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Is there any information about Soshandukht or her father?

Is there any information about Soshandukht or her father?

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This is mentioned on Wiki's page about the Sassanid dynasty

Yazdegerd I's successor was his son Bahram V (421-438), one of the most well-known Sassanid kings and the hero of many myths. Bahram V's mother was Soshandukht (or Shushandukht), the daughter of the Jewish Exilarch.

Is there any information about her or her father on a personal or national level? Jewish and nonjewish sources welcome. Wikipedia has only a stub containing very little detail.

I have found that she is said to have settled a colony of Jews in the suburb of Yahūdiyyeh.

Marriage in ancient Rome

Marriage in ancient Rome (conubium) was a strictly monogamous institution: a Roman citizen by law could have only one spouse at a time. The practice of monogamy distinguished the Greeks and Romans from other ancient civilizations, in which elite males typically had multiple wives. Greco-Roman monogamy may have arisen from the egalitarianism of the democratic and republican political systems of the city-states. It is one aspect of ancient Roman culture that was embraced by early Christianity, which in turn perpetuated it as an ideal in later Western culture. [2]

Marriage had mythical precedents, starting with the abduction of the Sabine Women, which may reflect the archaic custom of bride abduction. Romulus and his band of male immigrants were rejected conubium, the legal right to intermarriage, from the Sabines. According to Livy, Romulus and his men abducted the Sabine maidens, but promised them an honorable marriage, in which they would enjoy the benefits of property, citizenship, and children. These three benefits seem to define the purpose of marriage in ancient Rome. [3]

The word matrimonium, the root for the English word "matrimony", defined the institution's main function. Involving the mater (mother), it carried with it the implication of the man taking a woman in marriage to have children. This was the idea conventionally shared by Romans as to the purpose of marriage, which would be to produce legitimate children citizens producing new citizens. [3]

Consortium is a word used for the sharing of property, usually used in a technical sense for the property held by heirs, but could also be used in the context of marriage. Such usage was commonly seen in Christian writings. However, the sharing of water and fire (aquae et ignis communiciatio) was symbolically more important. It refers to the sharing of natural resources. Worldly possessions transferred automatically from the wife to the husband in archaic times, whereas the classical marriage kept the wife's property separate. [3]

In order for the union of a man and woman to be legitimate, there needed to be consent legally and morally. Both parties, or their fathers had to consent to the marriage in order for the marriage to happen. During the reign of Augustus the father had to give a valid reason for not consenting to the marriage. [4]

Boy Killed by Father Was Known as Teddy Bear

"No individual has the right to exact the death penalty on another no matter how reprehensible the behavior," prosecutor Kym Worthy said in a statement. "That is why we have laws."

O'Meara told ABCNews.com that he hopes Worthy will "realize the case is far from straight forward" and requires something "other than the most aggressive" punishment.

And even though Pinkney Sr. had never been diagnosed with mental health problems, O'Meara said that if the allegations of the murder are true, "there must be issues with his mental health."

Meanwhile, the community where the child was raised is mourning the loss of a boy they say was known by friends as "teddy bear."

Volunteers at the high school where Pinkney Jr. was a sophomore said the teen was "always smiling," according to The Detroit News.

The principal at Martin Luther King Jr. High School, Deborah Jenkins, told the paper that Pinkney Jr. was "well-liked" and that the school community has been "shaken badly" by his death.

"He was articulate. He passed his courses with A's, B's and C's. Everyone knew him to be a nice, quiet boy," said Jenkins.

We Aren't Who We Think We Are

In my mind, it started out as a love story. My great-grandparents met in 1920s New Orleans, at the height of the Jazz Age. Lottie Young, was a black woman from Louisiana. Harrison Donnella was an Italian man — an immigrant from Sicily, as the story goes. My family never knew much about their courtship, so throughout my life I made up details as necessary: the two of them meeting up at dance halls, strolling along the Mississippi, sharing a beignet.

Map of New Orleans, La. LA Johnson hide caption

Of course, as with any epic love story, there was a problem. Interracial marriage was illegal at that time in Louisiana, so as long as they stayed in New Orleans, they couldn't be together. So, as I pictured it, one night Lottie and Harrison stole off and made their way to Chicago. In Chicago, they started a new life. They got married, had two kids (my great-uncle, John, and my grandfather, Joseph,) and could finally live together in peace. Happily ever after.

Harrison Donnella's draft registration card. LA Johnson hide caption

The author's grandmother and father in Chicago, circa 1956. LA Johnson hide caption

But over the years, something a little strange happened. On some official documents, my white, Italian great-grandfather started to be referred to as "colored," or Black. Then again, that made a sort of sense, too. Even though interracial marriage was technically legal in Illinois at that time, it was uncommon and not particularly sanctioned. So it would have been no huge surprise for a man from Southern Italy to start blending into blackness. He had a black family, lived in a black neighborhood, and sent his kids to black schools. And besides, black people come in all shades and appearances. In Chicago, at the turn of the 20th century, an Italian man could easily become black. So Harrison did. That's how the story goes.

Rather, that's how the story went. Until recently.

Every family has a myth — in some cases, an entire mythology — about where they came from and who they are. And there are a lot of reasons people tell these stories. Sometimes it's because they genuinely don't know the truth, so they exaggerate, or make something up. Sometimes it's to make your family seem like they were part of an important historical event. Sometimes it's to skirt around a shameful history. And other times, it's to hide something that is too painful to talk about.

I wasn't sure why this particular myth — the myth of my great-grandparents — had developed. But I knew it was a myth. My dad, Michael Donnella, discovered some holes in the story as a young man, when he went to New Orleans on a work trip, back in the '70s. In his spare time, he decided to go to the public library, to see if he could find any information about his grandparents. One of the things he found was a birth certificate for Harrison. An American birth certificate. When he kept looking, he found information for Harrison's parents. They were both American, too.

Turns out, Harrison wasn't an immigrant from Italy. Wasn't the child of Italians. If he had any Italian heritage at all, it would have been several generations out.

Joseph Donnella, the author's grandfather. LA Johnson hide caption


The future George VI was born at York Cottage, on the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, during the reign of his great-grandmother Queen Victoria. [1] His father was Prince George, Duke of York (later King George V), the second and eldest surviving son of the Prince and Princess of Wales (later King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra). His mother, the Duchess of York (later Queen Mary), was the eldest child and only daughter of Francis, Duke of Teck, and Mary Adelaide, Duchess of Teck. [2] His birthday, 14 December 1895, was the 34th anniversary of the death of his great-grandfather Albert, Prince Consort. [3] Uncertain of how the Prince Consort's widow, Queen Victoria, would take the news of the birth, the Prince of Wales wrote to the Duke of York that the Queen had been "rather distressed". Two days later, he wrote again: "I really think it would gratify her if you yourself proposed the name Albert to her." [4]

The Queen was mollified by the proposal to name the new baby Albert, and wrote to the Duchess of York: "I am all impatience to see the new one, born on such a sad day but rather more dear to me, especially as he will be called by that dear name which is a byword for all that is great and good." [5] Consequently, he was baptised "Albert Frederick Arthur George" at St Mary Magdalene Church, Sandringham on 17 February 1896. [b] Within the family, he was known informally as "Bertie". [7] The Duchess of Teck did not like the first name her grandson had been given, and she wrote prophetically that she hoped the last name "may supplant the less favoured one". [8] Albert was fourth in line to the throne at birth, after his grandfather, father and elder brother, Edward.

He often suffered from ill health and was described as "easily frightened and somewhat prone to tears". [9] His parents were generally removed from their children's day-to-day upbringing, as was the norm in aristocratic families of that era. He had a stammer that lasted for many years. Although naturally left-handed, he was forced to write with his right hand, as was common practice at the time. [10] He suffered from chronic stomach problems as well as knock knees, for which he was forced to wear painful corrective splints. [11] Queen Victoria died on 22 January 1901, and the Prince of Wales succeeded her as King Edward VII. Prince Albert moved up to third in line to the throne, after his father and elder brother.

From 1909, Albert attended the Royal Naval College, Osborne, as a naval cadet. In 1911 he came bottom of the class in the final examination, but despite this he progressed to the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth. [12] When his grandfather, Edward VII, died in 1910, his father became King George V. Edward became Prince of Wales, with Albert second in line to the throne. [13]

Albert spent the first six months of 1913 on the training ship HMS Cumberland in the West Indies and on the east coast of Canada. [14] He was rated as a midshipman aboard HMS Collingwood on 15 September 1913. He spent three months in the Mediterranean, but never overcame his seasickness. [15] Three weeks after the outbreak of World War I he was medically evacuated from the ship to Aberdeen, where his appendix was removed by Sir John Marnoch. [16] He was mentioned in despatches for his actions as a turret officer aboard Collingwood in the Battle of Jutland (31 May – 1 June 1916), the great naval battle of the war. He did not see further combat, largely because of ill health caused by a duodenal ulcer, for which he had an operation in November 1917. [17]

In February 1918 he was appointed Officer in Charge of Boys at the Royal Naval Air Service's training establishment at Cranwell. With the establishment of the Royal Air Force Albert transferred from the Royal Navy to the Royal Air Force. [18] He served as Officer Commanding Number 4 Squadron of the Boys' Wing at Cranwell until August 1918, [19] before reporting to the RAF's Cadet School at St Leonards-on-Sea. He completed a fortnight's training and took command of a squadron on the Cadet Wing. [20] He was the first member of the British royal family to be certified as a fully qualified pilot. [21]

Albert wanted to serve on the Continent while the war was still in progress and welcomed a posting to General Trenchard's staff in France. On 23 October, he flew across the Channel to Autigny. [22] For the closing weeks of the war, he served on the staff of the RAF's Independent Air Force at its headquarters in Nancy, France. [23] Following the disbanding of the Independent Air Force in November 1918, he remained on the Continent for two months as an RAF staff officer until posted back to Britain. [24] He accompanied Belgian King Albert I on his triumphal re-entry into Brussels on 22 November. Prince Albert qualified as an RAF pilot on 31 July 1919 and was promoted to squadron leader the following day. [25]

In October 1919, Albert went up to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he studied history, economics and civics for a year, [26] with the historian R. V. Laurence as his "official mentor". [27] On 4 June 1920 his father created him Duke of York, Earl of Inverness and Baron Killarney. [28] He began to take on more royal duties. He represented his father, and toured coal mines, factories, and railyards. Through such visits he acquired the nickname of the "Industrial Prince". [29] His stammer, and his embarrassment over it, together with a tendency to shyness, caused him to appear less confident in public than his older brother, Edward. However, he was physically active and enjoyed playing tennis. He played at Wimbledon in the Men's Doubles with Louis Greig in 1926, losing in the first round. [30] He developed an interest in working conditions, and was president of the Industrial Welfare Society. His series of annual summer camps for boys between 1921 and 1939 brought together boys from different social backgrounds. [31]

In a time when royalty were expected to marry fellow royalty, it was unusual that Albert had a great deal of freedom in choosing a prospective wife. An infatuation with the already-married Australian socialite Lady Loughborough came to an end in April 1920 when the King, with the promise of the dukedom of York, persuaded Albert to stop seeing her. [32] [33] That year, he met for the first time since childhood Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the youngest daughter of the Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne. He became determined to marry her. [34] She rejected his proposal twice, in 1921 and 1922, reportedly because she was reluctant to make the sacrifices necessary to become a member of the royal family. [35] In the words of her mother Cecilia Bowes-Lyon, Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne, Albert would be "made or marred" by his choice of wife. After a protracted courtship, Elizabeth agreed to marry him. [36]

They were married on 26 April 1923 in Westminster Abbey. Albert's marriage to someone not of royal birth was considered a modernising gesture. [37] The newly formed British Broadcasting Company wished to record and broadcast the event on radio, but the Abbey Chapter vetoed the idea (although the Dean, Herbert Edward Ryle, was in favour). [38]

From December 1924 to April 1925, the Duke and Duchess toured Kenya, Uganda, and the Sudan, travelling via the Suez Canal and Aden. During the trip, they both went big game hunting. [39]

Because of his stammer, Albert dreaded public speaking. [40] After his closing speech at the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley on 31 October 1925, one which was an ordeal for both him and his listeners, [41] he began to see Lionel Logue, an Australian-born speech therapist. The Duke and Logue practised breathing exercises, and the Duchess rehearsed with him patiently. [42] Subsequently, he was able to speak with less hesitation. [43] With his delivery improved, the Duke opened the new Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, during a tour of the empire with the Duchess in 1927. [44] Their journey by sea to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji took them via Jamaica, where Albert played doubles tennis partnered with a black man, Bertrand Clark, which was unusual at the time and taken locally as a display of equality between races. [45]

The Duke and Duchess had two children: Elizabeth (called "Lilibet" by the family) who was born in 1926, and Margaret who was born in 1930. The close and loving family lived at 145 Piccadilly, rather than one of the royal palaces. [46] In 1931, the Canadian prime minister, R. B. Bennett, considered the Duke for Governor General of Canada—a proposal that King George V rejected on the advice of the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, J. H. Thomas. [47]

King George V had severe reservations about Prince Edward, saying "After I am dead, the boy will ruin himself in twelve months" and "I pray God that my eldest son will never marry and that nothing will come between Bertie and Lilibet and the throne." [48] On 20 January 1936, George V died and Edward ascended the throne as King Edward VIII. In the Vigil of the Princes, Prince Albert and his three brothers (the new king, Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, and Prince George, Duke of Kent) took a shift standing guard over their father's body as it lay in state, in a closed casket, in Westminster Hall.

As Edward was unmarried and had no children, Albert was the heir presumptive to the throne. Less than a year later, on 11 December 1936, Edward abdicated in order to marry Wallis Simpson who was divorced from her first husband and divorcing her second. Edward had been advised by British prime minister Stanley Baldwin that he could not remain king and marry a divorced woman with two living ex-husbands. He abdicated and Albert, though he had been reluctant to accept the throne, became king. [49] The day before the abdication, Albert went to London to see his mother, Queen Mary. He wrote in his diary, "When I told her what had happened, I broke down and sobbed like a child." [50]

On the day of Edward's abdication, the Oireachtas, the parliament of the Irish Free State, removed all direct mention of the monarch from the Irish constitution. The next day, it passed the External Relations Act, which gave the monarch limited authority (strictly on the advice of the government) to appoint diplomatic representatives for Ireland and to be involved in the making of foreign treaties. The two acts made the Irish Free State a republic in essence without removing its links to the Commonwealth. [51]

Across Britain, gossip spread that Albert was physically and psychologically incapable of handling the kingship. He worried about that himself. No evidence has been found to support the rumour that the government considered bypassing him in favour of his scandal-ridden younger brother, George. [52]


Historical precursors Edit

Ideas that Jesus Christ might have been married have a long history in Christian theology, though the historical record says nothing on the subject. [1] Bart D. Ehrman, who chairs the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, commented that, although there are some historical scholars who claim that it is likely that Jesus was married, the vast majority of New Testament and early Christianity scholars find such a claim to be historically unreliable. [2]

Much of the bloodline literature has a more specific focus, on a claimed marriage between Jesus and Mary Magdalene. There are indications in Gnosticism of the belief that Jesus and Mary Magdalene shared an amorous, and not just a religious relationship. The Gnostic Gospel of Philip tells that Jesus "kissed her often" and refers to Mary as his "companion". [3] Several sources from the 13th-century claim that an aspect of Catharist theology was the belief that the earthly Jesus had a familial relationship with Mary Magdalene. An Exposure of the Albigensian and Waldensian Heresies, dated to before 1213 and usually attributed to Ermengaud of Béziers, a former Waldensian seeking reconciliation with the mainstream Catholic Church, would describe Cathar heretical beliefs including the claim that they taught "in the secret meetings that Mary Magdalen was the wife of Christ". [4] A second work, untitled and anonymous, repeats Ermengaud's claim. [4] The anti-heretic polemic Historia Albigensis written between 1212 and 1218 by Cistercian monk and chronicler Peter of Vaux de Cernay, gives the most lurid description, attributing to Cathars the belief that Mary Magdalene was the concubine of Jesus. [4] [5] These sources must be viewed with caution: the two known authors were not themselves Cathars and were writing of a heresy being actively and violently suppressed. There is no evidence that these beliefs derived from the much earlier Gnostic traditions of Jesus and Mary Magdalene, but the Cathar traditions did find their way into many of the 20th-century popular writings claiming the existence of a Jesus bloodline. [4] [6]

Modern works Edit

The late 19th-century saw the first of several expansions on this theme of marriage between Jesus and Mary Magdalene, providing the couple with a named child. The French socialist politician, Louis Martin (pseudonym of Léon Aubry, died 1900), in his 1886 book Les Evangiles sans Dieu (The Gospels without God), republished the next year in his Essai sur la vie de Jésus (Essay on the life of Jesus), described the historical Jesus as a socialist and atheist. He related that after his crucifixion, Mary Magdalene, along with the family of Lazarus of Bethany, brought the body of Jesus to Provence, and there Mary had a child, Maximin, the fruit of her love for Jesus. The scenario was dismissed as 'certainly strange' by a contemporary reviewer. [7]

The late 20th century saw the genre of popular books claiming that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had a family. Donovan Joyce's 1973 best-seller, The Jesus Scroll, a time bomb for Christianity, presented an alternative timeline for Jesus that arose from a mysterious document. He claimed that, after being denied access to the Masada archaeological site, he was met at the Tel Aviv airport by an American University professor using the pseudonym "Max Grosset", who held a large scroll he claimed to have smuggled from the site. Relating its contents to Joyce, Grosset offered to pay him to smuggle it out of the country, but then became spooked when his flight was delayed and snuck away he was never identified and the scroll was not seen again. According to Joyce, the 'Jesus Scroll' was a personal letter by 80-year-old Yeshua ben Ya’akob ben Gennesareth, heir of the Hasmonean dynasty and hence rightful King of Israel, written on the eve of the fall of the city to the Romans after a suicide pact ended Masada's resistance. It was said to have described the man as married, and that he had a son whose crucifixion the letter's author had witnessed. Joyce identified the writer with Jesus of Nazareth, who, he claimed, had survived his own crucifixion to marry and settle at Masada, and suggested a conspiracy to hide the contents of the Dead Sea Scrolls in order to suppress this counter-narrative to Christian orthodoxy. [8] [9]

Barbara Thiering, in her 1992 book Jesus and the Riddle of the Dead Sea Scrolls: Unlocking the Secrets of His Life Story, republished as Jesus the Man, and made into a documentary, The Riddle of the Dead Sea Scrolls, by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, also developed a Jesus and Mary Magdalene familial scenario. Thiering based her historical conclusions on her application of the so-called Pesher technique to the New Testament. [10] [11] In this work of pseudo-scholarship, Thiering would go so far as to precisely place the betrothal of Jesus and Mary Magdalene on 30 June, AD 30, at 10:00 p.m. She relocated the events in the life of Jesus from Bethlehem, Nazareth and Jerusalem to Qumran, and related that Jesus was revived after an incomplete crucifixion and married Mary Magdalene, who was already pregnant by him, that they had a daughter Tamar and a son Jesus Justus born in AD 41, and Jesus then divorced Mary to wed a Jewess named Lydia, going to Rome where he died. [12] [13] The account was dismissed as fanciful by scholar Michael J. McClymond. [12]

In the television documentary, The Lost Tomb of Jesus, and book The Jesus Family Tomb, [14] both from 2007, fringe investigative journalist Simcha Jacobovici and Charles R. Pellegrino proposed that ossuaries in the Talpiot Tomb, discovered in Jerusalem in 1980, belonged to Jesus and his family. Jacobovici and Pellegrino argue that Aramaic inscriptions reading "Judah, son of Jesus", "Jesus, son of Joseph", and "Mariamne", a name they associate with Mary Magdalene, together preserve the record of a family group consisting of Jesus, his wife Mary Magdalene and son Judah. [15] Such theory has been rejected by the overwhelming majority of biblical scholars, archaeologists and theologians, including the archaeologist Amos Kloner, who led the archeological exavation of the tomb itself. [16]

The same year saw a book following the similar theme that Jesus and Mary Magdalene produced a family written by psychic medium and best-selling author Sylvia Browne, The Two Marys: The Hidden History of the Mother and Wife of Jesus. [17] [ non-primary source needed ]

The Jesus Seminar, a group of scholars involved in the quest for the historical Jesus from a liberal Christian perspective, were unable to determine whether Jesus and Mary Magdalene had a matrimonial relationship due to the dearth of historical evidence. They concluded that the historical Mary Magdalene was not a repentant prostitute but a prominent disciple of Jesus and a leader in the early Christian movement. [18] The claims that Jesus and Mary Magdalene fled to France parallel other legends about the flight of disciples to distant lands, such as the one depicting Joseph of Arimathea traveling to England after the death of Jesus, taking with him a piece of thorn from the Crown of Thorns, which he later planted in Glastonbury. Historians generally regard these legends as "pious fraud" produced during the Middle Ages. [19] [20] [21]

Joseph and Aseneth Edit

In 2014, Simcha Jacobovici and fringe religious studies historian Barrie Wilson suggested in The Lost Gospel that the eponymous characters in a 6th-century tale called "Joseph and Aseneth" were in actuality representations of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. [22] The story was reported in an anthology compiled by Pseudo-Zacharias Rhetor, along with covering letters describing the discovery of the original Greek manuscript and its translation into Syriac. In one of these, translator Moses of Ingila explained the story "as an allegory of Christ's marriage to the soul". [23] Jacobovici and Wilson instead interpret it as an allegorical reference to actual marriage of Jesus, produced by a community holding that he was married and had children.

Israeli Biblical scholar, Rivka Nir called their work "serious-minded, thought-provoking and interesting", but described the thesis as objectionable, [24] and the book has been dismissed by mainstream Biblical scholarship, for example by Anglican theologian, Richard Bauckham. [25] The Church of England compared The Lost Gospel to a Monty Python sketch, the director of communications for the Archbishop's Council citing the book as an example of religious illiteracy and that ever since the publication of The Da Vinci Code in 2003, "an industry had been constructed in which 'conspiracy theorists, satellite channel documentaries and opportunistic publishers had identified a lucrative income stream'." [26] The Lost Gospel was described as historical nonsense by Markus Bockmuehl. [27]

Early Mormon Theology Edit

Early Mormon theology posited not only that Jesus married, but that he did so multiple times. Early leaders Jedediah M. Grant, Orson Hyde, Joseph F. Smith and Orson Pratt stated it was part of their religious belief that Jesus Christ was polygamous, quoting this in their respective sermons. [28] [29] The Mormons also used an apocryphal passage attributed to the 2nd-century Greek philosopher Celsus: "The grand reason why the gentiles and philosophers of his school persecuted Jesus Christ was because he had so many wives. There were Elizabeth and Mary and a host of others that followed him". [30] This appears to have been a summary of a garbled or second-hand reference to a quote from Celsus the Platonist preserved in the apologetics work Contra Celsum ("Against Celsus") by the Church Father Origen: "such was the charm of Jesus' words, that not only were men willing to follow Him to the wilderness, but women also, forgetting the weakness of their sex and a regard for outward propriety in thus following their Teacher into desert places." [31]

Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln developed and popularized the idea of a bloodline descended from Jesus and Mary Magdalene in their 1982 book The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail (published as Holy Blood, Holy Grail in the United States), [32] in which they asserted: ". . . we do not think the Incarnation truly symbolises what it is intended to symbolise unless Jesus were married and sired children." [32] Specifically, they claimed that the sangraal of medieval lore did not represent the San Graal (Holy Grail), the cup drunk from at the Last Supper, but both the vessel of Mary Magdalene's womb and the Sang Real, the royal blood of Jesus represented in a lineage descended from them. In their reconstruction, Mary Magdalene goes to France after the crucifixion, carrying a child by Jesus who would give rise to a lineage that centuries later would unite with the Merovingian rulers of the early Frankish kingdom, from whom they trace the descent into medieval dynasties that were almost exterminated by the Albigensian Crusade against the Cathars, leaving a small remnant protected by a secret society, the Priory of Sion. [33] [34] The role of the Priory was inspired by earlier writings primarily by Pierre Plantard, who in the 1960s and 1970s had publicized documents from the secretive Priory that demonstrated its long history and his own descent from the lineage they had protected that traced to the Merovingian kings, and earlier, the biblical Tribe of Benjamin. [35] Plantard would dismiss Holy Blood as fiction in a 1982 radio interview, [36] as did his collaborator Philippe de Cherisey in a magazine article, [37] but a decade later Plantard admitted that, before he incorporated a group of that name in the 1950s, the very existence of the Priory had been an elaborate hoax, and that the documents on which Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln had relied for inspiration had been forgeries planted in French institutions to be later "rediscovered". [38] [39] [40] The actual lineage claimed for the portion of the Plantard and Holy Blood bloodline that passes through the medieval era received highly-negative reviews in the genealogical literature, being viewed as consisting of numerous inaccurate linkages that were unsupported, or even directly contradicted, by the authentic historical record. [41]

The Woman with the Alabaster Jar: Mary Magdalen and the Holy Grail, a 1993 book by Margaret Starbird, built on Cathar beliefs and Provencal traditions of Saint Sarah, the black servant of Mary Magdalene, to develop the hypothesis that Sarah was the daughter of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. [4] In her reconstruction, a pregnant Mary Magdalene fled first to Egypt and then France after the crucifixion. [3] She sees this as the source of the legend associated with the cult at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. She also noted that the name "Sarah" means "Princess" in Hebrew, thus making her the forgotten child of the "sang réal", the blood royal of the King of the Jews. [42] Starbird also viewed Mary Magdalene as identical with Mary of Bethany, sister of Lazarus. [3] Though working with the same claimed relationship between Jesus, Mary Magdalene and Saint Sarah that would occupy a central role in many of the published bloodline scenarios, Starbird considered any question of descent from Sarah to be irrelevant to her thesis, [4] though she accepted that it existed. [43] Her view of Mary Magdalene/Mary of Bethany as wife of Jesus is also linked with the concept of the sacred feminine in feminist theology. Mary Ann Beavis would point out that unlike others in the genre, Starbird actively courted scholarly engagement over her ideas, and that "[a]lthough her methods, arguments and conclusions do not always stand up to scholarly scrutiny, some of her exegetical insights merit attention . . .," while suggesting she is more mythographer than historian. [3]

In his 1996 book Bloodline of the Holy Grail: The Hidden Lineage of Jesus Revealed, Laurence Gardner presented pedigree charts of Jesus and Mary Magdalene as the ancestors of all the European royal families of the Common Era. [44] His 2000 sequel Genesis of the Grail Kings: The Explosive Story of Genetic Cloning and the Ancient Bloodline of Jesus is unique in claiming that not only can the Jesus bloodline truly be traced back to Adam and Eve but that the first man and woman were primate-alien hybrids created by the Anunnaki of his ancient astronaut theory. [45] Gardner followed this book with several additional works in the bloodline genre.

In Rex Deus: The True Mystery of Rennes-Le-Chateau and the Dynasty of Jesus, published in 2000, Marylin Hopkins, Graham Simmans and Tim Wallace-Murphy developed a similar scenario based on 1994 testimony by the pseudonymous "Michael Monkton", [46] that a Jesus and Mary Magdalene bloodline was part of a shadow dynasty descended from twenty-four high priests of the Temple in Jerusalem known as Rex Deus – the "Kings of God". [47] The evidence on which the informant based his claim to be a Rex Deus scion, descended from Hugues de Payens, was said to be lost and therefore cannot be independently verified, because 'Michael' claimed that it was kept in his late father's bureau, which was sold by his brother unaware of its contents. [47] Some critics point out the informant's account of his family history seems to be based on the controversial work of Barbara Thiering. [48]

The Da Vinci Code Edit

The best-known work depicting a bloodline of Jesus is the 2003 best-selling novel and global phenomenon, The Da Vinci Code, joined by its major cinematic release of the same name. In these, Dan Brown incorporated many of the earlier bloodline themes as the background underlying his work of conspiracy fiction. The author attested both in the text and public interviews to the veracity of the bloodline details that served as the novel's historical context. The work so captured the public imagination that the Catholic Church felt compelled to warn its congregates against accepting its pseudo-historical background as fact, which did not stop it from becoming the highest-selling novel in American history, with tens of millions of copies sold worldwide. Brown mixes facts easily verified by the reader and additional seemingly-authentic details that are not actually factual, with a further layer of outright conjecture that together blurs the relationship between fiction and history. An indication of the degree to which the work captured the public imagination is seen in the cottage industry of works that it inspired, replicating his style and theses or attempting to refute it. [49]

In Brown's novel, the protagonist discovers that the grail actually referred to Mary Magdalene, and that knowledge of this, as well as of the bloodline descended from Jesus and Mary, has been kept hidden to the present time by a secret conspiracy. [49] This is very similar to the thesis put forward by Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln in Holy Blood and the Holy Grail though not associating the hidden knowledge with the Cathars, [4] and Brown also incorporated material from Joyce, Thiering and Starbird, as well as the 1965 The Passover Plot, in which Hugh J. Schonfield claimed that Lazarus and Joseph of Arimathea had faked the resurrection after Jesus was killed by mistake when stabbed by a Roman soldier. [50] Still, Brown relied so heavily on Holy Blood that two of its authors, Baigent and Leigh, sued the book's publisher, Random House, over what they considered to be plagiarism. Brown had made no secret that the bloodline material in his work drew largely on Holy Blood, directly citing the work in his book and naming the novel's historical expert after Baigent (in anagram form) and Leigh, but Random House argued that since Baigent and Leigh had presented their ideas as non-fiction, consisting of historical facts, however speculative, then Brown was free to reproduce these concepts just as other works of historical fiction treat underlying historical events. Baigent and Leigh argued that Brown had done more, "appropriat[ing] the architecture" of their work, and thus had "hijacked" and "exploited" it. [51] Though one judge questioned whether the supposedly-factual Holy Blood truly represented fact, or instead bordered on fiction due to its highly conjectural nature, [52] courts ruled in favor of Random House and Brown. [51]

Bloodline documentary Edit

The 2008 documentary Bloodline [53] by Bruce Burgess, a filmmaker with an interest in paranormal claims, expands on the Jesus bloodline hypothesis and other elements of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail. [54] Accepting as valid the testimony of an amateur archaeologist codenamed "Ben Hammott" relating to his discoveries made in the vicinity of Rennes-le-Château since 1999 Burgess claimed Ben had found the treasure of Bérenger Saunière: a mummified corpse, which they believe is Mary Magdalene, in an underground tomb they claim is connected to both the Knights Templar and the Priory of Sion. In the film, Burgess interviews several people with alleged connections to the Priory of Sion, including a Gino Sandri and Nicolas Haywood. A book by one of the documentary's researchers, Rob Howells, entitled Inside the Priory of Sion: Revelations from the World's Most Secret Society - Guardians of the Bloodline of Jesus presented the version of the Priory of Sion as given in the 2008 documentary, [55] which contained several erroneous assertions, such as the claim that Plantard believed in the Jesus bloodline hypothesis. [56] In 2012, however, Ben Hammott, using his real name of Bill Wilkinson, gave a podcast interview in which he apologised and confessed that everything to do with the tomb and related artifacts was a hoax, revealing that the 'tomb' had been part of a now-destroyed full-sized movie set located in a warehouse in England. [57] [58]

Jesus in Japan Edit

Claims to a Jesus bloodline are not restricted to Europe. An analogous legend claims that the place of Jesus at the crucifixion was taken by a brother, while Jesus fled through what would become Russia and Siberia to Japan, where he became a rice farmer at Aomori, at the north of the island of Honshu. It is claimed he married there and had a large family before his death at the age of 114, with descendants to the present. A Grave of Jesus (Kristo no Hakka) there attracts tourists. This legend dates from the 1930s, when a document claimed to be written in the Hebrew language and describing the marriage and later life of Jesus was discovered. The document has since disappeared. [59]

In reaction to The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, The Da Vinci Code, and other controversial books, websites and films on the same theme, a significant number of individuals in the late 20th and early 21st centuries have adhered to a Jesus bloodline hypothesis despite its lack of substantiation. While some simply entertain it as a novel intellectual proposition, others hold it as an established belief thought to be authoritative and not to be disputed. [60] Prominent among the latter are those who expect a direct descendant of Jesus will eventually emerge as a great man and become a messiah, a Great Monarch who rules a Holy European Empire, during an event which they will interpret as a mystical second coming of Christ. [61]

The eclectic spiritual views of these adherents are influenced by the writings of iconoclastic authors from a wide range of perspectives. Authors like Margaret Starbird and Jeffrey Bütz often seek to challenge modern beliefs and institutions through a re-interpretation of Christian history and mythology. [60] Some try to advance and understand the equality of men and women spiritually by portraying Mary Magdalene as being the apostle of a Christian feminism, [62] and even the personification of the mother goddess or sacred feminine, [63] usually associating her with the Black Madonna. [64] Some wish the ceremony that celebrated the beginning of the alleged marriage of Jesus and Mary Magdalene to be viewed as a "holy wedding" and Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and their alleged daughter, Sarah, to be viewed as a "holy family", in order to question traditional gender roles and family values. [65] Almost all these claims are at odds with scholarly Christian apologetics, and have been dismissed as being New Age Gnostic heresies. [2] [66]

No mainstream Christian denomination has adhered to a Jesus bloodline hypothesis as a dogma or an object of religious devotion since they maintain that Jesus, believed to be God the Son, was perpetually celibate, continent and chaste, and metaphysically married to the Church he died, was resurrected, ascended to heaven, and will eventually return to earth, thereby making all Jesus bloodline hypotheses and related messianic expectations impossible. [60]

Many fundamentalist Christians believe the Antichrist, prophesied in the Book of Revelation, plans to present himself as descended from the Davidic line to bolster his false claim that he is the Jewish Messiah. [67] The intention of such propaganda would be to influence the opinions, emotions, attitudes, and behavior of Jews and philo-Semites to achieve his Satanic objectives. An increasing number of fringe Christian eschatologists believe the Antichrist may also present himself as descended from the Jesus bloodline to capitalize on growing adherence to the hypothesis in the general public. [68]

The notion of a direct bloodline from Jesus and Mary Magdalene and its supposed relationship to the Merovingians, as well as to their alleged modern descendants, is strongly dismissed as pseudohistorical by a qualified majority of Christian and secular historians such as Darrell Bock [69] and Bart D. Ehrman, [2] [70] along with journalists and investigators such as Jean-Luc Chaumeil, who has an extensive archive on this subject matter.

In 2005, UK TV presenter and amateur archaeologist Tony Robinson edited and narrated a detailed rebuttal of the main arguments of Dan Brown and those of Baigent, Leigh, and Lincoln, "The Real Da Vinci Code", shown on Channel 4. [71] The programme featured lengthy interviews with many of the main protagonists, and cast severe doubt on the alleged landing of Mary Magdalene in France, among other related myths, by interviewing on film the inhabitants of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, the centre of the cult of Saint Sarah.

Robert Lockwood, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh's director for communications, sees the notion of the Church conspiring to cover-up the truth about a Jesus bloodline as a deliberate piece of anti-Catholic propaganda. He sees it as part of a long tradition of anti-Catholic sentiment with deep roots in the American Protestant imagination but going back to the very start of the Reformation of 1517. [72]

Ultimately, the notion that a person living millennia ago has a small number of descendants living today is statistically improbable. [73] Steve Olson, author of Mapping Human History: Genes, Race, and Our Common Origins, published an article in Nature demonstrating that, as a matter of statistical probability:

If anyone living today is descended from Jesus, so are most of us on the planet. [74]

Historian Ken Mondschein ridiculed the notion that the bloodline of Jesus and Mary Magdalene could have been preserved:

Infant mortality in pre-modern times was ridiculously high, and you'd only need one childhood accident or disease in 2,000 years to wipe out the bloodline … keep the children of Christ marrying each other, on the other hand, and eventually they'd be so inbred that the sons of God would have flippers for feet. [75]

Chris Lovegrove, who reviewed The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail when first published in 1982, dismissed the significance of a Jesus bloodline, even if it were proven to exist despite all evidence to the contrary:

If there really is a Jesus dynasty – so what? This, I fear, will be the reaction of many of those prepared to accept the authors' thesis as possible, and the book does not really satisfy one's curiosity in this crucial area. [76]

It's Got a Ring To It

15. Engagement and wedding rings are worn on the fourth finger of the left hand because it was once thought that a vein in that finger led directly to the heart.

16. About 70 percent of all brides sport the traditional diamond on the fourth finger of their left hand.

17. Priscilla Presley's engagement ring was a whopping 3 1/2-carat rock surrounded by a detachable row of smaller diamonds.

18. Diamonds set in gold or silver became popular as betrothal rings among wealthy Venetians toward the end of the fifteenth century.

19. In the symbolic language of jewels, a sapphire in a wedding ring means marital happiness.

20. A pearl engagement ring is said to be bad luck because its shape echoes that of a tear.

21. One of history's earliest engagement rings was given to Princess Mary, daughter of Henry VIII. She was two-years-old at the time.

22. Seventeen tons of gold are made into wedding rings each year in the United States.

23. Snake rings dotted with ruby eyes were popular wedding bands in Victorian England—the coils winding into a circle symbolized eternity.

24. Aquamarine represents marital harmony and is said to ensure a long, happy marriage.

Princess Anne was born in London, on August 15, 1950. In 1973, she married Lieutenant (now Captain) Mark Phillips of the Queen&aposs Dragoon Guards, but they were divorced in 1992. They had two children together, Peter Mark Andrew (1977) and Zara Anne Elizabeth (1981). She later married Timothy Laurence in 1992.

An accomplished horsewoman, Princess Anne won the individual gold medal at the 1971 European Eventing Championships and became the first Royal Olympian when she was named to the 1976 British equestrian team. She is a keen supporter of charities and overseas relief work, having acted as president of Save the Children Fund and traveled widely in order to promote its activities. Since 1988, she has been a member of the International Olympic Committee and is president of the British Olympic Association. Her daughter, Zara Phillips, won the European Eventing Championship in 2005.

Titanic Tragedy

Millvina, her mother and brother were placed in Lifeboat 10 and were among the first steerage passengers to escape the sinking liner. After their boat drifted in the water for some time, the survivors were rescued and taken aboard the Carpathia, a ship that answered the Titanic&aposs distress call. They arrived safely in New York City on April 18.

Later it would be discovered that 705 people survived the disaster. Millvina&aposs father, however, the 25-year-old Bertram Frank Dean, was one of the 1,500 who perished. Like many of the men aboard, he stayed on the ship and died when it sank early the following morning. His body, if recovered, was never identified.

At first, Millvina&aposs mother, wanted to go on to Kansas and fulfill her husband&aposs wish of a new life in America. But with no husband and two small children to care for, she decided to go home. After two weeks in a New York hospital, Millvina, her mother, and brother, returned to England aboard the Adriatic.

As a baby who had survived the Titanic sinking, Millvina attracted a lot of attention aboard the Adriatic. Passengers lined up to hold her, and many took photographs of her, her mother and brother, several of which were published in newspapers.

"[She] was the pet of the liner during the voyage, and so keen was the rivalry between women to nurse this lovable mite of humanity that one of the officers decreed that first and second class passengers might hold her in turn for no more than 10 minutes," the Daily Mirror reported on May 12, 1912.

James I and VI (1566 - 1625)

James I of England and VI of Scotland © James was king of Scotland until 1603, when he became the first Stuart king of England as well, creating the kingdom of Great Britain.

James was born on 19 June 1566 in Edinburgh Castle. His mother was Mary, Queen of Scots and his father her second husband, Lord Darnley. Darnley was murdered in February 1567. In July Mary was forced to abdicate in favour of her infant son. James's tutor, the historian and poet George Buchanan, was a positive influence and James was a capable scholar. A succession of regents ruled the kingdom until 1576, when James became nominal ruler, although he did not actually take control until 1581. He proved to be a shrewd ruler who effectively controlled the various religious and political factions in Scotland.

In 1586, James and Elizabeth I became allies under the Treaty of Berwick. When his mother was executed by Elizabeth the following year, James did not protest too vociferously - he hoped to be named as Elizabeth's successor. In 1589, James married Anne of Denmark. Three of their seven children survived into adulthood.

In March 1603, Elizabeth died and James became king of England and Ireland in a remarkably smooth transition of power. After 1603 he only visited Scotland once, in 1617.

One of James's great contributions to England was the Authorised King James's Version of the bible (1611) which was to become the standard text for more than 250 years. But he disappointed the Puritans who hoped he would introduce some of the more radical religious ideas of the Scottish church, and the Catholics, who anticipated more lenient treatment. In 1605, a Catholic plot to blow up king and parliament was uncovered. James's firm belief in the divine right of kings, and constant need for money, also brought him into conflict repeatedly with parliament.

Abroad, James attempted to encourage European peace. In 1604, he ended the long-running war with Spain and tried to arrange a marriage between his son and the Spanish Infanta. He married his daughter Elizabeth to the elector of the palatinate, Frederick, who was the leader of the German Protestants.

James's eldest son Henry died in 1612 and his wife Anne in 1619. James himself died on 27 March 1625 and was succeeded by his second son, Charles

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