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The Trial of the Knights Templar

The Dissolution of the Order

Rumours and Conspiracies

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The Dissolution of the Order

Rumours and Conspiracies

 

Treasure is such an emotive word.
Just before King Phillip seized the Templar preceptory in Paris, several wagons escorted by a contingent of Templar Knights reportedly left the complex and are supposed to have gone to St. Rochelle from where they set sail. Where they went is unknown. Some have suggested they went to Scotland, some have suggested Portugal, others have speculated their destination was the Americas. No one knows and it is unlikely that anyone ever will. Only one thing is certain, no trace of any Templar treasure has ever surfaced anywhere.

"They set about amassing great riches, becoming not only the greatest soldiers of the West, but its greatest bankers. They also became great builders of cathedrals, accomplished diplomatists, and the most reliable chamberlains at the courts of Europe." - Peter Tompkins, The Magic of Obelisks

"The order's possessions were divided into eight langues or linguistic regions according to nationality, and ten provinces which ignored state boundaries, especially in France. The chief house of each langue was called a grand priory, and was directly subordinate to the grand master. The langues in order of seniority were Provence, Auvergne, France, Italy, Aragon (which comprised Navarre, Catalonia, Roussillon and Sardinia), England (including Scotland and Ireland), Germany (a highly complex langue made up of Upper and Lower German, Hungary, Bohemia, Poland, Denmark and Sweden) and Castile (made up of Leon, Portugal, Algarve, Granada, Toledo, Galicia and Andalusia). The ten provinces mentioned in the French Rule, which had been drawn up in 1140 to supplement St Bernard's Rule, are listed as Jerusalem, Tripoli in Syria, Antioch, France, England, Poitou, Anjou, Portugal, Apulia and Hungary. Each province had its own master and commander who headed the local hierarchy of commanders of individual houses." - Noel Curer-Briggs, The Shroud and the Grail - A Modern Quest for the True Grail

"...Most Templar violations of the feudal code were of a kind very frequently committed by others. In devoting a lot of attention to plunder, as they did from the start, the Templars behaved like other feudal lords. In exacting large payments of tribute from Muslim and Assassin rulers they again (in company with the Hospitallers) only complied with normal feudal and Syrian practice. But in one respect the Templars offended against all feudal ideas: this was in lending money and in accepting money to keep on deposit....The Templars were no strangers to 'largesse': their Rule specifically defines the value of the gifts which the great officers of the Order could make to those whom they chose to honour." - Peter Partner, The Murdered Magicians

"By lending vast sums to destitute monarchs they became the bankers for every throne in Europe - and for certain Muslim potentates as well." "And the Templars traded not only in money, but in thought as well. Through their sustained and sympathetic contact with Islamic and Judaic culture, they came to act as a clearing-house for new ideas, new dimensions of knowledge, new sciences. They enjoyed a veritable monopoly on the best and most advanced technology of their age - the best that could be produced by armourers, leather-workers, stonemasons, military architects and engineers. They contributed to the development of surveying, map-making, road-building and navigation. They possessed their own sea-ports, shipyards and fleet, a fleet both commercial and military, which was among the first to use the magnetic compass. And as soldiers, the Templars' need to treat wounds and illness made them adept in the use of drugs. The Order maintained its own hospitals with its own physicians and surgeons - whose use of mold extract suggests an understanding of the properties of antibiotics. Modern principles of hygiene and cleanliness were understood. And with an understanding also in advance of their time they regarded epilepsy not as demonic possession but as a controllable disease." - Baigent, Leigh & Lincoln, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail

After the fall of the Holy Land "disillusioned anticlericalism was becoming almost universal. In such circumstances the Templars and Hospitallers who returned to the west, apparently unemployed and yet still enjoying their old moneys and privileges, seemed an offensive addition to the great class of clerical hypocrites and drones." - Peter Partner, The Murdered Magicians

"They waste this money which is intended for the recovery of the Holy Sepulchre on cutting a fine figure in the world; they deceive people with their idle trumpery, and offend God; since they and the Hospital have for so long allowed the false Turks to remain in possession of Jerusalem and Acre; since they flee faster than the holy hawk; it is a pity, in my view, that we don't rid ourselves of them for good." - Rostan Berenguier of Marseilles

"No sharper experience of alienation form God's order could be had than the feeling that demons were threatening Christian people, and that the protection which the sacramental order had formerly given against these evil spirits was no longer effective.." - Peter Partner, The Murdered Magicians

"For many years there had been strange rumours about the Templars, who had developed a mania for secrecy. Minds darkened by hostility were only to ready to credit sinister accusations; 'suspicions among thoughts are like bats among birds - they ever fly by twilit', and the brethren became enveloped in a miasma of poisonous gossip." - Desmond Seward, The Monks of War

Philip the Fair of France "probably looked at the Templars first of all as an element in crusading policy. In this respect the Templars, the Hospitallers, and the pope had all opposed an irritating passive resistance to his policies." "The French government had for some years been demanding the fusion of the two main Military Orders. It was discreetly silent in the diplomatic negotiations about what was to be done with the Orders when they had been merged, but from the writings of royal propagandists we know that the aim was to form a single Order headed by one of the sons of the King of France...The Catalan zealot Ramon Lull...had earlier launched the visionary idea of a Christian 'Warlike King' who would centralize and lead the whole Christian crusading effort."

"It was common practice among late medieval kings to obtain very large sums of money from the clergy by promising to take the cross, or by actually taking it, and persuading the pope to tax the clergy of their land for a crusading tithe. In many of not in most cases the king concerned would somehow get control of these moneys, which he had promised with more or less sincerity to use on Crusade. On very few occasions was the money actually so used: once it came into the direct control of the royal financial agents it was usually made to disappear on one pretext or another into the general stream of royal finances. Philip the Fair himself acquired a great deal of money in this way, as did his contemporary Edward I of England." - Peter Partner, The Murdered Magicians

"...It is difficult to believe that a king as scrupulous and conscientious in other respects as Philip demonstrably was would have attacked the Templars with such violence merely for financial gain. While Barber [The Trial of the Templars] attempts to link the Templars with other 'outgroups' and to consider all equally victimized by Philip's extortionary practices, the effort remains unconvincing. It was one thing to harass the despised Lombards and the Jews, who operated on the border of permissible Christian behaviour, but quite another to proceed against a monastic order, garnered with all the spiritual prestige, however momentarily tarnished. of the highest ideals of Christian Europe. Surely a king of Philip's acknowledged religious sensibilities would have understood the moral difference between these actions."

"Barber himself shows that as early as 1305 Philip was receiving reports of scandalous practices among the Templars from informers such as Esquieu de Floyran, who approached the king after having failed to sell his rumours to James II of Aragon. Why Philip, unlike James, proved receptive to these reports is, in turn, best explained by the shift in Philip's personal concerns toward a more religious bent, which Robert-Henri Bautier has recently argued took place after the death of this wife, Jeanne of Navarre, in April 1305 (See R.-H. Bautier, "Diplomatique et histoire politique: Ce que la critique diplomatique nous apprend sur la personalite de Philippe le Bel," Revue Historique, 259 (1978): 3-27). Jeanne's death struck Philip with great force and appears to have produced in him an almost fanatical desire to reform himself and his kingdom in the image of his holy grandfather, St. Louis." "In the end, the best evidence suggests that is was not the desire for specie but the weightier coinage of religious purity and personal righteousness that motivated Philip the Fair, a coinage potentially more dangerous to the rights of nonconformity and dissent than even Professor Barber fears." - Gabrielle M. Spiegel

 

 

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