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Templars dispersed on Friday, October 13th, 1307 and present

0:15 13th of October, the day when the Order of Templars was dispersed

0:20 It's Friday, 13th of October, 1307. In all of France, a giant raid against the members of the Order of Templars is underway. It was one of the most powerful orders of the medieval Europe.

If you don't see a video above, go here. I don't have the nerves to reconcile the formatting of the objects with the HTML restrictions of

0:33 The accusations are completely shocking using the standards of that era: heresy, sodomy, homosexuality, denial of Christ, and so on. It was 127 charges in total.

0:45 After months of torture, most of the accused men confesses to everything which is why the executions may begin. The most powerful officials of the order are burned at stake; that includes Jacques de Molay, the last grand master of the Knights Templar. That's the end of the order that had existed for 2 centuries and overturned the European history and which left lots of unsolved questions, legends, and mysteries, including the greatest ones.

1:11 But let's start chronologically, in the Holy Land of the beginning of the 12th century. After several centuries of the Islamist control, Christians succeeded in conquering Jerusalem, the place of the divine grave of Jesus Christ, during their first crusade. That's also where a new order of monks, one with a red cross as a logo, is created. Its purpose is to protect the Christian pilgrims.

1:30 At the beginning, there are only 9 knights. They choose the most prestigious address in Jerusalem as their headquarters: the palace on the so-called Temple Mount. That's where the Temple of Solomon used to stand and harbor the holiest biblical objects, including the Ark of the Covenant with the Tablets of Stone on which the Ten Commandments were inscribed.

1:50 That's where the story begins, a story that would lead to many questions and conspiracy theories. The British 19th century biblical archaeological research actually confirmed that the templars were looking for treasures in the foundations of the temple, indeed. However, no one knows what they have exactly found and whether they have found something at all.

2:07 Speculations are diverse. The treasure may have been lots of gold only. It could have been the Holy Grail, the miraculous cup used by Jesus to drink during the last supper. It could have been a written proof that Jesus Christ had been married to Mary Magdalene and they had offspring. At any rate, when much more numerous templars were asking the Pope for privileges in Europe 9 years later, something suspicious has happened. They were given incredible prerogatives. They were not subordinate to anyone anywhere, to any monarch, except for the Pope. They could have settled anywhere in Europe without paying taxes. On the contrary, they could collect taxes. The conspiracy theorists think that such immense advantages were obtained in exchange for the promise to remain eternally silent about their secret.

2:52 That's why the 13th century witnessed a huge growth of the order. They were building the most majestic buildings of their epoch, accumulating a huge wealth. They're represented in pretty much every European country. If we exaggerate just a little bit, the first transnational corporation in the history is born. Their main job is no longer linked to fights in the Holy Land; only about 10% of the members are employed over there. The remaining 20,000 or so members dedicates their time to business on the continent. They're establishing the first banking system, lend the money, they even print the first travel cheques. They possess their own flotilla of ships. They were simply the most powerful drivers of Europe of their time.

3:28 It's clear that this situation couldn't last forever. The decline begins when the Islamists reconquer Jerusalem and the Templars have to leave the Holy Land. The reason of their existence is suddenly gone and their enormous wealth begins to be inconvenient for many folks.

3:44 The solution comes from the French ruler Philip IV the Fair. He's already too pissed off by this state in the state. Moreover, he owes the order a huge amount of money himself. He decides to repay the debts in a radical way. He fabricates a scandal. When they're admitting new members, the templars are said to be spitting on the cross, kiss their buttocks and penises, they're worshopping a Satanist god called Baphomet instead of Jesus Christ. They're the worst accusations we may think of in the medieval Europe.

4:11 It's Friday, October 13th, 1307. By the way, that's probably the birthplace of the legend about the unlucky Friday 13th. The king organizes a raid against all the templars in Europe. He convinces the Pope to do the same thing in the remaining EU countries, and after the forced confessions, the templar elite is burning at stakes. The order is abolished and the plan is that its history is over. Forever.

4:33 But that's not what happens. During the raid, the royal soldiers failed to find the key thing: the wealth of the Order, let alone a miraculous treasure. It's certain that the templars managed to burn the most essential documents before the raid. And it's likely that they succeeded in hiding the wealth somewhere because too little was found. And that opens the room for the conspiracies which continue through our time.

4:56 It's known that 18 ships of the order left the La Rochelle harbor in time. No one knows where they were going. One theory says that they went to Scotland where, in Rosslyn Chapel, the fantasts are most often looking for the key to the treasure, including the Holy Grail. Others say that the templars even followed the example of the Vikings and sailed to Nova Scotia in Northern America where archaeologists have been uncovering a sophisticated underground hideout where they expect a treasure at the very bottom. The secrets of the templars may also be preserved by the Free Masons who have adopted a part of the Templars' symbols as well as the secret admission rituals since the organization was born in the 18th century. Nothing has been unmasked anywhere, as of today.

5:33 It's more than 700 years since the fateful Friday 13th and the fate of the Knight Templars is still teasing the human fantasy. Did there exist the Secret with a capital S which was the cause why the order was dispersed? Or was it just a power struggle of a sort? Official historians lean to the latter answer. But let's be honest: Isn't the first answer much more exciting?

Video by, a Czech competitor of Google, and
Rough translation by LM

Hat tip: Joseph Sýkora

Czech readers may also watch this 52-minute document

Other readers may watch many Knight Templar-related videos on YouTube

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reader lucretius said...

Well, actually, the truth about the "wealth" of the Templars is quite simple. The Pope transferred all of it to the rival (and equally powerful) order of the Knights of the Hospital, but Philip managed to seize everything that was in France, and refused to hand it over to the Hospitallers. And that was actually a very great deal - there is no reason to believe that there was any more that was hidden.

Philip had two motives. One was that he was a genuine fanatic and wanted to create a new order, which combined the resources of both the Knights of the Temple and the Knights of the Hospital (the third great military order, of St.Mary, known as the Teutonic Knights, had moved to Europe and was leading the northern crusades agains the pagan Prussians and Lithuanians). The Templars totally refused the proposal to be amalgamated with the Hospital, with whom they had always competed. That was one reason to crush them. The second reason was the Philip needed money. Two years before turing on the Templars (in 1306) he did the same thing to the Jews. First all Jews in France that could be found were arrested and imprisoned. All their money was confiscated. Many were burnt and the remaining ones were expelled from France.
But this was actually only a rehearsal.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Interesting. Do you also know why the Templars had been given the huge rights?

reader lucretius said...

This actually is a strange matter, but for a different reason. The version I have known is that Pope Alexander III issued in 1663 a bull "Omne Datum Optimum", which granted the Templars unusual privileges in return for their support in assuring his election as Pope. It was gratitude and perhaps fulfilment of a secret agreement.

But the strange thing is that the WIkipedia claims that the bull was issued by a different Pope (Innocent II) and a lot earlier

Yet, my information comes from a very highly respected work (on European witch trials) by an excellent historian (already dead) Norman Cohn ("Europe's Inner Demons" ,1975). It is also confirmed by other articles on the Internet, e.g.

The Wikipedia article does not give any sources for its claim. Hmm...I smell a conspiracy...

reader John Archer said...

1663 → 1163 probably? :)

reader Casper said...

The secret to the mystical secret is that the medieval fantasists believed there was one, but without any hard evidence. But then they said alchemy doesn't work either. Is their an answer at the end of the secret? Yes, but not where they are looking for it.

reader lucretius said...

Of course, Thanks.

reader lucretius said...

In the past people used to mature earlier, at least in certain respects ;-)

For example, Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta of Rimini ( ), my favourite Renaissance tyrant, who combined in equal measure exquisite taste in art, devilish cunning, daring and ruthlessness and who has the distinction of being the only man in history to be officially damned while still living (the opposite procedure of being declared a saint, which, however, has never been used by the Church except in his case) began his career at 13 by leading his elder brother’s army against his distant cousin. Two years later the brother abdicated and Sigismondo became the Lord of Rimini. Even if only a fraction of the things Sigismondo was accused of were true, it is hard to imagine that he ever listened to any advisers.

reader AJ said...

I assume the Nova Scotia connection probably refers to Oak Island:

From what I understand, the "Money Pit" is actually a natural formation, but that hasn't stopped treasure hunters from digging there.

reader Shannon said...

...Louis XIV was only 5 when his dad died and became king. However it is his godfather Mazarin, and his queen mother, who made the decisions for him even until he was 20...

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