Daily Archives: October 7, 2009

Dan Brown’s novels: Fact or Fiction?

On the plane from Rome last week I noticed someone reading The Lost Symbol. I think the Today Show made a lot of the book a few weeks ago. I gave some attention to The Da Vinci Code here, but don’t plan to do the same for this new book.

The Telegraph, in an article by Tom Chivers, mentions 50 factual errors in the two books by Dan Brown.

Dan Brown’s new novel The Lost Symbol opens with a bold word: FACT. “All rituals, science, artwork, and monuments in this novel are real”, it says.

The Da Vinci Code, his previous bestseller, began in a similar fashion. “All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate”, Brown says before the prologue.

Chivers discusses the categories of History, Geography, Science, Symbols, Religion and Mythology, Language, and Miscellany.

Swiss Guard at the Vatican. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Swiss Guard at the Vatican. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Here is one of the mistakes that would not matter much except for the fantastic claim that everything in the books are true.

Langdon says the Swiss Guard’s outfits were “designed by Michelangelo himself.” This is an urban myth: Michelangelo had nothing to do with them. The current uniforms were designed by Commandant Jules Repond between 1910 and 1921.

The Vatican’s official web site says,

The colours which make the uniform so attractive are the traditional Medici blue, red and yellow, set off nicely by the white of the collar and gloves. The blue and yellow bands give a sense of lightness as they move over the red doublet and breeches. The Guard’s every-day uniform is completely blue. With the passing centuries there have been a few minor changes, but on the whole the original dress has been maintained. It is commonly thought that the uniform was designed by Michelangelo, but it would seem rather that he had nothing to do with it. However, Raffaello certainly did influence its development, as he indeed influenced fashion in general in Italy in the Renaissance, through his painting.

I wondered how I would ever use this good photo of a Swiss Guard at the Vatican.

HT: Biblical Paths