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the Knights Templar, the Crusades & the Holy Grail (Original Version)

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« on: January 03, 2008, 03:07:40 am »

Author  Topic: the Knights Templar, the Crusades & the Holy Grail 
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The Knights Templar

The Templar Knights - or Poor Knighst of Chrsit were a monastic order of knights founded in 1112 A.D. to protect the pilgrims along the path from Europe to the Holy Lands (Jerusalem). They took a vow of poverty which was rare for knights which had to supply themselves with a horse, armor and weapons.

Their seal became two knights on one horse to show how poor they were. There were also other various interpretations of the seal. They became very powerful and influencial in European political circles since Pope Innocent II exempted the Templars from all authority except the Pope.

Because the Knights Templars regularly transmitted money and supplies from Europe to Palestine, they gradually developed an efficient banking system unlike any the world had seen before. Their military might and financial acumen caused them to become both feared and trusted. Because of their unselfish defense of the Holy Lands and their monastic vows, they amassed great wealth through gifts from their grateful benefactors.

They soon had an army and a fleet as well as surplus money. Since the Knights had taken a vow of poverty they re-invested the money and lent.

The Knights Templar were the earliest founders of the military orders, and are the type on which the others are modeled. They are marked in history, by their humble beginning, by their marvellous growth, and by their tragic end.



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« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2008, 03:08:08 am »

Their Humble Beginnings

Immediately after the deliverance of Jerusalem, the Crusaders, considering their vow fulfilled, returned in a body to their homes. The defense of this precarious conquest, surrounded as it was by Mohammedan neighbours, remained.

In 1118, during the reign of Baldwin II, Hugues de Payens, a knight of Champagne, and eight companions bound themselves by a perpetual vow, taken in the presence of the Patriarch of Jerusalem, to defend the Christian kingdom. Baldwin accepted their services and assigned them a portion of his palace, adjoining the temple of the city; hence the title "pauvres chevaliers du temple" (Poor Knights of the Temple).

Poor indeed they were, being reduced to living on alms, and, so long as they were only nine, they were hardly prepared to render important services, unless it were as escorts to the pilgrims on their way from Jerusalem to the banks of the Jordan, then frequented as a place of devotion.

The Templars had as yet neither distinctive habit nor rule. Hugues dePayens journeyed to the West to seek the approbation of the Church and to obtain recruits. At the Council of Troyes (1128), at which he assisted and at which St. Bernard was the leading spirit, the Knights Templars adopted the Rule of St. Benedict, as recently reformed by the Cistercians. They accepted not only the three perpetual vows, besides the crusader's vow, but also the austere rules concerning the chapel, the refectory, and the dormitory.

They also adopted the white habit of the Cistercians, adding to it a red cross. Notwithstanding the austerity of the monastic rule, recruits flocked to the new order, which thenceforth comprised four ranks of brethren: the knights, equipped like the heavy cavalry of the Middle Ages; the serjeants, who formed the light cavalry; and two ranks of non-fighting men: the farmers, entrusted with the administration of temporals; and the chaplains, who alone were vested with sacerdotal orders, to minister to the spiritual needs of the order.

http://www.crystalinks.com/templars1.html


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« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2008, 03:08:43 am »

Their Marvelous Growth

The order owed its rapid growth in popularity to the fact that it combined the two great passions of the Middle Ages, religious fervour and martial prowess. Even before the Templars had proved their worth, the ecclesiastical and lay authorities heaped on them favours of every kind, spiritual and temporal. The popes took them under their immediate protection, exempting them from all other jurisdiction, episcopal or secular. Their property was assimilated to the church estates and exempted from all taxation, even from the ecclesiastical tithes, while their churches and cemeteries could not be placed under interdict.

This soon brought about conflict with the clergy of the Holy Land, inasmuch as the increase of the landed property of the order led, owing to its exemption from tithes, to the diminution of the revenue of the churches, and the interdicts, at that time used and abused by the episcopate, became to a certain extent inoperative wherever the order had churches and chapels in which Divine worship was regularly held. As early as 1156 the clergy of the Holy Land tried to restrain the exorbitant privileges of the military orders, but in Rome every objection was set aside, the result being a growing antipathy on the part of the secular clergy against these orders. The temporal benefits which the order received from all the sovereigns of Europe were no less important.

The Templars had commanderies in every state. In France they formed no less than eleven bailiwicks, subdivided into more than forty-two commanderies; in Palestine it was for the most part with sword in hand that the Templars extended their possessions at the expense of the Mohammedans. Their castles are still famous owing to the remarkable ruins which remain: Safed, built in 1140; Karak of the desert (1143); and, most importantly of all, Castle Pilgrim, built in 1217 to command a strategic defile on the sea-coast.

In these castles, which were both monasteries and cavalry- barracks, the life of the Templars was full of contrasts. A contemporary describes the Templars as "in turn lions of war and lambs at the hearth; rough knights on the battlefield, pious monks in the chapel; formidable to the enemies of Christ, gentleness itself towards His friends." (Jacques de Vitry). Having renounced all the pleasures of life, they faced death with a proud indifference; they were the first to attack, the last to retreat, always docile to the voice of their leader, the discipline of the monk being added to the discipline of the soldier. As an army they were never very numerous.

A contemporary tells us that there were 400 knights in Jerusalem at the zenith of their prosperity; he does not give the number of sergeants, who were more numerous. But it was a picked body of men who, by their noble example, inspirited the remainder of the Christian forces. They were thus the terror of the Mohammedans. Were they defeated, it was upon them that the victor vented his fury, the more so as they were forbidden to offer a ransom. When taken prisoners, they scornfully refused the freedom offered them on condition of apostasy. At the siege of Safed (1264), at which ninety Templars met death, eighty others were taken prisoners, and, refusing to Deny Christ, died martyrs to the Faith. This fidelity cost them dear. It has been computed that in less than twocenturies almost 20,000 Templars, knights and serjeants, perished in war.

These frequent hecatombs rendered it difficult for the order to increase in numbers and also brought about a decadence of the true crusading spirit. As the order was compelled to make immediate use of the recruits, the article of the original rule in Latin which required a probationary period fell into desuetude. Even excommunicated men, who, as was the case with many crusaders, wished to expiate their sins, were admitted.

All that was required of a new member was a blind obedience, as imperative in the soldier as in the monk. He had to declare himself forever "serf et esclave de la maison" (French text of the rule). To prove his sincerity, he was subjected to a secret test concerning the nature of which nothing has ever been discovered, although it gave rise to the most extraordinary accusations. The great wealth of the order may also have contributed to a certain laxity in morals, but the most serious charge against it was its insupportable pride and love of power.

At the apogee of its prosperity, it was said to possess 9000 estates. With its accumulated revenues it had amassed great wealth, which was deposited in its temples at Paris and London. Numerous princes and private individuals had banked there their personal property, because of the uprightness and solid credit of such bankers. In Paris the royal treasure was kept in the Temple. Quite independent, except from the distant authority of the pope, and possessing power equal to that of the leading temporal sovereigns, the order soon assumed the right to direct the weak and irresolute government of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, a feudal kingdom transmissible through women and exposed to all the disadvantages of minorities, regencies, and domestic discord.

However, the Templars were soon opposed by the Order of Hospitallers, which had in its turn become military, and was at first the imitator and later the rival of the Templars. This ill-timed interference of the orders in the government of Jerusalem only multiplied the intestine dessentions, and this at a time when the formidable power of Saladin threatened the very existence of the Latin Kingdom. While the Templars sacrificed themselves with their customary bravery in this final struggle, they were, nevertheless, partly responsible for the downfall of Jerusalem.

To put an end to this baneful rivalry between the military orders, there was a very simple remedy at hand, namely their amalgamation. This was officially proposed by St. Louis at the Council of Lyons (1274). It was proposed anew in 1293 by Pope Nicholas IV, who called a general consultation on this point of the Christian states.

This idea is canvassed by all the publicists of that time, who demand either a fusion of the existing orders or the creation of a third order to supplant them. Neven in fact had the question of the crusaders been more eagerly taken up than after their failure. As the grandson of St. Louis, Philip the Fair could not remain indifferent to these proposals for a crusade. As the most powerful prince of his time, the direction of the movement belonged to him. To assume this direction, all he demanded was the necesary supplies of men and especially of money. Such is the genesis of his campaign for the suppression of the Templars.

It has been attributed wholly to his well-known cupidity. Even on this supposition he needed a pretext, for he could not, without sacrilege, lay hands on possessions that formed part of the ecclesiastical domain. To justify such a course the sanction of the Church was necessary, and this the king could obtain only by maintaining the sacred purpose for which the possessions were destined.

Admitting that he was sufficiently powerful to encroach upon the property of the Templars in France, he still needed the concurrence of the Church to secure control of their possessions in the other countries of Christendom. Such was the purpose of the wily negotiations of this self-willed and cunning sovereign, and of his still more treacherous counsellors, with Clement V, a French pope of weak character and easily deceived. The rumour that there had been a prearrangement between the king and the pope has been finally disposed of. A doubtful revelation, which allowed Philip to make the prosecution of the Templars as heretics a question of orthodoxy, afforded him the opportunity which he desired to invoke the action of the Holy See.


[This message has been edited by Archangel (edited 10-07-2004).]
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« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2008, 03:10:54 am »

Their Tragic End

In the trial of the Templars two phases must be distinguished: the royal commission and the papal commission. Philip the Fair made a preliminary inquiry, and, on the strength of so-called revelations of a few unworthy and degraded members, secret orders were sent throughout France to arrest all the Templars on the same day (13 October, 1307), and to submit them to a most rigorous examination. The king did this, it was made to appear, at the request of the ecclesiastical inquisitors, but in reality without their co-operation. In this inquiry torture, the use of which was authorized by the cruel procedure of the age in the case of crimes committed without witnesses,was pitilessly employed. Owing to the lack of evidence, the accused could be convicted only through their own confession and, to extort this confession, the use of torture was considered necessary and legitimate.

There was one feature in the organization of the order which gave rise to suspicion, namely the secrecy with which the rites of initiation were conducted. The secrecy is explained by the fact that the receptions always took place in a chapter, and the chapters, owing to the delicate and grave questions discussed, were, and necessarily had to be, held in secret. An indiscretion in the matter of secrecy entailed exclusion from the order. The secrecy of these initiations, however, had two grave disadvantages. As these receptions could take place wherever there was a commandery, they were carried on without publicity and were free from all surveillance or control from the higher authorities, the tests being entrusted to the discretion of subalterns who were often rough and uncultivated. Under such conditions, it is not to be wondered at that abuses crept in.

One need only recall what took place almost daily at the time in the brotherhoods of artisans, the initiation of a new member being too often made the occasion for a parody more or less sacrilegious of baptism or of the Mass. The second disadvantage of this secrecy was, that it gave an opportunity to the enemies of the Templars, and they were numerous, to infer from this mystery every conceivable malicious supposition and base on it the monstrous imputations. The Templars were accused of spitting upon the Cross, of denying Christ, of permitting sodomy, of worshipping an idol, all in the most impenetrable secrecy. Such were the Middle Ages, when prejudice was so vehement that, to destroy an adversary, men did not recoil from inventing the most criminal charges.

It will suffice to recall the similar, but even more ridiculous than ignominious accusations brought against Pope Boniface VIII by the same Philip the Fair. Most of the accused declared themselves guilty of these secret crimes after being subjected to such ferocious torture that many of them succumbed. Some made similar confessions without the use of torture, it is true, but through fear of it; the threat had been sufficient. Such was the case with the grand master himself, Jacques de Molay, who acknowledged later that he had lied to save his life. Carried on without the authorization of the pope, who had the military orders under his immediate jurisdiction, this investigation was radically corrupt both as to its intent and as to its procedure.

Not only did Clement V enter an energetic protest, but he annulled the entire trial and suspended the powers of the bishops and their inquisitors. However, the offense had been admitted and remained the irrevocable basis of the entire subsequent proceedings. Philip the Fair took advantage of the discovery to have bestowed upon himself by the University of Paris the title of Champion and Defender of the Faith, and also to stir up public opinion at the States General of Tours against the heinous crimes of the Templars.

Moreover, he succeeded in having the confessions of the accused confirmed in presence of the pope by seventy-two Templars, who had been specially chosen and coached beforehand. In view of this investigation at Poitiers (June, 1308), the pope, until thensceptical, at last became concerned and opened a new commission, the procedure of which he himself directed. He reserved the cause of the order to the papal commission, leaving individuals to be tried by the diocesan commissions to whom herestored their powers.

The second phase of the process was the papal inquiry, which was not restricted to France, but extended to all the Christian countries Europe, and even to the Orient. In most of the other countries -- Portugal, Spain, Germany, Cyprus -- the Templars were found innocent; in Italy, except for a few districts, the decision was the same. But in France the episcopal inquisitions, resuming their activities, took the facts as established at the trial, and confined themselves to reconciling the repentant guilty members, imposing various canonical penances extending even to perpetual imprisonment. Only those who persisted in heresy were to be turned over to the secular arm, but, by a rigid interpretation of this provision, those who had withdrawn their former confessions were considered relapsed heretics; thus fifty-four Templars who had recanted after having confessed were condemned as relapsed and publicly burned on 12 May, 1310.

Subsequently all the other Templars, who had been examined at the trial, with very few exceptions declared themselves guilty. At the same time the papal commission, appointed to examine the cause of the order, had entered upon its duties and gathered together the documents which were to be submitted to the pope, and to the general council called to decide as to the final fate of the order. The culpability of single persons, which was looked upon as established, did not involve the guilt of the order. Although the defense of the order was poorly conducted, it could not be proved that the order as a body professed any heretical doctrine, or that a secret rule, distinct from the official rule, was practised.

Consequently, at the General Council of Vienne in Dauphiné on 16 October, 1311, the majority were favourable to the maintenance of the order. The pope, irresolute and harrassed, finally adopted a middle course: he decreed the dissolution, not the condemnation of the order, and not by penal sentence, but by an Apostolic Decree (Bull of 22 March, 1312). The order having been suppressed, the pope himself was to decide as to the fate of its members and the disposal of its possessions. As to the property, it was turned over to the rival Order of Hospitallers to be applied to its original use, namely the defence of the Holy Places. In Portugal, however, and in Aragon the possessions were vested in two new orders, the Order of Christ in Portugal and the Order of Montesa in Aragon.

As to the members, the Templars recognized guiltless were allowed either to join another military order or to return to the secular state. In the latter case, a pension for life, charged to the possessions of the order, was granted them. On the other hand, the Templars who had pleaded guilty before their bishops were to be treated "according to the rigours of justice, tempered by a generous mercy".

The pope reserved to his own jugment the cause of the grand master and his three first dignitaries. They had confessed their guilt; it remained to reconcile them with the Church, after they had testified to their repentance with the customary solemnity. To give this solemnity more publicity, a platform was erected in front of the Notre-Dame for the reading of the sentence.

But at the supreme moment the grand master recovered his courage and proclaimed the innocence of the Templars and the falsityof his own alleged confessions. To atone for this deplorable moment of weakness, he declared himself ready to sacrifice his life. He knew the fate that awaited him.

Immediately after this unexpected coup-de-theatre he was arrested as a relapsed heretic with another dignitary who chose to share his fate, and by order of Philip they were burned at the stake before the gates of the palace. This brave death deeply impressed the people, and, as it happened that the pope and the king died shortly afterwards, the legend spread that the grand master in the midst of the flames had summoned them both to appear in the course of the year before the tribunal of God.

Such was the tragic end of the Templars. If we consider that the Order of Hospitallers finally inherited, although not without difficulties, the property of the Templars and received many of its members, we may say that the result of the trial was practically equivalent to the long-proposed amalgamation of the two rival orders. For the Knights (first of Rhodes, afterwards of Malta) took up and carried on elsewhere the work of the Knights of the Temple.

This formidable trial, the greatest ever brought to light whether we consider the large number of accused, the difficulty of discovering the truth from a mass of suspicious and contradictory evidence, or the many jurisdictions in activity simultaneously in all parts of Christendom from Great Britain to Cyprus, is not yet ended. It is still passionately discussed by historians who have divided into two camps, for and against the order.

To mention only the principal ones, the following find the order guilty:

Dupuy (1654), Hammer (1820), Wilcke (1826), Michelet (1841), Loiseleur (1872), Prutz (1888), and Rastoul (1905); the following find it innocent: Father Lejeune (1789), Raynouard (1813), (1846), Ladvocat (1880), Schottmuller (1887), Gmelin (1893), Lea (1888), Fincke (1908). Without taking any side in this discussion, which is not yet exhausted, we may observe that the latest documents brought to light, particularly those which Fincke has recently extracted from the archives of the Kingdom of Aragon, tell more and more strongly in favour of the order.

In June of 1311, the English Inquisition came across some very interesting information from a Templar by the name of Stephen de Strapelbrugge, who admitted that he was told in his initiation that Jesus was a man and not a god. Another Templar by the name of John de Stoke stated that Jacques de Molay had instructed that he should know that Jesus was but a man, and that he should believe in 'the great omnipotent God, who was the architect of heaven and Earth, and not the crucifixion'.

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 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.

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.




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« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2008, 03:12:03 am »

Jacques de Molay

On March 19th, 1314 the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, Jacques de Molay, was burned at the stake. De Molay is said to have cursed King Philip and Pope Clement as he burned at the stake asking both men to join him within a year. Clement died only one month later and Philip IV seven months after that.

In France thirty-six brethren died, and 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.

At Carcassone 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.

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.

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 meager pensions based on what the Church felt was the minimum amount required by a monk for food and clothing.

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« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2008, 03:12:43 am »

The Knights Templar 2

For several years before the Peasants' Revolt in England in 1381, a group of disgruntled priests of the lower clergy had traveled the towns, preaching against the riches and corruption of the church. During the months before the uprising, secret meetings had been held throughout central England by men weaving a network of communication. After the revolt was put down, rebel leaders confessed to being agents of a great Society, said to be based in London.

Another mystery was the concentrated and especially vicious attacks on the religious order of the Knights Hospitaller of St. John, now known as the Knights of Malta. Not only did the rebels seek out their properties for vandalism and fire, but their prior was dragged from the Tower of London to have his head struck off [along with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Treasurer] and placed on London Bridge, to the delight of the cheering mob. One captured rebel leader, when asked the reasons for the revolt, said, First, and above all the destruction of the Hospitallers.

Pope Clement V had directed that all of the extensive properties of the Templars should be given to the Hospitallers almost seventy years before the Peasant's Revolt.

Walter the Tyler exploded into English history with his mysterious uncontested appointment as the supreme commander of the Peasants' Rebellion on Friday, June 7, 1381, and left it as abruptly when his head was struck off eight days later on Saturday, June 15. Absolutely nothing is known of him before those eight days. That alone suggests that he was not using his real name. In Freemasonry the Tyler, who must be a Master Mason, is the sentry, the sergeant-at-arms.

Archbishop Courtenay, who became the leading churchman in England as successor to the archbishop whose head had been lopped off by Wat Tyler, identified the existence of the Lollard group in the spring of 1382, less than a year after the Peasants' Rebellion. He drove them out of Oxford and attempted to crush the entire movement. Lollardy, however, survived his efforts, and those of other civil and church leaders, for the next two centuries by the expedient of going underground. The Lollards conducted business in 'conventicles', or secret meetings, in a network of cells throughout the country, and they somehow gained the support of certain members of the aristocracy, especially the knightly class.

In the early 1300s John Wycliffe, a professor of Divinity at Oxford University, realized that the major problem with the Church in England was that the Bible could only be read by the educated clergy and nobility because it was written in Latin. Although the common man was generally illiterate, Wycliffe decided that if an English translation of the Bible was available, then general literacy might be stimulated as well.

As Wycliffe translated the Latin text, he organized a group called the Order of Poor Preachers. They began distributing the new Bible through-out England to anyone who could read. For the first time, it was possible for the common man to know what the Bible actually said. Suddenly, peasants flocked to the village greens and country parsonages to hear preachers read aloud from the new English translation.

Opponents of Wycliffe's Order of Poor Preachers called them and their followers 'Lollards', which means 'idle babblers'. The Lollards grew so quickly, not only among the country folk, but even the artisans and noblemen that one opponent wrote: 'Every second man one meets is a Lollard'.

The Lollards made such an impact in Britain that eventually Wycliffe's words were banned and the Pope ordered him to Rome to undergo trial. Although Wycliff died in 1384 of a stroke before he could undertake the journey, Lollardy continued to grow. By 1425, forty-one years after his death, the Roman Church was so infuriated with Wycliffe that they ordered his bones exhumed and buried together with 200 books he had written.

The church at Kilmartin, near Loch Awe in Argyll, contains many examples of Templar graves and tomb carvings showing Templar figures; furthermore, there are many masonic graves in the churchyard.

There was a strong Templar connection with this area of Scotland from the time when Hugues de Payen married Catherine de St Clair. In fact the first Templar perceptory outside the Holy Land was built on St Clair land at a site to the south of Edinburgh now known as Temple. By the beginning of the fourteenth century the Templars had many estates in Scotland and a great deal of affection and respect from the people.

The Templars reportedly provided assistance to William Wallace. There was a battle between the Scots and the English at Roslin in 1303 which was won with the support of Templar knights, led by a St Clair.

Part of the Templar fleet made the decision to head to Argyll and the Firth of Forth, where they knew Robert the Bruce was engaged in a rebellion against England. The fact that Robert the Bruce was excommunicated combined with the long St Clair family links with Rosslyn was the greatest attraction of Scotland as a sanctuary - it was one of the few places on the planet where the Pope could not get at them. Because of the war with the English the Templars also knew that as skilled warriors, they would be received with open arms.

The Scots' greatest triumph was the Battle of Bannockburn on 6 November 1314. The battle is recorded as going strongly against Bruce's army until an intervention by a unknown reserve force quickly turned the tide of the whole battle and ensured victory for the Scots. Stories quickly spread that these mysterious warriors had carried the Beausant (the battle flag of the Templars).

The force was led by the Grand Master of the Scottish Templars, Sir William St Clair.

Scotland was at war with England at the time [1307], and the consequent chaos left little opportunity for implementing legal niceties. Thus the Papal Bulls dissolving the Order were never proclaimed in Scotland - and in Scotland, therefore, the Order was never technically dissolved.

According to legend - and there is evidence to support it - the Order maintained itself as a coherent body in Scotland for another four centuries."

At the bloody Battle of Verneuil in 1424, the Scottish contingents had acquitted themselves with particular bravery and self-sacrifice. Indeed, they were virtually annihilated, along with their commander, John Stewart.

The new French army created by Charles VII in 1445 consisted of fifteen 'compagnies d'ordonnance' of 660 men each - a total of 9000 soldiers. Of these, the Scottish Company - the 'Compagnie des Gendarmes Ecossois'...was explicitly accorded premier rank over all other military units and formations, and would, for example, pass first in all parades. The commanding officer of the Scottish Company was also granted the rank of 'premier Master of Camp of French Cavalry'.

In 1474, the numbers were definitely fixed - seventy-seven men plus their commander in the King's Guard, and twenty-five men plus their commander in the King's Bodyguard. With striking consistency, officers and commanders of the Scots Guard were also made members of the Order of St Michael, a branch of which was later established in Scotland.

The Scots Guard were, in effect, a neo-Templar institution, much more so than such purely chivalric orders as the Garter, the Star and the Golden Fleece.

The nobles comprising the Guard were heirs to original Templar traditions. They were the means by which these traditions were returned to France and planted there, to bear fruit some two centuries later. At the same time, their contact with the houses of Guise and Lorraine exposed them in France to another corpus of 'esoteric' tradition. Some of this corpus had already found its way back to Scotland through Marie de Guis's marriage to James V, but some of it was also to be brought back by the families constituting the Scots Guard. The resulting amalgam was to provide the true nucleus for a later order - the Freemasons [Scottish Rites].

As late as the end of the sixteenth century, no fewer than 519 sites in Scotland were listed by the Hospitallers as 'Terrae Templariae' - part, that is, of the self-contained and separately administered Templar patrimony.According to legend - and there is evidence to support it - the Order maintained itself as a coherent body in Scotland for another four centuries.


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« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2008, 03:13:12 am »

West to America

Josephus, the historian of the Jews in the first century, observed that the Essenes believed that good souls have their inhabitation beyond the ocean, in a region that is neither oppressed with storms of rain or snow nor with intense heat, but refreshed by the gentle breathing of the west wind which perpetually blows from the ocean. This idyllic land across the sea to the west (or sometimes the north), is a belief common to many cultures, from the Jews to the Greeks to the Celts. The Mandeans, however, believe that the inhabitants of this far land are so pure that mortal eyes will not see them and that this place is marked by a star, the name of which is 'Merica'.

When the monk published the information in Introduction to Cosmography it quickly became part of popular folklore.

If you look at a map of the road network of France, which the Templars had built and policed, it is very noticeable that all the great long-distance routes meet at one point - at La Rochelle, on the Atlantic coast. The harbour of La Rochelle lies in a natural bay, is easyto defend, and it was laid out and developed by the Templars very early in their history. Furthermore, the Order owned a huge fleet, and other seaports in the north, for links with England, and in the south, as a starting-point for voyages to the Holy Land and the Mediterranean islands. La Rochelle, however, is far too far north to serve as a viable port of embarkation for Palestine, and the same applies to voyages to England. For this purpose, it was far too far south. There were other ports from which one could cross to Britain far more quickly and simply.

For this reason, La Rochelle must have had some very special significance. The town was not merely the seat of a simple Commanderie, but also the capital of a Templar Province. Its population grew quickly over the years. In which direction did the Temple's shipping lines lead, if it was neither to the north nor to the south? There can only be one possible explanation for the position of this seaport - the Order's ships set course from it due west, to America.

After Napoleon conquered Rome in 1809, some files were brought back to Paris from the secret archives of the Vatican. Among these were a few documents relating to the Templar trials. In one of these records was the statement of Jean de Chalons, a member of the Order from Nemours in the diocese of Troyes.

The Zeno Narrative tells of a mysterious ocean voyage west one hundred years later by a Templar descendent, Henry Sinclair, Earl of Orkney. Indian legends and a number of clues suggest that the landfall was Nova Scotia.



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« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2008, 03:13:51 am »

Preserving the Secrets
Rosslyn Chapel

Freres Maçons


Jacques de Molay and his predecessors signed documents over the title Magister Templi, Master of the Temple. And that temple, taking its name from the Temple of Solomon, certainly was left unfinished upon the murder of its masters, who also had been tortured to reveal their secrets by three assassins who ultimately destroyed them. Not Jubela, Jubelo, and Jubelum, but Philip the Fair of France, Pope Clement V, and the order of the Knights of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem.
What the secret society needed was men who would affirm their belief in God, with a desire for brotherhood strong enough to accept any man's personal religious persuasion as secondary to their principal goal of survival.

- John J. Robinson, Born in Blood

The formation of the Illuminati and Freemasons - and the instigation of the French Revolution and anti-papacy movements in the eighteen century - have been seen as a fulfilment of Templar revenge.
The Templars, or Poor Fellow-Soldiery of the Holy House of the Temple, intended to be re-built, took as their models, in the Bible, the Warrior-Masons of Zorobabel, who worked, holding the sword in one hand and the trowel in the other.

Therefore it was that the Sword and the Trowel were the insignia of the Templars, who subsequently, as will be seen, concealed themselves under the name of Brethren Masons. [This name, Freres Maçons in the French, adopted by way of secret reference to the Builders of the Second Temple, was corrupted in English into Free-Masons].

- General Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma


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« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2008, 03:14:19 am »

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Welcome aboard Archangel.
you're very keen on the history of the knights, to be sure!

But what is the purpose of all of this? Why are you posting it?

I'm sure we are all well aware of the knights history and legacy.
There are many good books which cover this material, about the knights and the grail etc.

(nonetheless, thank you, it is always a very good read.. there is an 'air of magic' surrounding the Knights Templar)



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« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2008, 03:14:58 am »

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I am no expert on history, so I defer to you:
Do you have any opinion of the theories put forth in the "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" book?


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« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2008, 03:15:35 am »

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Thank you for the welcome, Bluducky. The reason I am posting the material is because I thought it would be interesting to build the topic in a storylike fashion, and then get to more specific parts of the information later. I'm an author and used to building my books like that. Yes, some of this might be treading over "old ground" here, but who isn't up for a story about knights..?
Phildonia, the main reason I think I started this topic was to discuss the bloodline and what others here, perhaps more learned than me, might think of it. At first glance, it always seemed rather far-fetched to me, now that I know more of it, not so much so.

I'll keep presenting the information I gathered here, and others are will be free to weigh in on what they think of it.

Glad to be aboard, by the way, everyone here seems to bring a great deal of devotion to the topics.


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« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2008, 03:15:57 am »

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TEUTONIC KNIGHTS

The Teutonic Order (usually, hospitale sancte Marie Theutonicorum Jerosolimitanum - the Hospital of St. Mary of the Germans of Jerusalem or der orden des Düschen huses - the order of the German houses, in the sources) was one of the three major knightly or military orders that originated and evolved during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The Templars and Hospitallers are the other major orders.



The Castle


The military orders were "true orders" of the Roman church governed by regulations similar to those governing monks, generally variants of the Benedictine or Augustinian Rules. For most purposes, they were technically answerable only to the pope. They did have some feudal responsibilities to lay and other clerical entities as dictated by circumstances of place and time. Large numbers of knights became monks but often were found in military fortifications rather than monasteries. The members of most orders took vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.

Origins of the Teutonic Order


According to tradition, early in the twelfth century a wealthy German couple built a hospital in Jerusalem at their own expense to care for poor and sick pilgrims who spoke German. The hospital and an accompanying chapel were dedicated to the Virgin Mary. This story is similar to the traditions of the origin of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem founded by Amalfitans. The German hospital apparently was affiliated with the Hospital of St. John, at least, in the observance of the rule of St. Augustine. After Saladin's conquest of Jerusalem in 1187, there are no more records of the German hospital there. There was no indication that the German hospital ever had a military mission.

During the siege of Acre during the Third Crusade (probably 1190), Germans from Lübeck and Bremen established a field hospital for German soldiers reportedly using ships' sails as cover from the elements. Duke Frederick of Swabia placed his chaplain Conrad in charge of the hospital and soon transformed the organization into a religious order responsible to the local Latin bishop. Although some scholars question its authenticity, Pope Clement III (1187- -1191) apparently approved the Order on February 6, 1191. The Order was taken under Pope Celestine III's (1191--1198) protection on December 21, 1196, with the name of the "Hospital of St. Mary of the Germans in Jerusalem." The name is possibly the only connection with the earlier German hospital although some argue a more direct relationship with the earlier hospital.

A ceremony purportedly held on March 5, 1198, altered the Order's raison d'etre. The patriarch of Jerusalem, the king of Jerusalem, the head of the crusading army, and the masters of the Templars and the Hospital of St. John attended the celebration establishing the Teutonic Knights as a military order. A bull by Pope Innocent III (1198--1216) dated February 19, 1199, confirmed the event and specified the Order would care for the sick according to the rule of the Hospitallers. It would conduct its other business by following the Templar rule and would wear the Temple's distinctive white cloak. Its black cross would differentiate the Teutonic Order from the Temple.
http://www.crystalinks.com/teutonicknights.html


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« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2008, 03:16:22 am »

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Internal Structure
During the first twenty years of its existence, the institutional structure of the Order developed and stabilized. The Teutonic Order followed the lead of the Templars and Hospitallers by creating a system of provinces. Unlike monastic orders composed of independent abbeys, the Teutonic Knights had a hierarchical chain of command with commanderies (house, Kommende) at the lowest level. Provinces or bailiwicks (Ballei, Komturei) were parts of "countries" that composed the Order as a whole. Its first independent rule was adopted in 1264.

The officials governing the Teutonic Order at the various levels were commander (Komtur, preceptor) at the local level, province commander (Landkomtur), national commander (Landmeister), and grand master (Hochmeister, magister). The highest leadership positions (including grand master, grand commander [Grosskomtur], marshal [Ordensmarschall], draper or quartermaster [trapier], hospitaller [Spittler], and treasurer [tressler]) were elected by the general chapter.

Membership of this mostly German-speaking order was composed of various, distinct classes: knights, priests, and other brothers (lay brothers, sisters, and "familiars"). There was a large number of people who supported the professed members of the Order, ranging from auxiliary knights to slaves. The highest ranking were secular knights, serving for free. Turcopoles (Greek for "son of Turk") were originally probably lightly-armed, half-breed cavalry whose name applied to Turkish mercenaries employed in the Byzantine army, later the term was adopted by the military orders. There were attendants called squires (knechte), and sergeants-at-arms. Footsoldiers were usually coerced from the local peasantry. Sister-aids (halpswesteren) were employed as domestics as were halpbrüderen; they took religious vows. Married and single lay domestics also were employed by the Order. Artisans and laborers (e.g., gardeners, carpenters, masons) worked for charity or wages. Many serfs and slaves were owned by the Order.

Rapid Expansion

From the outset, the possessions and wealth of the Teutonic Order grew astoundingly fast and its numbers skyrocketed, especially under Grand Master Hermann von Salza (c. 1210--1239). Von Salza was successful in gaining many favors for the Order because he was a confidante to both the German emperor Frederick II (1211--1250) and the popes. His immediate successors also did well. Between 1215 and 1300, one or more commanderies were founded each year, usually through gifts.

The Teutonic Order was invited into Greece (1209), Hungary (1211), and Prussia (1226) by secular rulers to perform military duties on their behalf. In the Peloponnesus the Frankish Prince of Achaia provided fiefs near Kalamata for the Teutonic Knights in return for military service; there are traces of the Order's continuous service there until 1500. The Hungarian King Andrew II (1205--1235) expelled the Order in 1225 when it became strong and may have threatened his rule. The conquest of Prussia began in 1230 (after the Order's Grand Master was named prince of the Holy Roman Empire) and lasted until 1283.

In addition to the Holy Land and these other "theaters of war," the order's members could be found elsewhere in the Mediterranean and western Europe: Armenia, Cyprus, Sicily, Apulia, Lombardy, Spain, France, Alsace, Austria, Bohemia, the Lowlands, Germany, and Livonia. Only in the frontier areas (the Holy Land, Armenia, Greece, Hungary, Prussia, Spain, and Livonia) was military service required of members.

By 1221 the German Order was given the same privileges as the Templars and Hospitallers by Pope Honorius III (1216--1227). Both senior orders fought the autonomy of the Teutonic Order until about 1240. The German Order may not have quite equaled in wealth and possessions the other two military orders which were more than 80 years older, but it became the only other order to rival them in international influence and activity.



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« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2008, 03:17:02 am »

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The Baltic
After the crusaders were defeated at Acre in 1291, the Teutonic Order moved its headquarters to Venice, a long-time ally. In 1309, the Order moved again, this time to Marienburg in Prussia. Here the Order had subdued the pagan inhabitants and established a theocratic form of government.

The position of the knights in the Baltic region had been strengthened in 1237 when a knightly order in Livonia, the Brothers of the Sword (Schwertbr(der), joined the Teutonic Order. The history of the German knights in Prussia and Livonia is one of almost perpetual revolts, uprisings, raids, conquests, victories, and defeats. Many secular knights from western Europe (e.g., Chaucer's knight in the Canterbury Tales) would go to the Baltic to help the Order in "crusading activities" for a season or more. The Grand Master's prizes and feasting for especially heroic knights became legendary and reminds one of various aspects of King Arthur's knights of the Round Table.

During the fourteenth century, dozens of towns and about 2000 villages were created in Prussia by the Order. The Order was successful in trade. For example, as a Hanseatic League participant, it provided western Europe with some of its cheapest grain.

The nations of Poland and Lithuania, perennial enemies of the Order, became stronger and stronger in the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries. In 1410 at Tannenberg, the Order was crushed in a battle against a coalition led by these powers. The result was a bankrupting of the Order and significant reduction in its military and political capabilities. In 1467, the whole of western Prussia was ceded to Poland and the eastern part acknowledged the suzerainty of the king of Poland.

1525 to 1797

Martin Luther's (1483-1546) Reformation affected the Teutonic Order significantly. In 1525, Grand Master Albrecht von Brandenburg converted to the Lutheran faith. He then was enfoeffed by the Polish king as Duke of Prussia. As a medieval, crusading entity, the German Order essentially ended at this time.

In 1526, the Teutonic Order master of the German lands became the "Administrator of the Grandmastery in Prussia and Master in German and Romance Countries." Mergentheim became the main seat of the Order.

There was a great deal of confusion in Germany in the aftermath of the Reformation, its resulting wars, and the political changes. The bailiwicks of Saxony, Messe, and Th(ringia became Protestant until Napoleonic times. The office of Landkomtur alternated among Lutheran, Reformed, and Catholic leaders in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The bailiwick of Utrecht was Calvinist until modern times. A new rule was adopted in 1606 in an attempt to accommodate the changes in the Order.

In European affairs, from time to time, the Order still participated militarily. Some 1000 troops were raised to help the Austrians against the Turks. After 1696, there was a regiment of the "Grand and German Master." But the numbers and wealth of the Order dwindled. Little other military activity is recorded.



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« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2008, 03:17:48 am »

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The French Revolution and After
As the anticlerical French government expanded its political control in the 1790's, the Order lost its commanderies in Belgium and those west of the Rhine (1797). Many east of the Rhine were lost in 1805. In 1809, Napoleon dissolved the Order in all countries under his dominion, leaving only the properties in the Austrian Empire.

Even in Austria, the Order had to exist secretly for a number of years until 1839 when Austrian Emperor Ferdinand I reconstituted the Order as the Order of the Teutonic Knights (Deutscher Ritterorden). The mission fulfilled by the Order was mainly the caring for wounded soldiers.

In 1866, the "Honorable Knights of the Teutonic Order" was founded. Knights were required to provide annual contributions for hospitals. The Marianer des Deutschen Ordens, for women, was created in 1871.

In 1914, some 1,500 sponsors from the Austrian nobility supported the caregiving efforts of the Order. During World War I, the Order took care of about 3,000 wounded soldiers in their facilities.

In 1923, masters of the Order were allowed to come from among the clerics rather than the "knighthood" for the first time. Under National Socialist rule, the Order was dissolved in Austria in 1938 and Czechoslovakia in 1939. The leaders of the Third Reich abused the history of the Teutonic Order. After World War II, the Order began anew in Germany. Its possessions in Austria were returned. In Italy, the Order had changed little. A great deal of support for the caretaking and missionary Order has been found in Germany, Austria, Italy, Belgium, and even in North and Central America. The Order's headquarters, treasury, and archives are now located in Vienna, Austria.

- Eric Opsahl





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