Is there any truth that the Knights Templar were arrested on Friday the 13th – or is this a myth that originated much later?
Friday the 13th and the Knights Templar
Well, the story has it that on this day – Friday 13th – the order went out from the King of France to arrest all Knights Templar including the Grand Master Jacques de Molay. King Philip (the Fair or ‘le Bel’ in French) was heavily in debt to the Templar Order who had been bankers to the French monarchy for two hundred years.
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By the year 1307, their raison d’etre – the Crusades – had crumbled in the east with the loss of Jerusalem and most of the territories conquered in the eleventh century. So they were a diminished power though still wealthy enough.
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King Philip takes on the Knights Templar – on Friday the 13th
In effect what Philip did was to kill his bank managers and free himself of his overdraft. Ah, haven’t we all imagined that scenario? Tortures and forced confessions followed and this is where we get most of the stories of sodomitic practices between knights, spitting and urinating on the crucifix, kissing on the base of the spine, worshipping goats’ heads, etc, etc, etc. The end result was the burning at the stake of the Grand Master about seven years later.
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One thing to note is that there doesn’t seem to be much written evidence linking Friday the 13th to the Knights Templar until the 19th century.
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