The Knights Templar were a Catholic military order founded in 1119 to protect Christian pilgrims on their way to the Holy Land. The order grew rapidly in membership and power, and its members became known for their military prowess and their strict religious vows. However, the Templars also became the subject of much controversy, and in 1312 they were disbanded by Pope Clement V.
The Knights Templar were founded by Hugues de Payens and eight other knights. De Payens was a French knight who had fought in the First Crusade, and he was inspired to create a religious order that would protect pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land. The Templars were initially based in Jerusalem, and they soon established a reputation for their bravery and their willingness to fight for the Christian cause.
The Templars quickly grew in membership and power. They were granted land and wealth by European monarchs, and they soon became one of the wealthiest and most powerful organizations in Europe. The Templars also developed a sophisticated financial system, and they became the bankers of choice for many European nobles.
However, the Templars also became the subject of much controversy. Some people accused them of heresy and of engaging in homosexual activity. In 1307, King Philip IV of France arrested all of the Templars in France and accused them of a variety of crimes. The Templars were tortured and forced to confess to the charges, and many of them were burned at the stake.
In 1312, Pope Clement V disbanded the Knights Templar. The order’s assets were seized by the Catholic Church, and the Templars were forced to disband. The Knights Templar have been the subject of much speculation and debate ever since their dissolution. Some people believe that they may have discovered the Holy Grail or other religious treasures. Others believe that they may have survived and continue to exist in secret.
The Knights Templar were a fascinating and controversial organization. They played a significant role in the Crusades, and they left a lasting legacy on European history.
- Barber, Malcolm. The New Knighthood: A History of the Order of the Temple. Cambridge University Press, 1994.
- Demurger, Alain. The Templars: A History. Profile Books, 2008.
- Nicholson, Helen. The Knights Templar: A New History. Boydell Press, 2001.
- Runciman, Steven. A History of the Crusades. Cambridge University Press, 1987.