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What comes to mind when you think about the Knights Templar? Assassin’s Creed? The Da Vinci Code? Suspicion, intrigue and diabolical plots seem to be associated with the Templars who now live through popular culture and conspiracy theories. White cloaks and red crosses seem to dominate the imagery associated with the Templars. And though they sound very much like the creation of an author, with too much imagination, they are certainly not fictional.
A few centuries ago they were a powerful military order with connections and associations in the highest circles. They had an enviable position in society as they were only answerable to the Pope and they were influential and wealthy. You’d be surprised to know that the Templars had a rather fancy and long title, they were originally called ‘Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon’. I love their full title as it is almost contradictory to the symbolism associated with them now. Red crosses aside, contemporary popular culture does not associate them with religion and instead they are presented as a cult. In Assassin’s Creed the Templars are depicted as a sect who believe that peace comes through the control of all humanity.
A little must be said about what happened to them, in the 1300s they were denounced as heretics. Their property was confiscated, and their leaders were executed. The most famous of them, Jacques De Molay was burned upon a scaffold on an island in the River Seine in front of Notre Dame de Paris in March 1314.
One can almost imagine why so much myth and mystery is associated with them. Their story puts the intrigues of Game of Thrones to shame – real life riches, influence, power and a dramatic end. All I know is that I am grateful the middle ages are long behind us. Triple, Venti, Soy, No Foam Latte please.