The curse of the Templars
The fires of the Inquisition are kindled in the cities. But now they are not burned for heretics and Gentiles, witches and wizards. And for the Christian knights, the Templars who guarded the pilgrims in the middle East. 7 centuries ago, on may 12, 1311, the Inquisition publicly executed 54 prominent members of the Templar Order. Soon there will be nothing left of the order. The assassins of the knights will appropriate their wealth, but it will not bring them happiness. All of them will suffer the curse of the Templars-the words of the last master of the order, Jacques de Molay, uttered by him right at the stake.
It all started out romantic. After the capture of Jerusalem in 1099, the participants of the First crusade returned to the West, so the new States of the crusaders and pilgrims coming to the Holy land had no one to protect them. For this purpose, the French nobleman Hugh de payens in 1119 gathered eight of his relatives-knights and created his order.There was no question of wealth then: the knights themselves called the order “Beggars knights”, they had only one horse for two people, and this was reflected in their seal.
After 10 years, the order was officially recognized, its Charter and laws were developed, and the ruler of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, Baldwin II, allocated the knights a room in the South-Eastern wing of the Jerusalem temple. After that, they began to be called “Templars” or Templars.
In Europe, the Templars recruit new knights to their order. In addition, they receive generous donations of land holdings. So the knights of the order ceased to be “beggars”. In another 10 years, the Pope will issue a decree that the knights of the order are exempt from taxes, can freely cross borders and obey only the Pope himself.
Using secular and state privileges, the knights soon began to engage in financial activities. By the way, the Templars actually invented checks. They exchanged pieces of skin with the fingerprint of the “depositor” for gold coins, so that pilgrims could not carry precious metals with them on a long journey, but exchange checks for coins at any Templar residence. In addition, the knights gave loans at 10%.
At the end of the XIII century, the order became very rich. Some associate this with the financial activities of the knights, others with the fact that the order passed the state of the dead Templars, there is even a version that the medieval knights 200 years before Columbus sailed to South America and found silver mines there. Researchers find images of American Indians on the buildings and seals of the Templars and note that the silver coins that poured into Europe most often had the signs of the Templars.
Anyway, the Templars gradually became the largest creditors in Europe. Even kings and popes were debtors of the order. But wealth and influence don’t always bring happiness. More often they become the cause of envy.
So it was with the Templars. French king Philip IV the Beautiful was not happy with the increased influence of the Templars, and was himself a debtor of the order. Churchmen also did not like the fact that the order had a large number of privileges and did not pay tax to the Church. To solve these problems, it was possible to destroy the order, and at the same time to get their hands on its treasures.
Unbeknownst to the Pope, Philip IV begins arresting the knights, accusing them of heresy, idolatry, and witchcraft. But how can you storm castles and arrest hundreds of professional soldiers so easily? The fact is that the knights themselves wanted a trial – they were sure of their own innocence and wanted to defend their honor. Among others, the master of the order, Jacques de Molay, and the General visitor, Hugh de Peyroux, were arrested.
The Inquisition took over the interrogation of the knights, and it was able to persuade. Many knights were tortured to death in the first days after the arrests, others, including Jacques de Molay and Hugh de Peyroux, admitted their guilt. Then Philip IV wrote to other monks of the Christian world to arrest the Templars on their lands.
Pope Clement V was, in fact, put in front of the fact of destroying the order. Apparently, in order not to lose face, he accepted this state of Affairs and even pretended that it was happening at his will. In November 1307, he ordered all Christian monarchs to arrest the Templars and confiscate their property. The Pope’s representatives were even sent to France to take part in the investigation. But in their presence, de Molay and de Peyroux, like many other Templars, recanted their previous testimony. After that, the Pope stopped the Inquisition processes.
The Templars had a chance. But Philip IV still persuaded the Pope to continue the process, although it took six months. The knights tried to defend themselves by denying their own testimony, which was given under torture. But in may of the year 1311, Philip IV was publicly burned 54 Templars. This was a demonstration to intimidate the remaining ones. The remedy worked, and most of the knights returned to their previous testimony. A year later, the Pope decided to dissolve the order. The Templar funds were transferred to the order of Hospitallers, but the king of France withdrew a large sum from them as judicial compensation.
The Templars who admitted their guilt were sentenced to prison. But not everyone was intimidated. Grand master Jacques de Molay and prior of Normandy Geoffrey de Charnay loudly protested at the verdict, denying their guilt. They were condemned as having fallen into heresy a second time and sentenced to be burned the same evening. If they did not try to resist, they would only face imprisonment, but they deliberately condemned themselves to martyrdom.
It is believed that Jacques de Molay even at the stake shouted his innocence. “I know what torments were inflicted on knights who had the courage to retract their confessions, but the terrible sight we are now seeing cannot make me confirm the old lie with a new lie. The life offered to me on these terms is so pitiful that I voluntarily refuse the bargain… ” Immediately, at the autodaf, the Grand master anathematized and cursed the king with his assistants and all posterity and the Pope who had betrayed the Templars, predicting them misfortunes and misfortunes.
Probably, few people would have paid attention to this, if not for a series of tragic events in the lives of people associated with the destruction of the Templar order. A month after the execution, the Pope died in agony. Almost immediately afterwards, he was followed by a colleague of Philip IV de Nogaret. Six months later, Philip the Beautiful himself, who had never complained about his health before, died of a stroke.
Philip’s three sons were popularly known as”the cursed kings”. For the next 14 years, they died one after the other, leaving no offspring. In 1328 the Capetian dynasty ended