Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

The Knights Templar "news"

Expand Messages
  • happypick2000
    I wonder how closely this new finding correlates with Steiner?! Blessings, Sheila Daniel Pipes Mailing List October 13, 2007 Homepage | Articles |
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 14, 2007
      I wonder how closely this "new" finding correlates with Steiner?!



      Daniel Pipes Mailing List
      October 13, 2007

      Homepage | Articles | Weblog | Reviews |

      Email this item
      Comment on this
      Digg this
      Save to del.icio.us
      RSS Feed

      Knights Templar Trial Records Made Public – After Seven Centuries

      October 12, 2007
      Daniel Pipes' Weblog

      In a sensational bit of sleuthing, Barbara Frale, a medievalist at the
      Vatican's Secret Archives, stumbled in 2001 on Processus Contra
      Templarios, a compilation of original documents dating from 1307-12 on
      the French trial of the Knights Templar and the Vatican's response.

      Here is some background on of this longest lived of all "secret
      societies" from my book, Conspiracy: How the Paranoid Style
      Flourishes, and Where It Comes From (Free Press, 1997), pp. 57-59, to
      explain why this piece of medieval news still matters intensely to
      some people today:

      Early in 1119, a French nobleman named Hugues de Payns and nine of
      his companions dedicated themselves to protect Christian pilgrims on
      their way to and from Jerusalem, solemnizing this oath by adopting the
      monastic vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. The group adhered
      to a rule not much different from that of other monastic orders, with
      the exception of provisions that permitted them to make war. Theirs
      was a new, remarkable, and confusing development that merged two
      utterly different callings: the clergy (absolutely forbidden to engage
      in conflict) and the soldiery (which did so incessantly). A group of
      soldiers, renowned for their anarchism and their devotion to plunder
      and women, had become soldiers for Christ. In effecting this
      combination, they "invented an absolutely novel figure, that of the
      monk-knight." This radical notion turned out to be both powerful and

      The king of Jerusalem welcomed the help provided by Payns and his
      companions; symbolic of this esteem, he installed them on the holiest
      spot in Jerusalem, the Temple Mount, where they lived in Al-Aqsa
      Mosque. The group came to be known as the Military Order of Poor
      Knights of the Temple of Solomon, or Templars for short. The Templars
      also won the fervent backing of Bernard of Clairvaux, an immensely
      influential cleric, and through him, the sponsorship of popes and
      noblemen as well as nearly universal acclaim in Catholic Europe. Their
      model inspired the founding of other Christian military orders,
      including the Knights Hospitallers of St. John and the Teutonic Knights.

      As men engaged in fighting, always an expensive activity, the
      Templars had a constant need of funds that made them different from
      other monastic orders. Combined with their far-flung military power
      and their reputation for probity, this spurred the Templars to offer
      proto-banking practices at a time when deposit banking did not yet
      exist. Before long, they held vast sums in deposit; for example, they
      became bankers to most of the French royal family. Combined with their
      noble patronage, this occupation made the Templars very wealthy. But
      banking practices also made them morally suspect, for such financial
      activities transgressed deeply held feudal norms and were seen as
      contradicting their professed piety.

      Another problem arose when Acre, the last Crusader stronghold,
      fell in 1291. The Templars had so active and prominent a role in the
      Crusaders' wars that their prestige, more than that of any other
      order, depended on the situation in the East, and the fall of Acre
      caused their reputation to suffer. The failure of these fighting monks
      Barber 7 to hold the Holy Land from the Muslims, when combined with
      their secrecy, great wealth, and arrogance, fueled resentment of their
      power as well as rumors about their having hidden goals.

      In 1307, as the Templars were planning yet another Crusade to
      return to Palestine, this resentment boiled over. King Philip IV of
      France struck against the order, seizing its members and confiscating
      their wealth. After a seven-year legal process in which the
      prosecutors relied heavily on torture, humiliation, and other
      psychological inducements to get the answers they sought, the Templars
      were finally found guilty of apostasy. In a great show of power,
      Philip had their grand master, Jacques de Molay, burned at the stake
      [in 1314]. Rulers everywhere in Europe but Iberia followed Philip's
      example and succeeded in completely suppressing the order. Centuries
      later it is clear that, however powerful and perhaps even out of
      control the Templars were, they never engaged in heresy nor posed a
      threat to the existing order.

      Oh, and the arrests took place on October 13, 1307, exactly 700 years
      ago tomorrow. So much for history, now as to why all this still
      captivates conspiracy theorists:

      Several features about the Knights Templar make them enduringly
      enigmatic. They had a conspiratorial air about them; for example, at
      the initiation ceremony, a candidate was told that "of our Order you
      only see the surface which is the outside," implying that something
      very secret took place behind closed doors. At the end of the
      initiation, each knight kissed the adept on the mouth, an act with
      obvious homosexual overtones. Further, the brutal suppression by
      Philip had an air of mystery about it. To this day, "the accusations
      of heresy are unproven and the evidence for internal decline
      impossible to assess."

      Together, the spectacular rise, great power, and grisly end of the
      Templars turned them into a permanent feature of European conspiracy
      theories. The Knights Templar stand out as the original and most
      omnipresent of secret societies. Looking back, even those
      conspiratorial groups in the hoary mists of antiquity take definite
      shape only with the Knights Templar. Looking ahead, virtually all
      secret societies in recent centuries are seen as deriving from them:
      "The Templars have something to do with everything." Occultists imbued
      them with magical powers, and Enlightenment rationalists turned them
      into an anti-Christian conspiracy. In addition, many romantics fell
      under the spell of the Templars' sensational tale, wasting untold
      hours in search of their idols, secret rule, and hidden treasures,
      speculations that amount to nothing more than "a wild fantasy" of
      "mystagogy and obfuscation."

      "Processus Contra Templarios" in replica, 799 copies available at
      €5,900 each.

      Reuters quotes Frale, 37, recounting her amazement six years ago on
      finding the minutes: "The parchment was catalogued incorrectly at some
      point in history. At first I couldn't believe my eyes. I was
      incredulous. This was the document that a lot of historians were
      looking for."

      The Vatican Secret Archives, in collaboration with the Scrinium
      cultural foundation, is publishing 799 copies of a replica of the
      document, to be officially presented on October 25. The replicas cost
      €5,900 each because they come "in a soft leather case that includes a
      large-format book including scholarly commentary, reproductions of
      original parchments in Latin, and—to tantalize Templar buffs—replicas
      of the wax seals used by 14th-century Inquisitors. One parchment
      measuring about half a meter wide by some two meters long is so
      detailed that it includes reproductions of stains and imperfections
      seen on the originals."

      According to Reuters, the Knights Templar will be "partly
      rehabilitated" by these documents. In particular, the so-called Chinon

      contains phrases in which Pope Clement V absolves the Templars of
      charges of heresy, which had been the backbone of King Philip's
      attempts to eliminate them. … Frale said Pope Clement was convinced
      that while the Templars had committed some grave sins, they were not
      heretics. Their initiation ceremony is believed to have included
      spitting on the cross, but Frale said they justified this as a ritual
      of obedience in preparation for possible capture by Muslims. They were
      also said to have practiced sodomy. "Simply put, the pope recognized
      that they were not heretics but guilty of many other minor crimes—such
      as abuses, violence and sinful acts within the order," she said. "But
      that is not the same as heresy."

      Despite his conviction that the Templars were not guilty of
      heresy, in 1312 Pope Clement ordered the Templars disbanded for what
      Frale called "the good of the Church" following his repeated clashes
      with the French king. Frale depicted the trials against the Templars
      between 1307 and 1312 as a battle of political wills between Clement
      and Philip, and said the document means Clement's position has to be
      reappraised by historians. "This will allow anyone to see what is
      actually in documents like these and deflate legends that are in vogue
      these days," she said.

      But deflating legends will not be easy. One conspiracy theorist,
      Vortex, reacted to these developments with doubts that are probably
      typical of the mentality: "I wonder just how much has been censored by
      the Holy Sea, or tucked back away not to see the light of day that
      runs against some teachings or puts a `guilty' light on Rome." And an
      organization called Ordo Supremus Militaris Templi Hierosolymitani
      claims "more than 5,000 Knights and Dames of the Knights Templar
      worldwide," so in some fashion, the Templars live on. (October 12, 2007)

      * Other items in category Conspiracy theories
      * Other items in category History

      To unsubscribe from this list, go to
      To subscribe to this list, go to http://www.danielpipes.org/subscribe.php
      (Daniel Pipes sends out a mailing of his writings 2-3 times a week.)

      Sign up for related (but non-duplicating) e-mail services:
      Middle East Forum (media alerts, event reports, MEQ articles):
      Campus Watch (research, news items, press releases):

      You may freely post or forward this text, but on condition that you
      send it as an integral whole, along with complete information about
      its author, date, publication, and original URL.
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.