Giselle de Razes


“The claim that the descendents of Jesus married into the Merovingian royal dynasty is based on a figure called Giselle de Razes who married King Dagobert II in the 7th century. Giselle de Razes never existed, but was invented in the 20th century.”

- Aviad Kleinberg, professor of history at Tel Aviv Universit, in the  Haaretz Daily, 2003.


La famille de Razès éteinte depuis le XVII° siècle, était une des plus illustres du Limousin.” (Translation: “The de Razès family , extinct since the 17th century, was one the most illustrious of Limousin.”)   - Couleur 87,  Guide Touristique Complet/ Web TV Limousine


“Le château (cathare) d’Usson est mentionné pour la première fois en 844 (donnation de père en fils entre Argila et Bera II de Razès).” (Transltion: “The Cathar castle of Usson is mentioned for the first time in 844 (deed from father to son between Argila and Bera II de Razes.”- archives of Ariège Pyrenées)


Pictures of the commune de Razes, in Haute-Vienne.


Professor Kleinberg’s statement is only partially accurate. In fact, Giselle de Razes is a purely fictional personage said to be the daughter of Bera II de Razes, an actual historical figure, but the story of a descendant of Mary Magdalene marrying into the Merovigian line has much earlier roots than Plantard’s 20th century hoax..  The legend of Joseph of Arimathea and Mary Magdalene bringing the Sangreal (San Graal / Sang Real?) to Europe has persisted in the British Isles and France at least from the 10th century (when the Catholic cathedral in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer was built) and possibly as far back as the first century (when the oratory which preceded the cathedral was constructed and dedicated to the Saints Mary Magdala, Mary Jacobe and Mary Salome, who according to local legend arrived upon the shores at what is now Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer), and is one of the sources of the Holy Grail legend.  That the grail was a chalice/cup used by Jesus at the last supper and/or used to catch the blood of Christ at the crucifixion is a more recent Arthurian legend, mostly popularized by Sir Thomas Malory’s Morte d’Arthur, completed in 1469-1470. The idea of a descendant of Mary Magdalene marrying into the Merovigian line is consistent with the supposed genealogies of  the family of Joseph of Arimathea, which has Joseph’s sister (Mary-)Euygeus, and Joseph’s daughter Anne marrying progenitors of the Merovigian line.  Whether there is any truth to these legends and genealogies, I cannot say.  1000+ year-old legends are hard to prove or disprove, given the lack of irrefutable hard evidence either for or against. Neither can I or anyone else prove or disprove the portions of these genealogies that are listed in the Bible. However, it would be poor scholarship for anyone to insist that the Merovignian legend associated with Mary Magdalene orginated with Pierre Plantard's "Priory of Sion" 20th century hoax, while there exists clear evidence that the construsction of a 10th century French Cathedral was predicated upon the same story line as Plantard' much later hoax. I'm not defending the veracity of the legend, just its much, much earlier origins.


The de Razes family did indeed exist, but died out as a surname in the 1600s.

The name Giselle de Razes was created as part of the fraudulent “Dossiers Secret” and the included “Lobineau genealogies” for Pierre Plantard who was attempting to present himself as a supposed descendant of this Giselle, who in turn was supposed to be a Mary Magdalene/Jesus descendant. Participants in the forgeries and the hoax have since come forward and confessed to their complicity in the plot, and expert examinations have disclosed parchment flaws damning the authenticity of the parchments supposedly found at Chateau-le-Rennes.



Dagobert II did however have descendants who held the de Razes title and properties in the department of Haute-Vienne in Limousin, France. The name Giselle de Razes was created as part of the aforementioned hoax.  It may have seemed therefore plausible that Dagobert might have married a daughter of Bera II de Razes, and that such was the manner that Dagobert’s descendant came by the title.  However, no such daughter is known to have existed.  Dagobert was not a descendant of Bera II, who actually lived at a later period than Dagobert.  (Bera II did have a son Miron Etilius who forfeited all of his possessions, including the Comté de Razes, after participating in a failed coup against Charles the Bald).  The name of Sigebert IV’s mother is actually unknown. The notion that the daughter was a descendant of Mary Magdalene and that her name was Giselle is a falsehood conceived and executed by Pierre Plantard.  The popularity of the Da Vinci Code which utilizes this story has perpetuated the inclusion of Giselle de Razes in numerous Internet genealogies and most appear to not realize that the document declaring her existence has been fully debunked as a recent forgery. 


The idea that Mary Magdalene came to France predates Plantard’s hoax by at least four centuries, as evidenced by the Church’s construction of the magnicifent cathedral of St. Maximim la Sainte Baume in Provence, which claimed – whether rightly or falsely - to house her relics until the time of the French Revolution, and which perpetuates that claim up to the present day, along with the “Black Virgin” worship in Catholic churches along the S. Atlantic coast of France and the Pyrenees region. As already mentionned, there also exist the earlier (10th century, Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer) evidence dating the legend of Mary Magadalene coming to France. Sarah le Noir (aka the Egyptian) was – as the story goes – a dark-skinned girl who accompanied Mary Magadalene to France.  The legend flourished in Southern France, no doubt in part to the popularity of a strong Cathar presence there from the 10th century until their extermination in the early 13th century. The Cathars were a Christian sect rooted in the Gnostic gospels, which include the so-called Gospel of Mary (Magdalene).


The story that a descendant of Mary Magadalene married into the Merovigian line was also not a creation of Plantard, but rather a centuries-old legend upon which Plantard attempted to capitalize via forged documents supposedly found in a hollowed-out Visiogoth column at Rennes-le-Chateau. The column proved to be neither hollow nor Visigoth, but a recent recreation.


- Michael Marcotte