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Knights Templar - Order of Solomon's Temple

Knights Templar cross

The Templars, also known as the Order of Solomon's Temple or the Knights Templar, is one of the first and most mysterious organization of religious and military chivalry in history. Founded in the early twelfth century by Bernard of Clairvaux shortly after the first crusade on Holy Land and officially recognized in January 1129 by the Council of Troyes, the Templars gave themselves the mission to defend Jerusalem against Muslim invasions and presented themselves as The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon. Young noble knights wishing to join the ranks of the Knights Templar had to make solemn vows of obedience and chastity and had to donate all their goods to the Order.

Disturbing supremacy

Croisade des Templiers à Jérusalem

The Order of Solomon's Temple, which in its early years only counted nine knights to escort European pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem, has become in just a few decades one of the greatest powerhouses in the european world. At its peak, the influence of the Knights Templar is felt from one end of the continent to the other and their wealth is such that they build many fortresses and monasteries. Exonerated from taxes and accountable only to the highest religious authorities, the Knights Templar are free to collect taxes and royalties. From Commanderies and Temple Houses, the Templars rule the whole of Europe and the acquired economic influence began to disturb. They became a source of liquidity for pilgrims as well as for large states like France, whose national treasury they managed. It is Philip the Fair, greatly indebted sovereign, who will cause the dissolution of the Order of Solomon's Temple at the beginning of the fourteenth century.

Templar's commandery Arville
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Jacques de Molay Templar

Baleful Dissolution

The story of the Knights Templar ends on Friday September 13 1307 when King Philip the Fair orchestrates a real setup to dissolve the Order. He secretly convenes all Commanderies, immediately put behind bars. Tortured relentlessly, the Knights Templar are forced to admit spurious mistakes like sodomy and veneration of Baphomet and are condemned with heresy. While Philip the Fair has all properties of the Order of Solomon's Temple seized, many knights succumb to the martyrs while others are tried in court before being burned at the stake for disavowing their confessions. Jacques de Molay and Geoffroy de Charnay, two illustrious figures of the Knights Templar, were burned alive at the Cathedral of Île aux Juifs, now called Île des Templiers, in March 1314 after lengthy and unfair judicial proceedings. Only a few Knights Templar manage to escape the sordid humbug and find sanctuary in Rosslyn Scotland and Portugal where they found the Order of Christ.

The legend of the Templars

Legend of the Knights Templar

A few years after the death of the last known members of the Order of Solomon's Temple, many legends began to circulate about these mythical knights. Thus, it is said that the Knights Templar had filiations with Freemasonry and that they would've conducted a relentless quest to find the Holy Grail. Templar's crossThe treasure of the Knights Templar, which contained in addition to a huge fortune several secret archives, never fell into the hands of Philip the Fair and it is possible that it is still in a crypt hidden somewhere around Mount Moriah or that it is the famous loot that made Abbé Saunière and Rennes-le-Château so famous.

The reasons that led to the annihilation of the Knights Templar are enigmatic and many questions remained unresolved. Among hypotheses put forward to explain its disintegration, the Templars would have held a deadly secret for the monarchies of Europe and the power of the clergy.

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