The story of the trial of the Knights Templar is one of the most intriguing trials in history. The case was brought against them by the king of France, Philip the Fair, who hoped to both destroy their power and finally assert his own authority over the Pope. Accused of heresy, the Templars of France were arrested and imprisoned, and had their goods seized, on 13 October 1307. Subjected to brutal interrogation and torture, many Templars made astonishing confessions: during the initiation ceremony, recruits were forced to deny Christ, spit on the Cross and engage in indecent acts.
In The Persecution of the Templars, Alain Demurger explores the everyday reality of a trial that lasted five years, from its early days to the official suppression of the order in 1312, and onwards to 1314, when leaders Jacques de Molay and Geoffroy de Charnay were burned at the stake. Through first-hand testimony and written records of the interrogations of 231 French Templars, the book illuminates the stories of hundreds of ordinary members, some of whom testified at the trial, as well as the many others who denied the charges or retracted their confessions.
A deeply researched and immersive account that lays out a striking vision of the relentless persecution, but also the oft-underestimated resistance, of the once-mighty Knights Templar.
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