It was described variously as carved of wood or painted on a beam, bearded, covered with silver or gold leaf, or with four legs.
There is no sensible reason for believing the confessions, which were made in response to leading questions and clearly devised to provoke the maximum shock and disgust all over Europe. Many of the knights afterwards denied their confessions, but in May fifty-four Templars were burned at the stake in a field outside Paris, after which many of those still alive in prison hastily announced that their confessions had been true after all. Philip eventually pressured the French pope, Clement V, into closing the Order down in The accusations and confessions surrounded the Templars with an aura of mystery that has lasted ever since.
A tradition grew up that in the Holy Land they had imbibed mysterious arcane wisdom, which was long afterwards transmitted to the Rosicrucians, the odder fringes of Freemasonry and modern occult groups. One current theory is that the head called Baphomet was the embalmed head of Christ and another has the Templars as custodians of the Holy Grail, which came to them ultimately by way of Mary Magdalene and which they eventually hid away in Scotland.
There is still plenty of money to be made out of the Templars. Skip to main content.
10 things you never knew about The Knights Templar
Google Tag Manager. Knights Templar Arrested in France. Under the Spell of the Druids. Who Were The Phoenicians? Around the year , a group of mostly French knights, from the Champagne region, decided to set up a roadside rescue service, a sort of medieval AAA , with the purpose of protecting pilgrims around Jerusalem.
In the decades that followed, they grew from being a pilgrim rescue service to an elite, paramilitary unit in the armies of the Crusades. For the first time in the modern era, scientists open the tomb that many believe to be Jesus Christ's resting place. Read about what they found. Reading your book, I was struck by the number of place names that I see on the news today every night, from Aleppo to Gaza to the Al-Aqsa mosque. Tease out some of the parallels between then and now. When I was writing the book, the fact that we were going back to places like Aleppo, Mosul, or Damascus was a reminder that many of the issues that were alive at the time of the Crusades are still alive today.
On medieval Christian maps, the area around Jerusalem was depicted as the center of the world both geographically and spiritually. In some sense, it still is the center of the world—a trouble spot through which trade routes pass and around which religious disputes have been fought for centuries upon centuries. There is also the idea that the individual member of the organization is disposable but the ideology is what binds the organization together—and a belief that victory can only be counted once the Holy Lands are rid of all but true believers.
The Knights Templar first gathered at the church, which is reputed to contain the tomb of Jesus Christ. As well as being Christian warriors, the Templars eventually controlled a vast financial network that included real estate, banking, and even a prototypical version of Western Union. Take us inside this empire.
These estates were managed in order to maximize revenue and as a result the Templars became both extremely cash and property rich. We know that during the Fifth Crusade, from to , the Pope was using Templars as tax collectors because they had the ability to go around, collect tax, and move it to the Crusades. The Templars were especially close to the kings of France. When Louis IX found himself out of cash during the Seventh Crusade, the Templars were actively involved in provisioning his armies and renting ships to get the crusaders down to Egypt. During the crusade, Louis IX was captured and the Templars weighed in and paid the final installment of his ransom, which they were able to raise in a day from cash held on their ships.
The Templars are often described as bankers, and I use that term as shorthand in the book, but I think a better term today might be to describe them as providing medieval financial services. As well as acting as a crude bank of deposits and withdrawals, they were also subcontracting much of the treasury and tax collection of the French crown and Papacy across many different territories. The wealth of the Templars eventually led to their sudden and brutal downfall under the French king Philip IV.
In , the crusader states were lost, and the Templars were kicked out of the Holy Land and had to retreat to Cyprus.
1) The Templars were the original roadside rescue service
That led to some 15 years of introspection across the Western Christian world. The idea went around the polite circles of Western Europe that perhaps reform of the military orders was in order, including rolling up the Templars and creating a new military order. In , Jacques de Molay , the last Templar master, was summoned back to Europe to discuss plans for a new crusade and to defend the order against the suggestion that the Templars ought to be rolled up.
On Friday 13th , , Philip laid the groundwork for an attack on the Templars to raid their wealth and bolster his position as a Christian reforming king.
The Templars Got Rich Fighting for God—Then Lost It All
He sent agents to every Templar house in France to arrest every member of the Templars they could find and put them in prison. Many were tortured and put on show trials. The process of persecuting the Templars in France and, more widely, across every territory in which they operated, ran between , at which time the Templars were formally abolished by a papal council known as the Council of Vienne.
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