Shepherd's Monument Mystery
...by Leon Priz © July 15, 2012
People have been trying to solve this mystery for over 200 years. I don't mean to brag, but I did it in a little over 2 hours (with the help of modern technology, e.g. internet, Google, Wikipedia, etc.)
I first learned about this mystery from an photo-article on Mother Nature Network.
Okay, here's a synopsis of the mystery. Apparently, there is an inscription (called the "Shugborough Inscription"), at the bottom of the Shepherd's monument, located on the grounds of Shugborough Hall in Staffordshire, England.
Above the inscription is a glyph (stone relief), which is a mirror image of Nicolas Poussin's painting of the "Shepherds of Arcadia".
The inscription is pictured below.
Because the Shepherd's monument was reportedly built by the Knights Templar, in the 18th-century. It is commonly thought that the inscription may be a code which indicates the location of the Holy Grail. The problem with that idea is that if the Knights Templar did know where the Holy Grail was, they wouldn't put the location out in public, even if it was in secret code.
Since the code hasn't been cracked, some suggest it was added later as a kind of grafitti. The problem with that idea is: I've never seen such nice graffiti.
HOW I SOLVED the RIDDLE (HOW I CRACKED THE CODE)
When I first looked at the inscription, I was immediately aware of the Roman numerals: D, M, and V. I thought that it might indicate either a date or a location (via latitude and longitude coordinates).
I thought that it might be a Chronogram. Wikipedia's article on Chronograms defines chronogram" thusly: A chronogram is a sentence or inscription in which specific letters, interpreted as numerals, stand for a particular date when rearranged.
AND a natural chronogram puts the numbers in their correct order. Since the carving is a mirror image of Poussin's painting, we would start from the right side....
M = 1000
The date would be 1515.
However, as far as I can tell, there isn't anything special about that date to the Knights Templars. So, I kept searching. I did some research on Roman Numerals. Imagine my surprise when I found out on Wikipedia's article about Roman Numerals that in Medieval times, there were many more Roman numerals used than what we learn in school these days.
According to the article on Wikipedia these additional Roman numerals were used:
A (upside down "V"), said to represent 5 or 500 [or
Nowhere could I find any evidence that U was ever used.
So, we have....
M = 1000
You add them up and you get the year 1594. That was the year that Nicolas Poussin was born!!!!
Clearly, the Shepherd's Monument was intended as a monument to the late great knight of the order of the Knights Templar, namely Nicolas Poussin. On the 26th of November, 2004; BBC reported the following, "Poussin was believed to be a Grand Master of the Knights Templar, an order which captured Jerusalem during the Crusades and were known as the keepers of the Holy Grail."
I know that this information will disappoint many Grail seekers, but it makes perfect sense. The Knights Templar simply wanted to erect an edifice to commemorate one of their own.
By the way, he was a great artist! I really like his work. My favourite is the "Ordination".
Here's to Nicolas Poussin!
Cheers! and Best Wishes, Grail hunters.