October 11, 2018


A couple nights ago, I stayed in a village called Terradillo de los Templarios, which translates as little field of the Templars.

The Knights Templar was a medieval monastic/ military order founded during the Crusades ostensibly to project  sites sacred to western Christians. They also eventually became protectors of pilgrims, in Palestine as well as places like the Camino in Spain. In fact, due to military reversals in Palestine, they shifted more of their attention elsewhere.

They developed a very sophisticated financial system and became incredibly wealthy, which proved to be their undoing.

One of their debtors was King Philip of France, who trumped up incredible accusations alleging blasphemy, idolatry and other practices among the Templars.

(Note: they probably did get a little weird with their rituals, as guys tend to do when left to themselves too long, but nothing as weird as what they were accused of.)

Philip moved on the Templars under his power on Friday the 13th of October 1307. Some say this is why that’s considered an unlucky day. Many were tortured and burned at the stake, including the order’s leader Jacques de Molay. The order was dissolved in 1312, although Templars fared better in other places.

The order lives on in folklore and even conspiracy theories. Some think the survivors hid the Holy Grail, the cup used by Christ at the last supper. Others believe the Templars continued secretly and were involved with the Freemasons and other secret societies.

It’s the kind of thing that keeps Dan Brown and others cranking out thrillers. For a more literary fictional take, check out Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum.

A bit farther west, the Camino leads to and old Templar castle I’m eager to check it out.
If I find the grail I’ll let you know.

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