Knights Templar

   This order of knights was founded in 1119 AD in the Holy Land. They were to guard the site of the Temple of Solomon, and to protect pilgrims who were coming to visit this site. Formed by two knights, Hugh de Payns and Godefroi de Saint Omer, they took an oath of poverty, chastity and obedience. They became the first Monks Of The Sword, soldiers of Christ. Bernard of Clairvaux drew up the rules of the order in 1130 AD.
   These rules created two classes of knight. The knights wore red crosses, and the Sergeants, or Serving Brothers, wore a black or brown mantle and were of a lower status than the knights. A married man who joined the order could only be a sergeant, and when he died his property went to the order instead of his wife. The Templars received many lavish gifts, and became the wealthiest single entity, next to the church, and set up a huge banking industry. The church feared their power and brought them down in 1308 AD, when King Philip IV of France accused their leader of witchcraft and heresy, and seized their assets. This destroyed the Knights Templar, but some stories say they went underground. Also called Knights Of The Temple.
   See Hospitallers.

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