The Knights Templar is an organization founded in the year 1112 A.D. within the Christian community with a sole aim of protecting the Christians who were visiting the Holy Jerusalem through Palestine, a land dominated by the Muslims.
They were protecting the Christians from the attack of the Muslims. They were so courageous and fierce in battles, and had vowed on obedience,chastity and poverty(Knight Templar Website,2008).Notably, they also engaged themselves in other activities including banking, building,farming,engineering and they were monks(Templar UK Website).
They were also known to as the Poor Knights of Christ, which was a kind of a symbolic name. Even though they engaged in other activities like banking, the core activity was in warfare. The activity of banking just arose due to the trust that the crusaders had in the Knights Templar members ,leaving them with valuable items on which they took custody of them at fee. The Templars were considered to the best trained and disciplines war men of the time and they were directly responsible to the Pope, who was the leader of the Catholic Church. It believed that It is this Knights Templar that laid a foundation for the development of the modern army systems and operations. On their seal, its was a picture of one horse boarded by two Knights which was symbolic in showing how poor they were.
On the start of Knights Templar Organization, its quickly grew becoming politically influential in the international politics, in the sense that it took control of the areas that it hard influence to an extend that is used to collect taxes and initiated tithing in those areas,which accelerated the fast growth into a form of a political institution. The commanding structure of the Knight Templar was like that of the Monastics Order, which was designed by Bernard of Clairvaux, who was the the founder of Cistercian Order. They were above all the authorities,as declared by the Pope but under Pope.
The Knights’ involvement in banking was not intentional, but it rather came due to their reputations in terms of the confidence that the public had on them. The confidence came from their trustworthiness and the respect of their military system, which was mighty and their financial soundness too. Their banking system just started from the point when they stared transporting money and supplies from Europe to Palestine, that later developed into a very efficient banking system which was incomparable to any other banking system that one could have thought of by that time.
The Knights were characterized of being generous in defending Jerusalem and other holy lands, which in turn enabled them to gather a lot of wealth from these lands that came in as gifts from their thankful benefactors, from their activities of protecting their lands. They used to get more other wealth from those other orders who joined them,in the form of money and property. These sources of wealth enabled the Knights to have excess money that it used to invest and lend, in the process of honoring their vow of of poverty, given that they had taken oaths of fighting poverty. Other than these aforementioned sources of wealth, the Pope also used to grant the funds ans in this case,funds of huge sums.
The cash which the Templars collected and had in reserve was normally kept in chapter houses and churches(temples), which created avenue for easy access to money for the lender that encouraged even the Spanish who were visiting the Holy land,Jerusalem to lend by the year 1135.The made easy means of accessing cash by the pilgrims real enable growth in the banking activities that the Knights involved in, and the banking system itself got favor from it not bringing complications within the order and the Church, which was a show of its political mighty. The Knights chose not to involve the church in the banking system to avoid complications, and specifically it did not involve the church directly in the building of the mortgaged assets.
The banking system grew bigger and become more efficient, given that it took care and understood the needs of the communities in which they were operating in, that made it so influential at the holy land and also in Europe. It is ways of operation and specifically with its banking system, drew the attention of other order from the Europe who were aspiring to solely take control of the money and the banking sector after the Civil war. Their attention was drawn because the Templars were possessing a lot of holdings in areas covering Europe and the Middle east and the island of Cyprus(Crystalinks website,2008).
The formation of the Knight Templar followed after the deliverance of Jerusalem (Knight Templar website,2008), when the Crusaders decided to to go back to their home in the process of honoring their vow, although their was hostility from their Muslims neighbors residing in Palestine. The formation of the Knight Templar was initiated when there arose need for protecting the Christian community and they were accepted by Baldwin II in providing the services , after taking a vow of perpetual before the then Patriarch of Jerusalem and later assigned a part of his palace that as bordering with the temple of the city in Jerusalem,that followed the naming of them as the poor Knights of the Temple. They barely started being only nine in number of which they were unable to delver any of their intended services and especially the one for protecting the holy land and the Christian community and they were headed by Huges de Payend.
In preparation to kick start their operations their leader,Huges traveled to the west in requesting the acknowledgment by the church and also to recruit more other members. Knights never had a specified code of rules by then until they came to adapt the Rule of St. Benedict, which was later refined to Cistercians, and they also adapted the three vows of perpetual in addition to the crusaders’ vows , the rules of the church and the rules of the dormitory. The new recruits were expected to behave in accord to the set rules within the Knight Templar composed of four major categories consisted of the farmers,Knights, chaplains and Sergeants. In addition to their rules, the Knight Templars also adapted the Red cross sign from the Cistercians Rules.
The establishment of Knights Templar was welcomed with a high spirits, to an extend that even before they had shown their abilities, they received a lot of favor of every kind, where the preceding Popes safe guarded them by exempting them from all kinds of prosecutions, episcopal or secular. All the property owned by the Knights was free from tax and they did this by assimilating their property into church compounds, and they were exempted from paying the ecclesiastical tithes and having their churches and cemeteries interdicted. The special treat that was offered to these Knights later brought misunderstanding among the clergy men of the holy land debating on whether to wipe or not wipe these favors, although this was never an issue to discuss in Rome as they were guaranteed these favors without question and the favors that they received from the Europe were worth to make an impact.
The Templars had representative in every state, in the name of commanderies, including France which had forty two commanderies and Palestine where grabbed wealth at the disadvantage of the Muslims. For example in the Palestine they had build major possessions like the Safed, Karak and the Castle of Pilgrim that was built in the year 1217 with an aim of defiling the coast of the sea.
The character of the Knights was indefinite ,with respect to the services that they provided. They were fierce in war and very humble in chapels without fear of death on protecting Christianity, and they were the first to attack not giving up easily, while keeping word from their leaders, although they were not very many by then(Veling Website). On the start of their prosperity, there were only 400 knights in Jerusalem, but composed of noble men who inspired the rest of the Christian community.
They normally used to fight to the end without giving up,even if it means held as captives and when held mostly by the Muslims in forcing them to deny Jesus Christ, on which they died keeping to their faith. Although they were not easily giving up,this situation and experiences scared more recruits because it required more commitment just more than being recruited in the order,Knight Templar, because all that was expected from a new recruits was total obedience to the rules without compromise. They new recruits were normally put into test in, on testing their sincerity and keeping of secret, although later their was some kind of laxity in observing the rules caused by the great wealth they had acquired and also the greedy for poor.
At the amid of its growth,the Knights Templar had 9000 estates among other wealth holdings that were deposited in the temples at both Paris and London, including the deposits that were under custody received from the princes and individuals just because of their trustworthiness. On this order reaching a kind of an independent state it started extending assistance to the disadvantaged members of the society, that included the minorities and people with various disabilities.
During the growth of this order, their happened to be another order by the name Hospitallers that was started in imitating the Knights and which later brought conflict between the two orders due to clashing activities and greed for power. The Hospitallers engaged in military just as the Knights which ignited rivalry between the two orders, but this rivalry was solved by uniting the two order, which was suggested by St. Louis in a council of Lyons in the year 1274, but the union was proposed to start in a new form by Pope Nicholas II in the year 1293 (Templars UK Website,1996), on calling for consultations from Christian states.
The troubles that led with the collapsing of the Knights Templar started from their denial to compensate the then king of France, Philip IV for his wars(New advent Website). The King had tried so many way in persuading the Knights to pay including the proceeding Popes from the time of Pope Boniface VIII to Clement V, although Pope Clement V had agreed with King Philip IV but the Knights Declined. In revenge for decline of the Knights Templar,on October 13,1307,King Philip IV of France arrested the Knights Templar in France and tortured them.
The king later held the treasury of the Knights and disbanded their money banking system, and it was perceived of him being jealousy of the Templars’ operations , more especially their wealth and power, which made him envy in controlling them alone. The act of King of France, Philip IV over the Knights sent a deterrence to other orders like the Hospitallers,the Rhodes and the Malta, which convinced them giving up the banking operations in some states like Jerusalem.
This was a real break through in the collapse of the Knights Templar as the assets which were outside France were transferred to the ownership of Knights Hospitallers, which was a directive from the Pope and the survivors from the Knights Templar menace were admitted into their former rival Hospitallers. Pope Clement V commanded the dissolving of the Knight Templar. even though so many Kings in various states had not advocated for that, and for instance the king of Spain declined in giving in to the demands of Pope Clement V in transferring all the assets belonging Knights Templar to Hospitallers, although they were later transferred to another order by the Montesa. In Portugal, they only changed the name of the order and rather called it Order of Christ, which was led by Price Henry for 20 years before his death, while the King of Scot had disbanded the order of Knights Templar with different reasons.
Conclusion. Knight Templar is an organization that was formed in the the year 1112, with a membership of Nine members, with a sole aim of protecting Christianity and more especially the pilgrims to the holy land from the Europe from their Muslim neighbors who were trying to deter the spread of Christianity. The nine members headed by Huges, recruited more new members and the recruitment was real fast because the order.
Knight Templar was highly accepted within the church community, and later after having new recruits they adapted a set of rules which were designed by Cistercians. Involuntary during their operations in providing military services, they found themselves with a very efficient banking system and this was triggered by their trustworthiness in winning the public confidence, and it started by them being left with precious goods by the crusaders,which later become as big as transmitting money and , building mortgaged property , acting as a custodian for the stored money and also the lending of money in fulling their Vow of poverty.
It grew bigger,extending to many states including France,Spain and Scot. The fall of Knight Templar originated from their decline to compensate the then king of France,King Philip IV for the wars that he fought. He revenge by arresting the Templars and seizing their Assets in France. On adding an injury to a wound, the the Pope, after the arrest of the Templars in France he gave a directive disbanding the Knights Templar organization, ans the transfer of their assets to another order by the name Hospitallers which was a rival order to Knights Templar, on their clash in their respective responsibilities as their operations were like a duplicate.
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