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Adriana Koulias talks about her novel Temple of the Grail – Page 2

Adriana Koulias talks about researching the medieval world for her novel Temple of the Grail...

READERSVOICE.COM: Can you tell the story of your researching of Temple of the Grail?
ADRIANA KOULIAS: I did all my research in the early days at either university libraries or local libraries.
Local libraries were surprisingly resourceful; I even managed to find a very obscure book on medieval heresy by a French author translated into English that I kept borrowing time and time again.
As far as the internet goes I also found a very comprehensive web site at Georgetown University called The Labyrinth – resources for medieval studies.
The Labyrinth has a wide range of old manuscripts, historical documents, journals and out of print material available on the web.
Another good web site on Alchemy is the Alchemy web site.
But my foremost research came from the large quantity of books bought at second hand bookshops – hence I never have enough bookshelves to hold them and they end up on the floor.
The good thing about having your own books is the immediate availability and the familiarity with the text that enables you to do quick economical searches.
Today I am a little hooked on ‘Google’, I find that I use it regularly, though I have to qualify this by saying that you have to know what you’re looking for and then you have to have a certain store of knowledge behind you in order to sift the diamonds from the stones.

RV: What sort of diaries or other documents from the Middle Ages did you use to get an insight into the voice and thoughts of the main narrator, Christian de St Armand?
AK: When I was writing Christian’s character I had a number of challenges.
The first challenge was in using subtle language to delineate between his ‘older’ voice and his ‘younger’ voice.
I read chronicles by Joinville, Villehardouin and William Tyre and Plato’s dialogues to get a sense for the philosophical banter between a teacher and a student.
I also read the rule of St Benedict and St Augustine in order to balance the chroniclers with a more religious language.
Latin was the preferred language of the learned and I wanted Christian to sound like he was speaking a Latin that had been translated into English, this meant that I had to think in Spanish, which is the closest language I know to Latin.
It sounds tedious but it became second nature. This gave Christian a ‘voice’ that is close to authentic.
RV: Were there monasteries in the Middle Ages that had the sort of secret passageways, false doors, and mechanisms of the monastery of St. Lazarus in Temple of the Grail?
AK: Yes, underground passages were quite common in Christian monasteries.

They date back to Roman times when the early Christians would gather together in the catacombs or underground cemeteries to worship in secret and away from the scrutiny of Roman officials.
In the Middle East, the Temple of Solomon is said to have had underground rooms, and many Coptic monks followed the tradition of their Egyptian ancestors and built catacombs and strong rooms beneath their monasteries.
They were used not only as burial chambers but also as hiding places for monks, banned texts, sacred relics and precious articles in the event of invasion by Turks or Mameluks.
This tradition was taken to Europe and used in many European monasteries and castles.
At Lockenhaus castle in Austria for instance, there is an underground tunnel that you enter from inside a well.
This tunnel comes out in Bernstein twenty kilometres away!
The same castle also has an underground chapel covered in symbols where the Templars held secret chapters and worshipped the Cosmic Christ and the Divine Sophia.
England is also dotted with abbeys and churches that have underground passages and secret rooms. Many times these appear to be part of drainage systems that brought running water into the buildings.