Knights Templars

Mystery of the Knights Templars: Protectors or Treasure Hunters on a Secret Mission?

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Crusader coins of the kingdom of Jerusalem, Denier in European style with Holy Sepulchre. British Museum, 2007.

Crusader coins of the kingdom of Jerusalem, Denier in European style with Holy Sepulchre. British Museum, 2007. ( Wikimedia Commons ).

Decline of the Templars

With the fall of the Holy Land to the Muslims in 1187, the Templar order lost its founding purpose and became a target for unhappy debtors.  With the failure of the crusades and subsequent closures of the passage to the holy land, there no longer became a reason for the Knights Templars to exist.  Imagine a standing army roaming Europe that answered to no one and with no battle to fight.  This attracted attention and due to the wealth and political power the Templars had, they were seen as a threat to the power structure.  During the early 14th century, the order experienced a sudden decline.  In 1302, King Philip IV of France came into conflict with the pope.  Needing cash for his wars, he waged a vicious and skillful campaign aimed at suppressing the Templars, gaining their wealth while simultaneously, striking a blow against the papacy.  

On Friday October 13, 1307, all the Knights Templars in France were arrested by agents of King Philip and he ordered any still residing in the country to be thrown into prison where they were tortured until confessing to accusations of heresy, homosexuality, and dishonest business activities.  They were charged with capital offenses and their properties seized.  More than likely, many of the confessions were meaningless but following these admissions, a Papal command was issued by Pope Clement V to all Christian sovereigns in 1312 which ordered that all Knights Templars be disbanded.  The order of the Templar Knights went underground and their movements have been shrouded in mystery ever since.  Friday the 13th is linked with this historical event.

Execution of the Templars in the presence of Philip ‘the Fair’. Bedford Master 1415-1420, France.

Execution of the Templars in the presence of Philip ‘the Fair’. Bedford Master 1415-1420, France. ( Wikimedia Commons ).


After Clement’s edict in 1312, the Templars virtually vanished from the pages of history.  Of the hundreds, possibly thousands of Templars who were not arrested, there is little record of what happened to them.  There is documentation that their large fleet of ships vanished and it’s possible that they fled to Scotland since the country was something a Templar stronghold at the time.  They might have gone to Switzerland or hidden in the Alps which bordered southern France (its endless mountain range would have been a perfect hiding spot for treasure).  Some survivors of the Templar order can be traced and they simply changed their name becoming the Knights of Christ in Portugal for example.

But of all the mysteries surrounding the Knights Templars, the most puzzling one concerns their time spent in Jerusalem. The Templars literally disappeared there for nine years and what they did in their time there remains mostly unknown.  There were nine middle aged monks who were hardly in a position to protect travelers coming in and out of Jerusalem.  There also doesn’t seem to be a written account of any pilgrims being guarded by the Templars.  In 1867 a clue came to light when a British archaeological team excavated under the site of the temple mount in Jerusalem.  There, they uncovered tunnels extending vertically from a mosque for some twenty five meters which fanned out horizontally under the dome of King Solomon’s temple.  Templars spurs and various pieces of armaments were found as proof that the tunnels had been used by them.  A prevailing theory is that the Knights Templars were digging under the Temple for treasure left there by the Jews after the invasions by the Romans in 70 AD.  Other theories suggest the knights were guarding the Holy Grail and in possession of major treasures.  The biblical temple of Solomon once housed the Ark of the Covenant and Ten Commandments.  There are early masonic writings in the 1800’s citing documents which allegedly link the Templars with the arc of the covenant and treasure buried in the Temple of Solomon.   Regardless of which theory is the right one, when they emerged again in Europe they were more wealthy, powerful and influential than ever.

Featured image: Image of the Templar Knights ( brother-servant, brother and brother-knight priest). Ukraine, 1870. ( Wikimedia Commons ).

By Bryan Hilliard


1.)  Wasserman, James. "Secret Societies: The Knight Templars and the Assassins." Secret Societies: The Knight Templars and the Assassins . N.p., 8 Dec. 2006. Web. 3 Dec. 2013. <>.

2.)  Timbers, Alex. "Knights Templar." Knights Templar . N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Dec. 2013. <>.


I can't chastise the above,only I feel is shallow to shine light to all saga of secret societies.I have a strong believe that the Knight Templar still exists today under a powerful umbrella.The most interesting and dogmatic fact is that their mission then and now if they exist remain unveiled,some folks argued that they embraced the current Jesuits and have a predominant influence over the sphere.With their black Pope,they control the world because they shelter all secrets societies today.


There is no way that nine knights could have protected Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land. There were just too many pilgrims arriving there after the liberation of Jerusalem from Muslims in 1099.

I suspect that they convinced the Pope at the time that they would be able to find huge caches of riches underneath the mosques and temples of the city. That is why the Vatican gave them their charter.

Nothing mysterious, nothing related to the most sacred legendary treasures in Christianity. It was purely done for the money.

What happened afterwards is that they became Europe's bankers, lending money to dukes, nobles, princes and kings which made Philip the Fair (so called because of his blond hair: it had nothing to do with his sense of justice) jealous. He had huge debts to pay off and saw a unique opportunity to seize the assets of Europe's bankers.

It wasn't until after the arrests that the Pope issued the command, seeing that he would also gain their wealth by confiscating Templar assets which were accessible to him.

Incidentally, the Templars invented traveler's cheques well before Thomas Cook.

Bang on. It's also worth mentioning that younger sons of the landed rich elites would be unlikely to inherit and organisations such as the Templars were a popular way of occupying them when a senior family line was established.

Gifts were a great way to ensure a son's comfort and position in the order as well as to guarantee a favourable judgement when one had to meet their maker. This capital allowed Templars to live exceedingly well.

Their wealth, the debts they held and their somewhat untouchable status really made them an object of resentment for equally greedy kings.

There's no mystery in how they got their wealth.

They are frequently connected with esotericism but it's worth remembering there was a natural cultural exchange between Europeans in the levant and the local populations. The regular communications between lodges meant that a lot of cultural syncretism was probably going on so their material culture would have appeared foreign and therefore esoteric to local populations.

I suspect that freemason's who take some of their lore a little too seriously have a vested interest in making the Templars something else to imply that freemasonry itself has a continuity and history that extends before the 17th century.

It's really not necessary and these guys don't really offer any additional honour to the lodges.

The original Knights were not formed for esoteric purposes. Ostensibly they were in Jerusalem to protect pilgrims, their true intent however was to locate the ancient Temple treasure under Temple Mount, namely the Ark of the Covenant, or to give it its romantic name, 'the Holy Grail'. They spent eight years searching and came away not only with the Ark - now in Chartres Cathedral, but huge amounts of valuables. It was these treasures that were concealed at various locations and marked using the chess board as a map. The effigies in Temple Church London each have characteristics denoting the square they occupy, which in turn will provide a location that a little research will reveal.

It must be nice to have all that secret knowledge.


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