Another History of the Knights Templar, Part 4

To understand the Templars is to understand the Normans, and vice versa. There are no two ways about it.

Where the Normans went, Templar encampments followed. The absolute epicenter of Templar activity was in Upper Normandy and radiated into England, which the Normans had conquered in 1066 AD. We see Templar encampments in the Kingdom of Sicily and in Syria and Lebanon, another Templar holding. There can be no mistake- the Knights Templar was a Norman enterprise, first and foremost.

The Norman conquest of England was no walk in the park. The Angles and Saxons who populated southeast England had terrified Europe before pushing the Britons to the western fringes of the British Isles. And the Britons were no pushovers either, having given the Romans no end of headaches. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the Normans launched an impressive war machine across the Channel, well-trained soldiers using the state of the art equipment of the time.

It was like D-Day in reverse -- a stunning achievement of coordination and military logistics for a relatively obscure band of Vikings and Franks. Like all invasions, it was most certainly costly.

Where all that money came from is anybody's guess.

Mixed in with the Nordic Vikings in the Norman nation were Gallo-Romans, or Romanized Gauls. These would have been the descendants of soldiers and and mercenaries enlisted in the Roman army as the indigenous population declined.

The Franks are even more interesting- they were a tribe from western Germany who gave the world the famous (or infamous) Merovingian dynasty, which has been pulled into the esoteric Templarist orbit in the wake of books like Holy Blood, Holy Grail. This tribe also produced the Carolinian dynasty which in turn gave us Charlemagne.

Given that the Frankish nation gave us two crucial dynasties in the rise of Christendom, how do we account for the presence of Franks in an upstart nation such as the Normans? The epicenter of Frankish power was middle Europe, a long way away from the rainy coasts of Normandy.

The question becomes, what might caused their disaffection with their kinsmen?

As we saw, Charlemagne declared war on the indigenous beliefs of northern Europe, slaughtering tens of thousands of "pagans" to establish his Holy Roman Empire. The Normans converted in the 10th Century- remarkably late for such an ambitious people. The old beliefs went "underground," as opposed to dying out.

There's a certain breed of believer who would have been perfectly at home underground.

That pre-Christian beliefs survived among the Normans is recorded in the incongruous iconography in Norman and Templar churches, Roslyn Chapel (built by the Norman-derived Sinclair family), as well as in sites like Royston Cave (which we'll get to soon).

Pushed west?
The heartland of the Franks and the Mithraists

But does it go deeper than smatterings of folkloric icons here and there? Given that the Normans took up the ancient Sun cross as the Templar banner, it's worth noting that the Frankish precincts of eastern France/western Germany were ground zero for the Mithraic warrior cults. Given that there's no shortage of compelling evidence that the Templars/Normans were heretics at best and apostates at worst, did they find something besides the Ark of the Covenant in the travels?

Did they find their history?

In Casear and Christ, Will Durant explores the opinion of most historians that rather than help save the Roman Empire like Constantine intended (and conservatives still insist to this day) Christianity actually destroyed it and brought Western Europe to its knees for much of what is now called the Dark Ages (much as Globalism is doing today).

Durant refers to the opinion of the man he calls the “greatest historian,” Edward Gibbon, when he notes that:
“(Christianity) had declared war upon the classic culture- upon science, philosophy, literature, and art... it had turned men’s thoughts from the tasks of this world to an enervating preparation for some cosmic catastrophe, and had lured them into seeking individual salvation through asceticism and prayer, rather than collective salvation through devotion to the state. It had disrupted the unity of the Empire while soldier emperors were struggling to preserve it...Christ’s victory had been Rome’s death.”
Durant was being diplomatic. Gibbon’s own words are quite a bit more fiery. Gibbon specifically condemns Christianity for quelling the ancient martial spirit of the Romans:
“ Christianity had some influence on the decline and fall of the Roman empire. The clergy successfully preached the doctrines of patience and pusillanimity; the active virtues of society were discouraged; and the last remains of the military spirit were buried in the cloister; a large portion of public and private wealth was consecrated to the specious demands of charity and devotion ... the attention of the emperors was diverted from camps to synods; the Roman world was oppressed by a new species of tyranny; and the persecuted sects became the secret enemies of their country.”
Ruefully, Gibbon then credits the decadence of the pampered Romans for the rise of Christianity, admitting that the warrior ethic of the Empire had already been in decline:
“The sacred indolence of the monks was devoutly embraced by a servile and effeminate age; but, if superstition had not afforded a decent retreat, the same vices would have tempted the unworthy Romans to desert, from baser motives, the standard of the republic.”
Christianity had also taken hold amongst the various barbarian tribes, who saw it as a ticket to their acceptance as overlords once they had smashed the last vestiges of the once-mighty western empire. This process had begun in the early fourth century through the conversion of the Goths by St. Wulfila (c.311-c.383 CE). Gibbon offers a backhanded compliment to Christianity, commending it for helping mitigate the beserker spirit of the Barbarian hordes who were moving in to take over the corrupted and emasculated city of Rome.
“...but the pure and genuine influence of Christianity may be traced in its beneficial, though imperfect, effects on the Barbarian proselytes of the North. If the decline of the Roman empire was hastened by the conversion of Constantine, his victorious religion broke the violence of the fall, and mollified the ferocious temper of the conquerors.”
If Gibbon was contemptuous of Constantine’s new cult of state, Sir James Frazer (himself the descendant of Normans) was downright scathing:
The saint and the recluse, disdainful of earth and rapt in ecstatic contemplation of heaven, became in popular opinion the highest ideal of humanity, displacing the old ideal of the patriot and hero who, forgetful of self, lives and is ready to die for the good of his country. The earthy city seemed poor and contemptible to men whose eyes beheld the City of God coming in the clouds of heaven.

A general disintegration of the body politic set in. The ties of the state and the family were loosened: the structure of society tended to resolve itself into its individual elements and thereby to relapse into barbarism; for civilization is only possible through the active co-operation of the citizens and their willingness to subordinate their private interests to the common good. Men refused to defend their country and even to continue their kind.
Some Christian apologists counter these arguments by blaming Rome’s lingering imperial attitude to citizenship, which had disenfranchised a large portion of its population. For instance, the army had become largely composed of German mercenaries, most of whom were denied full citizenship.

Other historians cite the hordes of immigrants that colonized the Western Empire, as well as the assaults of the Asian Huns in the Fourth century. And it is true that Pagan Rome- the Rome of Jupiter and the Pantheon- was monumentally corrupt and unfair. Many iniquitous laws and customs that sprang from Rome’s tribal roots were never reformed.

And by ‘never’ I mean not even in the glory days of Constantine’s cult of state.

In fact, things were about to get much, much worse for peasants and workers when the Feudal System would emerge from the ashes of the Western Empire.

That cold, hard truth is that Constantine and Theodosius had created a imperial theocracy that would condemn most of the peoples of Western Europe to centuries of abject poverty, ignorance, plague and serfdom.

What must be remembered here is that Constantine’s adoption of Christianity was a shock to the Roman body politic. It would be similar to a modern American president converting to Islam.

Though Christianity was also heavily influenced by the Persian and Egyptian mystery cults that gave rise to Mithraism, it was very much a disreputable faith to Rome. It was seen as a docile and effete Oriental cult, filled with pederasts, housewives and slackers. Christians were also known to be troublemakers in the Empire, responsible for riots and acts of terrorism and vandalism.

One can only imagine what the Mithraic legionaries -- who saw themselves as the inheritors of an indomitable ancient tradition -- thought as they watched their Christian rivals surrender the Empire to savagery and superstition. Less than two centuries earlier they had been (literally) stabbed in the back by one of their own, an act that eventually led to the destruction of the ancient Western traditions. Esteemed academies of ancient learning were shuttered, revered texts were put to the bonfires, and venerable teachers and sages had been beaten to death in the streets by fanatical Christian mobs.

One can only imagine what the Mithraists felt when, through the incompetent machinations of the cowardly and corrupt Christian emperors following Theodosius, the Eternal City itself was becoming a magnet for the worst elements of the provinces. Literacy, science, and civic order were being undermined and discarded. And soon Rome itself would be the savage playground for barbarians, who raped, looted and sacked at will.

Now, just for a moment imagine that all those stoic sun worshippers, who were among the fiercest and most accomplished warriors of their time, didn’t simply abandon the faith of their fathers.

Imagine for a moment that they greatly resented the imposition of what they saw as a pacifistic and unnatural faith from the Orient on the Eternal Empire.

Just imagine that they blamed this religion for the degradation of civic virtue, for the collapse of the military, for the fall of the West and the incremental but unrelenting decline of the East.

Imagine that they were forced by circumstance to profess the Christian faith, but never in their hearts accepted its teachings.

Imagine how they and other Solar cults felt as their rivals hijacked the icons, holidays and practices of their ancient faith and grafted them on to this new state cult behemoth.

Imagine that, along with other co-religionists, they formed tight-knit, secretive brotherhoods with elaborate rituals and codes so they could continue to practice the timeless religion and recognize one another in foreign lands.

Imagine that the practioners of this faith eventually migrated from the fanatically Christian epicenters of the Mediterranean to the unconverted hinterlands of England, Normandy and the Nordic countries. England would not be converted until the late 9th century, Normandy well into the 10th and the Nordic lands would resist the cross of Calvary until the 11th.

Imagine that at the first opportunity that came their way, these errant knights took up the old banner of the Solar equilateral cross, an ancient pre-Christian symbol whose true meaning was lost in the epidemic ignorance of the Dark Ages.

Just imagine that they would take advantage of the institutional vacuum of the Dark Ages to build an empire within an empire, one that would eventually become the greatest financial, military and naval power the western world had seen since the glory days of Rome.



  1. Very interesting hypothesis.

    "The saint and the recluse, disdainful of earth and rapt in ecstatic contemplation of heaven, became in popular opinion the highest ideal of humanity, displacing the old ideal of the patriot and hero who, forgetful of self, lives and is ready to die for the good of his country. The earthy city seemed poor and contemptible to men whose eyes beheld the City of God coming in the clouds of heaven."

    It's tempting to translate this text to fit our modern era and some manifestations of the Contactist movement, all waiting for the arrival of the New Jerusalem mothership to deliver them from this God-forsaken realm.

  2. Here somes the sun, a black box rotating at an ever increasing rate. To shine, is to become one with the luminence of the circumpunct. We are as atoms in its delight. Thank you Chris to shed more light on the subject to our inherited esoteric mysteries. Much of which is so extremily important to our journey on earth. Shine forth brave souls. Dennis

  3. The recluse may find the time tp contemplate his or hers existance. Dennis.

  4. This statement got me to thinking
    about the invisible current of
    occultists in Christendom:

    "Now, just for a moment imagine that all those stoic sun worshippers, who were among the fiercest and most accomplished warriors of their time, didn’t simply abandon the faith of their fathers."

    It makes sense that Xianity did
    not have the victory over Rome
    that history reports...

  5. Very well and clearly stated and engrossing as always. And it makes me happy to be Scandinavian! I always did have kind of a soft spot for those Viking Raiders. Not so much for Christianity.
    Best wishes, Delorus

  6. but the $94 question remains . . .

    Do the literal and/or spiritual heirs of the Mithraist/Templars yet persist in their struggle against the Empire , , , ?

    Or, have they 'sucessfully' became the Empire . . . ?

    If so, what was it all about anyway ?

    Does human nature always triumph, at the expense of human beings ?

  7. @ Joe,

    I think I found my 'quote of the day' for tomorrow's Daily Grail news briefs! :)

  8. Great stuff, Chris

    This is a fascinating and educating series of posts. People need to read this.


  9. ". . .filled with pederasts, housewives and slackers. Christians were also known to be troublemakers in the Empire, responsible for riots and acts of terrorism and vandalism."

    Darned Christians! They sound like yesterday's Communists, today's Islamists: repsonsible for every single bad thing that happens, everywhere, and nothing good, ever. When I see such a contradictory laundry list of blame as the quote above, the best I can do is hold my nose and hope the reading gets better.

  10. MD- check your history. Read the early Apologists and what charges they were responding to. I'm not editorializing, I'm recounting the opinion of the Roman hierarchy. And Christians got off light compared to a lot of other cults, such as the Bacchants.

  11. The notion that the Mithraists went underground is compelling and something I'm going to seriously look into. What came to mind on reading the article was the likelihood that this underground group would have had little difficulty in hiding and/or protecting those other surviving pre-Chridtian cults that were persecuted. The Ptolomaic/Babylonian "astro-gnostic" theology of the Graeco-Egyptian tradition common to the majority of them would surely have made this a simple matter. One can, of course, trace the politicking that went on between known factions in subsequent (recorded) history and suppose a connection too . . .
    Thank's again for another fascinating article!

  12. Chris - been giving thought to your stance on the Batman films as overtly facist in nature. Then something I hand't realized finally dawned on me. The first great Batman movie came out about a year before the first Gulf War. The others by Director Nolan, during our two most recent wars. It's clear that Nolan's films especially, do have a dark, authoritarian vibe to them a sort of " my way or the highway " feel, coming from the Bat. Are you saying that you believe the films are a message to us, about the intentions of the Powers That Be? As we watch them tighten their grip, is the Dark Knight their symbol of how they see themselves? Love to know your thoughts, and thanks, as always-

  13. Again Chris wonderful part 4 of the all. I think you are indeed on to something with the under ground movement of the Persian Cult which would be a direct response to oppression of their culture and faith. Confronting a power that baits and switch, to hijack ones own symbols while demonizing them to the public under a new found power, is a dirty and dangerous game. The old battle between the light and the dark. And the victors get to re-write the history. Also of interest is your point about a modern day, USA, where a Muslim President takes power and converts a whole Christian based Nation Islam Ideals. The underground will be getting quite crowded...