The Knights Templar were one of the first recorded secret societies. Ever since their demise in the early fourteenth century, they have been the subject of much speculation and the source of numerous conspiracy theories. Every generation seems to have its interpretation of the Knights Templar, their secret rituals, and purported “treasure.” Read on to find intriguing facts about the Knights Templar, and draw your conclusions about what the Crusade’s warrior monks mean to modern society.
16. The Order Began During the Crusades
The mysterious group began as the Poor Knights of the Temple of Solomon about 23 or 24 (sources vary) years after the Crusades started in 1095 AD. The First Crusade had ended with a decisive victory for the European Christians, who took over Jerusalem and established the so-called “Kingdom of Jerusalem.” Christians flooded the roads to Jerusalem to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. However, the journey was dangerous, as it was not only long but consisted of treacherous routes through foreign territory. Bandits frequently waylaid travelers. Additionally, there was a need to protect merchants traveling to and from the Kingdom of Jerusalem, because they helped to supply the Christians there with the goods that they needed to survive.
A knight from France, known as Hugues de Payens, created the order with the expressed intent of protecting Christian pilgrims and crusaders who were traveling to the Holy Land. Some doubt that that was the real reason for his new organization, mainly because it was far, far too small to have the means to establish itself outside of Jerusalem. De Payens became the first Grand Master of the order, which was depicted in iconography with an image of two men riding the same horse because they had no money. However, the Poor Knights of the Temple of Solomon did not stay poor for long.