The Real Da Vinci Code
The Knights Templar
The Knights Templar were a real military order, a collective of Christian soldiers, who were pilgrims to Jerusalem. The order was born out of a desire to do something practical for God, and since they were fighting men, they used their sword-power to protect other Christian pilgrims to the East.
They formed shortly after the Crusades began in around 1120 and were headed by a French knight called Hugues de Payens. Their true name is Knights of Christ in the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem. They had indeed established themselves in the Temple of Solomon but became known as the Poor Knights of the Temple, or The Knights Templar.
There is tell that the order became guardians of the Holy Grail after they discovered it hidden under the floor of the Temple of Solomon. The Grail was reportedly secreted there sometime during the Herodian Dynasty after the death of Christ. The trouble is that by the time The Knights Templar were in the temple, they would have had to dig down about 47 meters to reach the level of the Herodian Dynasty. There is no existing evidence of a huge dig like this, which makes it seem unlikely.
In time, the Templars garnered favor with noble families who traveled under their protection. They began attracting recruits from the ranks of these families as well. They received donations of vast material wealth and succeeded in setting up the first system of international banking.
Now wealthy and enormously well connected, the
Templars were an obvious target for those who believed they could better use their riches.
Philip IV of France condemned them as heretics and organized a brilliantly orchestrated coup. On
13 October 1307, the Templars were individually hunted down and tortured or destroyed for their crime. The order, which had been officially
the Vatican, was denounced by Pope Clement V at the same time. It's not known if any knights survived or whether the Templar still exists.