The Knights Templar.

Templars Templar Mysteries Templar Myths The Crusades

Who were the Templars ?

Simplisticly the Templars (Knight Templars) were the first group of knights to take holy orders and as such have been referred to in some sources as "The Fighting Monks".

The Templars, who were one of three orders of fighting monks, were created around 1119 by a Burgundian knight who sympathized with the hardships of Christian pilgrims. The nine Templars banded together to protect the helpless on their pilgrimage. The Templars took vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience and were given headquarters near the ruins of the Temple of Solomon. St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) inspired their rule, based on the rules for his own Cistercians and confirmed by the pope in 1128.

A second order, the Hospitalers, was founded soon after the Templars, and was attached to the ancient Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem.

Composed of knights, chaplains, and brothers under the command of a grand master, with branches both in the East and in Europe, the two military orders were the most effective fighting forces in the Holy Land. Each had a special uniform: the Templars wore red crosses on white, the Hospitalers white crosses on black.

Later, a third, purely German group became the order of the Teutonic Knights with headquarters at Acre (they wore black crosses on white).

The orders grew very wealthy. They had fortresses and churches of their own in the Holy Land as well as villages from which they obtained necessary supplies. Western monarchs endowed the knights richly with lands in Europe. The Hospitalers moved first to Cyprus and then to Rhodes in the early 14th century. They were driven to Malta by the Turks in 1522 and continued there until Napoleon's seizure of the island in 1798.

Mysteries of the Knights Templar

Rumors and Charges

"Public indignation was aroused by...charges of ...worshipping the devil in the form of an idol called Baphomet." Baphomet was "the Templar symbol of Gnostic rites based on phallic worship and the power of directed will. The androgynous figure with a goat's beard and cloven hooves is linked to the horned god of antiquity, the goat of Mendes." - Peter Tompkins, The Magic of Obelisks

"Some confessed that they had also worshipped an idol in the form of a cat, witch was red, or gray, or black, or mottled. Sometimes the idol worship required kissing the cat below the tail. Sometimes the cat was greased with the fat from roasted babies. The Templars were forced to eat food that contained the ashes of dead Templars, a form of witchcraft that passed on the courage of the fallen knights." - John J. Robinson, Dungeon, Fire and Sword (1991)

In the list of charges drawn up by the Inquisition against the Templars on 12 August 1308, there appears the following:

"Item, that in each province the order had idols, namely heads, of which some had three races and some one, and others had a human skull. Item, that they adored these idols or that idol, and especially in their great chapters and assemblies. Item, that they venerated (them). Item, that (they venerated them) as God. Item, that (they venerated them) as their Savior.... Item, that they said that the head could save them. Item, that [it could] make riches. Item, that it made the trees flower. Item, that [it made] the land germinate." Item, that they surrounded or touched each head of the aforesaid idols with small cords, which they wore around themselves next to the shirt or the flesh. Item, that in his reception, the aforesaid small cords or some lengths of them were given to each of the brethren. Item, that they did this in veneration of an idol. Item, that they (the receptors) enjoined them (the postulants) on oath not to reveal the aforesaid to anyone."

The Articles of the Accusations

"...They bestowed worship in their chapter on a heathen idol, variously described as to its physical characteristics, but known as a 'Baphomet[, which etymologically was the same word [in Old French] as 'Mohammed'. [Once or twice the form Mahomet is actually used by witnesses in the trial.] Like so many persecuted heretical groups of the past, they were said to hold their chapters only secretly and at night." "It was impossible for the Templars to have 'picked up in the East' the practice of worshipping an idol bearing the name of the Prophet Mohammed, since no such idol existed anywhere in the Levant, even among breakaway sects such as the Ismailis or the Druse. The idea that Muslims were idolaters was itself a part of another system of 'smears', the pejorative representation of the oriental world by western Christians." - Peter Partner, The Murdered Magicians

"In the Inquisition evidence there are several references to members of the order receiving on initiation a little cord that had been in contact with the 'head'." - Ian Wilson, The Shroud of Turin - The Burial Cloth of Jesus Christ?

Upon being initiated into the Order of the Peacock Angel (Yezidis),"a holy thread, of intertwined black and red wool, is put around the neck. Like the sacred thread of the Parsis and other ancient Middle Eastern cults, this must never be removed; and it sounds like the cord that the Templars were accused of wearing when the Order was suppressed as heretic." - Arkon Daraul, Secret Societies

Descriptions of the Idol The idol was described by Philip the Fair as: "...a man's head with a large beard, which head they kiss and worship at all their provincial chapters, but this not all the brothers know, save only the Grand Master and the old ones." - Philip's instructions to his seneschals

During The Trial of the Templars in 1307 Brother Jean Taillefer of Genay gave evidence. He "was received into the order at Mormant, one of the three perceptories under the jurisdiction of the Grand Priory of Champagne at Voulaine. He said at his initiation 'an idol representing a human face' was placed on the altar before him. Hughes de Bure, another Burgundian from a daughter house of Voulaine, described how the 'head' was taken out of a cupboard, or aumbry, in the chapel, and that it seemed to him to be of gold or silver, and to represent the head of a man with a long beard. Brother Pierre d'Arbley suspected that the 'idol' had two faces, and his kinsman Guillaume d'Arbley made the point that the 'idol' itself, as distinct from copies, was exhibited at general chapters, implying that it was only shown to senior members of the order on special occasions." "The treasurer of the Paris temple, Jean de Turn, spoke of a painted head in the form of a picture, which he had adored at one of these chapters." "Nearly all the brethren agreed that the head was bearded and had long hair, and the Templars, like the majority of their contemporaries, regarded long hair as effeminate, so the length of the 'idol's hair was remarkable for this, if for no other reason." - Noel Currer-Briggs, The Shroud and the Grail - A Modern Quest for the True Grail

According to the most consistent accounts, the idol was: "...about the natural size of a man's head, with a very fierce-looking face and beard." - Deposition of Jean Tallefer

"He went on to say that he could not describe it more particularly, except that he thought it was of a reddish color." - Ian Wilson, The Shroud of Turin - The Burial Cloth of Jesus Christ?

The mysterious object at one of the Templars' Paris ceremonies was "brought in by the priest in a procession of the brethren with lights; it was laid on the altar; it was a human head without any silver or gold, very pale and discolored, with a grizzled beard like a Templars." - Stephen of Troyes

"Other descriptions, clearly referring to copies, included mention of gold and silver cases, wooden panels, and the like. But the Paris head is different. One gets the distinct impression that this was the holy of holies, accorded ceremonial strikingly reminiscent of that used by the Byzantines." - Ian Wilson, The Shroud of Turin - The Burial Cloth of Jesus Christ?

Almost midway up the eastern side of Lundy there is a rock formation called Knight Templar Rock.

Theories About the Head

It is very possible that the head idol was intended to represent the severed head of John the Baptist, based on allegations that he was revered by the Order. The Templars took part in the sack of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade in 1203-4. Robert de Clari described the opulence and numerous relics at the sacred chapel of the Boucoleon Palace, amongst them supposedly the head of John the Baptist. Another clue to the identity of the Baphomet may lie with Nicodemus, who in St. John's gospel who brought spices for Christ's burial. He is also mentioned in the apocryphal Evangelium Nicodemi (4th C.) as a ruler of the Jews who testified in Christ's favor. The Interpolation in the First Continuation of ChrÚtien's Perceval (12??) tells of the flight of Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea to England and includes the following intriguing passage:

"Nicodemus had carved and fashioned a head in the likeness of the Lord on the day that he had seen Him on the cross. But of this I am sure, that the Lord God set His hand to the shaping of it, as they say; for no man ever saw one like it nor could it be made by human hands. Most of you who have been at Lucca know it and have seen it." - Interpolation in the First Continuation of ChrÚtien's Perceval

"Surely this evidence [given by Templars at their trial] suggests that copies of the head, perhaps some of them not unlike the Sainte Face de Laon, others of carved stone or alabaster, such as those of the Nottingham School of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, were widely distributed throughout the order's houses. This would at least explain why nothing resembling a pagan idol was found after the brethren had been arrested, and why none of the pictures found in their chapels raised so much as an eyebrow." - Noel Currer-Briggs, The Shroud and the Grail - A Modern Quest for the True Grail

The idol was also described as: "...An old piece of skin, as though all embalmed and like polished cloth." - Chronicles of St. Denis

Ian Wilson also hypothesizes that the Templar idols were representations of Christ's face copied from the Mandylion/Shroud. A possible surviving example, on a painted panel found at Templecombe, England, shows "a bearded male head, with a reddish beard, lifesize, disembodied, and, above all, lacking in any identification mark....It conforms too, to some of the most rational Templar descriptions: 'a painting on a plaque', 'a bearded male head', 'lifesize', 'with a grizzled beard like a Templars'. (The Templars cultivated their beards in the style of Christ)." - Ian Wilson, The Shroud of Turin - The Burial Cloth of Jesus Christ?

"...The descriptions given of it [the Baphomet] varied wildly. The physical characteristics assigned to the 'Baphomet' seemed to come either from the maufÄ or demon of northern folklore, or from church reliquaries. It was often said to represent a cat, a beast traditionally associated with witchcraft and heresy." - Peter Partner, The Murdered Magicians

"INQUISITOR: Now tell us about the head. BROTHER RAOUL: Well, the head. I've seen it at seven chapters held by Brother Hugh de Peraud and others. INQUISITOR: What did one do to worship it? BROTHER RAOUL: Well, it was like this. It was presented, and everyone threw himself on the ground, pushed back his cowl, and worshipped it. INQUISITOR: What was its face like? BROTHER RAOUL: Terrible. It seemed to me that it was the face of a demon, of a maufÄ [/evil spirit]. every time I saw it I was filled with such terror I could scarcely look at it, trembling in all my members." - from M. Michelet, ProcÚs des Templiers

Based upon the idol's description as a "demon" having "very fierce-looking face and beard", the idol very likely could have been Asmodeus, the "daemon guardian" who helped Solomon build his Temple. A statue of the demon guards the door of the parish church at Rennes-le-Chateau.

"The Templars' stronghold in Jerusalem, the site of their foundation, was finally overrun by the Moslems in 1244. Thirty-three years later the victorious sultan, baibars, inspected their castle and is recorded to have discovered inside the tower 'a great idol, in whose protetion the castle had been placed: according to the Frank who had given it its name [this is an unreadable word, made in diacritic letters]. He ordered this to be destroyed and a mihrab [Moslem prayer niche] constructed in its place." - Ian Wilson, The Shroud of Turin - The Burial Cloth of Jesus Christ?

A Feminine Origin?

"...We found indisputable evidence for the charge of secret ceremonies involving a head of some kind. Indeed the existence of such a head proved to be one of the dominant themes running through the Inquisition records....Among the confiscated goods of the Paris preceptory a reliquary in the shape of a woman's head was found. It was hinged on top, and contained what appeared to have been relics of a peculiar kind." - Baigent, Leigh & Lincoln, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail

The reliquary was: "A great head of gilded silver, most beautiful, and constituting the image of a woman. Inside were two head bones, wrapped in a cloth of white linen, with another red cloth around it. A label was attached, on which was written the legend CAPUT LVIIIm. The bones inside were those of a rather small woman." - Oursel, Le Proces des Templiers

"Caput LVIIIm - 'Head 58m' - remains a baffling enigma. But it is worth noting that the 'm' may not be an 'm' at all, but the astrological symbol for Virgo." - Baigent, Leigh & Lincoln, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail

"That it had a feminine origin is shown by Gerald Massey who writes 'METE was the BAPHOMET or mother of breath'. According to Von Hammer, the formula of faith inscribed on a chalice belonging to the Templars is as follows: Let METE be exalted who causes all things to bud and blossom, it is our root; it is one and seven; it is octinimous, the eight-fold name." - Kenneth Grant, Nightside of Eden

"Herodotus (4:26) speaks of the practice in the obscure Issedones of gilding a head and sacrificing to it. Cleomenes of Sparta is said to have preserved the head of Archonides in honey and consulted it before undertaking an important task. Several vases of the fourth century BC in Etruria depict scenes of persons interrogating oracular heads. And the severed head of the rustic Carians which continues to 'speak' is mentioned derisively by Aristotle." - Julian Jaynes, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind

A similar tradition could be found in the Celtic cult of the severed head which figured predominently in Peredur, a Welsh romance about the Holy Grail.

"A great lady of Maraclea was loved by a Templar, a Lord of Sidon; but she died in her youth, and on the night of her burial, this wicked lover crept to the grave, dug up her body and violated it. Then a voice from the void bade him return in nine months time for he would find a son. He obeyed the injunction and at the appointed time he opened the grave again and found a head on the leg bones of the skeleton (skull and crossbones). The same voice bade him 'guard it well, for it would be the giver of all good things', and so he carried it away with him." - Ward, Freemasonry and the Ancient Gods

"One chronicler cites the name of the woman in the story - Yse, which would seem quite clearly to derive from Isis." - Baigent, Leigh & Lincoln, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail

"At one time there was only God. He was all omnipotent and existed alone. This caused him to become discontented, thus he split himself in two in order to create a mate. He kept the elements of Order and Logic for his own being and gave his mate the elements of Chaos and Emotion for her being. Her name is Yse (pron. Issa). She became so overwhelmed with love at her creation that when he kissed her, she gave him a reaction which was to become known as the 'Chosen Response'. The Chosen Response was the first acknowledgement and reaction of love between a male and female in the universe, and this became the greatest secret of and mystery of mankind, being 'The Holy Grail'." - Synopsis from the Merovingian Bible, "Angels Among Us! The Gnostic (Johannine) Christian Path"

Dr. Hugh Schonfield in The Essene Odyssey "had discovered a system of cryptography - he called it the 'Atbash Cipher' - which had been used to conceal certain names in Essene/Zadokite/Nazarene texts. This system of coding figured, for example, in a number of the scrolls found at Qumran." - Baigent, Leigh & Lincoln, The Messianic Legacy

Schonfield "showed that by applying the Hebrew Atbash code to the name Baphomet, the name Sophia, female wisdom, is revealed. Sophia is equated with Isis by Plutarch." - David Wood, Genisis

Isis's magic was allied to the wisdom of the Egyptian god Thoth. His wife or consort, Nehemaut, was known to the Gnostics as Sophia.

"By this analysis, therefore, when the Templars worshipped Baphomet what they were really doing was worshipping the principle of Wisdom." - Graham Hancock, The Sign and the Seal

"From the Templars' use of the Atbash Cipher, it is probable that some form of Nazarean or neo-Nazarean sect had continued to survive in the Middle East as late as the twelfth century, and had made its teachings available to the West." - Baigent, Leigh & Lincoln, The Messianic Legacy

The Black Virgin "Plutarch compares Isis to knowledge, and Typhon to ignorance, obscuring the light of the sacred doctrine whose blaze lights the soul of the Initiate. No gift of the gods, he holds, is so precious as the knowledge of the Truth, and that of the Nature of the gods, so far as our limited capacities allow us to rise toward them." - General Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma

"The great Egyptian goddess Isis, often depicted as a black woman, is inextricably linked with alchemy and is closely associated with the Black Madonnas of Europe." - Lynn Picknett & Clive Prince, Turin Shroud - In Whose Image? The Shocking Truth Unveiled

"The ankh [the looped cross of Egypt] which Isis carries as supreme initiatrix may account for some of the oddly-shaped scepters carried by the Black Virgins who, like Isis, often favor the color green. Their greeness and blackness points to the beginning of the opus whose secret, according to alchemists, is to be found in 'the sex of Isis'." -Ean Begg, The Cult of the Black Virgin

"The Black Isis and her name is Notre Dame de LumiÚre." - Pierre Plantard de St Clair (former Grand Master of the Priory of Sion)

"The Templars, imprisoned and awaiting death in the Castle of Chinon...composed a prayer to Our Lady acknowledging Bernard to be the founder of her religion. In addition to the numerous hymns and sermons he addressed to her, he wrote about 280 sermons on the theme of the Song of Songs, the epithalamion of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, whose versicle 'I am black, but I am beautiful, O ye daughters of Jerusalem' is the recurring refrain of the Black Virgin cult." - Ean Begg, The Cult of the Black Virgin

Churches of the Black Virgin often bore the name of Mary Magdalene. In 1247, Emperor Baldwin II (who helped establish the Templars in Jerusalem) exchanged pieces of the Shroud of Turin with the Abbey of VÚzelay for the purported body of Mary Magdalene. A secret tradition states that the Magdalene was Jesus' wife and bore Jesus' offspring to Southern France. There she was revered as a medium of occult revelation.

What happened to the Templars ?

On Friday the 13th of October 1307 the French Knights were arrested by
"Philip IV" accused of nine basic "crimes". These were categorised thus:

That during the reception ceremony, new brothers were required to deny Christ, God, the Virgin or the Saints on the command of those receiving them.

That the brothers committed various sacrilegious acts either on the cross or on an image of Christ.

That the receptors practiced obscene kisses on new entrants, on the mouth, navel or buttocks.

That the priests of the Order did not consecrate the host, and that the brothers did not believe in the sacraments.

That the brothers practiced idol worship of a cat or a head.

That the brothers encouraged and permitted the practice of sodomy.

That the Grand Master, or other officials, absolved fellow Templars from their sins.

That the Templars held their reception ceremonies and chapter meetings in secret and at night.

That the Templars abused the duties of charity and hospitality and used illegal means to acquire property and increase their wealth.

Although the Templars where "disbanded" the Order of the Knights of Christ was at least one of the military orders which sprang out of the famous Order.

Myths and mysteries related to the Knights Templar.

There are many myths and mysteries concerning the Templars.

The Ark Of The Covenant?

Necromantic Skull Of Sidon.

The Baphomet Mythos.

The Holy Grail?

Did The Templars
Form Switzerland?

The Shroud of Turin.

The Ark Of The Covenant.

The Ark of the Covenant was the case in which Moses saved the two tablets inscribed with the commandments.

The Legend Of The Necromantic Skull Of Sidon.

The legend of the Skull of Sidon claims that one of the Templars had a relationship with a beautiful young woman who subsequently died. The knight is said to have then dug up her corpse and consummated their relationship.

A voice told him that he should return to the grave nine months later. On doing so he found a skull and cross-bones in the grave and was told that this was "giver of all good things".

He took the bones away with him and defeated his enemies merely by showing them the magic head.

The Baphomet Mythos.

Evidence gained from the records of the Inquisition states that the Templars were involved in some sort of ceremony involving the “worship” of a head which was referred to as Baphomet.

The information currently available suggests that this may have been a slight modification of the Arabic which translates as “father (and/or source) of wisdom (and/or understanding)”.

While it has been suggested that the Baphomet was some sort of devil is it not true that the “Father of Wisdom” was King Solomon.

The Holy Grail.

There is a very interesting book concerning one theory about the Grail. It is highly controversial and should be studied rather than read -

The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail.

Baigent, M. Leigh, R. and Lincoln, H.
ISBN 0 09 968241 9

Did The Templars Form Switzerland ?

In “The Warriors and the Bankers” Butler and Defoe suggest that "on a balance of probabilities it seems most likely that the Templars were responsible for the formation of Switzerland".

It has been shown in several sources that not all of the Knight Templars were in fact “captured” by the forces of Phillipe IV. It has been suggested that some of these escaped by sea (the Templars did have their own fleet) however there is also circumstantial evidence which leads to the hypothesis that others escaped to the East.

Switzerland was founded at the same period as the Templars were being persecuted in France and was an area that would have been easily accessible for any of the French Templars to get to.

White coated knights are reported in the history of the first Swiss Cantons to have appeared mysteriously and helped the locals to defend their lands from foreign forces and therefore gain independence.

Although the Swiss suggest that they don't really know the ins and outs of their earliest history this may be due to their penchant for secrecy ( a Templar trait ). Other similarities include emblems, such as the Templar Cross, keys and lambs, which are included into flags of many of the Swiss Cantons. There are also the obvious links between the Templars and the Swiss with regards banking, farming and engineering and religious tolerance.

more will follow here when I get the time for more detailed research

The Shroud of Turin.

Traditionally considered to be the shroud in which Jesus Christ was wrapped there have been several other claims made concerning the shroud of Turin.

One of these is that it may have been the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, Jaques de Mornay.

Another hypothesis is that the Shroud was in fact a photograph produced by Leonardo da Vinci, alleged to have been the Grand Master of the Prieure de Sion ( 1510 – 1519 ).

What were the Crusades ?

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia the Crusades were :

"expeditions undertaken, in fulfilment of a solemn vow, to deliver the Holy Places from Mohammedan tyranny ".

From the third century on, Christians had visited the scenes of Christ's life. In Jerusalem, St. Helena had discovered what was believed to be the True Cross and her son, Constantine (c.274-337), built the Church of the Holy Sepulcher there.

Before the Muslim conquest of the 7th century, pilgrims came from Byzantium and the West in search of sacred relics for their churches. Pilgrimages were a dangerous business and could only be taken amidst hardship. But by the reign of Charlemagne, conditions had improved for western pilgrims: Caliph Harun al-Rashid (763-809) allowed Charlemagne to endow a hostel in Jerusalem for the use by pilgrim traffic.

Stability in both the Muslim and Byzantine worlds was essential for the easy and safe continuance of pilgrim traffic. But in the early 11th century this stability broke down as the Egyptian ruler of Palestine, Hakim (c.996-1021), abandoned the tolerant practices of his predecessors, and began to persecute Christians and Jews and to make travel to the Holy Lands difficult once again. Hakim destroyed Constantine's Church of the Holy Sepulchre and declared himself to be God incarnate.

By 1050 the Seljuk Turks had created a state in Persia. In 1055 they entered Baghdad on the invitation of the Abbasid caliph and became the champions of Sunnite Islam against the Shi'ite rulers of Egypt. In the 1050s Seljuk forces raided deep into Anatolia, almost to the Aegean. Their advance culminated in the Byzantine defeat at Manzikert in 1071, followed by the occupation of most of Asia Minor and the establishment of a new sultanate at Nicaea. Jerusalem fell in 1071 and became part of the new Seljuk state of Syria.

In 1081, and amid disorder, palace intrigue and the capital in danger, the general Alexius I Comnenus (1081-1118) came to the Byzantine throne. He held off a Norman attack on the Dalmatian coast through an alliance with Venice, and he played one Turkish potentate off against another, slowly reestablishing a Byzantine foothold in Asia Minor. Civil wars among the Turks and the increase of brigands made pilgrim traffic exceedingly difficult.

The Crusades then were in a series of nine "Holy Wars" that took place between 1095 and 1254 and were originally called by Pope Urban II.

Pope Urban II arrived in France in August 1095, and in Clermont in mid-November for the general Church council of three hundred clerics. This lasted for ten days (from 18th November).

On Tuesday 27 November Urban the papal throne was set up in an empty field outside the eastern gate of the town to make a speech to an assembled crowd that was so large that they could not fit into the Cathedral.

Urban's invitation had only gone out locally so that whilst those in attendance included local nobility as well as many commoners in addition the great nobles of Europe were not present.

The general message from Pope Urban was :

"The infidel Turks are advancing into the heart of Eastern Christendom, oppressing and attacking Christians and defiling Churches and other Holy places. It is therefore necessary for the noble race of Franks to the aid their fellow Christians in the East.

Jerusalem is groaning under the Saracen yoke and the Holy Sepulchre is in Moslem hands and has been turned into a mosque.

Pilgrims are harassed and even prevented from access to the Holy Land.

The Franks must stop their internal wars and squabbles and march, rich and poor alike, against the infidel to fight a righteous war in defence of the East.

God himself would lead them, for they would be doing His work and there would be absolution and remission of sins for all who die in the service of Christ."

The response from the emotional crowd.....

Deus lo volt! (God wills it !)

became the battle cry of the Crusaders.

Although some reports state that there were seven Crusades they can also be split into nine (see below) starting with "The Peasants Crusade" 1095-1096 and ending with the "Seventh" 1248 - 1254.

1095 - 1096 The Peasants Crusade 1096 - 1099 The First Crusade
1147 - 1149 The Second Crusade 1189 - 1192 The Third Crusade
1202 The Childrens Crusade. 1202 - 1204 The Fourth Crusade
1218 - 1221 The Fifth Crusade 1228 - 1229 The Sixth Crusade
1248 - 1254 The Seventh Crusade. The Results. Overview of Crusades.

Click here to see a Crusades and Royalty Timeline.

The Peasants Crusade.

1095 - 1096

The First Crusade.

1096 - 1099

The main army moved out on 6 June and camped at Jerusalem on the 7th. The Egyptian commander had made sure the city was well-stocked and had expelled all Christians from the city. He poisoned the wells around the city and settled in to await rescue from Egypt. The Crusaders numbered about 1500 knights and 12000 foot, an army that the Egyptians could easily overwhelm if they chose.

The Crusaders invested the city, but without siege engines they were unable to do anything effective. The walls were too strong to take by storm, and there was no one on the inside who might betray the city. A general assault on 12 June failed with heavy losses. They had to have siege engines.

Jerusalem is in the middle of a desert. It was over twenty miles to the nearest forests, but the Crusaders had no choice. Robert of Flanders and Tancred went to Samaria and began the work of cutting timber. The process took weeks. News came in early July that the Egyptians were at last on the move; the army had maybe a month before they arrived.

Acting in accordance with yet another vision, this one of Bishop Adhemar himself, the priests ordered a fast for the whole army. Following the fast, on 8 July, the entire army marched in solemn procession around the walls of Jerusalem. The Muslims watching from the walls mocked the Christians, for they were all dressed as penitents and were singing psalms. After the circuit, the army assembled on the Mount of Olives, where Peter the Hermit preached to them, followed by Raymond of Aguilers, then by Arnulf Malecorne. It was a moving experience for everyone.

The next two days were spent preparing the three siege towers. On 10 July they were rolled into place. They began to bombard the walls. The assault was set for the night of 13-14 July.

All of the 14th was spent simply getting close enough to the walls to attack effectively. Raymond commanded one tower, but he was unable to gain a foothold. Godfrey commanded a second tower (the third was smaller and was used only as a diversion). About mid-day on the 15th, they were able to make a bridge from this tower to the wall. Two Flemish knights--Letold and Gilbert of Tournai--were first across. They were followed closely by Godfrey. As they secured a section of the wall, the Lorrainers were able to bring up scaling ladders, and Tancred was able to follow. Godfrey fought his way to the Gate of the Column to open it to the main army. Tancred meanwhile worked his way toward the Temple and the Dome of the Rock. The Fatimid commander surrendered to Tancred, and his banner was set on top of the mosque.

As the defense collapsed on the north side of the city, Raymond was able at last to break in on the south side. He occupied the Tower of David, next to the Jaffa Gate. The city had fallen, but the fighting went on into the night.

There now began an orgy of killing. The Crusaders went on a rampage, killing everyone they met. They went into houses and dragged out the inhabitants to kill them. They stole everything they found. The princes lost all control. Muslim refugees had taken refuge in the Dome of the Rock, the mosque of al-Aqsa, the one Tancred had taken. Despite his banner flying above, on the morning of the 16th a group of Crusaders broke in and slaughtered everyone inside. Similarly, the Jews of the city fled to their synagogue, only to have the Crusaders set it on fire, killing everyone.

The chroniclers tell of streets running with blood and of horses splashing blood up onto their riders' leggings. Order returned on 17 July not so much because the commanders regained control as there was simply no one left to kill. All the Jews of Jerusalem were dead. All the Muslims were dead. The Christians had been expelled before the siege began. The city was empty of all save its conquerors.

The western sources are briskly uncontrite in their descriptions of the carnage, indicating that the chroniclers were no more dismayed than were the perpetrators. But the Muslim world would never forget or forgive the Crusaders' behavior. Jerusalem was a holy city to the Muslims as much as it was to the Christians. The looting of sacred shrines and the slaughter of innocents confirmed the general Muslim opinion that the Westerners were savage barbarians with no faith at all save in blood and wealth.

The commanders met that Sunday (the 17th) to discuss plans. They gave orders to have the streets cleared of corpses and for the return of local Christians. The question of who should rule in Jerusalem was broached at this meeting, seemingly for the first time. No one could agree on who should be chosen as Patriarch and that decision was postponed.

The leading candidates for a governor were Raymond and Godfrey. The barons first offered to Raymond, who refused, saying that only Christ could be king in Jerusalem.

They made the same offer to Godfrey, who showed an unexpected cleverness. He too declined the title of king, but he accepted the offer, taking as his title "Advocate of the Holy Sepulchre". The title of advocatus was a traditional one in northern France. An advocate was one who was given authority over a town or region by its overlord. The advocate acted on his lord's behalf until such time as the lord should return in person. Godfrey was thus able to lay claim to all the temporal authority of being a ruler of Jerusalem without threatening the theoretical superiority of the Church.

Raymond was furious. He holed up in the Tower of David and refused to yield it. He was finally persuaded to give it into the care of a bishop, but as soon as he moved out, the bishop turned it over to Godfrey. Raymond was now sure that everyone was conspiring against him. He left Jerusalem, never to return.

With Raymond gone, Arnulf Malecorne was now chosen as Patriarch of Jerusalem. He was not a particularly good choice. Most of the army liked him, but he banned all rites at the Holy Sepulchre except the Latin, alienating the local Christians, and his moral reputation was not good.

Still, Jerusalem now had its leaders. The First Crusade had been a tremendous success. It was to be the only crusade to succeed in its objectives.

The Second Crusade.

1147 - 1149

The Third Crusade.

1189 - 1192

The Childrens Crusade.


It was a time when there was a general trend toward regeneration and spiritual awakening and some that took this literally, this combined with the unrest which disturbed the conscience of the masses is probably what was behind arguably the saddest of the crusades..

In 1212 two seperate groups of Children believed that they could make a difference with faith, love and hope. This could destroy the infidels where force had failed.

One from the Loire valley led by a 12 year old Stephen and the other from the Rhineland where 10 year old Nicholas preached at Cologne.

Stephen gathered 30,000 children but they fell into the hands of thieves at Marseilles and at Alexandria were sold as slaves

Nicholas recruited more than 20,000 children but many of the girls were taken into brothels When the pilgrims reached Italy others taken as servants. Those boys who eventually carried on to the east were sold as slaves.

The Fourth Crusade.

1202 - 1204

The Fifth Crusade.

1218 - 1221

The Sixth Crusade.

1228 - 1229

The Seventh Crusade.

1248 - 1254

The Results of the Crusades.

Peasants Crusade - 1096

The Peasants Crusade ended when the army marched on Nicaea before the Turkish army could arrive to reinforce it. This resulted in an ambush by the Turks on 21 October 1096 with only about 3000 of the 20,000 crusaders managed to escape to a half-completed fort near the coast.

It showed the Christians that faith alone would not be enough to overcome the barriers to the Holy Lands. It also however misled the Muslims into believing that the Crusaders were no more than a rabble of peasants.

The First Crusade - 1096 to 1099

When the Crusaders took Jerusalem they went on a rampage, killing everyone they met and stealing anything that they could find. By the time they had finished the city was empty except for the Crusaders.

Godfrey (Count of Bouillon), declined the title of king, but he accepted the title "Advocate of the Holy Sepulchre" thus enabling him to lay claim to all the temporal authority of being a ruler of Jerusalem without threatening the theoretical superiority of the Church.

The Muslim world would never forget or forgive the Crusaders' behaviour. Jerusalem was a holy city to the Muslims as much as it was to the Christians. The looting of sacred shrines and the slaughter of innocents confirmed the general Muslim opinion

As far as the Christians were concerned this had been a tremendous success although, as Jerusalem was also a holy Muslim city, the slaughter and looting confirmed that the Crusaders were nothing more than savage barbarians. The Muslims would neither forget nor forgive the behaviour of the Western Infidels.

The Second Crusade - 1147 to 1149

King Conrad went home almost immediately as he had trouble at home to deal with.

King Louis took part in some fighting and stayed long enough to celebrate Easter in Jerusalem in 1149 before returning home.

As well as the main expedition to Palestine there had been “Crusades” in Spain and against the Slavs in Germany with the un-planned capture of Lisbon, the only permanent gain.

Ironically the main result of the second crusade was to delay the next one for four decades. Small bands of Crusaders still went to Jerusalem to visit the holy places, do battle and return home.

Even the pleading from representatives from Jerusalem for large armies only led to relatively small bands to help them. Eventually the Palestian barons realised that there survival depnded upon alliances with local powers and their own resources.

The Third Crusade - 1189 to 1192

Although this failed in as much as the Crusaders were unable to retake Jerusalem it did allow Outremer to hold on to a narrow strip of Cities along the coast of Lebanon and Palestine. This would be useful for future efforts to reclaim Jerusalem.

There were also victories with the defence of Tyre and the successful assault on Acre and these helped to counter-balance Saladin's early victories, he was not quite as invincible as he appeared.

The Third Crusade also led to the acquisition of Cyprus by the Latins.

The Children’s Crusade - 1202

The majority of the children that attempted the journey were either sold into slavery or prostitution.

The Fourth Crusade - 1202 to 1204

The fall of Constantinople in April 1204 marked the end of the Fourth Crusade although the knights and rulers spent over 50 years fighting for their survival in the city. The acquisition of the Greek Empire had been a great prize and subsequently great things were expected.

Strangely though, although it was noticed that the Latin Empire was turning out to be just another state and the Crusaders appeared to be doing little more than lining their own pockets under the protection of a Crusade most people still seemed to support crusading. It was still believed that the Holy Land could eventually be returned to Christendom.

The Fifth Crusade - 1218 to 1221

Although it came close to a success the Crusade accomplished almost nothing and was the last general crusade mounted by the Europeans who had apparently become disillusioned with crusading.

There was a lot of blame passed for the failure with King John Cardinal Pelagius and Emperor Frederick, all being held responsible by different parties for the failure.

The Sixth Crusade - 1228 to 1229

Emperor Frederick II signed a treaty with Saladin's nephew restoring Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nazareth to the Latin world and secured more for the Christians by negotiation than any crusader had by force since 1099.

Unfortunately he had also made himself hated by most of the Palestinian barons, deepened the factions within Outremer and left a frontier that could not be defended.

The Seventh Crusade - 1248 to 1254

Lots of people died, and as soon as I work out what they died for it'll be here.......