Order history

Who are the Templars?

The Templar Order was created at the time of the Crusades in Jerusalem. The first Crusader states were created after the successful completion of the First Crusade in the territory of Palestine. The First Crusade led to the creation of four new Christian kingdoms. Along the eastern shores of the Mediterranean there were the Crusader states: The Counts of Edessa and Tripoli, the principalities of Antioch and the Kingdom of Jerusalem. These new kingdoms were founded by the main military commanders of the Crusaders who controlled them. At first, they thought that the kingdom of Jerusalem should be placed under the direct authority of the Pope, but then Godfrey of Bouillon was elected king. At this time, the Frankian nobles administered the native population of Arab origin, which was equally divided between Christians and Muslims. However, local Christians did not belong to the Roman Church as their rulers, but to the various Oriental cults. Given the fact that Anatolia largely remained in Turkish hands, the safest and fastest way to get from Europe to reach the ‘Holy Land’ was overseas. That is why new Christian kingdoms are called overseas countries. The new countries soon faced many problems. The biggest problem, not only at the beginning, but also later for the Crusader states in the Holy Land was the lack of soldiers, i.e. the problem of recruiting new cruiser soldiers. The lack of trained soldiers and ritters to defend the Holy Land and the holy city of Jerusalem was a chronic problem of the Crusades and the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Numerous of crusader soldiers who, at the beginning of the Crusading Struggle, with a great desire to join the “Holy Might” and fulfill the vow of participation in the “liberation of the Holy Grave” during the years of warfare, flared them enthusiastically and there was a need to return to their homelands. To many of them, it was not intended to settle down in the “Holy Land”.  Therefore, after the capture of Jerusalem and several years in the battle against Saracen (along with those sick but well-fortunate robbers) they boarded ships along the coast and returned to their countries.

Thus, the Christian army suddenly remained without a large part of the people, which was necessary in order to maintain the new kingdoms that emerged after the Crusade.

The problem was that the basis of the Western armies was a heavy cavalry consisting exclusively of noblemen. The feudal system in medieval Europe developed precisely from the need to preserve this warrior caste. The king gave the nobleman a feif, which was automatically transferred from father to son, and this, in turn, was binding on the king. In Byzantium, in the early feudalism this system, called the pronunciation system of fealty, became the basis of the entire Byzantine feudal system. In Palestine, the European medieval system could not completely change, causing problems in recruiting new warriors and replacing deserving soldiers with new, refreshed and trained soldiers. At the very beginning of the creation of new crusader states, the new rulers immediately introduced the Western European feudal system of recruitment to newly conquered territories. However, in these territories, the situation was much different than in Western Europe, and the European feudal system did not adapt so well. There was, first of all, the demographic problem. In the “Holy Land” there were relatively few nobles from feudal Europe. It seems that in the history of the kingdom of Jerusalem, there were never more than two thousand men capable of fighting.

The rulers in the overseas countries (in the territory of the Crusader states) still had the need to count on a permanent army, ready at any time to counter the attack by the enemy. This was precisely the main goal of creating the order of the “Knights of Solomon’s Temple”, also known as the “Temple” or “Templar”.

In those years, more precisely in 1118, “some noble knights, full of devotion, religious and God-fearing, putting themselves in the hands of the Lord of the Apostles to serve Christ, declared themselves to want to live continuously in accordance with the canonical rules, respecting chastity and obedience and rejecting every property”. The idea of establishing a line that is simultaneously military and religious came from a knight whose origin was not precisely determined. Knight was called Hugues de Payens. In 1118, the King of Jerusalem donated to Hugues and his followers a part of his own castle that was built at the site of Solomon’s Temple, where today is the Al Aqsa mosque.

Hence, the name of the Templar or Templars (lat. Templum, temple). The Order spread rapidly, and its property increased, so in the end, it possessed a huge number of estates, fortresses and palaces scattered throughout the Holy Land and parts of Europe.

The next crucial moment for the Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon (this is the full name of the Templar) was a council in Troyes 1128, where the Order finally made official. Until then, the Templars were only individuals who chose to respect the monastic rules without giving up their simultaneous role as warriors. Since 1128, they have become a true order, with a statute and clearly defined rules, based on the idea of merging the monk covenant with the sword. Hugues de Payens and his followers, immediately after the imposition of the Order, went to Europe to seek funding for the new Order. They asked for material contributions, either money or land tenure. In addition to material assistance, the Order’s followers simultaneously performed recruitment among young nobles ready to join them and set off for a crusade. The call only concerned not personal gain (profit), but for what they considered to be higher goals of Christianity. During the war service, they made both of them.

In 1139, Pope Innocent II gave new powers to the Templars. The Papal Bull established that the Knights Templar are free to move in all Christian countries, that the Order and his property will not be subject to any taxation that may seek levy (tax) on behalf of the Church, they are not subordinate to any secular government, nor the ecclesiastical authorities. They were Responsible only to the Pope.

After the conquest of Jerusalem, with the aim of protecting and supplying pilgrims and securing trade routes, the task was given to the Templars and the Hospitalists to take care of it.

The Templar Territorial Organization is reminiscent of the organization of the monastic order. In every kingdom or region where they were present, the members of the Order listened to the “Master”, who, in turn, was subordinate to the authority of the “Great Master”. He had a seat in the same city where the Order was founded and whose defense was created – in Jerusalem. The “Grand Master” retained the title for life and was subordinated only to the Pope.

According to the Rules of the Order, members were divided into four types. The first were true knights: they were the core of the Templar army. The Rulebook stipulated that they wear a white robe as a symbol of spiritual purity and modesty, given that the white cloth was coarse and rough. As a symbol of order a cross of red color that resembles Jesus’ blood, was on it. Like the knights of the “Patriarchs”, so all the Templar knights had to be of noble origin. That’s what the Regulations prescribed. However, the problem of renewal and recruitment came to the crucifix rule that, under certain conditions, a noble title could be obtained regardless of origin. Many knights, serving under the Templar Cross, became knights and, over time, began to occupy high positions in the Crusader states of “Holy Land.”

The lower stocks were made by shields and armors (also called novices-recruit). Many novices eventually became tentacles, and even raised to knights. In this way, the Templar order was renewed without prejudice to the survival of the Crusaders, or the army of some crusading Orders. The recruit (novices), like the knights, were part of the combat units, but they had easier and worse equipment than the knights. Arms were practically members of lower classes who wanted to join the Order, but they could not initially become knights because they were not noblemen.

The rulebook marked this difference by foreseeing a black or gray coat with a red cross on the chest. Their role in the struggle was to fight as infantry or shooters and to help the knights. For example, if a knight was thrown out of the saddle, since he had heavy armor he would become particularly vulnerable and an easy prey to the infantry. The recruits would then immediately help him, protect him from the enemy, and help him climb up to the horse.

The Templars were a very well organized army. Templar armored cavalry onslaught was fierce and almost always a few at-arms of the Templars managed to defeat the far more numerous and stronger enemies. It was also contributed by a special heroic spirit and one of the Templars of Templar, that when they enter the battle there is no retreat.

When someone becomes Templar, the purchase and maintenance of equipment (it is thought of the cost of nutrition, procurement and maintenance of the horse) no longer depend on the individual. The Order thought of everything. The Templar Rule precisely determined the type of armor, the weaponry and the number of horses and shields that were supposed to be supplied by knights and weapons. While the medieval armies were, in appearance, distinguished by the general color of colors and shapes, the Templars were a great exception. They were practically the only ones who wore uniforms and unique equipment.

Not all Templars went into battle. The large assets they owned required more people than needed for the war. Locks – Servers shared those who deal with administration and accounting and craftsmen, that is, skilled workers. Finally, the Chaplains, the Brava Templars who were priests, were concerned about the spiritual needs of the order, and they could confess and serve the Mass.

The relationship between the Templars and the Hospitallers was initially good, but by the time the rivalry between these two lines has reached disturbing proportions. The peace between these two orders was shortly established at the time of the attack of Saladin. In the Battle of Montgisard in 1177, Saladin suffered a terrible defeat by the King of Jerusalem, Boduen IV. After Boduen’s death, Saladin managed to defeat the Crusade army after a fierce battle at “Hattin horns” and then take over the kingdom of Jerusalem and Tiberias.

The Crusaders never recovered from defeat at Hattin Horns. There was no longer any army in the cities and fortifications that defended overseas territories. For example, Jerusalem was left to defend only two knights. Holy City, after a brief but fierce resistance, surrendered on 3 October (in some documents stand 2 October) in 1187. Saladin proved to be more generous than the first Crusaders. He allowed the Crusaders (mostly composed of the Franks) to, with the purchase, leave the city uninhabited. The Omar mosque (also known today as the “Dome on the Wall”, the place where the Temple was and where the Templars lived) was cleansed by a rose guide and again became an Islamic sanctuary – the mosque.

The Third Crusade, which was soon taken in 1189, involving King Richard of Plantagenet, also known as Richard Lionheart, Philip II August and Friedrich I Barbarossa, as well as many Templars, recovered some lost territories, but not Jerusalem. This situation lasted for another hundred years when, after a short, but powerful siege, Accra, the last crusade on May 28, 1291, fell.

At that time the Templar Order had enormous wealth in money, property and claims. This saw the impoverished French king Philip IV called “Beautiful” and Pope Clement V. At that time, Clement was under the protection of Philip IV in Avignon. The seat of the Papal state is moved to Avignon, under the pretext that it is necessary for the Pope to be protected. In history, this protection is known as the “Avignon Slavery”.

During that period, the unification of the Templar and the Hospital was discussed. It seemed that the existence of two orders was unnecessary and costly. However, “Grand Master” Jacques de Mole hesitated. This idea probably did not like him much. He seems to miss the last chance to save himself and the Order.

On Friday, October 13, 1307 (hence the belief that Friday the 13th is an unlucky day) maybe contrary to the will of the Pope, people in the service of King Philip infiltrated all over France in the Templar Order’s headquarters and arrested hundreds of Templars. The order was charged with serious crimes during that time. The counts of the indictment state that the Order is charged with heresy, esoteric and obscene activities, institutionalized homosexuality and the worship of pagan idols. Enough to send all Templars to the stake.

At the assembly in Tur, King Philip issued many charges proving them in various ways. A good deal of evidence was based on the extortion of Templar himself. Recognition was extorted either by torture itself or by the threat of torture. It was typical for the Middle Ages. Regardless of the merits or unfoundedness of these charges, they were sufficient to destroy the military order without fighting, which was until 1307 considerably richer than many European countries.

The arrest, prosecution and seizure of Templar property began in Europe. The Papal Bull “Vox clamantis and excelso” disbanded the Order in 1312 administratively, but it was not condemned. The conviction was absent because there was no clear and documented evidence. On March 18, 1314, the Grand Master of the Templar Order, Jacques De Mole, was burned at a stake near the current Pont Neuf Bridge in Paris. It has remained as an unconfirmed story that the Mole cursed his judges before his death. The fact is that within a year the judge Nogara died(Was killed?), Pope Clement V died of a serious illness and King Philipp (who died of the consequences of a fall from his horse) gave the founding supporters the idea that De Mole’s curse had arrived.

By burning at the stake of the last Great Master of the Templar Order, the history of Templar ends. Since then, the new history of Templar has been intertwined with myths and legends. For many, this was not the end of Templar, it was a new beginning for them. Protected by secrecy, they are considered to have continued to operate through secret societies to this day. Are the Masons successors of the Templar?