As we all know, the origins and the history of the mystical powerful Order of the Templars are shrouded in mystery.
According to the legend the founder of the Order of the Poor Fellow Soldiers of Christ and the Temple of Solomon, known as the Order of the Knight Templars, was Hughes of Payens ( a French fellow coming from a not yet identified place). According to a few Italian scholars, Hughes of Payens should be identified with Ugo dei Pagani from the Italian Pagani city, close to Nocera in the province of Salerno, where many pilgrims used to live. His origins were Norman although his family had been living in Nocera for more than a century when Hughes gave birth to the Order in 1118 A. D. The symbol of the Templars was found among the shields of the most powerful families of French origins living in the area close to Nocera and many other evidences can be traced in this city. We have to take into account that Nocera is quite close to Amalfi and during the 11th century, Amalfi was one of the most powerful marine republics in the Mediterranean area and many noble people from the neighbourhood had already established contacts with Jerusalem. In fact, the monks soon received the support of Baldwin II, king of Jerulasem, who donated them part of the Temple of Solomon. Coming back to Europe, Hughes de Payens started a recruitment campaign in order to create a military force which might have offered its services to the Church and to the Kings or nobles who required them. The Order received the recognition and help of Bernard, the Cistercian abbot of Clairvaux in France in 1128. The knights were provided with a rule and Hughes de Payens became the first Master of the Temple. The Church, ruled at that time by Honorius II recognized the order and gave its support to the warrior monks who were then assigned the task of defending the Christian world. The Knight Templars established their Headquarters in Jerusalem.
Known as brave knights on the battlefield and pious monks when in convents, during the Crusades those noble warrior-knight-monks became very popular among the popes who granted them their protection and many privileges so that the Knight Templars started acquiring properties and donations which made them economically independent. They became a very powerful military force that protected pilgrims travelling to and from the Holy Land. Thanks to their reliability and honesty many nobles entrusted them their funds and the Templars established such a secure international banking system that even kings and popes gave them custody of their own money.
In a very short lapse of time the Templars gained a huge wealth which was then deposited in Paris and London. They became so powerful at the apogee of their prosperity that they also interfered in the government of Jerusalem which had meanwhile become very weak. Their rising power was soon opposed by other military orders, like the Hospitallers, which confronted them, but also by the same king and the Church that together decided to suppress the order of the Templars accusing them of loving too much the power. All the properties belonging to the Templars were passed on to the Hospitallers after many Templars had been executed by orders of the king of France. The last Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, was burned at the stake together with another dignitary and legend states that while he was burning, he summoned both the king of France and the pope to appear before God in the course of the year. And as a sort of coincidence, both the king and the pope died the same year as the Grand Master. Even more astonishing is the legend reporting that the architraves of all Catholic churches cracked when the stake holding the Grand Master completely blazed.
The Order was officially suppressed in 1312 but many members either joined other military orders or continued to participate in a secret line meetings, which according to the Larmenius Charter, gave birth to the legendary stories that for centuries were narrated about them. One of the secrets held by the Templars was linked to the Grail as they called themselves “the keepers and defenders of the Holy Grail”. They in fact dedicated themselves to preserving the blood line of Jesus and also relics which where then given to other people. During the 18th century, in fact, the Freemasons claimed to have secretly received information regarding the Holy Grail and esoteric knowledge which was once possessed by the Knight Templars.
In the Campania region (South Italy) there are many traces of the Knight Templar’s presence in convents and churches which still hold symbols linked to the Templars and their activity. One of the most important hermitage used by the Templars is the Goleto Abbey near Sant’Angelo dei Lombardi in the province of Avellino. Vestiges of the Knight Templars can still be seen in Nocera, in Casaluce but also in the same town of Naples.
For lovers of the Knight Templars it might be an idea to participate in a private guided tour booking directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling me on the phone at +39 339 3982433
More info at www.herculaneum.net/trackingTemplars/html
© Dr Maria Sannino