Monday, March 19, 2007

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Hiding Place of the Grail...

So, I've been reading some books about the Knights Templar and the crusades recently. For those who have been living under a rock the past few years, the Templars are the guys who supposedly have the Holy Grail, knew that Jesus had kids with Mary Magdalene, have the head of John the Baptist, hid away treasure (that's still out there!) beyond the dreams of Avarice, and probably cured cancer in their free time too. The Templars are part of the whole conspiracy in The DaVinci Code and have been conflated with the Knights of the Round Table for hundreds of years now.

But the fact is that some of these guys couldn't find their asshole with a map. Really.

For instance, take one particular Grand Master of the Templars, the supreme leader (one might say, "The Decider") of the Templar Order, by the name of Bernard de Tremelai. He was leading the Templars at the siege of city called Ascalon. The wall was breached, and de Tremelai charged in along with 40 other Templars. He then ordered the rest of the Templars to turn their backs to the city and keep all the other Christian troops out.

Let's be clear. This guy thought he and 40 other Templar knights could subdue the entire complement of Egyptian troops in the city, thousands in all, by themselves. He was so sure that he was more afraid of the rest of the Christian army stealing the glory and plunder away from him than of the thousands of Egyptian troops.

It should come as no surprise de Tremelai and his men got wiped out.

But that's just one example. Throughout these narratives, the Templars make terrible decisions, both military and political. They ally themselves with idiots and follow those idiots to their doom. When the Muslim leaders are divided and would expend their energy fighting each other if just left to self-destruct, the Templars attack the Muslims, causing the Muslims to unite to fight the Christians. They flout the authority of just about everyone, because they are legally only answerable to the pope, to the point that they piss just about everyone off sooner or later (leading to their eventual destruction). They let dumbass secular leaders who have just arrived in the Holy Land and don't know jack about what's going on bully them into campaigns they know are doomed from the start. And on and on.

Now, to be fair, the secular leaders across Christendom at that time are pretty damned stupid too. But most of them haven't been mythologized into some order of amazing superheroes who kept huge secrets for hundreds of years.

The chances of the Templars keeping secret that they have the Holy Grail, to pick one common myth, is about the same as the Bush regime keeping secret that they fired a whole bunch of US Attornerys for purely political reasons. And you know how that worked out.


At 1:49 PM, Blogger R. Paul Wiegand said...

To be fair, there is Biblical precedent for that choice: Judges 7:1-8. God gets Gideon to gradually reduce his troop levels to 300 (coincidence?) in order that, when they were victorious, the only explanation would be that God helped them.

So perhaps the Knights weren't arrogant about their talents, but merely operating under the sincere belief (as so many theists in history have) that God was on their side.

Guess they weren't as in with God as Gideon was. More's the pity for them ...


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