No, your eyes haven’t deceived you. The man is of African origin. Not much is known about him but he’s believed to a northern African. His assumed name was De Payens means ‘from beyond the sea‘ in Medieval French. No one knows his real name and sadly it was stricken from history after the persecution of his order. The Knight Templar.
I discovered this astonishing bit of lost history when researching for a historical fiction novel based upon the Knights Templar who were also called the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ. Their code of honor was based upon those called the Nazarene Warrior Saints. Allegedly, that’s who trained them in the mastery of the sword as to why they couldn’t fight for the Pope or a king. One of the most famous kings of the Middle Ages was a Knight Templar. Richard the Lionheart.
If you look at what they were doing during a time when it was dangerous to defend the common man you can easily see why so many rulers want to get rid of them. They sat up schools, hospitals, banks to assist the poor. Questioned the legality of the merchant’s rule. They were enlightening and helping the common people.
There are several recorded cases of their local chapter preventing a mass witch burning, forcing people to clean up the streets to prevent the spread of diseases. They were known for looking for scientific, medical reasons and causes for illnesses not superstitions.
They were greatly criticized for educating girls and even saying there’s nothing wrong with women biological make-up and there’s nothing wrong with women enjoying sex within her marriage and that extramarital sex was wrong for both genders.
No one could out fence them so their ruling that the person was innocent or deserved justice was the final verdict.
Some may asked if they couldn’t be beat how were they captured? Their families were kidnapped and held hostage.
Considering how famous they were among the common people it was hard to touch them without very serious charges. So it’s not hard to see why so the kings and noblemen of Portugal, Spain, England, France, Germany and beyond wanted them gone.
As Grand Master, Hugues de Payens led the Order for almost twenty years until his death, helping to establish the Order’s foundations as an important and influential military and financial institution. He established one of the first banks that loan to the common man. On his visit to England and Scotland in 1128, he raised men and money for the Order, and also founded their first House in London and another near Edinburgh at Balantrodoch, now known as Temple, Midlothian. The Latin Rule laying down the way of life of the Order, attributed to Hugues de Payens and Bernard of Clairvaux, was confirmed in 1129 at the Council of Troyes over which Pope Honorius II presided.
This is the Wikipedia definition. I found another accord about the confirmation of 1129 having nothing to do with a Pope. According to the one I found the Pope refused to sanctify the order at first because they couldn’t be soldiers of the Pope.
The Pope involvement sound more like something added later after they became famous. I simply can’t see a Pope blessing an organization which is telling you, you’re going to hell for what you’re doing.
Hugues de Payens died, apparently in Palestine, in 1136. The circumstances and date of his death are not recorded in any chronicle, though the Templars commemorated him every year on 24 May, and it’s presumed he died of old age but no one knows for sure. The 16th century historian Marco Antonio Guarini claimed that Hugues was buried in the Church of San Giacomo at Ferrara. But again, no one knows where he’s burired. He was succeeded as Grand Master by Robert de Craon.
His order goes on to become one of the famous and noblest in human history. One which every solider wish to imitate. Their code of honor is mimicked in every movie or book about an righteous hero fighting for the good of the people. Their code of honor is used in every movie from the Jedi Knight to the Matrix. It’s even believed to be implemented in later retelling of Camelot.
It was later discovered that Founder of the Red Cross, Clara Barton belonged to the female order of the Knight Templar as to why she selected the American version of the Templar Cross as her symbol. It’s not proven Florence Nightingale was a member of the female order also but many suspected she was.
In short, they were men belonging to the Age of Reason before their time but their teachings affect the world we live in today.
I do wish the Age of Exploration had left history alone. Like it or not, you can’t changed what has already happened because historians makes more than one copy of their records.
While most historians agree that the Knights Templar was fully disbanded over 700 years ago by the brutal executions of its members, there are some people who believe the order went underground and remains in existence in some form to this day.