1310
The fall of the Knights Templar

France’s war with England required King Phillip IV more money to finance the growing cost of weapons. Phillip tried everything to squeeze his state for more money. From debasing their currency to higher taxation, everything was put on the table without results he even asked for a loan from the Templars but was declined. The Knight’s vast amounts of wealth seemed to be a target for the desperate Phillip as the Templar’s headquarters in Paris has one of the largest reserves of wealth. This situation has placed the Knights templar on the sights of a greedy monarch, but Phillip IV did not take them head on. Instead, he used the power of the church to loot the world’s first banking institution.

At a time of superstition and a church that influences nations, religion has control over people in the medieval ages. One can be accused of apostasy or devil worship and be put to death, a trait so absurd for present modern democratic processes. But this was the world during the medieval ages, a period where unsupported accusations can go through as long as it is in accordance with their religious scriptures. Phillip IV is eager to destroy the Templars to obtain their wealth. Phillip’s prosecutors accused the order of devil worship and apostasy based on their scripture that portrays the temptation of Jesus by Satan. Since the knights started out as a poor organization that grew into one of the richest groups, the prosecutors believed that they made a pact with the devil. Jesus was tempted by the devil with wealth if he would denounce God, but Jesus refused so he lived a life in poverty. Other charges include, sodomy, spitting on the cross, cannibalism sexual perversion and lot more acts against the medieval code of morality. Using this scripture as their base for the accusation, Pope Clement V was under pressure from Phillip IV and eventually issued a papal bull to abolish the order on March 22, 1322.

On March 18, 1314, the order’s grand master Jacques de Molay and Geoffroi de Charney were burned at the stake for charges of heresy and other immoral acts. Four years prior to their execution the first mass execution of the order happened on May 12, 1310. Both Clement V and King Phillip IV died within a year of the execution of de Molay on a superstitious rumor that God had called the king and the pope for final judgment with the Knights Templar.“Thou shalt not give him thy money upon usury, nor lend him thy victuals for increase” (Leviticus 25:36-37). This passage from the Christian bible was among the many that prohibits usury. Jews served as lenders, and this fact is a reason why the Catholic Church thinks they are already damned. However, setting aside religious prohibitions and influence, this act is what keeps the economy in good working order leading to an overall increase in living standards. After all, the charging of interest compensates the lender for the risk that one of his debtors might default on the loan.

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