The Jesuit New World Order

Thursday, 3 May 2012

the Knights Templar


Knights Templar History


Knights Templar History
The Knights Templar History started with the crusades of the Middle Ages, a war between Christians and Moslems centered around the city of Jerusalem.
The Knights Templar History and the importance of Jerusalem
After Christ was crucified on the cross, his body was laid in a tomb, now known as the Holy Sepulchre. Legend states that about three hundred years after the death of Christ, Helena, the mother of the Christian Roman Emperor Constantine, discovered the Holy Sepulchre and her son built the magnificent Church of the Holy Sepulchre over the sacred spot in Jerusalem in 330 A.D.
Christian Pilgrims and Knights Templar History The Church of the Holy Sepulchre commemorates the hill of crucifixion and the tomb of Christ's burial. Pilgrims throughout the Middle Ages made sacred pilgimages to the Holy city of Jerusalem.
Knights Templar History - Jerusalem
In A.D. 637 Jerusalem was surrendered to the Saracens. The caliph of the Saracens called Omar gave guarantees for the safety of the Christian population and because of this pledge the number of pilgrimages to Jerusalem still continued to increase. In 1065 Jerusalem was taken by the Turks, who came from the kingdom of ancient Persia. 3000 Christians were massacred and the remaining Christians were treated so badly that throughout Christendom people were stirred to fight in crusades.  The Knights Templar were formed to ensure the safety of the pilgrims of the Middle Ages who flocked towards Jerusalem. Their original name was the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ.
Knights Templar History - the founding of the order
In 1099 Crusaders led by Godfrey of Bouillon took Jerusalem back from the Turks. The founding of the Knights Templar was initiated shortly after this date by Bernard of Clairvaux, a member of the Cistercian Order.
Knights Templar History - the Temple of Soloman At first the Knights Templar had no church and no particular place of to live. In 1118, nineteen years after the freeing of Jerusalem, King Baldwin II of Jerusalem, granted the Knights Templar a place to live within the sacred enclosure of the Temple on Mount Moriah. This place was amid the holy structures which were exhibited by the priests of Jerusalem as the Temple of Solomon.  The "Poor Fellow-soldiers of Jesus Christ" became colloquially known as "the Knighthood of the Temple of Solomon" and subsequently the Knights Templars.
Knights Templar History - the Master of the Order Hugh de Payens was chosen by the knights to be the superior of their new religious and military society. The new order took vows of poverty and chastity, and the king granted them quarters within the Temple of Solomon - hence their name Knights of the Temple, or Templar. Hugh de Payens was known by the title "the Master of the Temple". Hugh De Payen and the Knights Templar returned to France in 1127
Knights Templar History - the wealth of the Knights Templar
The first donation of land was given to the Templars in 1127 by Count Thybaud of Champagne at Barbonne-Fayel, fifty kilometres north-west of Troyes. Hugh de Payens was granted the land for the first Temple Church in Holborn, London in 1128 where the original Knights Templar Temple was built. The temple was the first round church and consisted of gardens, orchard, boundary ditch and cemetery.
Knights Templar History - the Council of Troyes
St. Bernard, Hugh de Payens travelled to Rome, accompanied by Geoffrey de St. Aldemar as well as four other brothers of the order ( Brother Payen de Montdidier, Brother Gorall, Brother Geoffrey Bisol, and Brother Archambauld de St. Armand ). They were received with great honour by Pope Honorius, who  approved of the objects and designs of the holy fraternity. The Knights Templar History moved on and in 1128 the ecclesiastical Council of Troyes gave the Knights Templar official recognition and granted their rule of the order. The Council of Troyes was instigated by Bernard of Clairvaux and the Knights Templars were represented by Hugues de Payen and Andre de Montbard. The Papal approval at the Council of Troyes resulted in many new recruits joining the order
Knights Templar History - the Rules of the Knights Templar Order In 1130, Bernard of Clairvaux drew up the rules for the new Knights Templar order. Bernard set up the order with two main classes of knighthood, the knights and sergeants or serving brethren. Sergeants or serving brothers wore a black or brown mantle to show their lower status, whilst the Knights wore a red cross granted by Pope Eugenius III. Married men who joined the order could only join as sergeants, their property coming into the possession of the Order rather than to their wives upon their death.
Knights Templar History in Spain
In 1130 the Knights Templar order were receiving privileges from Alfonso I of Spain. The Templars helped the rulers of Catalonia and Aragon regain land from the Moors. King Alfonso I granted the Knights Templar exemption of tax on a fifth of the wealth taken from the Moors and on his death he left a third of his kingdom to them. This was later successfully contested but the Templars were given land in Aragon, Catalonia, Valencia and Mallorca.
Knights Templar History in England
In 1136 Hugh de Payen died and was succeeded by Robert de Craon as Master of the Temple. The Knights Templar in England supported Stephen in his efforts to gain the throne of England in 1136. Stephen became King of England and the Knights Templar were awarded the wealthy manor of Cressing.
Knights Templar History - the Knights Templar order becomes responsible to the Pope A Papal Bull was issued in 1139 by Pope Innocent II, a protege of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, stating that the Knights Templar should owe allegiance to no one other than the Pope himself.
Knights Templar History - The Splayed Red Cross Emblem
The Knights Templar History saw 1146 as the year when the Knights Templar order adopted the splayed red cross as their emblem. The Battle cry of the Templars was "Beau-Séant!" which was the motto they bore on their banner.
Knights Templar History - The second Crusade
The Knights Templar order supported the second crusade in 1148. The decision was made to attack Damascus and armies were assembled in Acre.
Knights Templar History - London
In 1154 under King Henry II of England , the Grand Master of Knights Templar ( André de Montbard ) superintended the Masons. The Knights Templar built their Temple in Fleet Street. The Knights Templar moved their London temple to the new site between Fleet Street and the Thames in 1161.
Knights Templar History - King Henry II and Thomas Becket Their involvement in English politics increased as  Richard de Hastings, the Master of the English Templars, attempted to reconcile the differences between King Henry II and Thomas Becket. Their attempts to reconcile the two parties failed and Thomas a Becket was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170
Knights Templar History - Jerusalem is taken by the Turks
The army of Jerusalem and Guy of Lusignan, the King of Jerusalem, was beaten by Turkish forces in 1184. All Knights Templar and Hospitallers who survived the battle were executed afterwards. This event prompted the Third Crusade headed by Richard the Lionheart who was supported by the Knights Templar order. The city of Acre is taken by the Crusaders in 1191. Richard the Lionheart dies in 1199 and is succeeded by his brother John.
Knights Templar History and Edward I
The Knights Templar History goes on and in 1263 problems in England lead to the Baron's revolt led by Simon de Montford opposing Edward I.  On the pretence of removing his mother's jewels, Edward I entered the Knights Templar Temple in London and ransacked the treasury, taking the proceeds to the Tower of London. In 1271 Edward leads another crusade and is attacked by an assassin with a poisoned knife. He survives the attack and his life was saved with drugs sent by the master of the Knights Templar, Thomas Bérard. In 1272 King Henry III of England died and the English Council met at the Temple in London and draft a letter to Prince Edward informing him of his accession to the throne, illustrating the political importance of the Knights Templar in England.
Knights Templar History - Defeat
The Knights Templar suffer a huge defeat at Acre in 1291 and cease to be a strong fighting force. More The Knights Templar are recruited after the defeat at Acre but the new force are wiped out at Raud in 1302.
Knights Templar History - Knights Templars are charged with Heresy
King Philip IV of France (1268-1314) who was already heavily in debt to the Knights Templar requested a further loan. The Knights Templar refused his request. King Philip IV subsequently ordered the arrest of all Knight Templars in France. The order to arrest the Templars was sent out several weeks before the date possibly giving the Templars time to hide their wealth. On 11 October, two days before the arrest of many Templar Knights, it is recorded in French Masonic history that Templar ships left La Rochelle, heading to Scotland. On Friday the 13th, in October 1307, Jacques de Molay, the Grand Master of the Knights Templar, and 60 of his senior knights were arrested in Paris. They were charged with heresy and accused of homosexual acts. Admissions of guilt were extracted due to the use of torture. Pope Clement V initiated enquiries into the order and thousands of Knights Templar were arrested across Europe. The Medieval order of the Knights Templar become extinct in 1312 when the order is dissolved by the Council of Vienne. Anyone found sheltering a Templar was under threat of excommunication. Much of the Templar property outside of France was transferred by the Pope to the Knights Hospitallers, and many surviving Templars were also accepted into the Hospitallers.
Knights Templar History - The Death of the last Medieval Master The Knights Templar leader Jacques de Molay and Geoffroi de Charney were burnt at the stake on March 18th 1314 for rescinding their former admission of heresy under torture. Jacques de Molay cursed the Pope and King Philip and prophesied that they would soon die. Pope Clement V was dead within 40 days and King Philip died that year. Jacques de Molay was the last Master of the Knights Templar.

The Crusades


  
The History of the Crusades: 
The Crusades of the Middle Ages were an almost continuous series of military-religious expeditions made by European Christians in the hope of wresting the Holy Land from the infidel Turks. From 1096 until nearly 1300, Crusaders, traveling in great armies, small bands, or alone, journeyed into the Orient to wage war against the Moslems, who had become a serious threat to Christianity. Although many went for worldly gain, it was religious faith that inspired thousands upon thousands of these "soldiers of the Cross." When the Crusades began, Europeans were still living in the so-called Dark Ages; before they were ended, the West stood upon the threshold of the modern era. The Crusades were not wholly responsible for his progress, but none will deny that they hastened the development of our modern world.


How the Crusades Began: The Christians of Europe believed that pilgrimages to the Holy Land would guarantee the forgiveness of their sins and the healing of their sick bodies and souls. From the early 600's Jerusalem was held by the non-Christian Arabs, but for many years their possession of the city had disturbed the Christians little or none. Although Jerusalem was a hallowed shrine from them and for all other Moslems, as well as for Christians and Jews, the Arabs had not only let the pilgrims come and go at will but had also permitted Christians to settle and live peacefully in the Holy Land.

By 1071, when the Seljuks, a less civilized and less tolerant tribe of Turks, captured the Holy City, the situation had changed. Soon the Sacred Places were being desecrated and destroyed; Christian settlers ere mistreated; and pilgrims were persecuted. In the same period the Turks threatened to overwhelm the entire Byzantine Empire and then drive all Christians out of the East. Alexius the Byzantine Emperor, appealed to the Pope at Rome for aid. At a church council held at Clermont in southeastern France in November, 1095, Pope Urban II called upon the faithful to "take up the cross" in Christ's behalf, rescue Christ's Sepulcher from the infidels, and save the Christian Byzantine Empire.

Urban's historic speech set in motion the whole crusading movement. Fired with religious fervor, people of all ranks clamored to join in the righteous cause that God had willed. A cross of red cloth worn upon the breast became the symbol of the departing Crusader {a word derived from the Latin crux, meaning cross}.

The First Crusade {1096 - 1099}

The People's, or Peasants', Crusade: By the spring of 1096, before the First Crusade was officially launched, Peter the Hermit and other wandering preachers had collected a number of motley armies, composed of peasants, vagrants, beggars, women, and children. Driven by fanatical zeal, these ignorant, disorderly, penniless crews set out from France and the Rhineland for the Holy Land - more then two thousand miles away. Three of the mobs were destroyed or scattered in Hungary, in payment for their lootings, murders, and other outrages; but in July a group led by Walter the Penniless, a poor knight, and another led by peter the Hermit finally joined forces in Constantinople forming the first Crusade.

After causing grave disturbances in the Byzantine capital, the peasants who had survived the terrible march across Europe pushed on into Asia Minor, where the Turks massacred them. Peter the Hermit, who remained in Constantinople at this time, was one of the few members of the People's Crusade who lived to reach the heart of the Holy Land.
 
The Princes' Crusade: Meantime, European princes, barons, and knights had been assembling and setting forth. From the spring of 1096 through the spring of 1097 they traveled by land and by sea toward their goal. Major groups included the French and German volunteers under Godfrey of Bouillon, Duke of Lorraine, and his brother Baldwin; Frenchmen under Raymond, Count of Toulouse, and Bishop Adhemar, the Pope's legate; and Frenchmen and Normans under Bohemund and Tancred. These and other armies make up of wealthy nobles, humble monks, professional warriors, merchants, farm hands, vagabonds, and criminals, followed various routes to reach the common destination. And their purposes also varied. Most were inspired by religious faith, but many sought adventure, opportunity, power, or wealth.

The Crusaders began crossing over into Asia Minor in May 1097, and after a long and harrowing March, spent the winter outside mighty Antioch. In June 1098, they captured the city, only to be besieged in their turn by a powerful Turkish army. Death and desertions sapped the strength of the Crusaders, and their morale collapsed; but the discovery of a spear, which they believed to be the one used to wound the crucified Christ, inspired them to rise up and overthrow the Turks. On July 15, 1099 after six weeks of siege, the weak remnants of the Christian armies captured the Holy City of Jerusalem. Covered with the blood of massacred Turks, the victors knelt at the Holy Sepulcher, thus bringing to successful conclusion the only crusade to be motivated principally by religious zeal.

After the death of Godfrey of Bouillon, who was made ruler of Jerusalem and named "Advocate of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher", the Kingdom of Jerusalem was established with Baldwin as its monarch in 1100. To the north other European princes set up the Christian states of Edessa, Tripoli, and Antioch. Many Europeans were attracted to the East, and three religious-military orders - the Knights of St. John {Hospitalers}, the Knights Templar, and the Teutonic Knights - were formed to defend and care for the pilgrims who streamed into the Holy Land.

The Second Crusade and Third Crusade

The Second Crusade {1147 - 1149}: Stirred by the new that the Christian County of Edessa had fallen to the Moslems, the French monk St. Bernard of Chairvaux called for another great expedition to the East. Louis VII, King of France, and Conrad III, the German Emperor, led this crusade, which was to poorly manage that nothing was accomplished. Nevertheless, thousands of Crusaders, traveling singly or in small bands, continued moving into Asia Minor.


The Third Crusade {1189 - 1191}: In 1187 the great Moslem leader Saladin captured the Holy City with a huge Turkish army. When this news reached Europe, the Third Crusade got under way. Its leaders were the most powerful rulers of the West: the German Emperor Frederick I, called "Barbarossa" {Red Beard}; Philip Augustus, King of France; and King Richard the Lion-Hearted of England. Although it was the most famous and colorful of all the military expeditions into the East, this Crusade, too, ended in failure.
 
While the German army was crossing a river in Asia Minor, after the long overland march from the west, the aged Frederick was drowned. Leopold of Austria took his place. The English and French Crusaders reached the Holy Land by ship and liberated the Christian city of Acre {July 1191}, which the Turks had been besieging for almost two years. Then Richard quarreled with his hated French rival, and Philip returned to France. Although he was unable to recapture the Holy City, Richard, the only one of the three kings to continue the campaign, finally obtained a three year treaty in which Saladin agreed to permit Christians to visit the Holy Sepulcher without being disturbed. Christian control over the eastern shores of the Mediterranean was maintained.

Thirteenth-Century Crusades

The Fourth Crusade {1202 - 1204}: Called the arms by Pope Innocent III, the warriors of the Fourth Crusade determined to attack the Moslems in the Holy Land from Egypt. To reach Egypt, they needed the assistance of the ship-owners of Venice, and to obtain this assistance they had to help the Venetians crush Zara, a commercial rival of Venice on the Adriatic, and pillage Constantinople. The protests of the Pope failed to halt their attacks on these two Christian cities. As a result of the conquest of Constantinople in April 1204, the Byzantine Empire fell to the "Latins", who held it fro more than half a century. The victories of the Fourth Crusade were purely commercial and political; the situation in the Holy Land remained unchanged.

The Children's Crusade {1212}: This tragic expedition was made by bands of French and German children, who marched to Mediterranean ports, convinced that the sea would dry up and permit them to reach the Holy Land. No such miracle occurred, and several shiploads of the children were carried into slavery in Turkish territories. The remainder perished, straggled back home, or wandered aimlessly around Europe. The pathetic story of a band of German children lost in this terrible crusade may have inspired Robert Browning's famous poem, "The Pied Piper of Hamelin".

Later Crusades: Most of the crusades, which followed accomplished little. The Pope pushed the German Emperor, Frederick II, into leading the Fifth Crusade {1228 - 1229}. Although Jerusalem passed into Christina hands as a result of a treaty obtained by Frederick, the Turks recaptured it in 1244. The Sixth {1248 - 1254} and Seventh {1270} Crusades, led by the devout Louis IX of France, failed to liberate the Holy City, which remained in Moslem hands until World War I. The fall of Acre in 1291 put an end to Christian rule in the Holy Land. A few Christian traders remained, but the day of the Crusader and the Western conqueror and settler was past.
 
Importance of the Crusades

As military campaigns, the Crusades were a failure, but indirectly, and to some extent directly, they affected much of the European history that followed. Numerous important social, cultural, and economic changes took place during and immediately after these famous expeditions. While few of these developments can be flatly labeled as results of the Crusades, almost all were stimulated by the increased interchange between East and West that the Crusades brought about.

Trade and Commerce: During and after the Crusades trade between Italy and the ports at the eastern end of the Mediterranean were tremendously increased, and wealth was circulating as never before. By the time European nobility had begun to look upon such imports as Oriental rugs and perfumes as essentials, the growing middle class of merchants and craftsmen was demanding the new foodstuffs, such as cane sugar, rice, garlic, and lemons, and textiles, such as muslin, silk, and satin, from the East, which naturally became less expensive as the shipments increased in size. Natural, too was the growth of towns and cities in this period. Goods brought into Europe had to be distributed, and as trade increased, so did the towns and cities along the inland trade routes. The larger galleys and sailing vessels built to carry Crusaders were also used to bring luxuries of the Orient to the courts of England and Scandinavia.

The Crusades affected finance and business practice in Europe. Gold coins were minted and letters of credit came into use for the convenience of the Crusaders. To finance the expeditions, the wealthy were taxed, and serfs were allowed to buy their freedom and sometimes the land on which they worked. Thus the number of small landowners was increased, and the feudal system was weakened. Western gold was widely distributed through the purchase of supplies and Oriental wares.

Social Change and Intellectual Growth

Growth from the Crusades: In weakening the feudal system, the Crusades stimulated the development of a new class of free farmers and townsmen. In some parts of Europe wealthy "merchant princes" arose to take the place of the many nobles who were killed in the Crusades or who settled permanently in the East; in France the monarchy was greatly strengthened by the waning of the nobles' power.

Contact with the East and new contacts among the various peoples of Europe led to the exchange of ideas, customs, and techniques. Thus the Crusades helped to break down the barriers of ignorance and isolation. During this period, interest in geography and navigation was tremendously stimulated; better maps were drawn; and more and more sea captains adopted the Arabs' crude mariner's compass and astrolabe. Equipped with new knowledge and urged on by their desire for the fabled riches of the Orient, European navigators continued to seek better routes to the Far East until finally they not only sailed around Africa but also discovered the New World.

The Crusades encouraged Europeans to attempt to grow the crops and manufacture the products introduced from the East. The Eastern windmill and irrigation ditch became common in parts of the Continent. Often Eastern artists and craftsmen were imported to decorate the great double-walled stone castles, based on Eastern models, which the nobles of Europe erected. Native artisans learned from these innovations. New military tactics and equipment, as well as chivalric traditions involving heraldry and tournaments, were introduced from the East. Western writers adapted many Oriental stories, and quantities of history, fiction, and combinations of the two gave the Crusades a permanent place in European literature. Popular ballads about the great expeditions provided the illiterate masses of Europe with both pleasure and information.

Good and Evil from the Crusades: The Crusades played a prominent part in the exciting developments, which occurred in this period, although they were usually a cause, rather than the cause, of change. The developments were both beneficial and harmful. The Church gained great wealth. But wealth brought worldliness; the use of violence for a religious end and the association of religion with political and economic aggression troubled many thinking men; and the teachings of Byzantine philosophers weakened the faith of many Crusaders, some of whom became Moslems.

During the Crusades, Europeans came into contact with a civilization, which was, in many ways, more advanced than their own. Yet many brought back from the East nothing more than a taste for luxury. Despite the example of humane tolerance set by such an Eastern leader as Saladin, European warriors frequently returned from the Crusades to lead campaigns of violent persecution against religious minority groups. Thus the after effects of the Crusades, like the Crusades themselves, were a mixture of good and evil.

Grand Masters of the Knights Templar

Jacques de Molay
In the two centuries of their known existence the Knights Templar served under twenty-three Grand Masters. It is Jacques the twenty-third and last Grand Master however, who is best known.
Little is known of Jacques  childhood, except that he was born in the year 1244 in an area called Vitrey, Department of Haute Saone, France. but what is known is that in 1265 at the age of twenty-one, he joined the Knights Templar. The Knights Templar were an organization sanctioned by the Roman Catholic Church in 1128 to guard the road between Jerusalem and Acre, an important port city on the Mediterranean Sea. The Order of Knights Templar participated in the Crusades and earned a name for courage and heroism.

Like many that sought out the Order of the Temple, Jacques joined seeking the thrill of battle with the infidel. In his later years he reflected on how he and his fellow knights silently grumbled about then Grand Master William of Beaujeu and his pacific attitude towards the Mamlukes who at that time occupied the Holy Land. It seemed that the young Templars were not found of King Edward's truce with the enemy, for it did little to add their blood to the Templar's swords.

The Last Grand Master of the Knights Templar Jacques DeMolay
Jacques DeMolay rose through the ranks quickly and spent a great deal of time in Britain. He was first appointed the position of Visitor General and latterly to the post of Grand Preceptor of all England.

On the death of the 22nd Grand Master, Theobald Gaudin, Jacques DeMolay was named Grand Master of the Knights Templar, a position of power and prestige. As Grand Master however, Jacques DeMolay was also in a difficult position. The Crusades were not achieving their goals. The non-Christian Saracens defeated the Crusaders in battle and captured many vital cities and posts. The Knights Templar and the Hospitalers (another Order of Knights) were the only groups remaining to confront the Saracens. Almost immediately Jacques DeMolay moved from England to the island of Cyprus, so that the Knights Templar could reorganize and regain their strength while waiting for the general public to rise up in support of another Crusade. It would be on the island of Cyprus that Jacques DeMolay would remain until Philip IV and Clement V summoned him to France in the autumn of 1307.
Instead of public support, however, the Knights attracted the attention of powerful lords, who were interested in obtaining their wealth and power.
 In 1305, Philip the Fair, King of France, set about to obtain control of the Knights Templars. They had been accountable only to the Church. To prevent a rise in the power of the Church, and to increase his own wealth, Philip set out to take over the Knights. The year 1307 saw the beginning of the persecution of the Knights. Jacques DeMolay, along with hundreds of others, were seized and thrown into dungeons. For seven years, Jacques DeMolay and the Knights suffered torture and inhuman conditions. The inquisitors would go to any means to extract the confessions that would damn the order in the eyes of the people and the Catholic Church While the Knights did not end, Philip managed to force Pope Clement to condemn the Templars. Their wealth and property were confiscated and given to Philip's supporters.
During years of torture, Jacques DeMolay continued to be loyal to his friends and Knights. He refused to disclose the location of the funds of the Order and he refused to betray his comrades. On March 18, 1314, DeMolay was tried by a special court. As evidence, the court depended on a forged confession, allegedly signed by Jacques DeMolay. He disavowed the forged confession. Under the laws of the time, the disavowal of a confession was punishable by death. Another Knight, Guy of Auvergne, likewise disavowed his confession and stood with Jacques DeMolay.
King Philip ordered them both to be burned at the stake that day, Jacques DeMolay was then taken to an island on the Siene and burned along with Guy of Auvergne the Preceptor of Normandy. There are many accounts of Jacques DeMolay's dying words, but the one of the foremost Templar scholars records them as follows:
"It is just that, in so terrible a day, and in the last moments of my life, I should discover all the iniquity of falsehood, and make the truth triumph. I declare, then, in the face of heaven and earth, and acknowledge, though to my eternal shame, that I have committed the greatest crimes but it has been the acknowledging of those which have been so foully charged on the order. I attest - and truth obliges me to attest - that it is innocent! I made the contrary declaration only to suspend the excessive pains of torture, and to mollify those who made me endure them. I know the punishments which have been inflicted on all the knights who had the courage to revoke a similar confession; but the dreadful spectacle which is presented to me is not able to make me confirm one lie by another. The life offered me on such infamous terms I abandon without regret."
Reports say they were slowly roasted over a hot, smokeless fire prolonging their agony as their flesh slowly cooked and blackened. Jacques  insisted that his hands were not to be bound so that he could pray in his final moments and before he died he cursed both Philip and Pope Clement, summoning both of them to appear before God, the supreme judge, before the year was out. His last words were, "Let evil swiftly befall those who have wrongly condemned us - God will avenge us." Guy of  is reported to have added, "I shall follow the way of my master as a martyr you have killed him. You have done and know not. God willing, on this day, I shall die in the Order like him."
The chilling irony of the conclusion of this story is that Jacques  final words did, in fact, come true. Pope Clement V died only a month later on April 20th (he is suspected of having cancer of the bowel) and Philip IV was killed while on a hunting trip on November 29th 1314. True to the claim both men did indeed die within the year of Jacques own death. 
 

Hughues de Payen - The First Grand Master

Hughues de Payen - The First Grand Master
Traditional history tells us that Hugues de Payens and Geoffrey de St. Omer arrived at the palace of King Baldwin II with the desire to defend Christian pilgrims from the attack of the infidels. While this is a romantic notion, there seems to be strong evidence that de Payens was already in the holy land and in fact may have served in the army of Boullion during the First Crusade.
  
Hugues de Payens - The First Grand Master of the Knights Templar
John J. Robinson, in his book, "Dungeon Fire and Sword," makes the claim that de Payens was 48 years of age when he became the first Grand Master of the Order having already served in the Levant for 22 years.
One of the earliest chroniclers of the Order, Archbishop William of Tyre, who wrote about the Templars some several decades after the formation tells of the formation of the Order in the following words:
"In this same year [1118] certain pious and god-fearing nobles of knightly rank, devoted to the Lord, professed the wish to live perpetually in poverty, chastity and obedience. In the hands of the patriarch they vowed themselves to the service of God as regular canons. Foremost and most distinguished among these men were the venerable Hugh de Payens and Godfrey de St. Omer. Since they had neither a church nor a fixed place of abode, the king granted them a temporary dwelling place in his own palace, on the north side of the Temple of the Lord. Under certain definite conditions, the canons of the Temple of the lord also gave them a square belonging to the canons near the same palace where the new order might exercise the duties of its religion."
William Of Tyre (Written several decades after the formation of the Templars)
Little is actually known of de Payens youth other than that he was a knight from the area of Champagne in Burgundy. His lord was Hugh count of Champagne who had granted lands to the young Bernard of Fontaines (later to be canonized St. Bernard) to build Clairvaux abbey and latterly joined the Order himself.
Relying on tradition once again we are told that this fledgling operation consisted of but nine knights who took vows of poverty, chastity and obedience at the feet of the Patriarch of Jerusalem. While most accounts insist on the total being nine members, the recorder history counts eight. Along with Hugues de Payens and Geoffrey de St. Omer, were Payen de Montdidier, Archambaud de St. Agnan, Andre de Montbard, Geoffrey Bisol, and two knights recorded only by their Christian names of Rossal and Gondemar. The ninth member remains unknown although some have suggested that it was Hugh Conte de Champagne.
Perhaps most important of these additional knights is Andre de Montbard who was, despite being younger than Bernard of Clairvaux actually his uncle. De Montbard would later become Grand Master of the order himself. It is the addition of de Montbard and the Count of Champagne that begins to paint interconnectedness to the order that cannot be a mere coincidence.
It is said de Payens and his men accepted no new members for the first nine years. While theories as to why this is generally tend to run rampant with recent authors speculating everything from the order finding the Holy Grail to the severed head of Christ Himself, the truth of the matter may be somewhat simpler.
Desmond Seward in his book, The Monks of War, puts forth the theory that the order was on the verge of dissolving due to the lack of members. Seward contends that Hugh sought out Bernard for his support to save the failing Order.
Whether this is true or not remains to be conclusively proven, but what remains essentially true is that de Payens and company left the Levant for Europe in order to solicit funds and recruits. At the Council of Troyes on January 13, 1129, the Templars would receive a Rule of Order penned in part by Bernard of Clairvaux himself. Latterly Bernard's letter of exhortation would propel the Order of the Temple to dizzying heights of fame and fortune.
Hugues de Payens would see the order through nearly 20 years until his death in 1136. The Historian Charles Addison recounts the life of de Payens in his book, "Knights Templars" in the following glowing terms:
"1130. Hugh de Payens, having now laid in Europe the foundations of the great monastic and military institution of the Temple, which was destined shortly to spread its ramifications to the remotest quarters of Christendom, returned to Palestine at the head of a valiant band of newly-elected Templars, drawn principally from France and England. On their arrival at Jerusalem they were received with great distinction by the king, the clergy, and the barons of the Latin kingdom.
Then the days of Hugh de Payens drew to a close. After governing the Order for twenty-one years, and seeing it rise and hold the highest position among the warrior bands of Palestine under his care, and the continued patronage of St. Bernard, who never failed, while writing to the East, to mention it with honor, and to recommend it to the notice of kings and nobles, this gallant soldier of the Cross died in 1139. Everything that is estimable in man is to be discovered in the character of de Payens; no word of calumny has been breathed by the noble and the just upon this truly great man; and though some later writers have attempted to blacken his fair fame. There can be little doubt that no dishonorable action sullied his life, and that he descended to the tomb, as he had lived, without reproach."   (Charles Addison Knights Templars)

Templar History

The Templar Knights were a monastic order of knights founded in 1112 A.D. to protect the pilgrims along the path from Europe to the Holy Lands (Jerusalem). They took a vow of poverty which was rare for knights which had to supply themselves with a horse, armor and weapons.
Their seal became two knights on one horse to show how poor they were. There were also other various interpretations of the seal. They became very powerful and influential in European political circles since Pope Innocent II exempted the Templars from all authority except the Pope.
Because the Knights Templars regularly transmitted money and supplies from Europe to Palestine, they gradually developed an efficient banking system unlike any the world had seen before. Their military might and financial acumen caused them to become both feared and trusted. Because of their unselfish defense of the Holy Lands and their monastic vows, they amassed great wealth through gifts from their grateful benefactors.
They soon had an army and a fleet as well as surplus money. Since the Knights had taken a vow of poverty they re-invested the money and lent.
The Knights Templar were the earliest founders of the military orders, and are the type on which the others are modeled. They are marked in history, by their humble beginning, by their marvelous growth, and by their tragic end.
Their Humble Beginnings:
Immediately after the deliverance of Jerusalem, the Crusaders, considering their vow fulfilled, returned in a body to their homes. The defense of this precarious conquest, surrounded as it was by Mohammedan neighbors, remained.
In 1118, during the reign of Baldwin II, Hugues de Payens, a knight of Champagne, and eight companions bound themselves by a perpetual vow, taken in the presence of the Patriarch of Jerusalem, to defend the Christian kingdom. Baldwin accepted their services and assigned them a portion of his palace, adjoining the temple of the city; hence the title "pauvres chevaliers du temple" (Poor Knights of the Temple).
Poor indeed they were, being reduced to living on alms, and, so long as they were only nine, they were hardly prepared to render important services, unless it were as escorts to the pilgrims on their way from Jerusalem to the banks of the Jordan, then frequented as a place of devotion.

The Templars had as yet neither distinctive habit nor rule. Hugues dePayens journeyed to the West to seek the approbation of the Church and to obtain recruits. At the Council of Troyes (1128), at which he assisted and at which St. Bernard was the leading spirit, the Knights Templars adopted the Rule of St. Benedict, as recently reformed by the Cistercians. They accepted not only the three perpetual vows, besides the crusader's vow, but also the austere rules concerning the chapel, the refectory, and the dormitory.
They also adopted the white habit of the Cistercians, adding to it a red cross. Notwithstanding the austerity of the monastic rule, recruits flocked to the new order, which thenceforth comprised four ranks of brethren: the knights, equipped like the heavy cavalry of the Middle Ages; the serjeants, who formed the light cavalry; and two ranks of non-fighting men: the farmers, entrusted with the administration of temporals; and the chaplains, who alone were vested with sacerdotal orders, to minister to the spiritual needs of the order.
Their Marvelous Growth:
The order owed its rapid growth in popularity to the fact that it combined the two great passions of the Middle Ages, religious fervour and martial prowess. Even before the Templars had proved their worth, the ecclesiastical and lay authorities heaped on them favours of every kind, spiritual and temporal. The popes took them under their immediate protection, exempting them from all other jurisdiction, Episcopal or secular. Their property was assimilated to the church estates and exempted from all taxation, even from the ecclesiastical tithes, while their churches and cemeteries could not be placed under interdict.
This soon brought about conflict with the clergy of the Holy Land, inasmuch as the increase of the landed property of the order led, owing to its exemption from tithes, to the diminution of the revenue of the churches, and the interdicts, at that time used and abused by the episcopate, became to a certain extent inoperative wherever the order had churches and chapels in which Divine worship was regularly held. As early as 1156 the clergy of the Holy Land tried to restrain the exorbitant privileges of the military orders, but in Rome every objection was set aside, the result being a growing antipathy on the part of the secular clergy against these orders. The temporal benefits which the order received from all the sovereigns of Europe were no less important.
  
 The Templars had commanderies in every state. In France they formed no less than eleven bailiwicks, subdivided into more than forty-two commanderies; in Palestine it was for the most part with sword in hand that the Templars extended their possessions at the expense of the Mohammedans. Their castles are still famous owing to the remarkable ruins which remain: Safed, built in 1140; Karak of the desert (1143); and, most importantly of all, Castle Pilgrim, built in 1217 to command a strategic defile on the sea-coast.
In these castles, which were both monasteries and cavalry- barracks, the life of the Templars was full of contrasts. A contemporary describes the Templars as "in turn lions of war and lambs at the hearth; rough knights on the battlefield, pious monks in the chapel; formidable to the enemies of Christ, gentleness itself towards His friends." (Jacques de Vitry). Having renounced all the pleasures of life, they faced death with a proud indifference; they were the first to attack, the last to retreat, always docile to the voice of their leader, the discipline of the monk being added to the discipline of the soldier. As an army they were never very numerous.
A contemporary tells us that there were 400 knights in Jerusalem at the zenith of their prosperity; he does not give the number of sergeants, who were more numerous. But it was a picked body of men who, by their noble example, inspirited the remainder of the Christian forces. They were thus the terror of the Mohammedans. Were they defeated, it was upon them that the victor vented his fury, the more so as they were forbidden to offer a ransom. When taken prisoners, they scornfully refused the freedom offered them on condition of apostasy. At the siege of Safed (1264), at which ninety Templars met death, eighty others were taken prisoners, and, refusing to Deny Christ, died martyrs to the Faith. This fidelity cost them dear. It has been computed that in less than two centuries almost 20,000 Templars, knights and serjeants, perished in war.
These frequent hecatombs rendered it difficult for the order to increase in numbers and also brought about a decadence of the true crusading spirit. As the order was compelled to make immediate use of the recruits, the article of the original rule in Latin which required a probationary period fell into desuetude. Even excommunicated men, who, as was the case with many crusaders, wished to expiate their sins, were admitted.
All that was required of a new member was a blind obedience, as imperative in the soldier as in the monk. He had to declare himself forever "serf et esclave de la maison" (French text of the rule). To prove his sincerity, he was subjected to a secret test concerning the nature of which nothing has ever been discovered, although it gave rise to the most extraordinary accusations. The great wealth of the order may also have contributed to a certain laxity in morals, but the most serious charge against it was its insupportable pride and love of power.
At the apogee of its prosperity, it was said to possess 9000 estates. With its accumulated revenues it had amassed great wealth, which was deposited in its temples at Paris and London. Numerous princes and private individuals had banked there their personal property, because of the uprightness and solid credit of such bankers. In Paris the royal treasure was kept in the Temple. Quite independent, except from the distant authority of the pope, and possessing power equal to that of the leading temporal sovereigns, the order soon assumed the right to direct the weak and irresolute government of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, a feudal kingdom transmissible through women and exposed to all the disadvantages of minorities, regencies, and domestic discord.
However, the Templars were soon opposed by the Order of Hospitallers, which had in its turn become military, and was at first the imitator and later the rival of the Templars. This ill-timed interference of the orders in the government of Jerusalem only multiplied the intestine dessentions, and this at a time when the formidable power of Saladin threatened the very existence of the Latin Kingdom. While the Templars sacrificed themselves with their customary bravery in this final struggle, they were, nevertheless, partly responsible for the downfall of Jerusalem.
To put an end to this baneful rivalry between the military orders, there was a very simple remedy at hand, namely their amalgamation. This was officially proposed by St. Louis at the Council of Lyons (1274). It was proposed anew in 1293 by Pope Nicholas IV, who called a general consultation on this point of the Christian states.
This idea is canvassed by all the publicists of that time, who demand either a fusion of the existing orders or the creation of a third order to supplant them. Not even in fact had the question of the crusaders been more eagerly taken up than after their failure. As the grandson of St. Louis, Philip the Fair could not remain indifferent to these proposals for a crusade. As the most powerful prince of his time, the direction of the movement belonged to him. To assume this direction, all he demanded was the necessary supplies of men and especially of money. Such is the genesis of his campaign for the suppression of the Templars.
It has been attributed wholly to his well-known cupidity. Even on this supposition he needed a pretext, for he could not, without sacrilege, lay hands on possessions that formed part of the ecclesiastical domain. To justify such a course the sanction of the Church was necessary, and this the king could obtain only by maintaining the sacred purpose for which the possessions were destined.
Admitting that he was sufficiently powerful to encroach upon the property of the Templars in France, he still needed the concurrence of the Church to secure control of their possessions in the other countries of Christendom. Such was the purpose of the wily negotiations of this self-willed and cunning sovereign, and of his still more treacherous counselors, with Clement V, a French pope of weak character and easily deceived. The rumor that there had been a prearrangement between the king and the pope has been finally disposed of. A doubtful revelation, which allowed Philip to make the prosecution of the Templars as heretics

After the Cathars:
The Templars - used and eliminated by Philip 'The Fair' of France
adapted from a thesis by Tafi Olsen 
By the eleventh century, the aggressive focus of the Western Church shifted from the fear of paganism to the threat of heresy. Heresy was by 1200 thought to be a terrible disease which could spread through Europe and infect the populace with beliefs and practices threatening to Catholic dogma. The Holy Inquisition was actively seeking out heretics and prosecuting them. Heresy was a dangerous charge that could be used to destroy one's enemies, and when the unpopular King Philip IV of France, called the Fair, heard a vague rumour about the Knights Templar, a military monastic order formed during the Crusades, he had an opportunity to do just that. Though the Templars could hardly be called his enemies, they were a threat to his power and an obstacle between him and the money he so desperately needed - for he had wrecked the economy of his little (but important) kingdom, which at that time was little more than the area of the present Ile-de-France.
Throughout the Crusades (1097-1291), pilgrims travelled to the dangerous Holy Land, and military orders such as the Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, also called the Hospitallers, provided aid to the travellers. In 1118 nine knights, inspired by Hugues de Payens, travelled to Jerusalem to offer their services to King Baldwin II of Jerusalem in securing the safe passage of pilgrims, on the model of the Hospitallers of St.John, whose order had been founded earlier. The Poor Fellow-soldiers of Christ and of the Temple Solomon soon became known as the Templars. For a while they occupied the el-Aqsa mosque (the third most holy place in Islam), built on the ruins of the Temple of Solomon. The Knights took their name from the Templum Domini, the Christian church founded with typical arrogance on the Dome of the Rock.
At the Council of Troyes in 1128, the pope recognised the Templars as an official monastic order. Following the Templars' example of monks who fight, the Hospitallers took on a rival military rôle.
The Templars were a handy target for charges of heresy and immorality. Originally, like most Christian orders, they stressed chastity, humility and poverty, but, like almost all Christian orders, became - as an institution - immensely rich, proud and greedy. Nobles from all over Europe gave vast amounts of wealth and property to them. This could be because originally noble knights, princes, and dukes joined the Order.. Not only did secular authorities give money to the Templars, but the papacy and the state bestowed various privileges upon them. For example, the Templars were exempt from taxes, tolls, and tithes; and they were subject to no authority except that of the pope. They controlled entry and exit from Palestine both economically and militarily. They had refused to ransom Louis IX after one of his disastrous expeditions, thus incurring the resentment of the royal house of France. Their occupation of Palestine (like that of the Crusaders) was a series of war crimes.
Their headquarters was the massive Temple of Paris. (Vestiges of its donjon can still be seen in the Square du Temple.) When Philippe 'le Bel' decided to topple the Templars, he was able to tune into waves of resentment against them. When he had tried to extract money from them they had refused, taken their case to the Parlement (founded only in 1250 and largely an instrument of the king) and won their case.
The Rule of the Order made them secretive and ritualistic. Secrecy implied wrongdoing and heresy to the mediæval (as to any fundamentalist) mind. Philip knew that a heresy charge would bring in the Inquisition, over which he had control in France. In order to profit from the prosecution of the Templars, he needed to prove that the Templars, as an institution, were heretical as well as debauched.
Many historians have studied the arrest and trial of the Templars, and most have come to the conclusion that the Templars were innocent of the charges skilfully devised by king Philip. Henry Charles Lea, in A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages and The Guilt of theTemplars, provides an interesting narrative on the prosecution of the Templars. Lea is a firm believer in the innocence of the Order. He takes a positivist approach to the sources by using them at face-value to come to the conclusion of the Templars' innocence. Also, he shows his positivist perspective by discussing mainly the powerful men involved, ignoring the other classes of people not mentioned in the sources.Others, such as G. Legman, believe the Templars were innocent of the accusations. Legman claims the Grand Master of the Templars was homosexual and that, moreover, the Order was guilty of usury. On the whole, though, most historians would agree the Templars were innocent of these charges.
Two important works on the fall of the Templars are Norman Cohn's Europe's Inner Demons and R. I. Moore's groundbreaking book, The Formation of a Persecuting Society which is an important study on the persecution of Jews, lepers, and heretics. He alleges that these three categories of people were subjected to the same stock charges throughout the Middle Ages. Moore believes it was necessary for Europe's rulers to persecute the "other" through governmental institutions in order to secure control over the population. By using the defining characteristics of the groups, and making those characteristics dangerous, their persecutions were justified.and rulers became stronger. Thus European monarchs used persecution to gain power by suppressing those who could question their authority. Moore feels it was necessary for rulers to make a given group of people the enemy in order to gain support from the general population. Thus persecution became a mechanism of the state.
Norman Cohn was influenced by the annalist perspective in looking at Templar history. He considered all aspects of Templar life from warfare to economic matters to personal stories of the torture and trials, but differed from Lea in that he did not just focus on the leaders of the Templars and the two important men in the Order's story, King Philip and Pope Clement, but also discusses lower members of the Order and peasant reaction to the trial.
The Templars' seemingly limitless wealth was apparent when in 1147 King Louis VII of France borrowed a large amount of money from them and repaid them with tracts of land in Paris (mainly the Eastern part of the Marais). The Paris Temple (still remembered in the Métro station and the rues du Temple and Vieille du Temple) became the headquarters of Europe's finances. There, important jewels and money were held for monarchs. Consequently, the Templars established an early system of international banking. Because of their special papal privileges, they were exempt from local taxes which created an unfair advantage over merchants. They were an autonomous group, above secular law or authority and were perceived as arrogant.
In 1291, the last Crusader stronghold fell to the Muslims in Acre, which signified the end of the Crusades. The Templars were consequently left without a military rôle. This left them in a precarious situation. They had made many enemies over the years due to their special privileges and vast wealth. Many were upset the Templars were not fulfilling their military duties by going back to the Holy Land and fighting the Muslims.This is reflected in a poem by Rostan Berenguier written sometime after the fall of Acre:
Since manyTemplars now disport themselves on this side of the sea, riding their grey�horses or taking their ease in the shade and admiring their own fair locks;since they so often set a bad example to the world; since they are so outrageously proud that one can hardly look them in the face: tell me, Batard, why the Pope continues to tolerate them; tell me why he permits them to misuse the riches which are offered them for God's services on dishonourable and even criminal ends. They waste this money which is intended for the recovery of the Holy Sepulchre on cutting a fine figure in the world; they deceive people with their idle trumpery, and offend God; since they and the Hospital have for so long allowed the false Turks to remain in possession of Jerusalem and Acre; since they flee faster than the holy hawk; it is a pity, in my view, that we don't rid ourselves of them for good.
This poem is a reflection of one person's thoughts about the Templars. It is unclear how much Berenguier's poem reflects public opinion, but it is likely some were bitter about the Templars lack of military service after the fall of Acre and their vast wealth. In the poem, the Templars' wealth is frowned upon because they were given money and property to help in the wars against the Muslims. Furthermore, the Order is seen as cowardly because it was no longer fighting. Basically, this poem reflects a negative view of the Templars as rich, proud, and useless.
Philip manipulated the charge of heresy to destroy the Order of the Templars. Although the definition of heresy has changed throughout the history of the Catholic Church, it basically means any unorthodox or dissenting idea or belief that is condemned in this case, by the Catholic Church. A heretic, in theory, was a "dissenter formally condemned by an accepted ecclesiastical authority." In the case of the Templars, the Inquisition was the authority involved in determining the guilt of the Order. Heresy was considered to be extremely threatening to the Catholic Church in the late Middle Ages (1250-1450). Often it was perceived as a disease which could spread through and harm communities. Pope John XXII described heresy as "a most pestilential disease besides growing stronger and increasingly serious, grievously infests the flock of Christ throughout the world". Heresy was a problem for the Church because it led to contrary claims to church offices and could possibly lead to division in the Church.
Even before the legalisation of Christianity in the Roman Empire, in 313 CE, there existed people who thought differently from those with ecclesiastical authority. Arianism, which distinguished the relationship between God the Father and Christ, started as a local controversy. Arians did not believe God and Christ were equal and thought Christ inferior to God the Father. The argument grew until Emperor Constantine called together the Councilof Nicæa in 325 CE to resolve the matter. This established the policy of heresies being addressed and adjudicated in church councils. After the Arian heresy, most major heretical sects were condemned in church councils which made canonical laws prohibiting them. Arius of Alexandria, the eponym of Arianism, wrote to Eusebius of Nicomedia "The bishop greatly wastes and persecutes us, and leaves no stone unturned against us. He has driven us out of the city as atheists, because we do not concur in what he publicly preaches . . ." Already those with dissenting beliefs were being publicly persecuted. The Council of Nicæa formed the Nicene Creed to establish the universal orthodox beliefs. Right after the legalisation of Christianity, heretics were being sought and persecuted - as, later, 'pagans' would be and their temples and shrines destroyed.
Occasionally, the bishops needed an outside authority, usually the Roman Emperor, to resolve differences in the church councils. Consequently, Roman Emperors after Constantine saw it as their duty to be arbiters of Church policy. They involved themselves in ecclesiastical laws. Emperors instituted anti-heretical laws in the fifth and sixth centuries.They, a secular authority, established a tradition that the Inquisition, an ecclesiastical authority, would follow of absolving the guilt of heretics. If they confessed and were brought back into the Church. The Theodosian Code of 438 contains laws regarding the prosecution of heretics by secular authorities.One section of the Code states "if any heretics . . . should embrace, by asingle confession, the Catholic faith and rites . . . We decree that they shall be absolved from all guilt . . ." Later Roman Emperors made laws that assigned death and property confiscation to heretics. These are good examples of how there was a tradition of secular authorities taking control of persecuting and absolving or punishing religious heretics.
After the eleventh century, the Church took the lead in seeking out heresy. Pope Lucius III, in 1184, issued the decretal Adabolendam which ordered bishops to root out heretics in their area. This is most likely because new forms of religious dissent had been forming in the twelfth century. Dualism, which argued the existence of two gods, one benevolent and the other malevolent, is one example.In Languedoc, in Southern France, dualist heretics took the name Cathars or Albigensians. Dualist ideas were spreading all over Europe. Ecclesiastical authorities were writing canonical laws about punishing heretics. Pope Innocent III wrote the decretal Vergenti sin 1199 which allowed for the goods and property of convicted heretics to be confiscated. Finally, in 1209, the fear that heresy was spreading led the papacy to launch a crusade against the Albigensians. The 'Albigensian Crusade' lasted from 1209-1229 and ended with the slaughter of many heretics, and huge confiscation of land, but did not fully destroy all dualist heresy.
To fully understand both why and how Philip orchestrated the prosecution the Templars as part of his grand plan to enlarge his dominion and his power, Philip's past relationship with the Order and his financial problems should be examined. Prior to his knowledge of the accusations agains tthe Templars, Philip had relied heavily upon the Order. In 1304, Philip granted them new privileges which turned the Temple into a virtually autonomous city-state within Paris. He spoke well of them and had previously sought refuge in the Paris Temple during a serious riot. Philip originally wanted to combine the Templars and the Hospitallers into one military order to recapture Jerusalem in a new Crusade and make himself king there. Others had tried before to combine the two groups and failed. For instance, in 1274, Pope Gregory X tried to combine the two military orders at the Council of Lyons without success. The two orders were rivals and both wealthy, consequently they refused to be united. Jacques de Molay, the Grand Master of the Templars, did not want to combine with the Hospitallers because, he argued, the competition between the two Orders made them more efficient and he predicted problems in the details of the merger. Because the Templars were virtually autonomous, very wealthy, and powerful, they most likely did not want to share their privileges.
Philip was also in a difficult financial situation. He desperately needed the Templars' money. When Philip began his reign in 1285, the royal finances were already strained. He married Jeanne of Navarre the same year and gained the counties of Champagne and Brie. This was a major step toward his goal of state building because he gained territory over which he could rule, but it further strained his finances. Philip needed money to fight the English in Gascony and the Flemish in Flanders. He was defeated in Flanders in 1302, but had finally been able to assert his authority in 1305. This added the territory of Flanders to his lands, helping him to create a strong state. Flanders was constantly rebelling, and military expeditions to quell rebellion cost money. Consequently, taxes were raised. Philip had, moreover, borrowed five hundred thousand livres from the Templars for his sisters' dowry. He had taxed the people into revolt, debased the coinage, and had previously confiscated the money of the French Jews and expelled them from the kingdom in 1306. Even with the Jews' money, he still needed the Templars' wealth. When the Templars and Hospitallers failed to unite, Philip decided the best action would be to destroy the Templars. He could then use their money to go to Jerusalem and become king.
While Philip was still struggling with his finances, an opportunity arose to destroy the Templar Order. Prior to 1300, the Templars had not been accused of any heretical acts. In 1305, an account began circulating that a Templar had in prison confided to a Frenchman, Esquiu de Floyran, engagement in a number of blasphemous and heretical acts This man subsequently gained the ear of the king. Philip was a shrewd politician who quickly realised that the charges could be used to destroy the Order. He then passed them on to�Pope Clement V on November 14, 1305. Nothing else was done about the accusations until August 1307 when Clement wrote back to Philip asking for proof of the charges and telling Philip he would look into them. Philip acted quickly upon receiving Clement's letter. For fear that the Templars would get wind of events and flee, he secretly sent letters out all over France on September 14, 1307, ordering the arrest of Templars and seizure of their property - which occurred on October 13, 1307.
The accusations against the Templars consisted of 127 charges. Most of them centred around the initiation ceremony and�can be divided into five separate categories. First, it was alleged, the initiate was told to spit on the cross and renounce Christ three times. He was then stripped naked and the initiator kissed the initiate three times; on the mouth, on the navel, and on his lower back. The initiate was then made aware that sodomy was practised in the Order and he should engage in it if a fellow brother asked him. The next accusation was that the cord which the Templars wore around their waists had been consecrated by an idol which was deep "in a cave excavated in the ground, very dark...an image in the form of a man over which is a human skin and shining carbuncles for its eyes". This idol (whom the rumour-mongers called Baphomet, a corruption of Mohamed) contained a secret book, which only the Grand Master of the Templars and the elders knew about. The final accusation was that the host was not consecrated in the Templars' mass.
They were also accused of "practising Sufism" and being connected with Hussain Sabah, the leader of the Order of Assassins, wrongly accused (as anyone who has smoked cannabis will know) of stoking up their alleged murderousness with hashish or marijuana. Certainly the Templars were influenced by Sufism (itself strongly influenced by Buddhism), which also influenced the whole charade of Chivalry in Europe.
Some of the charges were for the most part standard charges used against several other groups such as Jews, Cathars and other 'heretics', and lepers. All were victims of an enthusiasm for persecution in Europe then - and since. From the time of the first Crusade, Jews were associated with "sex, sorcery, and the devil." This theme was repeated with regard to other groups such as lepers and unorthodox sects. The Templars were also inevitably accused of having abhorrent sexual practices and worshipping the devil through idolatry.
The lack of evidence surrounding the accusations leads most scholars to believe the Templars were innocent of these charges. Henry Charles Lea, in A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages, does not support their validity because the confessions the Templars made under torture were mostly different from each other. There was not one universal confession made by all members of the Order. These Templars were also confessing under some of the worst torture of the Middle Ages. At least twenty-five Templars are known to have died under torture - but there must have been many more. The only proof of the accusations against them was the confessions they made while being tortured. In addition, Lea points out that had the Templars been trying to start a new religion of idol-worship, they would most likely have carefully chosen their initiates. Also, would not all the Templars know the new dogma ? In the confessions, the descriptions of this supposed new religion were very different. Some Templars said they renounced God, others said they renounced Christ. Some said they saw the idol and it was black, others said white. Although Lea's views date back to the 1950s, most scholars (but not all) concur.
For instance, G. Legman, author of The Guilt of the Templars, believes they were guilty of the accusations. To begin with, he asserts that Jacques de Molay, the Grand Master of the Templars at the time of the arrest, was guilty of the charge of sodomy because he actually was homosexual. [It is important to interpolate here, however, that anal penetration was overwhelmingly a heterosexual activity up to the 19th century.] He alleges Molay made a deal with the prosecutor that he would confess to sacrilegious charges if he was not accused of sodomy. It is pointless to argue if Molay was or was not homosexual because the charges were against the group as a whole. It was imperative to prove the Templars were guilty, not one individual. Only with the whole Order guilty of the charges could Philip destroy the Templars. Legman also claims they were guilty of usury, which, although true, was not one of the formal accusations made against them. Usury is the practice of lending money and charging interest. Usury was deplored because it was against Catholic teaching - but conveniently practised by Jews. While conceding that none of the Templars agreed on what the idol they supposedly worshipped looked like, Legman insisted that the charges against the Templars were not stock charges because they were not accused of everything the Jews were - and so they were guilty!
To the people of the time the charge of heresy was believable, partly because the Templars were a secretive and ritualistic order. Their Rule, assigned to them at the Council of Troyes in 1128, called for them to wear specific clothes:
We command that all brothers' habits should always be of one colour, that is white or black or brown. And we grant to all knight brothers in winter and in summer if possible,white cloaks; and no-one who does not belong to the aforementioned Knights of Christ is allowed to have a white cloak, so that those who have abandoned the life of darkness will recognize each other as being reconciled to their creator by the sign of the white habits: which signifies purity and complete chastity.
The Rule is very specific about what the members can and cannot wear. It also prohibits "pointed shoes and shoe-laces and forbid[s] any brother to wear them . . . For it is manifest andwell known that these abominable things belong to pagans." By forcing the Order to wear specific clothing, and not allowing other orders to wear white mantles, the Templars were then distinguished as a group set apart. The group was allowed to have long beards, even though the Templars were religious men, to whom beards were normally forbidden. These attributes seemed to make them separate and implied a cult-like status. Because only Templars could wear white mantles and beards, they could invoke the dislike and distrust of other clergy, the lower orders of which were illiterate and often corrupt in any case.� After confession of heretical acts or practices, a Knight Templar was forced to shave his beard and remove his white Templar mantle - thus renouncing the Order.
Templars held chapter meetings where all outsiders were excluded and even the cracks in the walls were filled to make sure others could not see what was happening during their meetings. It was reported that a Templar would rather die than tell what happened behind the sealed walls. This added to the feeling that the Templars were a group set apart. They also held their meetings at night, which many believed was connected with the practice of witchcraft. Paul of St. Pere de Chartres described heretics at Orleans in 1022: "They met on certain nights . . . each holding a light in his hand, and called a roll of the names of demons." Because outsiders were not allowed at the meetings, people could misinterpret what the Templars did that needed such secrecy. The initiation ceremony was held in the dark in complete secrecy. If any Templar talked about it, he was expelled from the Order. This explains why most of the accusations against the Templars centre around the initiation ceremony.
Secrecy has long been associated with evil. Throughout the history of the Catholic Church, hundreds of thousands have been persecuted because they worshipped in secret. Heretics were accused of "holding obscene rites in secret, dark places . . . " In the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed that evil had to avoid light. St. Bernard of Clairvaux, of course, lent his devastating authority by declaring that heretics "practise in secret things obscene and abominable . . ."
Because no outsiders were allowed to see what happened behind Templars' walls, people naturally speculated with superstitious and diseased imaginings.. Philip capitalised on heretiphobia by used a heresy charge to arrest the Templars. Consequently, when they were arrested, most people had come to believe they were guilty as charged, and a kind of Fifth Column working against the 'legitimate' order.
Several rumours agglomerated around the Templars after their initial arrest. One was that they would cook the bodies of babies and use the fat to anoint their idol. This is a standard calumny that was attached to 'witches' and heretical groups. For example, Paul of St. Pere de Chartres describes the heretics at Orleans in 1022:
They met on certain nights . . . and each of them grabbed whatever woman came to hand . . .and the child who was born of this foul union was put to the test of the flames after the manner of the ancient pagans, and burned. The ashes were collected .. . There was such power of diabolic evil in this ash that anyone who had succumbed to the heresy and tasted only a small quantity of it was afterwards scarcely ever able to direct his mind away from heresy and back to truth.
Another example of this use of children is found in the accusations against the 'witches' of Simmenthal who, in the fourteenth century, "stole children, killed them, and then cooked and ate them, or else they drained them of their juices in order to make ointment."
Why Philip attacked the Templars and not the Hospitallers - a monastic military order just as the Templars were - was because the Templars were already thought of as ruthless, not trusted by regular clergy who were very likely jealous of the Templars' wealth and privileges. They were resented by secular authorities, some of whom owed them a great deal of money. Then of course, the Templars were uniquely secretive. Finally, after the fall of Acre, the Hospitallers turned into a naval force and kept up their military duties while the Templars did not. Eventually, the Hospitallers ended up running the islands of Malta, where, appropriately, the language is a magnificent hybrid of Arabic and Italian.
The accusations of Esquiu de Floyran appeared at the right time. During the trial of the Templars, Esquiu de Floyran assisted the Inquisition in the torture of the members - which suggests he had some stake in destroying the Order. There seems to be no indication to suggest that Philip was the originator of the accusations against the Templars. It appears to simply have been opportune for Philip to endorse and spread the accusations and give them a fatally-heretical colour or twist for his own ambitious and financial ends.
It is important to understand that as a secular ruler, Philip used religious institutions to destroy the Templars. By arresting them, he was fulfilling his duty as both a secular ruler and a Christian because he was turning over heretics to ecclesiastical authorities and serving Mater Ecclesia. However, heresy charges were usually discovered by the Church through the wandering mendicant orders (friars) and then turned over to the Inquisition to be tried. Once found guilty, the heretics would sometimes be turned over to the secular authorities for punishment. Pope Innocent III's Cum ex officiinostri (1207) says, "Whatsoever heretic . . . shall be found therein, shall immediately be taken and delivered to the secular court to be punished according to law." Philip, on the other hand, having himself "discovered" the supposed heresy of the Templars, turned them over to the Inquisition. The Fourth Lateran Council, held in 1215, had made it punishable for secular authorities not to turn over heretics. The third canon stated: "But if a temporal ruler, after having been requested and admonished by the Church, should neglect to cleanse his territory of this heretical foulness, let him be excommunicated by the metropolitan and the other bishops of the province." On the threat of excommunication by the Church, Philip and other rulers in Europe, had to prosecute all heretics in their territories. The church councils reflect the real fear of heresy throughou tEurope. The Church was so threatened by heresy, it had to propose excommunication to rulers to insure their co-operation in ridding Europe of this terrible disease. The third canon would legitimise Philip's actions because it was his duty to scourge his land of harmful heretics even though the responsibility for identifying them belonged to the church.
By initiating the arrest of a religious group subject to no one other than the pope, Philip was indicating he was more powerful than Pope Clement. Since the establishment of the Inquisition in 1184 by Pope Lucius III, secular rulers had been involved in sentencing those found guilty of heresy. While the Fourth Lateran Council gave Philip permission to rid his lands of heretics, he upstaged the church by initiating the arrest of the Templars before the pope could consider the charges, and himself took control of a religious institution - thus asserting his authority over the pope.
The heresy charge meant the Templars would be brought before the Inquisition, an institution Philip controlled in France. Philip's own confessor, Guillaume Imbert of Paris, was the Grand Inquisitor of France and would be in charge of the Templar trial. Imbert's job was to make the suppression of the Templars legitimate - and to sideline the Papacy.
The torture that the Templars endured was extreme and ghastly. Bernard de Vado was tortured by fire so badly that bones in his feet burnt off. This extreme treatment produced quick confessions which Philip used to his advantage. He sent transcripts of them to Clement �after the pope had sent him a letter discussing his indignation at the French king because he had arrested monks subject to no one other than the pope himself. In the letter Clement asked Philip to turn over the Templars and all their possessions to two cardinals, Berenger de Fredole and Etienne de Suissi. But Philip used the confessions (brought about by torture) as evidence, to show the pope the Templars were guilty and thus the cardinals were not required.
The confessions resulted in the pope sending out a papal Bull on November 22, 1307 to all the rulers in Europe, asking them to imprison the members of the Order and hold their property. By forcing Clement to take this action (even though he knew that the charges were trumped up) Philip outmanoeuvred the pope.� Having issued his Bull, he could not retract it because the Templars had already confessed their guilt, even though it was under torture. If the pope decided later they were innocent, he himself would be committing heresy. For the Third Lateran Council of 1179 stated:"Heretics and all who defend and receive them are excommunicated." The Fourth Lateran Council also stated: "We decree that those who give credence to the teachings of the heretics, as well as those who receive, defend, and patronise them, are excommunicated . . . " At this time in the Middle Ages, it was thought that all who defended heretics were heretics themselves.
It is important for these events that Clement V was French and had been elected pope with the strong support of Philip.� It is probable that there was an agreement between Philip and Clement that Philip would pressure French cardinals to elect Clement pope if Clement would help Philip at a later date. When Philip had the Templars arrested without Clement's knowledge, he was able to go over the pope's authority because Clement (though well aware of Philip's motivation, and himself sympathetic to the Templars) was weak both politically and physically
In October 1307, Philip publicly declared the guilt of the Templars in front of the University of Paris, bishops, and other royal officials. He then summoned the people in front of the royal palace to again denounce the crimes and heresies of the Order. This happened all over France. Philip also sent self-justifying letters to vassals and allies. Templars were also made to stand in front of large groups of people and proclaim their guilt and ask for forgiveness from the crowds.This use of propaganda legitimised Philip's actions against the Templars and made it seem he was acting out of religious zeal.
Thus Philip was portrayed "not as accuser or prosecutor but as the hero of a battle for the faith, the victor of a spiritual conflict which had already been won by the spontaneous confessions made by the guilty enemies of true religion." Working to establish a strong Nation State, he needed to build up a sense of "us" versus the "other" to bring about a feeling of unity: a practice universal amongst despots. With the people behind him, he could persecute those whom he claimed would poison the body politic. It was important Philip appear to be saving society from heresy because of anger at his debasing of the coinage and levying of crippling taxes upon the emergent merchant-class and bourgeoisie, whom he was in the process of franchising to some extent by establishing the Estates General (which lasted up until 1789) an assembly under his control. The confiscation of the heretics' wealth was bound to boost the economy.
As previously mentioned, Philip had tried to conquer Gascony and and needed more money to subdue and forcibly add such territories to his land. He also needed cash�to send an army to Jerusalem and take back the Holy Land from the infidel. Previously, in 1306, he had followed the Plantagenet example in England and turned on the Jews (to whom he was in debt) in order to seize their resources. Jews, like the Templars, were easy targets because of their distinguishing characteristics and alien customs and religion. After their arrest and the sequestration of their property, he, like England's Richard I, expelled them - as Ferdinand and Isabella would do to the Spanish Jews, the Sephardim of Sepharad, (Hebrew for Spain, as Ashkenaz is Hebrew for Germany) in 1492.
His behaviour towards the Jews was, of course, a precedent. A few weeks after the Templar arrests, Cristiano Spinola, a Genoese politician, realised Philip's reason for attacking the Order - probably because he also was a politician. Most observers were not so likely to have put two and two together.
At a meeting to which Philip summoned the pope at Poitiers in May 1308, Philip tried to persuade Clement to totally disband the Order. To exert pressure, Philip had a large crowd of French nobles and clergy aggressively pursue the matter with the pope. Philip then hinted that if Clement did not act soon, the pope himself �would be suspected of heresy. Later, on October 1, 1310, the Council of Vienne was convened to decide the Templars' fate. Their property was placed in the hands of a commission, while the Templars for appearance sake were allowed to defend their Order - unprepared. On March 28, 1310, 546 Templars assembled to defend themselves. Because Philip had been invited to help the Inquisition, over which he had power, he did not allow those Templars to be heard and at the Council of Sens in April 1310, had 54 Templars condemned as relapsed heretics and burned before they could even retract their confessions. The council had four more Templars burned a few days later to discourage others from defending the Order. The rest either confessed and were 'reconciled' to the Church or spent the rest of their days in jail until they were burned at the stake.
Philip had pushed Clement into an impossible position by forcing the Templars to confess and showing the confessions to Clement. When the pope sent out his Bull in November 1307, he could not later retract his assertion of their guilt. By doing so, as stated earlier, he would have himself been guilty of heresy. Consequently, when other Templars came to him to defend the Order, he had to destroy them to save himself. After the Council of Sens, seven others came forward to defend themselves and Clement had them thrown in jail before hearing them. On March 19, 1314, the leaders of the Templars, including the Grand Master Jacques de Molay, were brought forth from jail. They publicly retracted their confessions. This angered Philip who had them burned without a trial as relapsed heretics. Philip had the power to do this because the Order had already been condemned as a whole and it was written in the church councils that secular authority had the power to punish heretics after they had been proven guilty by the ecclesiastical authority. The Fourth Lateran Council says: "Those condemned, being handed over to the secular rulers or their bailiffs, let them be abandoned, to be punished with due justice." Philip therefore had legitimate authority to burn relapsed heretics.
In other countries the Templars were not prosecuted, although they were ordered by the pope to be taken into custody. In England, King Edward II wrote to Clement begging him to ignore the accusations and to "resist the calumnies of envious and wicked men." He was referring to Philip and was possibly threatened by Philip's method of state-building. He also wrote to Europe's other rulers and asked that they ignore the accusations also. However, because Pope Clement had sent them a papal bull, Edward was forced to seize the Templars' property, but the members of the Order were not put into prison. English law did not incorporate torture and, consequently, the Inquisition had no power there to force confessions from the Templars. Later, the inquisitors got permission from the king to use torture "in accordance with ecclesiastical law." The Inquisition was never successful in England, most likely because they did not have a driving force behind the accusations like Philip. In Scotland, Ireland, and Germany, little action was taken against the Templars. Some of their property was seized but later there were accounts that the Hospitallers were complaining that the Templars still had possession of some of their property. Rulers in other countries who did not have anything to gain by the prosecution of the Templars ignored the accusations.
Eventually, most of the Templars' property was given to the Hospitallers, and the Order was abolished. It was decreed that those who would thereafter assume the Templar habit would be excommunicated. Philip thus accomplished his goal of destroying the Order and collecting their money. He did not have to pay back the debts he owed them and he 'reclaimed' their treasure that he claimed belonged to the growing kingdom of France.
As he walked to the pyre on the Îlot des Juifs (now Île du Square du Vert-Galant, a tiny island in the centre of Paris), Jacques de Molay pronounced a curse on both King Philip and Pope Clement, predicting that neither would live out the end of the year (1314). The pope died just a month later from a mysterious disease, while the king was killed a few months later in a riding accident.

WORKS CITED
PRIMARY SOURCES
Dubois, Pierre. The Recovery of the Holy Land. trans. Walther I. Brandt. New York: Columbia University Press, 1956.
Kors, Alan C. and Edward Peters. Witchcraft in Europe 1100-1700: A Documentary History. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1972.
Peters, Edward. Heresy and Authority I nMedieval Europe: Documents in Translation. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press,1980.
"The Primitive Rule of the Templars." trans. Mrs. Judith Upton-Ward. Online: ORB: The Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies. 4 Mar. 2000. <http://the-orb.net/encyclop/religion/monastic/t_rule.html>

SECONDARY SOURCES

Barber, Malcolm. The Two Cities: Medieval Europe, 1050-1320. London: Routledge, 1992.
Cohn, Norman. Europe's Inner Demons. New York: New American Library, 1997.
Lea, Henry Charles. A History of th Inquisition of the Middle Ages. Vol.III, New York: The Harbor Press, 1955.
Legman, G. and Henry Charles Lea. The Guilt of the Templars. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1966.
Moore, R.I. The Formation of a Persecuting Society: Power and Deviance in Western Europe, 950-1250. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1987.
Partner, Peter. The Murdered Magicians: The Templars and Their Myth. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982.
Peters, Edward. Europe and the Middle Ages. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1997.
Russell, Jeffrey Burton. Dissent and Order in the Middle Ages: The Search for Legitimate Authority. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1992.
Russell, Jeffrey Burton. Witchcraft in the Middle Ages. London: Cornell University Press, 1972.


The myths



Pope Clement V [Bibliotèque nationale]

"There are many popularly believed myths about the Order of the Temple. The first is that there is very little evidence surviving about the Order. In fact, a great deal of evidence survives. It is true that the central archive of the Order is lost: this was originally held at the Order’s headquarters, at first in Jerusalem, then at Acre, then (after 1291) on Cyprus. After the dissolution of the Order by Pope Clement V in 1312 the archive passed into the possession of the Hospital of St John. Presumably it remained on Cyprus and was destroyed when the Ottoman Turks captured the island in 1571." [p. 8.]

"...a good deal of material about the Templars remains. The Order is far from being a mystery." "Other myths about the Templars abound, It is not true, for example, that the Templers were found guilty as charged in 1312; Pope Clement V actually declared the charges not proven, but dissolved the Order because it had been brought into so much disrepute that it could not continue to operate. The Templers were not monks...." [p. 12.]

"The Order of the Temple was not destroyed because it had outlived its purpose, because it was corrupt, or because it was in decline." [p. 236.]

"Historians from the Middle Ages to the present day have developed a 'model' of the rise and fall of the Templars: the pure ideals of the first knights became contaminated as the Order grew rich and became involved in politics; the Order became corrupt and greedy and increasingly unpopular, and meanwhile the West lost interest in the Crusades; so when Philip IV of France attacked the Order for its money, no one defended it and the Order fell. This 'model' has gained wide acceptance despite the fact that it is false, because it provides an attractively simple explanation for the otherwise unjust and inexplicable fall of the Order." [p. 240.]

"[Walter] Scott and [George] Macdonald misused the Templars for literary effect, but some writers deliberately developed the myth of the Templars for political or religious purposes, even fabricating physical evidence in order to 'prove' their arguments. The German Freemasons claimed that the Templars were a secret society with esoteric knowledge, and that they were destroyed because of this knowledge, which Philip IV wanted to obtain. In 1796 Charles Louis Cadet de Cassicour portrayed the Templars as part of a secret conspiracy which was behind the French Revolution and the execution of Louis XVI, in revenge for the death of James de Molay in 1314. Such writers were following the example of those who had contrived the original charges against the Templars: projecting their own fantasies and interests on to their victims. Most influental of these writers with a historical-religious purpose was Joseph von Hammer Purgstall, who in 1818 published a work called The Mystery of Baphomet Revealed. Hammer wanted to discredit the Freemasons, and attacked the 'Templar masons' in order to undermine the whole movement. He argued, using archaeological evidence faked by earlier scholars and literary evidence such as the Grail romances, that the Templars were Gnostics and the 'Templars' head' was a Gnostic idol called Baphomet. He did not realise that Gnostics did not have idols and that Baphomet is simply the Old French word for the name Mohammad." [p. 242.]

"Recently the Templars' supposed secret knowledge has become associated with the Turin shroud, the relic held by the cathedral of Turin, which some believe to be the shroud of Christ. In 1978 it was suggested that this shroud, which shows an image of Christ’s head, could have been the famous 'Templars' head'. Modern scientific analysis, published in 1989, has dated the shroud to the fourteenth century, probably to the 1320s or 1330s — after the dissolution of the Templars." [p. 244.]

"The Templers were not particularly secretive — no more so than other religious Orders of their period, and certainly no more so than the other leading Military Orders, the Hospital of St John and the Teutonic Order." [p. 13.]

"Perhaps the Templars were particularly insistent about evicting non-members of the Order from chapter-meetings, but there is no evidence for this." [p. 14.]

Chroniclers of the Order

"This book does not attempt to replace the great scholarly works on the Order by Marie Luise Bulst-Theile, Alain Demurger, Alan Forey and Malcolm Barber." [p. 15.]

Archbishop William of Tyre composed his history of the crusader states between 1165-1184:

"There was nowhere for them to live, so King Baldwin II (1118-31) gave them his palace on the south side of the 'Lord’s Temple' or Dome of the Rock (this palace was the Aqsa mosque, which the crusaders called ’solomon’s Temple')" [p. 23.]

William of Tyre wrote that the concept of the first Military Order sprang from the Church and that they were the equivalent of monks.

Simon, a monk of St Bertin wrote around 1135-7 that the first Templers were crusaders who decided to stay in the Holy Land after the First crusade.

The Anglo-Normon monk Orderic Vitalis (1075-c. 1141) wrote in the 1120s or 30s that they were pious knights but not monks. He does not record their origins.

Abbot Bernard of Clairvaux wrote a letter before 1136 that influenced subsequent writers' view of the Templars as knights who lived like monks. The uncertainty of subsequent writers over how the Order began indicates that its founding was not noticed in the West at the time.

"Abbot Bernard had been present at the Council of Troyes in January 1129 when the Council established the Rule of the Order of the Temple and gave the Brothers a habit." [p. 27.]

"However, Bernard’s role was played only after the Order had come into existence. The survey so far has shown that contemporaries and near-contemporaries were not sure when the Order of the Temple began, or why it began, or who was responsible for its beginning." "Later writers had heard other stories." [p. 29.]

"Describing their deeds after 1150, [William of Tyre] brushed over their successes, minimised their positive role and emphasised their failures." "Yet examination of William’s account and comparison with other, often more contemporary sources, indicates that his picture of the Military Orders was not accurate." [p. 87.]

History of the Order


Two templars on one horse with the banner of Beausant, as illustrated by Matthew Paris. The British Library, BL Royal Ms 14, fol. 42v. [Plate 1.1.The Knights Templar in Britain, Evelyn Lord. p. 5.]
"It is difficult to say how many Templars there were in the Latin East... but it has been suggested that the Orders of the Temple and the Hospital could each put an army of three hundred Brothers in the field, knights and armed sergeants (non-knights), as well as mercenaries or hired soldiers." [pp. 53-54.] [See Forey, The Military Orders, pp. 68-9, 79.]

"Military Order castles were garrisoned by a small number of Brothers and a large force of hired mercenaries. At the Templars' castle of Safed in Galilee in the 1260s there were 50 knight-Brothers, 30 armed sergeant-Brothers, 50 turcopoles (native lightly armed mercenaries) and also 300 hired archers." [p. 62.] [Forey]

"On 6 April 1291 Acre, the last major European Christian stronghold in the Holy Land came under attack from the troops of Sultan al-Ashraf Khalil. The seige lasted over a month and the Muslims began their final assault on 18 May. [p. 85.]

"The Order’s preference for calling an official 'commander' (Latin: preceptor) causes problems for modern historians trying to work out the Order’s leadership structure." [p. 117.]

"The standard was baucant (piebald), with a black and white section. Contemporary illustrations differ over which part of the banner was white and which was black. Matthew Paris, the chronicler of St Albans Abbey, shows it with the upper section black and the lower section white; the Order’s own frescoes at San Bevignate, Perugia, show it with a white upper section (with cross superimposed) and a black lower section." [p. 118.]

"Most of the poeple living in a commandery in the West would never have fought the Muslims and were not expected to do so." "The non-military sergeants or serving Brothers did manual work, such as carpentry, looking after animals, working as smiths or stonemasons." [p. 128.]

Other people living in commanderies were hermits, servants and pensioners. [p. 136.]

"A Templar commandery was a busy place, a mixture of a secular farm and/or industrial site and/or business centre, plus the daily round of religious observance." [p. 137.]

Seals of the Masters

"Officials of religious Orders had their own seals to validate documents approved by the Order. The Master of the Temple’s great seal was double-sided and showed the circular dome of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on one side and the Orders’s symbol of two knights on one horse on the other. There was also a smaller, single-sided seal, which showed the circular dome of the Holy Sepulchre." [p. 114.]

Seals of Brother Otto of Brunswich, commander of Supplingenburg, shows a lion; that of William, Master of the Temple in Hungary and Slovonia, 1297, depicts a winged griffen; that of Bertram von Esbeck, Master of the Temple in Germany, 1296 depicts an eagle with two six pointed stars. [p. 108-09]

Seals of Brother Widekind, Master of the Temple in Germany, 1271, and Brother Frederick Wildergrave, 1289, showed Christ’s head [p. 119.]

The seal of Templar officials in Yorkshire c.1300 shows a tower with a pointed roof. The seal of Brother Roustan de Comps, commander of the Order of the Temple at Richerenches, 1232, shows a single knight on horseback, bearing a shield with a cross: probably St. George.

The seal of Brother Bertrand de Blancafort, Master of the Temple, 1168, shows two knights on one horse and the reverse with the circular dome. [p. 114, 116.]

The seals of the Masters of the Temple in England: of Aimery de St Maur, 1200, Robert of Sandford, , 1241, Richard of Hastings, 1160-85, and William de la More, 1304, showed the agnus Dei the lamb of God. [p. 177, 180.]

Alliances with Muslims

"Complaints against the Templars' alliances with Muslims had some basis in fact." "Such diplomatic contacts and a healthy respect for a formidable enemy were essential for the Templars as part of their struggle to defend Chrisendom in the east. Truces and alliances with Muslims enabled the crusader states to live to fight another day. The fact that Muslim writers always rejoiced over the Templars when they were defeated and depicted them as evil enemies of Islam shows that, despite these alliances and friendships, in reality the Templars always remained what they claimed to be — fanatical warriors of Christ." [pp. 79-80;]

"After the Battle of Hattin on 4 July 1187, when Saladin’s army destroyed the army of the kingdom of Jerusalem and captured King Guy and the leading nobles, Saladin bought the Templars and Hospitallers who had been taken prisoner and had every one of them executed." [p. 54.]

"As in the Holy Land, Christian rulers in Spain would also ally with Muslim rulers against other Christians." [p. 90.]

"After 1187 the secular cleric Walter Map made a few remarks

Wealth of the Templars

Charitable donations decreased with increased political stability in western Christendom, a shifting pattern of piety to the personal away from the institutional, and a shift in royal policy forbidding donations of land without royal licence.

"All these changes reduced the income enjoyed by all religious Orders by the early fourteenth century, They came at the same time (and partly as a result of) inflation which reduced the value of money rents...." [p. 178.]

"They made money in the countryside not only from farming, but also from rents and from commerce and trade." [p. 188.]

In 1275 William de Beaujeu arrived in Acre to discover that the Order "was in a weaker stare than it had ever been, with many expenses and almost no revenues, as its possessions had all been plundered by the sultan." [p. 83.]

"During the 1260s the people of the Holy Land watched with indignation as European crusaders were diverted to fight papal wars in Sicily at the same time as their castles were falling one by one before Baibars’s inexorable advance." [p. 85.]

"As the thirteenth century progressed the kings of Aragorn complained more and more that the Military Orders were not meeting their military obligations. The Orders were genuinely short of money because of losses in the Holy Land and a fall in pius donations to all religious Orders in western Europe. The resources in their houses were not impressive." The Templars' house at Huesca "with military obligations apparently only expected to have to arm seven knights and three sergeants...." [p. 98.]

["...the survey in 1308 shows that the Templars' property was unkempt and ruinous." "...there is no evidence of the luxuries or wealth that the Templars were accused of possessing." "But when the value of goods is compared with other inventories taken in the fourteenth century it can be seen that the Templars' goods are on the same scale as those found in peasant inventories, rather than what might be expected from a manorial household." The Knights Templar in Britain, Evelyn Lord, p. 96, 43, 98.]

Architecture of the Templars

"From the 1250s the Templars, Hospitallers and Teutonic knights were given or sold many castles by the secular nobility of the crusader states, who could no longer afford to maintain and garrison them." [p. 59.]

The Templars held fourteen fortifications and two other properties in the Iberian peninsula during the 12th and 13th centuries. [p. 92.]

The Templars held five fortresses and fourteen other properties in Eastern Europe. [p. 104.]

"...for the most part [Templar churches] were built in the local style, even when the Order built from scratch. Clearly these Orders did not bring in their own architects and masons from outside when they wanted to build, but hired local workers on the spot." [p. 158.] ["One characteristic of Templar architecture was the church with a round nave, presumed to have been modelled on Solomon’s Temple. This does not mean that all Templar churches had round naves, or that all churches with round naves once belonged to Templars." The Knights Templar in Britain, Evelyn Lord, p. 25.] ["The list of expenses [for the London temple in 1308] included the wages of those employed by the Order up to the time of the arrests. Adam the Mason received 4d a day. As he alone is recorded as a mason, he was probably employed for repairs to the fabric rather than any major building work." The Knights Templar in Britain, Evelyn Lord, p. 26.]

The Templars as bankers

"The Templars in particular also provided a range of financial services for rulers. This could vary from making loans and looking after valuables to running the royal treasury, as in France. The Templars were not a bank in the modern sense of the word as their financial operations were merely a sideline, a result of their need to store and move large quantities of cash about Christendom. Money deposited with them was not pooled and reinvested, but remained in its owners' strongboxes within the Order’s treasury, and could not be accessed without the owner’s permission." [p. 162.]

"All religious Orders were used by lay people as a safe deposit for valuables, and were asked to lend money when lay people needed cash. The Templars in particular became well known for providing these sort of financial services for the same reason that they were used by kings as almoners, treasurers, and money carriers: the Order had developed systems for the collection, safe storage and transport of large sums of cash and other valuables in the West for carrying to the East." [p. 188.]

"All religious Orders lent money, but as Christians were not allowed to levy interest (this practice was called 'usury') they had to find other ways of covering the cost of the loans. There were various ways in which this could be done. Some Templar loans from southern France included a clause in the loan agreement that if the coin depreciated in value between the time of the loan and the repayment then the borrower must add a fixed sum to compensate the lender. As the fixed sum would remain the same however much the coin depreciated, it is likely that an interest charge lay buried in this fixed sum. Again, if land was given as the pledge for the debt, it might be stipulated in the loan conditions that the produce from the land did not count towards the repayment of the loan. Complaints of Templar greed could conceivably have sprung from such clauses, but the complainers did not specify loans as a particular cause of grief." [pp. 189-90.]

The Templar Fleet

"The Templers did have ships to carry personnel, pilgrims and supplies across the Mediterranean between the West and East and back, but if the Hospital after 1312 is any guide they did not have more than four galleys (warships) and few other ships, and if they needed more they hired them. They certainly could not spare ships to indulge in world exploration — in any case, their ships were not sturdy enough to cross an ocean and could not carry enough water for more than a few days. The Order had vast resources in land, but was always very short of liquid capitol, which was needed to invest in fortifications and personnel in the east." [p. 12.] [The Falcon and the Templar Rose are mentioned by name in Malcolm Barber’s The New Knighthood. Piers Paul Read, in The Templars p. 271, claims eighteen galleys, without citation.]

"When the Templars had made their money in the West, they had to get it out to the East. There has been some debate among scholars as to whether any actual transfer of coin took place, but the latest view is that coin was actually carried from the West to the East. This meant that the Templars needed ships to carry their coin, as well as agricultural produce, horses and personnel for the east. They also provided a secure carrying service for pilgrims — safer and cheaper than hiring a commercial carrier. These would have been heavy transport vessels rather than warships. Much of the surviving evidence for Templar shipping comes from the relevant port records or royal records giving permission for the export of produce. At La Rochelle on the west coast of France during the twelfth century the Templars were given several vinyards and produced wine for their own consumption and for export; although the cartulary of their house is lost, the records of the port of La Rochelle show that the Templars were exporting wine by ship. This was not a fleet in any modern sense: again, those would have been transport vessels rather than warships, and the Templars probably hired them as they needed them, rather than buying their own.

"The hierarchial statutes attached to the Templars' Rule, dating from the twelfth century before 1187, refer to the Order’s ships at Acre (Sectin 119), but do not state how many ships the Order owned. After 1312 the Hospital of St. John was mainly involved in sea-based warfare and had an admiral in command of its marine operations, but only had four galleys (warships), with other vessels. It is unlikely that the Templars had any more galleys than the Hospitallers. The ships would have been very small by modern standards, too shallow in draught and sailing too low in the water to be able to withstand the heavy waves and winds of the open Atlantic, and suited for use only in the relatively shallow waters of the continental shelf. What was more, they could not carry enough water to be at sea for long periods." [pp. 191-92.]

"... the Templars and Hospitallers accompanied [King James I of Aragon (1213-76)] when he set out on crusade in 1269 — although he had to turn back because of poor weather conditions at sea. During the voyage the Templars' ship lost its rudder and James sent over his own ship’s spare rudder, although one of his advisers opposed this, saying that the Templars should have brought their own spare." [p. 97.]

"The earliest references to Templar ships outside the kingdom of Jerusalem come in the first decades of the thirteenth century, when they were operating at Constantinople and in the Bay of Biscay, In 1224 King Henry III of England hired a Templar ship, 'the Great Ship' and its captain, Brother Thomas of the Temple of Spain, for use in his wars in France. Henry later bought the ship from the Master of the Temple in Spain for 200 marks and kept it. Presumably the Templars in Spain had a few ships, if they could spare this one. As mentioned above in the account of his abortive crusade, the Templars of Aragorn accompanied James I of Aragorn as he set sail for the east, but their ship’s rudder broke, and they did not have a spare. This does not indicate great naval expertise or investment." [pp. 192-93.]

Sergeant-Brother Roger de Flor commanded the Falcon, assisting in the evacuation of Acre in 1291. Found guilty of profiteering and sentenced to hang, he left the Falcon at Marsailles. [p. 193.]

"The fact that the Templars' Spanish great ship also came equipped with its own captain, Brother Thomas, who remained with it after Henry III had bought it, indicates that this was the normal form of organization for the Templars' ships. Theoretically they belonged to the Order but were run as individual units under Brothers who were experienced sailers. When they were not being used by the Order, for example for carrying pilgrims or produce, they engaged in privateering and other commercial enterprises." [p. 194.]

"[Pope] Nicholas IV also ordered the Masters of the Temple and Hospital to build up a fleet, and in January 1292 he authorized them to use their ships to assist the Armenians. In 1293 the Templars and Venetians equipped six galleys in Venice to help protect Cyprus against the Muslims: there were four Venetian and two Templar ships. On the basis that this was the maximum number of ships that the Templars could find for this important project, a fleet of two is hardly impressive." [p. 199.]

["The Templar pilgrim fleet was based at Marseilles. In 1233 they were granted the right to dock their ships there and carry pilgrims to the Holy Land, but after protests by local ship owners this was restricted to two ships a year, leaving for Easter and in August. They were allowed to carry 1,500 pilgrims in these, and to keep one ship in the port for their own use." Supplying the Crusader states, Barber. p. 322]

["Their main fleet was at La Rochelle, and it was this fleet, berthed away from the theatre of war, that was part of the maritime network linking the Order in the British Isles with the continent. We know the class and names of at least two of the ships plying between La Rochelle and the south coast. In 1230 Henry III issued a licence to the Templars' ship La Templere from La Rochelle to land, bringing wine and victuals for the brothers. A little later another licence was given to the Master and the brothers of the Temple for the vessel called La Buzzard to come into port. (Calender of Patent Rolls, 1225-1232). The Knights Templar in Britain, Evelyn Lord, p. 120.]

["When on official business the Patent Rolls show that the constable of Dover Castle was ordered to provide a ship for the Templars." The Knights Templar in Britain, Evelyn Lord, p. 121.]

Accusations

Philip IV’s new advisor, William de Nogaret, compiled the accusations against Pope Boniface: he was an heretic, he practised simony, he had been elected by trickery, he was advised by a demon, he practiced sodomy, and he believed the French did not have souls. [p. 201.]

"The original charges of 1307 were framed by one Esquin de Floyran of Béziers, prior of Montfaucon." [p. 214.]

"Esquiu’s original charges fitted the pattern of accusations of devil-worship brought against leading political figures of this period such as Pope Boniface VIII and Walter Langton. Like these his accusations were presumably promoted by a personal grievance which had no obvious connection with the accusations." [p. 215.]

"Yet the history of the Order produced no public sexual scandals, unlike other religious Orders." "In fictional literature the Templars were depicted helping lovers, but this image was based more on their love of God than on their love of women. There were no scandals in the Order of the Temple to compare with events in the Dominican friary and nunnery at Zamora, for instance, where the friars apparently regarded the sisters' house as a source of women for their pleasure. No one wrote stories about the Templars like the French poet Rutebuef’s scandalous story about the Franciscan friars, 'Brother Denise', in which a friar seduces a young girl by telling her she will save her soul by doing everything he tells her. The Templars were never accused of systematically raping women, as were the Teutonic knights." Sexual relations with a man would result in automatic expulsion from the Order of the Temple. The only case of sodomy ever recorded within the Order resulted in the imprisonment of two of those involved, while the third escaped and went over to the Muslims. Even during the trial of the Templars, when Brothers were being actively encouraged to confess to the practice of sodomy, very few were prepared to do so: of all the testimonies during the trial (over nine hundred in all), I have identified only three confessions of sodomy that I would consider as possibly genuine. This is remarkably few for a large international organization, given that contemporaries regarded the traditional monastic Orders such as the Benedictines and Cistercians as being rife with active homosexual practices." [p. 140.]

"Walter Map, who knew plenty of derogatory stories about the Templars, the Hospitallers, the papacy and the Cistercians, also told some stories which implied that the Templars were outstanding Christians." [p. 141.]

"There is no evidence that the Templars were ever involved in heretical movements in Europe." [p. 158.]

"The Templars' innocence of the charges brought against them in 1307-8 has been established since the work of the American historian Henry Charles Lea, published in 1889. Historians now see the charges as an exercise in political propaganda." [p. 207.]

Reference: Henry Charles Lea, A History of the Inquisition in the Middle Ages (3 vols, New York, Macmillan, 1887-9 and reprints), vol. 3 esp. p. 334. See also Malcolm Barber, 'Propaganda in the Middle Ages: the Charges Against the Templars', Nottingham Medieval Studies, 17 (1973), pp. 42-57

"Matthew Paris’s dislike of the Miltary Orders of the Temple and the Hospital stemmed partly from their connection with King Henry III, whom Matthew disliked and whose policies he disapproved of. In the same way, William of Tyre’s and Walter Map’s criticism stemmed partly from the Orders' connections with the papacy and their exemptions from the bishops' authority. As the Orders relied on these rulers for their continuing existence and protection, this was a criticism which they could hardly avoid." [p. 178.]

Witchcraft

"Until the eleventh century the Church had not taken witchcraft and magic terribly seriously: once active paganism had died out in western Europe, witchcraft was viewed as little more than a collection of superstitious practices indulged in by deluded old women. It could be dangerous, but it was not a major threat to society as a whole. However with the discovery of the scientific classical Greek and Arabic texts in the library of Toledo (captured by Alfonso VI of León -Castille in 1085), this attitude changed. For part and parcel with this ancient science were magical texts, based on mathamatics and the study of the stars and planets, and on the innate qualities of plants, stones and animals." [p. 209.]

"The group most notorious for their involvement in magic during the Middle Ages were the secular priests." "The other group with a particular interest in magic was the literati, the educated officials who provided the backbone of royal government." {p. 212.]

"There is no evidence at all that the Templars had any knowledge of science, and certainly they had no knowledge of magic; medieval magic was a supremely literate science, recorded and performed in Latin, whereas the Templers in general were remarkably illiterate...." [p. 12.]

"Most of the Brothers of the Order came from the lower ranks of knights or were not of knightly descent at all; many were craftsmen, or people who performed ordinary agricultural tasks such as herding sheep and cattle." [p. 2.]

"For the most part these people were not educated; the knights and squires could read their own language but not Latin. [p. 3.]

["In the west the members of the Order were monks adhering to their vows of chastity, poverty and obedience, observing silence within the preceptory precincts, and hearing the offices throughout the day and night." "There is no evidence in the 1308 inventories of any intellectual or literary activity." The Knights Templar in Britain, Evelyn Lord, p. 108.]

Baphomet

"The charge that the Templars venerated [not worshipped] a head was true, since the Order did venerate the heads of at least two female martyrs, St Euphemia and one of St Ursula’s maidens, the former in the East and the latter in Paris. These relics were well known, often seen and fully accounted for." [p. 213.]

"The so-called 'Templars' head' was probably the head of St Euphemia. The Draper of the Order and two knights stated during the trial of the Order on Cyprus that they had not heard of any idols in the Order, but the Order had the head of St Euphemia." [p. 147.]

"Brother William of Arreblay, former almoner to King Philip IV of France, testified that he had often seen on the alter in the Temple of Paris a silver head, and the leading officials of the Order adored it. He understood that this was the head of one of the 11,000 virgins martyred with St. Ursula at Cologne...." [p. 149.]

The trial

"As the charges against the Templars had no basis in previous criticism, and were clearly ’standard' accusations, why did anyone believe them? The answer to this is two-fold. First, hardly anyone outside the domains of France did believe them. Secondly, within France the charges were carefully grounded in the actual activities of the Templars." [p. 213.]

"In short, the charges were ingeniously devised to make the most of the Templars' weak points, to undermine their strong points and to make it impossible for them to escape." [p. 214.]

"Very little third-party evidence was heard during the French trial. On Cyprus, third-party evidence was heard at length and was virtually unanimous: the charges were absolutely false." [p. 216.]

Rosslyn Chapel

"... we have to ask why [Roslin] chapel is associated with the Templars when the Order was suppressed 100 years before it was built. The key to this is the gravestone of William St Clair, who died fighting the Moors in Spain whilst taking Robert the Bruce’s heart to be buried in the Holy Land. This has a floriated cross on it that is thought to be the emblem of the Templars. This ancestor of the St Clairs is thought to have been a Templar. Further back in time there is a tradition that Hugh de Payens, the founder of the Order, was married to a Katherine St Clair." The Knights Templar in Britain, Evelyn Lord, p. 153.

["the heart was removed on his instructions and taken by Sir James Douglas on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Douglas was killed on the way (1330)..." Encyclopaedia Britannica, v. 10, p. 104]

"The Knights Templars in the British Island had little or no experience of open battle and why should they have been supporting Bruce against Edward II when on the whole Edward had been particularly lenient towards them?" The Knights Templar in Britain, Evelyn Lord, p. 154.

"Henry and William St Clair testified against the Templars, reporting that they had heard 'things against the brother’s secret receptions.'" The Knights Templar in Britain, Evelyn Lord, p. 201.

The Knights Templar, A new history, Helen Nichlson. 2001: Sutton Publishing Limited, Phoenix Mill Thrupp, Stroud, Gloucestershire UK. ISBN: 0-7509-2517-5. hb 278pp. Also see The Trial of the Templars in Cyprus, Anne Gilmour-Bryson. University of Melbourne, 2000. For a masonic perspective: "The Knights Templar in Scotland, The Creation of a Myth" by Robert L.D. Cooper, Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, vol. 115 (2002) London : Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076, 2003. pp. 94-152.

Modern Day Knights Templar: the Masons


Who are the Masons?

In the months following publication, The Templars, Two Kings and a Pope was favorably reviewed in the Masons’ Knight Templar Magazine, lauding the novel’s historical accuracy. I also received a number of reviews and comments from present day knights templar, both Masons and non-Masons. Masons commented on how the novel described the origins of their organization, and how they now had confirmation of the link between the Masons and the Templars’ secret Brotherhood, based on the concepts and symbols in their practice. I learned that they become knights templar in their uppermost degrees, which is around the 30th degree in the Scottish Rite, the York Rite, and the blue degrees. Subsequent degrees after being dubbed knight templar are higher ranks of knighthood. they do have secrets that revolve around their Gnostic esoteric foundation, what is also known as the ancient mysteries, and just like the Brotherhood before them, they are dedicated to serving mankind and fomenting religious tolerance. Their recorded history goes back to the early 1700’s, although their legends speak of a beginning in Scotland in the early 1300’s, starting from a guild of stoneworkers, just as my novel describes. The reason for the absence of documentation before the 1700’s has to do with the British civil war when the Puritans ascended to power, and tried to wipe out anything they considered a heresy by burning books and imprisoning and killing people. They succeeded in suppressing all Gnostic organizations. It’s clear that that’s what happened to the Masons, they disappeared during the reign of the Puritans and made a comeback in the early 1700’s, when they reinvented themselves.

Templar and Masonic Symbols

These symbols confirmed that the Masons, at least from the 30th Degree on up in which they are initiated as Knights Templar, are linear descendants from the Templars’ secret Brotherhood. The Templar Cross, the “Croix Rose” or Red Cross, is widely used and originally called Rose Croix (grammatically incorrect in modern French). All four extremities are the same size which is a Gnostic symbol for balance. The symbol of the rose is also used, which for the Brotherhood meant the Christ consciousness. In one scene in the novel I describe how Jesus’ prison cell was permeated with a faint scent of roses. This made perfect sense to the 33 Degree Masons. In old French, the color red was called “rose,” also the name of the flower, which makes the name of the Templar cross and why it was red, code for the Christ consciousness. Gnostics believed that this was a state every person could achieve.
The Christ consciousness was the perfect state of balance, which they termed Beauseant, literally “be whole,” in the Lingua Franca, the old french the Templars spoke. This term is presently widely used by the Masons. The other symbol of balance, which the Masons also widely use, is what looks like a Star of David, comprised by two spades, one upward or male, one downward, or female. This means the coming together of the male and female in all of us. The Gnostic faith balances the female aspect of God, Sophia, with the male, Christ; which we will all embody at some point when we reach Beauseant, symbolized by the Templars’ flag, black and white stripes of equal size, and a theme still used by the Masons.

How the Templars Connected with The Masons in the 14th Century

So, how did the connection between the Templars’ Brotherhood and the Masons take place? In the research I conducted for my novel I found that once they left the Holy Land, the Templars and The Brotherhood found themselves embroiled in a covert and intense war against the king of France, Philip IV to keep him from taking over the Holy Roman Empire. To accomplish this he first needed both the Order of the Temple and the King of England out of the way, because they could stop him, and he also needed their money.
The Brotherhood had to act quickly. If Philip invaded England there was no stopping him. They realized that this was first in the French king’s list. They came next. They needed something to distract him, a war that would pull him away from England. They turned to Flanders, what is today Belgium. It was ruled by a count, a nominal subject of the French monarch. The county was split along ethnic lines; for centuries the French speakers and the Dutch had been at odds. There were also very powerful guilds of textile workers, for it was the processing of wool that made Flanders. The nobility was very weak and easy prey for a rising working class.
The Brotherhood decided to approach the Dutch-speaking guilds, train them, and use them to fight the French. This worked out perfectly. The "Battle of the Golden Spurs" saw the defeat of the powerful French cavalry by lowly infantry. This battle and what led to it are graphically described in the novel, along with the weapons, training and tactics, for I feel this is a very crucial episode in Templar history.
In the book I lead into the Flemish excursion with a venture by two of the main characters (fashioned after real historical figures) that find them working with weavers who moonlight as entertainers at fairs. This gives them the idea for Flanders, the possibility of using the powerful guilds. I’m sure that something along these lines took place; some incident that led The Brotherhood to look into the guilds, for otherwise the social divide was so strong at this time in history that such a working arrangement was unthinkable.
After Flanders, The Brotherhood continued to work with the guilds. When they reached Scotland, it was just natural that they would link up with them. In the novel, this happens through a sergeant, a natural link between the noble knights and the working class. It makes sense that the Brotherhood would seek out the most powerful guild around, which was made up of learned men, men who built cathedrals and bridges and not only could read and write, but were also relatively sophisticated. What the Brotherhood needed, was an organization they could infiltrate and control so they could find a safe haven for “The Knowing,” Jesus’ secret teachings. It’s evident that they had in their possession a copy of Jesus’ actual writing, a Jesus Gospel, and they also needed a hiding place for it.
They connected with the Masons and passed on their secrets.
In the 16th century when the puritans rose to power in Britain, most of the written records of the Masons and other Gnostic and non-traditional Christian denominations, were destroyed. The Masons had to reinvent themselves in the 17th century, mostly from what was passed down as legend. In the course of the years some misconceptions came into play, including a dash of Egyptology, the result of the Egypt obsession that ran through Europe in the 19th century. But surprisingly, the main body of Jesus’ secret teachings did survive, and are being practiced by present day 33 Degree Masons, and also by their offshoot, the Rosicrucians.

Non-Mason Knights Templar

Besides the Masons’ knights templar, the novel was also welcomed by a number of world-wide knight templar organizations, based in the US and England. They too viewed The Templars, Two Kings and a Pope as documenting their history, and were glad for information on what it was like to be a knight templar in the middle ages. The one organization that appears to be the oldest, and could have a direct connection to the original knights templar besides the Masons, is the Hereditary Knights Templar of Britannia.
However, the original knights templar were monks, and needless to say, no modern templar today is a monk. That life style ended when the last of the original templars died, sometime in the 14th century.

A Brief History of the Medieval Knights Templar

The Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem (OSMTH) is a modern-day ecumenical Christian knighthood. With its beginnings in 1804, the early 19th century, it does not claim 'direct descent' from the historical medieval Order itself -- the subject to which we will now turn.
templar3bThe medieval Knights Templar, best known to us today as the famed warriors of the Crusades, were a devout military religious Order that uniquely combined the roles of knight and monk in a way the Western medieval world had never seen before. Originally they were known as the Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon, or, more simply, as the Knights Templar. In a famous letter written in the 1130s, In Praise of the New Knighthood, St Bernard of Clairvaux elevated the Templar Order above all other Orders of the day, establishing the image of the Templars as a fierce spiritual militia for Christ. He regarded them as a "new species of knighthood, previously unknown in the secular world..." To him, they were a unique combination of knight and monk; to later historians, they were the first military order, soon imitated by the Knights Hospitaller, by several Spanish orders and, by the end of the 12th century, by the Teutonic Knights. As a holy militia fighting for Christ, the Templars were willing to put aside the usual temptations of ordinary secular life for an arduous, dedicated life of service. Ever since then, the legacy of the Templars has been, first and foremost, the concept of service. 
The Templars officially originated in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem in 1118 A.D., when nine knights, mainly French, vowed to protect pilgrims on the dangerous roads leading to Jerusalem. These courageous knights gained the favor of King Baldwin II of Jerusalem who granted them part of his palace for their headquarters, which was located in the southeastern part of the Temple Mount, called "Solomon's Temple". Encouraged by King Baldwin II and Warmund of Picquigny, Patriarch of Jerusalem, they were generally seen as complementary to the Hospitallers (recognized as an Order of the Church by the papacy in 1113, but not militarized until the 1130s), who cared for sick and weary pilgrims in their convent in Jerusalem. The Templars' services were welcomed and greatly appreciated. But it is important to realize that at this early juncture when they were based at the Temple Mount area, the Templars were not yet an official monastic Order---the protagonists were seculars imbued with a desire to fulfill the biblical injunction to love thy neighbour, but they were not yet a monastic Order. During the first nine years of the Order (1119-28), contrary to assumptions often made today, the Templars would not have been wearing their trademark white mantles, as they began wearing them after the church Council of Troyes in 1129 when they were given a religious Rule and a white mantle. The famous red cross on their mantle was added later when Pope Eugenius III (1145-53) allowed them to wear it as a symbol of Christian martyrdom. 
With only nine knights at their inception, scholars acknowledge that it seems as though no major efforts were made to recruit any new members until around 1128, when most of the original knights had returned to France and the Council of Troyes began (Jan. 1129) and they became officially recognized by the papacy. By the 1170s, there were about 300 knights based in the Kingdom of Jerusalem itself and more in other areas., and by the 1180s, there were at least 600 knights in Jerusalem alone. After 1129, the Order grew exponentially with many thousands of knights and it then became increasingly powerful. 
At the Council of Troyes in Champagne, the status of the Templar Order underwent a dramatic change.Thanks to the significant contribution of Bernard of Clairvaux, the knights were then officially accepted by Matthew of Albano, the papal legate. This recognition was quite extraordinary for the times, as for such a tiny Order of only nine men to get this type of recognition was rather unusual, as many other Orders of the day had to wait much longer to achieve a similar status. At the Council of Troyes, the Templars were given a proper Rule, written in Latin, which ran to 72 clauses. The impetus given by papal approval and the extraordinary publicity generated by the visits of the leaders to France, England and Scotland in the months before the council ensured that the "New Knighthood" would long outlive its founders. 
Papal recognition at Troyes was followed by the issue of three key bulls, which established the Temple as a privileged Order under Rome. Omne Datum Optimum (1139) consolidated the Order's growing material base by allowing spoils taken in battle to be retained for the furtherance of the holy war, placing donations directly under papal protection, and granting exemption from payment of tithes. It also strengthened the structure of the Order by making all members answerable to the Master and by adding a new class of Templar priests to the existing organization of knights and sergeants. The Templars could now possess their own oratories, where they could hear divine office and bury their dead. Milites Templi (1144) ordered the clergy to protect the Templars and encouraged the faithful to contribute to their cause, while at the same time allowing the Templars to make their own collections once a year, even in areas under interdict. Milita Dei (1145) consolidated the Order's independence of the local clerical hierarchy by giving the Templars the right to take tithes and burial fees and to bury their dead in their own cemeteries. 
As these privileges indicate, during the 1130s, the fledging Order had attracted increasing numbers of major donors, for it proved to be especially popular with that sector of the French aristocracy which held castles and estates and could mobilize vassals, albeit on a modest scale. In fact, the scale of this sudden, unprecented rise was extraordinary, something hardly seen before or since. The rulers of Aragon and Portugal, confronted directly with the problems of warfare on a volatile frontier, realized their military value more quickly than most others. The Templars began to accumulate a substantial landed base in the West, not only in Francia, Provence, Iberia and England, where they were first known, but also in Italy, Germany and Dalmatia and, with the Latin conquests of Cyprus from 1191 and of the Morea from 1204, in those regions as well. By the late 13th century they may have had as many as 870 castles, preceptories and subsidiary houses spread across Latin Christendom. During the 12th and 13th centuries these properties were built into a network of support which provided men, horses, money and supplies for the Templars in the East. 
templsilverbThe development of a role as bankers arose out of these circumstances, for they were well placed to offer credit and change specie through their holdings in both east and west. It was a short step to move into more general finance, unconnected to crusading activity by the 1290s their house in Paris could offer a deposit bank with a cash desk open on a daily basis and specialist accountancy services of great value to contemporary secular administrations. Thus, the Templars became the bankers to nobles, kings, and Popes as well as to pilgrims on their way to and from Jerusalem and other holy sites. Our familiar "traveller's check" today is a modern-day example of using a 'letter of credit' –just as the Templars did in the 12th century, in medieval times. The Templar structure was cemented by effective communications including its own Mediterranean shipping. They had many galleys and like the Hospitallers, took part in naval warfare at times, too. They even had their own Admiral by 1301. 
Together with the Hospitallers, the Knights Templar became the permanent defenders of the Latin settlements of the East, increasingly entrusted with key castles and fiefs. By the 1180s, there were approximately 600 knights in Jerusalem, Tripoli and Antioch, and perhaps three times that number of sergeants. No major battle took place without their participation. In the 13th century, the Order was the only institution capable of building great castles like Athlit (Pilgrims' Castle) (1217-21) on the coast to the south of Haifa and Safed (early 1240s) dominating the Galilean Hills. Such military and financial power, together with the extensive papal privileges, gave them immense influence in the Latin East and, at times, led to conflict with other institutions. 
The Latin Rule of 1129, which had been influenced by a monastic establishment with little experience of practical crusading, soon proved inadequate for such an expanding organization. New sections, written in French, were added, first in the 1160s, when 202 clauses definted the hierarchy of the Order and laid down its military functions and then, within the next twenty years, a futher 107 clauses on the discipline of the convent and 158 clauses on the holding of chapters and the penance system. Between 1257 and 1267, 113 clauses set out case histories which could be used as precedents in the administration of penances'. The existence of a version of the Rule in Catalan, dating from after 1268, shows that efforts were made to ensure that its contents were widely understood within the Order. Although the Order never underwent a thorough internal reform, these developments indicate that the Templars were not oblivious to the need to maintain standards. 
The Templar Order's administration was structured hierarchically. The Grand Master was based at the Order's headquarters in the Holy Land, along with the other major officers, each of whom had their own staff. The Seneschal was the Grand Master's deputy; in ceremonies he carried the famed beauseant, the Templars' black-and-white banner. Like the Grand Master, the Seneschal had his own staff and horses. The Marshal was the chief military officer, responsible for the individual commanders and the horses, arms, equipment and anything else involving military operations. He also had authority in obtaining and ordering supplies, which was critically important at the time of the Crusades. The Commander of the Kingdom of Jerusalem was the treasurer of the Order and was in charge of the strong room. He shared power with the Grand Master in a way that prevented either from having too much control over funds. The Draper issued clothes and bed linen and could distribute gifts made to the order. He was not only keeper of the famed white mantles but also ensured that every brother was dressed appropriately. These four, along with the Grand Master, were the major officers of the Order, although there seems to have been some local variation where needed. Under these main officers were other Templar commanders with specific regional responsibilities, such as the commanders of the cities of Jerusalem. Daily administration of the Order's regional houses was governed by various officials called bailies, and the officer in charge was called the baili. So, the Templar Order consisted of members in a variety of positions performing many different functions. It even hired some assistants from outside the Order, and, contrary to popular belief, only a minority of members were actually full-fledged Knights. 
Demolay1bThe loss of Acre in 1291 and the Mamluk conquest of Palestine and Syria have often been seen as a turning-point in Templar history, for the Order was apparently left without a specific role in a society still profoundly imbued with the idea of its own organic unity. Indeed, the failure of the military orders to prevent the advance of Islam had attracted criticism since at least the 1230s with the loss of the Christian hold on the mainland, opponents were provided with a specific focus for their attacks. The more constructive of these critics advocated a union of the Temple and the Hospital as the first step in a thorough reassessment of their activities, although the Orders themselves showed little enthusiasm for such schemes. There was, however, no suggestion that either order be abolished. In fact, the Templars continued to pursue the holy war with some vigor from their based in Cyprus for they did not see the events of 1291 as inevitably presaging the decine of crusading. The attack on them by Philippe IV, King of France, in October 1307, ostensibly on the grounds of "vehement suspicion" of heresy and blasphemy, therefore owes more to the potent combination of a king afflicted by a morbid religiosity on the one hand and an administration in severe financial trouble on the other, than it does to any failings of the Templars. In fact, the Templars (unlike the Hospitallers) had never previously been accused of heresy. In the end, neither the limited intervention by Pope Clement V nor an energetic defense by some Templars, could save the Order, which was suppressed by the papal bull Vox in excelso in 1312. Its goods and properties were then transferred over to the Hospitallers. Although the Order itself was suppressed, many of the knights fled and went underground, or joined other Orders. Their extraordinary legacy and memory still live on today, nearly nine centuries later.

Key Medieval Templar Order Events

1118-9 Official beginnings and emergence of the Order of the Temple; nine knights, led by Hugh de Payns, the first Templar Grand Master, present themselves to King Baldwin II in Jerusalem
1119-28 First nine knights remain in the Holy Land
1128 By this time, the early Templars return from the Holy Land; beginning of the Order's unprecedented rise and influence
1129 Jan Council of Troyes; Rule of the Templar Order established
1130 Bernard of Clairvaux completes In Praise of the New Knighthood
1139 Templar Castles in the Holy Land completed Baghras, Darbask, Destroit, La Roche, de Roussel, Port Bonnet
1149-50 Gaza granted to the Templars
1153 Death of Bernard of Clairvaux
mid-1160s Hierarchical statutes added to the Templar Rule
late-1160s Statutes on daily monastic life, chapter meetings, and penances added to Rule
1191 Templar headquarters in the Latin East moved to Acre
1191-2 Templars occupy Cyprus
1217-21 Building of Atlit (Pilgrims' Castle), a major Templar fortress in the Holy Land
1257-67 Additional penances added to the Templar Rule
1291 Aug Acre falls to the Mamluks; Templars evacuate Atlit and Tortesa
1307 Oct 13 Dawn raid and arrests of the Templars in France
1307 Oct 27 Pope orders all Christian kings to arrest the Templars
1308 Templars questioned and imprisoned in various areas
1309 Aug Papal commission begins in France
1310 Templar trial procedures begin
1311 Council of Vienne; Templar Order formally dissolved by Pope's first bull, Vox in excelso, but charges against the order are "not proven"
1312 Pope's second bull, Ad providam,transfers Templar property to the Hospitaller Order
1314 Mar Last Templar Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, and Preceptor of Normandy, Geoffroi de Charney, burned at the stake
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Welcome - to the Knights Templar in England and Wales
 
The medieval Knights Templar were warriors, diplomats, bankers, builders, farmers, engineers, monks, protectors of pilgrims and more.
If you are looking for information to sort the fact from the fiction in the history of the Knights Templar, or to contact others who share your interest in this most fascinating of organisations, or even should you wish to commit yourself to being part of the modern Templar community, then this website will be of interest to you.
This is the official website of the Grand Priory of Knights Templar in England and Wales - Order of the Temple of Jerusalem.
We are a chivalric and interdenominational association of Christians; men and women, clergy and lay, from all walks of life.  We take our inspiration from the highest ideals of the medieval Order of Knights Templar, founded by Hugh de Payens in 1119.Description: F:\My Web Sites\Templar\www.knight-templar.org.uk\images\grandprior.jpg
The international umbrella organisation to which our Grand Priory belongs - OSMTH: Knights Templar International - is recognised as a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.  This is on account of its activities in providing humanitarian relief and promoting inter-faith dialogue. This is achieved both by raising much needed funds and also by putting the volunteer efforts and expertise of its members at the disposal of good causes around the world.
Alongside a full programme of events, both national and local, we take a particular interest in raising charitable funds to support and develop pilgrimage and heritage projects.

Please explore this site and – if you require more information – please feel free to use the contact facilities to get in touch with us.
Godfrey Fowler - Grand Prior

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The Grand Priory of Knights Templar in England and Wales

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Is a chivalric and interdenominational association of Christians; men and women, clergy and lay, from all walks of life.
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Takes its inspiration from the highest ideals of the medieval Order of Knights Templar, as founded by Hugh de Payens in 1119.
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Belongs to the international umbrella organisation - OSMTH: Knights Templar International, which is recognised as a Non Governmental Organisation in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
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Directly supports two charitable trusts: the Templar Heritage Trust (THT), which currently operates under the umbrella of the Charities Aid Foundation; and the Templar Pilgrimage Trust (TPT), which is separately registered.
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Has members throughout the world.
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Membership is open to professed Christians, over the age of eighteen, who are prepared to commit themselves to the traditions of the monastic rules of life contained in the "Rule of the Templars", and "In Praise of the New Knighthood", both prepared for the medieval order under the guidance of St Bernard Clairvaux.

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© The Grand Priory of Knights Templar in England and Wales


"Non nobis, Domine, non nobis,
sed nomini Tuo da gloriam..."

Click on The Eight Pointed Cross for the home page
Inaugurated at Balgonie Castle, Fife
Saturday 9th May 2009
Grand Prior: HSE Chevalier George Stewart KGCTpl FSA Scot
Adventor Ad Regiones Europae
It is three years since 7 knights formed The Commandery of Jacques de Molay1314. We have used this time wisely and we are pleased to report that the Commandery has now well exceeded the numerical, structural and spiritual requirements for the establishment of a Grand Priory. Accordingly, The Autonomous Grand Priory of Scotland was inaugurated at Balgonie Castle, Fife on 9th May 2009. Our Commander, Chevalier George Stewart KGCTpl was democratically elected to serve as Grand Prior for a period of five years. This event is very significant and bodes well for Templarism in Scotland.
New Preceptory: St Bernard of Clairvaux

A New Preceptory named after St Bernard of Clairvaux was inaugurated on 20th February 2009 at Hamilton Old Parish Church. Chev Robert Hunter KCTpl has been appointed Preceptor. This Preceptory meets every month with the exception of July and August.

The Commandery of Jacques de Molay 1314 also meets every month with the exception of July and August at Hamilton Old Parish Church, Hamilton, Scotland.

We are fortunate to have an excellent meeting venue at Hamilton Old Parish Church. The Autonomous Grand Priory of Scotland, Scottish Knights Templar, wish to record our grateful thanks for the use of The Session Room. The Reverend John M. A. Thomson T.D., J.P., B.D., ThM. and The Kirk Session of Hamilton Old Parish Church have made our Templars feel most welcome.

Activities
On Saturday 15th May a team from the Grand Priory gave a talk and took part in an hour long question and answer session on the Knights Templar at Paisley Abbey's Medieval Fair as part of Cluny 2010. More details to come.

In June 2010 Chev Ian Morrison gave a talk to Members on the Holy Land.

Chevaliers and Squires of the Autonomous Grand Priory and the Knights' Altar


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