Rennes-le-Château (Rènnas del Castèl in Occitan) is a small medieval castle village and a commune in the Aude département in Languedoc in south-western France. It is known internationally, and receives tens of thousands of visitors per year, for being at the center of various conspiracy theories. Starting in the 1950s, a local restaurant owner, in order to increase business, had spread rumours of a hidden treasure found by a 19th century priest.
Dagobert II (c. 650 – December 23, 679) was the king of Austrasia (676–79), the son of Sigebert III and Chimnechild of Burgundy. He was the last of the Merovingian dynasty to rule independently in Austrasia, with the exception of Charles Martel's dubious candidate Clotaire IV.
Pierre Athanase Marie Plantard (March 18, 1920 – February 3, 2000) was a French draughtsman, best known for being the principal perpetrator of the Priory of Sion, which he developed to manufacture evidence that he was a Merovingian dynast and the "Grand Monarch" prophesied by Nostradamus.
François Bérenger Saunière (1852-1917) was a priest in the French village of Rennes-le-Château, in the Aude region, officially from 1885 to 1909 (when he was transferred to another village by his bishop, that he declined and subsequently resigned) and after 1909, until his death in 1917, in the role of Free Priest (a priest working independently without a parish). The epitaph on Saunière's original 1917 gravestone read that he was 'priest of Rennes-le-Château 1885-1917'.
Jean de Gisors (1133 – 1220) was a Norman lord of the fortress of Gisors in Normandy, where meetings were traditionally convened between English and French kings. It was here, in 1188, a squabble occurred that involved the cutting of an elm. Initially he was a vassal of the king of England - Henry II and then Richard I. During this time he also owned property in Sussex and the manor of Titchfield in Hampshire in England.
The marquess Philippe de Chérisey (February 13, 1923, Paris – July 17, 1985) was a French writer, radio humorist, and actor (under the name of Amédée). He is best known for his involvement in the creation of fake documents concerning the "history" of the Priory of Sion.
Michael Baigent is an author and speculative historian who co-wrote a number of books that question mainstream perceptions of history and the life of Jesus. He is best known as co-writer of the book The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail.
The Da Vinci Code is a 2003 mystery-detective fiction novel written by American author Dan Brown. It follows symbologist Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu as they investigate a murder in Paris's Louvre Museum and discover a battle between the Priory of Sion and Opus Dei over the possibility of Jesus Christ of Nazareth having been married to Mary Magdalene.
A Jesus bloodline is a hypothetical sequence of direct descendants of the historical Jesus and Mary Magdalene, or some other woman, usually portrayed as his alleged wife or a hierodule. Differing and contradictory versions of a Jesus bloodline hypothesis have been promoted by numerous books, websites and films of non-fiction and fiction in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, which have almost all been dismissed as works of pseudohistory and conspiracy theory.
The Prieuré de Sion, translated from French as Priory of Sion, is a name given to multiple groups, both real and fictitious. The most notorious is a fringe fraternal organization, founded and dissolved in France in 1956 by Pierre Plantard. In the 1960s, Plantard created a fictitious history for that organization, describing it as a secret society founded in the Kingdom of Jerusalem in 1099, which serves the interests of the Merovingian dynasty and its alleged bloodlines.
The Shugborough inscription is a carved sequence of letters that has never been satisfactorily explained, and has been called one of the world's top uncracked ciphertexts. The letters are carved on the 18th-century Shepherd's Monument in the grounds of Shugborough Hall in Staffordshire, England, below a mirror image of Nicholas Poussin's painting, the Shepherds of Arcadia.