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The Knights Templar, a little history.

The Knights Templar provides one of the most iconic images of the Crusades: a gleaming knight dressed in a white habit emblazoned with a red cross. Formed in 1118 (by 9 French knights), essentially as bodyguards for Christian pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem, the religious order grew so large in number that on January 13, 1128, Pope Honorius II officially recognized the Templars as an “army of God.”

Today, the Knights Templar is portrayed as a mysterious organization, central to various conspiracy theories (and Dan Brown novels). But in the 12th century, the order was well known throughout Europe for its military skill and financial acumen.

While feared as unrelenting fighters, often refusing to surrender in battle, the Templars were also efficient bankers, creating a financial system for pilgrims from Europe to withdraw funds once in Jerusalem.

At its height, the order commanded fleets of ships on which the flew the "Skull and Bones" black flag adopted by pirates centuries later, they owned the island of Cyprus, and bankrolled kingdoms throughout Europe. Despite these riches, Templars lived under a strict code of chastity and rejection of most material comforts of the Cistercian Order.

The Order finally came to an end with the last of the Crusades, when on Friday the 13th, 1307, King Phillip IV of France, desperate to save his kingdom from financial ruin, arrested the grand master, Jacques de Molay, on charges of heresy, sacrilege and Satanism in order to confiscate the Templar's treasury in France with the help of his corrupt puppet Pope, Clement V.

Jacques de Molay, was tortured for seven years and was finally executed by slowly roasting him over charcoal, but before he died, he cursed the King and Pope to join him in death within a year. Both died within a year.

And the rest is history including the little know fact that the infamous Assassins, the Syrian and Persian assassins guild, never killed a Templar because of a secret treaty between the Templars and the "old man of the mountain," Hassan-i Sabbah, the grand master of the Order of Hashshashin from which the word assassin originates. The old man ruled the Order from Alamut Castle, deep in the mountains of Iran...

By the way it was the Mongols who destroyed the Assassins guild as retribution for the Hashshashin attempting to assassinate a Mongol Khan years later...

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