Anybody who is interested on occult and esoteric history at some point will come across the Knight’s Templar .The Templars have become popular with books like The Da Vinci Code and The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail and films such as Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade . It had become one of those subjects whichI knew a little of the popular history but had no real knowledge of the real history so I decided to invest in a book called The Templars History and Myth by Michael Haag . Luckily enough the author is mainly interested in the real history and is dismissive of many of the popular myths of the Templars .
The Rise of The Templars
The book starts with a history of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, where Solomon’s Temple was built and from which the Templar’s took their name and where they based their headquarters . The first temple was built, not surprisingly by King Solomon and where the famous Ark of the Covenant was kept . Solomon’s Temple remained standing for four centuries until it was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC and the Ark of the Covenant disappeared . Later a second temple was built on the same site by Herod the Great in 25-10 BC but this was destroyed as well with the Jewish revolt against the Romans in AD 66 . Control of Jerusalem switched from the Byzantine empire to the Persians until the nascent Moslem empire seized the city in AD 638 .
In 1095 the First Crusade was announced and eventually in 1099 Jerusalem was taken by the Christians . On Christmas day 1119, the Templars were founded at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to protect pilgrims and defend the Holy Land . The original group consisted of 9 knights and the first Grand Master was Hugh de Payns and the Templar’s set up their headquarters on the Temple Mount . They led a monastic lifestyle and soon found favour with powerful figures in Christianity such as Bernard of Clairvaux and Pope Honorius II and they received official endorsement at the Council of Troyes .
Very quickly the Templars became one of the wealthiest and powerful organisations in the Christian world and soon owned large amounts of land in Europe and became bankers and trade . They managed to build their own fleet and could easily transport soldiers and pilgrims between Europe and the Holy Land . They built their own castles and controlled many strategic ports in the Mediterranean such as Acre and Tyre and became the strongest military force in the Holy Land . They set up Temples in both Paris and London and became a large financial organisation in England and France .
Unfortunately for the Christians, the Moslem world did not take the Christian control of the Holy Land lying down and in 1187 the Moslem leader, Saladin retook Jerusalem and the Templars were thrown out of their Temple Mount headquarters but with the fifth crusade Jerusalem was recaptured by the Christians in 1229 . The fighting continued throughout the Middle East but slowly the Moslems regained the upper hand and by 1300 controlled most of the Holy Land . Even though the Templars were still a large organisation, their apparent failure to defeat the Moslems and their wealth had made them powerful enemies .
The Fall of The Templars
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Jacques de Molay cursing King Philip & Pope Clement
At this time there was a power struggle between the French king, Philip IV and Pope Clement V, who was now based in France and Philip sensing weakness within the Templars on Friday 13th October 1307 arrested all the Knights Templars in France in the name of the Inquisition. The Templar knights were tortured and strange stories regarded their spiritual practices emerged and eventually they were charged with heresy . The following is a list of the heretical charges made against the Templars :
The Templars held their reception ceremonies and chapter meetings in secret and at night .
Though not ordained by the Church, high Templar officials, including the Grand Master, absolved brothers of their sins .
The Templars failed to make charitable gifts as they were meant to do, nor did they practice hospitality .
The brothers did not believe in the sacraments and the Templar priests did not consecrate the host .
The brothers worshipped an idol in the form of a head or a cat called Baphomet .
During the reception ceremony initiates were required to deny Christ .
To spit, piss or trample on the cross or images of Christ .
To exchange kisses with the receiving official on the mouth, navel, base of the spine, and sometimes on the buttocks or penis.
To agree to submit to homosexual practices as required within the order, which practised institutionalised sodomy.
It had been believed that the Catholic church had been involved with this coup d’etat but recent revealed documents from the Secret Archives of the Vatican have proved that in fact Pope Clement had absolved the Templars of heresy . Pope Clement had met with 72 Templars at Poitiers and after hearing their appeals decided the rituals were not serious and threw out the heresy accusations .
Here is a translation of the Papal investigation by Pope Clement known as the Chinon Parchment, held on 20/8/1308 .
Then on the twentieth day of the month, in our presence, and in the presence of notaries and the same witnesses, brother-knight Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of the Order of Knights Templar, appeared personally and having sworn in the form and manner indicated above, and having been diligently questioned, said it has been forty two years or thereabouts since he was received as a brother of the said Order by brother knight Hubert de Perraud, at the time visitor of France and Poitou, in Beune,diocese of Autun, in the chapel of the local templar commandery of that place .
Concerning the way of his initiation into the order, he said that having given him the cloak the receptor showed to him the cross and told him that he should denounce the God whose image was depicted on that cross, and that he should spit on the cross .Which he did, although he did not spit on the cross, but near it, according to his words . He also said that he performed this denunciation in words, not in spirit . Regarding the sin of sodomy, the worshipped head and the practice of illicit kisses, he, diligently questioned, said that he knew nothing of that .
When he was asked whether he had confessed to these things due to a request, reward, gratitude, favour, or fear of impending torture, he replied that he did not . When he was asked whether after being apprehended, was submitted to any questioning or torture, he replied that he was not .
After this, we decided to extend the mercy of absolution for these acts to brother, Jacques de Molay, the Grand Master of the said order, who in the form and manner described and any other heresy, and swore in person on the Lord’s Holy Gospel and humbly asked for the mercy of absolution, restoring him to unity with the church and reinstating him to communion of the faithful and the sacraments of the Church .
To visit the Vatican archives click Chinon Parchment . ( The worshipped head is now suspected to be the Turin Shroud .)
For some reason, not clear, the Pope had a change of mind and in 1312, he ordered the Templars to be suppressed and the Templars were handed over to the French secular authorities to decide on their fate . In 1314, King Philip ordered that the Grand Master Jacques de Molay and Geoffroi de Charny, the master of Normandy should be put to death as heretics and on the 18th March they were taken to an island in the river Seine where they were burnt to death and so the Knights Templar, effectively ceased to be . Their assets were seized in France but in other European countries, they were treated better, especially in Britain where many of their historical buildings remain and the common use of the name Temple in town names is directly related to Templar influence .
Michael Haag then proceeds to examine the conspiracy theories regarding the Templars, ranging from Dan Green, the Freemasons and the New World Order . He takes the view that the Templars ceased to exist as any type of organisation with the death of Jacques de Molay and that all the theories are crackpot . He quotes Umberto Eco from Foucault’s Pendulum where the protagonists attempt to write a series of books, which appeal to conspiracy theorists and intellectuals alike says : The Templars have something to do with everything . He, also disparages the claims of the Freemasons who believe their organisation is descended from the Templars . I think it is too easy to dismiss everything and I have my own observations regarding the influence of the Templars :
- To my eyes, the iniation ceremony described in the confessions of the tortured Templars is some sort of iniation into a Mystery School, similar to the Cathars and early Christians . It is unlikely to have been wiped out with the demise of the Templars and it is entirely possible it was kept alive . Freemasonry was founded in Britain, where the Templars lived in peace and it is feasible to me that John Dee, Francis Bacon and the rest were the heirs of this Templar tradition which evolved into the Freemasonry we know today .
- The emphasis that Freemasonry puts on Solomon’s Temple and the obvious interest the Templars had in the site where the two temples had stood is too much of a coincidence for me . When the Freemasons say they are the inheritors of Templar knowledge, they may just be stating the truth .
- The view that Freemasonry has no influence in American history is obviously false . The fact that George Washington was painted in full Masonic regalia is a pretty big clue as well as the fact that 14 presidents are acknowledged to have been Masons . These are just the ones we know about . Also nine of the astronauts who flew to the moon were Freemasons .
- For me the twin towers of Solomon’s Temple known as Joachim and Boaz in Freemasonry and the Templar connection to the Temple are somehow linked to the destruction of the Twin Towers on11/9/2001 . I don’t know exactly what the purpose was but it is connected to 9/11 .
- The St George cross of England appeared first during the Crusades . The similarity to the Knight’s Templar emblem is indicative to me of a connection with the English monarchy .
For someone like me who tends to read only writers who confirm my predjudices, it was quite refreshing and I think healthy ro review my beliefs, even if I haven’t changed my mind regarding the Templars .
The Templars – History and Myth is an excellent book . If you are looking for a ‘ sensational ’ book regarding the Templars, this book is not for you but if you want to read a detailed history without ‘ maybe’ and ‘ could have ‘ then this is a very good place to start .
Quotations source : The Templars – History and Myth by Michael Haag .
I have no financial interest or connection to The Templars by Michael Haag .