"The first ten years of the Temple were difficult. According to a later chronicler (they were ignored by contemporary chroniclers in Palestine), the original Templars were so poor that they had to rely on local charity for food, clothing, and supplies. They had no specific uniform. Everything from their clothes to their quarters on the Temple Mount consisted of dilapidated handme-downs.
"The nature of the earliest Templars' duties in Palestine made them a more mobile and disciplined group than the Frankish military forces. The Templars' original purpose was "that, as far as their strength permitted, they should keep the roads and highways safe from the menace of robbers and highwaymen, with especial regard for the protection of pilgrims. (...)" For that they developed their own, Oriental military tactics, very unlike normal Western practises.
The arrest of the French Templars on Friday 13 October 1307 left its mark on the minds of contemporaries. It even gave rise to myths and superstition linked to the choice of the date of Friday the 13th, which today has become both a day of misfortune for the superstitious and a day of luck for the French national lottery. Unlike often thought, the arrests were an initiative of the French King Philip the Fair, without consent of or cooperation by Pope Clement V who alone held supreme authority over the Templar Order.
relaunch of a similarly named association, Sion rings a bell with people interested in the crusades in general and Templars in particular. What are the facts?
"In 1236, the Latin emperor of Constantinople, Baldwin II, approached the West for help in defending his moribund empire, one of the Latin States of Greece, born of the diversion of the fourth crusade in 1204. Early in 1237 he went to meet the French king Louis IX in Paris, telling him that, having run out of resources, he was obliged to borrow money against the relics with which Constantinople was still crammed, even after its sacking of 1204. Owing to his inability to repay the loans, these relics were at risk of falling into his creditors hands. On two occasions Louis IX redeemed the pledge.