On the 4th July 1187, Saladin defeated Christian forces at the “Battle of Hattin.” Many Christian crusaders were slain, many wounded, many thrown into chains.
Guy of Lusignan, the King of Jerusalem, witnessed the fall of the “Cross of Salvation”, he was overcome with pity, rushing forward without thought, as he flung his arms around the cross.
Guy of Lusignan, along with fellow warriors, were taken prisoner, to await the victor’s will, as to their fate.
Saladin so ordered, that all Templar’s with the exception of their master, were to be beheaded.
Guy de Lusignan, became the prisoner of Saladin, and one year later on the anniversary of that battle, was freed after swearing an oath, never to attack Muslims.
England, France and Germany, made the joint decision, that Jerusalem had to be re-taken, and so the Third Crusade was launched.
It was essential they had a base of operations, which to land troops and supplies. Acre was its harbour, proved to be the best option, and so it was, ships of King Philip of France and King Richard of England, set forth on their journey.
Following King Richard’s capture of Cyprus by his naval forces, the Knights Templar Grand Master; Robert de Sable made a proposal purchase of Cyprus from King Richard I (Richard – the – Lionheart). The price was agreed, of 100,000 bezants (gold currency of Byzantium), commencing with a 40,000 deposit.
It proved that the Templar’s financial status was strong, being able to raise that amount, shortly after the “Battle of Hattin.”
Acre fell to the Muslims in 1291, bringing the Christian presence in Palestine to an end.
The Knights Templar, robbed of their role as defenders of the Holy Land, saw many take up residence in Cyprus, in the Mediterranean. The Templar’s had sought their own Kingdom, but been pushed out by Muslim forces.
The Grand Master of the Knights Templar, located in France, had a status on par with European Kings. These Templar’s owned much land across Christendom, with a warrior army to back their political position. Europe’s ruling houses, found themselves indebted to these Templar’s, fearing their future was under threat.
The English throne was indebted to the Templar order, for King John had emptied the coffers of the treasury during his reign, to finance military operations. King Henry III, was faced with similar financial problems, and had no option, but to take out loans with the Knights Templar.
The Knights Templar offices in Paris held the treasury of Templar’s and French government. The Templar treasurer and the French King’s finance officer were one and the same. France found itself under Templar control.