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The knights wore a white surcoat with a red cross Over it they wore a white mantle also with a red cross. According to their Rule , the knights were to wear the white mantle at all times, even being forbidden to eat or drink unless they were wearing it. Sergeants wore a black tunic with a red cross on the front and a black or brown mantle. As monks, Templars were tonsured.

History of the Knights Templar

Although not prescribed by the Templar Rule , it became customary for Templars to wear long and prominent beards, as was customary for pilgrims. In about , Alberic of Trois-Fontaines described the Templars as an "order of bearded brethren". During interrogations by the papal commissioners in Paris in , out of some knights and brothers questioned, 76 are described as wearing a beard. In some cases it was described as being "in the style of the Templars".

Induction, known as Reception receptio into the Order, was a profound commitment and involved a solemn religious ceremony. Outsiders were discouraged from attending, which aroused the suspicions of medieval inquisitors during the later trials. New members had to willingly sign over all of their wealth and goods to the Order and take monastic vows like Cistercian monks of poverty, chastity, piety, and obedience.

Most brothers joined for life, although some were allowed to join for a set period.

Sometimes a married man was allowed to join if he had his wife's permission, but he was not allowed to wear the white mantle. The red cross that the Templars wore on their robes was a symbol of martyrdom, and to die in combat was considered a great honour that assured a place in heaven. There was a cardinal rule that the warriors of the Order should never surrender unless the Templar flag had fallen, and even then they were first to try to regroup with another of the Christian orders, such as that of the Hospitallers. Only after all flags had fallen were they allowed to leave the battlefield.

This uncompromising principle, along with their reputation for courage, excellent training, and heavy armament, made the Templars one of the most feared combat forces in medieval times. Another reported version of the flag of the Knights Templar,. The baculus is a rod of authority carried by authority figures in the Church, such as bishops and abbots sometimes called staffs, crooks or croziers.

The pastoral staff is variously designated, by ecclesiastical writers, as virga, ferula, cambutta, crocia, and pedum. Sir Walter Scott misread baculus as abacus - an error still propagated by some writers. It is also sometimes further corrupted as abascus. The Templar Latin Rule says, "The Master ought to hold the staff and the rod baculum et cirgam in his hand, that is to say, the staff baculum , that he may support the infirmities of the weak, and the rod cirgam , that he may with the zeal of rectitude strike down the vices of delinquents.


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The Papal bull, Omne datum optimum , invested the Grand Master of the Templars with almost Episcopal jurisdiction over the priests of his Order. He bore the baculus, or pastoral staff, as a mark of that jurisdiction, and it became a part of the Grand Master's insignia of office. The baculus of the Knights Templar is described in Munter, Burnes, Addison, and all the other authorities, as a staff, on the top of which is an octagonal figure, surmounted with a cross patee.

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Knights Templar - Wikipedia

An artist's impression of a Grand Master of the Templars in the uniform of the order, , from Monasticon Anglicanum 3 volumes, to The Grail Knights were presented as thinly disguised Templars. The seal of the Knights Templar showing the Temple on the obverse. A Beausant, the black and white banner used by the Templars. Templars were often the advance shock troops in key battles of the Crusades, as the heavily armoured knights on their war-horses would set out to charge at the enemy, ahead of the main army bodies, in an attempt to break opposition lines.

One of their most famous victories was in during the Battle of Montgisard, where some Templar knights helped several thousand infantry to defeat Saladin's army of more than 26, soldiers. The Templars' existence was tied closely to the Crusades; when the Holy Land was lost, support for the Templar Order faded.

A Secret Knights Templar Tunnel that Remained Hidden for 700 Years

In the midth century, the tide began to turn in the Crusades. The Muslim world had become more united under effective leaders such as Saladin, and dissension arose amongst Christian factions in, and concerning, the Holy Land. The Knights Templar were occasionally at odds with the two other Christian military orders, the Knights Hospitaller and the Teutonic Knights, and decades of internecine feuds weakened Christian positions, both politically and militarily. After the Templars were involved in several unsuccessful campaigns, including the pivotal Battle of the Horns of Hattin, Jerusalem was recaptured by Muslim forces under Saladin in The Crusaders regained the city in , without Templar aid, but held it only briefly.

The Templars were forced to relocate their headquarters to other cities in the north, such as the seaport of Acre, which they held for the next century. It was lost in , followed by their last mainland strongholds, Tortosa Tartus in what is now Syria and Atlit in present-day Israel. Their headquarters then moved to Limassol on the island of Cyprus, and they also attempted to maintain a garrison on tiny Arwad Island, just off the coast from Tortosa. In , there was some attempt to engage in coordinated military efforts with the Mongols via a new invasion force at Arwad.

In or , however, the Templars lost the island to the Egyptian Mamluks in the Siege of Arwad. With the island gone, the Crusaders lost their last foothold in the Holy Land. With the Order's military mission now less important, support for the organization began to dwindle. The situation was complex, however, since during the two hundred years of their existence, the Templars had become a part of daily life throughout Christendom.

The organization's Templar Houses, hundreds of which were dotted throughout Europe and the Near East, gave them a widespread presence at the local level. The Templars still managed many businesses, and many Europeans had daily contact with the Templar network, such as by working at a Templar farm or vineyard, or using the Order as a bank in which to store personal valuables. The Order was still not subject to local government, making it everywhere a "state within a state"-its standing army, though it no longer had a well-defined mission, could pass freely through all borders.

This situation heightened tensions with some European nobility, especially as the Templars were indicating an interest in founding their own monastic state, just as the Teutonic Knights had done in Prussia and the Knights Hospitaller were doing in Rhodes. The Templar Order, though its members were sworn to individual poverty, was given control of wealth beyond direct donations. A nobleman interested in participating in the Crusades might place all his assets under Templar management while he was away. Accumulating wealth in this manner throughout Christendom and the Outremer, the Order in began generating letters of credit for pilgrims journeying to the Holy Land: pilgrims deposited their valuables with a local Templar preceptory before embarking, received a document indicating the value of their deposit, then used that document upon arrival in the Holy Land to retrieve their funds in an amount of treasure of equal value.

For financial and other confidential transactions, the Templars used a simple substitution cypher - easy to break to today but impossible to break in the medieval period. This innovative arrangement was an early form of banking and may have been the first formal system to support the use of cheques; it improved the safety of pilgrims by making them less attractive targets for thieves, and also contributed to the Templar coffers. Based on this mix of donations and business dealing, the Templars established financial networks across the whole of Christendom.

They acquired large tracts of land, both in Europe and the Middle East; they bought and managed farms and vineyards; they built churches and castles; they were involved in manufacturing, import and export; they had their own fleet of ships; and at one point they even owned the island of Cyprus. The Order of the Knights Templar has been described as the world's first multinational corporation. With their military mission and vast financial resources, the Knights Templar funded a huge number of building projects in the Holy Land, and around Europe and. Only a small percentage of these structures are still standing.

Names for the Templars

Many sites also maintain the name "Temple" because of centuries-old association with the Templars. A reconstruction of the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem, where the Templars were based, and from which they took their name.

Neither was amenable to the idea, but Pope Clement persisted, and in he invited both Grand Masters to France to discuss the matter. De Molay arrived first in early , but de Villaret was delayed for several months. While waiting, De Molay and Clement discussed criminal charges that had been made two years earlier by an ousted Templar and were being discussed by King Philip IV of France Philippe le Bel and his ministers.

It was generally agreed that the charges were false, but Clement sent the king a written request for assistance in the investigation. Philip, who was already deeply in debt to the Templars from his war with the English, seized upon the rumours for his own purposes. He began pressuring the Church to take action against the Order, as a way of freeing himself from his debts - a method he had used to free himself from debts incurred to the Jews a few years earlier. Rumours about the Templars' secret initiation ceremony created distrust and King Philip IV of France took advantage of the situation.

In , many of the Order's members in France were arrested, tortured into giving false confessions, then burned at the stake. The abrupt disappearance of a major part of the European infrastructure gave rise to speculation and legends, which have kept the "Templar" name alive into modern times. At dawn on Friday, 13 October sometimes linked with the origin of the Friday the 13th superstition King Philip IV ordered de Molay and scores of other French Templars to be simultaneously arrested.

The arrest warrant started with the phrase: "Dieu n'est pas content, nous avons des ennemis de la foi dans le Royaume" ["God is not pleased. We have enemies of the faith in the kingdom"].

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Claims were made that during Templar admissions ceremonies, recruits were forced to spit on the Cross, deny Christ, and engage in indecent kissing; brethren were also accused of worshiping idols, and the order was said to have encouraged homosexual practices. Templar prisoners were coerced to confess that they had spat on the Cross. They s were accused of idolatry and were suspected of worshipping either a figure known as Baphomet or a mummified severed head they recovered at their original headquarters on the Temple Mount - sometimes speculated to be that of of John the Baptist.

At Phillip's demand, Pope Clement issued the papal bull Pastoralis praeeminentiae on 22 November , which instructed all Christian monarchs in Europe to arrest all Templars and to seize their possessions. Clement called for papal hearings to determine the Templars' guilt or innocence, obtaining further confessions under torture. Once freed of the Inquisitors' torture, many Templars recanted their confessions. Some had sufficient legal experience to defend themselves in the trials, but in , Philip blocked this attempt, using the previously forced confessions to have dozens of French Templars burned at the stake in Paris.

With Philip threatening military action unless the pope complied with his wishes, Clement finally agreed to disband the Order, citing the public scandal that had been generated by the confessions. At the Council of Vienne in , he issued a series of papal bulls, including Vox in excelso , which officially dissolved the Order, and Ad providam , which turned over Templar assets to the Hospitallers. The osculum infame , another fantasy charge against the Templars, as against the Cathars and other groups accused of heresy by the Catholic Church.


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Philip - IV medal- A. Fourteenth century image of the arrest of the Templars in Jacques de Molay c. Little is known of his early life except that he joined the order at Beaune in a building that still stands. Jacques de Molay is the best known Templar, largely because of his fate. Already aged Jacques de Molay, had confessed under torture, but later retracted his confession. Geoffroi de Charney, Preceptor of Normandy, also retracted his confession and insisted on his innocence.

Both men were declared guilty of being relapsed heretics, and they were sentenced to burn alive at the stake in Paris on 18 March According to legend, he called out from the flames that both Pope Clement and King Philip would soon meet him before God. Soon a calamity will occur to those who have condemned us to death". In any case, Pope Clement died a month later, and King Philip died in a hunting accident before the end of the year.

Burning Jacques de Molay at the stake, along with Geoffroi de Charney, Preceptor of Normandy, was a popular topic for artistic representation, often with King Philip present, watching proceedings. Philip le Bel oversees the execution of Templars being burned at the stake. Coat of arms of Jacques de Molay as Grand Master of the Templars ie the arms of the Templar order quartered with the personal arms of de Molay. Jacques de Molay, last Grand Master of the Templars, being burned at the stake. The burning of Jacques de Molay, a modern representation by Darren Ta.