"The Priory of Sion," he began, " was founded in Jerusalem in 1099 by a frech king names Godefroi de Bouillion, immediately after he had conquered the city. King Godefroi was allegedly the possessor of a powerful secret -- a secret that had been in his family since the time of christ. Fearing his secret might be lost when he died, he founded a secret brotherhood -- The Priory of Sion -- and charged them with protecting his secrets by quietly passing it on from generation to generation. During their years In Jerusalem, the Priory learned of a stash of hidden documents buried beneath the ruins of Herod's Temple, which had been built atop the earlier ruins of Solomon's Temple. These documents they believed corroborated Godefroi's powerful secret and were so explosive in nature that the church would stop at nothing to get them.". "The Priory vowed that no matter how long it took, these documents must be recovered from the rubble beneath the temple and protected forever, so the truth would never die. In order to retrieve the documents from within the ruins the priory created a military arm -- a group of nine knights called the Order of the Poor Knights of Church and the Temple of Solomon." Langdon pause. " More commonly known as the Knight Templar."
Sophie looked troubled. "You're saying the Knight Templars were founded by the Priory of Sion to retrieve a collection of secret documents? I thought the Templars were created to protect the Holy Land."
"A common misconception. The idea of protection of pilgrims was the guise under which the templars ran their mission. Their true goal in the Holy Land was to retrieve the documents from beneath the ruins of the temple."
"And did they find them?"
Langdon grinned."Nobody knows for sure, but the one things on which all academics agree is this : The Knights discovered something down there in the ruins... Something that made them wealthy and powerful beyond anyone's wildest imagination"
Langdon quickly gave Sophie standard academic sketch of the accepted Knights Templar history, explaining how the Knights were in the Holy Lan during the Second Crusade and told King Baldwin II that they were there to protect christian pilgrims on the roadways. Although unpaid and sworn to poverty, the knights told the king they required basic shelter and requested his permission to take up residence in the stable under the ruins of the temple. King Baldwin granted the soldiers request, and the Knights took up their meager residence inside the devastated shrine.
The odd choice of lodging, langdon explained, had been anything but random. The knights believed the documents the Priory sought were buried deep under the ruins -- beneath the Holy of Holies, a sacred chamber where God himself was believed to reside. Literally the very center of the Jewish faith. For almost a decade, the nine Knights lived in the ruins, excavating in total secrecy through solid rock.
Sophie looked over."And you said they discovered something?"
"They certainly did," langdon said, explaining how it had taken nine years but the knights had finally found what they had been searching for. They took the treasure from temple and traveled to Europe, where their influence seemed to solidify overnight.
Nobody was certain whether the Knights had Blackmailed the Vatican or weather the church simply tried to buy the Knights' silence, but Pope Innocent II immediately issued an unprecedented papal bull that afforded the Knight Templar limitless power and declared them "a law unto themselves" -- an autonomous army independent of all interference from kings and prelates, both religions and political.
With their new carte blanche from the vatican, the Knights Templars expanded at a staggering rate, both in numbers and political force, amassing vast estates in over a dozen countries. They began extending credit to bankrupt royals and charging interests in return, thereby establishing modern banking and broadening their wealth and influence still further.
By the 1300s, the Vatican sanction had helped the Knights amass so much power that Pope Clement V decided that something had to be done. Working in concert with France's King Philippe IV, the Pope devised an ingeniously planned sting operation to quash the Templars and seize their treasure, thus taking control of the secrets held over the Vatican. In a military maneuver worthy of the CIA, Pope Clement issued secret sealed orders to be opened simultaneously by his soldiers all across the Europe on Friday, October 13 of 1307.
At the dawn on the thirteenth, the documents were unsealed and their appalling contents revealed. Clement's letter claimed that God had visited him in a vision and warned him that the Knights Templar were heretics guilty of devil worship, homosexuality, de filing the cross, sodomy, and other blasphemous behaviour. Pope Clement had been asked by God to cleanse the eath by rounding up all the Knights and torturing them until they confessed their crimes against God. Clement's Machiavellian operation came off with clockwork precision. On that day, Countless Knights were captured tortured mercilessly and finally burned at the stake as heretics. Echoes of the tragedy still resonate in modern culture; to this day, Friday the thirteenth was considered unlucky.
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