Author Topic: The Wealth of the Knights Templar: Where did it come from?  (Read 5087 times)

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Offline Phidippides

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The Wealth of the Knights Templar: Where did it come from?
« on: January 24, 2006, 11:48:38 PM »
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?
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Offline kingjoey

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The Wealth of the Knights Templar: Where did it come from?
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2006, 01:58:50 AM »
Weren't they suspected to be taking 'protection money' from pilgrims and brokering an uneasy peace with the Saracens?

Offline Hobilar

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Re: The Wealth of the Knights Templar: Where did it come from?
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2006, 05:39:18 AM »
Weren't they suspected to be taking 'protection money' from pilgrims and brokering an uneasy peace with the Saracens?

Well they may have done originally, but if you research more you will quickly dfiscover that a large portion of the Templar's wealth was accumilated through a much less criminal enterprise.

Simply- they went into the Banking Business

Offline Phidippides

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Re: The Wealth of the Knights Templar: Where did it come from?
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2006, 12:10:46 PM »
Not only the banking business, but also the manufacturing business, I believe.  From what I understand the Templars established what was the first multinational corporation; they owned land throughout Europe, and the proceeds earned through that ownership (probably through manufacturing done on the property) was sent to help the Templars in the Holy Land.  I think there must have been an element of great discipline that guided the Templars' actions for them to become so properous.  Actually, this discipline in economic matters would have mirrored their discipline on the battlefield; they were, after all, a religious order.

That said, the theory I presented in the first post has been put forward, and it is an interesting one.  For even if the Templars eventually made their wealth through banking or manufacturing, this would have taken many years.  Could they have made some "quick cash" through the finding of treasure?
"Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses" ~Juvenal

Offline skiguy

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Re: The Wealth of the Knights Templar: Where did it come from?
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2009, 07:45:47 PM »
For even if the Templars eventually made their wealth through banking or manufacturing, this would have taken many years.  Could they have made some "quick cash" through the finding of treasure?
But didn't they also make their money from the charity or endowments of the laity?  Their business of protecting travellers was probably quite lucrative and wouldn't take all that long to get rich.  The Kights Templars were capitalists and that's how they got wealthy, IMO.
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Offline Phidippides

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Re: The Wealth of the Knights Templar: Where did it come from?
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2009, 12:20:43 AM »
Their skills would have certainly been in high demand, but I think the initial difficulty is that there were only nine of them in 1119 when they started out, and they came into wealth within the next nine years.  That might make it hard to account for even if their numbers doubled every year over that time period.

Unfortunately, I don't know the figures as to how much their wealth increased and without this info we might end up debating the definition of "wealthy"...just how much profits one would expect to generate through normal medieval security services is a piece of information we really need to know here.
"Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses" ~Juvenal

Offline scout1067

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Re: The Wealth of the Knights Templar: Where did it come from?
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2009, 02:36:18 AM »
The Templars came into posession of most of their land in Europe through endowments, and they also benefited from huge contributions from the laity.  A popular way of supporting the crusading mission for those that could not go was to make donations to religious military orders.  There is speculation that the reason the French king Philip went after the order in the 14th century is that he wanted to wealth to pay his debts.  It is significant that he claimed all the Templar prperty and movable wealth for the crown after he got them proscribed by the pope.  It is generally agreed that the charges of witchcraft and immoral practices were trumped up to justify disbanding the order.
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