Saturday, 11 June 2005

The Knights Templar

Templar knights

In the early 12th century, nine French knights got together and dedicated themselves to protecting pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem. Because their weapons were stored in a building that was given to them by the monastery which stood on the site of the Temple of Solomon, they were called Templars. Within two-hundred years, the Templars had amassed enormous wealth via their activities and had made enemies in the Church. They styled themselves as the protectors of Christianity, but many accused them of being a law unto themselves.

In 1208 Pope Innocent criticised them heavily. He was later followed by Henry III of England, who even went as far as to threaten them. In the meantime, the French King Phillip, spread rumours that the Templars were plotting to overthrow the Pope. Worse still, a Templar by the name of Squin de Flexian, after being expelled by the Order, accused them of being heretics and put together a long list of charges against them. Trouble was now looming and it was soon after that when Phillip of France issued orders that all Templars should be arrested and tortured. Fifty-four knights were burned alive and four years later, in 1313, the Pope was able to state that the order was officially non-existent.

The Templars were the most powerful religious military order of their time and it was therefore inevitable that a cloud of legend surrounded them, not least because of their connection with the location of the Temple of Solomon. Nowadays there are several orders calling themselves Templars but they really have no connection to them.


Daldianus said...

Seems like the Templars will always remain a mystery?

An order that rose to such power so quickly and then got destroyed so fast ... that's the stuff for legends!

Alterior said...

The stuff for legends and bestsellers apparently too. The holy grail myth has filled the coffers of many...

Daldianus said...

Yeah, though I think that there still are 'mysteries' out there concerning the Templars (and the Church), these books like 'The Da Vinci Code' are 90% crap. And they're badly written too.