Perhaps Plantard really thought that his claim would one day be taken seriously, and that he could secure the throne of France, if not for himself, then for his son Thomas. But unfortunately for him, although fascinated by all of the mystique and intrigue surrounding the Priory, the French public has not warmed to the idea of reviving the Merovingian monarchy. They have had to cut off a lot of heads to get rid of the throne in the name of “liberty, equality, and fraternity.” They are not about to bring it back.
Chapter 6: The Sorcerer Kings
But, you may wonder, what of these Merovingian kings and their sacred royal bloodline? Before the publication of Holy Blood, Holy Grail in 1982, most people in the English-speaking world had never heard of them. Before the publication of Gerard de Sede’s books about the Priory of Sion in the 1970s, most people in France had never thought about a return of the Merovingian kings.
For one thing, the Merovingians had never ruled over “France” proper: they ruled land masses that later became France, such as Gaul, Burgundy, and Austrasia. Not had there ever consistently been any definitive Merovingian lands. The borders of the Merovingian kingdom had been constantly in flux due to their family tradition of dividing lands and titles evenly amongst a deceased king’s sons, rather than giving it all to the eldest.
For another thing, the Merovingian royal line was thought to have died out in the eighth century, when Childeric II was deposed. The Merovingian monarchy had been effectively powerless anyway since the assassination of Childeric III’s ancestor, King Dagobert II, in 679 A.D. As far as history was concerned, they had long ago been finished off and replaced.
Finally, as I stated above, the French people have shown no desire to reinstate monarchy of any sort in their country. Perhaps this explains why the Merovingian mythos promoted by the Priory of Sion, Holy Blood, Holy Grail, and The Da Vinci Code has had a more powerful effect in the English-speaking world than it ever did in France.
It is not known when the Merovingian dynasty began, for their rule over the Frankish kingdoms seems to have already been well-established by the time of King Meroveus in 448 A.D. Meroveus was the source of the line’s name, and the first king of that line to have made his way onto the historical record. Before this there is no other line of Frankish kings whom the Merovingians would have usurped: they apparently had always been the royal house of the Franks as far back as anyone could remember.
Meroveus was, however, worthy of being called the progenitor of the dynasty, for his conception was in no way natural, at least according to his legend. This says that Meroveus was the spawn of two fathers: one, a man, the other, a mysterious sea creature called “the Quinotaur.” This beast raped his mother, already pregnant, as she was swimming in the ocean, and managed to magically inject his own seed into the developing fetus. Thus the child was born half human, and half … something else. This is why Meroveus’ name bore within it the French word for “sea”, and why his descendants, the Merovingian kings, were believed to possess magical, super-human powers. As Holy Blood, Holy Grail states:
“According to tradition Merovingian monarchs were occult adepts, initiates in arcane sciences, practitioners in esoteric arts … They were often called the sorcerer kings or thaumaturge kings. By virtue of some miraculous property in their blood, they could allegedly heal by the laying on of hands; and according to one account the tassels on the fringes of their robes were deemed to possess miraculous curative powers. They were said to be capable of clairvoyant or telepathic communication with beasts and with the natural world around them, and to wear powerful magical necklaces. They were said to possess an arcane spell that protected them and granted them phenomenal longevity – which history, incidentally, does not seem to confirm.”
Other rumors about the Merovingians were very specific. For starters, each supposedly bore a birthmark that consisted of a red equilateral cross, either above the heart or between the shoulder blades. They were called “the long-haired kings” because they refused to cut their hair, which purportedly, like the biblical figure of Samuel, contained the essence of their magical powers. At death they partook of the ancient Celtic ritual of trepanation, allowing the “soul” to escape to the afterlife through a hole drilled in the deceased man’s skull. They were also ritually entombed with strange, occult artifacts, much like the Egyptian Pharaohs. In the tomb of Meroveus’ son, King Childeric, the body was interred with a severed horse’s head, a golden bull’s head, a crystal ball, and three-hundred golden bees. (These bees were later attached to the coronation robe of Napoleon Bonaparte, who had married a Merovingian-descended princess, in order to connect himself symbolically with this ancient kingly line.) There was another similarity between the Merovingians and the Egyptian Pharaohs: both were considered to be priest-kings, and living incarnations of the divine. This was seen by the authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail as evidence for a possible descent of the Merovingians from Christ.
Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln speculated that it might have been knowledge of this remarkable ancestry which was the impetus behind the pact made between Meroveus’ grandson, King Clovis I, and the Roman Catholic Church in the year 469, bestowing upon Clovis the title “New Constantine”, and control over a vast kingdom which provided the prototype for the “Holy Roman Empire.” This title was, according to the pact, to be passed down to his descendants from that moment on, in exchange for his conversion to the faith. (Yes, the presumed “children of Christ” were themselves, until that time, not Christians.)
The idea, according to Holy Blood, Holy Grail, was that by employing the Merovingians and allowing them to spread their empire, the Church could keep the priest-kings “under their thumb”, so to speak, and silent about their divine lineage, which could be devastating for the hegemony of the Roman faith. For several generations, this agreement was observed, and the baptism of Clovis was a fondly remembered event, commonly depicted in ancient seals with the king being submerged in a Grail-like cup. But in the year 679, the Church broke their very own pact, in the most devastating of ways.
By the time the Merovingian King Dagobert II was born, in 651, the power of the throne had already been weakened, with authority increasingly being usurped by court chancellors known as “Mayors of the Palace.” On the death of his father, the five-year-old Dagobert was kidnapped by then Palace Mayor Grimoald, who tried to put his own son on the throne instead. Human compassion saved young Dagobert from death, according to the legend, and he was exiled to Ireland, only to return years later and reclaim the throne in 679.
But the problems of the Mayors of the Palace continued. Apparently displeased with Dagobert’s lack of allegiance and devotion to the faith (a problem noted in previous Merovingian kings as well), the Roman church entered into a conspiracy with Mayor Pepin the Fat. On December 23, supposedly while on a hunting trip in the haunted and sacred wood called the “Forest of Woevres”, Dagobert was lanced through the eye, on Pepin’s orders, some say. With Roman Catholic endorsement, Pepin passed political power onto his son, Charles Martel, thus beginning the famous Carolingian dynasty of France.
After that, the Merovingian royal line faded into obscurity. All subsequent Merovingian kings were essentially powerless, and the last to sit on the throne was Dagobert II’s grandson, King Childeric III. Forty-nine years later, Charles Martel’s grandson, Charlemagne was anointed Holy Roman Emperor. The Church may have thought that they had finally washed its hands of the Merovingian problem.
But what was the problem, exactly? The authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail speculated that the Merovingians, as his blood descendants, knew the “truth” about Jesus Christ. They knew that the Roman Church had stolen their birthright, usurping what must have been their hereditary role as the priest-kings of the “True Church.” This is supposedly why the Catholic Church wanted them dead and gone.
But according to the Priory of Sion’s documents in the Bibliotheque Nationale, the Merovingian royal line continued on in secret, via Sigisbert IV, son of Dagobert II and his second wife, Giselle de Razes. Historians assume Sigisbert to have been another casualty of his father’s assassination, but there is no specific record of this. At this point, the Priory documents state that Sigisbert IV was taken by his sister after his father’s assassination and sent to the Languedoc region of Southern France, where his mother lived, and where the Merovingian kingdom’s capitol had once been located.
This reportedly occurred in the year 681. It was then, the Priory documents say, that Sigisbert IV supposedly took on the name of “Plantard”, meaning “ardent flowering shoot”, which is said to be a reference to the continuation of the Merovingian line. He also allegedly took on his uncle’s titles “Duke of Razes” and “Count of Rhedae.” From this, the family names Plantard, Plantavelu, and Plantagenet (the name of one of Britain’s most famous royal lines) can reportedly be traced.
The Priory documents allege that Sigisbert IV’s descendants were the rulers of an independent kingdom in the Languedoc after this. These descendants purportedly included Theodoric, Guillem de Gellone (a famous figure of his time who was mentioned in Dante’s The Divine Comedy) and “Prince Ursus”, listed by the documents as Sigisbert VI. Somewhere around 879, the Prince was allegedly declared “King Ursus” by his supporters, who attempted to usurp King Louis II and place Ursus on the French throne. Although the insurrection failed, Prince Ursus is said to have married into the Breton ducal house, and his descendants took on the duchies of Brittany and Aquitaine. They also brought the bloodline to England, beginning the Planta family line that eventually resulted in the Plantagenets. One member of this Planta line was Bera IV, also called “the Architect.” There is a possibility that he and his descendants may have been involved in the early formation of Freemasonry.
Long after their usurpation, the Merovingian kings do appear to have retained a certain cult status amongst the people they formerly ruled. This is evidenced by the way in which King Dagobert II’s relics were treated after his death. Dagobert’s body was exhumed in 872 from the royal chapel of Saint Remy in Stenay and moved to a new church, where it became a center for cult worship. The relics were believed by the locals to have protected the town against a Viking raid, so a local metropolitan conclave then dubbed him “Saint Dagobert”, and declared his feast day to be December 23, the anniversary of his death.
The raising of Dagobert II to saint status was never recognized by the Church that allegedly conspired to assassinate him. (Until 1159, the Pope’s right to canonize saints was non-exclusive.) Indeed, any chronicle of French kings written before 1646 fails to even mention Dagobert II. This has led some to believe that Church and the Carolingian hierarchy were conspiring to excise Dagobert II and his heirs from the history books.
Chapter 7: Blood Royal
Of course, many authors, including Henry Lincoln himself, will tell you the notion that the Merovingian kingly line continued unbroken through the twentieth century is not backed up by anything beyond what’s written in the Priory of Sion’s documents. The authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail evaluated the evidence in the context of known historical data, and found that it was possible, but not in any way proven. As for the idea that the Merovingians were descendants of Jesus, that was merely what Michael Baigent and his co-authors surmised the Priory of Sion to be implying with their mysterious coded writings, which frequently referred to the importance of the figure of Mary Magdalen. They then explored the possible evidence supporting such an idea in the Gospels, extra-biblical scriptures, and in history.
From their investigation, they determined that it was possible Jesus could have been married, and that it was possible Mary Magdalen was his wife. They correlated this with popular French folk legends which stated that Mary Magdalen had gone to the area of what is now France after the crucifixion, and that she came bearing the “Holy Grail.” Mary Magdalen is believed to have died in a cave in France (there is some disagreement as to which cave and where), after having converted many locals to Christianity, and having lived in that cave as a penitent for 30 years.
In Holy Blood, Holy Grail, they evaluated the medieval romances which had established the European legend of the Holy Grail. This object is most often described as being the cup which Jesus drank from at the Last Supper, and also the cup which collected the blood and water which issued from his side when he was wounded by the sword of Longinus as he was hanging on the cross. The Grail is also sometimes described as a stone that fell from Heaven, and which possesses magical curative powers. Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln determined that these romances might have been written by men who were privy into a secret. The stories emphasized the power of the blood of Christ within the Grail cup, and spoke of a “Grail family” who possessed the Grail by heredity.
In the romances, a knighthood similar to the Templars, and specifically identified as the Templars in one of the romances, is credited with being the “guardians of the Grail.” You will recall that the Priory of Sion claimed to have been responsible for starting the Templar order. Of course, all modern mystical orders claim descent from the Knights Templar, but it is extremely bold to claim that your organization chartered the Templars, and not the other way around. One member of the “Grail family” – Lohengrin – is described in one of the Grail romances as being the father of the real-life Templar knight, Godfroi de Bouillon. Godfroi, as I said earlier, was alleged by the Priory of Sion documents to be a descendant of the Merovingians.
With this information, the authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail then determined that the “Grail” might be a metaphor for a holy royal bloodline, and even speculated that the words “Holy Grail”, originally written as “San Greal” in French (or “San Graal” in German), could be a play on words alluding to this notion. For if you take the letters “SANGREAL”, and divide them to instead spell “Sang Real”, the words then translate as “royal blood.”
In fact, this interpretation had already been suggested by earlier writers, such as Julius Evola. However, Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln went a step further, and hypothesized that the “Grail family” were the Merovingians. The actual origin of the Merovingian line, they speculated, was not a sea monster, but instead the secret descendants of Jesus and Mary Magdalen. The sacred vessel containing Christ’s blood which Mary was said to have taken with her to France could have actually been a metaphor for her impregnated womb.