The Aims of
History vs The Da Vinci Code aims to examine the historical
claims made in Dan Brown's novel and compare them to the historical
evidence. Unlike many other online resources about this novel, its
intention is not to simply examine some of those claims, but to provide
a comprehensive analysis of all of them. Its intention is to look
at these topics from a purely historical perspective, without any
religious bias or orientation.
comparing the historical evidence to the claims of a fictional novel?
There's no doubt that the novel is fiction. Robert Langdon, Sophie,
Teabing and the other characters do not exist and the events and action
in the story are purely imaginary. But it's not the story or the characters
that have caused confusion and controversy; it's the novel's "historical
background" and the claims the author has made about them that has
But Dan Brown
never claimed the history in the book was really true, did
Actually, that's precisely what Dan Brown has claimed. Repeatedly,
in fact. It was those claims that helped his initial sales immensely
and thus first sparked the controversy about the novel. Unfortunately,
a great many readers genuinely believed those categorical claims by
Brown, despite the fact no historian or art expert on Earth accepts
Are you a Christian?
I'm actually an atheist, though one with an academic background in
medieval literature and ancient and medieval history and a knowledge
of the history of Christianity. Where this site's analysis touches
on religious topics it does so purely in terms of history and attempts
to handle current religious concerns, beliefs and controversies with
neutrality. I have absolutely zero commitment to any religion - my
interest in these subjects is based purely on an historian's dedication
to what can be reasonably argued from the available evidence.
Brown research his novel for over a year using information from experts?
Brown's characters often claim that 'historians', 'scholars' and 'experts'
agree with the historical and artistic information they impart. Dan
Brown, however, clearly and demonstrably used arguments and claims
made by amateurs, conspiracy theorists and New Age writers rather
than works by respected and reputable professional historians and
In the 2006 plagarism
court case over the novel, Brown revealed that he himself didn't actually
even read these books in full. His wife, Blythe Brown, read them and
then e-mailed summaries of what she thought were key points to her
husband. Brown explained to the court that he worked this way because
he has 'a short attention span'. Not surprisingly, the historical
'information' he related in his novel via this strange method of 'research'
- which he later confidently claimed is 'all true' - has since been
utterly rejected by real historians and scholars..
Isn't it true
that 'history is written by the winners?'
Many historical sources are written by the 'winners'. Others are written
by the 'losers'. Others still are written by people who are neither.
No modern historian takes any source at face value and always takes
the perspective, biases, context and objectives of each source into
account in their analysis. Archaeology, inscriptions, letters, diaries,
household accounts and a host of other sources of information are
also used so that, even when the 'winners' do try to manipulate information
(which is rare), current professional historians are not forced to
rely only on their perspective.
that 'history is written by the winners' is a totally oversimplified
cliche, and one he uses to try to excuse the complete lack of evidence
for most of his claims.