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Clement V, Pope

Roman Catholic pope (r. 1305-1314); first to reign from France. To avoid political difficulties in Rome, Clement V settled at a monastery in Avignon, near France's southern border. According to Dan Brown, "In concert with France's King Philip IV, [Clement V] devised an ingeniously planned sting operation to quash the Templars and seize their treasure.... Countless Knights were captured, tortured mercilessly, then burned at the stake as heretics.... Many of them were burned at the stake and tossed unceremoniously into the Tiber River" (DVC, 159-60, 338). The Da Vinci Code maintains that the desired "treasure" was proof that Jesus and Mary Magdalene had been married.

Several serious problems plague DVC 's summary. Pope Clement V, weak and sickly, was manipulated by Philip's lust for Templar wealth. Philip devised the plan to destroy the Knights, and he was unconcerned with any supposed proof about Jesus and Mary. Second, fewer than 150 Knights were burned—inexcusable, but far from the "countless" burnings Brown posits. Finally, in one of DVC 's more absurd errors, none of the bodies could have been "tossed . . . into the Tiber River." The Tiber is in Rome; the trials and executions of the Knights Templar—like the headquarters of Clement V—were in France. See also Knights Templar; Philip IV, King.

Printed with permission from Bethany House Publishers, South Bloomington, Minnesota from the book "The Da Vinci Codebreaker : an easy-to-use fact checker for truth seekers" by James L. Garlow.

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  based on Dan Brown's novel The Da Vinci Code