November 26, 2004


Code cracked as hunt for Grail goes on (KAREN MCVEIGH, The Scotsman)

IT is one of the most enduring myths of Western European literature, a cryptic message which has inspired tales from Arthurian legends to Dan Brown’s best-selling crime novel The Da Vinci Code.

But after months of research, experts believe they may now hold the key to the 250-year-old code, which is carved on a monument at the Earl of Lichfield’s Shugborough Hall estate in Staffordshire.

The Shepherd’s Monument, commissioned in 1748 by the then earl, Thomas Anson, features a carved image of a Nicolas Poussin painting with the letters D.O.U.O.S.V.A.V.V.M. underneath.

The cryptic inscription was rumoured to point to the location of the Holy Grail - the cup Jesus is said to have used at the Last Supper.

But veteran code-breakers from Bletchley Park, the former Second World War intelligence centre-turned museum in Buckinghamshire, now say the code is likely to stand for "Jesus (As Deity) Defy", a message from a sect called the Priory of Sion, a secret order with similar beliefs to the Knights Templar. Both sects were held to be heretical, notably by the Church of England, because they considered Jesus to be an earthly prophet, not a heavenly one.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 26, 2004 11:21 AM
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