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

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« Reply #225 on: January 06, 2008, 04:28:04 am »

Jill

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Thomas Bérard (1256-1273)

Guillaume de Beaujeu (1273-1291)

Thibaud Gaudin (1291-1292)
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« Reply #226 on: January 06, 2008, 04:28:32 am »

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Jacques de Molay

Jacques de Molay (est. 1244-5/1249-50 - 18 March 1314[1]), a minor Frankish noble, served as the 23rd and officially last Grand Master of the Knights Templar. He is probably the best known Templar besides the order's founder and first grand master, Hugues de Payns. Upon his election before 20 April 1292, he promised to reform the order and adjust it to the present situation in the Middle East. With no crusader states left to protect together with other problems surfacing, the order's right to exist was put into question. Jacques de Molay failed to successfully lead the Templars through the inquisitions made against them and was burnt at the stake on an island in the river Seine in Paris, Ile de la Cité, on 18 March 1314. The execution was ordered by Philippe le Bel (Philip the Fair) after Jacques retracted all of his previous confessions, which outraged the French king. Nothing is known of about two thirds of his life.

Youth

Jacques de Molay's exact date of birth is in some doubt, but when interrogated by the judges in Paris 24 October 1307, he told he entered the order forty-two years earlier, that would mean in 1265. The common imperial age for joining an order was minimum 20 years of age, and thus he most likely would have been born in 1244 or 1245. However, there exists several documents proving that men younger than 20-21 years were accepted into the order, hence the birth year confusion. An interesting fact involves that when questioned about the same thing in August the following year by the Pope's envoys at Chinon, he again told he was received into the order forty-two years earlier, i.e. 1266. Jacques de Molay was born into, most likely, a family of minor nobility, as most of the Templars were, at Molay (Haute-Saône) in the county of Burgundy, a Holy Roman Empire territory.

He was received into the order at Beaune by Humbert de Pairaud, the Visitor of France and England in 1265. Independently of Guillaume de Beaujeu, who was elected grand master in 1273, Jacques de Molay went to the East (Outremer) around 1270. He spent all his career as a Templar in the East, although he is mentioned to be in France in 1285. It is not known if he held any offices in either the West or the East, or if he was present when Acre, the last crusader city and capital of the Latin kingdom fell in May 1291 to the Mamluks.


Grand Master

After the fall of Acre, the Franks who were able retreated to Cyprus, this including Jacques de Molay and Thibaud Gaudin, the 22nd Grand Master of the Temple. During a meeting assembled on the island in the autumn of 1291, J. de Molay spoke and pointed to himself as an alternative and reformer of the order. Before 16 April 1292 Gaudin died, leaving the mastership open for Jacques de Molay, as there were no other serious contenders for the role at the time. The election took place before 20 April, as a document in the archives of the Crown of Aragon attests and recognizes Jacques de Molay as the Knights Templar's new grand master by then.

Once elected, the rapid establishment of the command of the order was meant to deal with the most serious matters first. These were the subjects of Cyprus and Armenia of Cilicia, which both were under the threat of an attack from the Mamluks. In spring 1293 he began a tour to the West which brought him to Provence, Catalonia, Italy, England and France. There he settled several local and internal problems, but mainly the goal was to ask for help from the western rulers and the Church in the reconquest of the Holy Land, strengthening the defence of Cyprus and the rebuilding of Templar forces. Talk of a crusade was even at hand, but a more troubling issue was brought upon de Molay, the merging of the orders of the Temple and the Hospital, an idea he was negative to and would continue to be. He held two general meetings of his order at Montpellier in 1293 and at Arles in 1296, where he tried to make reforms. During his journey, Jacques de Molay made a close relationship with Pope Boniface VIII and relationships of trust with Edward I of England, James I of Aragon and Charles II of Naples. Nothing is known of his relationship with Philip IV of France.

In the autumn of 1296 Molay was back in Cyprus to defend his order against the interests of Henry II of Cyprus, which conflict had its roots back in the days of Guillaume de Beaujeu. From 1299 to 1303 de Molay was pressing forward an alliance with the Mongols against the Mamluks. The plan was to coordinate actions between the Christian military orders, the King of Cyprus, the aristocracy of Cyprus and Little Armenia and the Mongols of the khanate of Ilkhan (Persia). In 1298 or 1299, Jacques de Molay halted a further Mamluk invasion with military force in Armenia possibly because of the loss of Roche-Guillaume, the last Templar stronghold in Cilicia to the Mamluks. However, when the Mongol khan of Persia Ghâzân defeated the Mamluks in the Second battle of Homs in December 1299, the Christian forces were not ready to take an advantage of the situation. In 1300, Jacques de Molay made his order commit raids along the Egyptian and Syrian coasts to weaken the enemy's supply lines as well as to harass them, and in November that year he joined the occupation of the tiny fortress island of Ruad (today called Arwad) which faced the Syrian town of Tortosa. The intent was to establish a bridgehead in accordance with the Mongol alliance, but the Mongols failed to appear in 1300, the same happened in 1301 and 1302. In September 1302 the Templars were driven out of Ruad by the attacking Mamluk forces from Egypt, and many were massacred when trapped on the island. The island of Ruad was lost and when Ghâzân died in 1304, Jacques de Molay's dream of a rapid reconquest of the Holy Land was destroyed.

The incident on Ruad was wrongly interpreted by contemporaries as a bizarre attempt to permanently stay close to the Holy Land by Jacques de Molay, but it was merely a key in the strategy involving the Mongols in the recapture of the Holy Land. Still, criticism was starting to grow back in Europe about the order's reason of being.

In 1305, the newly elected pope Clement V asked the leaders of the military orders of their opinions on a new crusade and the merging of the orders. Jacques de Molay was asked by the pope to write two memoranda, one on each of the issues, which he did during the summer of 1306. On 6 June, the leaders were officially asked to come to Poitiers, where the pope had his seat, to discuss these matters. The meeting at Poitiers was delayed due to the pope's illness, unbeknowst to de Molay who had already left Cyprus around 15 October. Arriving in France in late November or early December, nothing is known of Jacques de Molay's activities during the first five months of 1307. In the second half of May he was in Poitiers attending the meeting with the pope. The grand master came in conflict with Philippe IV when he still was rejecting the idea of merging the orders with the French King as leader (with the French King as Rex Bellator, War King) and thus making it more difficult for the pope in his problem with the king about condemning the memory of Boniface VIII, which Philippe would achieve at all costs. This furthermore thwarted the attempts to get a new crusade on its way. These conflicts were weakening the Templar Order along with something that would turn out to be far more serious, something Jacques de Molay had discovered during his journey through France; scandalous and perverse rumours and whispers about the order had begun to surface. The king and his councillors, among them Guillaume de Nogaret, knew to exploit this weakness.


Downfall

Jacques de Molay spoke with the king in Paris on 24 June 1307 about the accusations against his order and was partially reassured. Returning to Poitiers, he asked the pope to set up an inquiry to quickly clear the order of the rumours and accusations surrounding it. When the pope announced that an inquiry would be convened 24 August, the king acted decisively. On 14 September, in the deepest secrecy, he sent out his orders throughout all of France which resulted in the mass arrests of Templars and confiscation of their possessions in the whole country on Friday, 13 October 1307. Jacques de Molay was arrested in Paris, where he intended to be present at the funeral of Catherine of Valois.

During an interrogation by royal agents on October 24, Jacques confessed only to "denying Christ and trampling on the Cross" as a part of the initiation ritual. Jacques de Molay's possible intention was that this couldn't possibly be very harmful to the order, but when he was forced to repeat this statement in the public the next day, the damage was devastating for the Templars. Making things even worse, he was made to write a letter where he expressed that every Templar should admit to these acts. Philippe IV was now in full command of the situation, and in order to regain his authority, Pope Clement V ordered the arrest of all the Templars throughout Christendom.

The Pope still wanted to hear Jacques de Molay and dispatched two cardinals to Paris in December 1307. In front of them, Jacques retracted his confessions made to the agents of Philippe IV. By then, the affair had resulted in a power struggle between the King and the Pope which was finally settled in August 1308. The King and the Pope agreed to split the convictions. Through the Bull Fasciens misericordiam the procedure to prosecute the Templars was set out on a duality where the first commission would judge individuals of the order and the second commission would judge the order as an entity. In practice this meant that a council seated at Vienne was to decide the future of the Temple, while the Temple dignitaries, among them Jacques de Molay, were to be judged by the Pope. In the royal palace at Chinon, Jacques de Molay was again questioned by the cardinals, but this time with royal agents present. He returned to his admissions made on 24 October 1307, after which there was silence for a year. Slowly the commissions and inquisitions were put in place, and finally, in November 1309, the Papal Commission for the Kingdom of France began its hearings. On two instances, on 26 and 28 November, Jacques explicitly stated that he did not acknowledge the accusations brought against his order. By so doing, he thus turned to a strategy of silence before the Commission, counting on the power of the Church to prevail over the will of the King

By remaining silent, Jaques de Molay deprived the Templars of leadership; thereafter, the order was able to offer little resistance to the threat it faced. Any further opposition was effectively broken when the archbishop of Sens, Philippe de Marigny, sentenced 54 Templars to be burnt at the stake on 10-12 May 1310. At the Council of Vienne on 22 March 1312, the order was abolished by papal decree. Almost two years later, on March 18, 1314, three cardinals sent by the pope sentenced the Temple dignitaries Jacques de Molay, Hugues de Pairaud, Geoffroy de Charnay and Geoffroy de Gonneville to life imprisonment. Realizing that all was lost, Jacques de Molay rose up and recanted. Along with Geoffroy de Charnay, he proclaimed his order's innocence, before challenging the king and pope before God. Furious, Philippe IV ordered them both burned at the stake. On the even of 18 March 1314, Jacques de Molay and Geoffroy de Charnay were taken to Ile de la Cite where they were executed.

In 2002, Dr. Barbara Frale found a copy of the Chinon Parchment in the Vatican Secret Archives, a document which may indicate that Pope Clement V secretly absolved Jacques de Molay and other leaders of the Order in 1308. She published her findings in the Journal of Medieval History in 2004. [2].


Myths

Curse

It is said that Jacques de Molay cursed Philippe le Bel and his descent from his execution pyre. And, indeed, the rapid succession of the last direct Capetian kings of France between 1314 and 1328, the three sons of Philippe IV, led many to believe that the dynasty had been cursed – thus the name of "Cursed Kings" (Rois Maudits). Also, de Molay apparently challenged the King and the Pope to meet him before the judgment of God before the year was over. Philip and Clement V in fact both died in 1314. Interestingly, the 300 year old Capetian dynasty collapsed during the next 14 years.


Presence in England

Some Internet sources claim that Jacques de Molay was a commander in England and spent much time there. According to the most expansive biography of Jacques released yet, Alain Demurger's The Last Templar, there is no evidence of such. Although Jacques visited England in 1293, there is not likely that he assumed the post of commander while himself being the grand master.


Legacy

There is a masonic youth group named the Order of DeMolay. While they use Jacques as an example of loyalty and fidelity, they claim no direct connection with him nor with the Knights Templar.


Quotes

"Quar nous navons volu ne volons le Temple mettre en aucune servitute se non tant come il hy affiert." ("For we did not and do not wish the Temple to be placed in any servitude except that which is fitting.") - Jacques de Molay in one of his memoranda to Pope Clement V from the summer of 1306.

Notes

^ A. Demurger, The Last Templar - The Tragedy of Jacques de Molay, Last Grand Master of the Temple, Profile Books LTD, London 2004: 1-4.
^ Frale, Barbara (2004). "The Chinon chart - Papal absolution to the last Templar, Master Jacques de Molay". Journal of Medieval History 30 (2): 109–134

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacques_de_Molay
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« Reply #227 on: January 06, 2008, 04:28:55 am »

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The site of his execution:

http://www.crusader.org.uk/jdm/index.html

"For a long time the western tip of the Ile de la Cite gave way to a muddy marshy area broken by the river currents.
In 1314 Philip le Bel had a stake errected on one of the mounds of ground for the Grand Master of the Order of the Templars, Jacques de Molay, watching him burn from his palace window.
At the end of the 16C Henri III decided to reorganise this untidy no-mans-land: the mud ditches were in-filled consolidating the patches of solid ground, a great earth bank was amassed to support the future Pont Neuf, and the south bank was raised by some 6m - 20ft. By about 1580 the new terrain was ready for the developers.
In 1607 Henri IV ceded the land between the Conciergerie and the Pont Neuf for a triangular square to be built. The Square ('Place Dauphine') was named after the Dauphin, in honour of the future Louis XIII.
Down the stairs behind the Henri IV statue is the 'Square du Vert-Gallant'. This serene stretch of green, below the hum of traffic, is at its natural ground level, before the land was build up by Henri III. It's name derives from the nickname given to Henri IV, alluding to his reputation as an amorous gentleman despite his age!"
(Michelin Green Guide to Paris)
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« Reply #228 on: January 06, 2008, 04:29:22 am »

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It would be on the island of Cyprus that De Molay would remain until Philip IV and Clement V summoned him to France in the autumn of 1307.

The story of the orders downfall is too well know to readers of this Web Site to recount in detail, but what may not be known is that prior to the arrest, Phillip le Belle made Jacques de Molay Godfather of his son. The day before the arrest De Molay also acted as Pallbearer at the funeral of Le Belles sister in law. Perhaps the king didn't want the order to suspect his motives or perhaps he was simply adhering to the old adage, "keeps your friends close and your enemies closer."

After the arrest on the morning of October 13th 1307 De Molay spent the next seven years in prison during which time he and his Templar knights were dealt tortures that were unbearable. The inquisitors would go to any means to extract the confessions that would damn the order in the eyes of the people and the Catholic Church.

Although de Molay confessed to denying Christ and trampling on the Holy Cross, he steadfastly denounced the accusations that the initiation ritual consisted of homosexual practices.

On March 18th, 1314 De Molay was led out before the people to publicly confess his and the order's sins. He recanted his earlier confessions and said the only crime he was guilty of was lying about his Brethren to relieve his own tortures. He was then taken to an island on the Siene and burned along with Geoffrey de Charney the Preceptor of Normandy.

There are many accounts of De Molay's dying words, but the 19th century historian, Charles Addison; perhaps one of the foremost Templar scholars records them as follows:

"To say that which is untrue is a crime both in the sight of God and man. Not one of us has betrayed his God or his country. I do confess my guilt, which consists in having, to my shame and dishonor, suffered myself, through the pain of torture and the fear of death, to give utterance to falsehoods imputing scandalous sins and iniquities to an illustrious Order, which hath nobly served the cause of Christianity. I disdain to seek a wretched and disgraceful existence by engrafting another lie upon the original falsehood."

Charles Addison
Knights Templars

Many latter day writers have claimed that De Molay in his dying breath summoned both the King of France and Pope Clement to meet him in a tribunal before God within the year. True to the claim both men did indeed die within that time.

Whether a statement made by the Last Grand Master or an apocryphal account of Divine justice served, it will forever remain part of the Mythos surrounding Grand Master Jacques de Molay.

http://www.templarhistory.com/demolay.html
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« Reply #229 on: January 06, 2008, 04:29:49 am »

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The Legend of Glooscap
"It is known that the Templars fled to Scotland, too, after the dissolution of 1312, and it is known that some found refuge among the Saint-Clairs of Rosslyn in Midlothian. There is a Templar cemetery there."
- Michael Bradley, Holy Grail Across the Atlantic

"No family in Europe beneath the rank of royalty boasts a higher antiquity, a nobler illustration, or a more romantic interest than that of St. Clair."
- Sir John Bernard Burke, Vicissitudes of Families and Other Essays

"...We encountered repeated references to the Sinclair family - Scottish branch of the Norman Saint-Clair/Gisors family. Their domain at Rosslyn was only a few miles from the former Scottish headquarters of the Knights Templar, and the chapel at Rosslyn - built between 1446 and 1486 - has long been associated with both Freemasonry and the Rose-Croix. In a charter believed to date from 1601, moreover, the Sinclairs are recognized as 'hereditary Grand Masters of Scottish Masonry'. This is the earliest specific Masonic document on record."
- Baigent and Leigh, The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail

"The famous Grail Seeker Trevor Ravenscroft claimed in 1962 that he had finished a twenty year quest in search of the Grail at Rosslyn chapel.....His claim was that the Grail was inside the Prentice Pillar (as it is known) in this chapel. The chapel is often visited now by Grail Seekers and many references to the Grail can be found in its stonework and windows. Metal detectors have been used on the pillar and an object of the appropriate size is indeed buried in the middle. Lord Rosslyn adamantly refuses to have the pillar x-rayed."
- Chris Thornborrow, "An Introduction to Current Theories about The Holy Grail"

Henry Sinclair, Earl of Orkney, "was born about 1345, about a generation after the Templar dispersal.... Henry's ancestor and namesake, Henri de Saint-Clair fought beside Godfroi de Bouillon at the taking of Jerusalem. Several Saint-Clairs became Templars themselves."
"In the confusing and purely familial pattern of the Middle Ages, Henry Sinclair held Rosslyn as a vassal of the Kings of England and Scotland, but held Orkney as a vassal of the King of Norway."
"By 1390, Henry's fleet numbered 13 ships: two undecked oared galleys of Mediterranean type useful for maneuvering in the narrow channels of the Orkney and Shetland island groups (and a favored labyrinth for pirates and discontented island smugglers); one decked longship for battle, based on the old Viking lines; and ten decked sailing barks suitable for oceanic patrols around the island groups."
"In 1391 a Venetian ship entered the Orkney earldom. Aboard was Nicolo Zeno, brother of Carlo Zeno [the "Lion" of Venice] who had pioneered the use of cannon for Venice at the Battle of Chioggia. After spending some time with Sinclair, Nicolo Zeno wrote home to Venice and instructed his brother, Antonio, to join him in the Orkneys. Nicolo and Antonio together supplied the expertise that Henry lacked. They knew how to forge the new lightweight cannon for shipboard use, and they were familiar with the latest navigational theories and cartographic skills. They stayed in the service of Sinclair until death."
- Michael Bradley, Holy Grail Across the Atlantic

Unable to take in wood and water in Iceland because of a hostile reception by the inhabitants,

"Sinclair, seeing he could do nothing, and that if we were to persevere in this attempt, the fleet would fall short of provisions, took his departure with a fair wind and sailed 6 days to the westwards; but the winds afterwards shifting to the southwest, and the sea becoming rough, we sailed 4 days with the wind aft and finally sighted land."
"As the sea ran high and we did not know what country it was, we were afraid at first to approach it, but by God's blessing the wind lulled, and then there came on a great calm. Some of the crew pulled ashore and soon returned with great joy with news that they found an excellent country and a still better harbor."
"After eight days the 100 soldiers returned, and brought work that they had been through the island and up to the hill, and that the smoke was a natural thing proceeding from a great fire in the bottom of the hill, and that there was a spring from which issued a certain substance like pitch, which ran into the sea, and that thereabouts dwelt a great many people half wild, and living in caves. They were of small stature and very timid. They reported also there was a large river, and a very good and safe harbor."
- The Zeno Narrative

Apparently in 1398, Harry Sinclair, the Earl of Orkney, sailed to Nova Scotia, accompanied by the Zeno brothers of Genoa (one of whom mailed an account home to another brother left in Italy). He started a settlement where the "royal family" took refuge.
- Timothy C. Green (tgreen@PUCnet.com)

"Burning pitch deposits at Stellarton [Nova Scotia] behind Mt. Adams were responsible for the 'burning hill' Sinclair's explorers first thought they saw. The description confirms Cape Caruso as the area of landfall on June 2, 1398."
- Michael Bradley, Holy Grail Across the Atlantic

Sinclair's castle was built "in the middle of the peninsula, at the headwaters of both the Gold and the Gaspereau Rivers, the mouth each of which is indicated by an Oak Island (the one at the mouth of the Gold is THE Oak Island of treasure fame...These are apparently the only two islands with oak trees growing on them in all of NS, and acorns don't float. All that is left of the castle are footings of walls (partial plan in book) level with the ground, and to the author, these are very similar to rubble wall constuction in Scotland, and unlike anything else in the area. There were also some small artificts picked up the the owner of the site, who was an avid gardener.
- Timothy C. Green (tgreen@PUCnet.com)

"Glooscap was the first,
First and greatest,
To come to our land -
Into Nova Scotia...
When the Master left Ukakumkuk,
Called by the English Newfoundland,
He went to Pictook or Pictou,
Which means the rising of bubbles,
Because at that place the water is
Ever strangely moving,
There he found an Indian Village
A town of a hundred wigwams."
- Frederick Pohl, Prince Henry Sinclair

In the body of Micmac legends, "Pohl was the first to identify Gooscap as Henry Sinclair. Pohl was able to make a list of 17 specific similarities between Glooscap and Sinclair, including the fact that they each had three daughters."
- Michael Bradley, Holy Grail Across the Atlantic

Glooscap "invited all to a parting banquet

By the great lake Minas shore
On the silver waters' edge.
And when the feast was over,
Entered his great canoe
And sailed away over the water,
The shining waves of Minas."
- Frederick Pohl, Prince Henry Sinclair

"And, in memory of this parting, the Micmacs traditionally chanted:
Nemajeeck, Numeedich."
This, as Frederick Pohl noted, sounds like the words of an old Norse sea-chantey sung when weighing anchor.
"Nu mo jag, nu mo deg."
- Michael Bradley, Holy Grail Across the Atlantic

"Samuel de Champlain was in on the scheme for when he showed up 200 years later, he did what he could to hide the existence of the refuge (his normally detailed maps became vague in the area, his reports were deliberately false with respect to prospects for settlers). As a result, colonization of the area was slowed down for about a generation until the family could be moved to Ville Marie (Montreal), not hidden this time, but disguised as the Sulpician religious order."
- Timothy C. Green

Andrew Sinclair (The Sword and the Grail, Arrow Books 1994) "found a 'pre-Columbian' cannon of the type known as a 'petriera' as it fired stone balls, in the fortress at Louisburg, Cape Breton island. This was found in the sea nearby in about 1849. It is not on public display as the French Canadians don't like the idea that someone else got there first. It is in the cellars of the fortress.
" Such cannons had barrels made of longitudinal steel rods welded together, and reinforced with a number of steel or iron rings round the outside. After the 14th century they became obsolete when it was discovered how to cast the cannons in one piece. According to Sinclair's book, Sir Henry had some of these on his ships.
" A similar cannon was found at St. Peter's portage nearby but unfortunately it was broken up in Victorian times."
- George Sassoon (private communication)
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« Reply #230 on: January 06, 2008, 04:30:33 am »

Danielle Gorree

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Rosslyn Chapel

Mysteries of the Templars
The Baphomet
1 Rumors and Charges
An Abominated Idol
"Public indignation was aroused by...charges of ...worshipping the devil in the form of an idol called Baphomet." Baphomet was "the Templar symbol of Gnostic rites based on phallic worship and the power of directed will. The androgynous figure with a goat's beard and cloven hooves is linked to the horned god of antiquity, the goat of Mendes."
- Peter Tompkins, The Magic of Obelisks
"Some confessed that they had also worshipped an idol in the form of a cat, witch was red, or gray, or black, or mottled. Sometimes the idol worship required kissing the cat below the tail. Sometimes the cat was greased with the fat from roasted babies. The Templars were forced to eat food that contained the ashes of dead Templars, a form of witchcraft that passed on the courage of the fallen knights."
- John J. Robinson, Dungeon, Fire and Sword 1991
In the list of charges drawn up by the Inquisition against the Templars on 12 August 1308, there appears the following:
"Item, that in each province the order had idols, namely heads, of which some had three races and some one, and others had a human skull.
Item, that they adored these idols or that idol, and especially in their great chapters and assemblies.
Item, that they venerated them.
Item, that they venerated them as God.
Item, that they venerated them as their Savior....
Item, that they said that the head could save them.
Item, that [it could] make riches.
Item, that it made the trees flower.
Item, that [it made] the land germinate.
Item, that they surrounded or touched each head of the aforesaid idols with small cords, which they wore around themselves next to the shirt or the flesh.
Item, that in his reception, the aforesaid small cords or some lengths of them were given to each of the brethren.
Item, that they did this in veneration of an idol.
Item, that they the receptors enjoined them the postulants on oath not to reveal the aforesaid to anyone."
- The Articles of the Accusations
An Eastern Origin?
"...They bestowed worship in their chapter on a heathen idol, variously described as to its physical characteristics, but known as a 'Baphomet', which etymologically was the same word [in Old French] as 'Mohammed'. [Once or twice the form Mahomet is actually used by witnesses in the trial.] Like so many persecuted heretical groups of the past, they were said to hold their chapters only secretly and at night."
"It was impossible for the Templars to have 'picked up in the East' the practice of worshipping an idol bearing the name of the Prophet Mohammed, since no such idol existed anywhere in the Levant, even among breakaway sects such as the Ismailis or the Druse. The idea that Muslims were idolaters was itself a part of another system of 'smears', the pejorative representation of the oriental world by western Christians."
- Peter Partner, The Murdered Magicians
"Probably relying upon contemporary Eastern sources, Western scholars have recently supposed that 'Bafomet' has no connection with Mohammed, but could well be a corruption of the Arabic abufihamet pronounced in the Moorish Spanish something like bufihimat. The word means 'father of understanding.' In Arabic, 'father' is taken to mean 'source, chief seat of,' and so on. In Sufi terminology, ras el-fahmat head of knowledge means the mentation of man after undergoing refinement - the transmuted consciousness."
- Idries Shah, The Sufis
Sufi martyr Husayn ibn Mansur al-Hallaj died in 922CE. He was "a pantheist, an alleged miracle worker, and a most definitely unorthodox Muslim, Hallaj was imprisoned and tried for blasphemy for his public descriptions of his mystical union with God. Finally convicted after a nine year inquiry, Hallaj was maimed, crucified, beheaded, and his torso was cremated. Some of the stories surrounding his death include an account of the Caliph's Queen Mother having Hallaj's head preserved as a relic Singh, 1970. Various Sufi sects have rituals commemorating Hallaj's death, and Shah claimed that Hallaj was the model for the 'Hiram Abiff' character in the Master Mason initiation ritual."
Hallaj "according to the medieval Islamic poet and historian Farid al-Din Attar, turns out to have been known by several titles beginning with abu-....Could the charge that the Templars 'worshipped a head called Baphomet' not have had some factual basis, namely the commemoration of a decapitated Sufi martyr whose head became a relic and who had been given the sobriquet abufihamet? The only problem here is that despite all the other abu- titles belonging to Hallaj, there is no known documentation linking him to abufihamet."
- Frater Baraka, IV, "Baphomet: A 'Mystery' Solved At Last?"
A Gnostic Origin?
"Another theory suggests that Baphomet is a compound of the words 'baphe' baptism and 'metis' wisdom ...Both theories imply the Templars were worshipping, or at least privy to, a secret knowledge. Several commentators believed this points to the Templars having been gnostics 'gnosis' meaning knowing."
- Encounters magazine, issue 11: 45

2 A Bearded Head
The Brothers Testimony
The idol was described by Philip the Fair as:
"...a man's head with a large beard, which head they kiss and worship at all their provincial chapters, but this not all the brothers know, save only the Grand Master and the old ones."
- Philip's instructions to his seneschals
During The Trial of the Templars in 1307 Brother Jean Taillefer of Genay gave evidence. He "was received into the order at Mormant, one of the three perceptories under the jurisdiction of the Grand Priory of Champagne at Voulaine. He said at his initiation 'an idol representing a human face' was placed on the altar before him. Hughes de Bure, another Burgundian from a daughter house of Voulaine, described how the 'head' was taken out of a cupboard, or aumbry, in the chapel, and that it seemed to him to be of gold or silver, and to represent the head of a man with a long beard. Brother Pierre d'Arbley suspected that the 'idol' had two faces, and his kinsman Guillaume d'Arbley made the point that the 'idol' itself, as distinct from copies, was exhibited at general chapters, implying that it was only shown to senior members of the order on special occasions."
"The treasurer of the Paris temple, Jean de Turn, spoke of a painted head in the form of a picture, which he had adored at one of these chapters."
"Nearly all the brethren agreed that the head was bearded and had long hair, and the Templars, like the majority of their contemporaries, regarded long hair as effeminate, so the length of the 'idol's hair was remarkable for this, if for no other reason."
- Noel Currer-Briggs, The Shroud and the Grail - A Modern Quest for the True Grail
According to the most consistent accounts, the idol was:
"...about the natural size of a man's head, with a very fierce-looking face and beard."
- Deposition of Jean Tallefer
"He went on to say that he could not describe it more particularly, except that he thought it was of a reddish color."
- Ian Wilson, The Shroud of Turin - The Burial Cloth of Jesus Christ?
The mysterious object at one of the Templars' Paris ceremonies was
"brought in by the priest in a procession of the brethren with lights; it was laid on the altar; it was a human head without any silver or gold, very pale and discolored, with a grizzled beard like a Templars."
- Stephen of Troyes
"Other descriptions, clearly referring to copies, included mention of gold and silver cases, wooden panels, and the like. But the Paris head is different. One gets the distinct impression that this was the holy of holies, accorded ceremonial strikingly reminiscent of that used by the Byzantines."
- Ian Wilson, The Shroud of Turin - The Burial Cloth of Jesus Christ?
The Templar Cord
"In the Inquisition evidence there are several references to members of the order receiving on initiation a little cord that had been in contact with the 'head'."
- Ian Wilson, The Shroud of Turin - The Burial Cloth of Jesus Christ?
Upon being initiated into the Order of the Peacock Angel Yezidis,"a holy thread, of intertwined black and red wool, is put around the neck. Like the sacred thread of the Parsis and other ancient Middle Eastern cults, this must never be removed; and it sounds like the cord that the Templars were accused of wearing when the Order was suppressed as heretic."
- Arkon Daraul, Secret Societies

3 Theories About the Head


Alchemists' symbol
Caput Mortuum
the dead head
John the Baptist?
It is possible that the head idol was intended to represent the severed head of John the Baptist, based on allegations that he was revered by the Order. The Templars took part in the sack of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade in 1203-4. Robert de Clari described the opulence and numerous relics at the sacred chapel of the Boucoleon Palace, amongst them supposedly the head of John the Baptist.
An egregore is a magical entity that is artificially created by the focused thoughts and desires of a medium analogous in many ways to Tibetan tulpas. Supposedly a medium or statue could then serve as a tenant for the egregore, nourished by the sexual life-powers of the members.
"The Egregora does [sic] exist in the so-called 'astral plane' and it is a demon, that is to say, an illusory entity. It is not a true Microcosm, but a gestalt of vitalized shells, a focus for everything that is negative, defeatist, maudlin, bigoted, introverted in human nature - a morass completely hostile to progress and to the spiritual evolution of mankind."
- Marcel Ramos Motta from P. R. Koenig below
"The representation of the egregore as bust recalls the ancient literary tradition of animated statues or Salome, who wanted the head of John the Baptist, probably to master his visionary powers.....The classic prototype of such an egregore is Baphomet, the alleged egregore of the Templars, who was as the Roman Emperor of the Gods likewise worshipped in the form of a bust. In the secret statutes of the Templars, Baphomet was besought with the introduction to the Qu'ran and dismissed with the 24th chapter of the Book of Sirach."
- P. R. Koenig, "Too Hot to Handle"
A Likeness of the Lord?
Another possibility as to the identity of the Baphomet may lie with Nicodemus, who in the Gospel of John who brought spices for Christ's burial. He is also mentioned in the apocryphal Evangelium Nicodemi 4th C. as a ruler of the Jews who testified in Christ's favor. The Interpolation in the First Continuation of Chrétien's Perceval 12?? tells of the flight of Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea to England and includes the following intriguing passage:
"Nicodemus had carved and fashioned a head in the likeness of the Lord on the day that he had seen Him on the cross. But of this I am sure, that the Lord God set His hand to the shaping of it, as they say; for no man ever saw one like it nor could it be made by human hands. Most of you who have been at Lucca know it and have seen it."
- Interpolation in the First Continuation of Chrétien's Perceval
The Skull of Hugues de Payen?
"Another possibility for the origin of the Head relates to the imagery on the first Grand Master's shield, which consisted of three black heads on a gold field. After about two hundred years, it is plausible that this head imagery could have worked itself into the legend of the Baphomet. According to more than one account, the Head was the actual skull of Hugues de Payen, which was preserved as an object of veneration."
- Forrest Jackson, "The Baphomet in History and Symbolism"
The Mandylion/Shroud of Turin?
"Surely this evidence [given by Templars at their trial] suggests that copies of the head, perhaps some of them not unlike the Sainte Face de Laon, others of carved stone or alabaster, such as those of the Nottingham School of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, were widely distributed throughout the order's houses. This would at least explain why nothing resembling a pagan idol was found after the brethren had been arrested, and why none of the pictures found in their chapels raised so much as an eyebrow."
- Noel Currer-Briggs, The Shroud and the Grail - A Modern Quest for the True Grail
The idol was also described as:
"...An old piece of skin, as though all embalmed and like polished cloth."
- Chronicles of St. Denis
Ian Wilson also hypothesizes that the Templar idols were representations of Christ's face copied from the Mandylion/Shroud. A possible surviving example, on a painted panel found at Templecombe, England, shows "a bearded male head, with a reddish beard, lifesize, disembodied, and, above all, lacking in any identification mark....It conforms too, to some of the most rational Templar descriptions: 'a painting on a plaque', 'a bearded male head', 'lifesize', 'with a grizzled beard like a Templars'. The Templars cultivated their beards in the style of Christ."
- Ian Wilson, The Shroud of Turin - The Burial Cloth of Jesus Christ?
A Daemon Guardian?
"...The descriptions given of it [the Baphomet] varied wildly. The physical characteristics assigned to the 'Baphomet' seemed to come either from the maufé or demon of northern folklore, or from church reliquaries. It was often said to represent a cat, a beast traditionally associated with witchcraft and heresy."
- Peter Partner, The Murdered Magicians
"INQUISITOR: Now tell us about the head.
BROTHER RAOUL: Well, the head. I've seen it at seven chapters held by Brother Hugh de Peraud and others.
INQUISITOR: What did one do to worship it?
BROTHER RAOUL: Well, it was like this. It was presented, and everyone threw himself on the ground, pushed back his cowl, and worshipped it.
INQUISITOR: What was its face like?
BROTHER RAOUL: Terrible. It seemed to me that it was the face of a demon, of a maufé [evil spirit]. Every time I saw it I was filled with such terror I could scarcely look at it, trembling in all my members."
- from M. Michelet, Procés des Templiers
Based upon the idol's description as a "demon" having "very fierce-looking face and beard", the idol very likely could have been Asmodeus, the "daemon guardian" who helped Solomon build his Temple. A statue of the demon guards the door of the parish church at Rennes-le-Château.
"The Templars' stronghold in Jerusalem, the site of their foundation, was finally overrun by the Moslems in 1244. Thirty-three years later the victorious sultan, Baibars, inspected their castle and is recorded to have discovered inside the tower 'a great idol, in whose protection the castle had been placed: according to the Frank who had given it its name [this is an unreadable word, made in diacritic letters]. He ordered this to be destroyed and a mihrab [Moslem prayer niche] constructed in its place."
- Ian Wilson, The Shroud of Turin - The Burial Cloth of Jesus Christ?

4 A Feminine Origin?
CAPUT LVIIIm
"...We found indisputable evidence for the charge of secret ceremonies involving a head of some kind. Indeed the existence of such a head proved to be one of the dominant themes running through the Inquisition records....Among the confiscated goods of the Paris preceptory a reliquary in the shape of a woman's head was found. It was hinged on top, and contained what appeared to have been relics of a peculiar kind."
- Baigent, Leigh & Lincoln, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail
The reliquary was:
"A great head of gilded silver, most beautiful, and constituting the image of a woman. Inside were two head bones, wrapped in a cloth of white linen, with another red cloth around it. A label was attached, on which was written the legend CAPUT LVIIIm. The bones inside were those of a rather small woman."
- Oursel, Le Procés des Templiers
"Caput LVIIIm - 'Head 58m' - remains a baffling enigma. But it is worth noting that the 'm' may not be an 'm' at all, but the astrological symbol for Virgo."
- Baigent, Leigh & Lincoln, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail
"The number 58 is less puzzling if one remembers that five 5 is the number of the pentagram and eight 8 is indicative of Isis. We may now complete the simple equation which exposes her secret number:
5 X 8 = 40 = 58 - 18 ISIS
"The numbers 5 and 8 are also exhibited in the beliefs of the 'Brothers of the Rose Cross', where the rose is constructed with a centre of five petals, surrounded by eight petals."
- David Wood, GENISIS 1986
"That it had a feminine origin is shown by Gerald Massey who writes 'METE was the BAPHOMET or mother of breath'. According to Von Hammer, the formula of faith inscribed on a chalice belonging to the Templars is as follows: Let METE be exalted who causes all things to bud and blossom, it is our root; it is one and seven; it is octinimous, the eight-fold name."
- Kenneth Grant, Nightside of Eden


Cults of the Severed Head
"Herodotus 4:26 speaks of the practice in the obscure Issedones of gilding a head and sacrificing to it. Cleomenes of Sparta is said to have preserved the head of Archonides in honey and consulted it before undertaking an important task. Several vases of the fourth century BC in Etruria depict scenes of persons interrogating oracular heads. And the severed head of the rustic Carians which continues to 'speak' is mentioned derisively by Aristotle."
- Julian Jaynes, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind
A similar tradition could be found in the Celtic cult of the severed head which figured predominently in Peredur, a Welsh romance about the Holy Grail.
"A great lady of Maraclea was loved by a Templar, a Lord of Sidon; but she died in her youth, and on the night of her burial, this wicked lover crept to the grave, dug up her body and violated it. Then a voice from the void bade him return in nine months time for he would find a son. He obeyed the injunction and at the appointed time he opened the grave again and found a head on the leg bones of the skeleton skull and crossbones. The same voice bade him 'guard it well, for it would be the giver of all good things', and so he carried it away with him."
- Ward, Freemasonry and the Ancient Gods
"One chronicler cites the name of the woman in the story - Yse, which would seem quite clearly to derive from Isis."
- Baigent, Leigh & Lincoln, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail
"At one time there was only God. He was all omnipotent and existed alone. This caused him to become discontented, thus he split himself in two in order to create a mate. He kept the elements of Order and Logic for his own being and gave his mate the elements of Chaos and Emotion for her being. Her name is Yse pron. Issa. She became so overwhelmed with love at her creation that when he kissed her, she gave him a reaction which was to become known as the 'Chosen Response'. The Chosen Response was the first acknowledgement and reaction of love between a male and female in the universe, and this became the greatest secret of and mystery of mankind, being 'The Holy Grail'."
- Synopsis from the Merovingian Bible, "Angels Among Us! The Gnostic Johannine Christian Path"
Use of the Atbash Cipher
Dr. Hugh Schonfield in The Essene Odyssey "had discovered a system of cryptography - he called it the 'Atbash Cipher' - which had been used to conceal certain names in Essene/Zadokite/Nazarene texts. This system of coding figured, for example, in a number of the scrolls found at Qumran."
- Baigent, Leigh & Lincoln, The Messianic Legacy
Schonfield "showed that by applying the Hebrew Atbash code to the name Baphomet, the name Sophia [ShVPIA], female wisdom, is revealed. Sophia is equated with Isis by Plutarch."
- David Wood, Genisis
Isis's magic was allied to the wisdom of the Egyptian god Thoth. His wife or consort, Nehemaut, was known to the Gnostics as Sophia.
"By this analysis, therefore, when the Templars worshipped Baphomet what they were really doing was worshipping the principle of Wisdom."
- Graham Hancock, The Sign and the Seal
"From the Templars' use of the Atbash Cipher, it is probable that some form of Nazarean or neo-Nazarean sect had continued to survive in the Middle East as late as the twelfth century, and had made its teachings available to the West."
- Baigent, Leigh & Lincoln, The Messianic Legacy
The Black Virgin
"Plutarch compares Isis to knowledge, and Typhon to ignorance, obscuring the light of the sacred doctrine whose blaze lights the soul of the Initiate. No gift of the gods, he holds, is so precious as the knowledge of the Truth, and that of the Nature of the gods, so far as our limited capacities allow us to rise toward them."
- General Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma
"The great Egyptian goddess Isis, often depicted as a black woman, is inextricably linked with alchemy and is closely associated with the Black Madonnas of Europe."
- Lynn Picknett & Clive Prince, Turin Shroud - In Whose Image? The Shocking Truth Unveiled
"The ankh [the looped cross of Egypt] which Isis carries as supreme initiatrix may account for some of the oddly-shaped scepters carried by the Black Virgins who, like Isis, often favor the color green. Their greeness and blackness points to the beginning of the opus whose secret, according to alchemists, is to be found in 'the sex of Isis'."
-Ean Begg, The Cult of the Black Virgin
"The Black Virgin..is Isis and her name is Notre Dame de Lumiére."
- Pierre Plantard de St Clair former Grand Master of the Priory of Sion
"The Templars, imprisoned and awaiting death in the Castle of Chinon...composed a prayer to Our Lady acknowledging Bernard to be the founder of her religion. In addition to the numerous hymns and sermons he addressed to her, he wrote about 280 sermons on the theme of the Song of Songs, the epithalamion of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, whose versicle 'I am black, but I am beautiful, O ye daughters of Jerusalem' is the recurring refrain of the Black Virgin cult."
-Ean Begg, The Cult of the Black Virgin
"I am black, but beautiful, daughters of Jerusalem. Like the black tents of Cedar, like the pavilions of Solomon."
- Song of Songs 1:5-6
Most of the several hundred statues in France known as Black Madonnas were accidentally darkened by smoke and fumes from votive candles. Others were originally constructed of a dark wood like ebony and later pear or deliberately darkened through periodic treatment with oil or wine. Syrian, Coptic, or Ethiopian images transported to France during the Crusades may have served as prototypes for the Black Madonnas.
Black represented the color of earth - the source of fertility and life, or divine flesh, or sorrow. Many effigies of goddesses were black including Isis, Diana and Cybele. From early on in Christianity, the Bride of the Song symbolized the Church and the Virgin Mary.
Churches of the Black Virgin often bore the name of Mary Magdalene. In 1247, Emperor Baldwin II who helped establish the Templars in Jerusalem exchanged pieces of the Shroud of Turin with the Abbey of Vézelay for the purported body of Mary Magdalene. A secret tradition states that the Magdalene was Jesus' wife and bore Jesus' offspring to Southern France. There she was revered as a medium of occult revelation.

The Hidden Legacy of the Templars
1 Deep into Africa
Prester John
"In the year 1145, the German bishop Otto of Freising reported in his Chronicon a most astonishing epistle. The Pope, he reported, had received a letter from a Christian ruler of India, whose existence had been totally unknown until then. And that king had affirmed in his letter that the River of Paradise was indeed located in his realm.
"Bishop Otto named as the intermediary, through whom the Pope had received the epistle, Bishop Hugh of Gebal, a town on the Mediterranean cost of Syria. The ruler, it was reported, was named John the Elder or, being a priest, Prester John. He was reputedly a lineal descendant of the Magi who had visited Christ the child. He defeated the Muslim kings of Persia, and formed a thriving Christian kingdom in the lands of the Ends of Earth."
- Graham Hancock, The Sign and the Seal
"Prester John is a corruption of Presbyter John - the Apostle John - even in the Gospel, it says that a rumor had arisen that John would never die, but that this was not true. Combine that with the several emperor Johns of Byzantium, at a time with Europe was threatened by Muslim invasion, and it becomes conflated into a rumor of hope of assistance."
- Steve.Schaper @cheswicks.toadnet.org
"...No sooner had Bishop Otto reported the existence of Prester John and of the River of Paradise in his realm, then the Pope issued a formal call for the resumption of the Crusades. Two years later, in 1147, Emperor Conrad of Germany, accompanied by other rulers and many nobles, launched the Second Crusade.
"As the fortunes of the Crusaders rose and fell, Europe was swept anew by word from Prester John and his promises of aid. According to chroniclers of those days, Prester John sent in 1165 a letter to the Byzantine emperor, to the Holy Roman emperor, and to lesser kings, in which he declared his definite intention to come to the Holy Land with his armies. Again his realm was described in glowing terms, as befits the place where the River of Paradise - indeed, the Gates of Paradise - were situated."
- Graham Hancock, The Sign and the Seal
"If indeed you wish to know wherein consist our great power, then believe without doubting that I, Prester John...exceed in riches, virtue, and power all creatures who dwell under heaven. Seventy-two kings pay tribute to me. I am a devout Christian and everywhere protect the Christians of our empire...We have made a vow to visit the sepulcher of our Lord with a very great army...to wage war against and chastise the enemies of the cross of Christ...
"Our magnificence dominates the Three Indias, and extends to Farther India, where the body of St. Thomas the Apostle rests. It reaches through the desert toward the place of the rising sun, and continues through the valley of deserted Babylon close by the Tower of Babel..."
- Prester John in a letter addressed to Manuel Commentus, Emperor of Byznatium 1165
"Where was Prester John? His reference to the Apostle Thomas' tomb pointed to India, but so muddled were medieval notions of geography that India was thought to be somewhere near the Nile; thus when, in 1177, the Pope wrote to PresterJohn, his letter was presumably carried into 'Middle India', or Ethiopia."
- Mysteries of the Past
"Harbay, reigning Zagwe monarch of Ethiopia before his brother Lalibela deposed him, is deduced to have been the mythical Prester John. "Derived from Jano, a reddish-purple toga worn only by royalty, the word [Jan] meant 'king' or 'Majesty'..."
- Graham Hancock, The Sign and the Seal
Prester John's letter also contained a warning against the Templars, who were believed to have been allied with his brother against him.
"There are Frenchmen among you, of your lineage and from our retinue, who hold with the Saracens. You confide in them and trust in them that they should and will help you, but they are false and treacherous...may you be brave and of great courage and, pray, do not forget to put to death those treacherous Templars."
- Prester John in the letter written to varous Christian kings 1165
The Churches of Lalibela
In Parzival, "a member of the Grail Company...spoke, amongst other things, of riding 'deep into Africa...past the Rohas'. ...Rohas was the old name for a town in the remotest highlands of Ethiopia - a town now called Lalibela in honor of the great king who was born there and who made it his capital when he returned to it in triumph in the year of our Lord 1185...Lalibela had spent the previous quarter of a century in Jerusalem rubbing shoulder with the knights of a military-religious order whose headquarters stood on the site of the Temple of Solomon - knights who would have had a special interest in any contender to the throne of a country which claimed to possess the lost Ark that the Temple had originally been built to house."
- Graham Hancock, The Sign and the Seal
"Writing was seen on the Gral to the effect that any Templar whom God should bestow on a distant people...must forbid them to ask his name or lineage, but must help them gain their rights. When such a question is put to him the people there cannot keep him any longer."
"If a land should lose its lord, and its people see the hand of God in it and ask for a new lord from the Gral Company, their prayer is granted...God sends the men out in secret."
- Wolfram von Eschenbach, Parzival
Ethiopia's diplomatic relationship with Christian Europe were to continue into the following century.
"It is known that this emperor [Wedem Ara'ad of Ethiopia] in the...year of our salvation 1306 sent thirty envoys [who]...presented themselves reverentially before Pope Clement V at Avignon."
- Giovanni da Carignano a Genoese cartographer active during the years 1291-1329
"By a considerable margin, the eleven rock-hewn churches of Lalibela were the most architecturally advanced building that Ethiopia had ever known indeed, in the considered opinion of UNESCO, they deserved to be ranked amongst the wonders of the world.....Towering edifices, the churches remain places of living worship eight hundred years after they were built. It is important to stress, however that they were not built at all in the conventional sense, but instead were excavated and hewn directly out of the solid red volcanic tuff on which they stand. In consequence, they seem superhuman - not only in scale, but also in workmanship and in conception."
"...Considerable efforts have been made to cloak their real natures: some lie almost completely concealed within deep trenches, whole others hide in the open mouths of huge quarried caves. Connecting them all is a complex and bewildering labyrinth of tunnels and narrow passageways with offset crypts, grottoes and galleries - a cool, lichen-enshrouded, subterranean world, shaded and damp, silent but for the faint echoes of distant footfalls and priests and deacons go about their timeless business."
On the arch "of the ceiling of the rock-hewn church of Saint Mary's...can be seen a stylized croix pattée contained within a Star of David - a most unusual symbol in a Christian place of worship, but one to which it is known that the Knights Templar were particularly attached. Behind the arch...[is]a cloth-wrapped column said by the priests to have been engraved by King Lalibela himself with the secrets of how the rock-hewn churches were made." Another croix pattée is carved on a boulder on the outskirts of Axum, and several more can be found "in the ruins of King Kaleb's palace - a structure that could well have been still standing and inhabited in the thirteenth century."
- Graham Hancock, The Sign and the Seal

2 Portugal: The Knights of Christ
"In Portugal, the Templars were cleared by an inquiry and simply modified their name, becoming the Knights of Christ. They survived under this title well into the sixteenth century, their maritime explorations leaving an indelible mark on history. Vasco da Gama was a Knight of Christ; Prince Henry the Navigator was a grand Master of the Order. Ships of the Knights of Christ sailed under the Templars' familiar red patte cross. And it was under the same cross that Columbus's three caravels crossed the Atlantic to the New World. Columbus himself was married to the daughter of a former Grand Master of the Order, and had access to his father-in-law's charts and diaries.
- Baigent & Leigh, The Temple and the Lodge
"...The first and most active figure on whom any solid information is available was Prince Henry the navigator, Grand master of the Order of Christ and a man described by his biographer [Zurara] as possessing 'strength of hear and keenness of mind to a very excellent degree...[who] was, beyond comparison, ambitious of achieving great and lofty deeds."
"Born in 1394, and actively involved in seafaring by 1415, Henry's greatest ambition - as he himself declared - was that he would 'have knowledge of the land of Prester John'. Chroniclers who were his contemporaries, as well as modern historians, are in full agreement that he devoted the greater part of his illustrious career to the pursuit of precisely this goal."
"It is notable that he immersed himself in the study of mathematics and cosmography, 'the course of the heavens and astrology', and that he was constantly surrounded by Jewish doctors and astronomers - men in every was reminiscent of Wolfram's character Flegetanis who 'saw hidden secrets in the constellations [and] declared there was a thing called the Gral whose name he read in the stars without more ado' [Parzival ]."
- Graham Hancock, The Sign and the Seal
In Portugal, Dom Enrique, mestrat of the Knights of Christ became know as Enrique the Navigator and "exploited every modern method. At Sagres his staff included geographers, shipwrights, linguists, Jewish cartographers and Moorish pilots. The team studied map making and how to improve navigational instruments, the astrolabe and compass. Islam had conquered the Spains; Christianity would conquer Africa, then Asia. By 1425 his brethren had colonized Madeira and the Canaries. In 1445 they settled the Azores. The systematic exploitation of the west African coast began in 1434, made possible by the new caravels, the most seaworthy ships of their day. Rigged with many small sails instead of one or two huge spreads of canvas as hitherto, these new ships were much easier to handle - a smaller crew make provisions last longer."
- Desmond Seward, The Monks of War
"Our knowledge of the Henrican voyages is inadequate, and this is largely due to the adoption of a policy of secrecy which included the suppression of facts...historical works...nautical guides, maps instructions to navigators and their reports."
- Edgar Prestage, The Portugese Pioneers
"Indeed, so great was the commitment to secrecy in Henry's time that the release of information on the results of the various exploratory voyages that were undertaken was punishable by death. Despite this, however, it is known that the prince was obsessed with the notion of making direct contact with Ethiopia - and that he sought to achieve this end by circumnavigating Africa since the shorter route through the Mediterranean and then into the Red Sea via Egypt was blocked by hostile Muslim forces. Moreover, even before the Cape of Good Hope was rounded, the masters of Portuguese vessels venturing down the West African coast were instructed to enquire after 'Prester John' to see whether it might mot be quicker to approach his kingdom overland."
"It was not until the early years of the twentieth century that certain secret archives pertaining to the last decade of his life came to light. Among these archives a brief note was found to the effect that 'an ambassador of Prester John visited Lisbon eight years before Henry's death'. It is not known what the purpose of this mission was, or what the prince and the Ethiopian envoy discussed. Nevertheless, two years after their meeting it can hardly have been accidental that King Alfonso V of Portugal granted spiritual jurisdiction over Ethiopia to the Order of Christ."
In 1487 "King John II of Portugal, then Grand Master of the Order, had sent his trusted aide Pero de Covilhan on a perilous journey to the court of Prester John via the Mediterranean, Egypt and the Red Sea. Disguised as a merchant, Covilhan passed through Alexandria and Cairo to Suakin and there, in 1488, he took ship in a small Arab barque for the Yemeni port of Aden. He then became caught up in various adventures which delayed him considerably. As a result it was not until 1493 that he finally succeeded in entering Abyssinia. Once there, however, he made his way immediately to the emperor's court where he was first welcomed but later paced under comfortable house arrest. One can only speculate as to why this happened, but...Covilhan's greatest skill was a spy he had previously worked as a secret agent in Spain..."
In 1497 Vasco da Gama, also a Knight of the Order of Christ "devoted a considerable part of the expedition [to India] to African exploration and is reported to have wept for joy when, at anchor off Mozambique he was rightly told that Prester John lived in the interior far to the north."
"...the first official Portuguese embassy to the court of Prester John landed at the port of Massawa in 1520 and made its way inland [in a grueling eight month march] to meet with Lebna Dengel, the Solomic emperor who had been on the throne since 1508.
- Graham Hancock, The Sign and the Seal
"We saw...to our great joy the tents and camps of the Emperor Prester John."
- Captain of the Portuguese expedition October 20, 1520
"At the center of this tent capitol, in a red pavilion guarded by warriors wearing lion skins and by live lions on leashes, the travelers beheld him, the negus, or emperor, of Ethiopia. That neither he nor any of his subjects had heard of Prester John fazed the Portuguese not at all, so elated were they to have found him at last."
- Mysteries of the Past
"One of the members of this embassy was Father Francisco Alvarez...who had been told by priests of the ancient tradition that the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela had been 'made by white men'....Carved into the roof of this great edifice [the church of Saint George], he said, was 'a double cross, that is, one within the other like the crosses of the Order of Christ."
- Graham Hancock, The Sign and the Seal

3 Spain: "Viva la Muerte"
"In Spain the brethren of Calatrava, Alcantara and Santiago were the spearhead of the Reconquista, consolidating the Christian advance, destroying the exotic Moslem civilization of Cordoba and Granada. On the vast and lonely meseta where no peasant dared settle for fear of Moorish raiders, the monkish frontiersmen ranched hears of cattle and sheep, a practice which reached North America by way; of the Mexican haciendas. In the later Middle Ages politicians used them to capture the whole machinery of Castilian government."
"They were the perfected instrument of five centuries of warfare with Islam, given their final shape by the Templars' example."
"Much of Spanish history cannot be understood without some knowledge of the brethren [which became the Order of Knight's of Christ and The Aragonese Order of Montesa after the dissolution]. They had become the Reconquista itself and helped form their country's military tradition, that compound of unspeakable ferocity and incredible gallantry, expressed in the modern Tercio Extrajero's motto - 'Viva la Muerte'. It was this spirit and the techniques of the Reconquista which overcame Aztecs and Incas, creating the Spanish Empire, while Portuguese brethren transformed the crusading idea into a movement of colonization which ended with Europe dominating the world."
- Desmond Seward, The Monks of War
"Not long after the Templar dispersal, very accurate and inexplicable sea-charts began to appear all over Europe. These maps, called portolans thought to be derived from 'port' to 'land', were far superior to the Ptolemaic maps studied by academic ecclesiastics in the monasteries and fledgling universities. Most of the portolans covered the area of the Mediterranean and the European Atlantic coast. They covered the areas crucial to European sea-commerce.
"The earliest dated portolan chart is the Opicinis de Canestris map of the Mediterranean of 1335 A.D. It demonstrates that maps of inexplicable accuracy began to appear in Europe less than 25 years after King Philippe's surprise raids against the Templars and the papal elimination of the Order under Clement V."
"...Is it mere coincidence that his flagship, the famous Santa Maria, bore Templar crosses on her sails when Columbus set sail from Palos? Is it mere coincidence that his voyage was financed, not by the sale of Isabella's jewelry as so commonly thought, but by a mysterious consortium of wealthy men which included Jews and other heretics? And is it only coincidence that Columbus weighed anchor on August 3, 1492 just a few hours before the deadline for all Jews to be out of Spain?"
- Michael Bradley, Holy Grail Across the Atlantic

3 England: The Peasants' Rebellion
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."
- John J. Robinson, Born in Blood
"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."
- William T. Still, New World Order

4 Scotland: The Scots Guard
"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."
- Christopher Knight & Robert Lomas, The Hiram Key: Pharaohs, Freemasons and the Discovery of the Secret Scrolls of Jesus
"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."
- Baigent, Leigh & Lincoln, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail
"...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."
- Christopher Knight & Robert Lomas, The Hiram Key: Pharaohs, Freemasons and the Discovery of the Secret Scrolls of Jesus
"According to legend - and there is evidence to support it - the Order maintained itself as a coherent body in Scotland for another four centuries."
- Baigent, Leigh & Lincoln, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail
"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 Rite Freemasonry]."
"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."
- Baigent & Leigh, The Temple and the Lodge
"c.1560. When the Knights-Templars were deprived of their patrimonial interest through the instrumentality of their Grand-Master Sir James Sandilands, they drew off in a body, with David Seton, Grand Prior of Scotland, at their head."
- A History of the Family of Seton

5 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'."
- Christopher Knight & Robert Lomas, The Hiram Key: Pharaohs, Freemasons and the Discovery of the Secret Scrolls of Jesus
Knight and Lomas argue that this was the true source of the name "America". Historical convention, of course, states that the continent was named after Amerigo Vespucci. This was, Knight and Lomas say, is due to an error committed by an obscure monk in the Duchy of Loraine who had mused over a meaning for 'America' and confused it with the amateur navagator.
"Now, these parts of the earth Europe, Africa, Asia have been more extensively explored and a fourth part has been discovered by Amerigo Vespucci as will be described in what follows. Insomuch as both Europe and Asia received their names from women, I see no reason why any one should justly object to calling this part Amerige from the Greek 'ge' meaning 'land of', i.e., the land of Amerigo, or America, after Amerigo, its discoverer, a man of great ability."
- Cosmographiae Introductio
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 easy to 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."
- Johannes and Peter Fiebag, The Discovery of the Grail, translated from the German by George Sassoon
"On the evening before the raid, Thursday October 12th 1307, I myself saw three carts loaded with straw, which left the Paris Temple shortly before nightfall, also Gèrard de Villiers and Hugo de Chalons, at the head of 50 horse[men]. There were chests hidden on the carts, which contained the entire treasure of the Visitator Hugo de Pairaud. They took the road for the coast, where they were to be taken abroad in eighteen of the Order's ships."
- Jean de Chalons
"There is no record of the seizure of eighteen Templar ships from their naval base at on the French coast, or of any Templar ships anchored in the Thames or at other seaports in Britain....Since many of the Templar ships were galleys, they were ideally suited for piracy, because becalmed ships were always easy prey for those that did not depend upon the wind."
- John J. Robinson, Born in Blood
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.

Preserving the Secrets
1 Rosslyn Chapel

"It is known that the Templars fled to Scotland, too, after the dissolution of 1312, and it is known that some found refuge among the Saint-Clairs of Rosslyn in Midlothian. There is a Templar cemetery there."
-Michael Bradley, Holy Grail Across the Atlantic
"No family in Europe beneath the rank of royalty boasts a higher antiquity, a nobler illustration, or a more romantic interest than that of St. Clair."
-Sir John Bernard Burke, Vicissitudes of Families and Other Essays

Rosslyn Chapel Choir
Click here for a full-size image.

"...We encountered repeated references to the Sinclair family - Scottish branch of the Norman Saint-Clair/Gisors family. Their domain at Rosslyn was only a few miles from the former Scottish headquarters of the Knights Templar, and the chapel at Rosslyn - built between 1446 and 1486 - has long been associated with both Freemasonry and the Rose-Croix. In a charter believed to date from 1601, moreover, the Sinclairs are recognized as 'hereditary Grand Masters of Scottish Masonry'. This is the earliest specific Masonic document on record."
-Baigent and Leigh, The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail Choir
Rosslyn Chapel "is decorated inside with carvings of Masonic significance...and botanical significance. Arches, lintels, pillar bases and such like are mostly covered in decorative but highly detailed plant motifs, with many different species represented."
- Christopher Knight & Robert Lomas, The Hiram Key: Pharaohs, Freemasons and the Discovery of the Secret Scrolls of Jesus
Two of the motifs resemble the aloe cactus and maize cobs, plants indigenous to the New World and supposedly unknown to Europe before the sixteenth century.

Greenman
Click here for a full-size image.

"...Everywhere there were manifestations of the 'green man', the Celtic figure that represented fertility. Over a hundred 'green men' have been counted but it is believed that there are even more subtly peeping out of the vegetation."
"the symbolism is Egyptian, Celtic, Jewish, Templar and Masonic in profusion. A star-studded ceiling, vegetative growth coming form the mouths of the Celtic Green Men, entangled pyramids, images of Moses, towers of the Heavenly Jerusalem, engrailed crosses and well as squares and compasses. The only certain Christian imagery was in later Victorian alterations: the stained glass windows, the revolting baptistery and a statue of the Madonna and child."
Recalling the legend of Hiram Abif, "high up in the corner where the south and west walls meet, and level with the organ, is a head with a severe gash on the right temple and in the opposite side of the west wall is the head of the person who killed him."
- Christopher Knight & Robert Lomas, The Hiram Key: Pharaohs, Freemasons and the Discovery of the Secret Scrolls of Jesus
"...William St Clair himself masterminded the whole construction of the building from its inception to his own death in 1484, just two years before it completion; furthermore, he personally supervised every tiny detail of the work...William St Clair had brought some of Europe's finest masons to Scotland for this great project, building the village of Rosslyn to house them."
"From the outside, Rosslyn is a representation in stone of the Heavenly Jerusalem as depicted in Lambert's copy, with towers and a huge central curved, arched roof. Inside the Rosslyn shrine, the layout is a reconstruction of the ruin of Herod's Temple, decorated with Nasorean and Templar symbolism. In the north-east corner we found a section of the wall carved with the towers of the Heavenly Jerusalem complete with the Masonic compasses, styled exactly as they are shown on Lambert's scroll."
"As we looked directly upwards from the organ loft, we could see that the arched roof had a running series of keystones down its length, just like the one the Royal Arch degree describes as found in the ruins of Herod's Temple!"
- Christopher Knight & Robert Lomas, The Hiram Key: Pharaohs, Freemasons and the Discovery of the Secret Scrolls of Jesus

Apprentice Pillar
Click here for a full-size image.

"Early this morning on resuming our labors we discovered a pair of pillars of exquisite beauty and symmetry: proceeding with our work, we discovered six other pairs of equal beauty which from their situation, appeared to be the remains of the subterranean gallery leading to the Most Holy Place."
- Royal Arch Degree
"In Rosslyn, we observed that the fourteen pillars had been arranged so that the eastern eight of them including Boaz and Jachin, were laid out in the form of a Triple Tau. The formation and the proportions were exactly as the Royal Arch degree depicts today."
- Christopher Knight & Robert Lomas, The Hiram Key: Pharaohs, Freemasons and the Discovery of the Secret Scrolls of Jesus
"The Triple Tau, signifying, among other occult things, Templum Hierosolyma, 'the Temple of Jerusalem'. It also means Clavis ad Theosaurum - 'A key to a treasure' - and Theca ubi res pretiosa deponitur - 'A place where a precious thing is concealed', or Res ipsa pretiosa - 'The precious thing itself'."
- Royal Arch Degree
"The famous Grail Seeker Trevor Ravenscroft claimed in 1962 that he had finished a twenty year quest in search of the Grail at Rosslyn chapel.....His claim was that the Grail was inside the Prentice Pillar as it is known in this chapel. The chapel is often visited now by Grail Seekers and many references to the Grail can be found in its stonework and windows. Metal detectors have been used on the pillar and an object of the appropriate size is indeed buried in the middle. Lord Rosslyn adamantly refuses to have the pillar x-rayed."
- Chris Thornborrow, "An Introduction to Current Theories about The Holy Grail"
Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas believe that the small crypt of the Rosslyn shrine was the lower middle chamber where the masons received their wages. Before the vaults were sealed off when the chapel was completed, twenty Templar knights were buried there in full armor.
"Seemed all on fire that chapel proud,
Where Roslin's chiefs uncoffined lie:
Each baron, for a sable shroud,
Sheathed in his iron panoply."
- Sir Walter Scott, "The Lay of the Last Minstrel"
"The vaults themselves may yet be far more than a simple tomb, other important artifacts may be contained therein. The one recorded action of the Lords Sinclair that apparently contradicts their well earned reputation for chivalry and loyalty may also be explained if the vaults are opened, for it is just possible that some clue as to the whereabouts of certain treasures of great historical interest may also be discovered."
- Tim Wallace-Murphy, An Illustrated Guide to Rosslyn Chapel
"The Companion's Jewel of the Royal Arch is a double triangle, sometimes called the Seal of Solomon, within a circle of gold; at the bottom is a scroll bearing the words, Nil nisi clavis deest - 'Nothing
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The Templars' Secret Island
Title: The Templars' Secret Island
Author: Erling Haagensen
ISBN: 1841881902
Publisher: Weidenfield Nicolson
Format: Paperback
Pages: 194
Reviewed By Stephen Dafoe
Templar History Magazine No. 14
Bornholm, a tiny island in the Baltic Sea, measures but 20 miles in one direction and a mere 10 miles in the other. Despite its small size this island contains 15 medieval churches and a large quantity of standing stones. While this in and of itself is no great revelation, what remains intriguing is that the churches are unlike those found in most of the region. They are round churches like that of the round church of London, which we covered in our Summer 2002 issue.


Order This Book

Erling Haagensen, a journalist and documentary producer and Henry Lincoln, of "The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail" fame team up to bring the reader the story of this island, its connection to the Knights Templar and a mystery similar to that of Rennes-le-Château.


Haagensen, has been researching the mystery of his native Bornholm for over a decade and after reading the works of the well known, in Templar circles, Lincoln, decided to share his researches on Bornholm. The resulting collaboration is an interesting read that, while not to everyone's taste, will no doubt be a worthwhile read to all interested in the Knights Templar.


In order to explain what the authors have discovered, there is a great reliance on geometry, especially that arcane branch known as sacred geometry. While cumbersome to those unfamiliar with the topic, the book remains worth the effort of wading through the more explanatory passages.


Publisher's Review Of This Book
Nearly 30 years ago, a television programme documentary programme about a tiny French village ended with the words: "something extraordinary is waiting to be found on the mountaintop ... and in the not too distant future, it will be". Rennes-le-Chateau, the village in the French Pyrenees, is world renowned. Bornholm is a tiny island in the Baltic Sea, a 1000 miles to the north. This book shows how these two specks upon the surface of the earth are tied indissolubly together. They have been touched by the hands of master builders who shared a common expertise and a common body of knowledge. Bornholm is barely 20 miles by 10 and possesses 15 mediaevel churches and many hundreds of standing stones which mark the island out as a sacred site in remote antiquity. These ancient markers - and especially the churches - demonstrate a skill in land surveying, geometry and mathematics. It is a knowledge which was jealously guarded and handed on. In the Middle Ages, those mysterious mediaeval warrior monks, the Knights Templar, were still using and developing the same expertise. And they were doing it knowingly. This treasure of the "secrets of the past" as a body of knowledge was only for the chosen few. "The Templars' Secret Island" shows many extraordinary links between Bornholm, France and Jerusalem. The author's collaboration began when Erling Haagensen, born on Bornholm, was beginning to find the strange truth of his island home and contacted Henry Lincoln who had already produced three books and three documentary films which had provided the first glimpse of the provable facts which were underlying the story.


About The Author
In 1993 Erling Haagensen wrote the book Bornholms Mysterium (The Bornholm Mystery) - proving that the peculiar medieval churches are not randomly distributed around Bornholm. They are constructed according to an amazing geometrical pattern.


http://www.templarhistory.com/1841881902.html
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