In the 13th century, the Order of the Temple is a financial and commercial multinational company running united Europe and lending money to the kings whose coffers are empty.
In two centuries, it became a central bank that helps the monarchs to finance the Crusades , or to pay their ransoms when they are captured. His headquarters are a huge fortress that stretches across a whole district of Paris, the Temple district. There are no more of it than street names: rue du Temple, rue Vieille du Temple, or rue des Blancs-Manteaux. The originality of the Order looks beyond its military and financial power. Those who enter the Order especially expect spiritual benefits. In the Order itself, there are very different degrees of initiation. Some monks never got a knighthood. Some knights were never initiated to the higher grades.
Even inside the Order, very few leaders know all its secrets. It is said that the official and visible Grand Master was secretly doubled by a real Grand Master, unknown to almost everyone and who did not therefore run the risk to be taken.
This cult of secrecy and this military hierarchy are found, although much faded, among the Freemasons or the Rosicrucians, who are the heirs. The highest initiation conferred by the Temple forms a spiritual and temporal elite,holding the secrets of this world and of the other world. This particular elite formed the sacred heart of Christendom, as the Soufism remains the sacred heart of Islam. Unhappily Christendom lost its own. The Knights Insiders were very important in the destiny of Europe. They control all the sea routes, the known and even the unknown ones. In ancient portolans they found the route to America and its treasures.
Thus a few of them settled there and opened counters and mines. Vast fortunes in precious metals and gems swell the profits of their banking system, which covers all of Europe and the Near East. During the reign of Philip the Fair, the Temple was a state within a state, which carved the currency, emited promissory notes, inherited many fortunes, makes gold mines, traded precious metals and gems, sold remedies, lands, jewelry, indulgences and spices.
The Poor Knights acted as bankers, soldiers, road police, customs, surgeons, doctors, pharmacists, hotel-keepers and transporters. They were keeping leper colonies where the most infectious patients received care and food, and could even attend mass and receive communion through a window. The ships were sailing the western seas, snapping their pennants to the four winds. This unashamed success bugs the King of France, Philippe, the most powerful man in Europe… after the Knights Templar! If Philip the Fair wants the end of the Temple, Pope Clement V protects the Poor Knights.
Jacques de Molay, last Grand Master of the Temple, learns that a plot is brewing against the Order. In a final reaction before his arrest, he ordered a brigade to escort six heavy trucks which left Paris at dusk, through the western road. These wagons bring to an unknown destination the colossal treasure of the Templars.
In the morning, Jacques de Molay and the leading dignitaries of the Knights Templar are arrested and jailed. After a mere mockery of a trial which lasted seven years, when they were accused of the worst calumnies, when confessions were extracted under torture, the most powerful Order in the world was finally dissolved. its property was confiscated, its leaders found guilty of heresy and burned alive at the stake. It is reported that “the Grand Master having nothing free except the tongue and almost suffocated with smoke, said aloud: ” Clement, iniquitous judge and cruel executioner, I adjourn you to appear, within forty days, before the court of the Supreme Judge.” (source)François Mézeray (1610-1683)
And Clement V died within those days! Over the centuries this popular legend got stronger, reviewed by Maurice Druon in The Damned Kings, where the curse became: “Pope Clement! Sir William! King Philip! Within a year, I summon you to appear before the tribunal of God to receive your fair trial! Damn! Damn! Damn! Curse you until the thirteenth generation of your race.” Good account: thirteen generations later, for the Bourbons, it is Louis XVI. The scaffold replaced the stake. It is said that during the execution of Louis XVI, a man in the crowd would have shouted: “Jacques de Molay, thou art avenged!”
Even if Druon exaggerated the curse -which is not established- Molay would have left, besides his imprecations, detailed instructions for future times so that the Temple survives its dissolution. They had to recover the treasure. Where are the wagons filled with gold?