Myths About The Knights Templar, Debunked
Photo: Gerardo Fraile / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Myths About The Knights Templar, Debunked

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Films like Raiders of the Lost Ark, National Treasure, and The Da Vinci Code have helped further myths about the Knights Templar, a Christian military group that existed in medieval times. These soldiers worked to protect fellow Christians who were traveling through Western Europe, and in that time, they managed to amass massive amounts of money and treasure while making enemies of the French monarchy. Historical movies that twist stories about the Templars have created some fascinating myths about the Christian soldiers. 

Many religious conspiracy theorists believe the Knights Templar used their vast amounts of wealth to escape France in the early 1300s in order to hide the Holy Grail, but the real story of this religious group is actually much simpler. When debunking myths about the Knights Templar, all one needs to do is simply look at the facts. The stories about the Templars are very cool and make for great fiction, but the actual history of the Knights Templar is just as interesting as anything Dan Brown could ever invent. 

  • 1
    257 VOTES

    MYTH: Former Knights Spent The 14th Century Digging For Treasure

    MYTH: Former Knights Spent The 14th Century Digging For Treasure
    Photo: Matthew Paris / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    The Reality: In 1867, a British archeological team discovered a series of 82-feet-deep tunnels fanning out vertically and horizontally underneath a mosque on the site of the temple mount in Jerusalem. The tunnels ran all the way to King Solomon’s temple and the inside was littered with items belonging to the Knights.

    While it's possible that some Knights made their way to Jerusalem after the order was decommissioned by King Philip IV, the tunnels under the mosque likely don't belong solely to the organization. The Knights who made their way to Jerusalem were probably just continuing their mission. 

    Why The Myth: The Knights genuinely were collectors of religious artifacts, so it makes sense that the survivors of the great Knights Templar purge of the 14th century would continue searching for answers in their holy land. They're also rumored to have found King Solomon's treasure, which adds to the idea that they would have been the ones digging tunnels beneath his temple. 

    257 votes
  • 2
    234 VOTES

    MYTH: They're Intrinsically Connected To The Freemasons

    MYTH: They're Intrinsically Connected To The Freemasons
    Photo: Gerardo Fraile / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

    The Reality: While the Freemasons may have drawn some basic inspiration from the Knights Templar, there would have been no way for the Knights to make a smooth transition into being the Freemasons without some seriously good anti-aging cream. The Knights Templar were stamped out in 1312 after a very angry King Philip IV of France decided to take their accumulated wealth.

    The Freemasons weren't formally organized until 1717 when the first Grand Lodge was constructed in England. It's cool to think about the Knights escaping from certain doom at the hands of the French monarchy before transitioning into one of the most secret organizations in the world, but the massive gap makes it highly unlikely. 

    Why The Myth: Books like The Da Vinci Code and films like National Treasure make a major case for the relationship between these two fraternities, but it's nothing more than fiction. The only real relationship is the spiritual connection between the Masons and the Knights. 

    234 votes
  • 3
    312 VOTES

    MYTH: They Inspired The 'Bad Luck' Of Friday The 13th

    MYTH: They Inspired The 'Bad Luck' Of Friday The 13th
    Photo: Münchener Bilderbogen / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    The Reality: When King Philip IV of France grew tired of the Knights Templar, he tried to dismantle them. Even though he claimed the group was taking part in Satanic rituals and lusty pastimes, most historians believe he really just wanted their wealth for himself. 

    Templars were imprisoned throughout the fall of 1307, beginning on Friday, October 13, of that year. Some superstitious scholars even tie the history of Friday the 13th all the way back to the 13 guests at the last supper, suggesting the number is an omen of destruction. 

    Why The Myth: The myth of Friday the 13th tying in with the Knights Templar was thrust into the limelight by Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code. In the book, Brown says the imprisonment of the Templars on the 13th is responsible for our distrust of this spooky day, but it's more likely that a conflation of multiple events plays into the superstition. 

    312 votes
  • 4
    185 VOTES

    MYTH: The Templars Were Put Together To Trace The Bloodline Of Christ

    MYTH: The Templars Were Put Together To Trace The Bloodline Of Christ
    Photo: Heinrich Hofmann / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    The Reality: While the Knights Templar were definitely interested in collecting religious artifacts, they didn't have any way to test the genetics of Jesus Christ, or even a suitable method for researching his lineage. Some folks believe a group called the Priory of Sion put the Knights together in order to find out exactly who was and wasn't related to the son of God. The Knights, however, were too busy taking care of Catholics traveling through Western Europe to do any kind of investigation into the lineage of their savior. 

    Why The Myth: History professor John Walker told National Geographic, "I suppose people like to have a more glorious past for their organizations." The Knights being ordered to trace the bloodline of Jesus Christ is not only interesting but assigns them a level of value unmatched by most secret societies throughout history. 

    185 votes
  • 5
    271 VOTES

    MYTH: They Found Solomon’s Treasure

    The Reality: Ruling between 965 BCE and 925 BCE, Solomon was supposedly one of the wealthiest kings of Israel. It's rumored that he built a temple to house his cache of gold and the Ark of the Covenant, the chest that stored the Ten Commandments. His temple was wiped out about 400 years after his reign, however, and his riches were plundered, becoming the stuff of legend. 

    There's no conclusive evidence about whether the Knights Templar found Solomon's treasure. If they did, they did not document its new location, so its wonders are likely lost forever. 

    Why The Myth: The Knights Templar were one of the wealthiest groups of their time. They accumulated vast riches by inventing the modern banking system. The fact that they were also on the hunt for religious artifacts makes it easy to assume they hoarded what was left of Solomon's treasure. 

    271 votes
  • 6
    199 VOTES

    MYTH: The Knights Hid The Ark Of The Convenant In Ethiopia

    MYTH: The Knights Hid The Ark Of The Convenant In Ethiopia
    Photo: Bernard Gagnon / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    The Reality: There’s a massive structure carved into the mountains of Lalibela, a town in Northern Ethiopia, called the Church of St. George (also known as Bete Giyorgis) that people believe was created by the Templars in order to hide their riches. It’s rumored that this is where the Templars placed the Ark of the Covenant

    No one knows exactly who constructed the church, but it was ordered to be built by King Lalibela (whom the area is named after) in the 12th or 13th century. While this was during the height of the Knights Templar, they weren't exactly known for their prowess with stone-cutting. 

    Why The Myth: Everything about this story is mysterious: Why were the Knights in Ethiopia? Were they even in Ethiopia? Who built the temples? With so many questions, it's hard not to assume your own answers. In Graham Hancock's The Sign and the Seal, the author claims the Knights knew the Ark was inside the Church of St. George, although he's vague about how they came to such a conclusion. 

    199 votes