The Knights Templar is another name for the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon. They were Knighted and received military training. They were a skilled fighting unit during the Crusades, and they were endorsed by the Roman Catholic Church. The non-combative members of the order were responsible for things like early forms of banking. The Order was founded in Jerusalem in 1118 by Hughes de Payens, Geoffrey de St. Omer and seven other French knights* following a call to arms from Pope Urban II. The Order was consecrated to the protection of pilgrims and the defence of the Holy Land. The founding knights took monastic vows and were known as "The Poor Knights of Christ". The Knights Templar is a branch of Masonism and is considered to be part of the York Rite. In order to be considered for inclusion in this order, the individual must be a Master Mason in good standing with the Chivalric body and is required to pledge allegiance to a specific faith in order to become a Knight's Templar. The first headquarters of the Knights Templar, on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The Crusaders called it the Temple of Solomon and it was from this location that the Knights took their name of Templar. After the First Crusade captured Jerusalem in 1099, many Christian pilgrims travelled to visit what they referred to as the Holy Places. However, though the city of Jerusalem was under relatively secure control, the rest of Outremer was not. Bandits abounded, and pilgrims were routinely slaughtered, sometimes by the hundreds, as they attempted to make the journey from the coastline at Jaffa into the Holy Land. The route traveled by pilgrims from Europe to the Holy Land was in need of policing. In 1118 or 1119, not long after the success of the First Crusade, Hugh de Payns and eight other knights offered their services to the patriarch of Jerusalem for just this purpose. They took vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, followed the Augustinian rule, and patrolled the pilgrim route to aid and defend pious travelers. King Baldwin II of Jerusalem gave the knights quarters in a wing of the royal palace that had been part of the Jewish Temple. From this they got the names "Templar" and "Knights of the Temple."
Around 1119, the French knight HuguesHYPERLINK "http://www.ask.com/wiki/Hugues_de_Payens?qsrc=3044" de HYPERLINK "http://www.ask.com/wiki/Hugues_de_Payens?qsrc=3044"Payens approached King Baldwin II of Jerusalem with the proposal of creating a monastic order for the protection of these pilgrims. King Baldwin agreed to the request, and granted space for a headquarters in a wing of the royal palace on the Temple Mount, in the captured Al-HYPERLINK "http://www.ask.com/wiki/Al-Aqsa_Mosque?qsrc=3044"AqsaHYPERLINK "http://www.ask.com/wiki/Al-Aqsa_Mosque?qsrc=3044" Mosque. The Temple Mount had a mystique because it was above what was believed to be the ruins of the Temple of Solomon. The Crusaders therefore referred to the Al Aqsa Mosque as Solomon's Temple, and it was from this location that the new Order took the name of Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon, or "Templar" knights. The Order, with about nine knights including Godfrey de Saint-Omer and André de Montbard, had few financial resources and relied on donations to survive. Their emblem was of two knights riding on a single horse, emphasizing the Order's poverty. A Templar Knight is truly a fearless knight, and secure on every side, for his soul is protected by the armour of faith, just as his body is protected by the armour of steel. He is thus doubly armed, and need fear neither demons nor men." With its clear mission and ample resources, the Order grew rapidly. Templars were often the advance force in key battles of the Crusades, as the heavily armoured knights on their warhorses would set out to charge at the enemy, in an attempt to break opposition lines. One of their most famous victories was in 1177 during the Battle of Montgisard, where...
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