Deriving my inspiration of this thread from Terry S's question on the Crusading Templars. In the year 1118, nineteen years after the freeing of Jerusalem, the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon (commonly called and hereafter referred to as the Knights Templar) were formed with Hugh de Payens as their first Grand Master. They were housed in an enclosure of what was said to be the ruins of Solomon's Temple, but was now held the structure of the Al Aqsa Mosque (Dome of the Rock). Their goal was to protect the pilgrims on route from Europe to the Holy Land. The founding members numbered only nine and no record is known to exist today that for the first nine years the Templars ever protected the routes to the Holy Land. In 1127 they returned to France where they were given their first donation of land. A year later, Hugh de Payens along with a few other Templars and his nephew, the Cisterian monk, Bernard of Clairveaux traveled to Rome where Pope Honorius gave official recognition to the Order. In 1130, Bernard drew up the official Rule of the Order. In 1139 a Papal Bull was issued stating that the Templars report to no one, but the Pontiff himself. The Templars were holy warrior monks. They were zealous fighters and well respected by their Muslim counter parts. They also established a banking practice that is still practiced in modern times; the checking system. This system allowed pilgrims to deposit money in Europe and withdraw an amount (minus some rent aka interest) in the Holy Land from the Templars. Towards the end of the 12th century the Templars were struck a hard blow with several defeats on the battlefield. Eventually the Templars even lose the foothold of Acre and with these losses the reputation and purpose of the Templars starts to fade, and gives way to rumor and speculation of their said initiation rituals. Phillip IV of France was indebted to the Templars and motivated by greed sought to destroy the Order. After a Pope had been placed on the Throne of Christ that was more a puppet of the French King than anything he pounced. Using testimony of expelled members and trumped up charges he recieved approval from the Pope to arrest the Templars. The French King invited the Grand Master to a meeting to discuss possible merger of other Orders with the Templars and while the leadership was divided were the Templars attacked. On Friday, October 13th, 1307, French troops around the country rounded up as many Templars as could be captured. The Templars were tortured whereupon they are said to have confessed to homosexual acts, spitting/walking on the cross, idolatry, and denying Christ. Even the Grand Master, Jacques DeMolay is said to have confessed, but later renounced this confession. In 1312, the Templars were officially dissolved. In 1314, Jacques DeMolay and other Templars were burned (or rather slowly cooked) on the island near Notre Dame whereupon their ashes were strewn into the river. This cruelty was done for his recanting his confessions. As he burned he is said to have cursed King Phillip and Pope Clement asking both men to join him in death within a year. Both did indeed die within the same year.