“Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” by Steven Spielberg

This article is also available in: Italiano

In “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”, the third chapter of the series, Indiana Jones will go first to Iskenderun and then to Petra on the traces of the Holy Grail, the mythical chalice in which (it seems) Jesus drank. Where does this legend come from and who are his “brothers”?

Indiana Jones and the last crusade

The charming archaeologist is approached by the billionaire Walter Donovan, who tries to hire him for the search for the Holy Grail, the chalice used by Jesus during the Last Supper. Indy scoffs at the billionaire until he finds out that the mysterious archaeologist hired before him and mysteriously disappeared during the venture is just that his father. This news immediately puts Indiana on a journey to Venice, from where she received her father’s enigmatic note book and where she met the archaeologist Elsa Schneider. Together with the latter he will make a series of discoveries that will lead him to make important steps towards the Holy Chalice by touching places such as Alexandretta and Petra.


In search of the Grail

In this chapter, Indiana Jones will lead us to go into one of the most famous and iconic myths of the whole Christian Middle Ages, constantly moving in a search in the East stopping only in El Khazneh, the main and most famous facade of Petra. According to the film, in fact, inside what would be considered by many as one of the most sacred objects ever, able, according to the myth, to provide eternal life to anyone who savor a sip.


In fact, as with any Indiana Jones film, even in this third chapter, fantasy often outweighs reality, filling the latter with the famous “Hollywood magic”. The elusive chalice, in fact, besides having probably never existed (obviously Jesus also drank in glasses, but none of these should be “special”), would have had different functions and powers based on the story and historical period, going to replace one of the many sacred chalices of the various mythologies.

Beyond the Holy Grail

In addition to the Christian Holy Grail, in fact, there are: the Jamshid Cup in Persian culture, the Akshaya Patra in the Indian one and the Cornucopia in the Greek one. According to their traditions, all these containers are able to bring incredible benefits and blessings to the owner, allowing him, in a sense, to use only the latter for his sustenance. Rather than a real food or drink, the mythical glass would be enough for him to live forever, de facto substituting the object for food.


A very interesting comparison with the Islamic world, in which there is no container with these characteristics but, on the other hand, there are many heavenly fountains that would take its place. As usual, Islam focuses on the unrepresentable, rather than something subject to mythization. Returning to us, the Indiana Jones film represents an excellent way to spend pleasant time with loved ones, thus managing to find a compromise between our desire for the Orient and their desire to remain in their “Hollywood childhood”.

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