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THE DARK HISTORY OF THE TEMPLARS

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« on: May 21, 2007, 07:40:54 am »

The Knights Templars



CHAPTER I

THE DARK HISTORY OF THE TEMPLARS

 


The crusades were a barbaric attack on the Middle Eastern Muslim population, living in peace.


Although the crusaders are commonly thought to have been motivated by their deep Christian faith, crusades were actually wars inspired by avarice. At a time of utmost poverty and misery prevalent in the West, the attractions of the East-in particular, the Muslim societies' wealth and prosperity-played on the minds of Europeans, especially those in the Church. These attractions, bolstered with Christian teachings, begot the crusaders' mindset, seemly motivated by religion but actually motivated by worldly designs. This is the reason why Christians, who had followed more or less peaceful policies in the previous 1,000 years, suddenly began to display an appetite for war-specifically, the "liberation" of the holy city of Jerusalem and Palestine as a whole.

We can retrace the beginnings of the crusades to November 1095, when Pope Urban II gathered the Council of Clermont. Three hundred members of the clergy convened under his chairmanship. The pacifist doctrines that had dominated Christendom were abandoned, laying the foundations for the conquest. At the close of the Council, Urban II announced this state of affairs in his famous speech to a congregation that comprised all social classes, demanding that Christians stop the infighting and warring among themselves. The Pope called on them-whether rich or poor, aristocrat or peasant-to unite under one banner and to free the holy land from the Muslims. To him, this was "a holy war."

Historians describe Urban II as a good orator. He intended to incite the Christians against Muslim Turks and Arabs, and succeeded by alleging that the Muslim were assaulting pilgrims and that Christianity's sacred places were being desecrated.1 Of course, none of this was true.

As historians have confirmed, the Muslims were very tolerant towards Christians and Jews, whom they permitted to pray and worship. All minorities co-existing in the Holy Land benefited equally from this atmosphere of tranquility, created by the moral code of Islam. But because means of communication at the time were terribly primitive compared to today's, medieval Europeans weren't aware of this. Owing allegiance to the Vatican in Rome and conducting services in Latin, they knew little about the Eastern Orthodox Church or the Greek-speaking Byzantium, and even less about Islam.


Since what the common people did know amounted to nothing more than hearsay, the Pope found it easy to excite their emotions. Urban II went on to proclaim as an encouragement that for those who participated in the crusade, all sins would be forgiven. The exuberant crowd was distributed fabric crosses to emblazon their garments, and they dispersed to spread the word of the "holy war."

The overwhelming response to this call made history. In a very short period of time, a massive "crusaders' army" was assembled, consisting of not only professional warriors, but also ten thousands of ordinary people.

Some historians suggest that the impoverished kings of Christendom, eager to exploit the fabled riches of the East, pressurized the Pope to call a "holy war." Others find an altogether different motive for Pope Urban II, suggesting that he wished to gain power and prestige for himself at the expense of a rival claiming to be pope. But in reality, all the various kings, princes, aristocrats and others who obliged this call did so for worldly purposes. As Donald Queller of the University of Illionois put it, "the French knights wanted more land. Italian merchants hoped to expand trade in Middle Eastern ports. . . Large numbers of poor people joined the expeditions simply to escape the hardships of their normal lives."2

On the way, greedy hordes murdered countless Muslims and Jews in the hope of finding gold and jewels. Among crusaders, it was common practice to disembowel their victims in the hopes that they might have swallowed their gold and jewels to hide them. In the Fourth Crusade, their avarice reached the point where they looted Christian Constantinople, scratching gold leaf off the frescos in the Cathedral of Hagia Sophia.

 
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« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2007, 07:43:55 am »

Barbarism of the Crusaders


 
A 16th-century crusader


In the summer of 1096, this mob of self-appointed crusaders set off in three separate groups, each taking a different route to Constantinople, where they met up with one another. The Byzantine Emperor, Alexius I, did what he could to aid this force, comprising 4,000 mounted knights and 25,000 infantry troops.3 Raymond IV of Saint-Gilles, Count of Toulouse;Bohemond, Duke of Taranto; Godfrey of Bouillon;Hugh, Count of Vermandois;and Robert, Duke of Normandy commanded this army. Bishop Adhemar of le Puy, the close friend of Urban II, was their spiritual leader.4

After ransacking and setting fire to many settlements and putting countless Muslims to the sword, eventually the crusaders reached Jerusalem in 1099. After a siege of approximately five weeks, the city fell. When the victors finally entered Jerusalem, according to one historian, "They killed all the Saracens and the Turks they found... whether male of female."5

Crusaders slaughtered everyone they met and looted everything they could get their hands on. They murdered indiscriminately those who had taken refuge in the mosques, whether young or old, and devastated the Muslim and Jewish holy sites and places of worship setting the city's synagogues aflame, burning alive Jews who had hidden inside. This slaughter continued until no longer could they find anyone to kill.6

One of the crusaders, Raymond of Aguiles, boasts of this incredible cruelty:

Wonderful sights were to be seen. Some of our men (and this was more merciful) cut off the heads of their enemies; others shot them with arrows, so that they fell from the towers; others tortured them longer by casting them into flames. Piles of heads, hands and feet were to be seen in the streets of the city. It was necessary to pick one's way over the bodies of men and horses. But these were small matters compared to what happened at the Temple of Solomon, a place where religious services are normally chanted . . . in the temple and the porch of Solomon, men rode in blood up to their knees and bridle reins.7



An engraving depicting the crusaders' occupation of Jerusalem A Medieval Age drawing of Templars in Jerusalem



In The Monks of War, researcher Desmond Seward narrates the events of these tragic days:

Jerusalem was stormed in July 1099. The rabid ferocity of its sack showed just how little the Church had succeeded in Christianising atavistic instincts. The entire population of the Holy City was put to the sword, Jews as well as Moslems, 70,000 men, women and children perished in a holocaust, which raged for three days. In places men waded in blood up to their ankles and horsemen were splashed by it as they rode through the streets.8

According to another historical source, the number of Muslims pitilessly slaughtered was 40,000.9 Whatever the actual number of the dead, what the crusaders committed in the Holy Land has gone down in history as an example of matchless barbarism.

The first crusade ended with the fall of Jerusalem in 1099. After 460 years of Muslim rule, the Holy Land came under Christian control. The crusaders established a Latin kingdom that stretched from Palestine to Antioch and made Jerusalem its capital city.

Thereafter, the crusaders began struggling to establish themselves in the Middle East. But to sustain the state they had founded, they needed to organize themselves-and to achieve his, they established unprecedented military orders. Members of these orders had emigrated from Europe and, in Palestine, lived a monastic life of sorts. At the same time, they trained for war against the Muslims. One of these orders went down a different route, undergoing a change that would significantly alter the course of history in Europe and-eventually-the world: the Knights Templar.

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« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2007, 07:45:19 am »

Founding of the Knights Templar



14th-century drawing of the Temple of Solomon

 
About 20 years after the conquest of Jerusalem and the creation of a Latin Empire, the Templars first appeared on the scene of history. Otherwise known as Templars or Knights Templar, the order's full and proper name was Pauperes commilitones Christi Templique Salomonis, or "Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and the Temple of Solomon." (A major part of the information we have today on the Templars was recorded by the 12th century historian Guillaume of Tyre.) The order was founded in 1118 by nine knights: Hugues de Payens, Geoffrey de St. Omer, Rossal, Gondamer, Geoffrey Bisol, Payen de Montdidier, Archambaud de St. Agnat, Andre de Montbard, and the Hugh Conte de Champagne.

Thus was quietly born one of the most talked-about, effective and powerful organizations of Medieval Europe. These nine knights presented themselves to Baldwin II, the Emperor of Jerusalem, asking him to assign them the responsibility of protecting the lives and property of the many Christian pilgrims now flocking to Jerusalem from all over Europe. The Emperor knew Hugues de Payens, the first Grand Master of the order, well enough to grant the nine their request. Accordingly, the district where Solomon's Temple once stood (and by then, included the site of the al-Aqsa Mosque, which survives to this day), was allocated to the order of the Templars, giving the order its name.

The Temple Mount thus remained the order's headquarters for the next 70 years until, following the battle of Hattin, the great Islamic commander Saladin reconquered Jerusalem for the Muslims.

The Templars had established themselves there by choice, because the site of the Temple represented the earthly power of the Prophet Solomon; and the remnants of the temple contained big secrets. Protecting the Holy Land and the Christian pilgrims was the official reason the nine founders gave for joining forces and for creating the order in the first place. But the true reason behind it all was altogether different.

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« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2007, 07:47:53 am »

The Order's Mission


At the time, there were a number of other orders of warrior monks in Jerusalem, but all acting according to their charters. Besides training as soldiers, the Knights of St. John-a large organization also known as the Knights Hospitalers-took care of the sick and the poor and were performing other good deeds in the Holy Land. The Templars, however, had taken it upon themselves to protect the lands between Haifa and Jerusalem-a physical impossibility for the nine knights to shoulder all by themselves. Even then, it was now obvious that they sought political as well as economic gains, quite aside from performing works of charity.



The famous Grand Master Albert Pike, with his book titled Morals and Dogma 


In Morals And Dogma, one of Freemasonry's most popular books, Grand Master Albert Pike (1809-1891) reveals the Templars' true purpose:

In 1118, nine Knights Crusaders in the East, among whom were Geoffroi de Saint-Omer and Hughes de Payens, consecrated themselves to religion, and took an oath between the hands of the Patriarch of Constantinople, a See always secretly or openly hostile to that of Rome from the time of Photius. The avowed object of the Templars was to protect the Christians who came to visit the Holy Places: their secret object was the rebuilding of the Temple of Solomon on the model prophesied by Ezekiel...10

The Knights Templar, he continued, were from the very beginning "devoted to . . . opposition to the tiara of Rome and the crown of its Chiefs. . ." The object of the Templars, he said, was to acquire influence and wealth, then to "intrigue and at need fight to establish the Johannite or Gnostic and Kabbalistic dogma. . ."

Adding to the information that Pike provides, the English authors of The Hiram Key, Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas-both Masons-write about the Templars' origin and purpose. According to them, the Templars discovered "a secret" in the ruins of the temple. This then changed their worldview; and from then on, they adopted un-Christian teachings. Their "protection for pilgrims" became a front behind which they hid their real intent and activities.

There is no evidence that these founding Templars ever gave protection to pilgrims, but on the other hand, we were soon to find that there is conclusive proof that they did conduct extensive excavations under the ruins of Herod's Temple [as Solomon's temple was called after Herod rebuilt it].11

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« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2007, 07:50:59 am »

The authors of The Hiram Key are not the only researchers finding evidence for this. Writes the French historian,

Gaetan Delaforge:

The real task of the nine knights was to carry out research in the area, in order to obtain certain relics and manuscripts which contain the essence of the secret traditions of Judaism and ancient Egypt…12

In The Hiram Key, Knight and Lomas conclude that the Templars excavated items of such importance at the site that they adopted a wholly new world view. Many other historians draw similar conclusions. The order's founders and their successors were all of Christian upbringing, yet their philosophy of life was not a Christian one.



Some seals and maps from the era of the crusades: From left to right: A sketch showing the centers of religious importance in Jerusalem; Seal of Frederick III; another map of Jerusalem; front and back of the crusader king Baldwin's seal; front and back of the Cesaree Archbishop's seal.

At the end of the 19th century, Charles Wilson of the Royal Engineers, began conducting archeological research in Jerusalem. He concluded that the Templars had gone to Jerusalem to study the temple's ruins and, from the evidence Wilson obtained there, that the Templars had set themselves up in the vicinity of the temple to facilitate excavation and research. The tools that the Templars left behind form part of the evidence Wilson gathered, and are now in the private collection of the Scottish Robert Brydon.13

According to the authors of The Hiram Key, the Templars' search was not in vain. They made a discovery that altered their perception of and outlook on the world entirely. Despite being born and raised in a Christian society, they adopted wholly un-Christian practices. Black magic rituals and rites and sermons of perverse content were common practice. There is a general consensus among historians that these practices were derived from on the Cabala.



Muslims and Christians during one of their clashes



 
Map of Palestine showing the crusades

Cabala literally means "oral tradition." An esoteric branch of mystical Judaism, the Cabala is also a school that researches the secret, hidden and meanings of the Torah (or first five Books of Moses) and other Jewish writings. There's more to it, however. A close examination of the Cabala reveals that it actually precedes the Torah. A pagan teaching, it continued to exist after the revelation of the Torah and lived on to spread amongst the followers of Judaism. (For further reading on the subject, see Harun Yahya's Global Freemasonry, Global Publishing, 2002)

For thousands of years, the Cabala has been a resource for sorcery and practitioners of black magic and now enjoys a strong following all around the world, not only in the Jewish community. The Templars were one such group, engaged in research into the Cabala with the goal of acquiring supernatural powers. As the following chapters will examine in detail, they were keen on establishing ongoing relationships with Cabalists in Jerusalem as well as in Europe-a view widely accepted by researchers working on the subject.14

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« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2007, 10:03:50 pm »

The Development of the Order


With new members joining their order, the Templars soon entered a phase of rapid growth. In 1120, Foulgues d'Angers became a Knight Templar and so did Hugo, Count of Champagne, in 1125. The enigma surrounding the order and its mystic teachings drew the attention of many European aristocrats. At the Council of Troyes in 1128, the Papacy officially recognized the order of the Templars, which further aided their growth.15


A ship carrying the symbols of the Templars

 
Rome's recognition of the Templars is related in the Turkish Masonic journal, Mimar Sinan:

To obtain the Papacy's approval of the order, Grand Master Hugues de Payens, accompanied by five knights, paid a visit to Pope Honorius II. The Grand Master submitted two letters-one from the patriarch of Jerusalem, the other from King Baudoin II-setting forth the order's honorable mission, its services to Christianity, and many another good deed. On the 13th of January, 1128, the Council of Troyes convened. Present were many high-ranking officials of the Church, including the Abbot of Citeaux, Etienne Harding, and Bernard, the Abbot of Clairvaux. The Grand Master presented his case once more. It was agreed that the Church would officially recognize the order under the name of Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ. Bernard was commissioned to prepare a Rule for the Templars. So, the order was officially founded.16

In the order's development and progress, the single most important person is undoubtedly St. Bernard (1090-1153). Becoming the Abbot of Clairvaux at the tender age of 25, he had risen in the Catholic Church's hierarchy to become a respectable spokesman for the Church, influential with the Pope as well as the French King. It must be added that he was a cousin of Andre de Montbard, one of the founders of the order. The Templars' Rule was written according the principles of the Cistercian Order to which St. Bernard belonged-or short, the Templars adopted the rules and organization of this monastic order. But most of their rule never went any further than being written down and recognized: The Templars continued in their un-Christian practices that the Church had strictly forbidden.

It's entirely possible that St. Bernard was duped, and that he never knew the truth about the Templars who, taking advantage of his trustworthiness and status in the Church and throughout Christian Europe, used him for their own ends. He wrote a favorable appraisal of the order, "De Laude Novae Militae" (In Praise of the New Knighthood) following Grand Master Hugues de Payens's persistent requests for him to do so.17 Around that time, St. Bernard had become the second most influential person in Christendom, after the Pope.

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« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2007, 10:08:07 pm »



The famous explorer Vasco de Gama was a Templar who set sail to discover new ocean trading routes. Above: Vasco de Gama's ship with the Templars Cross on its sails.


One source illustrates the importance of Bernard's support of the Templars:

Bernard's document, "De Laude Novae Militae", swept through Christendom like a tornado, and in no time the number of Templar recruits increased. At the same time donations, gifts and bequests, from Monarchs and Barons throughout Europe, were arriving regularly on the Templar doorstep. With a staggering rapidity, the fledgling little band of nine knights grew into what we refer to as Templar, Inc.18



The Cabala is a mystic synthesis between pagan teachings preceding the Torah and Judaism. For centuries, the Cabala has been associated with sorcery and was a source of inspiration for the Templars' perverse beliefs.

With this document, the Templars obtained unprecedented privileges not granted to other orders and-according to Alan Butler and Stephen Dafoe, known for their research is this field-became the most successful military, commercial and financial organization in Medieval Europe. As their legend and renown spread from mouth to mouth, they became a multinational company with seemingly unlimited capital and financial resources and ten of thousands of trained employees:

Recruits, and offers of money and land came flowing in from far and wide. Soon, numerous presbyteries, castles, farms and churches, were built and occupied by the Templar Knights and their servants. The Templars fitted out ships, creating both a merchant and fighting navy. In time, they became the most famous warriors, travellers, bankers and financiers of their day.19

In short, the Templars were an autonomous entity answerable only to the Pope, with no obligation to pay dues to any king, ruler or diocese. Their wealth increased day by day. In the Holy Lands, the order's power was legendary and continued until the fall of Acre (1291). They controlled the shipping routes from Europe to Palestine used by pilgrims, but all these constituted just a fraction of the Templars' overall activities.

They had entered the scene as "Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ," but no description could have been less accurate. Amongst their ranks were to be found the wealthiest people of Europe: leading bankers from London and Paris, among whose customers were Blanche of Castile, Alphonso de Poitiers, and Robert of Artois. The finance ministers of James I of Aragon, and Charles I of Naples and the chief advisor of Louis VII of France were all Templars.20

By the year 1147, 700 knights and 2,400 servants of the order were stationed in Jerusalem. Across the known world, 3,468 castles had become the Templars' property. They had established trading posts and routes on both land and sea, had won war booty and spoils from the wars they participated in. Among Europe's states, they were a political power to be reckoned with, often called in to arbitrate between rulers during times of conflict.

It is estimated that in the 13th century, the Templars numbered 160,000, of whom 20,000 were knights-in those times, constituting an undoubted superpower.

In The Temple and the Lodge, authors Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh document the Templars' incredibly widespread influence throughout Christian Europe. They were simply everywhere, even playing a role in the signing of England's Magna Carta. Having amassed huge wealth, they were the most powerful bankers of their time and also the largest fighting force in the West. The Templars commissioned and financed cathedrals, mediated in international transactions, and even supplied court chamberlains to the ruling houses of Europe.

 


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« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2007, 10:12:19 pm »

The Structure of the Order

One of the most interesting aspects of the Templars was their emphasis on discretion. In the two hundred years between the order's founding and its liquidation, they never compromised on secrecy. This, however, is inexplicable by any standard of reason, logic, or common sense. If they were truly devoted to the Catholic Church, there was no need for this secrecy: All of Europe was under the sovereignty of the Papacy. If they were merely following Christian teachings, then they had nothing to hide and there was no need for secrecy. Why adopt secrecy as a fundamental principle if you are in compliance with Church doctrine and your mission is to uphold and defend Christianity-unless you are engaged in activities incompatible with the Church?

Discipline was so very strictly observed within the order's hierarchy that it can only be described as a chain of command. According to the Templar rule, obedience to the Grand Master and Masters of the order was paramount:

... 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.21




Ruins of castles and fortresses built by the Templars in Europe and Palestine

 

The Templars were not allowed any personal possessions; everything remained the property of their order. They also had their own unique dress code. Over their armor, they wore a long white mantle emblazoned with a red cross, so that they were recognized as Templars wherever they went. The Red Cross symbol was assigned to the order by Pope Eugene III, who, incidentally, had been tutored by St. Bernard.

There were three classes of Templars: Knights and warriors of various ranks, men of religion, and finally servants. Other rules specific to the order prohibited marriage, correspondence with relatives or a private life.22 Meals were taken together en masse. As portrayed on their seal-which depicted two knights on one single horse-they were required to go about their business in pairs, share everything, and eat from the same bowl. They addressed each other as "my brother," and each Templar had the right to three horses and one servant. Breach or disrespect of any of these rules was harshly punished.

Grooming and cleansing were considered an embarrassment, so Templars rarely washed and went around filthy and stinking of sweat, from the heat of wearing their armor. But according to history, the Templars were good seafarers. From the surviving Jews and Arabs in the Holy Land, they had acquired various maps and learned the sciences of geometry and mathematics, enabling them to navigate not only along the shores of Europe and along the African coast, but to explore lands and seas lying farther away.

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« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2007, 10:13:48 pm »

Admission to the Order



Money and medallions issued by the Templars, who invented the first banking system.

 
Before one could be considered for admission into the order, he had to meet a number of preconditions. Among them, a man had to be in good health, not married or indebted, without any obligations and not bound by any other order, and willing to accept becoming a slave and servant of the order.

The initiation ceremony was held in a domed chamber resembling the Church of The Holy Sepulchre and was to be conducted in absolute secrecy.23 Just as in Freemasonry centuries later, esoteric rituals had to be performed during this ceremony.

In his article titled "Tampliyeler ve Hurmasonlar" (Templars and Freemasons) mason Teoman Biyikoglu refers to the order's rule of 1128 about the initiation ceremony:

The Master addresses the congregated brothers of the order: "Dear brothers, some of you have proposed that Mr. X may be admitted to the order. If any of you know of any reason to oppose his initiation, say so now."

If no word of opposition is spoken, the candidate will be led to the adjoining chamber of the temple. In this chamber, the candidate is visited by three of the most senior brothers, told of the difficulties and hardship awaiting him if he is admitted to the order, and then asked whether he still wishes to be admitted. If his answer is affirmative, he is asked whether he is married or engaged to be married, has links to other orders, is indebted to anyone, is of good health, and whether or not he is a slave.

If his answers to these questions comply with the requirements of the order, the senior brothers will return to the temple and say, "We told the candidate of all the hardships awaiting him and our conditions of admission, but he is insistent on becoming a slave of the order." Before being readmitted into the temple, the candidate is again asked whether he still insists on being admitted. If he still answers yes, the Grand Master addresses the candidate: "Brother, you are asking much of us. You have seen only the façade of the order, and you hope to acquire pureblood horses, honorable neighbors, good food and nice garments. But are you aware of how hard our conditions really are?" Proceeding to list the difficulties awaiting the candidate, he continues: "You must not seek admittance for wealth, nor for status."

f the candidate agrees, he is again led out of the temple. The Grand Master then asks the brothers whether they have anything to say about the candidate. If there is nothing said against him, he is brought back, made to kneel down, and given the Bible. He is asked if he is married. If he answers no, the oldest or most senior in the congregation is asked, "Have any questions that need to be asked been forgotten?" If the answer is no, the candidate is asked to swear an oath that he will remain loyal to the order and his brothers until the day he dies, and that he will not reveal to the outside world a word that is spoken in the temple. After he has sworn the oath, the Grand Master kisses the new brother on the lips [according to another source he is kissed on the belly and neck]. He then is given a Templar mantle and a woven belt, which is never to be taken off.24

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« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2007, 02:49:18 pm »



Mystic teachings like the Cabala are not the only things the Knights Templars borrowed from Judaism. Although not sanctioned by the true faith, vices like amassing wealth and usury, practiced by some unobservant Jews have been adopted likewise by the Templars. In the Qur'an, God speaks of people who amass gold and silver:

Jewish religious ornaments
 


"Christian Usurers"


According to Alan Butler and Stephen Dafoe, "The Templars were expert financiers, using trading techniques quite unknown in the Europe of their day. They had clearly learned many of these skills from Jewish sources, but would have much more freedom to extend their financial empire, in a way that any Jewish financier of the period would have envied greatly."25

Even though usury was strictly forbidden, they weren't afraid to lend money on interest. The Templars had acquired such wealth-and the power that came with it-that nobody dared speak out against them or do anything about it.26 This so went to their heads that they went out of control. They were disobedient to kings and the Pope and in some cases, even challenged their authority. In 1303, for example, few years before their order was liquidated, they refused a request for assistance from the French King Philip IV, as well as his later request in 1306 for the Templars' order to merge with the Hospitalers.27

Travel could be a hazardous enterprise in the 12th century. En route, wayfarers could be robbed by bandits anywhere and at anytime. Transporting money, as well as other precious commodities essential for trade, was particularly risky. Out of this situation, the Templars made a fortune by means of a fairly simple system of banking. For example, if a tradesman wanted to go from London to Paris, first he would go to the Templars' office in London and hand over his money. In return, he was given a paper with an encoded message written on it. On his arrival in Paris, he could hand in this note in exchange for the money he'd paid in London, minus a fee and interest. Thus the transaction was completed.

Along with traders, wealthy pilgrims too made use of this system. "Checks" issued by Templars in Europe could be cashed in on arrival in Palestine, minus a hefty interest charge for this service. In The Temple and the Lodge, co-authors Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh explain the Templars' economic dimension, recording that the beginnings of modern banking can be traced back to them, and that no other organization contributed as much as the Templars to the rise of capitalism.28 History records Florentine bankers as having invented "checking accounts," yet the Templars were using this method of money transfer long before. It is generally accepted that capitalism first arose in the Jewish community of Amsterdam, but long before them, the Templars had established their own medieval capitalism, including banking based on interest. They lent money on interest rates of up to 60% and controlled a major proportion of capital flow and liquidity in the economy of Europe.

Using methods much like those of a modern private bank, they derived profits from both trade and banking, as well as from donations and armed conflict. They became as rich as the multinational company that, in effect, they were. At one time, the finances of the English and French monarchies were controlled and run by the Templars' respective offices in Paris and London, and both the French and English royal families owed the Templars huge amounts of money.29 The kings of Europe were literally at their mercy, hoping to borrow money, and most royal households had come to depend on the order. This let them manipulate the kings and their national policies for their own purposes.


 
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« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2007, 02:51:14 pm »

The Enigma of the Templars and Gothic Architecture



St. Bernard, spiritual leader of the Templars

After Innocent II was elected Pope with St. Bernard's backing, he granted the Templars the right to build and run their own churches. This was a first in the history of the Church, which ruled as an absolute power at the time. This privilege meant that from now on, the Templars were answerable only to the Pope and beyond the reach of other authorities, including kings and lesser rulers. It also reduced their responsibilities to the Papacy, letting them hold court, impose their own taxes and collect them. Thus they could realize their worldly ambitions free of any pressure from the Church.

In the process of planning their churches, they developed their own style of architecture, later to be known as "Gothic." In The Sign and the Seal, Graham Hancock states that Gothic architecture was born in 1134 with the construction of the north tower of Chartres Cathedral. The person behind this work of architecture was St. Bernard, the Templars' mentor and spiritual leader. He felt it important that this construction symbolize in stone the cabbalistic approach and the esotericism that the Templars esteemed so highly. As Graham Hancock wrote, St. Bernard, the patron of the Templars, "played a formative role in the evolution and dissemination of the Gothic architectural formula in its early days (he had been at the height of his powers in 1134 when the soaring north tower of Chartres cathedral had been built, and he had constantly stressed the principles of sacred geometry that had been put into practice in that tower and throughout the whole wonderful building.)"

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« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2007, 02:52:57 pm »



A medieval engraving showing Jerusalem at the time of the Templars

Elsewhere in the same book, the author writes:

The entire edifice had been carefully and explicitly designed as a key to the deeper religious mysteries. Thus, for example, the a

rchitects and masons had made use of gematria (an ancient Hebrew cipher that substitutes numbers for the letters of the alphabet) to "spell out" obscure liturgical phrases in many of the key dimensions of the great building. Similarly the sculptors and glaziers-working usually to the instructions of the higher clergy-had carefully concealed complex messages about human nature, about the past, and about the prophetic meaning of the Scriptures in the thousands of different devices and designs that they had created.

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« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2007, 02:54:27 pm »



Characteristic examples of Gothic architecture in some of Europe's cities

(For example, a tableau in the north porch depicts the removal, to some unstated destination, of the Ark of the Covenant-which is shown loaded upon an ox-cart. The damaged and eroded inscription, "HIC AMICITUR ARCHA CEDERIS," which could be "Here is hidden the Ark of the Covenant."

Clearly he had regarded the Templars' architectural skills as almost supernaturally advanced and had been particularly impressed by the soaring roofs and arches that they had built. . . Soaring roofs and arches had also been the distinguishing features of the Gothic architectural formula as expressed at Chartres and other French cathedrals in the twelfth century-cathedrals that . . . were regarded by some observers as "scientifically... far beyond what can be allowed for in the knowledge of the epoch."30
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« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2007, 02:58:56 pm »

The Battle of Hattin


Following the death of the Latin King Baldwin I in 1186, Guy de Lusignan-who was known to be close to the Templars-succeeded to the throne in Palestine. Reynald de Chatillon, Prince of Antioch, became the new king's closest aide. After fighting in the Second Crusade, Reynald had stayed behind in Palestine, where he became good friends with the Templars.


Reynald's cruelty was well known in the Holy Land. On the 4th of July, 1187 the crusader armies fought their bloodiest battle at Hattin. The army numbered 20,000 infantry and a thousand mounted knights. Assembling this army stretched to the limit the resources of towns along the border, leaving the others unprotected and vulnerable. The battle ended with the virtual annihilation of the crusaders. Most lost their lives, and every survivor was captured. Among the prisoners of war were King Guy himself and the leading commanders of the Christian army

According to the Templars' own records, Saladin, the great commander of the Muslim forces, was fair. Despite all the cruelty inflicted on Palestine's Muslim population over the previous 100 years of Christian rule, the defeated forces were not ill-treated. While most Christians were pardoned, the Templars had been responsible for the savage attacks carried out on the Muslim population, and for this reason, Saladin had the Templars executed, along with the Grand Master of the order and Reynald de Chatillon, both known for their inhumane cruelty. King Guy was freed after only one year in captivity in the town of Nablus.

After Saladin's victory at Hattin, he advanced with his army and proceeded to free Jerusalem. Despite serious losses, the Templars survived their defeat in Palestine and along with other Christians, withdrew to Europe. Most headed for France where, thanks to their privileged status, they continued to increase their power and wealth. In time, they became the "state within the state" in many European countries.

Acre, the crusaders' last stronghold in Palestine, was captured by the Muslim army in 1291. With this, the original justification for the Templars' existence-the protection of pilgrims in the Holy Land-disappeared as well.


Now the Templars could concentrate all their efforts on Europe, but needed a little time to adapt to this new situation. During this transitional period, they relied on the help of their friends in the royal houses of Europe, of whom the best-known was Richard the Lion-Hearted. His relationship with the Templars was such that he was regarded as an Honorary Knight Templar.31

Furthermore, Richard had sold to the Templars the Island of Cyprus, which was to become the temporary base of their order, while they strengthened their position in Europe to counteract their losses in Palestine.

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« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2007, 03:00:00 pm »



Drawing depicting the Templars' defeat at the Battle of Hattin
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