The Order of the Temple started in 1188 with Hugh de Payens of Champagne leading the way. At that time Hugh had 8 other brethern. Thy were a fellowship of knights who spent their entire lives defending the pilgrims and the only accesible routes to the Holy Land. Such humble beginnings spawned a meteoric rise that more than 250 years later would be one of the wealthiest, most famous and envied group in the world.
The Order was based on the Cistercian Order and as the Order of the Temple grew to include smaller groups in every region adhering to the hierarchy was instrumental in making the Order operate at its fullest efficiency and keeping order. The only Knight who stood about the 62 governing rules was the Grand Master. He was the alpha and omega for any member of the Order and all allegiance was given him.
What differentiated the Order from other Orders was their prodigious devotion to soldiering and fighting and their absolute and complete secrecy involving all aspects of the Order at that time.
Within 10 years of its beginning they became known as the Templars, bearing white mantles with the black & white legend "Non Nobis Domine". They cut off their hair, let their beards grow long, and took vows of humility, poverty and chastity.
The vow of humility meant complete and total submission to the superior Knights. There were not allowed to hide or conceal their personal possessions (which consisted only of their clothes, weapons and utensils give to them at initiation), any correspondence sent to them was read aloud by the Grand Master, they had absolutely no privacy at all.
The vows of poverty applied only to the individuals, not the Order as whole, because the Order grew largely in treasure. If a Knight was captured they had no hope, the Order never answered ransom orders because that meant the Order's treasure would be spent on one individual violating the vow of poverty.
The vow of chastity was strictly enforced; Knights slept fully clothed and in fully lit rooms. However, like others who have taken vows of chastity, this led to homosexual encounters that later proved part of their downfall in accusations from the church. They were forbidden from any form of contact with women, including even a kiss from their mother.
The Order spread throughout the world and encompassed many European countries making the Knights now varying in culture and language. They were a completely independent group not loyal to any specific country, king, kingdom, government or religious power. This complete and total independence contributed to their downfall as the richest and most powerful force in the world.
Although at first the Catholic powers recognized the Order and its knights for their fervor and all Order Knights were exempt from taxes and secular laws however this came only with the stipulation the Knights were to be accountable only to the pope who made it a law that anyone who harms a Templar Knight would be excommunicated from the church.
With all this acclaim the Order grew fanstastically and so did their riches. They owned castles across Europe, most noteably in London and Paris where the treasures of kings of many kingdoms lay in trust for safekeeping. They even financed many transactions for countries and kings growing each day in wealth and power.
However the failure in the Crusades forced the Order to move their locations to Cyprus. By this time they had amassed such wealth and power that now they were no longer looked upon with admiration and interest but instead hate, envy and vengeance. Now as creditors they held shadows above nobility and royalty with debts and these blue-bloods did not like being indebted to these Knights not nearly as worthy as themselves. And being exempt from taxes meant the Knights transacted business well below what other taxed businessmen operated and undercut them.
All of these circumstances combined to make for a rather nasty stigma to be attached to the Templar Knights and their Order. However with these roles of power the Knights embedded themselves in well-respected, high roles in courts across Europes, loaning money to kings and kingdom and renting themselves out at high cost as mercernaries. It was this wealth and broken vows of poverty that spawned greed that led to the inevitable destruction of the wholly independent Order.
And you have Philip IV of France to thank for the ruin of the Order as it was known. Philip wanted to destroy the Order and gather their wealth for his own having tried previously to join the Order and was denied. So in the interest of keeping his enemies close he sent Guillaume de Nogaret to be a minister amongst the Knights and talking out of both sides of his mouth Guillaume ministered to the Knights while gathering evidence against them.
Knowing full well the Inquisition would not let accusations of hersey pass it was Philip's intention to bring these accusations against the Order but to make them stick he had to have pope Clement in league with him and so the two conspired to bring the powerful Order to its knees.
The sun had barely made its introduction on October the 13th in 1307 when 140 Templar Knights and their Grand Master Jacques de Molay were arrested by Nogaret and their wealth was seized. Orders were sent across France for any Templar Knight to be arrested immediately and brought to prison.
Philip himself spawned rumors to make the public opinion dire for the Templar Knights and French citizens came to hate them as poisonous rumors trickled from the king into every level of citizen interaction.
Cracking the Knights was not as easy as Philip thought and their vow to each other was stronger than threats from the king and pope. So they were tortured relentlessly and without mercy until they confessed to whatever Philip and the pope wanted them to. For those who confessed and later retracted their confessions they were subjected to horrific forms of torture and malice.
The charges against the Order read that: in initiation Knights were to spit or urinate on a cross and renounce Christ; unnatural sex was practiced and encouraged; they worshipped Baphomet and human sacrifices of infants were made to Baphomet; they vowed to make the Order the richest entity by any means honest or dishonest; they were disloyal to their allies in the Crusades; they worshipped the Devil in addition to Baphomet in the form of black cat which required them to kiss the cat's rectum.
In Order to be spared death for these charges the Knights had to make confessions to these accusations, however no proof of any of the accusations was offered. Thought is should be said that by this time the Order consisted of such a broad variety of men that traveled the world and all came from different cultures that it is possible that these accusations were true against individuals but not against the Knights as a whole. Homosexual encounters are not uncommon in groups of men where they are refused the company of a woman which meant they were not truly homosexual by nature but by circumstance.
However even with the lack of evidence and proof of these accusations the pope and Philip had well overstepped their boundaries and could not release any of the Knights because their foul plan would be surely exposed. So the two continued their joint force to completely squash the Order as a force of power.
The witchhunt of Knights extended to England where Edward II arrested English Knights and tortured them for confessions. This is where this arrow point and the other. Those who survived the torture took the instruments that murdered their friends as tools of power that would led them in righteous victory. They were taken from their bodies and concealed by the grace of God and when released they took the instruments with them. Many instruments were taken, we know of 10 still surviving arrow points though more instruments may exist, if they do they are in secret.
The attack against the Templar Knights went on without relent. Knights outside the Order came to the Templar Knights defense in 1310 and to cover his behind and make sure no public scrutiny could befall his muderous plot Philip had 54 Templar Knights burned to death after they refused confessions to the charges.
By 1312 the pope Clement was in a tough position. After all this time they were no closer to proving their accuastions and the pope's reputation was hanging dangerously by a fraying thread. The pope relinquished part of the Templar's wealth to the Hospitallers and the survivors were to join other Orders or become citizens.
Philip went on to enjoy the massive wealth of the Order for himself and even found ways to force the Hospitallers to pay him back large portions of the Templar wealth they inherited at the pope's insistence. Even Edward in England who would have never attacked the Templar Knights if not for the pressure of Philip kept the Templars wealth and spent it on himself. However the Templar Knights only saving grace was its allies in Spain, Portugal and Germany where their treasure remained in tact and funded the spawning of "new" Orders, though those who know are well aware the Order never went away in its entirety, it learned from the Inquisition and reorganized its operations.
However the only member of the Order of the Temple who remained imprisoned was the Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, who was burned to death at sunset on the Ile de Palais and as his fleshing was being melted by licks from flames he screamed his innocence and the innocence of the Order. In his dying moments he screamed that Philip and pope Clement were to meet him before God in a year, and they did as both died within a year of Jacques's death. His proclamations won the hearts of those who watched who realized only a man truly innocent could continue such innocence in the fire and they collected his ashes as holy relics.Tags: creepy hollows, knights templar, The Order of the Temple