In Angels and Demons, Dan Brown claims that the pyramid and the eye on the American dollar are symbols of the Illuminati.
Conspiracy theories sprout like mushrooms at each global crisis, and Swine flu is no exception: one blog blames a mysterious secret society, the Illuminati, for the recent outbreak. Do movies like Ron Howard's upcoming Angels and Demons add fuel to the conspiracy-theory fire?
Most people had never heard of the secret society of the Illuminati before Dan Brown's novel Angels and Demons, sequel to the best-selling Da Vinci Code. In the book and its subsequent Hollywood version, the Illuminati are presented as a renaissance-era society of great thinkers, including the scientist Galileo and the artist Bernini, who were "expelled from Rome by the Vatican and hunted down mercilessly", according to Brown. In fact, the only known Illuminati society recognised by historians was founded nearly a century later, in Bavaria, in 1776. The plot of Angels and Demons takes place 400 years later, when the Illuminati, now a powerful and ruthless secret society, return to take their revenge on Vatican cardinals.
It's a short leap from there to the most common conspiracy theories, in which the Illuminati are said to be a mysterious "elite within the elite" whose goal is to infiltrate positions of power to create a ‘new world order' based on secular knowledge. Some see symbols like the pyramid and the all-seeing eye on US dollar bills as a sign that Illuminati have infiltrated the highest spheres of power.
Under fire for distorting historical events, Angels and Demons movie director Ron Howard wrote in the Huffington Post that the movie is "nothing other than a work of fiction", pointing out that if "fictional movies couldn't take liberties with reality, there would have been no Ben-Hur, no Barabbas, The Robe, Gone With the Wind or Titanic". But Dan Brown's official website is not so quick to dismiss the novels as pure fiction...
Extracts from Danbrown.com.
- On the early Illuminati:
- On Illuminati symbolism on the US dollar:
- On an unflattering portrayal of the Catholic Church:
Bill Donahue is president of the New-York Based Catholic League.
In fact, not a single member of the Illuminati was ever "brutally massacred" by the Catholic Church, as the movie claims. Moreover, the Illuminati were not founded in 1600 as they claim - it was founded in 1776 and it was dissolved in 1787. Why did they play fast and loose with the facts? So they could drag out their favorite martyr, Galileo, and maintain that he was persecuted by the Church. Galileo, however, died in 1642 and could not possibly be tied to the Illuminati. Besides, he was never tortured and never imprisoned.
The central objection to the book is its invidious lie that the Catholic Church is anti-reason and anti-science. Had it not been for the Catholic Church, the universities would not have survived during the Middle Ages. Had it not been for the Catholic Church, the Scientific Revolution would not have been as dramatic as it was. The Church's contribution to astronomy, alone, has been remarkable.
The Catholic League simply asks that the film be preceded by a disclaimer saying that the movie is a fictional account."
Illuminati manipulation by David Martin.
The pyramid structure of the secret Illuminati society. Posted on Conspiracy Watch.
Zoom on the pyramid and eye on the American dollar note. Some consider them Illuminati symbols.