Skip to comments.Who Were The Knights Templar? (Sunday History Read)
Posted on 07/21/2002 10:01:31 AM PDT by Hacksaw
The Knights Templar were a monastic military order formed at the end of the First Crusade with the mandate of protecting Christian pilgrims on route to the Holy Land. Never before had a group of secular knights banded together and took monastic vows. In this sense they were the first of the Warrior Monks.
From humble beginnings of poverty when the order relied on alms from the traveling pilgrims, the order would go on to have the backing of the Holy See and the collective European monarchies.
Within two centuries they had become powerful enough to defy all but the Papal throne. Feared as warriors, respected for their charity and sought out for their wealth, there is no doubt that the Templar knights were the key players of the monastic fighting orders. Due to their vast wealth and surplus of materials the Templars essentially invented banking, as we know it. The church forbade the lending of money for interest, which they called usury. The Templars, being the clever sort they were, changed the manner in which loans were paid and were able to skirt the issue and finance even kings.
They were destroyed, perhaps because of this wealth or fear of their seemingly limitless powers. In either case, the order met with a rather untimely demise at the hands of the Pope and the King of France in 1307 and by 1314, "The Poor Fellow Soldiers of Christ and the Temple of Solomon" ceased to exist.
Although originally a small group of nine knights, they quickly gained fame largely due to the backing of Bernard of Clairvaux and his "In Praise of the New Knighthood". Bernard at that time was often called the Second Pope and was the chief spokesman of Christendom. He is also the one responsible for helping to draw up the order's rules of conduct.
In European political circles, they became very powerful and influential. This was because they were immune from any authority save that of the Papal Throne. (Pope Innocent II exempted the Templars from all authority except the Pope.) After the crusades were over, the knights returned to their Chapters throughout Europe and became known as moneylenders to the monarchs. In the process many historians believe they invented the Banking System. The Templars fought along side King Richard I (Richard The Lion Hearted) and other Crusaders in the battles for the Holy Lands.
The secret meetings and rituals of the knights would eventually cause their downfall. The King of France, Philip the Fair used these rituals and meetings to his advantage to destroy the knights. The real reason for his crushing the Templars was that he felt threatened by their power and immunity. In 1307, Philip, who desperately needed funds, to support his war against England's Edward I made his move against the Knights Templar.
On October 13th, 1307, King Philip had all the Templars arrested on the grounds of heresy, since this was the only charge that would allow the seizing of their money and assets. The Templars were tortured and as a result, ridiculous confessions were given. These confessions included:
Trampling and spitting on the cross
Homosexuality and Sodomy
Worshipping of the Baphomet
Philip was successful in ridding the Templars of their power and wealth and urged all fellow Christian leaders to do the same thing. On March 19th, 1314 the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, Jacques de Molay was burned at the stake. De Molay is said to have cursed King Philip and Pope Clement as he burned asking both men to join him within a year. Whether he actually uttered the curse or if it is simply an apocryphal tale what remains as fact is that Clement died only one month later and Philip IV seven months after that.
The Masonic organization for males under 21 is called The Order of DeMolay. I know, I was one, but even at 16, I could recognize idiotic mumbo-jumbo when I saw it, and I dropped out. =) I think I was the High Left Chamberlain, or some such ridiculous title. They have their degrees, and secret handshakes, and all that crap. Don't ask me to reveal the high secret handshake, though; I might have to report you and you'll be murdered under a bridge at the full moon or something. =)
Ah, the Masons, and the Knights Templar -- the Templars were the original conspiracy crowd. They would have had tinfoil helmets, if it was around in those days.
Robert the Bruce got a lot of trained knights out of nowhere in a hurry about the time the Templars disappeared. And Scotland was one of the few places where the edict against the Templars was never enforced.
The Templar were also some of the worlds first archaeologists in that they excavated the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Whatever they took from the site has remained the subject of speculation to this day.
And gave us that infamous quote by the Crusader's leader, "Kill them all, God will know his own".
Absolutely fascinating medieval history.
The Pope's of those days were highly political leaders. In Dante's Inferno, there are several Popes in hell. I am amazed that he got away with writing it when he did.
Bit of trivia. I believe this was a Friday, and therefore is the direct link to the Friday 13 superstition.
From The Boston Review
If a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, a modicum may have even greater perils. Eco parades themes -- including the double, the direction of time, and the effects of modern science upon morality -- but his ostentatious presentation, coupled with his scant narrative powers, suggests nothing so much as a dumbed-down lecture for high-school students of selected problems in philosophy. A grab-bag full of cute Scholastic arguments, tinkering Jesuits, and cartoon historical figures, The Island of the Day Before sheds no new light on any of Eco's chosen themes.
Copyright © 1996, Boston Review. All rights reserved.
The govenment misused the law as a tool for asset forfeiture? I'm glad that can't happen anymore. </sarcasm>
The story never ends but find out about how Mary Magdelen became the mother of the French royal house