The execution Jacques de Molay.

The Powerful Curse of Jacques de Molay, the Last Grand Master of Templars

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On March 18, 1314, Jacques de Molay and a few other Templars, after enduring torture and many other humiliations, were sent to death. De Molay was an old man, tired with life and proud of his achievements. He knew that the tragedy which touched his brothers and himself was the result of schemes. He was also aware that the king of France had decided to torture and finally execute innocent people - the loyal knights of France. Thus, when he was dying he cursed everyone who recommended his murder.

The Templar Order, also known as the Knights Templar, Templars or the Order of Solomon's Temple, existed for nearly two centuries during the Middle Ages. Their story began around 1129, when they became a favored charity throughout Christendom. They grew fast, as many wanted to join the group of knights with the distinctive white mantles decorated with the red cross. They were very skillful fighters during the Crusades and had innovative financial techniques, which became an early form of modern banking. The Templars were also great builders of fortifications in Europe and the Holy Land.

The Last Grand Master of the Templar Order

Jacques de Molay was born c. 1243 AD. He was the 23rd and the last Grand Master of the order of the Knights Templar. He ruled the Order from April 20, 1292 and was its great reformer.

There are many more and less real stories about him, but there is little certain information about his roots and life. One legend says that during his travel through the Camino de Santiago in the late 13th century he left his sword in the castle Ponteferrada in Spain.

As mentioned, the Templars fought in the crusades, which brought them lots of money. De Molay also spent lots of time in the Middle East, and finally he became the head of the Order.

Ordination of Jacques de Molay in 1265 as a Knight Templar, at the Beaune commandery. Painting by Marius Granet (1777-1849)

Ordination of Jacques de Molay in 1265 as a Knight Templar, at the Beaune commandery. Painting by Marius Granet (1777-1849) ( Public Domain )

By that time the Templars were famous for having a legendary treasure. The royals and nobles of Europe believed that they were very wealthy and some even thought that during the visit to the Middle East the Templars had rediscovered the treasure of King Solomon and took it for themselves.

Listening to these rumors, the king of France, Philip IV, decided to borrow money from the Order, believing he could do so without limits. The Templars were good in money management, but when they lent it to someone, they expected to receive repayment.

That was the beginning of the end for the Templars - Philip IV of France didn't mean to pay back his deep debt to the Order. In place of giving the money back to the Templars, he decided to take advantage of the situation. He asked for the support of pope Clement V, and in 1307 many members of the Order were arrested in France. The nightmare of the tortures to receive false confessions proving that the Templars collaborated with the devil began. De Molay was also dissolved of his duties by the order of Pope Clement V in 1307.

The Execution of the Templars

Due to the orders of Philip IV, the tortures on the Templars were completed in the most terrifying ways known. One by one, the men tortured by the Medieval Inquisition, gave false confessions to stop their suffering. Nonetheless, the brave Grand Master retracted his confession and Philip decided to burn him on the island in from of the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris.

Jacques de Molay sentenced to the stake in 1314, from the Chronicle of France or of St Denis.

Jacques de Molay sentenced to the stake in 1314, from the Chronicle of France or of St Denis. ( Public Domain )

After seven long years, Jacques de Molay ended the daily pain of tortures and the Cardinals agreed upon the death sentence for him. According to the eyewitnesses of the execution, de Molay showed no sign of fear, and he tried to not show pain during his slow death on the burning stake.

Most of the pyres were prepared in such a way that the victims would die quickly. However, in the case of De Molay, they prepared a pyre which would burn slowly. Before he died, he made his voice heard loudly once more. The results of the speech may have led the king and the Cardinals to regret not allowing him to die within a few minutes, like the other Knights.

Comments

You haven't mentioned that in the early 1920s an organization called DeMolay was started by Landis, in Kansas City, I think, that was sponsored by the Masons. This organization was for boys between 15-21. It was to promote good citizenship, honorable character, respect for womanhood and all sorts of admirable considerations. It continued into the 1980s,I think and I do not know if it is in existence today. I was a member from 1937 to 1948, (16 to 28 years old). I was a Master Councilor in 1942 and immediately after my term I entered the Air Force. After my discharge in 1946, I returned home and became an adult advisor. much of the activity of my chapter helped to favorably develop my character and contributed to my success in life.

The order of DeMolay is still active, it was started by Frank S. Land I was Master Councilor in 1977, although my chapter is no longer active there are several chapters still going in Michigan. The eligible ages are now 12-21. for more information go to demolay.org.

KLA's picture

Malcolm Barber's book,”The Trial of the Templars” is an excellent source to give further background to the climatic episode recounted in this article.  Barber’s account of the Grand Master Jacques de Molay's sentencing by the cardinals Nicolas de Freauville, Arnaud d'Auch and Arnaud Nouvel is rather terse in telling a rather dramatic devent and understates the malice undergirding Philip's questionable intervention that hurried and legally muddied de Molay's execution together with the Master of Normandy, Georffroi de Charney by the prevot of Paris on the Ile-des-Javiaux.

 

KLA

Well, I like Markale as an author and poet, but as an historian he was very critized...
But you're rigth, i read after my comment that Geoffroy de Paris, clerk from Paris, and living during the time of the process, wrote in his journal something similar to the curse of Druon. This and another source who gave an another curse to the king and pope, from a "lambda" templar.

Actually his death looked a lot more like poisining.  After the hunting accident where he fainted and fell of his horse.  William the Scott, a monk from the abbey of Saint Denis left a day to day account of the last month of the king’s life who, according to William constantly complained of stomach pains and also had diahria, which are not diseases associated with a stroke.  Pierre de Latilly, bishop of Chalons did get arrested for allegedly poisoning the king.  Without proof he was later released.  (the fact is mentionned in the “Grandes Chroniques de France” a old French version of the “Chroniques de Saint Denis” the abbey where French kings were buried.  Chroniques de France were writen during the XII and XIV century).

Si vis pacem, para bellum

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