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England and Wales Court of Appeal (Civil Division) Decisions
You are here: BAILII >> Databases >> England and Wales Court of Appeal (Civil Division) Decisions >> Baigent & Anor v The Random House Group Ltd  EWCA Civ 247 (28 March 2007)
Cite as:  EWCA Civ 247
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COURT OF APPEAL (CIVIL DIVISION)
ON APPEAL FROM THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE
MR JUSTICE PETER SMITH
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
LORD JUSTICE RIX
LORD JUSTICE LLOYD
| (1) MICHAEL BAIGENT
(2) RICHARD LEIGH
|- and -
|THE RANDOM HOUSE GROUP LIMITED
WordWave International Ltd
A Merrill Communications Company
190 Fleet Street, London EC4A 2AG
Tel No: 020 7421 4040 Fax No: 020 7831 8838
Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)
(instructed by Orchard Brayton Graham LLP) for the Appellants
John Baldwin Q.C. and James Abrahams
(instructed by Arnold & Porter (UK) LLP) for the Respondent
Hearing dates: 16 - 19 January 2007
Crown Copyright ©
Lord Justice Lloyd:
"there are numerous authorities which show that the "part" which is regarded as substantial can be a feature or combination of features of the work, abstracted from it rather than forming a discrete part. That is what the judge found to have been copied in this case. Or to take another example, the original elements in the plot of a play or novel may be a substantial part, so that copyright may be infringed by a work which does not reproduce a single sentence of the original. If one asks what is being protected in such a case, it is difficult to give any answer except that it is an idea expressed in the copyright work."
Lord Hoffmann addressed the point usefully in paragraphs 25 and 26 as well:
"25. … The other proposition is that certain ideas expressed by a copyright work may not be protected because, although they are ideas of a literary, dramatic or artistic nature, they are not original, or so commonplace as not to form a substantial part of the work. …
26. Generally speaking, in cases of artistic copyright, the more abstract and simple the copied idea, the less likely it is to constitute a substantial part. Originality, in the sense of the contribution of the author's skill and labour, tends to lie in the detail with which the basic idea is presented."
Lord Scott made a similar point at paragraph 64, quoting first a test proposed in Laddie, Prescott & Vitoria, The Modern Law of Copyright, to determine whether an altered copy constitutes an infringement:
"'Has the infringer incorporated a substantial part of the independent skill, labour etc contributed by the original author in creating the copyright work?'
My Lords, I think this is a useful test, based as it is on an underlying principle of copyright law that a copier is not at liberty to appropriate the benefit of another's skill and labour."
i) what relevant material was to be found in both works;
ii) how much, if any, of that had been copied from HBHG;
iii) whether what was so copied was on the copyright side of the line between ideas and expression; and
iv) whether any of the material that was copied and did qualify as expression, rather than as ideas, amounted to a substantial part of HBHG.
The third and fourth of these issues, as often, are interconnected.
"the only matter complained of by the Claimants in this case is the matter expressly set out in the 15 Central Theme points of [the VSS]"
and that the only purpose of the material in the respective columns was to show that the matter contained in the particular element is in each work and, as regards DVC, to support the allegation of copying that material. Any matter set out in the passages quoted which does not relate to the corresponding Central Theme point is recorded to be irrelevant.
The task of an appellate court
"approached the issue of substantiality more in the manner of a first instance court making original findings of fact than as an appellate court reviewing findings of fact already made and in very important respects not challenged. It was not for the Court of Appeal to embark on the issue of substantiality afresh unless the judge had misdirected himself, which in my opinion he had not" (see Lord Bingham at paragraph 6).
The two books
HBHG – a summary
1. There was a secret order behind the Knights Templar, which created the Templars as its military and administrative arm; it was most frequently known as the Priory of Sion.
2. The Priory of Sion has been directed by a sequence of Grand Masters, whose names are among the most illustrious in Western history and culture.
3. Although the Knights Templar were destroyed and dissolved between 1307 and 1314, the Priory of Sion remained unscathed. It acted in the shadows behind the scenes and orchestrated certain critical events in Western history.
4. The Priory of Sion exists today and is still operative. It is influential and plays a role in high level international affairs as well as in the domestic affairs of certain European countries.
5. The avowed and declared objective of the Priory of Sion is the restoration of the Merovingian dynasty and bloodline - not only to the throne of France but to the thrones of other European nations.
6. The restoration of the Merovingian dynasty is sanctioned and justifiable both legally and morally. It has survived in a direct line from Dagobert II, via Godfroi de Bouillon and other royal and noble families throughout Europe.
"We could thus tentatively accept, in the absence of any contradictory evidence, that the Merovingian bloodline did continue, more or less as the Prieuré documents maintained. We could tentatively accept that Sigisbert did survive his father's murder, did adopt the family name of Plantard and, as Count of Razès, did perpetuate his father's lineage."
"For four centuries the Merovingian blood royal appears to have flowed through gnarled and numerous family trees. At last, through a process analogous to the grafting of vines in viticulture, it would seem to have borne fruit in Godfroi de Bouillon, Duke of Lorraine. And here, in the House of Lorraine, it established a new patrimony."
They go on to comment that he would have been a rightful king, in his own eyes and those of his supporters, as a legitimate claimant of the dynasty which was deposed with the death of Dagobert II.
"In many of the earlier manuscripts, the Grail is called the 'Sangraal'; and even in the later version by Malory it is called the 'Sangreal'. It is likely that some such form – 'Sangraal' or 'Sangreal' – was in fact the original one. It is also likely that one word was subsequently broken in the wrong place. In other words 'Sangraal' or Sangreal' may not have been intended to divide into 'San Graal' or 'San Greal' – but into 'Sang Raal' or 'Sang Réal'. Or, to employ the modern spelling, Sang Royal. Royal blood."
DVC – a summary
"Nonetheless, Christ's line grew quietly under cover in France until making a bold move in the fifth century, when it intermarried with French royal blood and created a lineage known as the Merovingian bloodline" (page 345)
How Mr Brown wrote DVC
Mr Brown's Synopsis
"Accordingly I conclude that her absence is explicable only on the basis that she would not support Mr Brown's assertion as to the use made of HBHG and when that use occurred in that evidence. "
"Second Mr Brown contends that he wrote the Synopsis for DVC before either he or his wife ever looked at HBHG. Yet it is accepted that the Synopsis contains most of the ideas complained of as having been taken from HBHG."
"216. With that in mind however I accept Mr Brown's evidence that he did not use HBHG when he wrote the Synopsis. The single point identified in this extract of cross examination referred to above is equally explicable on the basis of Mr Brown being caught out in paragraph 123 in being overly casual. I do not accept that this single point is sufficient to reject his evidence on this point. It is quite possible that the annotation occurred after the Synopsis was written when Sophie was linked to Sauniere.
217. He is supported in my view by an examination of the theme of the Synopsis. It seems to me that the theme of the Synopsis is clearly derived from [The Woman with the Alabaster Jar, The Templar Revelation, The Hiram Key, and The Goddess in the Gospels]. It concentrates on the artistic elements of Leonardo da Vinci and the Sacred Feminine Line. I accept that this was down to Blythe Brown's beliefs in this area and I can see and determine in my view that those were the sources for the Synopsis."
"The Synopsis does not, in reality, have what is in effect the Claimants' case of the Langdon and Teabing lectures. As I have set out above those lectures are where the Central Themes are found."
Later, at paragraph 306, he said:
"I conclude that, in the main, the majority of the Central Themes were drawn from HBHG in a language sense but it was not the sole source of Blythe Brown's efforts. She had the other books and they were used for the Synopsis. However, it seems to me clear that when it came to providing the Langdon and Teabing lectures a different pattern emerges. The Teacher, so called in the Synopsis, had no name. When it came to write the rest of the book at a later stage he was given the name Leigh Teabing, which is drawn from HBHG. It is logical, in my view, that having drawn the name from the authors of HBHG, Mr and Mrs Brown would do that at the time when they were writing the lecture parts of the second part of DVC. That is when they introduce HBHG into the list of books and it is in my view when the detail of the language of the Themes is created. I have already observed that in my view Blythe Brown had done significant research using HBHG from some time in 2000. I do not believe Mr Brown used it, as I have said, for the Synopsis, but it was deployed at this later stage when these lectures were written. As the bulk of the material set out in the themes is to be found in HBHG, I can not believe that Blythe Brown would have adopted a scatter gun approach to find these various themes in a series of other books. She used the other books to expand slightly the material which came from HBHG."
In turn at paragraph 308 he said this:
"I therefore conclude that the historical parts in the Synopsis were written using [The Templar Revelation, The Woman with the Alabaster Jar and The Goddess in the Gospels] mainly and not using HBHG. When the later material was deployed, however, I find that it was done using HBHG possibly supplemented by already accrued material from, mainly, [the Woman with the Alabaster Jar]."
"My view, as set out above, is that HBHG did not feature at that stage [i.e. the Synopsis] but I am firmly of the view that HBHG was the essential tool for the Langdon/Teabing Lectures which were written at a later stage. That stage is of course much later, but not as late as Mr Brown suggests in his evidence. The first 190 pages of the book were delivered in March 2002 and it is accepted that there is no use of HBHG in that part. It does not of course follow that whilst Mr Brown up until that stage, might not have used any HBHG material, that Blythe Brown was not already extensively researching the remainder of the book for subsequent use by him. This is, in my view, what happened."
In addition, Mr Rayner James relied on paragraph 273 of the judgment, of which the relevant part is as follows:
"As I have said my firm view is that the Langdon and Teabing lectures were written at stage 2 of writing DVC. When Mr Brown wrote stage 2 which in my view is when the character of Teabing was created the US copy of HBHG possessed by Mr Brown and Blythe Brown was used as the primary vehicle for those lectures almost exclusively. I accept that they had recourse to the other material but I do not believe that other material was used significantly for that part of DVC. When I say "used" it is my firm view that HBHG was used by Blythe Brown to provide the material. I am unsure as to whether or not Mr Brown knew that, but it does not matter as he incorporated it whether he knew its source or not. I make no finding in that regard."
The judge referred to the same point in the last sentence of paragraph 346:
"The major part of the writings of the lectures at a later stage have substantially come from HBHG."
The use made of HBHG in writing DVC: the judge's findings
"I go on to consider whether he copied from HBHG. I bear in mind that the Claimants do not rely upon textual copying as a basis for primary liability."
"I therefore accept the Claimants' first point to show that there are grounds that Mr Brown copied language from HBHG. I do not accept they are evidence of copyright infringement by substantial copying of HBHG whether textual or non textual as they are as I have said too general and too low level of abstraction."
(In this last sentence, as elsewhere, the judge must mean too high a level, rather than too low a level, of abstraction.)
"I regard the suggestion that Mr Brown and Blythe Brown created the Langdon/Teabing lectures from the other sources as completely unsustainable. It flies in the face of logic and the documents as carefully demonstrated by the Claimants in the annex of language similarities set out in their closing submissions. The conclusion is irresistible. Blythe Brown provided the material for the lectures with HBHG in her hands."
He then went on to explain why this finding was of no real significance, at paragraphs 318 and 319:
"318. None of this actually matters very much in the overall scheme. First, Mr Brown has always acknowledged that he used HBHG at some stage. Second, the use of HBHG for copying of these generalised parts of the text is not of itself actionable. They have no independent cause of action. They fall with the primary decision that I have made above.
319. The Claimants were right not to rely upon these as evidence of textual infringement because an examination of them shows they are extremely generalised. Many of them are in effect the only way in which they can be expressed."
i) as regards point 1, that Jesus had a legitimate claim to the throne of Palestine because his wife Mary was of the Tribe of Benjamin and he was of Davidic descent;
ii) as regards point 2, to support the theory that Jesus was married, it was argued that he was a Jew, it was an obligation for a Jewish father to find a wife for his son and if he were not married at least one of the Gospel accounts would have mentioned it.
"333. As I have said above there are no Central Themes in HBHG. Mr Brown cannot have copied the Central Themes in any event. It is true that aspects of the Central Themes can be traced through the textual parts identified by the Claimants. That is because the Central Themes are too general and nothing significant is to be concluded from that identification. If it was the Claimants would have elevated the textual citings of the Central Themes to evidence of textual infringement. However they have studiously avoided doing that.
334. All of this material therefore shows simply that as part of a mechanistic exercise Blythe Brown used HBHG in providing generalised and low level abstract material primarily from HBHG but also from other sources as background material for Mr Brown when he wrote DVC.
335. It follows therefore that there has been no copying of the Central Themes and the Claimants' case is not made out based on this material. If there is no copying of the Central Themes there is no copying of the Central Themes when they are to be found in HBHG.
336. Equally there can be no substantial copying of the Central Themes for the same reason and thus no substantial copying of HBHG.
337. None of this material even though established by the Claimants, assist them in their case because they do not lead to a direct allegation of textual infringement."
Did the judge adopt an incorrect legal test?
"It is essential therefore, for the Claimants to show that the Central Theme is expressed in HBHG, that expression of Central Theme is capable of protection as a literary work under CPDA 88 and that Mr Brown has not only copied it but has substantially copied it."
He appeared to make a similar point to the second of those propositions earlier in his judgment at paragraph 128, in these words:
"As it [i.e. the claim] is not based on textual copying it is necessary to identify precisely what it [i.e., presumably, the Central Theme] is as a first step before it can actually be considered whether it is actually capable of subsisting as a literary work which can be infringed by it copying."
In turn, at paragraph 245 he said this:
"It follows therefore that if overall the Central Theme cannot amount to any literary work because it is too general or too low a level of abstraction or because it is a collection of facts and ideas without any architecture or structure then the same must be said of HBHG which is allegedly copied."
"whether it is actually capable of subsisting as a literary work or is a substantial part of a literary work which can be infringed by copying"
"Even if there is a Central Theme as alleged by the Claimants in HBHG its expression in the Central Theme it is merely an expression of a number of facts and ideas at a very general level. There is nothing in them in my view that goes beyond that proposition. It follows therefore that the Central Theme as expressed is not such as to justify being protected against copying."
The judge's treatment of the issue of substantiality
"To suggest HBHG has very little in it apart from this Central Theme does a great disservice to the Claimants and I do not believe for one minute they genuinely believe it."
"Without the Central Theme there is very little left to HBHG."
Correspondingly, in his opening at the trial, in a passage in which he led up to a citation of paragraph 24 of Lord Hoffmann's speech in Designers' Guild, Mr Rayner James said (Day 1, page 74):
"What is happening is that, by reading and understanding the whole text, we say the central theme is what the reader has understood and what the plot effectively for the reader of the book is. So expressing that understanding, which is necessary for forensic purposes, is necessarily a process of abstraction."
Shortly afterwards, at pages 75-6 of the transcript, he said this:
"In order for an exercise such as the central theme to be of any help it has to be at a sensible level of abstraction which does justice to the complexity of the full text but which, nevertheless, serves as a synopsis or summary. We say that is what the claimants have sought to do in putting forward the central theme as a collection of 15 points."
"It is the Central Theme that is alleged to have been copied. The Central Theme therefore must be found in HBHG and it must be that that must be copied and found in DVC. Indeed that is the purpose of the VSS. This necessarily in my view involves a careful analysis of the Central Theme to see what the Central Theme actually comprises and consequently once it is correctly analysed whether it is of such substance that it can be protected by the action when it is established that the Defendants have copied it."
"Further it is contended that the Central Theme does not represent a theme which is presented by HBHG as it is neither central nor any theme of HBHG. In this context it is contended that the 15 points are not presented in HBHG in a way that they are differentiated from or distinguished from a mass of other material and is not apparent to a reader that 15 Central Theme points are the Central Theme of HBHG."
He reverted to this at paragraph 187:
"The Defence also contends that HBHG contains a very large number of ideas and suggestions not all of which are consistent with each other and many of which appear to be marginal. The Central Theme it is suggested is an arbitrary selection of some of those ideas and suggestions with modifications and amplification to suit a presently unknown purpose. That was further expanded in the trial. The Defendants contend that the Central Theme is an artificial creation dovetailed to what can be found in the DVC. Thus it is submitted large parts of essential elements of HBHG are jettisoned from the Central Theme because they do not appear in the DVC and are thus inconvenient for the purpose of present play."
"I am entitled to see whether or not the Claimants evidence about their Central Theme is credible. At the end of the day if they are unable to say in a coherent way what their Central Theme is that is strongly supportive of the proposition that there is no such Central Theme as alleged."
"What we are talking about when we refer to the central theme is an artificial legal construct developed for the purposes of this case. None of us thought in these terms prior to this case. We are dealing with an artificial construct about which, I confess, I have always had some misgivings."
"… the Claimants in their closing submissions retreated to the submission that the Central Theme should be read as a whole it being the Central Theme of HBHG. They submit that it does not have to be the only possible description of what is to be found in the book in that there can be other themes that are dealt with in the book. It was not intended to be a précis full or partial nor was it to be approached as if it were a substitute for the book."
"The fact that the Claimants had difficulty formulating their own Central Theme which was allegedly always in their minds when they wrote HBHG is incredible. I can forgive the obvious blunder of missing the Grail out of the first 19 but there are limits to forgiveness. No satisfactory explanation has been given as to why the original CT16 (colloquially "the Splitting of the Elm at Gisors" in 1188) has disappeared. I would have thought that that was important. Old CT14 and 15 which dealt with Godfroi and his special circle of counsellors (allegedly the Order of Sion) and the creation of the Knights Templar by the Order of Sion to act on their behalf (now CT11 and 12) show the chronological development of the Order of the Sion. I cannot see how the dissolution of the relationship between the Order of Sion and the Knights Templar is so insignificant compared with the creation of the two that it disappears as a Central Theme. Equally the removal of old CT9 with the collapse of "the empire" (unspecified) (Roman or Byzantine) is not explained either. It is a significant part of that theme that the Church of Rome made a pact with Clovis the most powerful of the Merovingian monarchs. In return for that conversion it is alleged the church pledged itself in perpetuity to his bloodline. The betrayal of that pledge survives in new CT9 which was a distillation of old CT10, 11 and 12. This is the converse of the splitting of the Elm problem. The surviving parts are the breaking of the pact between the Church and the Dynasty but the creation of the pact is left out. This is unbelievable in my view."
"250. … It seems to me (and this is what the Defendant submit) is that the Central Theme is not a genuine Central Theme of HBHG and I do no accept that the Claimants genuinely believe it is as such. In my view it is an artificial contrivance designed to create an illusion of a Central Theme for the purposes of alleging infringement of a substantial part of HBHG."
"First I reject the suggestion that the Central Theme as such exists in HBHG. I have read HBHG many times (over the 20 years since its publication) and to attempt to find the Central Theme as one cohesive statement as representing in effect the major substantial part of HBHG by reading the text is a task in my view beyond any reader. One simply cannot read HBHG and then having read it discern from that reading that the Central Theme (whether dissected or not) is the Central Theme of HBHG. If it was one would have expected at least to find somewhere a statement that this is the Central Theme. This is where the Green case [Green v Broadcasting Corporation of New Zealand  RPC 700] is relevant."
"The destruction of Mr Baigent's evidence shows that the Claimants have not in my view created the Central Theme as alleged as a substantial part of HBHG by their time and effort (as opposed to writing HBHG generally)."
"262. Further there is no such chronological order in HBHG as an examination of the location of the themes in the VSS demonstrates. This too demonstrates the falsity of the Central Theme and provides clear indication that they are an artificial creation simply to provide a platform for the present litigation. The Claimants know that their idea of the merger of the two lines of itself is not protectable. Equally they know that mere statements of ideas and fact are not protectable. It is necessary therefore to create a pretence of a structure to found the cause of action. That is what the Central Theme is about and their repeated re-drafting of it is demonstrative again of its falsity.
263. The conclusion I draw from this is that the Claimants started with DVC to find things in it and worked backwards from that exercise to create the Central Theme in HBHG rather than identifying the Central Theme in HBHG and seeing whether it was to be found in DVC."
i) There is relevant material in HBHG which is also to be found in DVC, namely eleven of the Central Theme elements.
ii) Mr Brown had access to HBHG at the time when he wrote the parts of DVC which include this common material. It is not in dispute that Mr Brown used HBHG at this stage.
iii) Mr Brown based relevant parts of DVC (the Langdon/Teabing lectures) on material in HBHG.
iv) Nevertheless, what he took from HBHG amounted to generalised propositions, at too high a level of abstraction to qualify for copyright protection, because it was not the product of the application of skill and labour by the authors of HBHG in the creation of their literary work. It lay on the wrong side of the line between ideas and their expression.
v) In any event (this being the judge's principal ground for decision) although the relevant eleven Central Theme elements were to be found in both books, the claim depended on showing that the Central Theme propounded was a central theme of HBHG, sufficient to qualify as a substantial part of the work, albeit as a combination of features obtained by abstraction, as described by Lord Hoffmann in paragraph 24 of Designers' Guild, and this assertion by the Claimants was not justified, because the Central Theme was not a theme of HBHG at all, but rather was no more than a selection of features of HBHG collated for forensic purposes rather than emerging from a fair reading of the book as a whole. The basis of the Claimants' contention that the Central Theme was a substantial part depended entirely on showing that it was a central theme of the book and, as appears from the passages which I have quoted at paragraph  above, was really the central theme of the book. The judge rejected that contention on the facts. It does not seem to me that it was necessary for him to provide any further explanation for his conclusion that, whatever elements (if any) were copied from HBHG, they did not amount to a substantial part of it.
Lord Justice Rix
"Originality, in the sense of the contribution of the author's skill and labour, tends to lie in the detail with which the basic idea is presented. Copyright law protects foxes better than hedgehogs."
And Lord Millett said (at para 35) that an appellate court should always be very slow to reject a finding of substantiality, since it is "essentially a matter of impression".
Lord Justice Mummery
(1) What are the similarities between the alleged infringing work and the original copyright work? Unless similarities exist, there is no arguable case of copying and an allegation of infringement should never get as far as legal proceedings, let alone a trial. The 1988 Act confers on the owner the exclusive right "to copy the work" either directly or indirectly (section 16). This is not an exclusive right to prevent the publication of a work on a similar subject or a work which happens to contain similar material, thematic or otherwise.
(2) What access, direct or indirect, did the author of the alleged infringing work have to the original copyright work? Unless there was some evidence from which access can be directly proved or properly inferred, it will not be possible to establish a causal connection between the two works, which is essential if the Claimants are to prove that the Defendant's work is a copy.
(3) Did the author of the alleged infringing work make some use in his work of material derived by him, directly or indirectly, from the original work?
(4) If the Defendant contends that no such use was made, what is his explanation for the similarities between the alleged infringing work and the original copyright work? Are they, for example, coincidental? Or are they explained by the use of similar sources? If the latter, what are the common sources which explain the similarities? How were the sources used by the authors of the respective works?
(5) If, however, use was made of the original copyright work in producing the alleged infringing work, did it amount, in all the circumstances, to "a substantial part" of the original work? The acts restricted by the copyright in a literary work are to the doing of them "in relation to the work as a whole or any substantial part of it". See section 16(3) (b) of the 1988 Act.
(6) What are the circumstances or factors which justify evaluating the part copied in the alleged infringing work as "a substantial part" of the original copyright work?
B. The role of the Court of Appeal
C. The original copyright work
"… a substantial amount of skill and labour in the creation of [HBHG] through the research and identification of the source materials, the collation, consideration and interpretation of these materials, the development of the Central Theme (as defined in paragraph 3 herein) and the presentation of the hypotheses and arguments resulting from this extensive work by the Claimants. The Claimants expended this skill and labour over many years culminating in the publication of [HBHG]. As part of the creation of [HBHG], the Claimants selected and compiled a sequence of events, incidents and conclusions from a wide variety of sources using the Claimants' skill, knowledge and judgment."
D. Nature of copying
E. Infringement and substantial part
Points 10, 11 and 13 are in italics to show that they were held not to be in DVC. Point 14 is underlined to show that it was held not to be in HBHG.
|1. Jesus was of royal blood, with a legitimate claim to the throne of Palestine|
|2. Like any devout Jew of the time, and especially like a Rabbi and any royal or aristocratic claimant, he would have been married.|
|3. As expected of any Jew at the time, he would have children.|
|4. At some time after the crucifixion, Jesus' wife, the figure known as Mary Magdalene, fled the Holy Land and found refuge in one of many Judaic communities then scattered around the south of France. When she fled the Holy Land, the Magdalene might have been pregnant with Jesus' offspring, or such offspring might already have been born and brought with her. We concluded from studying the Grail Romances and early manuscripts that Mary Magdalene fled the Holy Land with the Sangraal and that by turning Sangraal into 'Sang Raal' or 'Sang Réal' we suggested that Mary Magdalene fled with the royal blood.|
|5. We considered what the Holy Grail was, whether the Holy Grail was a cup or whether the Grail was in some way related to Mary Magdalene and the Sang Real. We concluded that the Grail would have been at least two things simultaneously. On the one hand it would have been Jesus's bloodline and descendants and it would have been quite literally the vessel that contained Jesus's blood. In other words it would have been the womb of the Magdalene and by extension the Magdalene herself.|
|6. In a Judaic community in the South of France, the bloodline of Jesus and the Magdalene would have been perpetuated for some five centuries - not a particularly long time, so far as royal and aristocratic blood lines are concerned.|
|7. Towards the end of the 5th century, Jesus' bloodline intermarried with that of the royal line of the Franks. From this union, there issued the Merovingian dynasty.|
|8. In the meantime, the Roman Empire in the fourth century AD, under the auspices of Constantine, had adopted "Pauline" Christianity as its officially sanctioned and tolerated form of Christianity. This was done as a matter of convenience to foster unity; and once "Pauline" Christianity became the official orthodoxy, all other forms of Christianity became, by definition, heresies. By the end of the century Christianity had become the official religion of the Roman Empire. The Church's dogmatic religious stance thus benefited from the support of secular authority.|
|9. When the Merovingian dynasty grew weaker under Clovis' successors, the Church reneged on its pact and colluded in the assassination of Dagobert II, last of the Merovingian rulers. Although Dagobert died and the Merovingians were deposed, Dagobert's son, Sigisbert, survived and perpetuated the Merovingian bloodline through a number of noble houses. Towards the end of the 11th century, the Merovingian blood line emerged on the central stage of history in the person of Godfroi de Bouillon, Duke of Lorraine.|
|10. When Godfroi embarked on the first crusade in 1099, he was, in effect seeking to reclaim his birthright and heritage, the throne of Palestine to which his ancestors had possessed a claim a thousand years before.|
|11. Godfroi surrounded himself with a circle of counsellors, who were endowed with the Abbey situated on Mount Sion in Jerusalem and became known as the Ordre de Sion, or, subsequently, the Prieuré de Sion (Priory of Sion).|
|12. The Ordre or Prieuré de Sion created the Knights Templar as their administrative and executive arm.|
|13. In the mid-12th century, members of the Ordre de Sion established themselves in France, from where they subsequently spread out to own properties across the whole of Europe. When the Holy Land was lost, France became the Prieuré's primary base and headquarters.|
|14. The Prieuré continued to act as protectors and custodians of the Merovingian bloodline, the "blood royal" or "sang réal", the so-called "Holy Grail".|
|15. During its early history - until the 14th century - the Grand Masters of the Prieuré were drawn from a network of interlinked families, all of whom could claim Merovingian descent. From the 14th century on, the Prieuré (according to its purported statutes, which Brown would appear not to have seen) would, for complicated reasons, move outside the family. Grand Masters would then be, on occasion, illustrious names - Leonardo, for example, Botticelli, Sir Isaac Newton, Victor Hugo, Debussy, Cocteau. Sometimes, however, the names would be rather more obscure, like Charles Nodier. In any case, all "outsiders" listed as Grand Masters still have close connections with the network of families claiming Merovingian descent.|