What Happened to the Knights Templar on Friday the 13th?

What Happened to the Knights Templar on Friday the 13th?

Friday the 13th is often considered an unlucky day in Western superstition, a belief that can be traced back to one pivotal event in the early 14th century involving the Knights Templar. This day marked the beginning of the end for this once-powerful and wealthy order of knights, leading to their dramatic downfall. The events that unfolded on Friday, October 13, 1307, remain one of the most striking examples of the combination of religious fervor, political intrigue, and greed in medieval Europe.

The Rise of the Knights Templar

Before delving into their downfall, it's essential to understand who the Knights Templar were and why they held such power. Founded in 1119, the Templars were initially charged with protecting Christian pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land. Over time, their mission expanded, and they became one of the most formidable military orders during the Crusades. Beyond their military prowess, the Templars developed a vast economic network across Christendom, establishing early forms of banking that allowed them to amass great wealth and influence.

The Downfall Begins

The beginning of the end for the Knights Templar started with the loss of the Holy Land and the Crusades' diminishing importance, which undermined their reason for existence. Additionally, their immense wealth and power had made them enviable and feared across Europe. King Philip IV of France, deeply in debt to the Templars and covetous of their wealth, saw an opportunity to eliminate his debts and assert control over their riches.

On Friday, October 13, 1307, under orders from King Philip, French Templars were simultaneously arrested, including the Grand Master, Jacques de Molay. The charges were shockingly severe and included heresy, idolatry, and sodomy. These accusations were largely fabricated by the king's officials to undermine the Templars' credibility and justify their arrest and the seizure of their assets.

The Trials and Tortures

Following their arrest, the Templars were subjected to torturous interrogations intended to force confessions. Many Templars, including Jacques de Molay, initially confessed to some charges under the agony of torture but later retracted their statements. Despite the dubious nature of these confessions, they were used as a basis for further actions against the order.

The trials of the Knights Templar were a mix of ecclesiastical and royal proceedings, reflecting the complex relationship between the Papacy and European monarchies. Pope Clement V, under pressure from King Philip, disbanded the order in 1312 through the papal bull Vox in excelso. The assets of the Templars were supposed to be transferred to the Knights Hospitaller, but much of their wealth was seized by local monarchs.

The Legacy of the Last Templars

The last Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, was burned at the stake in 1314, along with his second-in-command, Geoffroi de Charney. Before his death, it is said that de Molay cursed King Philip IV and Pope Clement V, claiming they would soon meet him before God. Intriguingly, both the pope and the king died within the year, further cementing the legend surrounding the Templars' demise.


The dissolution of the Knights Templar on Friday the 13th left a lasting legacy that contributed to the day's association with bad luck. The dramatic fall of this once-mighty order is a testament to the volatile mix of power, greed, and politics that characterized medieval Europe. The Templars' story has since become enveloped in myth and legend, inspiring countless books, movies, and conspiracy theories. Yet, at the heart of these tales lies a real historical event that forever changed the course of European history and contributed to the mystique of Friday the 13th.

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