Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Part 1 Secret Societies of America of America's Elite

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elite and secret societies have shaped history since the beginning of civilization. From the time of the Crusades to the twenty-first century, a handful of families have controlled the course of world events and have built their own status and wealth through collective efforts and intermarriage. 

The greatest elite society was that of the Knights Templar. Admission to the organization often required breeding and wealth that were the privilege of a select few. Outside the core a larger force was needed both to fight wars and to maintain the organization's far-flung assets. These forces would grow to include an army, a navy, various real estate (including agricultural properties), and a banking empire. Admission standards changed over time to the degree necessary to maintain the needed personnel, but the elite core was always in control. 

When the massive Templar organization was suddenly outlawed by the avarice of the French king, it did not die; it simply moved underground. The survival of the underground Templars has been touched upon by several authors, but only recently has more in-depth research brought the Templars' survival to light. 

The Templars survived militarily. By pledging themselves to various powers, the military orders survived their open attack by both state and church and the mass executions and imprisonments of the fourteenth century. The Knights of Christ, the Teutonic Knights, the Swiss Guard, and the Scots Guard, as well as several small but powerful military orders, outlived those who persecuted them. Hydralike, the orders survived, prospered, and multiplied. Several are alive and well in the new millennium. 

The Templar organization survived and regrouped financially. The massive Templar, Incorporated that would bring banking to its modern form survived by moving to Switzerland, where a handful of bankers maintained and often controlled the massive wealth of the European elite. The Swiss cantons, often flying flags only slightly different from the Templar flags, protected by the Alpine passes and the Swiss Guard, took the role of the Templar preceptory. The neutral status and the preservation of secrecy would attract the funds of Europe from the fourteenth century to the twenty-first. 

The Templar ideal of commitment to learning, discovery, and brotherhood greatly affected the world over the subsequent centuries. For example, neo-Templar organizations were responsible for advances in various sciences. Prince Henry, the grand master of the Knights of Christ, made advancements in the art of navigation and funded the voyages of discovery. And various members of the Royal Society progressed in astronomy, in medical arts, and even in the transmutation of metals, and their accomplishments frequently became the foundation of modern sciences. Until the early 1300s, learning and experimentation were considered heretical and could easily place a scientist under the control of the Inquisition. Later post-Templar organizations understood the value of secrecy to avoid religious persecution for philosophical and scientific discussion. 

The Masonic brotherhood created in post-Templar Scotland was largely responsible for influencing the American concepts of liberty, freedom, due process, and democracy. The concept of the "military lodge"—in which a non-permanent lodge traveled with soldiers— brought to America by the fighting units of Europe would further the ideals and fight the war for independence. Secretive groups such as those meeting at Saint Andrews Lodge in Boston would instigate the Boston Tea Party, and they spread like wildfire throughout the colonies. The Caucus Club, the Loyal Nine, and the Sons of Liberty would grow into the Committees of Correspondence, the Continental Congress, and finally fighting militia units. 

Many were necessarily organized in secret. Many would preserve their secrecy by oaths taken in Masonic fraternal lodges. The climax was when French forces, enlisted through Masonic channels, arrived under the command of high-ranking Masons and Knights of Saint John and defeated the British at Yorktown. 

The result was an elected American president who was a Mason, sworn in on the Bible of a Masonic lodge by the grand master of New York's Masons and a new form of government. Another was the nation's capitol, which was built by employing Masonic geometric principles and was dedicated in a strictly Masonic ceremony complete with high ranking government members in Masonic aprons. 

But there was a downside. 

Secret societies and the elite of mainstream society would strive to perpetuate themselves through any means possible. The higher ideals of liberty and equality were compromised by the elite, who remained in control. 

The breakup of the Templars was directly responsible for the dramatic rise in piracy that plagued Europe, America, and even the Indian Ocean. The pirates themselves were organized in fraternal brotherhoods, they pledged themselves to the good of the group, they promised to share equally in the proceeds, and they even fought under the same battle flag that was flown by the Templar fighting fleet. Stranger still, the pirate bases—ports in Scotland, Ireland, and America where pirates could openly dock and sell their booty—were protected by Masonic cells that extended to the courthouses and capitol buildings. 

Smuggling, too, grew as a worldwide enterprise despite its illegality. Ports from Salem and Newport to the Caribbean and Bermuda, which harbored and facilitated the trade of pirates, had no qualms about aiding and abetting smugglers. For the same reasons that Masonic organizations grew into labor and artisan guilds that protected the livelihood of their members, individuals in the smuggling business needed to be considered trustworthy. In Bermuda, where possibly two thirds of the eighteenth-century trade was illegal, trading partners had to maintain secrecy. The island was and is a bastion of Masonry; the Customs House itself more closely resembles a Masonic temple than a government office. 
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Unfortunately, the slave-trading industry was also furthered by Masonic groups. The Knights of Christ were actually responsible for organizing the importation of human cargo to Europe and later for licensing the trade in the Americas. The chivalric orders that controlled the governments of Portugal and Spain sold licenses to other governments, which in turn organized companies to propagate the trade. The royals of Europe were the ultimate beneficiaries of the business; for a share of the profits, they granted licenses to elite merchants and businessmen who were part of the court. Licenses to trade in slaves were sold by the merchants and businessmen to the highest bidders, allowing newcomers to join the merchant class—yet connections would supersede wealth. In America, democracy and free enterprise theoretically allowed anyone to play a role in the buying and selling of humans, but it was a handful of elite families, connected to counterparts in England and France, that took over the business. 

When the American Revolution broke out, Benjamin Franklin turned to the Masonic elite of France, who controlled the slave trade, to get arms, supplies, and military support. In the first fourscore years of American history, the slave-trading ports from Charleston to Newport were controlled by a handful of families bound by Masonic and family ties. They were not like the Jeffersons and Madison's, who saw the eventual end to the institution as befitting the new democracy; it was a mercantilist capitalism that the slave traders put above freedom and democracy. 

These merchants would not relinquish the lucrative trade and seemed to stop at nothing in fighting abolition. The presidency was something members of the mercantile elite felt they could buy, and when money couldn't decide an election they used other means to seize control. In an effort to derail abolition, Presidents Harrison and Taylor suffered sudden and suspicious deaths that put pro-slave vice presidents in power. When even death failed to halt abolition, the country wound up in the most destructive war it ever fought. The Civil War ended at Appomattox, where the armies of Jefferson Davis surrendered—but not for the elite. A conspiracy organized by members of the quasi-Masonic Knights of the Golden Circle to kill President Lincoln sought to nullify the Emancipation Proclamation and its effects on the trade with England. The postwar efforts at reconstruction would also be stained by another Masonic group of "knights," the Ku Klux Klan. 

Although piracy and smuggling were no longer as profitable in the newly independent America, institutions such as the slave trade and illegal drug trafficking would take their place. The latter provided riches for the elite that would become the bedrock of the American industrial age. The illegal drug trade that the Americans and British united to create in the first half of the nineteenth century would be a never-ending plague. Again, a select core of families controlled the trade, and in both Britain and America they were organized in Masonic cells. Family and lodge connections were the only tickets to admittance. 

While it is not surprising that America's Founding Fathers were mostly slave owners, a legal activity, it may be surprising to discover that they were often smugglers as well. Profits from drug running, smuggling, slave trading, and even piracy are directly responsible for the founding of several of the country's most important banks, which are still in operation today. New England's staunch insurance business was born and prospered through profits earned from insuring opium and slave ships. The large railroad system that was built throughout the continental United States in the nineteenth century was funded with profits from illegal drug smuggling. And one of the greatest opium fortunes would provide seed money for the telephone and communications industry. 

The European Knights Templar was a massive organization, but at the center was a hereditary elite that controlled and reaped the rewards of the group. Even after the reported demise of the group, it retained remarkable clout and power, always behind the scenes. 

In America the influence of a core elite was as strong. This elite class positioned itself to control the masses no longer for holy crusade, but rather to enrich itself. Rooted in the Masonic lodge system, a new class formed through connections made at the most famous lodges, such as  the Holland No. 8 Lodge in New York and the Solomon's Lodge of Charleston, where members could control politics and legitimate business while also enjoying the profits of corrupt and even criminal underworld dealings. 

The family wealth of Franklin and Theodore Roosevelt had been built on drug running. As in all opium-smuggling families, inbreeding was important. The Delano side of Franklin Delano Roosevelt was an opium smuggler who made a fortune, lost it, and returned to drug running to recoup it. Ulysses S. Grant married into an opium-dealing family with connections in Europe and America. The first families of New York and New England who graciously provided funds for Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Brown, and Princeton Universities donated money earned in the illegal drug trade. The same men would build railroads and textile mills, found banks and insurance companies, and keep the family wealth intact for generations to come. Besides the Roosevelts and Grant, other presidents—including Taft and both Bushes—were connected by a bizarre cult at Yale that was founded by and funded with money from the China trade. That organization is as secretive, elite, and powerful today as it was two centuries ago. 

Other presidents have been connected to piracy by their relations. John Tyler married into a family whose status was achieved on pirate booty. Millard Fillmore's great-grandfather was tried for piracy. Like opium trading, piracy was an enterprise that depended on a widespread system of recognition and trust. From Cape Cod and eastern Long Island to New York City, North Carolina, and New Orleans pirates trusted each other and knew those in power who provided shelter, legal protection, and a market for their goods. When on land, the pirate captains reported to the powerful few who protected their trade. These connections were made and preserved through the Masonic halls. Governors, mayors, and judges licensed and invested in pirate voyages, the proceeds of which helped build family fortunes. 

Pirate ships were floating lodges where ritual, secrecy, and blood oaths were the glue bonding the pirates. But the rank-and-file pirate brothers were not welcome at the lodge meetings of the Holland No. 8 in New York, where the Livingston family toasted their success in backing pirates like Captain Kidd and were still protecting pirates like Laffite a hundred years later.

Piracy was not the only crime on the high seas; the American colonies also prospered through smuggling. John Hancock was a wealthy Mason whose ship Liberty would put Boston on the path to the Tea Party and Revolution. With one foot in the elite Masonic lodges where shipowners and captains were welcome and another in the lodges where the workingman was accepted, Hancock provided work for one third of Boston. It was Britain's insistence on enforcing its laws against smuggling that precipitated the Revolution. The colonies relied on their smugglers to provide food, arms, and supplies to fight Britain. 

The role of America's smuggling partners in the Caribbean and Bermuda has hardly been examined by historians, but it was vital. At the same time, smuggling and privateering provided a foundation for many of America's political dynasties that remain in power today. 

The Revolution put an end to the large profits of the smuggling business. Piracy and privateering also ceased to be an easy road to profits. The slave trade would provide the next avenue to wealth on the seas, thriving in ports that were strongholds of Masonry. From Newport to Charleston, belonging to a lodge meant access to funding, insurance, and finding a crew for slave trading. It also meant access to the marketplace. 

But Masonic membership did not merely present opportunity in the underworld. Benjamin Franklin acknowledged that success in the printing business hinged on just which Masonic lodge one belonged to in the city of Philadelphia. John Jacob Astor, who once held one fifteenth of all American personal wealth, joined the prestigious Holland No. 8 Lodge in New York to advance his businesses. Success in the legal profession, almost a prerequisite for government office, was ensured to the sons of the wealthy who could study at the Temple in London. Passing the bar is a term that originated in the Templar stronghold in London, and it is a rite of passage that must be achieved today in order to join the legal profession. Promotion in the military was denied to many who would not be part of the military lodge, a portable home to brothers that included George Washington, the Marquis de Lafayette, and John Paul Jones. 

The secret and elite structures that have built America's business empires and family fortunes have concealed their history well. In an age when the slightest indiscretions sometimes have the potential to disqualify a candidate from public office, the tainted backgrounds and family histories of the Founding Fathers of the country and its institutions are remarkable. We have inherited colleges and universities named for slave traders and opium dealers. We honor presidents and other politicians whose families built their fortunes through crime. We patronize businesses founded by men whose fortunes are rooted in illegal activity. 

Many of the families regarded as America's blue bloods, our equivalent of aristocracy, have hidden in their ancestral closets men who would make today's organized criminals look cherubic. They were not mere horse thieves and snake-oil salesmen, nor were they con men who were ridden out of town on the rail. These Founding Fathers rose to great wealth. Their legacy was passed on to heirs who still enjoy that wealth—and their power too, which is protected by the institutions they put in place and ensures their participation in the future. The system, thanks to ill-gotten gains and power, perpetuates itself. 

In a country where everyone was given a new start, a fresh chance, and an equal opportunity, it is curious that the gap between rich and poor widened so dramatically after the American Revolution. But it was not by chance or hard work; institutions from Europe, often underground, established a network that would ensure the success and power of their own. The same secret societies that had been established in Europe for hundreds of years were imported into Europe's colonies from the earliest days. 

To understand how pervasive secret and elite societies are today and how they played such a significant role in recent centuries, we must begin at one critical day in 1307, when the greatest organization the world had ever known saw its downfall. 

PART ONE Piracy: 
A Merry and a Short Life 
MEDIEVAL EUROPE HAD a class structure that divided the rich from the poor in more intrusive ways than does the gap that divides the classes today. From the lord of the manor to the king, life-and-death power was wielded over the common man. Society and the Church also played a great role in determining just what an individual could or could not do. Strict conventions permeated society to the point that even the clothes an individual wore were subject to law. In colonial New York, when pirates paraded from one tavern to another in silk shirts and pistol-concealing waistcoats, they defied not only a societal convention, but also the law. Wearing silk or fur was a privilege of the landed few. 

From medieval times in Europe to the colonial period in America, society underwent a challenge that  would change the way man perceived and indeed lived his life. In medieval times the choices for most young men (and women) were few and unappealing. Inheritance law once gave the family estate to the eldest son and allowed the younger brothers and sisters to stay only if they remained unmarried. Daughters were married off and sons apprenticed out or sent to study for the priesthood, as their fathers saw fit. 

War brought opportunity. Enlisting for the Crusades gave men the chance to leave behind a predestined life. The Crusades meant adventures and the possibility of bettering one's circumstances. Going to sea offered the same escape. Life at sea was adventurous, and enabled some to return home with enough money to live out their lives. However, most men who joined the Crusades to escape the mundane fate of becoming priests or apprentices could not even step back into those vocations. When Jerusalem was lost and the Knights Templar disbanded, many had little chance of returning to society. Fearing prosecution or simply poverty, many decided to keep on enjoying the daredevil life. 

For the fighting soldier, one choice was to become a mercenary in the newly emerging fighting orders from Scotland to the Mediterranean Sea. For the sailor, the life of a privateer, a smuggler, or a pirate held even more promise of reward. Both mercenary and pirate became members of a society within the society. 

Pirates have been portrayed as bands of swashbuckling, peg-legged lunatics with homicidal tendencies since the days of the eighteenth-century writer Daniel Defoe. The real story is less colorful—and more interesting. Although many would live "the merry life and the short life," as Defoe's fact-bending tales called it, others enjoyed a life expectancy longer than that of sailors on British navy ships. They ate better, were treated less harshly, and shared in a greater portion of their gains. 

Pirates were banded together by covenants that provided more protection than English naval law, and were regularly voted on by every sailor aboard. The pirate ship and pirate ports like Saint Mary's in Madagascar were the first instances of democratic rule. The one-man, one-vote system aboard the pirate ship was not duplicated until the American Constitution. Even then, voting was not as democratic as was pirate rule. 

Care for the injured and for the widowed, too, was usually more reliable for the pirate than for the sailor in the English navy. The navy embodied the most rigid of class structures and offered little in the way of security. 

Pirates bought supplies and arms, sold ill-gotten gains from wool to jewels, and often retired to estates, or at least farms, bought with the proceeds of their life's work. To deal with conventional society, they had to have connections. To create such connections meant that they had to belong to a brotherhood. The brotherhood went much deeper than a small group banding together. As remnant Templars became organized in lodges, old ties were restored. Masonry, more or less underground until the early eighteenth century, provided lodging, employment, food, and even clothes to brothers. Masonry also provided connections to a network, underground and often above the law. When Freemasonry was finally acknowledged, a secret oath for a Master Mason acknowledged that masons were "brothers to pirates and corsairs." 

Those who sailed under the skull and crossbones could rely on protection in the ports and in the courts, where a secret handshake or coded phrase required fellow Masons to come to the aid of a their brethren. 

Fortunes built by pirates and by those who outfitted them with supplies and bought their goods survived the "golden age of piracy." Dynasties created through underworld activity and membership in secret societies would pave the way to power that survives into modern times. 

Chapter 1 
October 13, 1307, would go down in history as the first unlucky Friday the thirteenth. On that day the Knights Templar, who had fought so valiantly for the cause of Christianity during the Crusades, were ordered arrested by the French king. Operating on orders that were sealed until the night before the arrest, the representatives of the French crown launched an early-dawn raid on all the Templar properties in the realm of the king. Special focus was given to the center of the Templar organization, the Paris treasury. Within hours both knights and servants of the order were under arrest and in custody. Within days, interrogation under extreme torture began, and it soon elicited confessions of many of the depraved acts and practices of the order of warrior-monks. The greatest order Europe had ever seen soon ceased to exist. 

When it was formed almost two hundred years before, the Templars were a military force organized like a religious order. The creation of the Templars coincided with Saint Bernard taking control of the Cistercian order of monks in France. Bernard was instrumental in molding both organizations to carry out the mission he envisioned. The rules for his order of monks were adopted by the fighting monks that would be called the Order of the Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon. They would become known as the Knights Templar. Bernard's vision became reality. But he was not acting alone. 

Saint Bernard was a member of an elite class at a time in European history when the feudal system ruled every facet of life. This handful of wealthy families, mostly centered around the town of Champagne and its count, would be responsible for the Crusades, for the rapid growth of the Cistercian order, and for the power of the Knights Templar. There were nine members of the original Knights Templar; three were pledged to the Count of Champagne. One of these was Andre de Montbard, the uncle of Saint Bernard. The count donated the land on which Bernard built the abbey of Clairvaux, which would be the center of Bernard's power. 

Fixing on the need to take back the Holy Lands from Islam, Bernard preached a military crusade. It was said that when he reached a village, women would attempt to hide their husbands, as few could resist his call to arms. The act of seeing the world may have appealed to a peasant class that was often regarded as the property of the feudal estates that dominated the countryside. The Crusades offered adventure—and salvation. After thousands marched against Islam and recaptured the holy city of Jerusalem, thousands more desired to travel to the sacred city. The nine original Templar knights went to the Holy Lands to protect the roads for those making the pilgrimage. After several years, they returned to a hero's welcome. 

With Bernard's seal of approval, the Knights Templar grew and flourished, becoming the vanguard of Europe's military. Their military exploits against Islam are legendary; their financial exploits are misunderstood and downplayed. 

Although the full name of the organization was the Order of the Poor Knights of the Temple of Solomon, the order was anything but poor. It was, in fact, the richest organization that Europe had even seen and the first ever multinational corporation. The business of the Knights Templar was business, and it was conducted in a way that Europe had never seen before. The loyalty of the order was directed to itself. The Templars nominally owed their allegiance to the Roman pope, but this loyalty was more in word than in deed. They actually fought against  other Christian armies and against their rival order, the Knights of Saint John, and during the Albigensian Crusade some Templars even fought against the pope and his genocidal purge of the Cathari in southern France. The Templars' true allegiance was to themselves, as together they could become masters of any industry they desired. 

Banking as we know it today was an institution founded by the Knights Templar. Before the Templars there were certain individuals who would attend trade fairs for facilitating currency exchange, buying and selling shares in commercial enterprises, and lending money. Many of the early banking groups were Italian families from Florence, Venice, and Lombardy. The activities of these bankers were restricted by numerous laws. 

In a world where the pope and the Catholic Church made the rules, usury, the charging of interest, was banned. For the Templars there were several ways to skirt the laws forbidding the charging of interest. One way was simply to charge a commission to procure the loan, but such a thinly disguised fee would still attract the condemnation of religious members. Another way was to call usury by a different name. The order was allowed to charge a "crusading interest" for loans. Its clients were often the same nobility that donated lands to the Temple, for which they received an income from the properties. Nobles, often the kings of England and France, needed to borrow money to fight wars and the Temple was willing to lend—for a fee. Where usury was a practice not allowed even for the Temple, the Temple would earn a profit by currency changing. For instance, wool from France that was carried on Temple ships and sold to a buyer in England was subject to a currency change that often placed less value on the payment currency. 

Deposit banking was not banned by the Church, nor was the function of acting as a safe deposit. Who was better prepared than the Templars, with their numerous fortresses and strongholds stretched over Europe, to protect the wealth of the Continent's elite? The Templar bank secured the worldly possessions of merchants, knights, and royalty alike and held them in one country while allowing withdrawal in another. Fees were charged for each step of the transaction, and if the fees were not enough, wise Templar bankers would charge more if one needed to make a withdrawal of money in another currency. There was always a profit to be earned. 

The few records found in the Paris Temple show the various transactions that took place on a typical day. Entries signed by the Templar cashier of the day listed the amount of a deposit, the name of the depositor, the origin of the deposit, and occasionally to whose account it would be credited if not the depositor's. A network of fortified houses throughout Europe and the Holy Lands served as the predecessor of the modern branch system of any large financial institution. Five categories of clients were served: Knights Templar (they often received payment in cities outside of their homeland and were not willing to carry money), ecclesiastical dignitaries, the king, other nobles, and the bourgeois. The records were kept in the Journal of Treasure.1 This "treasure" would ultimately attract the interest of the French king, who was on the accounts receivable list. 

Property and estate management played a large role in Templar affairs. Before the fall of Jerusalem, the Templars controlled nine thousand manors that had been donated to the order by Europe's landowners. An English property census noted, "The number of manors, farms, churches, advowsons, demesne lands, villages, hamlets, windmills and watermills, rents of assize, rights of common and free warren, and the amounts of all types of property, possessed by the Templars in England ... are astonishing." In Yorkshire the Templars owned several large manors and sixty smaller parcels of property.2 In Sicily they possessed valuable estates, large tracts of land, and rights of fishery, pasturage, and cutting wood. In Spain the Templars were "endowed with cities, villages, lordships and splendid domains."3 In Aragon they had castles in several cities, were the lords of Borgia and Tortosa, and received the revenue of one tenth of the kingdom.4 

The list of Templar property filled an entire census book; they had  lands in Germany, Hungary, and France and in the territories bordering France and Germany. In 1180 hundreds of acres were required to support one knight in battle; a century later thousands of acres were necessary. Templar property was exempt from local tithes yet could receive them. While the common man would understand that the fruits of his labors provided support to those fighting the Crusades, a neighboring noble was not as gracious. A common man was generally required to contribute time, and for most this was easy. A noble (landowner) paid a higher price. He experienced higher costs and more challenge in finding workers, as he competed with the Templars for available able-bodied men. And a landowner, unlike his Templar neighbor, paid taxes. Because the Temple employees were liable only to the order that employed them, fugitives and felons could find refuge from the law by working for a Templar estate. 

The amalgamation of an international military force and a religious order in the form of a business never again appears in the history of the world. In addition to reaping profits, the Templar order was the beneficiary of gifts that were meant as penance for sins. The greatest gift to the Templar order was required of King Henry II of England as a result of the murder of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas a Becket. Henry donated funds to equip two hundred knights a year, as well as more money in his will. The Templars had every advantage and no one to report to. 

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The Templar fleet was another source of profits that aroused the envy of the shipowners and merchants of France's port cities. In the early years of the Crusades, the Templars required massive movement of men, arms, and horses. They would contract with merchants of Italian city states like Venice and Genoa. These merchants, especially those from Genoa and Pisa, had merchant colonies in Barcelona, Marseilles, Mahdia, Ceuta, Tunis, and Tripoli. Their ships brought in wares from China, India, and Ceylon. Because minor kingdoms would coin their The New World Order 17 own money, the Italian traders were also money changers and lenders. The bankers from Venice, Genoa, Lucca, and Florence were called Lombards, and they replaced the Jews as Europe's merchant bankers. Loan rates could range from 15 percent for a business loan to 100 percent for a personal loan. Templar, Inc. would move to take business from the Italian merchants.5 

In 1207 the Templars became shipowners. When they weren't using ships for the transport of men, they would use the vessels for trade. The profits and the fleet itself began to grow in size. By 1233 the city of Marseilles was complaining that Templar ships were taking business away from their own.6 The Templars soon had many preceptories in port cities including Brindisi, Bari, Barletta, and Trani and on Sicily at Messina. The trans-Mediterranean trade often involved transporting goods and animals to the eastern Mediterranean Sea and returning with slaves, who would work for the Templars in the West. 

The Turkish port of Ayas in Cilicia was a center for the slave trade, and the Templars established a wharf there. The Knights Templar and the rival Christian order the Knights of Malta became the largest European slave traders in the Mediterranean, and they established themselves in Venice. Perhaps the most important slave port of the Templars was the city of Acre in the Holy Lands. There all the slaves were called Muslims, regardless of their religion; this was the result of the pope in Rome declaring a ban on Christian slaves in the kingdom of Jerusalem. Muslims who sought to convert were denied. Pope Gregory was told of this and complained to the grand masters of both orders, but the trade in all its avarice continued. 

The Templar fleet served both to generate profits for the order and as part of the Templar war machine. Flying the skull and crossbones as its battle flag, the Templar fleet was used in military operations against Egypt, the coast of Asia Minor, and throughout the Mediterranean Sea. 

In addition to transporting troops and carrying weapons and supplies for their military operations, as well as slaves and goods for trade, the Templars engaged in piracy. Piracy was defined as the act of capturing another ship on the seas. But a Templar ship taking on an Islamic warship was not considered piracy, as the two were at war. There were few ships designed strictly for battle, as all shipping boats needed to be armed. Thus the act of capturing an Islamic merchant ship would be considered privateering. There was a fine line between piracy and, later, privateering, which meant that a ship's captain had the permission of a ruler, and later a letter of marque, to engage in piracy.

An English ship engaged in plundering English ships would be defined as a pirate ship, even if it shared the spoils with the English king. If an English ship took a French ship without the English king's permission, it was still a pirate ship. If, however, an English ship sailed with the permission of the English king to plunder the ships of other nations, it was a privateer ship. 

The Templars answered to no one except the pope, who did not, according to record, issue letters of marque. When the Templars captured enemy ships, they claimed they were acting on behalf of their nominal ruler, the pope. But the ships of the Templar order did not stop there, and often the ships of other Christian kings were fair game. 

Most of the Templar fleet was originally the low-lying galleys, which were similar to those used by the Muslim pirates of the Barbary Coast. They were ideally suited for the coastal trade and equally suited for piracy, as they could maneuver into shallow waters and were not forced to depend on the winds. The Atlantic fleet of the Templars used the sail, which allowed it to navigate the oceans as well. 

Christian Europe and Muslim Africa and Asia were at war for hundreds of years, but on a cultural basis many connections were made. Simon Dansker, a Flemish adventurer, showed the North African pirates the use of the long-range sailing ship in piracy Dansker started his career in the French port of Marseilles but soon changed sides and names. As Dali Rais, which means Captain Devil, Dansker switched to the side of the Barbary pirates and captured Christian ships. Under his tutelage the Muslim pirates extended their range into the Adriatic. A Muslim fleet even sailed to Iceland, where the pirates took slaves and plundered. But Dansker changed sides one too many times and was hanged in Tunis. 

The Templar fleet was made up of whatever ships could be built or  bought or captured from its enemies. The range of the Templars' sailing ships extended from the North Atlantic to the eastern Mediterranean. The ships carried goods and pilgrims from Italy to the Holy Lands. With no fear of reprisals, the Templars engaged in piracy when profit could not be made in legitimate ways. For those who manned the Templar fleet, the career jump from privateer for the order to pirate for one's own gain was small. 

One early Templar-turned-pirate was Roger de Flor.The son of the falconer of Emperor Frederick II, the eight-year-old Roger was taken on as a cabin boy in the Templar port of Brindisi. Working his way up through the ranks of the Templar navy, he soon assumed command of a ship bought from the Genoese. He named his ship the Falcon. When the final stronghold of Acre was being besieged, de Flor learned a new skill: extortion. He used his ship to raise money for his future career as a pirate by charging to rescue "ladies and damsels and great treasure."7 De Flor eventually fell out of favor with the order and his ship remained in Temple hands, but he had earned enough money to buy a new ship. Through piracy and later mercenary work, he built a fortune and an army. The renegade Templar even earned the hand of the niece of the Byzantine emperor. 

It was not only renegade knights who would resort to piracy; both orders, the Templars and the Order of Saint John, profited from their ability to loot Mediterranean ports and merchant ships, just as the Muslim fleets profited from their capture of Christian ships. 

For hundreds of years different ports around the world played host to pirates and resisted or ignored the authority of any governments. Ports such as the pirate kingdom of Saint Mary's in Madagascar, where the only government was that of pirates in exile or hiding, served the European pirates who preyed on the silver ships of the Moghuls of India. In the Americas, Tortuga and the Bahamas would enjoy shorter periods as pirate refuges. Even where ports had an official government, they were often ruled by those who supported piracy, such as those in Port Royal, Jamaica. 

One of the greatest pirate ports of the medieval period was Mahdia, on the North African coast. In the three hundred years that the Knights Templar fought the Islamic conquerors of the Mediterranean Sea, there were numerous periods of truce during which Arabs and Christians exchanged ideas. The Europeans learned about history, religion (including their own), science, mathematics, and medicine from their enemies. The greatness of such interchange of culture cannot be measured, but the Crusades had an enormous effect on Europe. Academic knowledge was not all the Templars learned; they also picked up new military and naval skills and a tolerance for their Islamic counterparts. The result was that many ex-Templars simply switched sides and joined the Barbary pirates. Author John J. Robinson suspects the Scottish "Mason's word" mahabone is a corruption of Mahdia the good, just as the French Marie le Bon (Marie the Good) survives in English as marylebone.8 

Templar sea power is often downplayed in comparison to their military land maneuvers. The Templar navy and merchant fleets were well acquainted with the Baltic Sea, the British Isles, large portions of the African coast, the Mediterranean Sea, and even the Black Sea. They sailed as far as their Norman predecessors, and their purpose was not only trade and plunder; supplying food and munitions, carrying troops and pilgrims, and playing host to kings and their goods were important in the long conflict against the Islamic nations. 

When the war with these countries abated, the war between the Christians filled the gap. In 1256 two Christian factions formed over who should possess Acre. The Hospitallers came to the aid of the Genoese and Catalan merchants to fight the navy of Venice, which was joined by the Templar fleet.9 Despite the fact that one of the Templar rules forbade killing a Christian, turf wars existed and the act of killing fellow Christians was "absolved" by the necessity of preserving the wealth and power. 

In 1291 Acre fell to the armies of Islam. The Templar order would have just sixteen years before it too would fall. The knights had already lost Jerusalem, and now their last fortress was captured by their rivals. Public opinion quickly turned against the order. In the eyes of the world the Templars had lost their mission and were now simply a fat organization of creditors, landlords, and competitors with an attitude to boot. "Haughty as a Templar" was a phrase coined by Sir Walter Scott. His novels describe an order that turned its back on its founders. Once dedicated to poverty and obedience, the Templars became guilty of pride, arrogance, and, by the beginning of the fourteenth century, possessing more wealth than European kings. Pope Nicholas IV, the theoretical commander in chief of the order, publicly directed his anger against the Templars, blaming their squabbling with the rival Hospitaller order as the reason that the last Christian bastion in the Holy Lands was now in Islamic hands. The Templars allowed themselves to be viewed as uninterested in protecting the most sacred possessions of the Christian world. 

A Church council had decided that the only way to fight an effective war against Islam was to have a unified force of its own. The council proposed merging the fighting orders, but the orders refused. The Teutonic Knights of Germany and Prussia returned to Marienburg.The Knights of Saint John moved to Malta. The Templars moved to Cyprus.10 

Although the Templar order had abandoned Acre, it would not abandon its own possessions. To an outsider, the Templars seemed to be on a crusade only to protect their enormous wealth. 

In a watershed event that would become known as the Eperstoun Affair, a knight who pledged half his wife's estate to enter the order died. When the order came to claim the murdered member's property, his widow refused to leave. Templars were sent to evict the widow, and they had to literally drag the woman from her home. As she clung to the doorpost of her house, the knights chopped off her fingers. Even before public media, this was a "media" event so compelling that it reached the ears of King Edward I. When he heard about the treatment of the widow, he interceded to restore her property. Not yet comprehending the concept of public relations, the Templars would go so far as to kill the widow's son for revenge 11 and seize the property after his death.

Set against a backdrop of military losses, the transgressions of the order were becoming too much to defend. In 1306 a new pope, Clement V, was elected. Before becoming the pope he was Bertrand de Got, the Archbishop of Bordeaux. His elevation to the highest rank in the Church was engineered by his brother Beraud, who was the Archbishop of Lyon. In June 1305, when the kings of France, England, and Naples had representatives bickering over who should be the next pope, the choice came down to the least objectionable person 12; Bertrand de Got had achieved that distinction. The French king certainly did not object to de Got, and to the dismay of the Italians, he never left France. He was considered weak and ineffective, and the Italians believed that in establishing his papacy at Avignon he gave proof that he was simply a puppet of the king of France. 

The new pope was in an awkward position. On the one hand, he was related on his mother's side to Bertrand de Blanchefort, a Templar grand master. On the other hand, the power of the French king appeared more threatening. He would stall as long as he could in making decisions. It is possible that Clement V already saw the writing on the wall that told him that unless he took action he would lose both of his orders. His first act was to ask the new grand master of the Templars and the grand master of the Knights of Saint John for a written summary enumerating the reasons for and against a merger of the orders. Jacques de Molay, the leader of the Templars, answered the pope, and may have been aware that the ultimate goal of the French king was to head a united order as the rex ballator, the warrior king. At the very least, Molay knew he would be out of the number one position. 

Despite the less-than-satisfactory answer, the pope hesitated to take action. He was not unaware that agents of the king of France had been responsible for the death of Boniface VIII and possibly the death by poison of Benedict XI, according to rumor. 

King Philip of France decided the time was ripe to remedy the impasse. Because France was the home base of the Crusades and had borne the heavy cost of war, Philip was impatient to repair his finances. Earlier preachers such as Saint Bernard had often cleaned out a town of its men, inspiring them to take up the crusade. The orders had been the beneficiaries of thousands of donated estates. The Church had declared that the state should not tax the fighting men or the estates of the order. The net result to the French king was a depleted treasury. He took back from the Templars the management of his own finances in 1295, creating the Royal Treasury at the Louvre. He then debased the currency and turned on the Italian banking families.

How close the Italian banking families were connected to the Knights Templar may never be known. They initially played a role in financing the Crusades and in transporting the crusaders. In Florence, where the city minted its own coins, they would pay respect to the patron saint of the order, Saint John the Baptist, on one side of the coins. The other side depicted the lily, hinting at a royal bloodline. Florence is one of the very few places where an octagonal baptistery stands. This unusual style of baptistery was borrowed from Jerusalem and taken to many Templar strongholds. From Tomar in Portugal to Drogheda in Ireland, these structures represented the original baptism of Jesus Christ by Saint John. The baptistery in Florence was dedicated to Saint John the Baptist. 

After maneuvers against the Lombards, Philip the Fair would prove himself to be anything but fair when it came to replenishing his treasury. He forced the Jews out of France in an attempt to seize their property and restore his wealth. But the Jews hadn't been as prosperous as he thought, and the move accomplished little. Philip was deeply in debt—and mostly to the Templar bank. 

What better way to fix the situation than to seize that bank? 

On October 13, 1307, Philip's forces descended on all the Templar preceptories in France. The pope was dismayed; technically, only he had jurisdiction over the Templars. But Philip's forces threatened the pope, so he quickly went along with the king. Philip would soon be dismayed as well. Templar spies had gotten wind of the impending arrests. Having commanded a large fighting force, a large navy, and a large merchant  fleet, and having possessed the world's largest bank, through which they were close to aristocrats and clerics around Europe, the Templars had intelligence operations that were certainly superior to those of the French king. Jacques de Molay called in the order's books and had them burned. Many knights went underground. And perhaps most significantly, the treasure held in Paris, the second most desired possession of King Philip, vanished. 

The combination of the missing treasure, the burned books, and the meek surrender of the Templars is intriguing. If the Templars understood that arrest was imminent, why didn't they all flee or prepare to fight back? The only explanation is that the order believed that Philip's target was strictly monetary, and that once deprived of the Templar bank, his suppression of the order would be short-lived. 

If this conclusion is correct, then the members of the order who stayed behind were simply unprepared for the incredible horrors to which the arrested knights would be subjected. Under torture that included the rack, the strappado, and the burning of fat-smeared feet, the Templars confessed to anything. Because the charge was heresy, the arrested had no right to counsel. Normally torture would be allowed to the extent that it would accomplish its goal but not cause mutilation or permanent injury. For the Templars, however, an exception was made. The torture was "carried out with a barbarity which even medieval men found shocking."13 Confined to dungeons, sustained with bread and water, accused of the most heinous perversions, and tortured beyond endurance, many knights lost their ability to reason, several committed suicide, and most confessed to anything. 

Those who survived the two years of imprisonment had little to look forward to other than their death. In May 1310 the soldiers of Philip bound fifty-four Knights Templar to carts and brought them to fields near the convent of Saint-Antoine outside Paris, where they were stripped, tied to stakes, and burned to death. 

The king of France broke the order but failed to confiscate their treasure. He was further disappointed by the reaction of his fellow kings; instead of the other nations suppressing the Templars within their borders, they had to be goaded into taking any steps against the knights. 

In England, Edward II was very slow in reacting to the demands of the Roman pope. The new king was simply uninterested, as his focus was on the continuing war with Scotland and on his lover. After persistent pressure from the pope, Edward made a handful of arrests and later succumbed to the Church's demand for torture, which was forbidden by English law. Edward did not shield the Templar organization and allowed its property to be seized. To the disappointment of the Church, however, the property seized did not revert to the Church but instead was distributed by Edward in his own fashion, most likely to his creditors and allies. 

Scotland finally agreed in principle to an inquisition of the Templars. The country had continually fought the pope, who would eventually excommunicate both the king and the nation. The degree of compliance in Scotland was minimal, with a total of two knights questioned. 

In Spain and Portugal the Templar fighting force was important to the kings. After a few arrests and seizures, the Portuguese quickly reincorporated the order into the Knights of Christ, which now reported only to the Portuguese king. In the parts of Spain controlled by the Inquisition there were arrests and torture, but the order and its men were soon incorporated into several other orders of the Spanish military. 

In Germany the Teutonic Knights, which had been formed separately, marched into the court at Metz armed to the teeth and challenged the court to bring charges. They were not Templars but presented their case to head off similar charges. The court assured the order its existence was not in danger. 

Although all this frustrated Philip, his greatest frustration was the disappearance of the treasure from the Paris Temple Bank. It had reportedly been loaded on a wagon train that raced for the port of La Rochelle. There the treasure was placed aboard the Templar fleet, again flying the skull and crossbones, from which it disappeared once more. While many of the French Templars who were captured suffered long imprisonments and gruesome tortures, many others, who were now regarded as outlaws, used the Templar fleet as their home base. It was difficult for a large, armed group of men to escape detection on land, but the ships provided a mobile hideout as well as a place to live. With their immense treasure supplemented with piracy, the Templars who had escaped France survived. 

The final act against the order was committed on March 18, 1314. The four surviving officials of the order—the grand master, the visitor, and the preceptors of Aquitaine and Normandy—were burned on an island in the Seine River in view of the Royal Gardens. 

While the arrested French Templars suffered imprisonment, torture, and often execution, the remnant Templar organization became like the mythical Hydra; one head was cut off at the neck and others sprouted. The new organizations in Germany, Portugal, and Spain were all various Templar reincarnations. 

In Germany the Teutonic Knights needed their own raison d'etre, and they quickly found one. They turned their attention from the armies of Islam, which were apparently too strong for Europe, to the more easily conquered pagan Lithuanians. A new northern "crusade" found the well-equipped Teutonic Knights doing battle with the Lithuanian peasant farmers and converting or killing them in short order. This new crusade was less an instrument of the Catholic Church for converting the world than a weapon in the German war of expansion. 

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In the Iberian Peninsula the war against Islam was still an active conflict. The kings of Portugal and Spain needed all the help they could muster. Spain's most sacred pilgrimage spot was Saint James of Compostela. The order of the Knights of Santiago (whose name was derived from the Spanish Santo Iago, or Saint James) performed activities that were similar to the original efforts of the Templars: It protected pilgrims along the world's second most important route. In neighboring Portugal the "new" Knights of Christ were allowed to keep the properties and preceptories of the former Templar order and even the Templar banner, a red cross on a white background. The order has survived in that form to the present. 

In England the Templars' survival would not be as simple. The English version of suppression united the Templars with their rival order, the Knights Hospitaller of Saint John. This order pleased the demands of the Church, but according to some sources it was a charade. Templar property was administered separately for years. 

East of France, the Alpine regions that would later become Switzerland provided refuge to the Templar knights. When their trading routes were not by sea, the Templars used the same Alpine passes to reach Italy and Germany that other merchants had used for more than a thousand years. The order had fortified preceptories in various cantons, and the power of the order soon grew. Three months after the fall of Acre, three of the cantons formed a military alliance. They were quickly joined by others, and the unified state of Switzerland would take on many of the characteristics of the order. They were respected for having a fierce army that defended itself against the expansionist German states to the north and the avaricious France to the west. The knights' reputation grew rapidly, and soon the Swiss Guard, as it became known, was contracted to defend the Vatican, just as the Templars had defended the Catholic religion. 

The Swiss, of course, soon earned another reputation: that of banker to the world. In The Warriors and the Bankers authors Alan Butler and Stephen Dafoe point out that, although the treasury in Paris might have been the Templars' greatest central bank, the order would certainly not have kept all its valuables in one location. Switzerland grew in importance because of its political neutrality and its position as the central bank of the world. While the bank would no longer have the advantage of state and religious backing, it possessed a very advantageous geographical location. Few would underestimate the ability of a country with a well-trained military and the access of the Alpine passes. Anyone who has had to deal with an Alpine banker might be reminded of the "haughty" description of the Templars given by Sir Walter Scott, as more than one trait was passed from the Templars to the Swiss. The discipline and secrecy maintained by Swiss bankers, however, allowed them to achieve dominance both for their bank and for their currency. 

The Swiss franc took on a mantle of stability that was possibly second only to gold. Butler and Dafoe refer to the survival of the Templars as well as Switzerland's inheritance of the world banking industry. The authors observe the stunning resemblance of the Templar red-cross motif to the emblems of Switzerland—the country as well as its cantons. The Templar cross has been simply reversed in color to become the flag of a united Switzerland, and other variations would become the canton flags. 

Most dramatically, the post-1307 Templar order took the form of a huge underground organization. This form developed in the north where the resurrected French Templars who sailed with the Templar treasure fleet to Scotland reunited under the Anglo-Norman cousins of the French Normans. 

In France, the St. Clair family had been one of the handful of elite families that were instrumental in founding the new Templar order. The Scottish branch of the St. Clair family, which had Anglicized the spelling of its surname to Sinclair, would preserve the order. They allied themselves with Robert the Bruce, of the French Norman de Brus family, whose name had also been Anglicized. At Bannockburn, Robert defeated the English in the most decisive battle the Scots had ever experienced against their oppressors. The victory came shortly after a fresh force of Templar cavalry charged onto the battlefield. 

But the Templars remained underground in Scotland, even after the end of the War of Scottish Independence. Some of the more noble knights continued their careers as mercenaries. Evidence shows that twelve years after the Battle of Bannockburn the Scottish mercenaries returned to France under the employ of the D'Anjous, another Norman family that helped found the Templars. There they fought under Joan of Arc in a war that history has done little to explain. 

Others, more often the rank and file, put their skills of construction and engineering to work in the trades. As a military force, the Templars spent more time building than fighting. Thus the knights learned the building trades by constructing houses, bridges, and castles. After 1307 they put these skills to work in building many of Europe's finest monuments, including cathedrals. 

French Templars had little trouble fitting in, as the French language was spoken in the British Isles and was for years to come the language of the court. French Templar words were corrupted into their British counterparts. Remnant Templars, while fighting as paid mercenaries, building bridges, or working in the trades, remained organized in underground lodges. They often employed secret words and handshakes to recognize each other and came to one another's aid. Their sons, too, would keep up the tradition. 

The term Freemason entered the English language in the same century that the Knights Templar, as an order, was officially dissolved. The term was another corruption of the French language; the Templar knights originally referred to each other as brother, or frere in French. What was frere macon in France became Freemason in English. When the Templars traveled they erected quarters, and these became lodges, so named after the French loges. The guard posted at the door of the lodge during meetings was the tyler, in English, derived from tailleur, meaning "one who cuts." But the term Freemason soon took on a new meaning. Unlike most of the populace, which was shackled to the land by the feudal system that prevailed in England and France, the former Templars became working craftsmen who were free to travel to find employment. 

At a construction site, which could be a cathedral, a castle, or a public building, the masons would band together and erect a lodge. Most lodges were not permanent, but would be built to protect the property of the traveling men. Masons promised that if a brother mason came to them, they would find him work, give him money, and, when he was ready to leave, direct him to another lodge. Why would this be such an important charge for Freemasonry? Because in a feudal system, finding a home was nearly impossible for the remnant members of an outlaw order. All their old ties were broken and there was no home to return to—certainly not back in France. Freemasonry was created to protect those whose lives were threatened because of their association with the Knights Templar. 

A Masonic initiation specifically states that the brothers are there to feed you, to clothe you, and to protect you from your enemies. The initiation also enigmatically states, "We will keep your secrets."14 Why a simple stonemason would attract enemies and have secrets that needed protecting is questionable. But it is not so hard to understand the need for secrets and protection from enemies for an outlaw Templar. 

The building trades and crafts were an opportunity for ex-Templars and later for their sons. The name Lewis came from a term meaning "son of a mason," a status that was usually the only requirement needed for entrance into a lodge. It was also helpful in gaining employment. In The Hiram Key, Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas write, "Now we are certain, without any shadow of a doubt, that the starting place of Freemasonry was the construction of Rosslyn Chapel."15 This chapel was built on Sinclair property under the direction of the Sinclair family, members of whom would become the hereditary grand masters of the crafts and guilds and orders of Scotland. For many former knights, Scotland was now home and building was their trade. 

Some ex-Templars did not fit into the new way of life. Not all the former Templars were masons and craftsmen; some took to the highways as brigands and some to the seas as pirates. The skull and crossbones, the same battle flag that had been used for piracy by the Templars, remained the flag of choice for pirates after the Crusades. The skull and bones announced the ship was a pirate ship. While it had a religious significance, to the elite order it also had a more practical use: to instill fear in the hearts of those under attack. It warned that there was not to be any other action except surrender. If that was not heeded, an all-red flag declared no quarter to be given. Like many of the Scot Templar words that have been derived from French, the battle flag was called the Jolly Roger, from the French joli rouge (pretty red). Later, the name Jolly Roger was given to both flags. 

The black skull and crossbones flag would come to be recognized as an indicator of a pirate ship. The skull and two bones, however, had  a much deeper meaning to the original Templars who sailed under the flag. Their insignia represented resurrection. The Catholic Church taught that the resurrection of man was a bodily resurrection. But the Templars believed, contrary to the Church, that only a skull and two bones needed to be buried in order for a person to be admitted into heaven. The skull and crossbones became a popular motif on Templar graves. To those who had dedicated their wealth and committed their lives to the Templar order, the skull and bones suggested that the Templar organization itself had been resurrected. The Templar fleet, in particular, was alive and well. It had survived the army of the French king and the Roman pope and would conquer again. 

Just as the Templars had used military organization during the long war against Islam, they now used military organization against their new enemies. Upon coming into contact with a ship, the skull and crossbones would be raised. If this was not enough to make the pursued ship surrender, the Templars raised the red flag, the Jolly Roger, meaning that "no quarter," or no mercy, would be granted. The message was quickly learned by the captains who plied the seas with the wares of merchants. Few would wait for the red flag. 

The skull and crossbones continued to rule Europe's seas long after the Templar order was officially in the grave. The New World too would be threatened by the skull and crossbones, and well after America's independence the remnant Templars would still exert their influence and power.

Chapter 2
Under the skull and crossbones, the fleet of the ex-Templars roamed the seas. The menacing flag that to the Catholics had represented resurrection now represented the resurrection of the outlawed order. Lacking the same allegiance to the pope in Rome, the order now served mostly to preserve and enrich itself. The ships that were once manned by knights and sworn to protect religious pilgrims now threatened anyone who traveled, transported goods, or traded on the high seas. Rarely was retaliation considered. Even more rare was the capture of a pirate ship; it was said that in that event, a flash of a secret signal might allow a pirate ship a pass from its captors. Templar power was not to be underestimated. 

The fragmented Templars had succeeded in the goal of resurrecting the order. At the same time, the pirates who ravaged the seas would keep alive the Templar ideals of liberty, equality, and the protection of their own. Ironically, the ideals of a corrupt organization would become the basis of American democracy. 

Pirates aboard a former Templar ship ran the ship in the same fashion as a Templar preceptory, a model that was based on life in a Cistercian chapter house. What did monks, pirates, and Templar knights have in common? Democracy. While there was no example of a democratic nation at that time and writers such as Voltaire, Jefferson, and Rousseau would not be born for another four hundred years, Templar pirates and Cistercian monks practiced democracy. Within the confines of the monastery, the preceptory, and the pirate ship, leaders were elected by their peers and could be removed by them. It was a concept foreign to a feudal system, where birth and property determined title and position. No one person was absolute; leaders were expected to act in the interest of the group. 

The Cistercian monks, ex-Templar pirates, and Templar knights had other interesting similarities. In a world dominated by a feudal order that used taxes and duties to force all wealth to the top, the Templars, the Cistercian monks, and the pirates held wealth in common for hundreds of years. This is not to be confused with a vow of poverty or even with socialism. Rewards such as greater amenities were given to those who exercised more responsibility. A pirate captain was often entitled to a double share of booty, and the quartermaster might get a share and a half for his role. It was strictly a result of merit. The failure to lead or a propensity for greed could bring down a knight, an abbot, or a pirate captain. 

The ultimate irony is that democracy arose within orders created by feudal powers. In this new social experiment, title, family name, and appointed power were all secondary to the ability to lead and bring benefit to all. The ideals of liberty and fraternity surfaced despite the intentions of the feudal rulers. 

Of course, not all pirates were Templars, and the order did not invent the art of robbery on the high seas. The ex-Templar pirates, however, were very distinct from other organized pirates. The pirates who served aboard the ships of Islam, or even on the ships of the rival order of Saint John, had more in common with the later English navy. The captain of the ship, who was most often appointed as a result of high birth or favor, would get the majority of the spoils; the common seamen were often treated only a little better than the galley slaves who served the fleets of Rome. 

Life aboard the pirate ship was democratic, but it was still a feudal world on the shores of the civilized world. Pirates were still forced to deal with this reality. For example, ships were enormously expensive,and therefore piracy was an institution that was generally not open to the average man. In a world that knew no form of capitalism, there were few ways to accumulate the funds to buy a ship. If a ship was captured, it still had to be allowed to land in a safe port and to sell its captured wares. This meant having the right connections. In the world of the former Templars, connections often came in the form of elite families that served to assist the remnant Templars and benefited from the role played behind the scenes. Both the Templar version of piracy and the non Templar version of piracy depended on hidden guardians. The institution of piracy was allowed to exist by the various states and kingdoms as long as it could be officially denied and it provided a benefit to the monarch who had domain over the pirate's home port. 

Pirates often enjoyed the lackadaisical approach of the various monarchs. Well before becoming the ruler of the high seas, England had one of the poorest defense forces. Dutch, Flemish, and Breton pirates raided the English Channel from the twelfth through the sixteenth centuries, simply because it was frequently easy to do. The king would benefit little by wasting resources to protect the goods of merchants. 

Prior to the arrest and prosecution of the Templar order, Henry III ignored the piracy the various French states inflicted upon English merchants.1 English pirates were given carte blanche to plunder if they would offer a share in the spoils to their corrupt monarch. This pattern repeated itself in the American colonies centuries later when governors turned not a blind eye but a greedy eye on the profits made by pirates. A share in the spoils was usually enough to buy clemency. 

Edward I, the successor to Henry III, attempted to attack pirate bases by land, as England had no real navy at the time. He was alternately at war against the Welsh and the Scots, who considered English merchants easy targets. Failing in his attempt to fight a war against the pirates by land, Edward I instituted the practice of issuing marques, or letters of reprisal. Such letters granted a merchant or shipmaster the right to attack the pirates or their home port if the merchant or shipper could claim to have suffered a loss at the pirates' hands.2 Other ports would then have their monarchs issue the same type of documents, which allowed them to plunder an English port should they be the victims of an English pirate. 

Edward's lack of ability to rule the seas was matched by his ineptitude at ruling on land. His interference in the morass of bloody politics that was Scotland led to many wars. The wars against Scotland and the lack of centralized order in England would allow Scotland to flourish as a pirate haven. 

A simple act would serve as the catalyst for new hostility between England and Scotland. Alexander III, the Scottish king, had preserved neutrality, but in 1284 he was killed—not in battle, but from falling off his horse after a night of partying. Six guardians were appointed to ease the successorship, and for a brief time these guardians ruled Scotland. But Edward I of England exercised his right to choose who would succeed Alexander. Of the handful of claimants to the Scottish throne, the leading candidate was John Baliol, who was supported by the powerful Comyn family. The other main candidate was Robert the Bruce, who had the support of his country.3 Edward's court picked Baliol. 

When Baliol and the Comyns would not back Edward in internal conflicts, Robert would support Edward, which gave Robert the opportunity to reclaim his lands from Baliol and the Comyns. After the Wallace Revolt, Scotland was controlled by the triumvirate of Bishop William Lamberton of St. Andrew's, Robert the Bruce, and John Comyn. On February 10, 1306, Robert somehow managed to get Comyn to meet him at the Church of the Greyfriars in Dumfries. While neither side trusted the other, the hallowed sanctuary made Comyn assume he was safe from violence. He was wrong. 

Robert the Bruce eliminated Comyn in the church by stabbing him and leaving him to die on the stone floor. There are several versions of what transpired, but it is very likely that the attack was spontaneous. When Robert ran from the church and told his confederate what he had done, the man ran into the church. Seeing Comyn already in the care of the friars, the confederate rushed to the wounded man and stabbed him again until he was sure Comyn was dead. Robert then had himself sworn in as king by Bishop Lamberton in the Abbey Church at Scone. 

Despite the official coronation, both England and the Catholic Church made sure that Robert the Bruce would not take a throne. For several years he was an outlaw king, pursued first by Edward, who died in the campaign against Robert, and then by Edward's son, Edward II. Robert spent the early years of his reign living in caves and traveling in disguise. He was not only outlawed by the king of England, he was also excommunicated by the pope. 

Robert's exile did not last forever. His salvation was realized at the Battle of Bannockburn, but events that took place hundreds of miles away from the battlefield helped tip the scales in his favor. The same papacy that made Robert an outlaw of the only official religion in Europe had also declared the Knights Templar to be outlaws. The Templar fleet and the remnant organization that managed to escape from La Rochelle in the nick of time found refuge in Scotland. The St. Clair family of France, a powerful force behind the Templars, had most likely negotiated an alliance with Robert through its Scottish side of the family, the Sinclairs. 

The French had probably been arming Robert since 1310 by smuggling arms into Ireland and then into Scotland. At this point they smuggled an entire army to aid Robert. While the history of Scotland both before and after Robert the Bruce is riddled with one defeat after another at the hands of much more organized and better-equipped armies, the Battle of Bannockburn was the exception. In this historic battle, which was contested on June 24, 1314, a sacred day to the Templar knights, the battle at first seemed to go well for Edward's army. He had at his disposal twenty thousand soldiers and three thousand knights on horseback, who fought against a force less than half their size. But just when victory seemed at hand, a fresh contingent of knights came charging from the rear of the Scottish force to soundly and spectacularly beat Edward's troops. The remnant Knights Templar led Scotland to victory over the English army, which made Scotland independent of its overlord. 

An elite group that was at the core of the Knights Templar existed in France and Scotland prior to the arrests, and they remained united afterward. At the heart of this group was the family of St. Clair. In Europe they started as part of the Norse wave of conquerors that changed the face of the continent. The St. Clairs and their Norse countrymen were called Normans, and they settled in northern France, where the king handed over great amounts of land in exchange for being allowed to keep the rest. Under William the Conqueror, the Normans successfully invaded England.This resulted in members of the St. Clair family being granted tracts of land in England and Scotland. The St. Clair branch eventually changed its name to the more Anglicized Sinclair, but the family connections in France, Scotland, and even to a degree in their Norse homeland remained intact. 

The St. Clair/Sinclair family became a very strong presence in the politics of both France and Scotland. Although they preferred a secondary role in the public eye, they often controlled the politics from behind the scenes. The loyalty of a strong military was one component of their power. 

After Bannockburn, Henry Sinclair, a descendant of the French noble St. Clair family, organized the remnant Templars into military units and guilds. They would become the integral force of his power base, and he in turn would become their guardian. In 1320 Sir Henry signed a letter to Pope John XXII asserting the independence of Scotland. This was a unique document in the history of the world, predating the American Declaration of Independence by more than four centuries. While Sinclair never played the leading role, he ruled quietly from behind the scenes, and the remnant Templars were his "big stick." They would remain united, and cemented their loyalty to their benefactor.


In times of peace the ex-Templars used their skills as masons, carpenters, bridge builders, and merchants. The guild brought together members of a single trade. As the guilds became specialized, the Templars who had been seamen under the Templar flag now organized into a group that manned the Sinclair fleet, which was among the largest in Europe. The sea remained a gateway to riches, often more so in turbulent times. A fleet needed merchants, and the merchants themselves were also organized in guilds, which were the models for later companies. 

The concept of guilds was originated by merchants and craftsmen. Their work often included secretive operations, as they had to deal with the prying eyes of the tax man, the competition of other guilds in the same craft, and even the Catholic Church. The Church had declared that a person who bought something with the intention of selling it at a higher price was cast out of "God's Temple."4 Towns were actually created by the guilds to employ workers in the manufacturing process and for the purpose of meeting to buy and sell their wares. In modern Italy, the guild system and its secrecy prevail. Some towns are still dominated by one industry, and workers in that industry will reveal absolutely no information to an outsider. 

Guilds grew into larger merchant "companies" licensed to sell goods abroad. Because Scotland and Europe exported wool, shipowners would transport the merchants who wanted to carry the products to continental Europe. In this less-than-golden age of freebooting, pirates attacked ships even for such mundane cargoes. Therefore, merchants needed a strong ship or fleet of ships to navigate the pirate infested waters. The Templars, inheritors of a military organization, provided the strength. 

Post-Bannockburn, the seas of commerce were anything but conducive to trade. The Dutch pirates would attack the English wool fleet—and often under letters of marque issued in their own country. The English king Edward II had temporarily stopped issuing such privateering papers, instead opting not to patrol the Scottish shores. 

Unrestricted piracy against Scotland grew, but it had the effect of making the illegal business more lucrative. Privateers and pirates from the Low Countries, from the Hanseatic League, from France, and from the Channel Islands now regularly attacked English ships. Because the relations between Scotland and England were at best tense, the Low Countries could also be counted on to provide military equipment and food to Scotland, an act that the Scots regarded as necessary trade and the English considered smuggling. 

The history of Scotland is murky at this time, and naval history even more so, as it was in no one's interest to record piracy. The fleet of Sinclair in the post-Bannockburn years is known to have been one of Europe's greatest; Sinclair had at his command more ships than Edward II of England. The same irregular coast and innumerable island hideouts had protected and hidden ships for hundreds of years before the reign of Edward II, and it continued to do so for hundreds of years after. In 1919 the German fleet was scuttled at Scapa Flow in the northern islands rather than surrender from its hiding place. 

The Sinclair fleet underwent a major change in the years after Bannockburn. Sinclair ships had been built like those of their Norse relations, in the thin, overlapping oak-planked style that made them light and flexible. But Sinclair now had to react to the heavier style of ship being built in England. He built a castle in Kirkwall, in the northern islands, imported the necessary lumber, and built thicker-planked warships to accompany his Orkney galley ships.5 

The fleet of the Sinclairs was now so strong that it was used to defend possessions of the king of Norway, who had a much smaller fleet that was "too weak to defend her own coasts against pirates."6 At this time Stockholm had been seized by a pirate navy called the Victual Brothers, or the Victualleurs. They soon raided the Norwegian coast and sacked the city of Bergen. 

The Templars who had come to Scotland to the protection of Robert the Bruce and Henry Sinclair found employment aboard Sinclair's neo-Templar fleet. They also served in their military tradition in newly formed land fighting units—and for the same elite masters.

The backlash against the wealth and power of the Catholic Church had started long before Martin Luther. In France the Cathar movement was a desire to return to a "pure" Christianity not obstructed by indolent priests and avaricious bishops. The Church quickly moved to stamp out the heresy and sent Saint Bernard, the Templar proponent, to investigate the Cathar sect. He discovered the movement to be larger than the Church thought, and he also believed it to be a most Christian example of living. The Church disregarded his report and sent Simon de Montfort of Leicester, England, to lead an army against them. 

The viciousness of the war may be evidence of just how severe Rome regarded the threat. At Beziers the papal legate was asked how to recognize the Cathari. He responded, "Kill them all, God will know his own."7 Simon de Montfort was brutality personified, burning many at the stake and blinding or cutting off the noses of those he allowed to live. 

The order of the Knights Templar, sworn to obey only the pope, was not only visibly absent in the war against the Cathari; in some cases members fought on the side of the heretics against Rome. At Montsegur sixty knights served against the papal army. The Cathari, like the ex-Templars in the next century and the Freemasons thereafter, had secret signs and words to recognize their members. When the knights arrived in Cathar territory the password was "Have you brought the hatchets?"The answer was "We have eleven, freshly honed." Montsegur would end in defeat for the Cathari, but the anti-Rome sentiment simply went underground. 

The Templar organization had less than a century to survive until Rome would turn against it. The Templars may have had more than ample reason to harbor anti-Church sentiments, but these would remain underground from the time of the battle at Montsegur until the Templar persecutions. 

The Reformation that would thrive in Germany and Switzerland as a reaction to the all-powerful Catholic Church was based on religion, but the bitterness of the hundreds of years of the Inquisition, merciless taxation, and numerous wars against any non-Catholic people played a role. The Reformation also divided the former Templar knights on both political and religious grounds. 

As the Reformation took hold in Scotland, the original core Templar group remained Catholic, including the Sinclair family, which was described as ardently Catholic and suffered as a result. In France, where the church and state had persecuted the Templars the most, former seaport stronghold La Rochelle would become, like many French ports, Huguenot—that is, Protestant. The religious wars pitted brother against brother, as did any civil war. 

The Freemasons, the surviving ex-Templars, would remain underground, the lodge system not yet in its official (post-1717) period. The symbols of the anti-Rome movement among the Cathari and the symbol of the French Protestants in the north of France were often shared. The dove (the symbol of personal enlightenment), the eight-pointed cross, and the hatchet would grace the apparel and equipment of Huguenots and Freemasons. The wars also divided the ex-Templars and Masons along political lines, placing members of the descendant orders on both sides. The English king Edward III managed to pit his country against Catholic France in what would become known as the Hundred Years War. Some of the original founding Templar families acted for the Catholic side. The Scottish-French alliance created by the family connections behind the Templars set the ex-Templars and their heirs alongside the French in fighting England. But not all ex-Templars were seagoing warriors. On land the Scots Guard became the inheritors of the Templar tradition. 

In 1445, one hundred years after the Templars were abolished and the French Templars fled to Scotland, the neo-Templar Scots Guard, or the Compagnie des Gendarmes Ecossis, returned to France to intervene in French military adventures. The "auld alliance" renewed by the Robert the Bruce—Sinclair power base brought Scotland to war on the Continent. The Templar descendants often took the names of the men to whom they pledged themselves in feudal Scotland, but generations later they often kept their language and their patriotic leanings to their homeland. In France they were organized under French names. They were paid in livres toumois. And their officers and commanders were often invited into a new knighthood, the Order of Saint Michael. 

When the French dauphin was ready to flee Catholic France and allow the victory of newly Protestant England, it was Joan of Arc who intervened. A vanguard of Scottish soldiers helped Joan's armies reverse the tide in one spectacular victory after another. The Scots Guard, a neo-Templar organization, would become the King's Guard and the King's Bodyguard, and play important roles in both military and state affairs for almost another two hundred years. 

The Hundred Years War was a particularly difficult time in Europe, and England may have never seen a century of such lawlessness. On land petty thefts were innumerable; on the seas piracy reigned. Bribery secured judges and juries alike, and the ever-present tax collectors' palms could be greased. Greed was the most significant force, and even poets like Chaucer, who once denounced greed, now practiced it.8 

The effect of the avarice was widespread poverty and economic disruption. In England the fourteenth century ended with a massive rebellion that would go down in history as Wat Tyler's Revolt. 

Wat Tyler was actually Walter the Tyler, a Masonic name derived from the French word tailleur, meaning "one who cuts." Each lodge of Freemasons had an appointed tyler, and unlike the tailor who cuts clothes, the tyler was designated to guard the door with a sword. While it is often claimed that mob violence is spontaneous, Winston Churchill in his Birth of Britain and author Barbara Tuchman agree that beneath the mob violence was organization. By whom? The answer is obvious according to some, as "no single group suffered losses comparable to those inflicted over the next few days on the Knights Hospitallers, who seemed to be on an especially aggressive hit list of the rebel leaders."9 Three generations after the Templars had been officially dissolved, they was still taking revenge on their rival order. 

The Crusades were over, yet the Templars remained a force both in the public eye and underground. History records the achievements of  the military units such as the Scots Guard, but history leaves uncovered the role of the ex-Templars in various forms, from merchants and craftsmen to pirates. And the Templars were not the only order to engage in piracy, although they were the only order to use the skull and crossbones as their battle flag. 

The main rivals of the former Templars, the Knights of Malta and the Teutonic Knights, also turned to piracy to finance their orders. In the period just after the Battle of Bannockburn, when Scottish and English pirates ravaged the wool trade, the Hanseatic League turned to the Teutonic Knights to protect its shipping. The envoys of Henry VI of England who were sent to meet with the order's grand master to discuss a truce were actually captured by Hanseatic pirates. England then turned to the Knights of Rhodes, later the Knights of Malta, as they were known to provide assistance with negotiations. Oddly, two orders that had faced a common enemy during the Crusades were now enemies with each other. 

The Knights of Rhodes had been organized by merchants from Amalfi.The order was created before the Knights Templar with the goal of providing medical assistance to the crusading knights and the pilgrims in the Holy Lands. The Knights of Rhodes first dedicated its order to Saint John and was called the Order of the Hospital of Saint John, or the Hospitallers. After the fall of Jerusalem, they went to Cyprus. In 1306 the master of the order, Foulques deVillaret, who had been the knights' first admiral, joined forces with a Genoese adventurer. With their combined fleet they captured the island of Rhodes. The tiny island that had served as a nest for Greek, Italian, and Saracen pirates became the order's privateer base. But the order had little to do now that Jerusalem was lost. It protected Christian shipping and attacked Muslim shipping.10 

The Knights of Rhodes developed a distinctive style of warfare at sea, using grappling hooks and powerful soldiers to lock together ships and immediately board them, pirate-style. Little better than pirates, they launched an attack on Cairo. The first stop was in Alexandria, where twenty thousand men, women, and children were killed before the conquest erupted into an orgy of pillage and rape.11 Many of the military contingents refused to go any farther because they enjoyed the spoils of war and "some Brethren turned pirate." 12 

From Rhodes the Hospitallers continued to harass Muslim shippers until three successive sieges by the Turks dislodged the knights. They then moved from port to port operating as pirates—even to the point of allowing the "brethren" to share in the booty. In the sixteenth century the Hospitallers resumed their naval operations from Malta. They harassed Islamic shippers. They were at war, so in their eyes the piracy was just privateering. 

The Knights of Malta was very close to the various nation-states of Italy, and was often allied with other states to carry out raids. Members became known as corso, a word that later was Anglicized to corsair, or pirate. Their sea caravans enriched the order through spoglio (prize money) obtained in the sale of the goods they captured, including slaves, and through ransoming captives. 

Both the underground Knights Templar and the legitimate Knights of Malta continued their piracy on the high seas and even in the Americas. It is surprising that the role of these religious military orders in the French settlements of the Americas largely remains secret. 

The Knights of Malta, which is active today, was influential in the settlement of Canada, in early colonization of the New World, and even in the American Revolution. In 1632 a knight of Malta, Commander Isaac de Razilly, organized the expedition to Acadia and Quebec. History records Samuel de Champlain as one of the earliest explorers but pays little attention to his top lieutenants, Marc-Antoine Brasdefer de Chateaufort and Charles-Jacques Huault de Montmagny. After Champlain's death, Chateaufort and then Montmagny served as governor of New France. Other French-Canadian knights would also play significant roles in the early history of Canada. 

The counterpart of the Knights of Malta in France was the Order of Saint-Sulpice. Founded by the Abbe Jacques Olier, the order invited wealthy patrons to form another group, the Society of Notre Dame, which would in turn become the founding Seigneurs of Montreal in Canada. Serving the same role as the Cistercians in relation to the Knights Templar, the Order of Saint-Sulpice at times played a very powerful behind-the-scenes role in international affairs. Unhampered by the vow of poverty, the order grew in wealth and power. Many of Montreal's streets, named for luminaries of the Sulpicians, remind citizens of the order's key position. In the 1660s, when the overlords of Montreal, the so-called One Hundred Associates, proved themselves to be absentee landlords inclined to tax the city, the Sulpicians had them expelled and took over the governance of Montreal. To their credit, their wealth has been committed to good works, and the order remains as wealthy today as it was three centuries ago. In France the order also remains wealthy, powerful, and able to play a political role from backstage. 

The Knights of Malta also colonized the Caribbean, including Tortuga, Saint Croix, and Saint Barthelemy—islands that later passed into the ownership of the French West India Company. 

Another knight, Admiral Francois-Joseph-Paul de Grasse, delivered the coup de grace to the British at Yorktown. His fleet arrived from the Caribbean just in time to trap Cornwallis and the British army, who were in full retreat. The British, waiting for reinforcements and supplies that would never arrive, surrendered to George Washington and ended the war. The admiral was a Knight of Malta, and he learned his seamanship skills under the tutelage of the order. Of the French ships that battled the British, several were commanded by members of the Knights of Malta, including Admiral de Grasse's chef d'escadron at Chesapeake Bay, Jean-Louis-Charles de Coriolis d'Espinousse. 

After the war fourteen of the twenty elite Knights of Malta who fought for the American cause became members of the Society of the Cincinnati, a closed group formed by George Washington for his officers.13 Despite criticism that the order was a version of European aristocracy, membership was limited to a handful and future membership required that an individual be a descendant of a member of the founding group. 

The French Revolution and the subsequent Napoleonic Wars saw the Knights of Malta defeated in battle. Napoleon seized the home base of Malta in 1789 because the French knights had provided Louis XVI, his rival, with funding. The Russian czar Paul I offered the knights refuge and asked them to create a new order that would answer to him. Napoleon immediately ended the order's income from its French property and evicted the knights, forcing them into a brief sojourn in Russia. In 1834 the order moved again to Rome and came under papal protection. The pope restored the office of grand master in 1879. 

The order slowly rebuilt itself in the twentieth century. The Knights of Malta order survived and grew to the point that it became a very powerful, albeit secretive, force in modern world politics. In 1921 it had two hundred knights and 1,800 members of all grades. 14 Today the group is headquartered at Palazzo Malta on the via Condotti in Rome, and it has a worldwide network of nine thousand knights and thousands more lower-grade members.15 It is the most elite of the Catholic orders, and although it remains behind the scenes, it has great power. While the Knights of Malta does not own any property outside Rome, the order is recognized as a sovereign state, complete with its own passports and stamps. 

The European press often regards the order as an old boys' club for aristocrats, but it is actually active on several continents in both charitable works and political action. In the United States, a branch of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM) was started in 1927, under the leadership of New York's Cardinal Spellman. Since its founding, the group has included the likes of Joseph Kennedy, Joseph Grace of W R. Grace, and presidents of companies such as General Motors and U.S. Steel. The SMOM has an influence in politics and has taken activist roles from its earliest days, starting with opposition to the New Deal of Roosevelt. In post-World War II politics the group has always leaned to the right, sometimes to the extreme. In supporting the right wing the SMOM has not shied away even from assisting Nazi war criminals. After World War II the order granted its highest honor to German army general Reinhard Gehlen, which might sound shocking but is nonetheless in line with supporting a monarchist agenda. Although the Sovereign Military Order of Malta does nothing to hide its existence or membership and does little to disguise its right-wing political agenda, it receives almost no recognition in post-Crusades history texts. 

The rival order of the Knights Templar, however, is a much more secretive entity. Because it is forced to stay underground, the order goes to great lengths to conceal its existence and membership and to disguise its activities. Nevertheless, it has survived. 

The Americas presented great opportunity to the remnant Templar factions. For many of the rank and file, the new lands represented a place to survive the religious wars and start a new life. Jacobin Catholics from Scotland, Huguenots and Catholics from France, and various dissenters from England found peace and brotherhood in the Americas. And the wealthy who had found power in the changing feudal hierarchy of the old order also found new types of power in the Americas. A handful of these people pulled the strings and enjoyed the fruits of criminal activity from their secret positions.


Chapter 1 
1. Malcolm Barber, The New Knighthood: A History of the Order of the Temple (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1994), pp. 267—71. 
2. Charles G. Addison, The History of the Knights Templar (Kempton, 111.: Adventures Unlimited Press, 1997), p. 83. 
3. Ibid., p. 88. 
4. Ibid., p. 89. 
5. John Westfall Thompson and Edgar Nathaniel Johnson, An Introduction to Medieval Europe (New York: W. W. Norton Co., 1937), p. 564. 
6. Barber, p. 237. 
7. Ibid., p. 241. 
8. John J. Robinson, Born in Blood: The Lost Secrets of Freemasonry (New York: M. Evans & Co., 1989), p. 228. 
9. Desmond Seward, The Monks of War: The Military Religious Orders (London: Penguin, 1972), p. 78. 
10. Piers Paul Read, The Templars (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2000), p. 250. 
11. Seward, p. 207. 
12. Read, p. 259. 
13. Peter Partner, The Murdered Magicians:The Templars and Their Myth (New York: Barnes & Noble, 1987), p. 60. 
14. Universe Lodge No. 705 Web site, 
15. Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas, The Hiram Key: Pharaohs, Freemasons and the Discovery of the Secret Scrolls of Jesus (Boston: Element Books, 1997), p. 313. 

Chapter 2 
1. From Dom Pedro Alcazar, Seakeeping, edited by Mark S. Harris, as posted on the Web site files/TRAVEL/Seakeeping. 
2. Ibid. 
3. Knight and Lomas, p. 297. 
4. Thompson and Johnson, p. 596. 
5. Frederick Pohl, Prince Henry Sinclair (New York: Clarkson Potter, 1967), pp. 62-3. 
6. Ibid., p. 90. 
7. Joseph R. Strayer, The Albigensian Crusades (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1992), pp. 61-70. 
8. Will Durant, The Reformation: A History of European Civilization from Wycliff to Calvin 1300-1564 (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1957), p. 112. 
9. Robinson, p. 21. 
10. Seward, p. 43. 
11. Ibid., pp. 230-1. 
12. Seward, pp. 234-6. 
13. Ibid., p. 330. 
14. Ibid., p. 313. 
15. Guy Patton and Robin Mackness, Web of Gold: The Secret Power of a Sacred Treasure (London: Sidgewick & Jackson, 2000), p. 242. 


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