The Da Vinci Code and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade would have you believe that the Knights Templar is an ancient secret organization that protected the Holy Grail or a division of the Priory of Sion who is guarded with protecting the bloodline of Christ. While the falsehood of these myths doesn't come as a shock for most people, National Geographic points out that the members of the Knights Templar were actually just "extremely boring Roman Catholics.”
The Knights Templar were a religious order of unmarried men, formed around A.D. 1119 to defend the Kingdom of Jerusalem and protect Christian pilgrims during the Crusades. Over the next two centuries, Christians donated their land and their money to the order (as was common with religious societies), making the knights powerful financiers.
The Templars continued passing around money and land until 1307, when the French King Philip IV, who was running low on funds, decided to go after theirs. “The standard accusation against your political enemies in the early 14th century was to accuse them of being involved in heresy or magic,” Nicholson says.
Head over to National Geographic to read more.
Feature image via Paramount Pictures