Volume Four: Descent Into Shadows

Richard Baigent

Deus Ex

...but despite Clement's later efforts to annul the proceedings, the confessions had become matters of record. Those who repented were spared the flames, while fifty knights who chose to recant their confessions -- becoming "relapsi," relapsed heretics -- were promptly burned at the stake. The remaining members of the order in France quickly admitted their guilt, and in 1311 an Apostolic Decree was issued dissolving the order. The Templar Knights had once been subject to no king or law; but in the end, they were swallowed by history.

Many have debated whether the rather ignominibus dissolution of the order was entirely accidental, while some have even gone so far as to suggest that it was part of a larger plan on the Templar's part. Such a massive, powerful organization -- the argument goes -- could not have been brought so low, so easily. Obscure speculation concerning a mysterious hay wain that departed their commandery in Paris has led certain researchers to believe that they may have been protecting the secret of the Holy Grail, or the secret of transmutation, but still others contend that the Templar Knights merely went underground and founded the powerful, secretive banking societies of Switzerland...