Seznam.cz and Stream.cz 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 blogger.com.
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 Seznam.cz, a Czech competitor of Google, and Stream.cz
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