Knight Templar is a member of a military religious order properly called the Poor Knights of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, founded in 1118 by Hugh de Payens, a knight of Champagne in France. He and eight companions vowed to protect pilgrims travelling on the public roads of the Holy Land (Palestine). At the Council of Troyes (1128) approval was given to their version of the Benedictine rule. They quickly became very influential, attracting many noble members and growing in wealth, acquiring property throughout Christendom. When Jerusalem fell in 1187 they moved to Acre together with the Knights Hospitallers and great rivalry and hatred developed between the orders. In 1291 when Acre also fell, they retreated to Cyprus. In Cyprus their great wealth enabled them to act as bankers to the nobility of most of Europe and this affluence attracted much hostility, in particular that of Philip IV of France. In 1307 they were charged with heresy and immorality. Though some of the charges may have been true, envy of their wealth seems to have been the reason for their persecution. They were condemned, their wealth confiscated, and the order suppressed. The Grand Master and many others were burned at the stake.

Knight" Tem"plar (?); pl. Knights Templar.

See Commandery, n., 3, and also Templar, n., 1 and 3.


© Webster 1913.

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