From the vast wealth of literature on the Templars, sometimes weighed heavily with prejudice and opinion, it becomes obvious that myths and controversy surround the Knights Templar. Depending on the source, the Templars could be practitioners of black magic, or men of noble deeds. I leave it to my readers to delve further into the subject, and to decide for themselves the strength of the connection between the Templars and the Freemasons of today. This blog is merely intended as a starting point, to lay a background of the order, hopefully encouraging more research.
What we do know is that, after the failed crusades, the Templars evolved into a more worldly order, and became a target for their evident wealth and the needs of the secular world. Philip IV (the Fair), short of money to finance a war, began a systematic persecution of the Templars. Members were arrested and imprisoned over a period of years. Torture brought confessions of sacrilegious practices, which in turn doomed the Templars to condemnation and the confiscation of their possessions. Jacques de Molay, pictured here, was the last Grand Master of the Templars. He was burned at the stake, on an island in the Seine. It is said that, as the flames leapt around his feet, he put a curse on both the pope and the king, predicting their deaths would follow his own. Both the pope and Philip IV died within a year of de Molay’s death.
For further reading, see C. G. Addison’s, The History of the Knights Templars, or the studies by E. Simon (1959) and T. W. Parker (1963).