Friday, October 18, 2013

Knights Templar Founded

The Order of the Knights Templar started with nine founding members in 1119 with Hugues de Payens as the leader and first Grand Master. The other other eight were related to him by either blood or marriage. All nine were thought to have been descendants of the Royal House of Judah. The identities of only five of the others were known for certain to be Geoffrey Bisol, Andre de Montbard, Payne de Monteverdi, Archambaud de St Agnan and Godfrey de Saint-Omer. Two of the other three only had a single name recorded and were known as Gondemare and Rosal. There is documentation that the single named two had been Cistercian monks. The identity of the ninth knight is up for debate as he is listed as Godfrey at times but there was also documentation that stated that Count Hugh I de Champagne was among those when the monks joined them. He officially joined the Knights Templar in 1125 but his involvement before then is unknown. 

The First Crusade ended shortly after the Christians had captured Jerusalem in 1099. Many Christians started to make pilgrimages to Jerusalem but it was a dangerous journey as over 300 travelers were murdered en route. Hugues drew his last name from being from the town of Payens which was in the Champagne region of France. After the death of his wife, Hugues twice accompanied Hugh I, Count of Champagne on pilgrimages to the Holy Land in 1104-1107 and 1114-1116. There is some speculation that Hugues stayed in Jerusalem for a couple years years laying the groundwork and then returned to France rally the others.

The nine returned to the Holy Land and Hughes de Paynes approached King Baldwin II of Jerusalem to offer their services to protect the traveling pilgrims. King Baldwin gave his approval and allowed the Order to establish their headquarters at the Temple Mount. For the next nine years they spent the time excavating and mining in the extensive tunnels that exist under the Temple Mount. During that time the did not provide much of the protection that was their original directive. But after that nine year period Hugues de Payens and the others returned to France in position to take the Order to the next step. Soon they were able to offer protection and much more as their organization quickly grew in both numbers, power and wealth.

Knights Templar page

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