Rule 0f Templar Knights
The Rule of the Knights Templar
A Powerful Champion
Bernard of Clairvaux.
Bernard of Clairvaux (1090–1153) Abbot of the Cistercian monastery of Clairvaux, theologian, and preacher of the crusade. Born at Fontaines-les-Dijon in Burgundy 1090 into a family of the lower nobility, Bernard was educated by the canons of St. Vorles at Châtillon-sur-Seine. He entered the new monastery at Cîteaux in 1113 with numerous companions. In 1115 Abbot Stephen Harding sent Bernard to establish a new house at Clairvaux, Cîteaux’s third foundation, where he was installed as abbot by William of Champeaux, bishop of Châlons-sur Marne. He died at Clairvaux on 20 August 1153 and was canonized in 1174.– Beverly Mayne Kienzle & James Calder Walton - The Crusades; An Encyclopaedia
The key event in the transformation of a band of 'Poor Knights of Christ' protecting the pilgrims in the Holy Land into the financial and military powerhouse that was the Knights Templar was the Order's adoption by Bernard of Clairvaux.
The site of the abbey of Clairvaux had been donated to Bernard by Hughes of Champagne, before the latter went to the Holy Land where Hughes subsequently joined the Order of the Temple.
André de Montbard one of the founding members of the Knights Templar was the uncle of Bernard of Clairvaux.
In 1127 King Baldwin II of Jerusalem sent Hugh de Payn and several of his brother Templars to France as part of a diplomatic mission to offer the hand of Baldwin’s daughter Melisande in marriage to Fulke d’Anjou. A marriage which would make Fulke Baldwin’s heir to the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Following the success of this mission Hugh and his colleagues went on an equally successful recruiting drive for Baldwin across France, England, Scotland and Flanders. In addition to recruiting men for Baldwin Hugh encouraged donations for the Templars.
In 1128, Hughes de Payns arrived in Britain as part of a major “recruitment drive” for the Templars. He had been well received in France, and had gained numerous adherents and lands (he was similarly received in both England and Scotland). As The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle states: 'He was received by all good men, and they all gave presents to him; and in Scotland in like manner. And moreover they sent to Jerusalem
great wealth in gold and silver. And he invited people out to Jerusalem, and there went along with him and after him so many people as more had never done before since the first expedition during the days of Pope Urban.'--(As quoted in The Scottish Review, July 1898) - From the Templar Papers
In 1129 the church held a Council at Troyes, the capital of Hughes land. Bernard was invited to the Council and also to create a 'Rule' of behaviour for the Templars.
Bernard also enlisted an ex pupil from Clairvaux to the cause, when between 1139 and 1145, Pope Innocent II issued a series of three papal Bulls making the Order of the Temple answerable to no one save the Pope himself.
"Every brother who is professed in the Holy service should, through fear of the flames of Hell, give total obedience to the Master; for nothing is dearer to Jesus Christ than obedience, and if anything be commanded by the Master or by one to whom he has given his power, it should be done without demur as if it were a command from God . . . for you must give up your own free will." - The Rule of the Templars, as recorded by scribe John Michael at the Council of Troyes, 1128
"When the Knights Templar were founded in 1118-1119 in
Jerusalem, it was a 'poor order' whose primary function was the protection of pilgrims along the main roads between the coast at Jaffa and the inland city of Jerusalem. But an important transformation took place when this nascent Order came under the patronage of St Bernard of Clairvaux, nephew of André de Montbard, one of the founding group of the Templars. Until his conversion at the age of twenty, St Bernard himself had been destined for a knightly career, and when he came to patronize the Knights Templar that Order was imbued with the ideals and convictions of the knightly class of Burgundy." - Edward Burman, The Assassins - Holy Killers of Islam
"It was Hugues of Champagne who donated the site of Clairvaux to Bernard, where he built his abbey and from whence he expanded his 'empire'. He became the official 'sponsor' of the Templars, and it was his influence that ensured papal recognition at the Council at Troyes, this being the capital of Hughes' land....It was a disciple of Bernard's, Pope Innocent II, (formerly a monk at Clairvaux) who freed the Templars from all allegiance to anyone except the Pope himself." - Lynn Picknett & Clive Prince, Turin Shroud - In Whose Image? The Shocking Truth Unveiled
In 1128, Bernard of Clairvaux "was just twenty-eight years old when the Council of Troyes asked him to help create a Rule for the Templars. He did more than that. He became their most vocal champion, urging that they be supported with gifts of land and money and exhorting men of good family to cast off their sinful lives and take up the sword and the cross as Templar Knights." - John J. Robinson, Born in Blood
"St Bernard, who took a strong liking to Hughes, recognized a means of channelling the feudal nobility's surplus energy which would convert 'criminals and godless, robbers, murderers and adulterers'. He promised Hughes that he would compile a rule and find recruits. 'They can fight the battle of the Lord and indeed be soldiers of Christ'. Military Christianity had found it real creator." - Desmond Seward, The Monks of War
"Indeed, the knights of Christ fight the battles of their lord in safety, by no means fearing to have sinned in slaying the foe, nor fearing the peril of their own deaths, seeing that either dealing out death or dying, when for Christ's sake, contains nothing criminal but rather merits glorious reward. On this account, then: for Christ! hence Christ is attained. He who, forsooth! freely takes the death of his foe as an act of vengeance, the more willingly finds consolation in his status as a soldier of Christ. The soldier of Christ kills safely; he dies the more safely. He serves his own interests in dying, and Christ's interests in killing!" - St Bernard
Bernard "urged young men to take up the Templar sword, comparing the Templar's holy way of life, so pleasing to God, to the degenerate ways of the secular knights, whose lives were dedicated to vanity, adultery, looting, and stealing, with many sins to atone for. The dedication to Christ, to a life of chastity and prayer, to a life that might be sacrificed in battle against unbelievers, was enough penance to atone for any sin or any number of sins. On that basis, Bernard appeared to sceleratos et impius, raptores et homicidas, adulteros, 'the wicked and the ungodly, rapists and murderers, adulterers', to save their own souls by enlisting as Kings of the Temple. That guaranteed absolution was also a way out for those suffering under decrees of excommunication. The taking of the Templar oath would evidence submission to the Church, and the supreme penance of a lifetime at war for the True Cross would satisfy God's requirement for punishment of the contrite." John J. Robinson, Dungeon, Fire and Sword (1991)
"The warriors are gentler than lambs and fiercer than lions, wedding the mildness of the monk with the valour of the knight, so that it is difficult to decide which to call them: men who adorn the Temple of Solomon with weapons instead of gems, with shields instead of crowns of gold, with saddles and bridles instead of candelabra: eager for victory -- not fame; for battle not for pomp; who abhor wasteful speech, unnecessary action, unmeasured laughter, gossip and chatter, as they despise all vain things: who, in spite of their being many, live in one house according to one rule, with one soul and one heart." - St Bernard
"Have I not been obedient to the Rule? The Rule is the bones of my body, it runs from my feet to my head, and it is in my arms; these fingers, ,,The Rule is my marrow. Am I not also garbed in the Rule, for it tells me what I wear. The Rule is within me and about me. It is my hand when I fight and tells me what my weapons are. Within and Without." - William Watson
Council of Troyes (1129)
A church council, held at Troyes in Champagne in January 1129 (not 1128, as often cited in earlier works), that was a pivotal moment in the early history of the Order of the Temple. The assembly marked the church’s formal approval of a rule (regulations for the observance of a religious life) for this group of knights, which had formed in the Holy Land in 1120 with the aim of protecting pilgrims to Jerusalem. Although initial recruitment had been slight, King Baldwin II of Jerusalem saw the knights as making an important contribution to the defence of his lands, and in 1125/1126 he wrote to Bernard, abbot of Clairvaux, to try to secure his endorsement for the Templars. In 1127 their leader, the Champenois knight Hugh of Payns, toured the West to seek backing for the order and also to recruit men for a planned crusade against Damascus, and he successfully solicited grants of land and money in Champagne, Flanders, and Anjou. In 1129 the papal legate Matthew of Albano presided over a council where Hugh set out the basic precepts for his men. Hugh proposed a community that attended the offices of the choir (or recited a set number of Paternosters), wore plain clothing, was celibate, but was also active in the outside world and had horses and servants. The order was to be governed by a master, under the jurisdiction of the patriarch of Jerusalem. The churchmen present dissected Hugh’s proposals, and, with the guiding hand of Bernard of Clairvaux, a rule of seventy-two clauses was drafted. This approval for the new order enabled it to attract substantial support over the next few years and laid the foundations for
its long-term existence. –Jonathan Phillips - The Crusades; An Encyclopaedia
"The admission of postulants took place at weekly chapters. If a majority of the brethren agreed, the candidate was brought into the chapter to be examined by two or three senior brothers. If his answers were satisfactory, which meant that he was a free man, noble, fit and of legitimate birth, he was brought before the master..." - Noel Currer-Briggs, The Shroud and the Grail - A Modern Quest for the True Grail
"The initiation ceremony, over which great secrecy prevailed, took place almost invariably in a copy of the rotunda of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. Many Templar churches and chapels were build round with this in mind, and in their center, as at the Templar Vera Cruz Church of Segovia in Spain, there was often an actual model of the tomb of Christ, in the form of a two-storied structure with steps leading up. At some stage the special ceremony was devised for initiated members of the order whereby they were given a momentary glimpse of the supreme vision of God attainable on earth, before which they prostrated themselves in adoration." - Ian Wilson, The Shroud of Turin - The Burial Cloth of Jesus Christ?
"Knights were initiated into the temple in a secret ceremony held at night in the guarded chapter house. The great prior would ask the assembled knights several times if they had any objections to admitting the novice to the order. Hearing none, he reviewed the rules of the order and asked whether the novice had a wife and family, debts or disease, and if he owed allegiance to any other master. Having answered in the negative, the novice knelt, asking to become a 'servant and slave' of the temple and swearing obedience by God and the Virgin Mary. " - Ancient Wisdom and Secret Sects
"During the ritual of admission to the Order, reference was made to the immortality of God and so to the intactness of the Son of God. John of Cassanhas, Templar Preceptor of Noggarda, tells how the leader of an admission ritual declares, 'Believe thou in God, who has not died and will never die.'" "When the moment came for the postulant to take his vows, he was required to place his hand not on the Bible, which was the usual practice, but on the Missal open at the point in the Mass where the body of Christ is mentioned. Several brother priests, such as Bertrand de Villers and Etienne de Dijon, both from the diocese of Langres, said that at the point in the Mass where the Host is consecrated they were told to omit the words Hoc est enim corpis meum." "...He then vowed...to follow the usage and custom of the house; and to help to conquer the holy Land. After this he was formally admitted to the order, and the white mantel was placed on his shoulders. The brother-priest then spoke Psalm 133:" - Noel Currer-Briggs, The Shroud and the Grail - A Modern Quest for the True Grail
"Ecce quam bonum et quam jocundum habitare fratres in unum - Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity. It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron's beard, down upon the collar of his robes. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the LORD bestows his blessing, even life forevermore." - Psalms 133 - a song of ascents (of David)
According to George Sassoon (co-author of the Manna Machine, this psalm refers to a ritual relating to the mana machine, a high tech device which purportedly fed the ancient Israelites during their exodus from Egypt. Imbued with mysterious powers, it was venerated as the Ark of the Covenant.
"Another pools of recruits was provided by the poor knights who lacked the funds to acquire horses, armour, and weapons. All of those things would be given to them upon their entry, along with personal attendants and servants. They were certain of adequate food and a place in which to live. Their self-respect, no matter how low it might have sunk, would be instantly restored....(A heavy war-horse cost roughly the equivalent of four hundred days' pay for a free labourer)." John J. Robinson, Dungeon, Fire and Sword (1991)
"By the thirteenth century...an aspirant was required to be a knight, the son of a knight and his lady. Villein descent was a bar to entry as a knight; it was also a bar to the priesthood, so the Military Order was no exception. An excommunicated aspirant was to be brought first to the bishop and he could be received into the Order only if the bishop would absolve him. It seems from the Statues of the Order that recruiting went on among knights who had been found guilty of serious moral offences, a well-known rule in the French version directs to Templars to frequent and recruit from gatherings of excommunicated knights. That the Latin version of the rule gives the directly opposite injunction, not to frequent such gatherings, probably shows the tension between the official clerical attitudes to the Order and the vernacular military culture which lay alongside it. Opinion was divided to the end; at the time of the trial and dissolution of the Order it was being said that it was a disgraceful thing that robbers worthy of death had been admitted to the Order." - Peter Partner, The Murdered Magician
RECRUITMENT AND ADMISSION
There were many different sorts of people in the Order of the Temple. Because the Order's central function was to protect Catholic Christians, the most important members of the Order were the warriors. The higher-status warriors were knights,
who had received this status in some sort of formal or semi-formal ceremony. When the Templars first began, in 1120, the concept of knighthood was still fluid and many knights were not of high social status. But by the time the Order was dissolved in 1312 knightly status had become socially important in the Christian West, and
only brothers whose parents came from knightly families were allowed to enter the Order as knights.Warriors who were not knights were called servientes in Latin or sergents in French, generally translated as 'sergeants' but literally meaning 'servants'. They supported the knights on the battlefield, but not all of them were warriors. The same term was applied to brothers of the Order who did not fight but who served the Order as craftsmen or labourers. The Order also had priest-brothers, who served the spiritual needs of the members, hearing confessions, celebrating mass, and praying. In Europe there were also some sisters. There were one or two nunneries under the Order's supervision, as
well as some women called 'sisters' living near to or in male houses of the Order, who had made religious vows and followed a religious lifestyle, but who were segregated from the brothers of the Order. The role of these sisters was to give spiritual support to the warriors by praying for the work of the Order. They were
never expected to fight; they followed a lifestyle like that of traditional nuns. In addition, there were various associate members, men and women, attached to the
Order who made regular donations and possibly hoped to join the Order in thefuture, but had not taken full religious vows.
The vast majority of the Order's members joined as adults. The rule of the Order stated that children should not be received as members. Although some children
were brought up within the Order's houses (for example, because their parents had died and entrusted their children to the Order's care), they were not obliged to join the Order when they grew up. The founders of the Order intended that only adult
men who were able to fight should join the Order. Most men joined in their mid- to late 20s, but a significant minority joined in their teens, and a few joined as early as ten years old. At the other end of the age spectrum, some joined as old men, after a career as warriors and administrators in secular society. They would not normally fight for the Order, but ended their days peacefully in one of the Order's houses in the West. It was also possible for men to join the Order for a short period as 'brothers for a term' and then return to their homes and families. -- From Osprey Warrior #081 – Knights Templar 1120
Poverty and Brotherhood
Based on the Cistercian rule, "first came the three basic monastic vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. Chastity took count of both sexes. No Templar was to kiss or touch any woman, not even his mother or sister. Even conversation with any woman was discouraged, and often forbidden. Templars wore sheepskin drawers that were never to be removed. (The Rule ordered that Templars should never bathe, so the ban of the removal of drawers was seen as support for the prohibition of sexual activity.) No Templar was to allow anyone, especially another Templar, to see his naked body. In their dormitories, lamps burned all night to keep away the darkness that might permit or encourage homosexual practices, a constant concern in all-male societies, including monasteries." - John J. Robinson, Born in Blood
"An emphasis on silence, even to the extent of using signs in the refectory, came from the same source, while the simplicity of Cistercian altar furnishings was paralleled by the plainest weapons and saddlery possible, with no trace of gold or silver....Religious services alternated with military exercises. there were two main meals, both eaten in silence with sacred reading from a French translation of the Bible, special emphasis being placed on the Books of Joshua and the Maccabees. All found inspiration in the ferocious exploits of Judas, his brothers and their war-bands, in reconquering the Holy Land from cruel infidels. Brethren ate in pairs to see that the other did not weaken himself by fasting. Wine was served with every meal and meat three times a week; their mortification was the rigors of war. Each knight was allowed three horses but with the symbolic exception of the lion, hawking and hunting were forbidden. He had to crop his hair and grow a beard....His Master was not merely a commanding officer, but an abbot. For the first time in Christian history soldiers would live as monks." - Desmond Seward, The Monks of War
"The Templars' emblem was a horse carrying two knights, a symbol of poverty and brotherhood. Bernard clearly viewed his rough-hewed band more favorably than he did rich secular knights, noting that Templars were seen 'rarely washed, their beards bushy, sweaty and dusty, stained by their harness and the heat'. The Knights Templars wore white mantels emblazoned with a red cross and rode to battle behind a white and black banner called the Beauseant, after the piebald horses favored by the order's founders. The same word became their battle cry." - Ancient Wisdom and Secret Sects
"Instant obedience to his superiors was required of every Templar, and since the order was responsible to on one but the pope, it essentially created its own system of punishments, up to the death penalty, for disobedience....Templars were allowed no privacy, and if a Templar received a letter it had to be read out loud in the presence of a master or chaplain." "On the battlefield the Templars were not permitted to retreat unless the odds against them were at least three to one, and even then they had no right to retreat unless ordered to do so....Men who joined the Templar order fully expected to die in battle, and most of them did." - John J. Robinson, Born in Blood
"A Cistercian thinks of cutting down a tree as prayer, given the right conditions, and the Templar had a similar attitude towards a Moslem. In St Bernard's words 'killing for Christ' was 'malecide not homicide', the extermination of injustice rather than the unjust, and therefor desirable; indeed 'to kill a pagan is to win glory for it gives glory to Christ'....Death in battle meant consecration as a martyr, a road traveled by 20,000 Templars, knights and sergeants in two hundred years of war." "Bernard's genius had transformed a Germanic warrior cult into a religious vocation just as pagan gods had been metamorphosed into saints and fertility rites into Christian festivals. Christ had ousted Woden." - Desmond Seward, The Monks of War
Allies and Enemies in the Holy Land
"Come to Death"
"The knights also excelled in military architecture and their castles in Palestine were exceptionally well designed and virtually impregnable. Foremost amongst these imposing fortresses was
Atlit (Castle Pilgrim) which...had been built in the year 1218 by the fourteenth Grand Master of the Templars, William of Chartres..." - Graham Hancock, The Sign and the Seal
"...Some of the nearest castles to the Assassin 'state' as it developed were the Templar castles of Tortosa (granted to the Templars in 1152) and Chastel Blanc." "The austere and spiritual Templars looking back to some imagined form of lost perfection, an exalted and nostalgic idea of an ideal order of chivalry, conscious themselves of their courage, loyalty and religious purpose, cannot have failed to recognize the goals and methods of the Assassins as close to their own. The same kind of men, not great noblemen but men from modest country manors who would have no role in the non-religious context, appear to have joined the Assassins and the Templars. There were essentially new men whose success derived from their search for personal and spiritual identity reinforced by the tight religious structure, rules and hierarchy of the two orders." "...The lay brothers, sergeants and knights of the Templars duplicate the lasiq (layman), fida'i (agent) and rafiq (companion) of the Assassins, while the knightly equivalent within the Assassins, the rafiqs, wore white mantels trimmed with red which correspond to the white mantle and red cross of the Templars." "The higher ranks of both orders, with priors, grand priors and Master, are also strikingly similar; prior, grand prior and Master correspond to da'i, da'i kabir and the Grand Master. In this context it is worth observing that while St Bernard provided the Rule of the Templars, the hierarchical structure seems to have come later and evidently from some other source." - Edward Burman, The Assassins - Holy Killers of Islam
"It is unlikely that there were very often more than three hundred heavily armed Templars in the Holy Land, even when knights and sergeants are counted together. But these shock troops were surrounded by squires, servants, Turkish mercenary troops and other dependents, so that in the greatest Palestinian castles fifty or sixty knights and sergeants would form the nucleus of a garrison of four or five hundred." - Peter Partner, The Murdered Magicians
"Assassin castles usually consisted of a walled compound with a keep built at its weakest point, designed as a fortified base for operations rather than to defend territory. Before sophisticated siege warfare, such as that used by Hulegu against Alamut over a century later they were in Syria relatively small and without the natural defense of remoteness of the Persian castles. It is this strategic, colonizing function of the castle which the Templars and other crusading orders may have developed from the Assassins, with no thought of territorial control, and no qualms about letting enemies pass between the castles." - Edward Burman, The Assassins - Holy Killers of Islam
"The famous question of the three thousand gold pieces paid the by Syrian branch of the Assassins to the Templars is another matter which has never been settled. One opinion holds that this money was given as a tribute to the Christians; the other, that is was a secret allowance from the larger to the smaller organization. Those who think that the Assassins were fanatical Moslems, and therefore would not form any alliance with those who to them were infidels, should be reminded that to the followers of the Old Man of the Mountains [Rashid al-Din Sinan, Grand Master of the Syrian Assassins fron 1162 to 1193] only he was right, and the Saracens who were fighting the Holy War for Allah against the Crusaders were as bad as anyone else who did not accept the Assassin doctrine."
Saladin "attacked nearby Hittin at dawn on Friday, July 3rd . Thirty thousand Crusaders were captured, including the King of Jerusalem. No Templar is mentioned in the detailed Arab account as asking for mercy on religious or other grounds, although all knew that Saladin had issued a war-cry: 'Come to death, Templars!' The Grand Master, Gerard of Ridefort, and several other knights were among those taken. Saladin offered them their lives if they would see the light of the True Faith. None accepted, and all these knights were beheaded except, admittedly, the Templar Grand Master." Other accounts refer to "a body of Templars who went over to the Saracen side, and whose supposed descendants survive to this day as the Salibiyya (Crusader) tribe in north Arabia." - John J. Robinson, Born in Blood
"...A poem written in Provencal dialect by; a troubadour who is thought to have been a Templar" refers " to the disastrous fall of a number of the main cities and castles of the Crusader kingdom in 1265 (notably the town of Caesarea and the fortress of Arsuf)..." - Peter Partner, The Murdered Magicians
"Pain and wrath invade my heart so that I almost think of suicide, or of laying down the cross I once assumed in honour of he who was laid upon the cross, for neither the cross nor his name protect us against the accursed Turks. Indeed, it seems clear enough that God is supporting them in our despite. "At one stride they have captured Caesarea and taken by force the strong castle of Arsuf. O lord God, what a hard road have the knights, the sergeants and the burghers taken, who were harbored within the walls of Arsuf! Alas! the losses of the kingdom of Syria have been so heavy that is power is dispersed for ever! "Then it is really foolish to fight the Turks, not that Jesus Christ no longer opposes them. They have vanquished the Franks and Tartars and Armenians and Persians, and they continue to do so. And daily they impose new defeats on us. for god, who used to watch on our behalf, is now asleep, and Mohammed (Bafometz] puts forth his power to support the Sultan." - Ricault Bonomel
" But even though the Kingdom of Jerusalem now consisted of no more than a narrow coastal strip from Acre to Beirut, it remained rich and the annual revenues of mid-13th century Acre alone were greater than the normal revenues of the King of England." - David Nicolle - Acre 1291
PERFORMANCE OF THE CHRISTIAN ARMY
Christian morale and potential may have been damaged by a previous defeat at the Springs of Cresson, while the events surrounding that smaller battle had clearly undermined the prestige of the Latin army's ablest commander, Count Raymond of
Tripoli. Sir Charles Oman's suggestion that the Latin army could have reached water at the Wadi al Hammam, many kilometres north of Hattin, was almost certainly wrong. In fact the only major mistake that King Guy made was marching east from Sephorie in the first place. Having made that decision, however, he and his advisers seem to have done whatever they could, and probably whatever they should, to trap Saladin in a disadvantageous position. Once battle was joined, the Christian army
stuck to the tactics which had served it well in the past. The fact that these now failed was partly because of improvements in the opposing Muslim forces, but mostly because of the exhaustion of the infantry. They in turn let their cavalry down by failing in their primary task of protecting the knights' horses. Horse-armour may have been used in the Latin army but would have been extremely rare in 1187. It would also have made the knights even more unwieldy than they were. The supposed
military-technological superiority of the European armoured knight is still accepted by many historians who should know better. Given the circumstances in which he had to fight in the Middle East, we should leave the last word with Saladin's friend and biographer, Baha al Din: A Latin knight, as long as his horse was in good condition, could not be knocked down. Covered by a mail hauberk from head to foot... the most violent blows had no effect on him. But once his horse was killed, the knight was thrown and taken prisoner. - From Osprey Campaign #019 - Hattin 1187 Saladin's greatest victory the Springs of Cresson Gerard de Ridefort summoned all Templar troops in the area and at nightfall on 30 April the Marshal of the Temple brought 90 knights from the castle at Caco (AI Qaqun).Next morning Gerard led these and his own followers to Nazareth where they were joined by secular knights before riding east towards the Springs of Cresson (Ayn Juzah) near the present village of Ayn Mahil. By this time Gerard had a force of about 130 knights,an unknown number of Turcopoles and up to 400 infantry. Gokbori's force was said to consist of 7,000 men though this is a huge exaggeration, 700 seeming more likely.The course of the battle which followed is clear, even if the numbers are not. Against the advice of the Master of the Hospital and the Marshal of the Temple,Gerard insisted on a sudden charge against the Muslims. This has been presented as a case of suicidal overconfidence, yet the Muslim chroniclers indicate that the brief
struggle was a close-run thing fought out in a forest. The Templars, Hospitallers and other cavalry caught their enemy unawares, though in so doing they left their infantry behind. Dildirim al Yaruqi's troops from Aleppo received the brunt of the charge and
were praised for standing firm. It seems that Gokbori and Qaymaz al Najmi then led a counter-charge with spear and sword, the Latin cavalry being surrounded and overwhelmed. Only Gerard de Ridefort and a handful of knights escaped death or capture, the Muslims then scattering the Christian infantry before pillaging the
surrounding area. The fact that Gokbori's force then returned across Raymond's lands without doing further damage says a lot for their discipline.This rout at the Springs of Cresson on 1 May 1187 had a greater impact than might be realized. Although it encouraged King Guy and Count Raymond to patch up their quarrel, the Hospitallers had lost their chief and the Templars had suffered
severe losses.Among those taken captive were King Guy, his brother Geoffrey de Lusignan, the Connetable Amalric de Lusignan, Marquis William de Montferrat, Reynald of Chatillon, Humphrey de Toron, the Master of the Templars, the Master of the Hospitallers, the bishop of Lidde and many other leading barons.
All captured turcopoles would, as renegades from the Muslim faith, probably have been killed on the battlefield. The rest of the prisoners reached Damascus on 6 July and there Saladin made a decision which has been seen as a blot on his humane record. All captured Templars and Hospitallers were given the choice of converting to Islam or execution. Conversion under threat of death is contrary to Muslim law but on this occasion Saladin seems to have considered that the military orders, as dedicated fanatics with a bloody record of their own, were too dangerous to spare 230
were slaughtered. A few converted and one Templar of Spanish origin later commanded the Damascus garrison in 1229, though if he were a survivor of Hattin he would have been a very old man.
Allies and Enemies in the Holy Land
The Fall of Acre
"...In March 1291 an enormous Mameluke army marched on Acre - 160,000 infantry and 60,000 cavalry. Their artillery was awe-inspiring, including not less than 100 mangonels [catapults]" In defense, "out of a population of fifty thousand, 14,000 were foot soldiers and 800 were mounted men-at-arms." "Turkish engineers were steadily undermining the towers, which began to crumble beneath a ceaseless bombardment from the sultan's mangonels, a hail of enormous rocks and timber baulks. Lighter machines hurled pots of Greek fire or burning pitch which burst when they hit their targets and the sky was ablaze with naphtha arrows. Henri [III] tried to negotiate, but the implacable al-Ashraf would accept nothing but complete surrender. By 15 May the first wall and all its towers had been breached. Filling the moat with the bodies of men and horses as well as sandbags the Saracens swept through the main gate, encouraged by 300 drummers on camels. Charging on horseback down the narrow streets the Templar and Hospitaller brethren drove them out, but by evening the desperate Franks were forced to withdraw behind the inner wall. Next day many citizens put their wives and children on board ship for Cyprus, but unfortunately the weather was too bad to put out to sea."
"Just before dawn on Friday, 18 May 1291, the sultan ordered a general assault, announced by first one great kettle drum then by massed drums and a battery of trumpets and cymbals, 'which had a very horrible voice'. Mangonels and archers sent an endless shower of fire bombs into the doomed city, the arrows 'falling like rain', while Mameluke suicide-squads led by white-turbaned officers attacked through the dense smoke all along the wall in deep columns." "Acre was now lost irretrievably. The terrified population, women, babies and old men, ran to the harbor in frantic despair, though many able-bodied citizens died fighting. King Henri had already sailed for home and there were too few ships. Horrible struggles took place on the crowded jetties and overloaded boats sank....To add to the horror a great storm blew up. The Saracens soon reached the jammed quays to butcher the screaming fugitives."
The surviving Templars held out in the fortified Temple by the sea. "A large number of women and children had fled to them for protection and the Templars showed that they could be generous, putting as many refugees as possible aboard the Order's galleys, and sending them off to join the king's fleet. There was not enough room for everyone, and all the brethren, even the wounded, stayed behind. An eyewitness who saw the ships leave wrote afterwards that 'when they set sail everyone of the Temple who remained raised a great cheer, and thus they departed." After several days al-Ashraf offered good terms, which Fra. Pierre accepted and some Mamelukes were admitted. They hoisted the crescent flag of Islam but then began to rape the women and boys, whereupon the infuriated Templars killed them. The infidel flag was torn down and 'Beau Seant' hauled up again. That night the marshal sent sway the Commander, Tibald Gaudin, by boat with the Temple treasury, the holy relics, and some non-combatants. Next day the sultan once more proposed excellent terms, admitting that his men had got what they deserved, so Fra. Pierre when out to discuss surrender. He was immediately seized and beheaded. Some of the brethren were old men, most of them wounded and all exhausted, yet they decided to fight to the finish. They beat off assault after assault. 'They can fight the battle of the Lord and indeed be soldiers of Christ. Let them kill the enemy or die, they need not be afraid'. But the brethren had no replay to mangonel fire and the tunnels which riddled the foundations. On 28 May, the mines were fired. Part of the massive wall collapsed and 2,000 Turkish troops poured in to meet a bloody reception. The weight was too much for the tottering building, which came crashing down and Saracens and brethren perished together in a flaming hecatomb."
"The Poor Knights' most lasting achievement, their contribution towards the overthrow of the Church's attitude to usury, was economic. No medieval institution did more for the rise of capitalism. Yet the Templars deserve to be remembered not as financiers but as the heroes of Acre, that strange fellowship of death who died for Christ with such disturbing courage." - Desmond Seward, The Monks of War
Acre, Siege of (1291)
The siege of Acre (mod. ‘Akko, Israel) by the Maml‰ks of
Egypt, lasting from 5/6 April to 28 May 1291, resulted in the
Muslim conquest of the city and brought about the end of
the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem.
Following an attack by Italian crusaders on the Muslim
population of Acre in August 1290, the Egyptian sultan
Qal¢w‰n repealed a ten-year truce that had been concluded
with the kingdom in 1283 and moved against Acre, but died
shortly after he had left Cairo (10 October 1290). His son al-
Ashraf Khalªl arrived before Acre on 5 April 1291 with a large
army. Acre had 30,000–40,000 inhabitants, who were joined
in the defense of the city by 700–1,200 knights and
14,000–18,000 infantry, including the Italian crusaders,
members of the military orders, and 200–300 knights
brought in later by Henry II, king of Cyprus and Jerusalem.The Maml‰k forces were considerably larger, and had many
siege machines of varying sizes.The siege began on 6 April. On its western and southern side, Acre was protected by the sea, the Templar castle at the southwestern point, and the harbor fortifications. The northeastern walls around the suburb of Montmusard were guarded by Templars and Hospitallers. The northeastern point and the eastern walls were defended by the troops of the kingdom commanded by Henry’s brother Amalric of
Lusignan, an English contingent led by Otto of Grandison, a
French contingent under John of Grailly, and troops of
Venice, Pisa, and the commune of Acre. The Maml‰ks concentrated their attacks on the St. Anthony’s Gate complex
linking Montmusard with the old city and on the northeastern
point, which was fortified by a barbican (King Hugh’s
Tower) and a tower (King Henry’s Tower) at the outer wall
and another tower (the Accursed Tower) at the inner wall.
Sorties by the Templars and Hospitallers in mid-April
failed, resulting in heavy Frankish casualties. King Henry
arrived at Acre on 4 May with reinforcements and asked for
a truce, which Khalªl declined. On 8 May, King Hugh’s
Tower had to be abandoned. King Henry’s Tower and parts
of the outer wall collapsed on 15 May. The following day, as
the Muslims attempted to storm the city, they were fended
off by a sortie of the Hospitallers under the marshal
Matthew of Clermont. On 18 May, the Mamluks attacked the
fortifications between St. Anthony’s Gate and the Accursed
Tower with full force and managed to enter the city. There
were insufficient vessels for the inhabitants to escape by sea.
The Templar Roger Flor supposedly sold the space on a galley
he had seized for outrageous sums of money. King
Henry, his brother Amalric, Otto of Grandison, John of
Grailly, and the Hospitaller master John of Villiers escaped
to Cyprus. The patriarch of Jerusalem, Nicholas of Hannapes,
drowned after he allowed so many refugees on his
boat that it sank. The Templar master William of Beaujeu
and the Hospitaller marshal were killed fighting against the
Those unable to escape found refuge in the Templar castle,
and were offered unhindered retreat in exchange for its
surrender. On 25 May, Muslim troops entered the castle to
supervise the Franks’ departure, but as they supposedly
molested the Frankish women and children, they were killed
by the Templar garrison. When the marshal Peter of Sevrey
went to Khalªl to explain the incident, he was seized and
beheaded. Meanwhile, the Muslims had undermined the castle walls, which collapsed on 28 May, ending the siege.
The fall of Acre marked the end of the Frankish states in
Outremer. The Mamluks’ systematic destruction of Acre and
other coastal cities made any future return of the Frankish
population unviable. – Jochen Burgtorf - The Crusades; An Encyclopaedia
An Amazing Geometry
The castles of Templar Chateau of Bezu, the Chateau of Blanchefort and Rennes-le-Chateau are each located on a mountain top. Together, with the high spots of two other peaks, the locations form a perfect pentagon (five equal sides) some fifteen miles in circumference.. "At night, a fire lit upon each peak would easily be seen." Like Rennes-le-Chateau "the village church dates back to at least the time of the Visigoths, some thirteen centuries ago. The church is dedicated to Saint Magdalene..."
"The early astronomers saw the earth as the centre of the universe, around which the Sun, the stars and the planets revolved. Each planet forms its own pattern of movement around the Sun as seen from the Earth. For the ancient watchers of the heavens, those differing patterns of movement allowed them to draw geometric shapes based on the positions of each planet when it was aligned with the Sun." "Only one planet describes a precise and regular geometric pattern in the sky - and that planet is Venus, the heavenly counterpart of the earthly Mary Magdalene - and the pattern that she draws as regular as clockwork every eight years is a pentacle." "There can be no doubt that churches, calvaires, castles and obscure ruins - almost every structure of note upon the map -form an intricate web of alignments which intersect with perfect regularity on the zero [Paris] meridian...The distance covered by three of those division is the circle radius measure. Each point is separated from the next by exactly one third of 933.586 poles!"
"The accepted definition of a pole [also known as the Rod or Perch] is now 5.5 yards - one 320th part of a mile, i.e., 198 inches...The kilometre - one thousand meters or one then-thousandth of a quadrant of the earth's surface - when translated into English measure is 39,370 inches, and the square toot of 39,370 is 198.41874!" "There is an ancient Chinese measure called the Kung (or official) Ch'ih, the length of which is given as 14.14 inches - or, to within about one twentieth of an inch, the square toot of 198.41874!" "The suggested origin of Professor Thom's Megalithic yard is the ancient Sumerian Shusi, given as 2.75 feet. This is 33 inches, or exactly the one sixth division of a Pole. "Therefore: the SHUSI time 6 equals the POLE; the KUNG CH'IH equals the square root of the POLE and the POLE is the square root of the KILOMETER.... a measure apparently not established until the late 18th century!" - Henry Lincoln, The Holy Place
The Order of the Priory of Sion
The Priory of Sion is a mythical secret organisation /order with fabricated roots older than the Order of the Temple. The 'Priory' story was a clever hoax by a group of Frenchmen, whose front man Pierre Plantard sold it to the writers of 'Holy Blood, Holy Grail' and the story took off from there. Of course, there is the theory that the hoax story is a hoax to hide the real Priory of Sion!
"Themes such as Arcadia, the number 58, Black Madonnas and Mary Magdalene are found in noticeable profusion where the Priory is supposed to have had influence, and in the works of artists, writers and poets who are said to be connected with that organization. These recurring themes would seem to indicated an 'underground stream' of esoteric belief." - Lynn Picknett & Clive Prince, Turin Shroud - In Whose Image? The Shocking Truth Unveiled
"...This mysterious secret society brought itself to light in 1956, and is listed with the French directory of organizations under the subtitle 'Chivalry of Catholic Rules and Institutions of the Independent and Traditionalist Union', which in French abbreviates to CIRCUIT - the name of the magazine distributed internally among members. Depending on what statutes one considers, Sion either has 9,841 members in nine grades, or 1,093 members in seven, with the supreme member, the 'Nautonnier' or Grand Master of the Order being, till 1963, Jean Cocteau. While it is believed the head has been Pierre Plantard de St.-Clair up until recent times, he claims to have left that post in 1984, so it is not clear who runs the organization at this time." - Steve Mizrach, "The Mysteries of Rennes-le-Chateau and the Prieure du Sion"
The members of the Order of the Priory of Sion is divided into two effective groups: a The Legion, charged with the apostolate. b The Phalange, guardian of the tradition
The hierarchy of nine grades consists of: a in the 729 provinces 1 Novices:6,561 members 2 Croices:2,187 members in the 27 commanderies 3 Preux:729 members 4 Ecuyers:243 members 5 Chevaliers:81 members 6 Commandeurs:27 members in the Arch 'Kyria' 7 Connetables:9 members 8 Senechaux:3 members 9 Nautonier:1 member
The office of Nautonnier or Navigator, is symbolized by the boat of Isis"Isis holds in her right hand a small sailing ship with the spindle of a spinning wheel for its mast. From the top of the mast projects a water jug, its handle shaped like a serpent swelled with venom. This indicates that Isis steers the bark of life, full of troubles and miseries, on the stormy ocean of Time. The spindle symbolizes the fact that she spins and cuts the thread of life." - Manly P. Hall, Masonic, Hermetic, Quabbalistic & Rosicrucian Symbolical Philosophy
The boat of Isis "was positioned in the constellation of Argo. Specifically, in Egypt this constellation was named Sothis or Soth-Isis, the Star of Isis. Furthermore, in the Egyptian legends this vessel represented the female organ of generation." - David Wood, Genesis
The Ark of the Covenant of the ancient Israelites is believed to have been modelled after the ceremonial ark of Isis.
Grand Masters of the Prieure de Sion
Taken from the 'Dossiers Secret
( The Priory of Sion is a mythical secret organisation /order with fabricated roots older than the Order of the Temple. The 'Priory' story was a clever hoax by a group of Frenchmen, whose front man Pierre Plantard convinced the writers of 'Holy Blood, Holy Grail' and the story took off from there... Of course, there is the theory that the hoax story is a hoax to hide the real
Priory of Sion
"...It would seem that
Sion's Grand Mastership has recurrently shifted between two essentially distinct groups of individuals. On the one hand there are figures of monumental stature who - through esoterica, the arts or sciences - have produced some impact on Western tradition, history and culture. On the other hand, there are members of a specific and interlinked network of families - noble, and sometimes royal." - Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail
"...The first Grand Master, the twelfth-century Norman knight Jean de Gisors, took the name Jean II and pose the question: 'Who, then was Jean I?' They offer a few suggestions - John the Baptist, John the Evangelist and John the Divine - before dropping the subject." - Lynn Picknett & Clive Prince, Turin Shroud - In Whose Image? The Shocking Truth Unveiled
"This succession was clearly intended to imply an esoteric and Hermetic papacy based on John, in contrast (and perhaps opposition) to the exoteric one based on Peter." - Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail
It has been alleged that Hughes de Payens, first Grand Master of the Knights Templar, had been inducted into the Johannites, a sect which chose John the Baptist as their prophet. According to the dossiers secrets, each of the alleged Grand Masters of the Prieure de Sion took the name Jean in succession (supposedly influencing the name chosen by Pope John XXIII). One of the Grand Masters on the list, Leonardo da Vinci, displayed a strong interest in John the Baptist. Another, Sir Isaac Newton, became preoccupied with the writings of the Apocalypse, then attributed to John the Evangelist.
According to the dossiers secrets, the following individuals were amongst the Grand Masters:
Rene d'Anjou (1418-80) - a major impetus behind the Renaissance through his literacy and influence on Cosimo de'Medici setting up bastions of esoteric, Hermetic principles - the 'underground stream'.
"Through his patronage of art, literature and the advancement of knowledge Rene is one of the most important figures of the formative years of the Renaissance....It was directly as a result of Rene's influence that Cosimo de Medici sent agents out to look for ancient texts, which resulted in the revival of Neoplatonic and Hermetic thought..." - Lynn Picknett & Clive Prince, Turin Shroud - In Whose Image? The Shocking Truth Unveiled
Nicholas Flamel (1330-1418) - Most famous of the alchemists, "the Paris notary Nicolas Flamel...claimed that he dreamed of an occult book, subsequently found it, and succeeded in deciphering it with the aid of a Jewish scholar learned in the mystic Hebrew writings known as the Kabbala. In 1382 Flamel claimed to have succeeded in the 'Great Work' (gold making); certainly he became rich and made donations to churches." - Encyclopaedia Britannica
"...One alchemical symbol that is widely acknowledged by modern scholars is that of an old bearded man, the back of whose head shows a young woman looking into a mirror. A statue with this image graces the exterior of Nantes cathedral, as does a bearded king with the body of a woman, in the porch at Chartres that depicts the Queen of Sheba." "The hermaphrodite is a pure alchemical symbol, representing the perfect balance achieved in the Great Work, and the perfect being, in which the alchemist himself is transformed and transmuted spiritually - and, as many believe, physically as well. It was a 'consummation devoutly to be wished' and had little, if anything, to do with sexuality as we understand it today. The Great Work was an explosion of the potential into the actual, where they mystical quest takes on concrete form. As the alchemists said, 'as above, so below' - this process was believed to make spirit into matter and transmute one sort of matter into another. It made a man into a god." - Lynn Picknett & Clive Prince, Turin Shroud - In Whose Image? The Shocking Truth Unveiled
Revered by men like Newton, Flamel was the discoverer of 'The Sacred Book of Abraham the Jew, Prince, Priest, Levite, Astrologer and Philosopher to that Tribe of Jews who by the Wrath of God were Dispersed amongst the Gauls' which became one of the most famous works in Western esoteric tradition.
Sandro Filipepi (1483-1510) - better known as Botticelli, the renowned Renaissance painter.
Leonardo da Vinci
(1510-19) - "Having little formal education, Leonardo enthusiastically accepted Nicholas's [of Cusa] new worldview [of an universe with no limits in space, no beginning or ending in time] as a justification for rejecting the outmoded authority of the 'Pharisees - the 'holy friars' and of his 'adversaries' Plato and Aristotole." "For the first time since the Ionians, he put forward a conception of science that was wholly secular, in no way based on religious doctrines or philosophy....In Leonardo the craftsman, scientist, and inventor are merged into one." - Eric Lerner, The Big Bang Never Happened
"Leonardo was left-handed; he was a strict vegetarian; he dissected dead bodies, he sought the company of alchemists and necromancers; he worked on a Sunday and only attended Mass when at court." "The only surviving sculpture that involved Leonardo in its making is the statue of John the Baptist in the Baptistry in Florence, on which he collaborated with the utmost secrecy with Giovan Francesco Rustici, a known necromancer and alchemist. And Leonardo's last painting was 'John the Baptist', showing him with the same half-smile as 'The Mona Lisa', and pointing straight upwards with the index finger of his right hand. This in Leonardo's work is a sign always associated with John: in the 'Adoration of the Magi' a person stands by the elevated roots of a carob tree - John's tree, symbol of sacrificial blood - while making this gesture. In his famous cartoon of St. Anne the subject also does this, warning an oblivious Virgin...The disciple whose face is perhaps accusingly close to Jesus' in 'The Last Supper' is also making this gesture. All these gestures are saying 'remember John'." - Lynn Picknett & Clive Prince, Turin Shroud - In Whose Image? The Shocking Truth Unveiled
Robert Fludd (1595-1637) - "inherited John Dee's mantle as England's leading exponent of esoteric thought" who consorted with Andrea, amongst others involved in the 'Rosicrucian' movement. "Historian Frances Yates, in her book The Rosicrucian Enlightenment, in a chapter entitled 'Rosicrucianism and Freemasonry', quotes one De Quincey, who states, 'Freemasonry is neither more nor less than Rosicrucianism as modified by those who transplanted it in England, whence it was re-exported to the other countries of Europe.' De Quincey states that Robert Fludd was the person most responsible for bringing Rosicrucianism to England and giving it its new name." - Gerry Rose ,"The Venetian Takeover of England and Its Creation of Freemasonry"
Johann Valenin Andrea (1637-54) - "the creator of the semi-secret Christian unions and author of the Rosicrucian manifestos, a Hermetic allegory which also evokes resonances with the Grail Romances and the Knights Templar. At this time, with the eclipse of the House of Lorraine, the Priory transferred its allegiance to the more influential Stuarts after Frederick of the Palatinate married Elizabeth Stuart, daughter of James I of England. Frederick "created a culture, a 'Rosicrucian' state with its court cantered on Heidelberg." [Francis Yates] - Baigent & Leigh, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail
"Through the historical detective work of Frances Yates, we now know that this era was a time when many 'Rosicrucian' ideas were moving to the Continent, and esoteric thinkers were confluencing around Frederick, Elector of the Palatinate of Bohemia, as the figure who would usher in the reforms of Church and State many expected." - Steve Mizrach, "The Mysteries of Rennes-le-Chateau and the
Prieure du Sion
Robert Boyle (1654-91) - part of the "Invisible College" of dynamic English and European minds which became the Royal Society after the restoration of the monarch in 1160 with the Stuart ruler, Charles II as its patron and sponsor. His two closest friends were Isaac Newton and John Locke who met regularly with him to study alchemical works.
"In the ancient world alchemy was referred to simply as 'the sacred art'. It flourished in the first three centuries A.D. in Alexandria, where it was the combined product of glass and metal technology, a Hellenistic philosophy of the unity of all things through the four elements (earth, air, water, fire), and 'occult' religion and astrology....The essential principle was that all things, both animate and inanimate, were permeated by spirit, and that the substances of the lower world could, through a synthesis of chemical operations and imaginative reasoning, be transmuted into higher things of the spiritual world - things not subject to decay." - David Maybury-Lewis, Millenium
"The central idea of Gnosticism is that the material of which 'soul and true being' is composed is trapped through a series of cosmic misfortunes in a low-level universe that is alien to it. And the alchemists literalized these ideas to suggest that the spirit could somehow be distilled or coaxed from the dense matrix of matter." - Terence McKenna, The Archaic Reviva
Isaac Newton (1691-1727) - "believed alchemy might enable human beings to shape and control the world by understanding and participating in its God-given vitality. He conducted alchemical experiments with great secrecy at Trinity College, Cambridge, working alone, even building his own furnaces without the aid of a bricklayer. He made a pact with the chemist John Boyle not to communicate their shared alchemical knowledge to others, because the 'subtle' and 'noble' powers of matter and the means of controlling them should be kept secret by those chosen by God to be entrusted with them." - David Maybury Lewis, Millenium
"He had been obsessed...with the notion that a secret wisdom lay concealed within the pages of the Scriptures: Daniel of the Old Testament and John of the New particularly attracted him because 'the language of the prophetic writings was symbolic and hieroglyphical and their comprehension required a radically different method of interpretation'." "He had learned Hebrew to do the job properly and had then carried out a...meticulous exercise on the book of Ezekiel...to produce a painstaking reconstruction of the floor plan of the Temple of Solomon...He had been convinced that the great edifice built to house the
Ark of the Covenant
had been a kind of cryptogram of the universe; if he could decipher this cryptogram, he had believed, then he would know the mind of God." - Graham Hancock, The Sign and the Seal
"Newton was not the first of the age of reason. He was the last of the magicians, the last of the Babylonians and Sumerians, the last great mind which looked out on the world with the same eyes as those who began to build our intellectual inheritance rather less than ten thousand years ago." Newton "saw the whole universe and all that is in it as a riddle, as a secret which could be read by applying pure thought to certain evidence, certain mystic clues which God had hid about the world to allow a sort of philosopher's treasure hunt to the esoteric brotherhood. He believed that these clues were to be found partly in the evidence of the heavens and in the constitution of elements, but also partly in certain papers and traditions handed down by the brethren in an unbroken chain back to the original cryptic revelation." - John Maynard Keynes, Newton the Man
"Just as the world was created from dark chaos through the bringing forth of the light and through the separation of the aery firmament and of the waters from the earth, so our work brings forth the beginning out of black chaos and its first matter through the separation of the elements and the illumination of matter." - Sir Isaac Newton
Charles Radclyffe (1727-46) - personal secretary to Bonnie Prince Charlie; promulgated, if not devised the "Scottish Rite" Freemasonry. Radclyffe worked through Chevalier Andrew Ramsay, a member of a quasi Masonic, quasi-"Rosicrucian" society called the Philadelphians. Ramsay, a close friend of Isaac Newton, was prominent in disseminating Freemasonry to the continent.
Charles de Lorraine (1746-80) - the brother of Francois, Duke of Lorraine who was the Holy Roman emperor who married Maria Theresa of Austria in 1735. The first European prince to become a mason, Francois' court at Vienna became Europe's Masonic capital.
Charles Nodier (1801-44) - the flamboyant mentor for an entire generation including young Victor Hugo, Balzac, Dalcroix, Dumas pere, Lamartine, Musset, Theophile Gautier, Gerard de Nerval and Alfred de Vigny - all who drew upon esoteric and Hermetic tradition. "Around 1793 he created another group - or perhaps an inner circle of the first [the Philadephes]- which included one of the subsequent plotters against Napoleon." - William T. Still, New World Order
Victor Hugo (1844-85) "prophesied that in the Twentieth Century, war would die, frontier boundaries would die, dogma would die...and Man would live. 'He will possess something higher than these...a great country, the Whole Earth...and a great hope, the Whole Heaven'." - Marilyn Ferguson, The Aquarian Conspiracy
Claude Debussy (1885-1918)- an integral member of the symbolist circles which included Oscar Wilde, W. B. Yeats, Stefan George, Paul Valery, the young Andre Gide and Marcel Proust. He also consorted with the Marquis Stanislas de Guaita, founder of the so-called Cabalistic Order of the Rose-Croix, and Jules Boise, a notorious Satanist who prompted MacGregor Mathers to found the Order of the Golden Dawn.
Jean Cocteau (1918-) - an associate of Jacques Maritain and Andre Malraux, he was made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor (for his quiet work in the Resistance?). Although associated with royalist Catholic circles, Cocteau's Catholicism was highly unorthodox and his redecorations of churches reflected Rosicrucian themes.
- List from Baigent & Leigh, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail
The Dissolution of the Order
Rumours and Conspiracies
Treasure is such an emotive word.
Just before King Phillip seized the Templar preceptory in Paris, several wagons escorted by a contingent of Templar Knights reportedly left the complex and are supposed to have gone to St. Rochelle from where they set sail. Where they went is unknown. Some have suggested they went to Scotland, some have suggested Portugal, others have speculated their destination was the Americas. No one knows and it is unlikely that anyone ever will. Only one thing is certain, no trace of any Templar treasure has ever surfaced anywhere.
"They set about amassing great riches, becoming not only the greatest soldiers of the West, but its greatest bankers. They also became great builders of cathedrals, accomplished diplomatists, and the most reliable chamberlains at the courts of Europe." - Peter Tompkins, The Magic of Obelisks
"The order's possessions were divided into eight langues or linguistic regions according to nationality, and ten provinces which ignored state boundaries, especially in France. The chief house of each langue was called a grand priory, and was directly subordinate to the grand master. The langues in order of seniority were Provence, Auvergne, France, Italy, Aragon (which comprised Navarre, Catalonia, Roussillon and Sardinia), England (including Scotland and Ireland), Germany (a highly complex langue made up of Upper and Lower German, Hungary, Bohemia, Poland, Denmark and Sweden) and Castile (made up of Leon, Portugal, Algarve, Granada, Toledo, Galicia and Andalusia). The ten provinces mentioned in the French Rule, which had been drawn up in 1140 to supplement St Bernard's Rule, are listed as Jerusalem, Tripoli in Syria, Antioch, France, England, Poitou, Anjou, Portugal, Apulia and Hungary. Each province had its own master and commander who headed the local hierarchy of commanders of individual houses." - Noel Curer-Briggs, The Shroud and the Grail - A Modern Quest for the True Grail
"...Most Templar violations of the feudal code were of a kind very frequently committed by others. In devoting a lot of attention to plunder, as they did from the start, the Templars behaved like other feudal lords. In exacting large payments of tribute from Muslim and Assassin rulers they again (in company with the Hospitallers) only complied with normal feudal and Syrian practice. But in one respect the Templars offended against all feudal ideas: this was in lending money and in accepting money to keep on deposit....The Templars were no strangers to 'largesse': their Rule specifically defines the value of the gifts which the great officers of the Order could make to those whom they chose to honour." - Peter Partner, The Murdered Magicians
"By lending vast sums to destitute monarchs they became the bankers for every throne in Europe - and for certain Muslim potentates as well." "And the Templars traded not only in money, but in thought as well. Through their sustained and sympathetic contact with Islamic and Judaic culture, they came to act as a clearing-house for new ideas, new dimensions of knowledge, new sciences. They enjoyed a veritable monopoly on the best and most advanced technology of their age - the best that could be produced by armourers, leather-workers, stonemasons, military architects and engineers. They contributed to the development of surveying, map-making, road-building and navigation. They possessed their own sea-ports, shipyards and fleet, a fleet both commercial and military, which was among the first to use the magnetic compass. And as soldiers, the Templars' need to treat wounds and illness made them adept in the use of drugs. The Order maintained its own hospitals with its own physicians and surgeons - whose use of mold extract suggests an understanding of the properties of antibiotics. Modern principles of hygiene and cleanliness were understood. And with an understanding also in advance of their time they regarded epilepsy not as demonic possession but as a controllable disease." - Baigent, Leigh & Lincoln, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail
After the fall of the Holy Land "disillusioned anticlericalism was becoming almost universal. In such circumstances the Templars and Hospitallers who returned to the west, apparently unemployed and yet still enjoying their old moneys and privileges, seemed an offensive addition to the great class of clerical hypocrites and drones." - Peter Partner, The Murdered Magicians
"They waste this money which is intended for the recovery of the Holy Sepulchre on cutting a fine figure in the world; they deceive people with their idle trumpery, and offend God; since they and the Hospital have for so long allowed the false Turks to remain in possession of Jerusalem and Acre; since they flee faster than the holy hawk; it is a pity, in my view, that we don't rid ourselves of them for good." - Rostan Berenguier of Marseilles
"No sharper experience of alienation form God's order could be had than the feeling that demons were threatening Christian people, and that the protection which the sacramental order had formerly given against these evil spirits was no longer effective.." - Peter Partner, The Murdered Magicians
"For many years there had been strange rumours about the Templars, who had developed a mania for secrecy. Minds darkened by hostility were only to ready to credit sinister accusations; 'suspicions among thoughts are like bats among birds - they ever fly by twilit', and the brethren became enveloped in a miasma of poisonous gossip." - Desmond Seward, The Monks of War
Philip the Fair of France "probably looked at the Templars first of all as an element in crusading policy. In this respect the Templars, the Hospitallers, and the pope had all opposed an irritating passive resistance to his policies." "The French government had for some years been demanding the fusion of the two main Military Orders. It was discreetly silent in the diplomatic negotiations about what was to be done with the Orders when they had been merged, but from the writings of royal propagandists we know that the aim was to form a single Order headed by one of the sons of the King of France...The Catalan zealot Ramon Lull...had earlier launched the visionary idea of a Christian 'Warlike King' who would centralize and lead the whole Christian crusading effort."
"It was common practice among late medieval kings to obtain very large sums of money from the clergy by promising to take the cross, or by actually taking it, and persuading the pope to tax the clergy of their land for a crusading tithe. In many of not in most cases the king concerned would somehow get control of these moneys, which he had promised with more or less sincerity to use on Crusade. On very few occasions was the money actually so used: once it came into the direct control of the royal financial agents it was usually made to disappear on one pretext or another into the general stream of royal finances. Philip the Fair himself acquired a great deal of money in this way, as did his contemporary Edward I of England." - Peter Partner, The Murdered Magicians
"...It is difficult to believe that a king as scrupulous and conscientious in other respects as Philip demonstrably was would have attacked the Templars with such violence merely for financial gain. While Barber [The Trial of the Templars] attempts to link the Templars with other 'outgroups' and to consider all equally victimized by Philip's extortionary practices, the effort remains unconvincing. It was one thing to harass the despised Lombards and the Jews, who operated on the border of permissible Christian behaviour, but quite another to proceed against a monastic order, garnered with all the spiritual prestige, however momentarily tarnished. of the highest ideals of Christian Europe. Surely a king of Philip's acknowledged religious sensibilities would have understood the moral difference between these actions."
"Barber himself shows that as early as 1305 Philip was receiving reports of scandalous practices among the Templars from informers such as Esquieu de Floyran, who approached the king after having failed to sell his rumours to James II of Aragon. Why Philip, unlike James, proved receptive to these reports is, in turn, best explained by the shift in Philip's personal concerns toward a more religious bent, which Robert-Henri Bautier has recently argued took place after the death of this wife, Jeanne of Navarre, in April 1305 (See R.-H. Bautier, "Diplomatique et histoire politique: Ce que la critique diplomatique nous apprend sur la personalite de Philippe le Bel," Revue Historique, 259 (1978): 3-27). Jeanne's death struck Philip with great force and appears to have produced in him an almost fanatical desire to reform himself and his kingdom in the image of his holy grandfather, St. Louis." "In the end, the best evidence suggests that is was not the desire for specie but the weightier coinage of religious purity and personal righteousness that motivated Philip the Fair, a coinage potentially more dangerous to the rights of nonconformity and dissent than even Professor Barber fears." - Gabrielle M. Spiegel
The Dissolution of the Order
Mass Arrest in France
"Avignon had been the seat of Pope Clement V - who had been crowned at Lyons in 1305 in the presence of King Philip of France...It also been Clement V who had order the arrest of the Templars throughout Christendom in 1307." "...There is evidence that he [Philip IV] began to plan his operation against the Templars about a year in advance of its implementation (i.e. in 1306) and there is also evidence that on several occasions during that year he discussed his plans with Pope Clement." - Graham Hancock, The Sign and the Seal
"King Philip the Fair of France developed a similar idea of making himself ruler of a vast Christian empire centred at Jerusalem. He also needed money. First he seized all the Jews in his kingdom and forced them to give up their futures by removing one of their eyes and threatening to remove the other." Then he moved against the Templars to seize their riches. - Peter Tompkins, The Magic of Obelisks
Jacques de Molay was the last Templar Grand Master. "On the night of Thursday, 12 October 1307, Philip's troops broke in to arrest Molay with sixty brethren, incarcerating some in royal prisons, others in the Temple's own dungeons. By the morning of Friday, 13 October, 15,000 people had been seized: knights, chaplains, sergeants confratres, and retainers - even labourers on the Order's arms. Probably not more than 500 were full members, less than 200 were profess brethren. By the weekend popular preachers were denouncing the Poor Knights to horrified crowds all over France.
"The arrest was illegal; the civil authority could not arrest clerics responsible only to Rome. But Philip hoped to substantiate certain charges: denial of Christ, idol worship, spitting on the crucifix, and homosexuality - unnatural vice was a practice associated with the Albigensians and all these accusations were the stock in trade of heresy trials. The French Inquisition staffed by Dominicans, 'Hound of the Lord', was expert at extracting confessions. The brethren, unlettered soldiers, faced a combination of cross-examining lawyers and torture chambers whose instruments included the thumbscrew, the boot, and a rack to dislocate limbs. Men were spread-eagled and crushed by lead weights or filled with water through a funnel till they suffocated. there was also 'burning in the feet'. Probably the most excruciating torments were the simplest - wedges hammered under finger nails, teeth wrenched out and the exposed nerves prodded. The Templars would have resisted any torment by Moslems but now, weakened by confinement in damp, filthy cells and systematic starvation, they despaired when the torture was inflicted by fellow Christians." - Desmond Seward, The Monks of War
"...There were only fourteen knights among the 138 Templars heard by the grand Inquisitor, and only eighteen knights among the 546 prospective 'defenders' of the Order in 1310. Perhaps between fifty and a hundred knights were involved; this is a far cry from the army of 2000 knights which some supposed to have constituted a military danger to the French monarch." - Peter Partner, The Murdered Magicians
The Dissolution of the Order
The Case for the Prosecution
"The quarrel between Boniface VIII and Philip the Fair of France involved many long-standing disputes between the medieval Church and the State." A French civil servant called Guillaume de Nogaret enlisted the help of a small private army attempted to arrest and seize the pope in Italy. "The intention was to take him back to France to face trial by a French-controlled Church Council, but this part of the plan miscarried. Boniface was after a few days freed by a counter-stoke of his supporters, although only a few weeks later he died, a defeated and disgraced man (12 October 1303).. His attackers were automatically excommunicated under canon law..." "Although sanctions against the French king himself were soon lifted, the popes refused to lift the excommunication against Guillaume de Nogaret, the king's chief minister...On the French side [the government] build up a huge dossier against the dead pope, representing him as a heretic, an unbeliever, a simoniac, and also as a magician and the patron of sorcerers. This most emphatically magical accusations were that Boniface had familiar converse with demons, whom he constantly called to his assistance and sometimes worshipped."
"It was to be one of the great ironies of the Templar trials that the minister who was mainly in charge of their prosecution [Guillaume de Nogaret] was for the whole duration of the trials lying under the formal ban of the Church." - Peter Partner, The Murdered Magicians
"G. Legman, in The Guilt of the Templars, a composite work by five distinguished English academicians, says the Templars did not practice homosexuality faute de mieux but as a formal dedication, betrayed by the ritual nudity required at their secret initiation..." - Peter Tompkins, The Magic of Obelisks
"Much has been made of the supposed obscenity of the Templar initiation and of the kissing that formed part of it. In fact it differed very little from the everyday practice of the time whereby the bond between lord and vassal was affirmed by the ceremony of homage. Here the vassal knelt, placed his clasped hands within those of his master, and declared: 'Lord, I become your man', and took an oath of fealty. The lord then raised him to his feet and bestowed on him a ceremonial kiss. The vassal was thenceforth bound 'to love what his lord loved and to loathe when he loathed, and never by word or deed do aught that could grieve him'." - Noel Curer-Briggs, The Shroud and the Grail - A Modern Quest for the True Grail
"Of all the charges levelled against the Templars, the most serious were those of blasphemy and heresy, - of denying, trampling and spitting on the cross." - Baigent, Leigh & Lincoln, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail
"These are the articles on which inquiry should be made against the Order of the Knighthood of the Temple. Firstly that, although they declared that the Order had been solemnly established and approved by the Apostolic See, nevertheless in the reception of the brothers of the said Order, and at some time after, there were preserved and performed by the brothers those things which follow: Namely that each in his reception, or at some time after, or as soon as a fit occasion could be found for the reception, denied Christ, sometimes Christ crucified, sometimes Jesus, and sometimes God, and sometimes the Holy Virgin, and sometimes all the saints of God, led and advised by those who received him. - Item, [that] the brothers as a whole did this. - Item, that the majority [of them did this]. Item, that [they did this] also sometimes after the reception. Item, that the receptors said and taught those whom they were receiving, that Christ, or sometimes Jesus, or sometimes Christ crucified, is not the true God. Item, that they told those whom they received that he was a false prophet. Item, that he had not suffered nor was he crucified for the redemption of the human race, but on account of his sins. Item, that neither the receptors nor those being received had a hope of achieving salvation through Jesus, and they said this, or the equivalent or similar, to those whom they received. Item, that they made those whom they received spit on a cross, or on a representation or sculpture of the cross and an image of Christ, although sometimes those who were being received spat next [to it]. Item, that they sometimes ordered that this cross be trampled underfoot. Item, that brothers who had been received sometimes trampled on the cross. Item, that sometimes they urinated and trampled, and caused others to urinate, on this cross, and several times they did this on Good Friday. Item, that some of them, on that same day or another of Holy Week, were accustomed to assemble for the aforesaid trampling and urination." - The Articles of the Accusations
The Dissolution of the Order
"Spare No Known Means of Torture"
"The standard nature of the confessions bespeaks the standard application of a questionnaire, which as in most subsequent witchcraft trials guaranteed a remarkable uniformity in details." - Peter Partner, The Murdered Magicians
"The inquisitors had orders to 'spare no known means of torture' so they could let their wild imaginations run free. Some Templars had their teeth pulled out one at a time, with a question between each extraction, then had the empty sockets probed to provide an additional level of pain. Some has wood wedges driven under their nails, while others had their nails pulled out. A common device was an iron frame like a bed, on which the Templar was trapped with his bare feet hanging over the end. A charcoal brazier was slid under his oiled feet as the questioning began. Several knights were reported to have gone mad with the pain. A number had their feet totally burned off, and at a later inquiry a footless Templar was carried to the council clutching a bag containing the blackened bones that had dropped out of his feet when they were burned off. His inquisitors had allowed him to keep the bones as a souvenir of his memorable experience. The hot iron was a favourite tool because it could be easily applied again and again to any part of the body. It could be held a couple of inches away, cooking the flesh while the question was asked, then firmly pressed against the body when the answer came out incorrectly or too slowly." - John J. Robinson, Dungeon, Fire and Sword (1991)
"Of 138 Templars questioned in Paris during October and November, 105 admitted that they had denied Christ during their secret reception into the order, 123 that they had spat at, on, or near some form of the crucifix, 103 that they had indecently kissed, usually on the base of the spine or the navel, and 102 implied that homosexuality among the brothers was encouraged (although only 3 admitted directly engaging in homosexual relations). This immediate and virtually unanimous confession of guilt on the part of the Templars, including the Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, and the Visitor, Hughes de Pairaud, cast a pall over the order from which it never recovered. Although the confessions were extracted by torture and later denied before papal inquisitors, the Templars had sentenced themselves out of their own mouths. " - Gabrielle M. Spiegel
In France "it is not surprising that thirty-six brethren died, or, that out of 138 examined 123 confessed to the least nauseating charge, spitting on the crucifix, for medieval man was accustomed to swearing oaths under duress and then obtaining absolution once he was safe. Even Jacques de Molay stooped to this stratagem, humiliated by a charge of homosexuality which he furiously denied. However, though his 'confession' may have been politic it unnerved the brethren. Fra. Hughues de Peyraud frightened them still more by admitting every accusation; 'made of the willow rather than the oak' the wily Treasurer cooperated with gusto, declaring he worshipped an idol in chapter. At Carcassonne two brethren agreed they had adored a wooden image called 'Baphomet' while a Florentine Templar named it 'Mahomet' and another brother said it had a long beard but no body. Royal agents hunted frantically for Baphomet and 'discovered' a metal-plated skull suspiciously like a reliquary. These avowals of idolatry only served to discredit other evidence for in extremities of pain and anguish man will say anything. Yet only three brethren would confess to homosexual practices, a refutation of 'indecent kisses'. It was alleged that in the rite of profession, postulants were required to kiss their superior on the navel or the base of the spine - possibly a few preceptors indulged in mumbo-jumbo but it is highly unlikely. And intensive searches failed to find 'the secret rule'." - Desmond Seward, The Monks of War
"The course of the trials in England, Aragon, Navarre (ruled by Philip the Fair's eldest son, Louis), Majorca, Castile, Portugal, Italy and Germany demonstrates incontestably that only in France or in territories under French influence were there substantial confessions to the alleged crimes. In England and Aragon, whose laws of procedure forbade the use of torture, confessions came only after the papal inquisitors had taken over and introduced torture. The sole exception was the admission of the English Templars to a belief in the power of absolution exercised by the Grand Master and regional preceptors in chapter, which Barber [The Trial of the Templars] convincingly explains as a consequence of Templar confusion over the changing definition of absolution in the thirteenth century, to which Templar practice did not conform. The sharp distinction in obtaining confessions between countries that did and did not employ torture makes entirely plausible Barber's conclusion that 'it would now be difficult to argue, as some nineteenth-century historians did, that the Templars were guilty of the accusations made against them by the regime of Philip the Fair'." - Gabrielle M. Spiegel
In England, "if the Templars would confess to the sin of a layman granting absolution and swear their own condemnation of the Templar heresies charged in the papal encyclicals, they could perform a minor penance and be free men, back in the bosom of the Church. That was too good a bargain to pass up, and most of the English Templars agreed. They made their confession in public, then were sent into monasteries to perform their penances. With that done, a few went into the Hospitallers, but most returned to secular lives, with meagre pensions based on what the Church felt was the minimum amount required by a monk for food and clothing." - John J. Robinson, Dungeon, Fire and Sword (1991)
The Dissolution of the Order
The Papal Bans
"When one considers how the Templars fought and died throughout the crusades it seems hard not to believe in their innocence...It is surely more than coincidence that the most strident accusations came from the heartlands of the Albigensian heresy; Nogaret was a Provencal, Fra. Esquiu a Catalan. Local brethren in these regions could well have turned isolated preceptories into Cathar cells during the previous century when the heresy was at its height, while the Order's bankers would have been quite capable of protecting fugitive heretics to obtain the Cathar treasure which disappeared just before their last stronghold fell in 1244. Admittedly Catharism was almost extinct by 1307. But vague memories from years before of heresy hunts within the Order, kept secret to avoid scandal, may have been the origin of tales of devil worship, secret rites and sodomy which were all charges which had been made against the Cathars." - Desmond Seward, The Monks of War
"...The supposed adherence of the Templars to Catharism [is] nonsense. This belief is to some extent based on the erroneous identification of Bertrand de Blanquefort, a Templar Grand master, with a Cathar nobleman called Bertrand de Blanchefort. It is true that both names appear as 'Blancafortis' in Latin texts, but the Templar came from Guyenne, not Languedoc, and had nothing whatever to do with the Cathars. In any case, there are three towns in France called Blanquefort and one called Blancafort, apart from the Blanchefort from which the Cathar took his title. Since French noblemen were invariable known by the names of their estates and not by hereditary surnames, nothing can be deduced form the coincidence of two men with similar names." - Noel Curer-Briggs, The Shroud and the Grail - A Modern Quest for the True Grail
"Clement V...who became pope in 1305, moved the papal court to Avignon where it remained for over seventy years - 'the Babylonish captivity'. This new Vicar of Christ, weak, racked by ill health, was desperately afraid of his former sovereign who had secured his election by heavy bribes." "At first the pope had protested vigorously, suspending the Inquisition in France on 27 October 1307. But by now Philip was announcing sensational 'discoveries', including a letter of confession from Fra. Jacques, and so, at the end of November, Clement issued a second bull ordering the arrest of all Templars. Courts of enquiry were set up throughout Christendom. In January 1308, with some reluctance, England arrested its Templars. There were not more than 135 in the country - 118 sergeants, 11 chaplains, and only 6 knights....Irish and Scottish Templars were also rounded up. All but two Scottish brethren escaped; shrewd politicians, they may well have found refuge with the Bruce's guerrillas - certainly King Robert never legally ratified the Scottish Temple's dissolution."
"From Spain and Cyprus came news that the Templars were innocent, while investigations in the empire too found them guiltless. Pressure could be brought to bear on England, but here many prisoners had escaped, and when the remaining fifty were interrogated nothing could be extracted; a second enquiry in 1310 examined 228 brethren with no more result. Finally Clement ordered Edward II to use to torture. Eventually King Edward agreed, stipulating that there must be no 'mutilations, incurable wounds or violent effusions of blood'." - Desmond Seward, The Monks of War
"The prime responsibility for the 'discovery, punishment and prevention of heresy' had been bestowed on what by now was known as the congregation of the Holy Office but was still referred to as the Inquisition. Its functions were largely in the hands of the Order of Preachers, the Dominicans, founded by the Spanish priest Dominic Guzman (later St. Dominic), who had made his name by his extraordinary zeal against the Albigensian heretics in southern France." In 1311 in England, the ten professional torturers provided by the pope "were only able to get admissions that to preserve their secrets Templars were told to go only to their own priests for confession, that they might have occasionally absolved each other of sin in special situations, and that the wore a cord next to their skin, although they didn't know why." - John J. Robinson, Born in Blood
In England, "out of more than 200 Templars including confratres and retainers, examined in 1310 and 1311 all of whom were subjected to excruciating agonies, only four admitted to spitting at the cross." In Paris "by the end of May , 120 Templars had been burnt." "Perhaps the Templars' worst anguish was spiritual - it must have seemed that God Himself had died - and probably many brethren went mad. Yet the wildest rumours circulated, for French public opinion undoubtedly believed in the brethren's guilt. They were supposed to have summoned devil women from hell and slept with them, whole bastards were roasted in front of images smeared with children's fat, and cats were worshipped." "Some Castilian Templars were so horrified that they fled to Granada and turned Moslem."
"In February 1312 the French Estates' General demanded the Order's condemnation. Finally, in March, Clement, in private consistory (that is, with his advisers in camera) formally pronounced the Poor Knights of the Temple of Solomon to be guilty of all charges made against them. When the council [General Council of the Church] reassembled on 3 April they were presented with a fait accompli, the bull Vox in excelso, declaring the Order dissolved. The pope explained his reasons; canonically the Templars could not be convicted on the evidence, but he himself was convinced of their guilt and had therefore exercised his prerogative to condemn them. The General Council accepted his decision without demur. On 2 May a further bull disposed of the brotherhood's lands which were given to the Hospitallers. Those brethren who had retracted confessions - or refused to confess at all - received life imprisonment, while those who had stuck to their confessions were released on a minute pension, most of them ending up as beggars." "...This was an immense accession of wealth for the Hospitallers. In Germany the vast estates of the Templars enabled the Herrenmeister of the Brandenburg Ballei of the 'Johanniterorden' to become semi-autonomous. English commanderies had to be drastically reorganized to absorb new lands; sometimes the commandery itself was transferred to a former preceptory, as at Egle in Lincolnshire." - Desmond Seward, The Monks of War
The Dissolution of the Order
"On 14 March 1314 the four Templar great officers were paraded on a scaffold outside Notre-Dame to hear their sentence - life imprisonment." - Desmond Seward, The Monks of War
Jacques de Molay, the Grand Master of the Order unexpectedly recanted his confession.
"I think it only right that at so solemn a moment when my life has so little time to run [he was nearly seventy] I should reveal the deception which has been practiced and speak up for the truth. Before heaven and earth and with all of you here as my witnesses, I admit that I am guilty of the grossest iniquity. But the iniquity is that I have lied in admitting the disgusting charges laid against the Order. I declare, and I must declare, that the Order is innocent. Its purity and saintliness is beyond question." - Master fra. Jacques de Molay
"Two of his brethren listened fearfully, but the Preceptor of Normandy, Fra. Geoffroi de Charnay, rallied to the Grand Master, speaking with equal defiance. Next morning the two brothers in religion were burnt alive over a slow charcoal fire on an island in the Seine, shouting their innocence through the flames. The crowd was inclined to think them martyrs. A legend grew up that Fr. Jacques had summoned Philip and Clement to come before God for judgment; certainly the pope was dead within a month, the king by the autumn, and his three sons and successors all died young." - Desmond Seward, The Monks of War
"There were no Templar martyrs, as has often been observed. The aim of the examination of the Templars was to obtain confessions of guilt; so far as we know, once these had been obtained no Templar was ever made to suffer capital punishment on their account unless he went back on the confession. Both the fifty four Templars burned in 1310 and the two Templar leaders burned in 1314 died while asserting their religious orthodoxy and Catholic loyalty." "Convincing or specific evidence that the Templars were Cathars cannot have existed, or the prosecution would have used it, as it did use the rather technical charge that the officers in chapter absolved the brothers after their confession of sin as though the officers had been priests. It seems unlikely that the Templars would have pursued a way of salvation other than that offered by the Church, when the path to their life's end which was laid down by the official Order seemed to promise just that certainty of salvation for which men craved. Perhaps, particularly after the return from the Holy Land which deprived them of the chance of a martyr's death in battle against the infidel, some Templars strayed into unorthodox ways. But the evidence of the examinations outside France suggests that if there were such men, they were only a few, and that though there may have been irregularity, there was no real heresy."
In the eighteenth century "the German Masonic bookseller, Friedrich Nicolai, produced an idea that the Templar Masons, through the medieval Templars, were the eventual heirs of an heretical doctrine which originated with the early Gnostics. He supported this belief by a farrago of learned references to the writings of early Fathers of the Church on heresy, and by impressive-looking citations from the Syriac. Nicolai based his theory on false etymology and wild surmise, but it was destined to be very influential. He was also most probably familiar with Henry Cornelius Aggripa's claim, made in the early sixteenth century, that the medieval Templars had been wizards." - Peter Partner, The Murdered Magicians
Rumours and Charges
The derivation of this name has been the cause of some dispute, but it now seems clear that it is dedived from the argot of the Spanish moors, Bufihimat, which is in itself a a corruption of an Arabic word 'Abufihamet.' The translation of this word is 'Father of Wisdom.'
"Public indignation was aroused by...charges of ...worshipping the devil in the form of an idol called Baphomet." Baphomet was "the Templar symbol of Gnostic rites based on phallic worship and the power of directed will. The androgynous figure with a goat's beard and cloven hooves is linked to the horned god of antiquity, the goat of Mendes." - Peter Tompkins, The Magic of Obelisks
Some confessed that they had also worshipped an idol in the form of a cat, witch was red, or gray, or black, or mottled. Sometimes the idol worship required kissing the cat below the tail. Sometimes the cat was greased with the fat from roasted babies. The Templars were forced to eat food that contained the ashes of dead Templars, a form of witchcraft that passed on the courage of the fallen knights." - John J. Robinson, Dungeon, Fire and Sword (1991)
In the list of charges drawn up by the Inquisition against the Templars on 12 August 1308, there appears the following:
"Item, that in each province the order had idols, namely heads, of which some had three races and some one, and others had a human skull. Item, that they adored these idols or that idol, and especially in their great chapters and assemblies. Item, that they venerated (them). Item, that (they venerated them) as God. Item, that (they venerated them) as their Savior.... Item, that they said that the head could save them. Item, that [it could] make riches. Item, that it made the trees flower. Item, that [it made] the land germinate." Item, that they surrounded or touched each head of the aforesaid idols with small cords, which they wore around themselves next to the shirt or the flesh. Item, that in his reception, the aforesaid small cords or some lengths of them were given to each of the brethren. Item, that they did this in veneration of an idol. Item, that they (the receptors) enjoined them (the postulants) on oath not to reveal the aforesaid to anyone."
"...They bestowed worship in their chapter on a heathen idol, variously described as to its physical characteristics, but known as a 'Baphomet[, which etymologically was the same word [in Old French] as 'Mohammed'. [Once or twice the form Mahomet is actually used by witnesses in the trial.] Like so many persecuted heretical groups of the past, they were said to hold their chapters only secretly and at night." "It was impossible for the Templars to have 'picked up in the East' the practice of worshipping an idol bearing the name of the Prophet Mohammed, since no such idol existed anywhere in the Levant, even among breakaway sects such as the Ismailis or the Druse. The idea that Muslims were idolaters was itself a part of another system of 'smears', the pejorative representation of the oriental world by western Christians." - Peter Partner, The Murdered Magicians
"In the Inquisition evidence there are several references to members of the order receiving on initiation a little cord that had been in contact with the 'head'." - Ian Wilson, The Shroud of Turin - The Burial Cloth of Jesus Christ?
Upon being initiated into the Order of the Peacock Angel (Yezidis),"a holy thread, of intertwined black and red wool, is put around the neck. Like the sacred thread of the Parsis and other ancient Middle Eastern cults, this must never be removed; and it sounds like the cord that the Templars were accused of wearing when the Order was suppressed as heretic." - Arkon Daraul, Secret Societies