Monday, 16 November 2009
The Knights Templar
It doesn't take me to tell you that millions of words have been written on this secret brotherhood of warrior monks, however for this post I want to focus on the mystery surrounding their early years.
The Knights Templar were initiated in Southern France in the year 1113, by one Hugues de Payen and sometime between 1118 and 1120 he journeyed to the Holy Land with eight other knights.
There he met Baldwin II King of the Frankish Kingdom of Jerusalem and proposed that his new order should protect pilgrims visiting the Holy sites of Palestine.
Quite what persuaded Baldwin to agree to this and provide them with extensive quarters on the Temple Mount, in the Al Aqsa Mosque, is not known.
For nine years these nine knights never left the Temple Mount, but busied themselves digging underneath it.
Conventional wisdom states that in these early years they struggled to recruit new members because of the austerity of their Order.
Their fortunes began to change in the year 1127 when the Abbot, Bernard of Clairvaux, wrote the rules of their order, modelling them on his own, The Cistercians.
Highly regarded throughout Christendom for his canonical knowledge, Bernard later wrote to Hugues de Payen, extolling the virtues of the new Order.
This not only opened the floodgates of new recruits from the Nobility, but also for donations of land and valuables, which would lead to The Knights Templar becoming the wealthiest body in Christendom.
About this time the original nine knights completed their searches beneath the Temple Mount.
The mystery that arises, is this, what did they find? Was it treasure, the mysterious Baphomet, thought to be a preserved human head or was it documentation?
Whatever it was, shortly afterwards the Order was given unprecedented power by the then Pope.
They were to be exclusively accountable to the Pope, which made them more powerful than any Monarch in Christendom.
Did they discover something which would shake the very foundations of the Roman Church, which at all costs had to be kept secret.
I will leave you with this thought. During their time in the Outremer they absorbed much knowledge from both Judaism and Islam.
One school of thought suggests that their long term plan was to instigate the unification of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
If this was the case then they must have found something that could unite these faiths, an intriguing thought indeed!