ET IN ARCADIA EGO
Nothing of what concerns the SHEPHERDS of Poussin's ARCADIA can leave us indifferent: as far away from the "loneliness" as of confusion, héritièrs of the humanism of Alberti and precedes of David or of Puvis de Chavannes, such a composition is solemn classicism. The concise inscription which justifies it inspired, these last years, of rather hot discussions summarized by Mr. Weisbach in the Gazette of the Art schools December 1937.
Several essential facts emerge from this study: I - the sentence AND IN ARCADIA EGO appears to us for the premiére time in a table of Guerchin preserved at Galleria Nazionale of Rome, it there is engraved on a block of masonry and comments on a cranium which two shepherds contemplate, pressed on their sticks; one then finds it, about 1620-1630, in a first version of the Poussin table collected by the Collection of the Duke of Devonshire with Chatsworth; it is read finally in the centre of the famous table of the Louvre; its origin is forgotten, "all gives to believe that it was there, at the time, a very known saying, whose we are unaware of the source", this source is not ancient, it should be sought, undoubtedly, in the néo-Latin humanistic literature and could be contemporary painters. II - the direction of the sentence AND IN ARCADIA EGO is dubious. "interpretation that one (in) generally gave, during time" is as follows: ` Me also, I lived in Arcadie, and I knew the bonheur' there; ` it is at Goethe, Schiller, Nietszche, to quote only some large names', but it is already, with few things close that the biographer and friend of Poussin, Felibien, who writes:
the word AND can be reported only to IN ARCADIA and not not with EGO. If one wants to comment on the table of Guerchin correctly, it is necessary to compensate verb SUM and to give for subject to this I AM, the cranium which symbolizes abstracted Death ", one must thus read:
"Me, Death, I exist even in Arcadie".
This reading would be also valid for the first Poussin version, which exposes a cranium on its sarcophagus.
For the table of the Louvre, whose monument is of a whole nudity, the direction should be modified a little: "it would be the tomb itself which would speak": such a interpretation that Mr. Panofsky maintained, defended and specified in answer to Mr. Weisbach in the issue of May-June 1938 of the Gazette of the Art schools, would be confirmed by the paraphrase of Bellori:
Et in Arcadia ego, cioé che il sepolcro si trova ancora in Arcadia, e che la Morte ha luogo in mezzo le felicità".
Lastly, Mr. Weisbach proposes a third reading: the word AND would be referred to IN ARCADIA as Mr. Panofsky thinks it, but it died it well which would speak and would proclaim: "Even in Arcadie, I had to suffer death", i.e.:
"Even in Arcadie the country of happiness, me, it died, I was not saved by Death"
or more explicitly still:
"Me also, which enjoyed happiness in Arcadie, I had to undergo death, and I gis in this tomb".
It is perhaps not useless to pour a new part with this file of an inscription illustrates... The German engraver of the Renaissance Heinrich Aldegrever (born in Paderborn about 1502, resident with Soest until 1555), left a engraved portrait of the chief of the Anabaptists Jean Beuckelsz, said Jean de Leyde, carried out after the death of the character who was torture victim on January 27, 1536. However, this print, which poses many curious problems (cf Emile GAVELLE. - Cornelis Engebrechtsz. Lille, 1929, p.328), are cornea of a distich singularly close to the text whose Poussin made fortune; the chimerical king who had died in the sufferings after a transitory reign of which he had wanted to make a Golden age, addresses to the spectator in "beautiful towards melancholic persons":
HAEC FACIES. HIC CVLTVS. ERAT. CVM. SEPTRA. TENEREM REX. ANABAPTISTÔN SED. BREVE, TEMPVS. EGO.
Confronted with that of Guerchin and Poussin, this inscription suggests the following remarks: I - Here a text engraved former to us texts painted; it notes like them it brittleness of happiness, and, like them, ends in EGO; it does not give their exact precedes but indisputably attaches them to a tradition which goes up at least in the medium of 16th century. II - In this text of 16th century, it is well a death which speaks and not an abstraction. EGO rejected at the end of the speech expresses the return of late on itself which confront in only one word of a poignant concision what it was, and what it is. Such a constation vigorously does not invite us it to push back the assumption of M, Panofsky which hears in Guerchin and Poussin the inhuman voice of one entitié:
Death or the Tomb? Lastly, the clearness of the opposition of the opposition established at Aldegrever between the past and the present, the life and the incurable nostalgia of death, wouldn't it advise us, in some measurement, to reject the reconciling but slightly hard solution of Mr. Weisbach who weakens contrast by diluting the thought?
Isn't the traditional reading, which in our tables, attaches AND and EGO, yet the best? The philologists, Mr. Weisbach notes it, there would not see absolute opposition, "if this bringing together corresponded to a correlation of facts", but in the current state of our knowledge it would be necessary to stick to one "not liquet". This darkness had not obstructed, until now, any the well-read men, large or small, who had adapted the formula to their humanistic nostalgias.... One should not, now, lira like them, while specifying a little:
"Me also, I lived in Arcadie happy - and I died."
Very finely, Mr. Panofsky gave like ancestors to our shepherds the Three Sharp ones in contemplation in front of the Three Dead ones. The engraving of Aldegrever would invite us to attach the inscription: AND IN ARCADIA EGO with the epitaphs boldly antithetic of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
Bulletin of the Survey firm of the 17th century (Number 18; 1953)
Nicolas Poussin, Pope Alexander VII and
“There is no higher religion than the truth”
Motto of the Theosophical Society
As we have already hinted at previously in April 1656
the Abbé Fouquet wrote to his brother Nicolas Fouquet who was the
superintendent of finances at the court of Louis XIV. The passage is well
known and its authenticity is not disputed. It says:
“He [Poussin] and I discussed certain things, which I shall with ease be able to explain to you in detail – things which will give you, Through Monsieur Poussin, advantages which even kings would have great pains to draw from him, and which, according to him, it is possible that nobody else will ever discover in the centuries to come. And what is more, these are things so difficult to discover that nothing now on earth can prove of better fortune nor be their equal”
LACRIMIS VIVIT PUSSINUS IN URNA
VIVERE QUI DEDERAT NESCIUS IPSE MORI
HIC TAMEN IPSE SILET SI VIS AUDIRE LOQUENTEM
MIRUM EST IN TABULIS VIVIT ET ELOQUITUR
Do not cry piously, in this tomb Poussin lives
He has given his life without knowing himself how to die
He is quite here but, if you want to hear him speak,
It is surprising how he lives and speaks in his paintings
Poussin was born in
was from a poor family, his father had been a soldier, and he received most
of his early professional training at home. The story is that during this
period Poussin wandered around
“He [Della Porta] was, in my opinion, the outstanding cryptographer of the Renaissance. Some unknown who worked in a hidden room behind closed doors may possibly have surpassed him in general grasp of the subject, but among those whose work can be studied he towers like a giant.”
Giambattista Della Porta described the first known digraphic substitution cipher which foreshadowed the concept of polyalphabetic substitution cipher which the Vigenère cipher used in the Shepherdess Parchment which introduces Poussin to this story is probably the most well known example.
Marino had also followed the philosophy of the heretics
Giordano Bruno[I7] ,
best known as a proponent of the heliocentric theory (whom we shall discuss
later in more detail), and Tommaso Campanella who was also from
He had claimed that he could:
“Make a city in such a wonderful way that only by looking at it all of the sciences could be learned”
He called this
THE CITY OF THE SUN
Marino had died in 1625 after only a few short months leaving the thirty
year old Poussin alone and without means in a strange city and he was forced
to do manual labour. Eventually Poussin made friends in
Eventually this work reached the attention of the influential Cardinal
Richelieu and finally came to Louis XIII and to the Louvre. Poussin was
evidently frustrated and disappointed by his lack of success in the
intensely competitive field of baroque altarpiece painting and he never
attempted this style again. In 1629, Poussin married his landlord’s daughter
and during his first period in
orses yoked across the sky normally driven by his father. Hours yoked the horses for Phaeton and Dawn threw open her doors and he set off. But he had no skill and was soon in trouble and the climax came when he met the fearful Scorpion of the Zodiac and he dropped the reins. The horses bolted and caused the earth to catch fire. In the nick of time Jupiter, father of the God’s stopped the runaway chariot with a bolt of lighting and sent Phaeton down to earth and into the River Eridanus where he was buried by nymphs. The devoted friend of Phaeton was Cygnus who strove to resuscitate Phaeton Jupiter took pity on Cygnus and turned him into a swan and placed him into the sky. In the painting Poussin has used the Sun-God Helios in the form of Apollo; Phaeton kneels in front of him asking if he can drive the chariot.
In the next decade history became the main subject of Poussin’s work. In his paintings of the 1630s the compositions are complex and compound with many characters, they remind of the classical tragedy on stage. In this period Poussin painted his Les Bergers d’Arcadie. Poussin used a special box and moulded wax figures. He first he built his compositions, then started to draw preliminary sketches, and only then did he paint. Other best-known works of the period are – The Rescue of Pyrrhus (1634), The Noble Deed of Scipio (1640) and very popular in his time were the so-called bacchanal series, commissioned especially by Cardinal Richelieu. One of these paintings is Triumph of Neptune and Amphitrite (1634). Those paintings were supposed to decorate the cardinal’s palace, and this fact indicates that the interest to Poussin in
His schism with Caravaggio is well documented; Poussin detested the affected airs of the ‘fashionable’ painters like Caravaggio. He declared that Caravaggio was out to destroy painting and called his work “painting for lackeys”. From this it is clear that Poussin sought to achieve by his doctrine of ‘imitation’ to reproduce nature in his paintings with conformity and reality and in his letters it is clear that held a great interest in archaeology and collected old coins and became a scholar of Greek mythology. He used scientific methods, measuring statues, consulting bas-reliefs, studying painted vases, sarcophagi and mosaics. What is strikingly obvious when one studies Poussin is that he never painted scenes from the Gospels and when he did paint Christ he was always depicted as a weak or submissive character, for example the painting called ‘Penitence’ where he has his feet being anointed by Mary of Bethany (The Magdalene) painted for Versailles but now in the Louvre. He produced few paintings whilst at the behest of Cardinal Richelieu in
the late 1620s, Nicholas Poussin produced a number of sketches of the
Annunciation, culminating in two paintings from the 1650s, one of which
still survives at
|Annunciation 1655||Annunciation 1657|
Both paintings by Nicolas Poussin
But perhaps the most striking aspect of the Aix triptych is its title given to it by the inhabitants of Aix. They have given it the curious nickname:
“Le diable a vecu tranquillement dans son stoup saint de l’eau”
“The devil lived quietly in his holy water stoup”
Curiously Poussin reproduced a second version of this
theme of the Annunciation in 1657 (shown on the right) and one is reminded
that Poussin’s enigmatic meeting with the Abbé Fouquet took place in between
these two works in 1656. The iconography is very unusual; Mary sits
cross-legged like an eastern woman, her arms open wide, while the angel
makes hieratic (priestly) gestures rare in 17th-century Annunciations, but
more common in the 15th century depictions. Dr Jane Costello, an
authority on the Valguarnera trial that involved Nicolas Poussin, is of the
opinion that this painting was a design for a funeral monument to Poussin's
friend and mentor Cassianio Del Pozzo, a distinguished antiquarian scholar.
If this is the case this is a decidedly odd theme for a funeral monument.
Pozzo was to be buried in the
What is the difference between the two paintings? Well the two most striking differences are the wings of the angel and the clothing of Mary, in the 1655 version they are eagle’s wings but in the 1657 painting they are the wings of a Swan.
Poussin is known to have been a profound student of ancient myths from original sources including Ripa's Iconologia and apparently constantly carried Cartari's Images of the Gods with him. He embodied Neoplatonic doctrines in his paintings and it is widely accepted that Poussin's paintings contain multiple layers of meaning, often blending Pagan and Christian themes and one of the major sources of this learning was from the library of Pozzo.
The second Annunciation is the only late painting by
Poussin that is signed and dated. It also contains a large inscription to
commemorate the fact that it was painted in the reign of the Fabio Chigi
otherwise known as Pope Alexander VII (1599-1667). Poussin might have been
thought to take quite a risk when he mentioned the Pope in such a painting,
but it seems that he knew exactly what he was doing. Alexander VII, elected
Pope in 1655 (the year of Poussin's first Annunciation), had put an end to the Heliocentrism issue that had been
proposed by Copernicus a century earlier and had published his Index Librorum Prohibitor Alexandri VII Pontificis Maximi jussu editus which he
prefaced with the Bull Speculatores Dominus
At this point a
prominent Alchemist and Rosicrucian enters our story, she is Queen Christina
of Sweden who was born on a prominent astrological conjunction and whom Pope
Alexander VII personally baptized her into Catholicism on Christmas Day
after her abdication in 1654. She later fell out with the legate in
This painting is called PENITENCE and one is reminded of the pillar underneath ‘Our Virgin of Lourdes’ in the Rennes le Chateau church garden were Saunière placed the words ‘PENITENCE PENITENCE’.
If you remember the reason we involve Poussin in this mystery at all is the mention of him in the parchment text. It says:
BERGERE PAS DE TENTATION POUSSIN TENIERS GARDENT LE CLEF.
The concept of a
Golden Age is a common feature amongst many cultures, in India for example
it is called Satya Yuga and a few
modernists notably Walter Cruttenden have surmised in his book entitled
Lost Star of Myth and Time that these ages have a basis of fact that is
indirectly due to the motion of the solar system around another set of stars
and galaxies. Cuttenden makes a convincing argument that our Solar
system is a in a binary system with Sirius.
Cuttenden makes a convincing argument that our Solar system is a in a binary system with Sirius.
Elizabeth Yorke (Lady Anson of Shugborough
Hall 1750) in a letter to speaks of the “Gentil Berger” and she remembers that since she left
“les delectables rives de votre belle Lignon” (delectable banks of the
beautiful Lignon) she has never ceased remembering the happy moments among
the “ces Vallons Fleuis, ces Collines ombrageuzes, ces Eux claires et
andoyantes, et sur tout ces Bergers et Bergeres so courtois et aimable qu’un
le trouve”. (These small flowered valleys, these ombrages hills, these
Eux Clairs and Andoyantes and on all these Shepherds and Shepherdesses
courteous and pleasant that one finds there), she continues that her heart
merits the name of “Mirroir de la
Vraie Reconnaissance” (Mirror of the true Reconnaissance) a feature of
Astree. She also alludes to the
“Fontaine de la Verite d’Amour (Fountain of true Love) in the
Palace of Isoure in which true
lovers could see themselves before the evil fairy put a spell on it. One
month prior to her writing this letter in August 1750 Lady Anson wrote to
her sister-in-law Jemima Grey informing her that she is copying the Duke of
Devonshire’s picture “5, 6, 7 or 8
hours a day” that had been lent to her at her father’s London home at
Carshalton, this is the first version of the shepherds of Arcadia that
Poussin painted which is still on show at Chatsworth House, the ancestral
home of the Duke of Devonshire. Lady Anson died in 1760 and is buried in the
Golden Age this perfect world was under the rule of Saturn and in his fourth Eclogue he includes the prophecy of the return to this Golden Age, clearly an allusion to astrology. He says:
“Iam redit et virgo redeunt Saturnia regna” –
“Now returns Virgo, and returning Saturn reigns”
perpetual spring. "
in Arcadia Ego. It is usually forgotten that the only reason we discuss
Les Bergere d’Arcadie with respect to Saunière and his apparent wealth is
entirely due to the large encoded parchment. The decryption says ‘Poussin
Teniers Guard the Key’ and as encryption rarely uses superfluous
lettering then we are talking of a specific key. This painting does indeed
‘Guard the Key’ The Key of Solomon’s
Poussin did not finish his work in
One will recall that a similar tomb as the one in Poussin’s painting used to be situated at Les Pontils close to the road from Couiza to Arques and despite some incredible and futile attempts to suggest otherwise the tomb was overlooked by Rennes le Chateau up until 1989. It is said that this tomb was built in the 1930s and that because of this the detractors insist that the whole thing must be a hoax and once again we see the strange logic adopted by these people that because a tomb was built there in the 1930s then therefore one wasn’t there before this. I do not propose to waste reams of paper and at the same time bore the reader in order to enter into this discussion save to say that the rebuilding of the tomb in the 1930s in no way proves or even suggests that there wasn’t a tomb there in Poussin’s day. Indeed one could reasonably ask as to why someone thought it prudent to put a tomb in the 1930s (or any other time) on this apparently non-consecrated ground in this very spot of rocky ground that is hardly suited for burial. The site is not even overlooked but it seems that in recent years across the Couiza to Arques road it has become a favourite spot to have ones relatives, usually the female members only, buried.
The tomb in contains the phrase: ET IN ARCADIA EGO and this phrase is being indicated only by the kneeling blue shepherd. The tombstone apparently over the grave of Marie de Blanchefort also carried the phrase but written in Greek lettering. What has been suggested is that the Abbé Bigou made this stone either to cover Marie de Blanchefort’s tomb in the late 18th century or perhaps more likely removed the stone itself that had been placed at the spot at Les Pontils in the 17th century. It is really unlikely that we shall ever get any positive confirmation of this so perhaps we can look at this tombstone itself and discuss it, whatever the origin these two, the painting and the tombstone, are to be viewed together because of the phrase ‘Et In Arcadia Ego’ that they both contain.
slab stone of Marie de Blanchfort is shown below left, the most obvious
piece of lettering is the repeat of the phrase from the Poussin tomb
ET IN ARCADIA EGO written down
the sides using the Greek alphabet. This tombstone is now missing or
possibly defaced, for there is a stone that has clearly been systematically
defaced in the
RÉDDIS RÉGIS you will recall was mentioned by a
researcher from the 1960s and means Return of the King. The
CÈLLIS ARCIS may well refer to the
Celestial Arc, the arc described by the meeting of the equatorial and
the ecliptic (more on this later). Although this is bad use of the French
language (a common feature of this story) it probably refers to the practice
of Kings regaining their crown on the alignment of some celestial event.
This is of course precisely what Jesus did, hence the Magi following the
What remains is more interesting, firstly there is this unusual P – S with a crudely drawn spiral around it. This is not, as some have said, a representation of the Priory of Sion because it says P – S not PS, in other words it means P to the S and spiralling back again. This immediately draws us to a document deposited in the Bibliothèque Nationale and, perhaps wrongly in this case, referred to as the Priory Documents called Le Serpent Rouge. Le Serpent Rouge is a stanza written by three persons who a supposedly hanged themselves within a day of each other, most likely names taken from newspaper articles. The poem is subtitled ‘Notes on Saint Sulpice and Saint Germain des Prés’, it does not specifically refer to Rennes le Chateau.
A characteristic of Le Serpent Rouge is that they are always linked to a Zodiac sign. One of the verses called Scorpio says:
this refers to the Rose Line in the
If you stand on the copper strip that denotes the Rose Line of Saint Sulpice and look north and south there are two ‘Rose’ windows that have a P and an S intertwined. The authorities say that these refer to St Peter and St Sulpitus and this is very likely correct. Saint Peter (feast day June 29 - In the Zodiac sign Cancer) is of course Simon Peter: The Fisherman. He is the first Pope and all Popes wear the Fisherman’s ring, here he represents the Roman Catholic Church. Saint Sulpitus on the other hand is Sulpitus the Pious (or the Débonaire). Saint Sulpitus’ feast day is the 17th January, a date close to the winter solstice that keeps recurring. It should be noted that the 17th January is the day that the sign of Aquarius starts in France.
What the writer of the verse in Le Serpent rouge is referring to here is that the fixing of the line is controversial and alternates between the two feast days. Another church on the Rose line less than a ten minute walk away called St Germain des Prés. This church has a rose boss in the ceiling that shows S – P separated by a crown.
“….rose of P then to that of the S. Then from the S to the P until my mind is dizzy
rebuilding of the church of St Sulpice commenced in 1645 on the site of an
older church that had been on the fields (prés) of the Abbey of St Germain
and interestingly now we find that this Abbey of St Germain had been the
necropolis of the Merovingian Kings of Neustria, an area of France that
contained Soissons and later Paris that stretched from Aquitaine to the
English Channel and from the Bay of Biscay to another Merovingian Kingdom of
Austrasia. Dagobert II had reigned over (he did little actual ruling)
St Germain himself (not to be confused with St Germaine
whose statue is featured in the
What is the alleged tombstone of Marie de Blanchefort
doing showing information that pertains to a church in
The words PRÆ- CUM are an enigma and other than it making up the letters in order to get the correct 128 letters for the code, at first glance seems out place. It can mean “Before – Since” or “Beside – With”. Taken in context it should mean that the P – S with the spiral is on a line that is ‘Before’ and ‘With’ the Pulpit. P probably is a reference to St Peter, one of the saints of St Sulpice and the S is St Sulpice himself. P to the S may well involve the change between the two dates (June 29th and 17th January) of these two saints in order to fix the meridian.
But the curious thing to be considered is the crosses placed within the phrase ЕТ ІΝ АXРХ--А∆XІА ЕГΩ with an obvious reference to the meridian and St Sulpice on the rest of the stone this does seem out of place here, irrespective of whether the stone was contrived in the 1960s or not. Why is the phrase broken by these crosses, which are not simply crosses but are Templar crosses? The Greek letters Rho and Chi (ΡΧ) are placed side by side rather than vertically and Delta and Iota (Δ Ι) are also placed thus this time with the cross in between, in its simplest form this could mean a triangle plus a line and Rho Chi ρχ could be a reference to the Rose Cross, however reversing this it becomes Chi Rho or Christ the anointed one. A line drawn from this cross to the other cross cuts the vertical meridian at 240º/60º.
Lastly we have the Roman numerals at the bottom right.
These numerals are ambiguous[I A11] because there are no gaps and thus one can read this in several ways but if one reads it as 59º 59’ 50” then this is very close to the angle created by the two crosses.
The group of letters could of course, in the tradition of Poussin, have meanings on several levels, but is so obscure one would need other information in order to ascertain the exact meaning. Whether contrived during the 1960s or not the tombstone is clearly associated with the Poussin Tomb through the phrase ET IN ARCADIA EGO therefore its dating is irrelevant to our search.
This Latin phrase is Poussin’s reference to Virgil’s fifth eclogue and is the second painting of his to carry this reference. Poussin’s first version is at Chatsworth House and was painted in 1627, but Poussin was by no means the first to use this phrase in a painting, Guercino had painted a version of two shepherds contemplating a tomb with a trepanned skull[i12] on the top and painted five years earlier both of these paintings are called ET IN ARCADIA EGO.
Yet another enigma exists here, why does the phrase
start with the word ET meaning AND, implying that something was said before
this phrase is uttered. Legend has it that the Arcadians were a native tribe
that inhabited the Peloponnesian area of
This version goes back to ca. 1640. Poussin apparently used the poem
of Jacopo Sannazaro, dating from 1502, who transforms the Arcadia of
Virgil in a Utopian world. Apparently, the specific lines of
interest of this poem are 257-267 and speak about the tomb of
Phyllis: "I will make your tomb famous among these rustic people.
The shepherds will come from the hills of
Le Serpent Rouge tells us how to interpret the
tombstone containing the phrase although the inclusion of the Latin phrase
ET IN ARCADIA EGO written in Greek is not explained. Poussin changed the
design of the tomb in the second painting and despite futile efforts to say
otherwise is similar to the real tomb that was at
Les Pontils up until 1989.
The new and old Paris Meridian markers at the side of the Couiza -
The new and old Paris Meridian markers at the side of the Couiza - Arques road.
Within a few hundred yards of the Poussin Tomb.
The Tomb at Les Pontils does seem to have been a
popular place to bury only the female members of ones family.
The tomb which existed until 1989 was erected on the edge of a rocky cliff
by a little bridge that passes over the bed of a stream that is now dried
up. This stream was known as 'La Cruce' (which seems to be a Spanish word
for The Crossing). The story of how it came to be
there is a story that some people have felt it necessary to falsify for
their own subversive reasons but it is actually quite well known. The tomb
was at the Moulin des Pontils and in 1880 this property was purchased by
Louis Galibert, who came to live there with his wife Elisabeth. M. Galibert,
planned to transform the former mill into a factory for the manufacture of
epaulettes and braid for military uniforms. This small factory was to take
its power from the water flow which ran several machines. M. Galibert’s
grandson had a grave erected there in 1903 and a tomb was constructed by a
stonemason from Rennes-les-Bains called Bourrel on the hillock located some
fifty metres from the Couiza to Arques road. The following year the remains
of his grandmother were transferred there. Twenty years later the Galibert
family left to live in Limoux and sold their estate. In 1921, Louis Galibert
had the remains of the bodies (his wife Elisabeth had also since been buried
there) and their remains were transferred to a cemetery in Limoux. The gate
and the facings in freestone of the tomb of Les Pontils were removed and
used to cover the tomb in Limoux. The buildings of the Moulin des Pontils
were bought by Madame Emily Rivarès, a French woman born in
Interestingly another painting by Poussin featuring a
tomb similar to the one at Les Pontils has recently come to light. The
painting is officially listed as lost however a seventeenth century
engraving of the painting does exist. It is said that the original was
painted by Poussin for the Cardinal Rospigliosi in the period 1639-1640.
Cardinal Rospigliosi later became Pope Clement IX. This painting is called
Le Repos Pendant la Fuite en Egypte à l’Eléphant (Rest on the flight
So let us sum up here regarding this tomb at Les Pontils. A tomb resembling the one in Poussin’s Les Bergers d’Arcadie was, up until 1989, within eyeshot of Rennes le Chateau. This tomb is close to the Paris Meridian and is a feature in some landscape geometry.
Despite painting some 300+ paintings Poussin’s
Shepherds of Arcadia is by far his most popular painting and is even
featured on his tomb in
The Poussin’s painting carries the phrase ET IN ARCADIA EGO as does a tombstone purported to be that of local noble landowner Marie de Nègre d'Ables dame d'Hautpoul Countess of Blanchefort and who despite being an obviously important person in the area does not appear to have any other tombstone or headstone.
Poussin himself appears to have some secret surrounding
him with regard to his “speaking of many things…that even kings will have
great pains to draw from you” with the Abbé Fouquet, brother of King Louis
XIV’s superintendent of finances Nicolas Fouquet and possibly with his two
curious paintings of the Annunciation painted either side of this enigmatic
conversation. Shortly after
this Nicolas Fouquet was arrested on nebulous charges of sedition and
imprisoned for the rest of his life having become exceptionally rich.
However the superintendent’s mother and the surviving brother mobilized the
Compagne de Saint Sacrement whose membership included one of the judges
appointed to preside over Nicolas Fouquet’s trail. Fouquet’s imprisonment
coincided with Poussin’s death in
But we must not lose sight of our starting point for this mystery, Beringer Saunière and his apparent sudden wealth that is associated with some secret.
So can the phrase ET IN ARCADIA EGO be associated with
Saunière? Not directly, although we did hear from Gérard de Sède and Noel
Corbu that he went to
If we can pull all things in together we do find a long line of coincidences.
Apart from the close proximity of the Tomb at Les Pontils to the tomb on the Poussin painting and to the parchment text another possible link can be made through the phrase ET IN ARCADIA EGO and the phrase Blue Apples. We know that Poussin was an almost passionate scholar of Greek mythology and we also know that Poussin living at a time when enlightenment was showing up advances in astronomy.
It is true that lights appear in Saunière’s church on the 17th January at around . The lights aren’t blue but they do emanate from a stained glass window in the south wall of church which shows the raising of Lazarus which does contain circles of blue glass. We have seen that throughout this whole story the name Lazarus keeps showing up time and time again. He is reported by many to be the brother of Mary of Bethany (who also appears in the church) from this we can assume that Roman Catholic sources would regard him as the brother of Mary Magdalene also.
These so-called Blue Apples fall on the altar of the church at on the 17th January. Obviously it is the timely movement of the seasons which are critical for this timing.
key here is Greek mythology and astronomy and with this in mind we will take
another look at the famous Poussin painting Les Bergers d’Arcadie (The
Shepherds of Arcadia). We know that
This story is found in Metamorphoses Book II by the Roman poet Ovid, a book which we know was dear to Nicolas Poussin, where Ovid talks of the seven stars of the bear.
And fondly gaz’d the boy in a fright
And aim’d a pointed arrow at her breast
And would have slain his mother in the beast
But Jove forbad, and snatch’d em through the air
In whirlwinds up to Heav’n, and fix’d em there
Where the new constellations nightly rise,
And add lustre to the northern skies.[i13]
Take another look at this important painting Les Bergers d’Arcadie. Three shepherds and a shepherdess contemplate a tomb and several features are worth pointing out and we will deal with them in detail from right to left.
The shepherdess has her hand on the Red Shepherd’s shoulder. She has a half moon like face and there is a hint of the rest of the moon made with the leaves of the tree. She wears orange and blue clothes. She is staring at the Blue kneeling shepherd; hand on hip possibly in a gesture of anger. For some reason she is not happy with the kneeling shepherd.
· The Red Shepherd looks around at the shepherdess, he is watching her. He has quite distinctive red hair and he points not at Et in Arcadia Ego but at a line running down the middle of the tomb.
· The Blue kneeling shepherd points at the phrase ET IN ARCADIA EGO. His right arm forms a rather unusual shadow on the tomb in the shape of a bow or horn. His right leg is firmly planted on a patch of earth that appears to be separated from the rest of the ground. As though it has been disturbed, even a hole is appearing to the right of his foot. This right foot coincides with the bottom of the white shepherd’s staff.
· The white shepherd leans languidly on the tomb and is the only one touching it. He doesn’t look at tomb or what the other shepherds are indicating. He appears to be staring at the piece of disturbed earth or the hole in the ground.
· All the shepherds carry a staff two leaning left and one leaning right and a vertical line on the tomb separates the ones going left and the ones going to the right.
All the shepherds are encapsulated in what
appears to be a pentagon.
In the mind of Poussin the shepherdess is Callisto the
mother of Arcas from whom
Callisto is Ursa Major, Ursa being the female bear in Latin.
Arcas is the constellation of Boötes and Arcturus is the alpha star. Arcturus literally means Bear Watcher and Arcas is known as the Bear Watcher hence he looks around in the painting at the bear who is his mother Callisto who was turned into a bear by Zeus and flung into the sky. The arm of Ursa Major points toward Boötes in the sky and this arm is bent in the middle like the handle of the plough. The centre star of the arm of Ursa Major is and double star comprising of Alcor and Mizar they are coloured orange and blue respectively, the same colour as the shepherdess clothes. This double star was discovered during Poussin’s lifetime in ancient times these two stars could be seen separately with the naked eye and seeing these two distinct stars was used as an eye test. They are currently arranged almost one behind the other.
We must assume from this that as the finger of the Red shepherd is on the line down the centre of the tomb that coincides with the source of light behind the peaks in the distance. So we are looking for a time when Arcturus appears on an east/west line.
Ursa Major has also been known as St Peter’s Barque and
it is believed by some to be the Boat of the Dead, which ties in with phrase
I (death) am also in
From the past it seems that star worshippers have been
venerating the Bear as a God for millennia. This period has been given the
enigmatic name of the Magdalenian
Era. A skull of one of the very first Homo sapiens was found in the
Dordogne area and curiously it has been nicknamed
‘The Magdalenian’ and still is
described as to have come from “L’Age
du Renne (The Age of Rennes)”, described as the “Age of the Reindeer”
from the simple, comfortable translation. The veneration of this
constellation as a bear has been repeated in
The Sicambrian Franks with whom the Merovingian
bloodline intermarried worshipped the bear in the form of Artemis or more
specifically in the form of
the patron goddess of the
Rennes le Chateau was initially called simply Rennes in the nineteenth century and what is now called Rennes Les Bains was called simply ‘The Baths at Rennes’, so it is clear which village is senior here, not the Spa town that was popular in Saunière’s day but the other with the Chateau on the hill despite the fact that it had no road leading up to it, Rennes le Chateau dominates the whole area from its high position. The whole area is honeycombed with cave systems some natural some dug by gold mining from Roman times and sometimes strange water coursing phenomena can be found indicating an intricate linked underground cave system. From Sauniere’s Tour Magdala it can be seen that we are surrounded by this history of the Albigensian Crusade, Raan’s crusade against the Grail and Blanche de Castille, whose “baggage” it is said has been hidden somewhere around Rennes le Chateau. It was Blanche de Castille who had said immediately prior to the attack on the Cathar stronghold of Montségur that
“The Dragon’s head must be chopped off”.
What did she mean by this statement? The kneeling Blue shepherd is the close by the Red shepherd as the constellation of Boötes is close by the Constellation of Hercules and to Hercules was given the twelve labours.
Like a toiling man, revolves in a form
Nor to what toil he is attached:
But, simply, Kneeler they call him
Labouring on his knees, like one
Who sinks it seems
And his right foot planted on the twisting Serpent’s Head.
Phenomenon – Manilius
Is the twisting Serpent underground is this what the snake charmer (White Shepherd) is staring at? - Certainly because if the tomb forms part of the constellation Ophiuchus then the Serpent snakes underneath this constellation with its tail one side and its head the other. The white shepherd is the head of the snake charmer Serpentarius who is sometimes separated from Ophiuchus (the tomb shaped constellation) but he is the only shepherd who is actually touching the tomb and other connections make him the tomb shaped Ophiuchus. The actual head star is Theta Serpens and is called Alya and is from Al Alyah and is Arabic for ‘Fatty tail of the sheep’. To some this star is the snake’s tail and others the Head of the snake charmer.[i15]
The blue shepherd Hercules points at the phrase ‘And I
The twelve tasks of Hercules are most certainly to be associated with the twelve signs of the zodiac.
Hercules is normally painted with a outstretched arm and is normally holding
a bow which in French is ‘ARC’. Sagitta is the arrow which is pointed in the
direction of constellations depicting two birds: the eagle,
Hercules – The Kneeling man
Ladon was the guardian of Hera’s Golden Apples which grow in the Garden of the Hesperides, Hercules (the Blue Shepherd) later killed Ladon to steal the Golden Apples in the eleventh labour. The kneeling blue shepherd is the Constellation of Hercules. The labours of Hercules go like this:
having made Alcmene, mother of Hercules pregnant proclaimed that
the next born son of the house of Perseus would become king.
Hera, Zeus’ wife, hearing this, caused Eurystheus to be born
early as he was of the house of Perseus, while Hercules, also of
the house, was three months overdue. When he found out what had
been done Zeus was furious; his rash proclamation still stood.
In a fit of madness Hercules slew his wife and children.
Realizing what he had done, he exiled himself living alone in
the wilderness. His cousin Theseus, king of
Labour 1 Skin the Nemean Lion
Labour 2 Kill the Hydra
Labour 3 Bring back the Cerynitian Hind
Labour 4 Bring back the Erymanthian Boar
Labour 5 Clean the Stables of Augeas
Labour 6 Scare away the Stymphalian Birds
Labour 7 Capture the Cretan Bull
Labour 8 Cure the Mares of Diomedes of their taste for human flesh
Labour 9 Retrieve the belt of Hippolyte
Labour 10 Fetch the kine (cattle) of Geryon
Labour 11 Fetch the Golden Apples of Hesperides
Labour 12 Bring Cerberus from Hades
HERCULES points at the phrase Et in Arcadia Ego
HERCULES points at the phrase Et in Arcadia Ego
Poussin cleverly makes the arm of HERCULES form
the shadow of a bow on the tomb.
arm of HERCULES form the shadow of a bow on the tomb.
Meanwhile it is ARCAS who points at the East-West line below the
Meanwhile it is ARCAS who points at the East-West line below the breaking dawn.
Again this story appears in Ovid’s Metamorphosis which
is a book of 15 volumes and we know Poussin studied it and used its themes
in several of his paintings. Poussin produced a set of drawings for Marino
using Metamorphoses and these are part of the
The white shepherd is also close by and also above the others on the same level as the shepherdess and can be encapsulated in Cornford’s Pentagon. The identity of this constellation is less obvious and instinct says that he is the constellation of Serpentarius, the Snake Charmer or Asclepios, son of Apollo and Coronis and demigod of Medicine. Coronis fell in love with Ischys. A crow informed Apollo of the affair and he sent his sister Artemis (Diana) to kill Coronis. Her body was burned on a funeral pyre staining the feathers of the crow permanently black. Asclepios was bought up by Chiron, the centaur who was also involved with Hercules in his labour to bring back the Erymanthian Boar. Asclepios (Aesculapius) is the God of medicine and is always shown with a staff with a serpent around it and symbolises doctor’s surgeries and hospitals. You will notice in the Poussin painting that the white shepherd’s staff coincides at the bottom with the right foot of the blue shepherd who is Hercules whom you will remember from the Manilius poem as “Labouring on his knees, like one Who sinks it seems And his right foot planted on the twisting Serpent’s Head”. You will also notice that the white shepherd’s staff has a spiral running all the way up it.
Returning to our theme:
Shepherdess No temptation Poussin Teniers Guard the key PAX 681 by the cross and this horse of God I complete this daemon guardian at Blue Apples.
The key linking this with Saunière here appears to be the raising of Lazarus, one of only two people in the New Testament who were resurrected from the dead, the other of course being Jesus. And one is reminded that the hand gesture of the Red Shepherd is the same as the hand gesture used by Jesus in the painting of raising of Lazarus. In the Masonic ritual for the ‘Poor candidate in a state of darkness’[i18] , a special hand grip is used to raise the new initiate into a state of being born again.
One important point must be made here that owing to the comprehensive renovation of the church the Blue Apples phenomenon is likely to be either from Saunière himself or is a more modern addition. It could not have been a phenomenon before the early twentieth century unless Saunière merely rebuilt his church in the manner of its previous layout. This either dates the clue obtained from the parchment to after Saunière or the lights on the altar have been added to the church since by Saunière himself or afterwards in order to fit the clue in the parchment. This fact invalidates nothing however.
The parchment plain text talks about Jesus’ visit to
Perhaps it would be prudent to finish off this chapter with a discussion of the story of Lazarus and it is not without some controversy.
Only the Gospels of Luke and John speak of him by name and it seems that he suffered from Leprosy. As we know [i19]
The Cathar historian Antonin Gadal regards Lazarus as John the Beloved, the feminine looking disciple in many last supper paintings not just the Leonardo da Vinci fresco.There does appear to good reason to regard Lazarus and John the Beloved as being one and the same person. Lazarus is Greek for Eliezer which is another name for Elijah or Elias. Many people thought that John the Baptist was Elijah/Elias reincarnated so by default Lazarus could indeed have been also given the title John.
The stained glass windows in Saunière’s church all deal with either Lazarus or the family of Lazarus; we are getting a pattern here. The theme seems to be resurrection coupled with the movement of the stars and planets. Remember that Philippe de Chérisey had said that he would leave things to the priests because they were more concerned with the sky and earth and astronomy and geography.
The Poussin’s shepherdess seems to be Ursa Major and/or Virgo and the Prieure de Sion seems to think so too, because they left us a clue right at the top of the Lobineau document.
The logo on the right is the astrological symbol for Virgo but the letters inset say OURS which is the French word for bear. The Bear (Ursa) is intertwined with Virgo
The two constellations Ursa Major and Minor are always seen in the northern sky, as explained later these can be associated with a celestial cross. The analogy of these two constellations to bears tends from their appearing the dance in a circle seemingly tethered to a pole (Polaris) like a dancing bear. Böotes is the great cultivator or Ploughman who drives the bears Ursa Major and Ursa Minor around the Pole Star Polaris. The bears dance around the pole pulling the plough behind them and tilling the heavenly fields and as Manilius in Astronomica said
“in order that the rotations of the heavens should never cease….they will be like kings and ministers of state, and be charged with the guardianship of the people, custodianship of great houses and treasures, who confine their business to the care of another’s home so that the wealth of monarchs and temple finances will be in their keeping”.
It seems also that the widow of a descendant of Girard de Roussillon (Duke of Burgundy), Beatrix was once described as ‘living like a bear in a cave’ after her husband’s death and Mary Magdalene ‘lived like a bear’ during her last days, the legend says. In the old chartreuse apparently frequented by Beatrix there was discovered in 1896 (at the start of Saunière’s building activities) a set of murals dating from the 14th century, one of which was a crucifixion which shows Jesus on a ‘green heart’ cross roughly trimmed in the same manner as the one shown with the weeping Mary Magdalene under the altar. Was this finding the inspiration for Saunière’s altar scene? Was this the discovery of a tomb that he mentioned in his diary?
Was Saunière involved with a sect that believes in resurrection on certain days of the year?
According to Claire Corbu and Antoine Captier, Saunière
ordered the stained glass window from where the Blue Apples phenomenon
occurs, from the House of Henri Feur at
in St Malo,
[I2]On the recommendation of Madame Récamier
[I3]Incredibly built in a single year. Construction began in 1197 and was completed in 1198.
[I4]This no longer survives
[I5]Second wife of Henry IV of France and regent to the young Louis XIII who had become king following his father’s assassination.
[I6]Written in letter form it was sent to Marie de Medici. The poem is straight out of Ovid and concerns a love affair between Venus and Adonis.
[I7]Real name Filippo Bruno
is another Cassini by the same name however here I use the
Italian version of his name. Later I shall use the French
version for the Cassini born in
[i9]She liked to cross dress as a man and also went under the name of Count Dohna.
[i10]Sword (L’Epee) in one hand and the scales Libra in the other.
A11]Another researcher has
noticed a remarkable coincidence with this. At
[i12]May be a Merovingian bee.
[i13]Ovid Book the second: The story of Calisto
[I A14]The Bear Goddess
different ways of classifying this constellation make it
confusing. The Greeks knew it as Ophis Ophioukhou or simply
Ophis and also they knew it as Erpeton and Egkhelus (eel) .
Latins knew it as
[i16]In 1572 a very bright supernova appeared in Cassiopeia that was brighter than Venus and was visible in daytime for a year and a half. This was seen by the astronomer Tycho Brahe and he wrote about it in NOVA ET NVLLIVS. Today this rapidly expanding cloud is today merely identified as 3C 10 [i16].
[i17]Right Ascension 17h 30m 42s Declination -21º 29’ 20000 light-years
[i18]The name given to a new candidate for Master Mason
pagan Christian hybrid religion based on the cult of