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Suddenly , at Dawn on Friday 13 October 1307, King Philip IV of France's officials arrested the Knights Templar throughout his kingdom. They were charged by the Inquisition with 127 'abominable crimes' ranging from spitting on the cross to devil-worship, sodomy and idolatry.
It took seven years for the royal courts to interrogate them and sift the evidence, after which this greatest of the crusading orders was abolished, its enormous wealth sequestered, and its Grand Master burned at the stake. From that moment the Order of the Knights Templar entered the realm of myth and legend, stimulating treasure hunters and provoking endless conspiracy theories over the centuries.
Who were the Knights Templar? How was it that these powerful and wealthy warriors, blessed by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux two hundred years before, found themselves vilified and accused of the most depraved crimes?
To answer these questions and to unravel the mystery that has shrouded the Order ever since, Edward Burman narrates the story of the trial within the context of the time, including the depositions of the Knights themselves. He provides a detailed account of the three-month trial in Paris in 1310, which stunned contemporary observers, and reflects on the background to the myths surrounding the Order which led to their arrest.
Burman uses contemporary sources including transcripts made by Papal notaries. He outlines the sensational nature of the trial, surprisingly similar to twentieth-century scandals, and provides illuminating truths behind the myth and tragedy of one of the greatest warrior orders in history.