Who Founded the Knights Templar?
The Knights Templar Order was founded in about 1119 by A french Knight named Hugues de Payens and Godfrey de Saint-Omer, another French Knight. They looked to King Baldwin II of Jerusalem for support. He granted them support and gave them their first headquarters which was a Mosquue (Al Aqsa Mosque) on the temple mount in Jerusalem. Hugues de Payens became the first Grand Master of the Templars.
The 13th Century painting shown below shows the actual event where Baldwin II (with the crown) actually is giving the Mosque to Hughes de Payens and Godfrey de Saint-Omer.
Knights of the order swore an oath of poverty and their official name was the Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Soloman. This last indicator was because the Al Aqsa Mosque was also known as the Temple of Solomon.
The Purpose of the order was to protect pilgrims as they traveled between Jerusalem and various parts of Europe. And though the swore an oath of povery and began very modestly they grew over the course of two centuries to become very rich and very powerful. It is thought that the organization had as many as 20,000 members. But only about 10% of these were actual knights.
They flourished throughout much of Europe and held locations and headquarters in many different coutries and at one point owned the whole island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean. I have a more complete listing of the locations of the Knights Templar here It includes pictures of some of the castles and fortresses they headquartered in.
This is the seal of the Knights Templar. There is significance in the fact that there are two knights riding a single horse. This represented their vow of poverty.
Amazon has a free kindle book about the templars: The History of the Knights Templars, the Temple Church, and the Temple
This book is an essential exploration into the history of a legendary group of Crusaders, which are prominently featured in Dan Brown's recent best seller, The Da Vinci Code. The Knights Templar rose from humble beginnings to become the most powerful military religious order of the Middle Ages. Formed to protect pilgrims in the Holy Land, they participated in the Crusades and rapidly gained wealth, lands, and influence. Seemingly untouchable for nearly two centuries, they fell from grace spectacularly after the loss of the Holy Land. In the ensuing centuries the Templars have exerted a unique influence over European history; orthodox historians see them as nothing more than soldier-monks whose arrogance was their ultimate undoing, while others see them as occultists of the first order. With clarity and ease, Martin navigates between the orthodox and the speculative, the historical and the myth, to bring alive the story of the Templars. Like those other legends of the Middle Ages-the characters of the Arthurian tales-The Knights Templar holds captive the imagination of all those intrigued by conspiracy and how history and myth intertwine to become the stuff of legend.
A lavishly illustrated, comprehensive look at the mysterious history of the Order of the Knights Templar
I have lots of interesting articles about knights, their weapons and their organizations right here: Articles about Knights
MOVIES about the Templars
In Search of History - The Knights Templar (History Channel) Their fanatical courage struck terror in their enemies. Their fabulous wealth made them the most powerful men in Europe. Their secret rites inspired rumors of heresy. In the Crusades, these ferocious sword-wielding monks were charged with protecting the Kingdom of Jerusalem. In defeat, they were burned at the stake. Journey from Middle Ages Jerusalem to modern day Europe to unravel the extraordinary story of the legendary Knights who some say survived their supposed execution at the end of the Crusades and have preserved their order to this day. Leading historians reveal their fantastic origins, and period accounts bring their legendary battles to life. Ancient documents and artifacts hint at the mysteries that surround them. Did they discover ancient secrets buried beneath Solomon's temple, and conspire to seize part of Europe for themselves? Explore the incredible history of the Crusade's mightiest and most puzzling warriors.
Decoding the Past: The Templar Code (History Channel) For nearly two centuries, the Knights Templar was the most powerful order in the medieval world. Today the group's legacy is played out in an array of Hollywood blockbusters and numerous works of popular literature.