Thursday, 28 July 2011

Herald Describes Historical Knights Templar as Freelance Group of Fundamentalists

In an article about Anders Behring Breivik today, the Herald described the historical Knights Templar as a freelance "group of fundamentalists".
The original Knights Templar were a 13th century group of fundamentalists effectively acting as freelance security service for Christian pilgrims in medieval Europe.

It's hard to say what's more shocking here, the contempt for European tradition or the sheer ignorance of historical facts. First of all, the Knights Templar were founded in the 12th century, not the 13th, century and were officially dissolved by order of the pope in the early 14th century. They safeguarded pilgrims in the Holy Land (Middle East), not Europe, and they did a bit more than merely safeguarding pilgrims in any case.

There was even a book published a few years ago that floated some interesting (if far-fetched) theories about the role of the Knights Templar in Scottish history. Essentially, the authors argued that the Templars had fled to Scotland en masse (along with much of their treasure) after being officially dissolved by the Pope and persecuted throughout Europe. In Scotland they were safe because the edicts of the Pope were disregarded there owing to Robert the Bruce having been excommunicated because he had killed one of his rivals in a church. According to this book, the Knights Templar may have intervened on the Scottish side at the battle of Bannockburn, ensuring the Scottish victory. They then went on to embody their secret knowledge in Rosslyn Chapel and evolve into modern freemasonry.

As I say, this strikes me as "over-imaginative" historical writing, but either way I'm sure the historical Knights Templar deserved better than to be called a freelance "group of fundamentalists" by a clueless Herald journalist who ought to know better.

1 comment:

  1. The Knights Templar is an organisation dedicated to fraternal friendship based on honour and integrity. The Knights Templars are guardians of many secrets, including the Holy Grail. In the 12th Century, the Knights Templar would meditate twice a day and before battle, to focus their mind and spirit as one.