Saturday, January 5, 2008

Mystery of Holy Grail Solved? NOT!

From the Evening Times online

I’ve cracked mystery of the Holy Grail
by Wendy Miller
Publication date 26/12/07

A GLASGOW historian believes he may have solved the world's most ancient mystery - and found the Holy Grail.

Mark Oxbrow is preparing to export his amazing discovery to the US leaving fans of book and movie blockbuster the Da Vinci Code with a new theory to consider.

During a trip to Paris, Mark, 36, from the West End, stumbled across what he believes is the real Holy Grail - and it's not a bloodline between Jesus and Mary Magdalene as claimed in the book and film.

While exploring medieval treasures in the Louvre, Mark found a green gem-encrusted serving dish which he thinks could have been used at the Last Supper.

Amazingly the French national treasure dates back to the time of Christ, matching descriptions of the Grail.

Mark's discovery is documented in a new book which has already sold thousands of copies - and is due to hit US and French bookstores in the New Year.

Mark's curiosity was aroused when he and wife Jill spotted the Patene de Serpentine tucked away in the medieval section of the Louvre Museum.

Back home Mark, a former Glasgow University lecturer, started to research the dish's origins, a trail that lead him closer and closer to the Holy Grail, the mystery which has confounded historians for centuries.

For hundreds of years now scholars and theologians have been unable to agree, even on the meaning of the Grail.

It used to be thought of as either the cup used to catch Christ's blood during his crucifixion or a dish used at the Last Supper.

Another theory is that the Grail is merely a Christian symbol while the Da Vinci Code controversially depicts it as the bloodline between Jesus and Mary Magdalene.

French poet Chretien de Troyes wrote numerous stories about the Grail which Mark's research links to the Patene, used to serve mass wafers in the sacred ceremonies of the French royal court from the 12th century onwards.

Mark, a historian and folklorist, said: "It's impossible to prove 100% that the Patene de Serpentine is the real Holy Grail.

"But the Patene is a sacred medieval treasure that perfectly matches every detail of the earliest descriptions of the Grail.

"It was in the right place at the right time.

"There is certainly a lot of interest in the theory."

Dating back to 100BC and 100AD, the dish is also engraved with tiny golden fish, an early symbol of Christianity.

An A to Z of King Arthur and the Holy Grail by Simon Cox and Mark Oxbrow is out now on Mainstream Publishing priced £12.99.
"Christian" fish symbols engraved on a dish used at the pre-Christian Jewish ceremony of Passover? Yeah, right.

Anything attributed to Jesus (and/or martyrs) coming out of the so-called Christian medieval period is automatically suspect in my book. I was, however, intrigued by the name of this dish because of the "serpetine," and did some further research on it.

After reading more about the piece, it appears that the name "serpentine" is the name of the green stone used in the center of the dish. It could also, on an outside shot, possibly apply to the pattern of the stone inset in the gold "trim" around the green stone base of the dish, which rather resembles the "scales" on a serpent. I'm still not quite clear on all of this, even after reading this entry at the Louvre Museum:

Original website (in French). Babelfish translation to English (as best I can figure out):

Patène serpentine

The patène consists of a saucer serpentine encrusted with gold fish, probably dating from the first century and a mount of gold adorned with stones, which are developing between the grounds of silverware compartmentalized, an association that we found until the beginning of the eleventh century.

She [it] accompanied at Saint-Denis' cut of the Ptolemies, "kantharos agate which was adapted mount goldsmith similar to patène (Paris, National Library, Cabinet Medal).

The treasure of Saint-Denis

The Patene serpentine from the treasure of Saint-Denis. In sandyonisienne history, it was always associated with the antique vase-cameo of Sardonyx (white and orange agate), sculptured reliefs bachiques nicknamed Cup Ptolemies. Both served at religious ceremonies queens of France at Saint-Denis, from the fifteenth century, the abbey acting as the coronation place of queens. Both remained famous works together in the treasury until 1791. At that time, the chalice was tabled to the Cabinet of Antiques. Stolen in 1804, but he [it] was found without his mount, which had been fondue: it is always kept at Cabinet today Medal of the National Library. However, the integration patène collections of the Museum since 1793.

The serpentine patène

It consists of two distinct and different epochs. The quality of the size of the apparent patène best works of the ancient glyptique before the first century and the first century AD, marbled dark green of the serpentine is inlaid with eight small gold fish (including Both [two?] are missing), probably added at the time of the Roman Empire for the liturgical use of the object.

The patronage of Charles the Bald in Saint-Denis

At the Carolingian period, the kantharos of sardonyx was transformed into a chalice from adding a foot decorated with a circular node decorated with precious stones. The elegant dish stone lasts lived also set with a set of silverware compartmentalized where gemstones embedded around pearls, garnets, colored glasses. The border compartmentalized illustrates the art of goldsmiths of the court of Charles the Bald, whose art reflected other objects prestigious offered by the king in Saint-Denis as the cross and the altar of gold disappeared today.


Morgaine said...

Fish at that time in history were a Goddess symbol. The "Jesus fish" is actually an Ichthys, which means "womb." It's the Yoni of the Goddess. Even the tradition of eating fish on Friday goes back to the worship of Venus/Aphrodite, when fish was eaten on the Goddess' day to increase sexual arousal.

I'd say that bowl has more to do with the Queen of Heaven than any patriarchal pretender to Her throne.

I love your blog, btw - I put a link to it on my site.

Jan said...

Hi Morgaine,

In re-reading the article and the not-so-great Babelfish translation from French to English of the info from the museum's website, I am now clearer that the serpentine stone part of the dish dates to possibly the 1st century BCE to CE (the gem-encrusted border was added much later) - so it might have been in use during the time Jesus lived. That being said, would poor Jews under the yoke of Roman oppression at the time be in possession of such a dish, and if they were in possession of such a dish, would they have used it in their sacred Passover observance? Would not Jews of the period have been in full knowledge of the symbolism of the fish - and abhored the dish as a pagan thing representative of the Goddess?

I didn't know about the symbolism of the fish! Thanks for the info. Should probably have figured it out for myself (duh) because of the use of fish imagery in ancient Egypt. In one of those not coincidences, a few days ago I took delivery of a used copy of Barbara Walker's "The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets" and while I was thumbing through it I came across an entry on "fish" - "world-wide symbol of the Great Mother was the pointed-oval sign of the yoni, known as vesica piscis, Vessel of the Fish"..."Fish and womb were synonymous in Greek, delphos meant both. The original Delphic oracle first belonged to the abyssal fish-goddess under her pre-Hellenic name of Themis, often incarnate in a great fish, wale, or dolphis (delphinos). The cycles in which she devoured and resurrected the Father-Son entered all systems of symbolism from the Jews' legend of Jonah to the classic 'Boy on a Dolphin.' ... The fish-goddess Aphrodite Salacia was said to bring 'salacity' through orgiastic fish-easting on her sacred day. Friday. The Catholic church inherited the pagan custom of Friday fish-easting and pretended it was a holy fast [har!]; but the disguise was thin. Friday was dies veneris in Latin, the Day of Venus, or of lovemaking: Freya's Day in Teutonic Europe. The notion that fish are 'aphrodisiac' food is still widespread even today. ... The fish symbol of the yonic Goddess was so revered throughout the Rman empire that Christian authorities insisted on taking it over, with extensive revision of myths to deny its earlier female-genital meanings. Some claimed the fish represented Christ because Greek ichthys, 'fish,' was an acronym for 'Jesus Christ, Son of God.' but the Christian fish-sign ws the same as that of the Goddess's yoni or Pearly Gate: two crescent moons forming a vesica piscis. ..."

There's more; fascinating information - this encyclopedia is a gem!
Thanks again for your input - will return the favor of a link to your website.

Morgaine said...

I'm on my second copy of The Encyclopedia - the first one disintegrated after years of use. It's full of amazing information.

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