Dan Brown has made some colorful (and controversial) historical claims in his The Da Vinci Code – claims only stoked by the recent release of the Da Vinci movie, starring Tom Hanks and directed by Ron Howard.

Beginning on Wednesday, Sept. 20, at 7 p.m. and continuing until Wednesday, November 15, scholars at Virginia Tech will take a closer look at some of those claims. Professors from the departments of English, History, Foreign Languages and Literatures, Art and Art History, and Interdisciplinary Studies will take part.

The lecture series is free and open to the public.

The first two speakers, Susan Hagedorn of the English Department and Michael Saffle of the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, will look at the claims made in the novel and film, respectively. Subsequent lectures will focus on such topics as Constantine and the early Church, the Knights Templar and their myth, the medieval legend of the Holy Grail, and Leonardo Da Vinci himself.

All events are Wednesday evenings from 7 - 8pm, in 1020 Torgersen Hall. Ample time will be allowed for questions and discussion. Speakers and their topics include:

Sept. 20

"The Book that Started it All: What's Dan Brown Trying to Do?" Susan Hagedorn, English Department

Sept. 27

"History and Hollywood Myth: The Da Vinci Code Movie" Michael Saffle, Department of Interdisciplinary Studies

Oct. 11

"How Can We Know Any Better About the Past?" Greta Kroeker, History Department

Oct. 18

"Constantine & the Church: Not What You Think" Glenn Bugh, History Department

Oct. 25

"Merovingians and Templars? A Match Made in Crazytown" Matthew Gabriele, Department of Interdisciplinary Studies

Nov. 8

"The Medieval Grail Legend(s)" Mary Paddock, Department of Foreign Languages & Literature

Nov. 15

"In His Own Words: Da Vinci the Atheist" Dawn Odell, Department of Art & Art History

For more information, please contact Matthew Gabriele (mgabriele@vt.edu), Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies and Coordinator of Medieval & Renaissance Studies (540) 231-2293.

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