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TemplarknightIB
Knights Templar
Historical information
Established

c. 1119[1]

Date of collapse(s)

1312[1]

Founder(s)
Organizational information
Size

15,000–20,000 members at peak,[2] 10% of whom were knights.[3]

Type

Western Christian military orders[3]

Headquarters

Temple Mount, Jerusalem[2]

Other information
Attire

White mantle with a red cross[1]

Patron

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux[3]

Political and chronological information
Principal Crusade(s)
Affiliations

Papacy[3]

"On the exterior, steel, not gold, is their security—since they are to strike fear in the enemy, not provoke his avariciousness. They need to have horses that are swift and strong, not pompous and decorated. Their purpose is fighting, not parades. They seek victory, not glory. They would rather strike terror than impress…"
―St. Bernard of Clairvaux, 1135[src]

The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, more commonly known as the Knights Templar, Templar Knights, and the Order of the Temple, were among the most famous of the Western Christian military orders. The organization existed for approximately two centuries in the Middle Ages, from c. 1119 to 1312, and participated in various Crusades and battles. It was founded in the aftermath of the First Crusade of 1096 to ensure the safety of the many Europeans who chose to make the pilgrimage to the city of Jerusalem after its conquest by Crusader forces.

Officially endorsed by the Roman Catholic Church in the year 1129, the Templars became a favored charity across Europe and grew rapidly in membership and power. Templar Knights, in their distinctive white mantles each with a red crosses adoring them, were among the best fighting units of the Crusades. The Templars were also known to have built many fortifications across Europe and the Holy Land.

The Templars' success was tied closely to the Crusades; when the Crusaders suffered defeat and lost the Holy Land, support for the Order faded. Rumors about the Templars' secret initiation ceremony created mistrust, and King Philip IV of France, deeply in debt to the Order, began pressuring Pope Clement V to take action. In 1307, Pope Clement V condemned the Order's members, having them arrested, tortured into giving false confessions, and burned at the stake. In 1312, Pope Clement V, under continuing pressure from King Philip, disbanded the Knights Templar. The abrupt disappearance of a major part of the European infrastructure gave rise to speculation and legends, which have kept the "Templar" name alive well into the Modern-era.

HistoryEdit

Rise of the TemplarsEdit

After the First Crusade captured Jerusalem in 1099, many European pilgrims traveled to visit what they referred to as the Holy Places. However, though the city of Jerusalem was under relatively secure control, the rest of the Outremer was not. Bandits abounded, and pilgrims were routinely slaughtered, sometimes by the hundreds, as they attempted to make the journey from the coastline at Jaffa into the Holy Land.[2]

Around 1119, two veterans of the First Crusade, the French knight Hugues de Payens and his relative Godfrey de Saint-Omer, proposed the creation of a monastic order for the protection of the pilgrims. King Baldwin II of Jerusalem agreed to their request, and gave them space for a headquarters on the Temple Mount, in the captured Al Aqsa Mosque. The Temple Mount had a mystique, because it was above what was believed to be the ruins of the Temple of Solomon—it also housed the room which served as the prison for Jesus before his execution.[5][3] The Crusaders therefore referred to the Al Aqsa Mosque as Solomon's Temple, and it was from this location that the Order took the name of Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon, or "Templar" knights. The Order, with about nine knights, had few financial resources and relied on donations to survive. Their emblem was of two knights riding on a single horse, emphasizing the Order's poverty.[1]

The Templars' impoverished status did not last long. They had a powerful advocate in Bernard of Clairvaux, a leading Church figure and a nephew of one of the founding knights. He spoke and wrote persuasively on their behalf, and in 1129 at the Council of Troyes, the Order was officially endorsed by the Church. With this formal blessing, the Templars became a favored charity across Europe, receiving money, land, businesses, and noble-born sons from families who were eager to help with the fight in the Holy Land. Another major benefit came in 1139, when Pope Innocent II's papal bull Omne Datum Optimum exempted the Order from obedience to local laws. This ruling meant that the Templars could pass freely through all borders, were not required to pay any taxes, and were exempt from all authority except that of the Pope.[2]

With its clear mission and ample resources, the Order grew rapidly.

Templars were often the advance force in key battles of the Crusades, as the knights on their heavily armed warhorses would set out to gallop full speed at the enemy, in an attempt to break opposition lines. One of their most famous victories was in 1177 during the Battle of Montgisard, where some 500 Templar knights helped to defeat Saladin's army of more than 26,000 soldiers.[6]

Although the primary mission of the Order was military, relatively few members were combatants. The others acted in support positions to assist the knights and to manage the financial infrastructure. The Templar Order, though its members were sworn to individual poverty, was given control of wealth beyond direct donations.[5] A nobleman who was interested in participating in the Crusades might place all his assets under Templar management while he was away. Accumulating wealth in this manner across Europe and the Outremer, the Order in 1150 began generating letters of credit for pilgrims journeying to the Holy Land: pilgrims deposited their valuables with a local Templar preceptory before embarking, received an encrypted document indicating the value of their deposit, then used that document upon arrival in the Holy Land to retrieve their funds. This innovative arrangement may have been the first formal system to support the use of cheques; it improved the safety of pilgrims by making them less attractive targets for thieves, and also contributed to the Templar coffers.[7]

Based on this mix of donations and business dealing, the Templars established financial networks across the whole of Christendom. They acquired large tracts of land, both in Europe and the Middle East; they bought and managed farms and vineyards; they built churches and castles; they were involved in manufacturing, import and export; they had their own fleet of ships; and at one point they even owned the entire island of Cyprus. The Templars arguably qualify as the world's first multinational corporation.[6]

The Second CrusadeEdit

The Ayyubid-Crusader WarEdit

The Third CrusadeEdit

The Fourth CrusadeEdit

The Albigensian CrusadeEdit

The Fifth CrusadeEdit

The Sixth CrusadeEdit

The Seventh CrusadeEdit

The Eighth CrusadeEdit

The Ninth CrusadeEdit

Decline and fallEdit

In the mid-1100s, the tide began to turn in the Crusades. The Muslim world had become united under effective leaders such as Saladin, and dissension arose among Christian factions in and concerning the Holy Land. The Knights Templar were occasionally at odds with two other Christian orders, the Knights Hospitaller and the Teutonic Knights, and decades of internecine feuds weakened Christian positions, politically and militarily. After the Templars were involved in several unsuccessful campaigns, including the pivotal Battle of the Horns of Hattin, Jerusalem was captured by Saladin's forces in 1187. The Crusaders retook the city in 1229, although without Templar aid, but held it only briefly. In 1244, the Khwarezmi Turks recaptured Jerusalem, and the city did not return to Christian control until 1917 when the British captured it from the Ottoman Turks.[7]

The Templars were forced to relocate their headquarters to other cities in the north, such as the seaport of Acre, which they held for the next century. But they lost that too in 1291, followed by their last mainland strongholds, Tortosa (in what is now Syria), and Atlit. Their headquarters moved to Limassol, Cyprus, and a garrison on tiny Arwad Island, just off the coast from Tortosa.[7] In 1300, there was some attempt to engage in coordinated military efforts with the Mongols[8] via a new invasion force at Arwad. In September 1302, however, the Templars were defeated by a Mamluk fleet in the Siege of Arwad, losing their last foothold in the Holy Land.[6][9]

With the Order's military mission now less important, European support for the organization began to dwindle. The situation was complex—over the two hundred years of their existence, the Templars had become a part of European daily life.[10] The organization's Templar Houses, hundreds of which were dotted around Europe, gave them a widespread presence at the local level.[11] The Templars still managed many businesses, and many Europeans had daily contact with the Templar network, for instance working at a Templar farm or vineyard, or using the Order as a bank in which to store personal valuables. The Order continued to not be subject to local government, making it everywhere a "state within a state." It also had a standing army that could pass freely through all borders, but that no longer had a well-defined mission. This situation heightened tensions with some European nobility, especially as the Templars were indicating an interest in founding their own monastic state, just as the Teutonic Knights had done in Prussia,[7] and the Knights Hospitaller were doing with Rhodes.[12]

Heresy, arrests, and dissolutionEdit

In 1305, the new Pope Clement V, based in France, sent letters to both the Templar Grand Master Jacques de Molay and the Hospitaller Grand Master Fulk de Villaret to discuss the possibility of merging the two Orders. Neither was amenable to the idea but Pope Clement persisted, and in 1306 he invited both Grand Masters to France to discuss the matter. De Molay arrived first in early 1307, but de Villaret was delayed for several months. While waiting, De Molay and Clement discussed charges that had been made two years prior by an ousted Templar. It was generally agreed that the charges were false but Clement sent King Philip IV of France a written request for assistance in the investigation. King Philip was already deeply in debt to the Templars from his war with the English and decided to seize upon the rumors for his own purposes. He began pressuring the Church to take action against the Order, as a way of freeing himself from his debts.[13]

On Friday October 13, 1307 (a date incorrectly linked with the origin of the Friday the 13th superstition),[14][15] Philip ordered de Molay and scores of other French Templars to be simultaneously arrested. The Templars were charged with numerous heresies and tortured to extract false confessions of blasphemy. The confessions, despite having been obtained under duress, caused a scandal in Paris. After more bullying from Philip, Pope Clement then issued the bull Pastoralis Praeeminentiae on November 22, 1307, which instructed all Christian monarchs in Europe to arrest all Templars and seize their assets.[7]

Pope Clement called for papal hearings to determine the Templars' guilt or innocence, and once freed of the Inquisitors' torture, many Templars recanted their confessions. Some had sufficient legal experience to defend themselves in the trials, but in 1310 Philip blocked this attempt, using the previously forced confessions to have dozens of Templars burned at the stake in Paris.[7][16]

With Philip threatening military action unless the Pope complied with his wishes, Pope Clement finally agreed to disband the Order, citing the public scandal that had been generated by the confessions. At the Council of Vienne in 1312, he issued a series of papal bulls, including Vox in excelso, which officially dissolved the Order, and Ad providam, which turned over most Templar assets to the Hospitallers.[7]

As for the leaders of the Order, the elderly Grand Master Jacques de Molay, who had confessed under torture, retracted his statement. His associate Geoffrey de Charney, Preceptor of Normandy, followed de Molay's example, and insisted on his innocence. Both men were declared guilty of being relapsed heretics, and they were sentenced to burn alive at the stake in Paris on March 18, 1314. De Molay reportedly remained defiant to the end, asking to be tied in such a way that he could face the Notre Dame cathedral, and hold his hands together in prayer.[7] According to legend, he called out from the flames that both Pope Clement and King Philip would soon meet him before God. Pope Clement died only a month later, and King Philip died in a hunting accident before the end of the year.[7]

With the last of the Order's leaders gone, the remaining Templars around Europe were either arrested and tried under the Papal investigation (with virtually none convicted), absorbed into other military orders such as the Knights Hospitaller, or pensioned and allowed to live out their days peacefully. Some may have fled to other territories outside Papal control, such as excommunicated Scotland or to Switzerland. Templar organizations in Portugal simply changed their name, from Knights Templar to Knights of Christ.[7]

In 2001, a document known as the "Chinon Parchment" was found in the Vatican Secret Archives, apparently after having been filed in the wrong place in 1628. It is a record of the trial of the Templars, and shows that Clement initially absolved the Templars of all heresies in 1308, before formally disbanding the Order in 1312.[17][18] In October 2007, the Scrinium publishing house, which publishes documents for the Vatican, published secret documents about the trial of the Knights Templar, including the Chinon Parchment.[18]

It is currently the Roman Catholic Church's position that the medieval persecution of the Knights Templar was unjust; that there was nothing inherently wrong with the Order or its Rule; and that Pope Clement was pressured into his actions by the magnitude of the public scandal and the dominating influence of King Philip IV.[19]

OrganizationEdit

The Templar code and traditionsEdit

The Templars were organized as a monastic order, similar to Bernard's Cistercian Order, which was considered the first effective international organization in Europe.[20] The organizational structure had a strong chain of authority. Each country with a major Templar presence (France, England, Aragon, Portugal, Poitou, Apulia, Jerusalem, Tripoli, Antioch, Anjou, and Hungary[21]) had a Master of the Order for the Templars in that region. All of them were subject to the Grand Master (always a French knight), appointed for life, who oversaw both the Order's military efforts in the East and their financial holdings in the West. No precise numbers exist, but it is estimated that at the Order's peak there were between 15,000 and 20,000 Templars, of whom about a tenth were actual knights.[22][11]

It was Bernard de Clairvaux and founder Hugues de Payens who devised the specific code of behavior for the Templar Order, known to modern historians as the Latin Rule. Its 72 clauses defined the ideal behavior for the Knights, such as the types of robes they were to wear and how many horses they could have. Knights were to take their meals in silence, eat meat no more than three times per week, and were not to have physical contact of any kind with women, even members of their own family. A Master of the Order was assigned "4 horses, and one chaplain-brother and one clerk with three horses, and one sergeant brother with two horses, and one gentleman valet to carry his shield and lance, with one horse."[23] As the Order grew, more guidelines were added, and the original list of 72 clauses expanded to several hundred in its final form.[2][7]

Initiation, known as Reception (receptio) into the Order, was a profound commitment and involved a solemn ceremony. Outsiders were discouraged from attending the ceremony, which aroused the suspicions of medieval inquisitors during the later trials.[7]

New members had to willingly sign over all of their wealth and goods to the Order and take vows of poverty, chastity, piety, and obedience.[24] Most brothers joined for life, although some were allowed to join for a set period. Sometimes a married man was allowed to join if he had his wife's permission,[2] but he was not allowed to wear the white mantle.[3]

Attire and public appearancesEdit

There was a threefold division of the ranks of the Templars: the aristocratic knights, the lower-born sergeants, and the clergy. Knights were required to be of knightly descent, and to wear white mantles. They were equipped as heavy cavalry, with three or four horses, and one or two squires. Squires were generally not members of the Order, but were instead outsiders who were hired for a set period of time. Beneath the knights in the Order and drawn from lower social strata were the sergeants.[25] They were either equipped as light cavalry with a single horse,[7] or served in other ways such as administering the property of the Order or performing menial tasks and trades. Chaplains, constituting a third Templar class, were ordained priests who saw to the Templars' spiritual needs.[26]

The knights wore white robes with a red cross, and a white mantle;[3] the sergeants wore a black tunic with a red cross on front and back, and a black or brown mantle.[2] The white mantle was assigned to the Templars at the Council of Troyes in 1129,[7] and the cross was most probably added to their robes at the launch of the Second Crusade in 1147, when Pope Eugenius III, King Louis VII of France, and many other notables attended a meeting of the French Templars at their headquarters near Paris.[27][2]

The red cross that the Templars wore on their robes was a symbol of martyrdom, and to die in combat was considered a great honor that assured a place in heaven.[28] There was a cardinal rule that the warriors of the Order should never surrender unless the Templar flag had fallen, and even then they were first to try and regroup with another of the Christian orders, such as that of the Hospitallers. Only after all flags had fallen were they allowed to leave the battlefield.[29] This uncompromising principle, along with their reputation for courage, their excellent training, and their heavy armament, made the Templars one of the most feared combat forces in medieval times.[30]

Grand MastersEdit

Starting with founder Hugues de Payens in 1118–1119, the Order's highest office was that of Grand Master, a position which was held for life, though considering the martial nature of the Order, this could mean a very short tenure. All but two of the Grand Masters died in office, and several died during military campaigns. For example, during the Siege of Ascalon in 1153, Grand Master Bernard de Tremelay led a group of 40 Templars through a breach in the city walls. When the rest of the Crusader army did not follow, the Templars, including their Grand Master, were surrounded and beheaded.[31] Grand Master Gérard de Ridefort was beheaded by Saladin in 1189 at the Siege of Acre.

The Grand Master oversaw all of the operations of the Order, including both the military operations in the Holy Land and Eastern Europe, and the Templars' financial and business dealings in Western Europe. Some Grand Masters also served as battlefield commanders, though this was not always wise: several blunders in de Ridefort's combat leadership contributed to the devastating defeat at the Battle of Hattin. The last Grand Master was Jacques de Molay, burned at the stake in Paris in 1314 by order of King Philip IV.

The Templars as warriorsEdit

The Knights Templar were the elite fighting force of their day, highly trained, well-equipped and highly motivated; one of the tenets of their religious order was that they were forbidden from retreating in battle. However, not all of them were warriors. The mission of most of the members was one of support - to acquire resources which could be used to fund and equip the small percentage of members who were fighting on the front lines. Because of this infrastructure, the warriors were well-trained and very well-armed. Even their horses were trained to fight in combat, kicking or biting the enemies. The combination of soldier and monk was also a powerful one, as to the Templar knights, martyrdom in battle was one of the most glorious ways to die. Their code required them to stay on in battle almost to the point of recklessness, and they were forbidden to retreat unless outnumbered by 3-to-1, and even then only by order of their commander, or if the Templar flag went down.

The Templars were also shrewd tacticians, following the dream of Saint Bernard who had declared that a small force, under the right conditions, could defeat a much larger enemy. One of the key battles in which this was demonstrated was in 1177, at the Battle of Montgisard. The famous Muslim military leader Saladin was attempting to push toward Jerusalem from the south, with a force of 26,000 soldiers. He had pinned the forces of Jerusalem's King Baldwin IV, about 500 knights and their supporters, near the coast, at Ascalon. Eighty Templar knights and their own entourage attempted to reinforce. They met Saladin's troops at Gaza, but were considered too small a force to be worth fighting, so Saladin turned his back on them and headed with his army towards Jerusalem.

Once Saladin and his army had moved on, the Templars were able to join King Baldwin's forces, and together they proceeded north along the coast. Saladin had made a key mistake at that point -- instead of keeping his forces together, he permitted his army to temporarily spread out and pillage various villages on their way to Jerusalem. The Templars took advantage of this low state of readiness to launch a surprise ambush directly against Saladin and his bodyguard, at Montgisard near Ramla. Saladin's army was spread too thin to adequately defend themselves, and he and his forces were forced to fight a losing battle as they retreated back to the south, ending up with only a tenth of their original number. The battle was not the final one with Saladin, but it bought a year of peace for the Kingdom of Jerusalem, and the victory became a heroic legend.

Another key tactic of the Templars was that of the Squadron charge. A small group of knights and their heavily-armed warhorses would gather into a tight unit which would gallop full speed at the enemy lines, with a determination and force of will that made it clear that they would rather commit suicide than fall back. This terrifying onslaught would frequently have the desired result of breaking a hole in the enemy lines, thereby giving the other Crusader forces an advantage.[32]

The Templars, though relatively small in number, routinely joined other armies in key battles. They would be the force that would ram through the enemy's front lines at the beginning of a battle, or the fighters that would protect the army from the rear. They fought alongside King Louis VII of France, and King Richard I of England. In addition to battles in Palestine, members of the Order also fought in the Spanish and Portuguese Reconquista.

The Templars as bankersEdit

Though initially an Order of impoverished monks, the official papal sanction made the Knights Templar a favored charity across Europe. Further resources came in when members joined the Order, as they had to take oaths of poverty, and therefore often donated large amounts of their original cash or property to the Order. Additional revenue came from business dealings. Since the monks themselves were sworn to poverty, but had the strength of a large and trusted international infrastructure behind them, nobles would occasionally use them as a kind of bank or power of attorney. If a noble wished to join the Crusades, this might entail an absence of years from their home. So some nobles would place all of their wealth and businesses under the control of Templars, to safeguard it for them until their return. The Order's financial power became substantial, and the majority of the Order's infrastructure was devoted not to combat, but to economic pursuits. By 1150, the Order's original mission of guarding pilgrims had changed into a mission of guarding their valuables through an innovative way of issuing letters of credit, an early precursor of modern banking. Pilgrims would visit a Templar house in their home country, depositing their deeds and valuables. The Templars would then give them an encrypted letter which would describe their holdings. While traveling, the pilgrims could present the letter to other Templars along the way, to "withdraw" funds from their account. This kept the pilgrims safe since they were not carrying valuables, and further increased the power of the Templars.

The Knights' involvement in banking grew over time into a new basis for money, as Templars became increasingly involved in banking activities. One indication of their powerful political connections is that the Templars' involvement in usury did not lead to more controversy within the Order and the church at large. Officially the idea of lending money in return for interest was forbidden by the church, but the Order sidestepped this with clever loopholes, such as a stipulation that the Templars retained the rights to the production of mortgaged property. Or as one Templar researcher put it, "Since they weren't allowed to charge interest, they charged rent instead."[5]

Though impressive, their holdings were necessary to support their campaigns; in 1180, a Burgundian noble required 3 square kilometres of estate to support himself as a knight, and by 1260 this had risen to 15.6 km². The Order potentially supported up to 4,000 horses and pack animals at any given time, if provisions of the rule were followed; these horses had extremely high maintenance costs due to the heat in Outremer, and had high mortality rates due to both disease and the Turkish bowmen strategy of aiming at a knight's horse rather than the knight himself. In addition, the high mortality rates of the knights in the East (regularly ninety percent in battle, not including wounded) resulted in extremely high campaign costs due to the need to recruit and train more knights. In 1244, at the battle of La Forbie, where only thirty-three of 300 knights survived, it is estimated the financial loss was equivalent to one-ninth of the entire Capetian yearly revenue.Template:Fact

The Templars' political connections and awareness of the essentially urban and commercial nature of the Outremer communities naturally led the Order to a position of significant power, both in Europe and the Holy Land. They owned large tracts of land both in Europe and the Middle East, built churches and castles, bought farms and vineyards, were involved in manufacturing and import/export, had their own fleet of ships, and for a time even owned the entire island of Cyprus. The Knights Templar were truly part of the fabric of everyday society in Europe for nearly 200 years.

LegacyEdit

Template:Seealso With their military mission and extensive financial resources, the Knights Templar funded a large number of building projects around Europe and the Holy Land. Many of these structures are still standing. Many sites also maintain the name "Temple" due to centuries-old association with the Templars.[7] For example, some of the Templars' lands in London were later rented to lawyers, which led to the names of the Temple Bar gateway and the Temple tube station. Two of the four Inns of Court which may call members to act as barristers are the Inner Temple and Middle Temple.

Distinctive architectural elements of Templar buildings include the use of the image of "two knights on a single horse", representing the Knights' poverty, and round buildings designed to resemble the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.

Modern Templar organizationsEdit

By papal decree, the property of the Templars was transferred to the Order of Hospitallers, which also absorbed many of the Templars' members. In effect, the dissolution of the Templars could be seen as the merger of the two rival orders.[33]

The story of the secretive yet powerful medieval Templars, especially their persecution and sudden dissolution, has been a tempting source for many other groups which use alleged connections with the Templars as a way of enhancing their own image and mystery. For instance, since at least the 1700s the York Rite has incorporated some Templar symbols and rituals,[5] and have a modern degree called "the Order of the Temple". The Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem, founded in 1804, has achieved United Nations NGO status as a charitable organization.[34]

Though there is no clear historical link between the Knights Templar, which were dismantled in the 1300s, and any of these other organizations, which only emerged in the 1700s, there is often public confusion and many overlook the 400-year gap.

Legends and relicsEdit

The Knights Templar have become associated with legends concerning secrets and mysteries handed down to the select from ancient times. Rumors circulated even during the time of the Templars themselves. Freemasonic writers added their own speculations in the 19th century, and further fictional embellishments have been added in modern movies such as Tombs of the Blind Dead, National Treasure, and Kingdom of Heaven,[5] best-selling novels such as Ivanhoe and The Da Vinci Code,[5] and video games like Hellgate: London[5] and Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars.[35]

Many of the Templar legends are connected with the Order's early occupation of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and speculation about what relics the Templars may have found there,[5] such as the Holy Grail[7] or the Ark of the Covenant.[30] That the Templars were in possession of some relics is certain. Many churches still display relics such as the bones of a saint, a scrap of cloth once worn by a holy man, or the skull of a martyr: the Templars did the same. They were documented as having a piece of the True Cross, which the Bishop of Acre carried into battle at the disastrous Horns of Hattin.[36] When the battle was lost, Saladin captured the relic, which was then ransomed back to the Crusaders when the Muslims surrendered the city of Acre in 1191.[37] They also possessed the head of Saint Euphemia of Chalcedon.[7] The subject of relics also came up during the Inquisition of the Templars, as several trial documents refer to the worship of an idol of some type, referred to in some cases as a cat, a bearded head, or in some cases as Baphomet, according to one theory a French misspelling of the name Mahomet (Muhammad).[5][38]

The supposed idol worship was included in the charges brought against the Templars leading to their arrest in the early fourteenth century.[39] This accusation of idol worship levied against the Templars has also led to the modern belief by some that the Templars practiced witchcraft.[40]

There was particular interest during the Crusader era in the Holy Grail myth, which was quickly associated with the Templars, even in the 12th century. The first Grail romance, the fantasy story Le Conte du Graal, was written in 1180 by Chrétien de Troyes, who came from the same area where the Council of Troyes had officially sanctioned the Templars' Order. In Arthurian legend, the hero of the Grail quest, Sir Galahad (a 13th-century literary invention of monks from St. Bernard's Cistercian Order), was depicted bearing a shield with the cross of Saint George, similar to the Templars' insignia. In a chivalric epic of the period, Parzival, Wolfram von Eschenbach refers to Templars guarding the Grail Kingdom.[7] A legend developed that, since the Templars had their headquarters at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, they must have excavated in search of relics, found the Grail, and then proceeded to keep it in secret and guard it with their lives. However, in the extensive documents of the Templar inquisition there was never a single mention of anything like a Grail relic,[6] let alone its possession by the Templars. In reality, most scholars agree that the story of the Grail was just that, a fiction that began circulating in medieval times.[5][7]

One legendary artifact that does have some connection with the Templars is the Shroud of Turin. In 1357, the shroud was first publicly displayed by the family of the grandson of Geoffrey de Charney, the Templar who had been burned at the stake with Jacques de Molay in 1314. The artifact's origins are still a matter of controversy. In 1988, a carbon dating analysis concluded that the shroud was made between 1260 and 1390, a span that includes the last half-century of the Templars.[41] Disagreement over the proper dating continues.[42]

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 Wasserman, James. An Illustrated History of the Knights Templar. Rochester, Vermont: Destiny Books, 2006.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 Burman, Edward. Templars: Knights Of God. Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions, 1990.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 Barber, Malcolm. The New Knighthood: A History of the Order of the Temple. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.
  4. Tyerman, Christopher. God's War: A New History Of The Crusades. London: Penguin Books, 2007.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 5.9 The History Channel, Decoding the Past: The Templar Code, November 7 2005, video documentary written by Marcy Marzuni.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 The History Channel, Lost Worlds: Knights Templar, July 10 2006, video documentary written and directed by Stuart Elliott.
  7. 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 7.11 7.12 7.13 7.14 7.15 7.16 7.17 7.18 Martin, Steve. The Knights Templar: The History & Myths of the Legendary Military Order. New York: Thunder's Mouth Press, 2004.
  8. Demurger, p.139 "During four years, Jacques de Molay and his order were totally committed, with other Christian forces of Cyprus and Armenia, to an enterprise of reconquest of the Holy Land, in liaison with the offensives of Ghazan, the Mongol Khan of Persia.
  9. Nicholson, p. 201. "The Templars retained a base on Arwad island (also known as Ruad island, formerly Arados) off Tortosa (Tartus) until October 1302 or 1303, when the island was recaptured by the Mamluks."
  10. Nicholson, p. 5
  11. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named quantity
  12. Nicholson, p. 237
  13. Barber, Trial of the Templars, 2nd ed. "Recent Historiography on the Dissolution of the Temple." In the second edition of his book, Barber summarizes the views of many different historians, with an overview of the modern debate on Philip's precise motives.
  14. Template:Cite web
  15. Template:Cite web
  16. Barber, Trial, p. 3.
  17. http://video.aol.com/video/knights-in-the-clear/2000137
  18. 18.0 18.1 Template:Cite news
  19. Template:Cite journal
  20. Burman, p. 28.
  21. Barber, Trial, p. 10.
  22. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named burman-45
  23. Burman, p. 43.
  24. Newman, Sharan. The Real History Behind the Templars. California: Berkeley Publishing, 2007.
  25. Barber, p. 190
  26. Template:1913CE
  27. According to Barber in The New Knighthood on page 66: "According to William of Tyre it was under Eugenius III that the Templars received the right to wear the characteristic red cross upon their tunics, symbolising their willingness to suffer martyrdom in the defence of the Holy Land."
  28. Nicholson, p. 141
  29. Barber, p. 193
  30. 30.0 30.1 Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince, The Templar Revelation, 1997, ISBN 0-684-84891-0.
  31. Read, p. 137.
  32. Knights Templar: Protectors of the Holy Grail, video documentary on the National Geographic Channel, February 22, 2006, written by Jesse Evans
  33. Template:Cite web
  34. Template:Cite web
  35. Interview with Charles Cecil, creator of Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars, from computerandvideogames.com.
  36. Read, p. 91.
  37. Read, p. 171.
  38. Barber, Trial of the Templars, p. 62.
  39. Evelyn Lord, The Knights Templar in Britain, Pearson Education Limited, 2002. ISBN - 0-582-47287-3, p. 188.
  40. Frank Sanello, The Knights Templars: God's Warriors, the Devil's Bankers, Taylor Trade Publishing, 2003. ISBN - 0-87833-302-9, p. 207-208.
  41. "Science and the Shroud: Microbiology meets archeology in a renewed quest for answers", The Mission, Spring 1996. Retrieved on 2007-04-01
  42. Raymond N. Rogers, "Studies on the Radiocarbon Sample from the Shroud of Turin", Thermochimica Acta 425 (2005). Steven D. Schafersman, "A Skeptical Response to 'Studies on the Radiocarbon Sample from the Shroud of Turin'...", Skeptic World Site, February 22, 2005. Both retrieved on 2007-12-20

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