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Phase VII
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World History
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There have been numerous mysteries surrounding the militaristic order of the Knights of Templars that was formed in the 10th Century CE, about who they are, how they were destroyed and above all, why they were destroyed. Numerous debates have also taken place: some suggest that they were "destroyed" because of their greed, while others argue it was due to the vile acts they had carried out against Christianity. On However, it was their immense wealth that held great power over the greatest kings of their time that made the Templars sparing, and those with power jealous, which caused them to overthrow the Order and take over their riches, possessions and belongings.
     During its early years, the Knights of Templars were given treatment from the Popes, nobles and Kings from the rest of the Christendom, which soon aroused feelings of jealousy, hatred and controversial issues. After the formation of the Order, the Patriarch of Jerusalem exempted the Templars from taxation and paying tithes..." which made the Templars accumulate assets and acquire foes (Knight). The clergy of Jerusalem soon became jealous of the Templars, illustrates how throughout history, any group of people that are given special attention, quickly draw opponents because of envy. Since obtaining their riches took years to obtain, the Order was not as keen in giving up their possessions, which made them forget their third vow poverty. For instance, a picture of Jacques de Molay shows him kneeling down and presenting his sword to someone probably of 'noble blood'. It shows him wearing loose, white robes beneath his armor, which is a sign of luxury, comfort, and wealth (McGovern). As a result of the Templars not following their vows completely, controversy aroused to the minimal, due to the fact that most of the people were afraid of the wrath of the Knights of Templars. Concurrently, the Templars were also granted special favors from certain monarchs because of their trustworthiness, although they were blamed by them when they did not react sufficiently. For example, in 1216, Julian, the King of Sidon, entrusted Sidon to the Templars. On the other hand, when the Mongols came over and ambushed Sidon. Consequently, the Templars were blamed for not saving King Julian's losses (Runciman, Vol 3: 257). This indicates how assets and esteem invite greed and loathing between one another. Hence, favoritism, greed, and break in trusts were the first step towards the gradual descent of the Order. Almost immediately, certain actions carried out by the Templars would not only surprise the monarchs and the nobles, but also the common citizens, who least expected this behavior from them.
     Owing to the immense treasures the Knights had gathered over the years, they were not so keen on giving it up either. They soon acquired systems such as interest, the credit system, and one of the first banking systems, all to hoard greater amounts of material goods. Subsequently, by the end of the 12th Century, the Order was regularly practicing money-lending to pilgrims, all the way up to Rulers and sovereigns. Although the Templars were not reliable money-lenders, "...their financial reputation was so high, that even Muslims made use of their services" (Runciman, Vol 3: 304-305). Once again, reputations can play a major role in propagating a certain group of people. Furthermore, it shows how the Knights had gained a certain reputation of miserliness for their quick wit and severe judgment. Thereupon, they wanted more ways of increasing their wealth. The Templars soon started new ways of achieving wealth. Soon the Order adopted the Credit system, in which anyone traveling from Europe to the East could entrust their wealth to the Knights, and after reaching their destiny, they could get the money they had, assigned to the Templars, back. The seal of the Order of the Templars is one of the most important things in defining their nature. A seal is used when a person who wants to send a letter etc. to another person. After that, the sender seals the envelope with the 'seal'. The seal shows two Knights riding on one horse, and is made of gold (Bennington). The fact that the seal shows two knights riding one horse demonstrates how they regarded themselves as being important - for two Knights fully armored trying to ride on a horse, is a hard thing to do. One of the key things that stand out is that the Templars held a great amount of power and trust over the people. After this, the Templars established a method 'forbidden' by the Church - usury (Dafoe). The Templars had 'slyly' made this new addition to their banking system to attain greater amounts of wealth, which contradicts the fact that they were warrior monks, and supposedly leading a pious life. In short, the credit system, the seal, and usury soon made others suspicious of the Templars. Consequently, the end of the era of the Templars was drawing up pretty fast faster than the Templars had thought it would come by.
     By the end of the Crusades, people were beginning to get weary of the Templars; they were not as trustworthy as they had once been - and had been caught once in a while committing usury; but nobody stood up against them, because they knew and feared the wrath of the Templars. Today, it is common to see King Richard either wearing or associating with people dressed in a white armor with a red cross on it, or a white shield with a red cross on it. What people usually do not realize is that it is a symbol of the Templars (Seaburg, 386). Besides attracting mobs of people, wealth also attracts jealousy and greed towards it. It is well known among scholars, that in the latter years of the Knights, the Templars soon started to become ruthless in the way they acquired wealth. One such incident in Spain occurred, "...where the Templars collected a toll for a certain bridge and forbade the use of any other ways of crossing the river" (Dafoe). At this point, rather than focusing on ways of helping those in need, the Order had completely forgotten the vows they had made, and started to oppress others, rather than liberating them through their wealth. Not long after, the Knights of Templar were starting to get out of hand; there was not much that others could do to stop them. Yet, a person stood up against them once and for all. His name was Philip the Fair V, the King of France. Like most of the nobles and kings of the Christendom, he had no means of repaying his debts to the Templars. As an alternative, he first devalued the currency, then after a practice test on the Jews, he rounded up as many of the Templars as he could, and had them executed without a fair trial (Dafoe). Although what Philip had done was unjust, most of the Templars had learnt their lesson. They had known this enemy from the day they had started, but similar to death, they did not know when their glory was to end. Just like the lightest candle burns the least, the greatest era which helped Europe step out of the dark ages, was diminished. In brief, stinginess and the ruthless ways in which the Templars acquired wealth, along with Philip's persecution brought an end of the reign of the Order.
     The great wealth of the Templars that had been amassed by them through the years is what brought their downfall, when de Molay was burnt at the stake in 1314, had disappeared, which included their wealth, possessions and belongings. Therefore it was jealousy of the commoners, the stinginess and loss of trust of the Order that brought the end to the Knights of Templars. Although some of the Knights did, and still do, the lesson they learned about displaying wealth was much too pricely, which is why not much is known about them, except mostly fantasies and myths that have been carried on through the ages

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