Warriors and Bankers: Lesson 3
“The Fate of the Fleet”

Please read the Chapter 3 entitled “The Fate of the Fleet” of Butler and Dafoe’s book, The Warriors and The Bankers. Then answer the questions and try the exercise following the essay below.

It is very likely, though most scholars disagree, that the Knights Templar knew full well about Philip IV’s impending attack. Most evidence that they did not know is flawed, at best. For instance, scholars assume that Jacques de Molay knew nothing of it because he served as pallbearer at Philip IV’s sister-in-law’s funeral. Had de Molay refused, though, it is quite obvious that he would have let his knowledge of the attack be known to Philip IV,thus putting the Templars and the Templar treasure in danger sooner than expected.

Here is an excerpt from a question and answer session on Stephen Dafoe’s website, Templarhistory.com:

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Question – Is the consensus that Molay knew about King Philip’s impending arrests? If he knew, why did he not take due care?

Stephen Dafoe answers:  The arrest orders were drawn up a full two weeks prior to October 13th. Although many suggest that the Templars knew, there is no direct evidence to support this. However, it is probable that they did on the basis that like any military operation they would have people vested with the task of keeping eyes and ears open. Why did they not resist arrest? It has always been my theory that as the Templars need answer only to the Pope, the arrest orders of Phillip would not (in the eyes of DeMolay)hold water. I believe that DeMolay thought the arrest would be short lived and that Phillip would look bad for it in the eyes of the Church. At the same time the Templars would appear victimized and thus regain some support in Christendom which they had lost with the fall of Acre in 1291.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

We can be almost certain that the Templars knew, because only 620 Templars were arrested in France, out of 3,000 or more as some scholars say there might have been as many as 10,000 Templars at the time. Eighteen Templar ships went missing just prior to Philip IV’s attack. It is clear that they knew, because at best only 1/5 of the Templars in France were captured. Had they not known, more would surely have been captured.

The Templars could not have escaped via La Rochelle as most scholars claim.Philip IV would have had sentries along the roads of France, and would have stopped such an exodus long before they made it to La Rochelle. Where, then,did they go?

They could not have sailed to Southern Spain or Portugal, because because someone would have seen and reported them. They could not have circumnavigated England and landed in Scotland, because King Edward’s sentries would have seen them. Some think the only way for them to go was to sail far west to the Americas.

This theory shouldn’t be dismissed as quickly as it often is.

In all probability, the Templar fleet was used as a merchant fleet in the years prior to the pope’s decree to dissolve the Order. Jacques de Molay probably suspected Philip IV’s intentions in summoning him to France in 1307.Carefully laid plans were probably set in motion to gradually evacuate the Templars from France, but managing to make it look like business as usual.The 620 Templars arrested may not have had time to evacuate. Conversely,they may have chosen to stay, so that Philip IV and Pope Clement V would go down in history as the infamous men they truly were.

Whatever the case, it is clear that over 2,000 Templars escaped from France and maybe went west, maybe went to a secret location in Europe (we’ll find out Butler & Dafoe’s theory in later chapters) or somehow were absorbed into Europe’s villages. But what became of them after that?

Copy and paste the following questions into an e-mail, insert your answers,then send to the TemplarOfficers with the subject line, “W & B Lesson 3 Answers from_______ (your magikal/Templar name)”:

1.  T/F – 3,000 Templars were arrested in France.

2.  Why might de Molay still have come to France even if he knew ofPhilip IV’s plans?

3.  T/F – The Templars sailed away secretly definitely from the French port of La Rochelle.

4.  Name two places the escaping Templar Fleet probably did NOT sail to.

5.  T/F – It would have been easy for the Templars to quietly be absorbed

into the European population of the time.

6.  How many ships sailed from France? Approximately how many men?

7.  T/F – the Templar fleet was used as a merchant fleet prior to the Order being dissolved in 1307.

8.  Please give two possible reasons why the 620 Knights who got arrested might have stayed in France? (2 reasons).

Essay Question:  Do some digging.  Find whatever you can about the life of Sir Jacques de Molay. Write what you find in 200 words or more, and then based on what you know about the man, tell us in 100 words or more why deMolay might have decided to go to France and risk arrest. (Fora total of 300 words).

Top | Studyhall