What is the Templar’s Legacy
The Order Of The Knights Templar recognized in 1118 was first created by French Knight, Hugues de Payens. Acting on Baldwin’s encouragement, Payens formed ,The Order Of The Poor Fellow Soldiers Of Christ Of the Temple Of Solomon.
During the Crusades several European Kingdoms came together under the banner of the Catholic Church so they could conquer Jerusalem which was under the control of a Muslim Caliphate.
After Christian armies captured Jerusalem from the Caliphate in 1099, Pilgrims from Europe began making trips to Jerusalem.
It was a treacherous journey however, and many Pilgrims were robbed and murdered along the way. In an effort to protect the Pilgrims, Baldwin II, Ruler of Jerusalem encouraged the formation of a new Cavalry Order.
The Knights Templar set about their task with a camp on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount and in 1129, they got the blessing of the French Catholic Church, with Pope Innocent II issuing a Papal Bull in 1139 that exempted the Knights Templar from paying Taxes and also declaring that they were only answerable to the Pope.
This allowed the Templar to flourish and they soon became Bankers to the Monarchs of Europe and to Pilgrims by creating a system that allowed Pilgrims to deposit assets in their home countries which they could withdraw in Jerusalem.
In addition to their Financial acumen, the Knights Templar were also recognized for their strict code of conduct which involved an Oath of Poverty, Obedience as well as Chastity. They also wore a highly recognisable signature suit comprising a white Robe decorated with a Red Cross.
In time, the Templar expanded their influence as new chapters of the Order were founded in many parts of Europe.
At the height of their power in addition to owning the Island Of Cyprus, the Templars were the Bankers to Europe’s Nobility and also owned a fairly large fleet of ships.
However, the Muslim Caliphate reconquered Jerusalem in the late 12th Century ending the period of Christian control of the Holy land.
With the loss of Jerusalem, the role of the Knights Templar was questioned by the European Nobility who were also anxious because they were heavily indebted to the them.
As a result, in 1303 King Philip IV of France embarked on a campaign to destroy the Order of The Knights Templar probably because of their refusal to lend him more money.
After mass arrests, torture and false confessions which were followed by dramatic public burnings at the Stake on false charges like devil-worshipping, heresy, and fraud, Pope Clement V dissolved the Knights Templar in 1312.
Although the official account states that their property was given to another Order of Knights called The Knights Hospitallers, its widely believed that King Philip and King Edward II of England expopriated most of the Knights Templar’s wealth for their own benefit.
While historians agree that the Templar were probably annihilated by King Phillip, groups such as the Freemasons have since emerged claiming a connection to and a revival of the Knights Templar traditions.
However, Freemasonry was developed 400 years after the fall of the Knights Templar making it difficult to connect it with the initial Order of the Templar.
Much more recently, stories about the Knights Templar have been published in Books and Films like The Da Vinci Code.
In antiquity it was also thought that the Knights Templar had discovered the Holy Grail Chalice from which Jesus drank at the Last Supper which was allegedly kept in a secret vault together with the Ark of The Covenant.
There are still people today who embark on quests in search of these reported Templar Relics revealing the enduring power of the legend of The Knights Templar.