The Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon
It seems if there is one topic I've researched almost as much as the War for Southern Independence, it is the strange history of Knights Templar. Call it coincidence. Both happen to be topics of vast and widespread ignorance.
When one first begins to research the Knights he will learn that the standard historian knows that they were nothing more than illiterate warriors, funded by, and strengthed by the Roman Catholic Church. Sadly... that's where it ends.
But if you dig a little further...
The Order was formed by what amounts to one large extended family, though the connections were in part convoluted. Their stated purpose was to protect pilgrims on their journey to the Holy Land. Many historians would tell you this is what they did. The recorded actions of the knights make this an unrealistic scenario... as they did not patrol the dangerous roads of the Holy Land to protect the pilgrims, but spent nine years in the dangerous and demanding task of excavating and mining a series of tunnels under their quarters on the Temple Mount. These arduous tasks were completed with the patronage and support of the King of Jerusalem.
Lieutenant Warren of the Royal Engineers re-excavated the tunnels mined by the Templars in 1867 . The access tunnel descends some eighty feet through solid rock before radiating in a series of minor tunnels horizontally under the site of the ancient temple itself. Lieutenant Warren failed to find the hidden treasure of the Temple of Jerusalem, but in the tunnels where the Templars laboured so... they found a spur, remnants of a lance, a small Templar cross and the major part of a Templar sword. Templar archivist for Scotland, Robert Brydon of Edinburgh now preserves these artifacts are for posterity. Interestingly, he also has a letter from a certain Captain Parker who took part in Warren's excavation under the Temple and several subsequent ones. Parker wrote to Robert's grandfather in 1912 and told of how on one of these expeditions he had discovered a secret room carved in the solid rock beneath the temple site with a passage leading from it to the Mosque of Omar. Parker apparently broke through one to many walls and found himself in the Temple itself. One can imagine the devout, and no doubt angry mob of muslims looking rather shocked. One can also imagine one Captain Parker shouting "Run Away!" as he fled like Brave Sir Robbin himself.
Lets face it... no post on the Templars is complete without at least one Python reference.
But what were the Templars looking for? For the answer we see the carvings on the Temple itself, which depict the Arc of the Covenant being buried beneath it. Or perhaps, this is the part in the tale when I should bring up the Dead Seas Scrolls. The Copper Scroll to be specific, which is, as much as the Knights themselves, an enigma. The scroll depicts items cherished by the Jews... both Holy and Profane, buried in various tombs. Excavation of these tombs has been largely completed... and as of yet none of the artifacts, described as The Treasure of Jeruselum, have been found. What has been found, in many of the sites is evidence of 12th century Templar excavation. The Templars were there first you see. But how did they know where to dig?
The accomplishments of the Templars goes far beyond legends about Grails and Arcs though. The Knights Templar invented the Credit Card. They were the worlds first international bankers. They funded the construction boom of the mideval age. They had the greatest fleet in the world at the time. They brought Gothic Architecture... Mouth to Mouth Resusitation, which had been practiced in the middle east for centuries (read Kings II)... countless wonders.
And they disappeared almost as fast as they formed. One friday they went from being one of the most powerful forces in all the world... to nothing.
And friends... when everyone from the Kingdom of France, to the Holy Roman Church owes you money... well... charges of heresy are nice and convienent... but the coffers need remain full. And who cares if a bunch of satan worshiping heretics get stiffed out of some money?
Were the Templars innocent of Heresy?
Don't ask me. I suggest you speak to the Pope. The Pope who cleared them... after years of investigation. The Church formally apologized. Yet still... the legend remains.
Oh... that day... that day they came for the Templars... you know what day that wasy right?
Friday the 13th... a cursed day ever since. At least... if you believe the legends.