Sometimes the truth is so murky that the lies overwhelm it

The Murdered Magicians: The Templars and their Myth – Peter Partner (1982)

            If there is one group of people in history that have had the most fanciful stories told about them and their influence, it is the Knights Templar.  Everything from Freemasonry to Illuminism to Satanism has been attributed to them and claimed to be derived from them.  The actual historical accounts of this order are so few and so scrubbed by later theologians and church historians that to find the truth one has to dig through a mountain of poorly researched and ornately embellished writings hoping to eek out the small kernels of actual fact.  Mr. Partner spends the first half of this book discussing the facts as can be deduced from church and Templar documents and contemporary accounts, and the second half of the book discussing the many ways the myth of the Templars was created a grew in the centuries after their dissolution.
            To begin, the Templar Knights were one of two military orders of the Roman Catholic Church, the other being the Order of the Hospitalers.  The Templar Knights were originally an order of what were then “middle-class” type people, merchants, soldiers, etc., who joined the Order to do religious duty, much like people join convents or monasteries.  They were frugal by decree, living only on what was supplied to them by the local churches and benefactors, and using their arms to protect pilgrims heading to the Holy Land.  Over time, they grew in influence and wealth and were used by the Catholic Church as an armed force in the early Crusades to the Holy Land.  After a while the Knights Templar began to act as an independent arm of the Catholic Church, with all the bureaucracy expected of that, and controlled many towns and cities in the Holy Land.  With their increase in power and prestige lords and kings sought to align themselves with them and therefore deeded many properties, castles, and land holdings to the Order in exchange for protection and military favors.  Eventually the Order became so prosperous and powerful that they began to draw the jealous eye of the King of France, under whom they were supposed to serve, especially after the Crusades were over and done with.  Leaders of religions always fight with leaders of nations for power and this was no different.
Using every trick and lie that governments and religions have always used against their perceived enemies, they brought down the hammer on the Templar Knights.  Torture was used to extract ridiculous confessions.  These included things like renouncing Christ, forcing members to commit sodomy, requiring new members to kiss the butthole of the brother who is initiating them, endless blasphemes against the church, the denial of God’s divinity, black magic, witchcraft etc.  These were all base lies, but they served to end the Order of the Knights Templar, especially after their leaders were burned alive on November 22 in front of the public.  Every bit of treasure and property that the Templar knights had been granted was stolen by the French King and the Catholic Church.  The full might of the Catholic Inquisition stomped the Templars into oblivion.  For some reason, it seems that churches heap their most virulent scorn not upon pagans who do not believe as they do, but upon heretics, who believe slightly differently than they do.  It is all about controlling the message, which is the priority of any cult.  The same claims made against the Templars were used to torture and destroy the church’s enemies for centuries.

Do not make enemies with deluded fools who think they are infallible.  It never ends well.

This is the extent of the historical facts of the Templars, but almost as soon as their end people started crafting lies about them, demonizing them and their activities.  The myth grew instantly.  Several hundred years after this, when the Middle Ages were seen very romantically, writers came claiming that the reason the Templar Knights were destroyed was because they had renounced Christianity and instead worshiped a false idol named “Baphomet.”  This was developed into a lie saying they were full on devil worshipers.  Most believe that “Baphomet” is a mangling of Mohammed, but instead of claiming that the Templars were Muslims, the ignorant bastards of the 1700’s claimed they worshiped Satan himself, in the guise of Baphomet.  The sad part is that Baphomet is actually the Old French word for Mohammed.  You figure historians would not fall prey to such stupidity but they certainly do.  It makes no sense to think that a group of illiterate, devout soldiers would ever contemplate any of the evils that their opponents claimed of them.
The myth of the Templars grew and grew and became entangled with every single conspiracy you can imagine, as more and more fanciful extrapolations were made over the centuries.  Eventually the Knights Templar were supposed to have discovered the Ark of the Covenant, discovered the bloodline of Jesus and Mary Magdalene, hidden in secret for centuries controlling secret societies from within, etc. etc.  The bullshit just grows and grows.  It is cool to read such a well-researched account of what is a very murky subject.  All I know is that the Catholic Church seems to be a pox on humanity and will turn on its own the moment there is something to gain.  Shit don’t change.

(Another review of this book can be read here http://adsmithlor1949.org/Transactions/Volume%204/PDF%20Files/80A%20-%20The%20Murdered%20Magicians%20review.pdf )

(This book can be purchased here:  AMAZON  )

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