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The Templars

An assemblage of European powers launched the first crusade and captured Jerusalem in 1099, the capture of the city which contains many holy sites and attracted a steady stream of pilgrims. While Jerusalem offered security to pilgrims from Europe, the roads which the pilgrims had to travel to reach Jerusalem were extreme dangerous. Armed raiding bands robbed and slaughtered the many pilgrims between 1099 and 1120. The Patriarch of Jerusalem, the Christain ruler of Jerusalem, founded the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ in 1120 and for many years these knights protected the pilgrim roads. The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ were granted barracks near the Ancient site of the temple of Solomon. This site led to the knights being referred to as the order of Temple of Solomon, and later Knights of the Temple, and later simply as the Templars. Templars power was greatly enhanced in 1139, when the papal bull "Omne Datum Optimum" granted them immunity for all laws except church law and immunity from taxation. The Templars were now a power onto themselves and in European culture dominated by feudal culture of subservience to local and regional nobility, the Templars power began to be resented by Kings and powerful nobles. The Battle of Montgisard in 1177 might have been the Templars most glorious military achievement, though heavily outnumbered 500 mounted Templars supported by infantry were able to defeat the enemy in the field and secure Jerusalem for another decade. When Jerusalem was captured by armies of Saladin in 1187, the religious order then became more vulnerable to criticism as they were founded to protect pilgrims that could no longer visit Jerusalem. The Templars had founded an international system of finance to support their earlier mission, after the fall of Jerusalem this system which had previously been a means to an end, became an end in itself.

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