The Knight Templar were also referred to as the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and the Temple of Solomon; they were also referred to as the Order of Solomon's Temple or simply the Templars. They were a Catholic Military Order which was widely recognized in 1139 by Papal Bull Omne Datum Optimum of the Holy See. It was founded in 1119 and was highly effective between the years 1129 1312. Back then the order was among the wealthiest order as well as the strongest of them all back then (Davis, 2016). Due to these reasons, it proliferated both in terms of membership and power, with all this on its favor it gained attention throughout Christendom. Apart from all the fame and wealth the order had the best-skilled fighting units of the crusades and dressed in white mantles which had a red cross. The order not only comprises of fighter but also comprised of non-fighters who had other different roles such as management of large economic infrastructure throughout Christendom.
The Rise of the Knight Templars
In 1099 the First Crusaders recovered Jerusalem from the Europeans which resulted in many Christian making pilgrimages to different religious sites which were referred to as the Holy Land back then. The Jerusalem city was completely protected under the Christian rule, but the rest of the territories were less protected. This gives room for the formation of bandits and other criminals such as the highwaymen who attacked the pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem or from Jerusalem. The Bandits killed the pilgrims as well as slaughtered them which made the territories very insecure(Davis, 2016). They used to attack the pilgrims as they attempted to travel from the coastline of Jaffa through the Holy Land, but this had become a problem due to the insecurities which were associated with the bandits. As this progressed a French Knight by the name Huhues de Payen approached the King Baldwin II of Jerusalem who reigned at the time and Warmund, Patriarch of Jerusalem and proposed a solution for this problem which involved the formation of a Monastic Order which would protect the pilgrims from the bandits. Both the King and Warmund agreed to the proposal at the Council of Nablus in the year 1120 where the Templars were now born.
The King was generous to the extent he granted them a wing within his royal palace on the Temple Mount. This was close to where the temple of Solomon was believed to have been. This location gave birth to the name of the Templars we found in the introduction of the paper, Poor Knights of the Christ and the Temple of Solomon. During this time the Templar was made up of only nine night who were experienced since the Knights' order comprised of highly experienced fighters. Among the nine knights, there was Godfrey De Saint-Omer and Andre de Montbard. Another thing worth mentioning during this time was the resources the templar had, they had very few resources, and the group depended on a lot on donations in order to survive.
The condition did not last long for the Templar; the Templar had very powerful advocates in Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, this was a leading church figure which was responsible for the foundation of the Cistercian Order of the monks and a family member of Andrew de Montbard. These connections led to the great influence the templar had in the decisions and the movements they made. Bernard played a major role in writing a persuasive letter on behalf of the templars praising their great work (Francesch et al., 2014). In the year 1129 at the Council of Troy Bernard led a group of churchmen to officially approve and endorsed the Templars on behalf of the church. This was a way of blessing for the order; this also elevated the level of favors the order received in Christendom, they were given money, businesses, lands as well as noble-born sons joined the order. The nobles were from families who were interested in helping in the fight and through this, the order managed to gain financial stability. To strengthen their position in 1139 Pope Innocent IIs Papal Bull Omne Datum Optimum excepted the order from obedience to local law. This gave the order power to pass freely through all borders; they were not restricted by any local border, they were also not required to pay any taxes as well as being excepted from all the other authority apart from the pope. With all these happening with the Templars, a clear purpose and stable finances they proliferated with no limits.
The order won different battles such as the Battle of Montgisard where 500 Templars helped several thousand-infantry defeat Saladins army of more than 26,000 soldiers. With the development of the order, a few members of the order were combatant while a majority of the members were supporting in different positions such as managing the financial infrastructure. They had different ways of getting resources and managing their resources for example noblemen interested in the crusaders would place all his assets under the templar management while he was away (Francesch et al., 2014). This used to happen throughout Christendom and the Outremer. In 1150 the templars generated a letter of credit for the pilgrims who were traveling from the Holy Land. The pilgrims would deposit their belongings and the valuables with the Templars and get a document with the value of their deposit; then they would use the document on arrival in the holy land to retrieve their treasures. With the introduction of this system, the Templars had come up with a structure similar to a bank system. This brought advantages to the pilgrims in the sense that they traveled with no valuables hence reducing the attention on them by the bandits along the way, on the other hand, this system contributed to the templars coffer. With this strategy with a combination of donations as well the Templars managed to form strong financial networks in Christendom. In the process the managed to buy lands, especially in the middle east and Europe. The order managed so many financial operations such as buying of farms and vineyards. So as to manage all this, they built castles and massive cathedrals, and they also got involved in import and export business where at some point they had complete ownership of an entire island Cyprus. They raised to a level of the worlds first multinational corporation.
Fall of the Templars
In the mid- 12th century things started changing for the Knight Templars and the decline of the powers begun happening. This was due to a number of reasons such as the rise of the Muslim who had become more organized under the effective leadership of Saladin while for the Christians the unity had started reducing due to Christian factions which concerned the Holy Land. The Templars also were on odds with other Christian orders hence did not give full attention to the actual threat that was facing them(Voyer, 2016). The Knight Templar were in wars with different other orders such as the Knights Hospitaller and the Teutonic Knights hence this greatly affected the focus of the Knight templars towards there main purpose in the first place. The feuds among the Christians continued to weaken them while on the other hand the Muslims. The continuous fights among the Christians weakened them both military and politically. The involvement of the Templars in some unsuccessful campaigns also weakened the Knighthood in events such as the pivotal battle of the Hattin where Jerusalem was recaptured by the Muslims under Saladin in the1187. This acted as the stronghold of the Templars and with the recapturing of it by the Muslim weakened them more.
In 1229 the Holy Roman Empire under Fredric II took back the city of Christians during the sixth crusade without the help of the Templars which started affecting the confidence the people had in the Templars. Although this victory was short lived since in 1244 Khwerezmi alongside Ayyubid Dynasty Mercenaries took back the city where the city was lost from the western control till 1917 when the British captured the city from the Ottoman Empire. This had a negative impact on the templars since they were forced to relocate from there to other cities in the north and the process of relocating and settling weakened them more (Voyer, 2016). After they had moved to the new location specifically the Seaport of Acre, the templars stayed here for the next century before relocating again in 1291. Between 1302 and 1303 the Templars lost their last land to the Egyptian Mamluk Sultanate which signified the loss of their possession of the Holy Land. With all these happening the need for the templars continued dwindling as well as the fund for the Templar hence the financial strain which cripples the Knighthood more. As all these happened, the Templar lost their purpose and different nobbles started forming their own monastic states such as the Teutonic Knights had done in Prussia, and the Knights Hospitaller were doing the Rhodes hence this led to the loss of value for the Knight Templars.
In the year 1305, the pope at that time Pope Clement V who was based Avignon France sent a letter to both Knight Templar and the knight Hospitaller and requested the Grand Master of both the Knighthoods. The pope needed both knighthoods merging although both Knighthoods did not want to but the pope insisted, and they had to meet. Templar Grad master Jacques De Molay arrived before the Hospitaller Grand Master Fulk De Villaret, while this happened the pope discussed criminal charges that had been brought to their attention in relation to the Templars acts but had been dismissed due to insufficient evidence, the pope had written a letter to the sitting King Phillip IV of France who already was in major debts to the templars (Nicholson et al., 2016). Due to this the king used this excuse to hunt down the Templars with his own hidden motives were basically a way to get off the debt he owed the Templars. The king started persuading the church to take action against the Templars for their actions as seen so as to free himself from what he owed the Templars.
October 13th the year 1307 the King Philip IV ordered the arrest of De Molay as well as all the other templars to be arrested. In the arrest warrant it read as follows below;
God is not pleased. We have enemies in the kingdom.
Different claims were made which were aimed at portraying the templars as an evil knighthood to the extent of how they used to swear in the new recruitment. The claims argued that the templar asked the recruits to deny existence, Christ. These allegations made the templars less famous, the templars were accused of things such as indecent kissing, they were also accused of idol worshipping, and most of all the order was accused of facilitating homosexuality. In relation to the financial progress, they had attained the Order was accused of other offenses such as corruption, secrecy, and financial fraud which destroyed the templars financial support hence made it harder for the templars to perform their different responsibilities since they were underfunded with all what was going on (Francesch et al., 2014). All these made the Templars order less popular, and others were tortured to change or convert from the order. Different allegations were made towards the Templars such as worship of idol gods who were referred to as the Baphomet; they were also charged with adultery.
In the year 1307 November Pope Clement issues, a letter to all the Christians to arrest all the templars and seize all their assets. This annihilated the Templars. King Philip IV used evidence that they had forcefully got from the templars they had previously tortured to incriminate the Knighthood. At this point, the main intentions of the templars' had dissolved. The king went too far measures of threatening the pope with military force in case they did not dissolve the order. Most of the other templars...
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