This blog started way back in 2010 – and I’ve gone back and compiled the top ten most popular Templar blog posts over the last eight years. There are some that are no longer top scoring on the views front – but might interest those of you who have begun to follow The Templar Knight more recently.
So – without further ado – the top ten Templar blog posts of all time!
In reverse order starting with number 10:
POPULAR TEMPLAR BLOG POST 10: The Templars and the secrets of the Kabbalah
There are many theories about what the Knights Templar may have been looking for under the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem. Now, a sceptic would answer – nothing at all, it’s all made up conspiracy theory stuff. Others believe the Templars were seeking the Ark of the Covenant, buried by the Jews when the Babylonians destroyed the first temple.
Then there is the belief that the Knights Templar had been initiated into the secretive rites of the Jewish Kabbalah – a kind of mix of religion and magic. They knew that their were Kabbalah-related artefacts under the Temple of Solomon, where the knights deliberately chose to be headquartered. The knowledge of the Kabbalah would allow them to converse directly with the divine and possibly attain great power.
POPULAR TEMPLAR BLOG POST 9: Saints removed by the Catholic church
You really liked this blog post about all those medieval saints who had their halos removed by the Catholic church in the 1960s. Famous and revered saints like Christopher (pictured here), Barbara and Nicholas (yes, Santa Claus) were de-sainted by the church during modernising reforms fifty years ago.
Why? Well, according to the Vatican – there was simply no evidence to support the existence of these individuals let alone whether they performed verifiable miracles. This clearly came as a rude surprise for many of you!
POPULAR TEMPLAR BLOG POST 8: Jews and the Knights Templar – a complex relationship
Being Jewish in the Middle Ages meant a precarious existence. There were periods where Jewish communities enjoyed royal protection but equally, kings were not averse to instigating violence against their Jewish subjects – especially if they were hard up for money.
The crusades often began with deranged mob violence against Jewish neighbourhoods. The Jews found themselves treated as crypto-Saracens – secretly in league with the enemies of Christianity.
Complete rubbish but didn’t stop populist demagogues stoking up hate. What often spurred the mob forward were totally unfounded rumours that Jewish people killed Christian children in their rituals – the so-called “blood libel”. Hard to believe such lurid nonsense was taken seriously.
I examined whether the Knights Templar and the Jews in the Middle Ages ever helped each other out.
POPULAR TEMPLAR BLOG POST 7: A saint for your lottery numbers
Staggeringly popular blog post on Saint Pantaleon – the saint of the lottery!
He was a doctor who reportedly attended to the Roman emperor in the fourth century after Christ. Told he would be executed if he continued to be a Christian, Pantaleon chose martyrdom. And his manner of death involved every kind of cruelty imaginable. How or why he ended up being the saint of the lottery is a mystery to me!
POPULAR TEMPLAR BLOG POST 6: Did the Templars find anything under the Temple of Solomon?
The king of all Templar mysteries! Why did the Knights Templar insist on being based in a building widely believed in the 12th century to be on top of the ancient Temple of Solomon? Were they digging underneath to discover sacred treasure that would give them immense power and knowledge?
Conspiracy theories abound, needless to say. The Templars were variously looking for the Ark of the Covenant, Holy Grail, Turin Shroud, head of Jesus, head of John the Baptist, etc, etc. I intend to write a lot more about this over the next year so keep following for some insights based on fact!
POPULAR TEMPLAR BLOG POST 5: The Winchester Geese – medieval prostitution
Wow, this was a blog post that continued to soar in popularity year after year. It’s all about the sordid goings-on in medieval Southwark, on the other side of the river Thames from London. The Winchester Geese were prostitutes who plied their trade to Londoners as they walked over London Bridge – the only crossing point in those days from the City of London to the south bank of the river.
Why were they called the Winchester Geese? The reference to geese is probably from their clucking as they competing against each other for much wanted trade. The reference to Winchester is because the bishop of that city had a large residence nearby.
His Grace owned Southwark as his personal fiefdom and not one to miss out on a revenue raising opportunities, the good bishop taxed the prostitutes. So – they were his very own lucrative “geese”.
POPULAR TEMPLAR BLOG POST 4: The real Arn – Swedish Knight Templar
Arn is an entirely fictional character – the subject of a trilogy of books by Swedish author and journalist Jan Guillou. The story was made into a movie starring Joakim Nätterqvist in the lead role. This Templar is a brooding fellow, typically Scandinavian, who must restore his honour and win back his true love.
In July, 2018, I had the pleasure of speaking about the Knights Templar alongside Professor Helen Nicholson at the Bradford Literature Festival. On the sidelines, I asked her about Arn and his popularity. She thought it was unusual given that there’s very little evidence for any Templar activity at all in Sweden.
POPULAR TEMPLAR BLOG POST 3: The Knights Templar today – who and where are they?
Naturally, many of you want to know where you can find the Knights Templar today. Well, an academic historian would gaze over their horn-rimmed specs and inform you that they ceased to be in the year 1307 so stop asking silly questions. But…as we know…there are people and organisations claiming Templar connections in the 21st century.
In this blog post, I identified the main Masonic and Catholic groups plus some of the more esoteric movements. In the next few months, I’m going to be revealing some other Templar groups operating under the radar so stay tuned!
POPULAR TEMPLAR BLOG POST 2: Top ten movies about the Middle Ages
I compared my top ten medieval era themed movies with those of a YouTube influencer and we certainly had some major divergences. Both of us went for director Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven though I don’t think it’s as good as his Roman epic Gladiator. However, it’s exercised a massive influence on how people visualise the Templars and the crusades.
Braveheart would never be in my top ten medieval movies because it’s not aged well – and is riddled with historical inaccuracies. Plus – and I say this as somebody who is half-Irish – its depiction of the Norman English is way too cartoonishly evil. Anyway, have a look at what we both thought were the flicks to watch!
POPULAR TEMPLAR BLOG POST 1: Ten best medieval TV series – from Pillars of the Earth to Game of Thrones!
I mentioned Braveheart above and one of the things director Mel Gibson did in that movie was to thoroughly trash the reputation of Robert the Bruce. Hopefully, the recent Netflix series Outlaw King has salvaged this troubled monarch from Gibson’s onslaught.
I’ve included Game of Thrones because despite being fantasy, it’s based heavily on real events in the Middle Ages. I think it cleverly evokes the period while having a timeless quality. Take a look and see what you think of my choice!