Rhaede at that time, where they built a church. (These barbarians were Arian Christians.) In 1897, while renovating this church, the Abbot Saunière may very well have found something that made him immensely rich. Before this, he was poor, and in a very poor parish. That''s where I have hard time with the article, because he could have no way of advertising his masses (he was accused of that by the bishop, who maybe was interested himself in the Abbot''s money...), building a villa for himself, very richly (with some terrifying details full of riddles) renovating and decorating the church, speculating in American oil and railways, with a simple masses scam. He needed big money in the first place. That by far most people agree. One theory is that he indeed found in the Visigoth church the Table of
the temple, hidden for centuries, which was made of gold. Another mistake is made in the article. The sentence "A Dagobert II Roi et à Sion est ce tresor et il est la mort" means "To King Dagobert II and to Zion belongs this treasure, and it is death" and NOT "he is dead there". There is a place in the vicinity of the village that was back then called "La Mort", meaning "Death", and this little wood was believed to be the place where Saunière found the treasure. All this of course has no meaning if the mysterious parchment that gives the message is in fact a forgery of the 20th century, like the article exposes. Indeed the Prieuré de Sion is a forgery, it was created in 1956 by Pierre Plantard, a crook who wanted to appear descendant of Dagobert II king of France, and the Prieuré de Sion DID NOT EXIST BEFORE(unlike the Da Vinci Code pretends). The mysterious parchment is indeed a forgery. Still most probably the abbe Saunière did find a treasure in his Visigoth church. Was it the table or another part of the temple treasure, or some other piece of the Visigoth treasure, one does not know for sure. After Saunière''s death, his maid burned the banknotes into which the treasure had been converted, and eventually died, remaining resolutely silent about the origin of this great wealth.
Let''s follow then the most probable trail the temple table followed. In the middle of the 6th century, the Visigoths leave France for Spain because of the FranKs. Toledo in the south of Spain is the capital city of their empire and is where they hid their treasure, in the labyrinthic caverns under the city. A popular story still says that the table of the temple was among this treasure. In 711, after conquering North Africa, the muslims conquer the south of Spain, under their chief, Tarek. They take Toledo, but Rodrigue king of the Visigoths flees to the north with the treasure. Finally Tarek captures him and finds the table in a city that would be Medina-Celi, according to an Arabic chronicle.
IV. THE MUSLIM KINGDOM
Many oriental chronicles about Al Andalous (Andalusia = Spain) tell that Tarek found the table of the temple in Spain. It was then brought to Damascus to calife El-Walid. Among others, the "Tale of the Arabian Knights" tells of the arrival of the table to Damascus. The caliph El-Walid has it melted into 36,000 dinars denarii, which is 150 kg of gold. Knowing that Flavius Josephus says that the table was made of "several talents of gold" and that a talent is 30 kg, it''s very possible. The caliph sent the money to the Mecca for the construction of the door of the Kaaba, which is made of gold: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Kaaba_door1.jpg This is where, most propably, the table of God''s temple finished its course--in the Muslim shrine!
V. THE MENORAH
The Menorah, the lamp in God''s temple, was among Titus'' treasure, as depicted in the Arch of Titus in Rome, and as related in Flavius Josephus'' story of Titus'' triumphal entry in the capital of the Roman Empire. Still, contrary to
the table, the Visigoths did not find it when they sacked the city in 410. But in the second sack of the city in 455, the Vandals, who were barbarians too, found it. Again according to Procope, they take "the gold from Jerusalem", that is the rest left behind by the Visigoths, with the Menorah being the masterpiece, and they bring it to their new capital of Carthage in North Africa, where they rule for a short time, before being crushed by Byzantine general Bélisaire. Bélisaire comes to Carthage, destroys his enemies and takes "the instruments of the temple", according to Procope, who is in fact Bélisaire''s secretary. That''s how we know we can trust Procope''s story about the table and the lamp. He was there. Bélisaire brings the Menorah to Byzantium, the capital of the eastern empire, where Justinian reigns as a powerful emperor. But Justinian gets afraid by the "terrible" gift: the kingdoms of the Jews, of the Romans and of the Vandals possessed the Menorah and all were destroyed. So he swiftly sends the Menorah back to Jerusalem, to be exposed in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Of this we are sure. But then we lose track of the Menorah somewhere on the way from Byzantium to Jerusalem. No trace of it is to be found any more. The new state of Israel chose the Menorah as its symbol.
These notes are a compilation of information obtained from French documentaries about the whereabouts of the temple treasure that existed at the time of the destruction of the temple in 70 AD, principally about its masterpieces: the table and the Menorah. As for the ark, it hadn''t been there for centuries prior. As for the quest for the ark, that is another story altogether, with several intriguing possibilities. Part of the temple treasure might explain the wealth of the French Abbot Saunière in the beginning of the 20th century, whose true wealth is the base of many historical forgeries, esp. a 1982 book called "Holy Blood and Holy Grail" (read article) and the 1956 Prieuré de Sion forgery.
These forgeries are themselves the base of Dan Brown''s Da Vinci Code forgery. Many books expose Dan Brown''s book''s false information (virtually everything!). I am aware of no book that tells the story we told, on which Da Vinci Code is based.', 'No', '20071202202709'); INSERT INTO `articles` VALUES (1795, '11/30/2005 0:00:00', 'Port Au Prince, Haiti, church leaders ambushed', 'Report by Anthony and Karlyn Battle - Tuesday, 29 November 2005
Last Friday night, in Port Au Prince, Haiti, church leaders Reggie and Martine Lambert were ambushed at their front door as they returned home from an evening out with their friends and partners in the gospel Max and Kareen LaPlanche.
During the struggle, Reggie was shot in the neck and Martine was taken captive. Max broke his leg when he seized the opportunity to go for help. But, as our incredible God would have it, the bullet that was meant to harm Reggie passed through his neck without causing damage to his vocal cords, spinal cord, or any major arteries. Amid the confusion, Martine''s captors argued with each other, demanding to know if she or Reggie had any weapons. When Martine replied "no," they returned her keys and wallet, telling her to go home!
Both families are eternally grateful for all the love and prayers they have been receiving from the U.S. churches, Haitian brothers and sisters, and local friends and coworkers. "God is truly awesome and amazing!" said Martine. Let us keep the churches in Haiti, the Lamberts and the La Planches in our prayers. Please pray for Reggie and Max to recover from their injuries, and their families to draw strength from God during this time of testing. To God be the glory for His mighty saving power!