Clement: The Templar’s Treasure, Guest Post by Craig R. Hipkins

Clement & Dagena return for another action packed adventure. From the cold and dreary shores of Greenland to the fabled land of Vinland. The legendary treasure of the Knights Templar awaits.

Treasure of the Knights Templar

It was a dreary Friday in October in 1307 when French soldiers under the orders of King Phillip IV raided the monasteries and habitations of the Catholic military order of the Knights Templar. Hundreds of Templars were imprisoned and tortured on charges ranging from gross indecency to suspicion of being Cathars. One of the most egregious charges levied against them, was that they denied the divinity of Jesus Christ. Whatever the reasons were that led to their arrests, it is generally accepted that King Phillip was in desperate need of money to finance his war against England. The Templars were said to have accrued large amounts of treasure. It has even been surmised that the Templars might have found the Ark of the Covenant, the Holy Grail or other sacred relics. It is known that they excavated under the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem when they arrived there in the 12th century. One can imagine how King Phillip must have salivated over the potential acquisition of this wealth.

Phillip IV of France

In 1314, Jacques de Molay, the last grand master of the Knights Templar was burned at the stake in Paris. After 200 years, the Knights Templar, as a military order, ceased to exist. At least that is what historians tell us. However, mystery surrounds the fate of the Templar treasure. It is known that King Phillip seized a lot of the Templar’s property. It is also known that Pope Clement V issued a Papal Bull directing the assets of the Knights Templar be given to the Knights Hospitallers. The remaining treasure, along with the Templar fleet disappeared into history. What happened to it?

Knights Templar’s Burning at the Stake

Although King Phillip was thorough in his persecution of the Templars, it is known that some of them escaped from France. Others, including their fleet of ships sailed to parts unknown. Portugal, it is thought, became a safe haven for them. This theory is given credence by the maps known to have been in the possession of Prince Henry the Navigator in the 15th century. The Templars were known to have traveled extensively and it is assumed that some of these maps might have belonged to the Templar archives. If Prince Henry had access to them, did he also know the final destination of the Templar fleet? If he did, that would explain his incessant desire to explore the far reaches of the world. Henry also was obsessed with the enduring mystery of the fabled Prester John. The story of this legendary character takes many forms but one of the most enduring stories is that John lorded over a wealthy Christian kingdom in Abyssinia (Ethiopia) where many strange creatures dwelled and the roads and houses were lined with gold. Where did this gold come from? It is tempting to believe that Henry had documents that the Knights Templar had relocated to Abyssinia.

Another farfetched theory, but at the same time distinctly plausible is that the Knights Templar fled with their treasure across the Atlantic in the years following their dissolution. This theory has slipped into the public consciousness recently by way of popular books and movies. Although it has gained some support, there is little evidence to back it up. The lost treasure of the Knights Templar remains an enduring mystery and one for the ages.

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Meet Craig R. Hipkins

Craig R. Hipkins grew up in Hubbardston Massachusetts. He is the author of medieval and gothic fiction. His novel, Adalbert is the sequel to Astrolabe written by his late twin brother Jay S. Hipkins (1968-2018) He is an avid long-distance runner and enjoys astronomy in his spare time.

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