Despite the increasing scholarship devoted to the study of the Templar order, founded in 1119, the mystery surrounding the Templars endures. Secret societies from the Freemasons to the Ordo Templi Orientis claim descent from this religious order of warrior-monks. As the private army of the pope, the Knights Templar were initially established to protect Christian pilgrims travelling to the Holy Land but grew to become one of the most powerful organisations in the Middle Ages. With period illustrations from manuscripts from the Crusades, interpretive romantic paintings from the 18th and 19th centuries and contemporary photos by Steven Brooke and others of former Templar strongholds in Europe and Jerusalem, James Wasserman, author of the bestselling The Templars and the Assassins , provides a fascinating history of the Order and the many mysteries and legends that still surround it. Wasserman presents the evidence for the Templar connection to mystical Islamic organisations, such as the Assassins, as well as their ties to heretical groups, such as the Cathars, who were targeted by a crusade in southern France to expunge the challenge they presented to the orthodoxy of their time. In addition to providing an overview of the Templars' actions during the Crusades, Wasserman revisits the trial and the charges levelled against them, showing how the Order was ruthlessly crushed. He, also, explores the nature of the treasure they left behind, which has fuelled popular imagination for centuries.
James Wasserman is the author of the bestselling The Templars and the Assassins: The Militia of Heaven, The Mystery Traditions, and The Slaves Shall Serve: Meditations on Liberty. He is a longtime student of the occult sciences and lives in New York City.