- "The French king had turned against them; so had the Vatican, which had always been their protector. The crowned heads of England and the rest of Europe would quickly follow suit. They were men without a country, and no ruler would be willing to offend the French and the Pope by taking them in.
Except one — Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland."
- ―Kenneth Danvers[src]
The Knights Templar (or the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, or simply the Templars) were a Christian military order of the Middle Ages. The knights of the order were among the best fighters in the Crusades. The order also set up a vast financial network (a precursor to modern banks), and built forts in the Holy Land and Europe. After two centuries, the order fell into decline and suspicion in Europe and was dissolved after the French monarch arrested members and seized their assets.
The Templar Order was founded in Jerusalem in 1118. They were supposedly assembled to guard pilgrims of the Holy Land but for three years remained inside their headquarters constructed on the Temple Mount and excavations much later suggested they were searching for the Ark of the Covenant.
A sudden expansion in wealth and size in 1128 made the Order second only to the Papacy itself in power and wealth in Christendom around the middle of the century. The knights' participation during the Crusades earned them fame as well as more money and influence. They gained control of land when their banking practices led them to becoming the primary moneylenders of Europe's monarchs. European powers, including England, France and Spain, soon owed the Order large debts.
The Crusades had also left the Order without a purpose or home. In 1306, King Phillipe of France sought refuge with the Templars, the greatest fighting machine in the world, when a mob forced him to flee Paris. While staying with the Order, Phillipe saw with his own eyes the amount of riches the Knights Templar had amassed and was overcome with greed. Spurned on by word that the Templars were looking to establish their own nation on his country's borders, Phillipe drew up a list of charges which included heresy; infanticide; treason against the Church. And demon worship.
Unbeknownst to the others, a small group of corrupt Templars had been worshipping an agent of destruction known as Baphomet. When Phillipe's persecution of the order came in late 1307, Baphomet's followers betrayed the Knights Templar to save themselves but Godfrey de Molay, Order Grandmaster, managed to seal the entity away within a holy artifact collected during the Crusades before his arrest. Around ninety of the knights, including the five corrupt members, fled from France with some of their key treasures including the casket in which Baphomet was imprisoned, awaiting the day someone would open the chest and free it. The five traitors went unidentified.
The remaining Knights Templar journeyed to Scotland. In exchange for their services in the Scots' fight for independence against the English, Scottish king Robert the Bruce gave what was left of the order a safe haven. At the Battle of Bannockburn between the two countries seven years later, the second day of fighting found all the Scot units engaged when they were suddenly reinforced by a fresh force waving banners which was apparently intimidating enough to rout the English forces entirely. More modern theories would say it was a group of mounted knights, but long after the group had fallen into legend as a legion of Scottish peasants.
Centuries passed, and in the late 1930s, MI5 agents Martin and Davies escorted some colleagues of Indiana Jones to Scotland, one of three sites they had narrowed down to as being the rumored resting place of a lost Templar 'treasure', little knowing it was Baphomet's tomb.
- Indiana Jones and the Tomb of the Templars
- Indiana Jones and the Lands of Adventure
- Indiana Jones: The Ultimate Guide