March 18, 1314 - the final stage of the Temple

"It was the final act of the Templar Trial which would set the stage for the legends that the Templars have survived to this day. On March 18, 1314 (although also March 11 has been mentuoned as the most probable date), Jacques de Molay, Geoffroi de Charney, the Preceptor of Normandy, and two other high Temple officials were brought out to confess their sins in public ceremony on the Ile des Javiaux island in the Seine River, Paris, before being sentenced to perpetual imprisonment. Things went differently.

The other two Templar officials repeated their confessions without incident. De Molay, however, finally rebelled and recanted his confession, shouting out the Order's innocence. De Charney joined him in repudiating his own confession and defending the Order. The King immediately ordered that they both be burned at the stake. Alternatively, this death sentence was a direct result of the cardinal legates' decisions and actions. They died protesting their innocence and the innocence of the Order. 

By the end of the year, both Pope Clement and King Philip were dead. Within 15 years of De Molay's execution, the Capetian line -which had survived in an unbroken line of sons for over four centuries-became extinct. All four of Philip's sons died young and without direct heirs. This strange progression of events gave rise to legends attributing the Capetians' misfortune to De Molay's dying curse. As he burned, De Malay, so the tales said, called the Pope and the King to divine judgment within the year, and cursed the Capetian line, itself. These legends, like De Nogaret's charges, persist to this day."

This blog quotes, with minor additions, from pages 69-70 of Stiles, Paula Regina, "BETWEEN TWO FAITHS: THE ARABIZATION OF THE KNIGHTS TEMPLAR DURING THE CRUSADES" (1999). Open Access Master's Theses. Paper 1805, with some minor additions from Wikipedia. The illustration shows a detail of a miniature of the burning of the Grand Master of the Templars and another Templar. Note the shape of the island, representing the Île des Javiaux in the Seine, where the executions took place. From the Chroniques de France ou de St Denis, BL Royal MS 20 C vii f. 48r, source Wikipedia

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