During medieval times the Holy Lands and the city of Jerusalem were ruled by the Seljuk Turks
The Christian catholic church was not happy about this situation and they were determined to reclaim the Holy Lands and Jerusalem for the Christian faith as it was considered the place where Jesus lived and died.
Pope II Urban called out to the warriors of Christian medieval Europe to send their troops to reclaim the Holy Lands and the Crusades began!
To protect the Holy Lands for Christian Pilgrims, the 'Order of the Knights Templar' and the 'Knights of Saint John', was formed
The Knights Templar was originally just nine Knights who came from wealthy families in France.
They were all relatives of the French nobleman Hugues de Payens who formed the ‘order of the Knights Templar’.
The Knights Templar’s original mission was to protect Christian pilgrims on the perilous journey to the Holy Lands which was now under Muslim Turkish rule.
The Knights Templar were given permission to set up their headquarters in the Temple Mount in the Holy city of Jerusalem by King Baldwin II, this was a very important location within the city and close to important holy site of the Jewish Temple and the temple of Solomon.
Temple of Solomon
The Knights Templar’s headquarters were located in the Aqsa Mosque which was believed stood on the site of King Solomon’s Temple, King Solomon was a legendary ruler from ancient times who it is believed had great wisdom and wealth.
There are a lot of legends concerning the Knights Templar and it is believed that they disappeared for around nine years during the time that they resided at Temple Mount.
Legend has it that the Knights Templar spent this time digging under the Temple of Solomon until they found hidden treasures, and more importantly ancient knowledge that is believed to have given them great hidden ancient knowledge.
When the Knights Templar returned to Europe after their nine years at Temple Mount they quickly became very wealthy and powerful.
Many wealthy noble families of Christian faith throughout Europe and churches are also believed to have been sympathetic to their cause of reclaiming the holy lands and had given them land and money in support of the cause.
legend has it that is was the treasure and knowledge gained from the items they found at the Temple of Solomon that gave them their true wealth and power.
Temple Mount and the temple of Solomon headquarters of the Knights Templar
They also discovered the ‘Ark of the covenant’ or the ‘Ark of testimonies’ as it was also known – a chest that is believed to contain the original stones on which the 10 Commandments were engraved.
It is also believed that they may have found part of the cross on which Jesus was crucified.
The Knights Templar Name
The Aqsa Mosque was commonly known as the Templum Solomonis from ancient times.
It was from the knights Templar association with this Temple that the Knights Templar eventually took their name which was a shortened down version of Pauperes commilitones Christi Templique Solomonici and meant “the poor fellow soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon”!
For these reasons they became widely known as the Knights Templar.
It was the Knights Templar who were the most feared of all, they were simply mentally and physically supremely prepared for battle and were only trained to fight.
Templar Red Cross Flag on a White Backround
Shields and Dress
The Knights Templar wore very distinctive clothing with white surcoats emblazoned with a red cross.
The Knights Templar horses were also donned in the white and red of the Knights Templar, the Templar shield would be white with a Red Cross.
The Knights Templar must have looked a very scary bunch on the battlefield. The distinct dress code of the Knights Templar only added to intrigue which surrounds them.
The Knights Hospitaller
The knights Hospitaller were another religious order, similar to the Knights Templar, however the Knights Hospitaller as their name suggests looked after sick and wounded as well as fighting for their faith during the crusades.
The Knights Hospitaller were also known as the Knights of St John and would also fight for the Christian faith without hesitation.
The Knights Hospitaller wore black full length tunics over their chainmail with a white cross.
The Teutonic Knights
During the third Crusade another religious order of Knights was formed, these Knights originated from Germany and were called the Teutonic Knights.
The Teutonic knights wore full length white tunics with a black cross over their chainmail.
Wealth of the Knights Templar
Even though the Knights Templar took vows of chastity and poverty, the religious order of the Knights Templar became incredibly wealthy during their conquests and travels.
It is believed that the Knights Templar also gained hidden knowledge and took treasures from the temple of Solomon.
The knights Templar were believed to have dug underneath the Temple of Solomon during their time at temple mount and discovered hidden treasures and ancient knowledge.
In the future the Knights Templar were able to use their incredible wealth to build magnificent castles and buildings throughout Europe.
They were also able to train and recruit more Knights to fight for the Templar cause and this also helped them further increase their power and wealth.
The knights Templar became a highly influential group of people along with the church.
The other religious orders Knights Hospitaller and the Teutonic Knights also became very wealthy and the Hospitaller Knights were able to build the magnificent stronghold of Krac des Chevaliers in Syria with their incredible wealth.
Knights Templar and the Crusades
The Knights Templar were initially very successful in their battles against the Muslims in the Crusades and they managed to take back Jerusalem briefly after the first crusade.
However the Knights Templar suffered many setbacks mainly due to the legendary Muslim leader Saladin who eventually helped to drive out the Christians from the Holy Lands in 1291.
End of the Knights Templar
The Knights Templar made some bad decisions towards the end of the Crusades, especially their attack on the Byzantine Empire which weakened their armies and demoralized their troops.
The Muslim joined forces instead of infighting and their combined armies continued to push back the Knights Templar and were able to take the important city of Acre in 1291 which brought to an end the Crusades and eventually led to the downfall of the Knights Templar religious order altogether.
Burned at the Stake
The Knights Templar were burned at the Stake accused of witchcraft
After the knights Templar were defeated in 1291 they began to lose support from wealthy people throughout Europe who had previously backed them.
There were also many wealthy people throughout Europe who had given money to the Knights Templar and were indebted to them including the French King Philip IV.
The French King obviously decided that he did not want to pay back the money he owed to the Knights Templar and he accused them of following pagan beliefs and witchcraft and ordered their arrests!
It is believed that the Knights Templar went into hiding after 1312 and infiltrated secret societies such as the Masons, there is a lot of evidence to support this theory however this is not mainstream thinking. It is also known that the Hospitaller Knights moved to Rhodes initially and then Malta in the Mediterranean where they continued to fight Muslims. The Teutonic Knights who had German origins retreated back to Eastern Europe and were involved in further Crusades against the pagan religions.
Knights Templar Fast Facts
The Knights Templar were founded to protect Christian pilgrims visiting the holy land.
The Knights Templar took vows of chastity and poverty.
The Knights Templar were fearsome warriors who would fight to the death and were feared in Europe.
The Knights Hospitaller was a religious order of knights that would care for sick and injured Christians.
The Teutonic Knights had German origins and were similar to the Knights Hospitaller.
The Knights Templar were the most fearsome warriors of all the religious orders.
The Knights Hospitaller were also known as the Knights of St John.
The German Teutonic Knights formed during the third Crusade and had German origins.
The Knights Templar became immensely wealthy and powerful people.
Knights Templar wore very distinctive white surcoats with a red cross.
Support for the Knights Templar waned after they lost the city of Acre in 1291.
French King Philip IV who was in debt to the Knights Templar had many of them captured and burned at the stake.
The Knights Templar went into hiding and are believed to have infiltrated the Masons.
The Knights Templar were accused of witchcraft, tortured and burned at the stake.
The Knights Hospitaller moved to Malta and continued to fight Muslims.
The Teutonic Knights retreated to Eastern Europe where they fought by Crusades against pagans.