I don't know if anyone else caught it, but there was a recent show on the History Channel regarding the Knights Templar (one I hadn't seen before). Yet another fascinating show, it brought to light the origins, successes, and ultimate destruction of the Templars.
One of the interesting points that was brought up was the Templars' origins. There were originally nine knights who in 1119 went to the Holy Land to protect pilgrims traveling between Jerusalem and the coast. These same knights were veterans of the First Crusade, who had taken Jerusalem about 20 years earlier. The show suggests that these nine middle-aged knights had some ulterior motive for doing what they did, as their small number means they would not have been able to offer much protection to pilgrims.
Anyway, they used the area of Solomon's temple as their base of operations (hence, the Knights Templar). The program then discussed a 19th Century historical dig which uncovered tunneling beneath the Templars' base to somewhere else - I believe the Dome of the Rock. The dig had discovered Crusade or Templar artifacts that were present in the dig site, which suggests they had been down there in that tunnel.
Of course, at this point the speculation on the program became that the Templars were digging for and found the treasure that had been hidden by the Jews during the 1st Century sacking of Jerusalem by the Romans. Supposedly, it was between 1119 and 1128 or so that the Templars' wealth rapidly increased, so this makes for an interesting theory.
Is anyone else familiar with this theory? Do you buy it or not?