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This is an index of the chapters in the novel which contain substantial claims about history. Those chapters which contain only action scenes or plot elements have been ommited.

Each chapter is sub-divided into topic headings analysing the claims made in that section of the novel and their associated subjects.

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The 'Rose Line'

The First Meridian

The 'Rose Line'

There it is.
Embedded in the grey granite floor, a thin polished strip of brass glistened in the stone … a golden line slanting across the church's floor. It was a gnomon, Silas had been told, a pagan astronomical device like a sundial. Tourists, scientists, historians and pagans from around the world came to Saint-Suplice to gaze upon this famous line.
The Rose Line.
…. It was an ancient sundial of sorts, a vestige of the pagan temple which had once stood on this very spot.

(Chapter Twenty-two, pp. 103 - 106)

There certainly is a gnomon line built into the floor of Saint-Suplice, but to call it 'a pagan astronomical device' is incorrect. There is nothing 'pagan' about a gnomon - it is simply a marker used, in conjunction with an 'oculus' once built into the church's south wall, to help determine the date of moveable Christian feasts, such as Easter and Pentecost. Along with its associated obelisk, the gnomon was added to the church in the time of the priest Languet de Gergy (1675-1750). Similar gnomons, made for the same purpose, are found in other churches in France and elsewhere.

Contrary to Brown's statement in the novel, the gnomon of Saint-Sulpice has never been known as 'the Rose Line'. There was no ancient temple on the site of Saint-Sulpice, as extensive archaeology under the church has proven.

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The First Meridian

The question for early navigators was which of these lines would be called the Rose Line - the zero longitude - the line from which all other longitudes on earth would be measured.
Today that line was in Greenwich, England.
But it had not always been.
Long before the establishment of Greenwich as the prime meridian, the zero longitude of the entire world had passed directly through Paris, and through the Church of Saint-Sulpice. The brass marker in Saint-Sulpice was a memorial to the world's first prime meridian, and although Greenwich had stripped Paris of the honour in 1888, the original Rose Line was still visible today.

(Chapter Twenty-two, p.106)

While it is true that, before the establishment of Greenwich as the international prime meridian, the Parisian meridian held that status, Brown is wrong when he says this was the line found in Saint-Sulpice. The actual Parisian meridian passes nearby, but it is not the Saint-Sulpice meridian at all. The line in the church of Saint-Sulpice has no great historical or esoteric significance at all.

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History vs The Da Vinci Code is copyright Tim O'Neill 2006. All rights reserved.