A Brief History of the Knights Templar

The Knights Templar were a knightly order formed just after the First Crusade and officially recognized by the church in 1128 at the Council of Troyes. They were formed to provide protection to those on pilgrimage from Jaffa to the holy city of Jerusalem and were housed in the palace of King Baldwin, which stood on the supposed site of King Solomon’s Temple. This is how they became known as the Order of Poor Knights of the Temple of Solomon, or, The Knights Templar.

Their lodging in close proximity to the site of King Solomon’s Temple also played a big role in the mystery of the Knights Templar and the various legends and myths that have sprung up around them.

Knights Templar History – Their Humble Beginnings

In those first few years, the Knights Templar were laymen who lived as monks, praying at set times and observing a strict code of behavior. They were fed and housed by King Baldwin, and were probably under his command in those first years. Their duties were carried out in relative obscurity to the Christian world, which led their leader, Hugues de Payns, to travel to Europe in order to rally support and seek funds for the impoverished Knights Templar.

In 1128, a church council was held in Troyes and was attended by many bishops and abbots, including St. Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux. St. Bernard was already a legendary speaker, and the concept of a military order of religious knights fit perfectly into his vision of a new world order. With St. Bernard’s help, the Knights Templar were officially recognized by the Church at the Council of Troyes.

The Knights Rise to Power

While the idea of a Christian order of knights who spilled the blood of men was in sharp contrast to the clergy who were forbidden to shed blood, the Knights Templar earned the approval of Europe within a few years of the Council of Troyes. They quickly became a favored charity for those wishing to fund the crusades in the Holy Lands and were even courted by King Alfonso I of Spain, who hoped to have the Templar’s support in the Iberian war against the Muslims.

The Knights themselves were often noble born, with many a noble who had been found guilty of criminal behavior electing to join the Knights Templar in order to

The Knights Templar quickly became the servants and friends to Kings, and their financial dealings led them straight into royal treasuries. In the early thirteenth century, the Temple in Paris was essentially the French Royal Treasury, and under Henry III, a Templar was in charge of the main household money offices.

The Templar also became known as a major force in battle, often riding out in front in order to break the enemy lines.

But it was their dealings with money and their growing relations with Kings and Princes that made up the seat of their power, and perhaps these very things that led to their eventual downfall.

The Downfall of the Knights Templar

The Knights Templar were given sweeping power by the Church, and this led to major resentment among the Bishops of the church. The Templar were given papal privilege and were able to use these powers even when a Bishop had put an area under church interdict and suspended services. This, in effect, meant the Templar could override the will of the Bishops, which turned a powerful faction of the Church against the Templar.

One such bishop, William of Tyre, often wrote about the greed of the Templar during the twelfth century. In one such accounting, he writes about how the greed of the Templar led them to alone penetrate through a breach in the city walls in order to be the first to plunder the city, the result being that fifty knights and a Grandmaster of the Templar were cut off from the army and subsequently killed.

Another key factor in the downfall of the Knights Templar was the failing Christian military in Syria. As the former strongholds fell and the Christians forces were swept from their occupied lands, the need for the knighthood decreased. This left them a powerful and very rich organization without an overriding purpose.

Knights Templar History – Their Trial and Burning

After a resurfacing of charges of heresy against the Knights Templar, Pope Clement V sent a letter to Philip IV, King of France, to look into the matter. On Friday the 13th of October 1307, the agents of the King Phillip arrested every known member of the Knights Templar in the kingdom based on suspicion of heresy. This is from the royal letter of arrest: “Like beasts of burden deprived of reason, in fact exceeding the unreasonableness of beasts in their bestiality, they have abandoned God their maker and sacrificed to demons and not to God.”

Within a few weeks, over half of the arrested Templar had confessed. This was after rounds of torture that were considered gruesome even for this time, as perhaps the very height of power the Templar had obtained was responsible for just how far they fell. And, in fact, many of the Templar did not even live long enough to give a confession, having died due to the extreme nature of the torture.

On November 22, 1307, Philip convinced Pope Clement to issue a decree urging other European Monarchs to arrest the Templar. Pope Clement called for papal hearings, and some Templar who had previously confessed recanted those confessions, but they were ultimately found guilty in the trials of 1310.

In all, 54 Templars were burned in 1310, each asserting to the end their Catholic loyalty, and 2 Templar leaders burned in 1314.

Why did King Philip so vehemently seize upon the opportunity to destroy the Templar? Most believe that it was the treasure of the temple, held just outside of Paris, that was Philip’s real target. Soon after the arrest, King Philip seized the treasure of the temple. Another theory is that he hoped to use the arrests to combine the Knights Templar and Knights Hospitaller under his own rule in order to continue the holy crusades.

Puppy Poison Alert! Foods that Dogs Should Avoid

It’s easy to think that just because we can eat it, that scrap of food is perfectly fine for your puppy. But the biology of dogs is quite different than humans, and some foods that we can tolerate perfectly fine can actually be poison to your dog or puppy.

I wasn’t a dog person growing up. For me, dog ownership just happened in my mid-thirties: I found an abandoned puppy in my backyard. Because I wasn’t used to dogs, I thought they could eat just about anything that was edible, but after doing a some research, I found that wasn’t the case.

Some foods, like chicken bones, are dangerous because of how they are eaten. Chickens have very brittle bones which can splinter when chewed, which presents a danger to the playful dog trying to swallow them. Other foods can be outright dangerous such as chocolate.

While each doggy parent needs to adhere to their own rules, it isn’t always bad to give out a little bit of table scraps, or as I am prone to do, give their little furball a doggy treat after the humans finish up their meal. Everything in moderation. It’s just good to know what you should avoid letting your dog eat!

Here is a list of important foods to keep away from your dog:

Sugarless Gum or Candy

While you probably aren’t going to be handing your dog a slice of gum, it is important to know that sugarless gum and sugarless candy often contains xylotil, which is toxic to dogs and can cause liver failure.  Even a small amount can be harmful, so take care by always throwing the gum away instead of spitting it out.  Also make sure not to leave used candy wrappers sitting around where the dog can get at them.

Grapes

Grapes, and raisins, are also toxic to dogs and can cause kidney failure.  Problems usually occur after a large quantity have been ingested, but owners should take extra care when eating grapes around a dog and make sure any that fall to the ground are immediately picked up and thrown in the trash.

Cooked Bones

Bones, especially chicken bones, become brittle after being cooked.  This can cause them to splinter and become stuck in a dogs teeth or throat.   Raw bones are generally safe, but should only be given in moderation.   Too many bones can be bad for your dog’s nutrition.

Fruits

The seed pit of many fruits contain cyanogenic glycosides which can cause cyanide poisoning.  

Chocolate

Chocolate contains a cardiac stimulant and a diuretic.  It can cause an increased heartbeat and, because of the diuretic, can cause the dog to drink a lot of water.  And in larger quantities, it can cause death.

Salmon

Salmon can contain a parasites called a flatworm or fluke which can infest a dog’s intestines if consumed.  The fluke can also contain a rickettsial organism which can be introduced to the dog when the fluke’s larvae hatches in the dog’s intestines.  This can cause Salmon Poisoning Disease, which is a very serious threat to dogs.

Other common foods that can cause various problems for dogs are… tomatoes, nuts (especially macadamia nuts), dairy products, raw eggs, broccoli, corn cobs, liver (in large amounts), onions, and potatoes.

So, if you are the type that can’t resist those sad little eyes, stick with those foods that didn’t make the list.   Also, bring a doggie treat with you to the table.  That way, you can minimize the human food by supplementing something you know is good for your dog.

A Look Back at Rogue, the RPG that Started a Genre

Rogue is the unsung hero among classic video games.  Developed by Michael Toy, Glenn Wichman and Ken Arnold, Rogue was first made available in 1980 for the Unix platform.   Over the next three years, Rogue became the most played game on college campuses.

At its core, Rogue was a random dungeon generator that provided a different roleplaying game each time it was played.  It used ASCII (text) graphics with letters of the alphabet used to represent different monsters and symbols used to draw the dungeon.   

Players sought out the Amulet of Yendor, and crawled through level after level in their quest to find it.  Designed to be nearly impossible to solve, it is estimated that only one in one hundred thousand games could be completed without the use of a cheat.

Spawning an Empire.

Rogue was not just popular with college students.  It was also a popular design concept with many other games developed around the same principles.  Chief among these was Moria, a game that used Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings as a backdrop to provide a dungeon-crawling experience where adventurers sought to destroy the Balrog.  Another popular game using the same concept was Omega, which took the adventure outdoors allowing the player to travel over a map to various dungeons.

These games became known as rogue-like games and, amazingly enough, are still being developed to this day.  Angband is one of the most popular freeware rogue-like games still in active development.  Like Moria, it is based on Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.

Rogue-like Games Go Mainstream

While most rogue-like games are freeware products using either ASCII graphics or crude icon graphics, there have been several commercial games released that are based on rogue-like elements.  The most popular of these is Diablo and its sequels Diablo II and Diablo III.

In Diablo, players ventured through a series of dungeons with randomly generated levels, picking up treasure and gaining in character levels until they were powerful enough to slay the namesake, Diablo.  Much like Rogue, the outdoors was limited to a small town where players bought equipment and sold their treasure.

As Omega did for Rogue, Diablo II took the game outdoors with a series of overland areas that players explored to solve quests and locate dungeons.   Keeping with the rogue-like theme, these overland areas were also randomly generated. In Diablo III, the game becomes a bit more static, but the random elements for the maps are still in place.

While there have been other commercial releases with rogue-like elements, none of them were as popular as Diablo.  Using a top-down isometric engine, Diablo combined elements of the action rpg Gauntlet with the randomness and replayability of Rogue to create one of the top-selling computer games of its time.