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Military History: The Knights Templar Part 2

Updated on September 1, 2014

After the fall of Acre in 1291, the position of the Knights Templar has become untenable and the support for any more crusades has diminished. The future of the order now lies with it's new leader Jaques de Molay, but the vengeful French King Philip IV has his own plans for the increasingly unpopular knights.

Grand Master Jacques de Molay
Grand Master Jacques de Molay
King Philip IV of France
King Philip IV of France

The Templar's Destruction

The fate of the Knights Templar is now in the hands of it's new leader Jaques de Molay, he lobbies for support of a new crusade initiated from Cyprus, but it is to no avail.

De Molay travels to the Paris headquarters of the Knights Templar on the invitation of Pope Clement V, to discuss the Templar's finances and to reassess their future endeavours. Coincedentally, Philip IV of France just happens to be in Paris at the same time.

Philip was known as "The Fair", because of his handsome looks, but he had amassed huge debts due to his wars with England and his biggest creditor was none other than the Knights Templar.

He then decides to clear his debts in one ruthless stroke, by arresting the Knights Templar and seizing all their money.

He concocted a number of trumped-up charges and accused them of forms of heresy

Friday 13th October 1307, some people believe this to be the day where the modern superstition of 'Friday the 13th' originates from.

In just one day, Jacques de Molay and hundreds of French Templars are rounded up and the arrests shock Middle Age Europe to the core.

The investigation of the accused began with torture to try to gain the Templar's confession, not to gain the truth.

In Paris alone, over 100 templars are tortured including their elderly Grand Master de Molay. There were 127 charges against the Templars, ranging from denying Christ's existence, spitting on the crucifix, deficating on the host (the wafer of bread used in Holy Communion) to homosexuality.

John The Baptist's severed head.
John The Baptist's severed head.
Mary Magdalene with Jesus
Mary Magdalene with Jesus

What Were The Templars Worshipping?

Hundreds of the Templars inevitably confessed under the extreme torture, but they also confessed to worshipping an unusual object.

Many scholars believe this to be the severed head of John The Baptist, while others suggest that this is the Holy Grail itself.

Several of the Templars confessed to worshipping the Baphomet which some suggest is a stone idol of the Devil, which is why King Philip tried to link them to Devil Worship.

Other scholars and historians are of the belief that Baphomet is a mispronunciation of Mohammed and that the Templars were combining a number of religious traditions in their own practice.

Thousands of Templars had served for many years in the Holy Land and it is thought that some may have accepted religious beliefs from the Muslims.

In the early 1980s, a scholar named Hugh Schonfield made a startling claim that Baphomet is a coded message.

The Dead Sea scholar used the Atbash Cipher from biblical studies, an ancient Hebrew encoding technique dating back to 500 BC.

When the word Baphomet is put into this cipher, a new word emerges....Sophia, Greek for wisdom.

To honour wisdom was not heresy, unless the wisdom itself is heresy. Sophia is an ancient Greek name for a goddess worshipped by an early Christian sect, the Gnostics. Was Baphomet code for goddess worship?

Some scholars say that Sophia came to earth in the body of Mary Magdalene, under the "Royal Blood" theory.

Mary Magdalene carried the bloodline of Jesus and subsequently became the "Vessel of Holy Blood"....the Grail itself.

In their written charter, the Templars dedicate themselves not to Jesus, but to Mary. If the Templars worshipped Mary Magdalene as equal to jesus, it would be considered as one of the worst kinds of heresy.

However, the Templar's charter may well be dedicated to Mary, but it does not state which one, the Blessed Virgin Mary or Mary Magdalene?

The Execution of Jacques de Molay
The Execution of Jacques de Molay

The End Of The Templars

Under torture, the Templars may have confessed to worshipping a heretical goddess religion, worshipping an idol or even a human head. But it is more likely that the Templars were innocent scapegoats for a cowardly king who just wanted to wipe away his debts.

King Philip IV demanded that the heretics face justice, reluctantly the Pope agreed and in 1314, the Knights Templar were officially disbanded.

On March 18th 1314, after 7 years of imprisonment and torture, Grand Master Jacques de Molay is executed as an unrepentant heretic. It is said that with his dying breath, de Molay put a curse on both the king and the Pope, in which he declared "In one year, I shall see you both in a tribunal before God!".

And within one year, they were both dead.

After 200 years, the Templars are no more, their castles are taken and their vast wealth mysteriously disappears. King Philip IV had ironically never laid eyes upon the treasure before it vanished and nobody knows where it all went after the Templar's demise.

The Rosslyn Chapel, near Edinburgh, Scotland.
The Rosslyn Chapel, near Edinburgh, Scotland.
The Ark of the Covenant
The Ark of the Covenant

Was It The End?

It is alleged, although unsubstantiated, that two huge carts of treasure were taken out of the city of Paris, just before the arrests on Friday the 13th, 1307.

From then on, the Templars vanished from the annuls of history, but they had, had adequate warning everywhere except France and some Templars are thought to have survived, even some of the ones in France.

One theory claims this to be true and one clue to the whereabouts of the treasure survives today.

Rosslyn Chapel near Edinburgh, Scotland, appears in the book The DaVinci Code as a key clue to the hiding place of the Holy Grail. A medieval church and a lost treasure could be linked by one man.

The chapel was built in 1446 by William St. Clair and he was a very mysterious and puzzling figure. Although he built the chapel almost 150 years after the Templars were officially disbanded, it has a very large amount of Templar symbolism.

Two riders on a single horse is a symbol of the Templars and appears in the chapel, as does the Templar's Seal, the Lamb of God holding a cross. Throughout the chapel are mysterious stone gargoyles and engravings, symbols and signs all depicting Templar symbolisms.

The chapel's overall layout and architecture gives many clues to it's inspiration, with 14 freestanding pillars, including 2 majestic pillars at the front of the chapel, it resembles the ancient Jewish Temple described in the bible as King Herod's Temple. Had William St. Clair built the chapel to directly resemble the Jerusalem Temple?.

More evidence links the Rosslyn Chapel to the Templars, some have theorised that there may well be vaults or chambers below the chapel, just like at the temple in Jerusalem, and they may hold one of the world's and history's greatest mysteries in the Templar treasure, the Holy Grail or even perhaps....nothing at all.

The secret has been speculated over for generations, everything from the mummified head of Christ, the Ark of the Covenant to scrolls from the temple of Jerusalem. But no specific physical evidence has ever emerged to prove any of these theories.

An exploratory excavation of the chapel has been ruled out for fear of the chapel collapsing. The chapel may only be an eccentric church or it may be a replica of the temple at Jerusalem. Whatever it's purpose, Rosslyn remains as big a mystery as the Templars themselves.

Legends state that whilst in prison, Jacques de Molay hid all the secrets of the Knights Templars in the first three degrees of Freemasonry.

Every single Pope since Clement V has outlawed anyone calling themselves The Knights Templar, and since the legend of de Molay reached Rome, has outlawed Freemasonry.

Were theTemplars guilty of the acts they were charged of? Was Devil worship practiced as stated?

Freemasonry survives today, not because of innocence or guilt of those knights, but because like the apostle, Paul, said: "Neither powers nor principalities, shall separate me from the love of God.

Freemasonry shall live on until men shall look upon each other for their character and uprightness, rather than through prejudiced eyes and discriminating hearts.

Until then, we must fight prejudice, despotism, and manner of evil that exists in the hearts of men. Our sword of justice and our cause is right and "IN HOC SIGNO VINCES." - "In this sign thou shalt conquer"


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      lincolnanderson 4 years ago

      Whoever people believe the Templars were, they most likely were working for the greatest good and were willing to die for it. Honorable deaths.

    • Dave Harris profile image

      Dave Harris 6 years ago from Cardiff, UK

      Thankyou ruffridyer

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      ruffridyer 6 years ago from Dayton, ohio

      Wow, some interesting history here. Very well researched.

    • Dave Harris profile image

      Dave Harris 7 years ago from Cardiff, UK

      Thanks scarytaff, was a bit of an epic, but couldn't really leave out much as thought their whole story needed telling. Thanks for reading (ploughing through it all!!)

    • scarytaff profile image

      Derek James 7 years ago from South Wales

      Thoroughly researched and very well written, Dave. This hub is a credit to you and your dedication to history.