The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon a.k.a. The Order of the Temple a.k.a. The Knights Templar were a Christian religious order founded during The Crusades. Despite the title of poor fellow soldiers, the Order eventually became renowned for being the wealthiest Church Militant, especially renowned for its banking prowess. However, they were never quite as rich as they were believed to be.
The Order began in the wake of the First Crusade. The Outremer (Across-the-Sea) conquests led to Crusader Kingdoms in Jerusalem and Acre, and the order was founded by its first Grand Master, Hugues de Payens in 1119. It's original membership included 9, Hugues himself and 8 of his fellow noble relations. Their stated aim was to protect pilgrims travelling from Europe to the Holy Land and back. This service in the course of centuries extended to hospitality and banking, as pilgrims could store their wealth with the Templars and withdrawn from coffers at a later date. From its very beginning, the Order was controversial. The notion of Christians carrying swords to defend pilgrims for holy purpose raised more than a few eyebrows. It took Bernard de Clairvaux, one of the greatest orators of the age - and later the driving force behind the Second Crusade - who was believed to be the nephew of one of the original 9, to come to their defence. In his pamphlet, In Defense of the New Knighthood, he argued that Templars could serve the Church and carry swords under the prerogative of Saint Augustine's just-war. Clairvaux noted that, a Templar Knight, is truly a fearless knight, and secure on every side, for his soul is protected by the armour of faith, just as his body is protected by the armour of steel. He is thus doubly-armed, and need fear neither demons nor men. With this legitimacy, the Templars were able to claim donations from several noblemen and neighbouring Kings across Europe. Templars were required to take a vow of chastity, a vow of poverty, forsake other titles and devote themselves to the Holy Life and become Warrior Monk. The Order itself was granted several tracts of land across England, France (the true heart of Templardom), Spain, Portugal, modern day Croatia and Poland, among other places. In exchange Pope Innocent II, on the advice of Bernard, exempted them from taxes and conferred full independence from any authority except that of the Pope.
The Templars in Jerusalem claimed the Al Aqsa mosque as their base of operations, believing that the lost Temple of Solomon was buried beneath it. This association with Solomon and their occupation of religious buildings during the Crusades formed the seed of their later legend, as well as provide the Temple of their title. But for the most part, the Templars served as a military order of exceptional versatility. Templars had proper ranks between Knights, Chaplains and Sergeants. The Knights were the elite fighting force, while the Sergeants, also known as brothers were the poorer recruits. Only Knights, recruited from the noble aristocracy (though in the early days, noble ancestry wasn't necessarily required), wore the iconic Templar regalia of White Surcoat over Chain Mail emblazoned with a Red Cross on its chest. The sergeants, drawn from the lower classes and so the majority, wore black habits and served as infantrymen or servants. Chaplains wore green and were responsible for religious services.
They were famous during the Crusades for their discipline, their refusal to retreat from battle and their religious devotion. The Templars played a key role in the Third Crusade, thwarting a few victories by Saladin and fighting alongside King Richard I and King Louis VII, but were also considered to be the Spanner in the Works on later crusades, especially the Sixth Crusade, because they argued against grand reconquests in the Middle East because they couldn't be held in the long term. They also served with the Spanish and Portuguese monarchs during the Reconquista, though in Iberia, the various monarchs made it very clear who was in charge and preferred to use homegrown Orders such as the Orders of Santiago and Caltrava. The Templars gradually constituted a sort of Kingdom unto itself. They built castles, fortresses, as well as garrisoned towns, they had a proper organization with a Grand Master, elected for life and based in Jerusalem. Templar territories in various regions were organized into provinces with commanders and preceptors manning these posts, most of whom were appointed by vote. The Templars by the mid-1200s, possessed property across Western Europe, the Mediterranean and the Holy Land. For a time, the Templars "owned" the island of Cyprus, having bought it off Richard the Lionheart after he captured it, but sold it back to him when they realised that it was too much for them. Their military strength and noble vows and renunciation of titles, gave them credibility to collect, store and transport bullion and other valuables across a wide region. Storehouses holding reserve currency and their general bureaucratic efficiency, command of land and sea trade routes made them attractive to bankers and kings, in addition to pilgrims. From this skill with banking and finance, the association of Templars and treasure entered the conspiracy legend.
However, it should also be noted that they were never quite as rich or as powerful as was generally assumed. They frequently occupied key positions in royal courts, effectively running the French treasury (which was part of the cause of their fall), but were at the mercy of Kings as Philip IV proved during the Trial of the Templars, and as the Kings of England proved when they frequently used the Templars as a piggy-bank and, in the case of Edward I 'the Hammer of the Scots', as part of his armies during his campaigns in Scotland, forcing the Masters of both the English and Scottish Temples to swear fealty to him. They also had the disadvantage of, unlike their colleagues the Hospitallers and the Teutonic Knights, not having a defined base to call their own, like the Teutons in Prussia and the Hospitallers in Rhodes.
The Rise and Fall of the Templars, seen in retrospect, is a case of classic Mission Creep. The Order's original purpose was to protect pilgrims but it gradually expanded to serving as a voluntary Crusader army and peacekeeping force. From there it expanded into infrastructure and finance. This expansion was inversely proportional to the gradual waning of the Crusader mentality in the 1200s, at which point the presence of an organization subsidized by the nobility and the Church, free of any regulation from secular authority, and possessing considerable prestige, raised the eyebrow of both royal Kings and their fellow Christian orders. In the wake of the Fourth Crusade, where the Crusaders sacked the Byzantine Empire instead of the Outremer, and the fall of Acre in 1291, many argued that the Templars no longer had any purpose. Their rival Church organization, the Hospitallers, wanted to merge with the Templars and access their infrastructure. By the dawn of the 1300s, the Templars were without a clear purpose and their failure to attract royal and church aid for another Crusade signalled that the Order was now nothing more than a financial institute. The Templars did appear to entertain hopes of starting an actual Kingdom in Languedoc, in imitation of the Teutonic Knights (who set up shop in Prussia) and the Hospitallers (who'd nicked Rhodes), but this in turn merely aroused the further suspicion of King Philip IV of France.
King Philip "le Bel"note was a monarch who was interested in reforming finances and centralizing his kingdom under one rule. Like most medieval monarchs, his kingdom teetered on bankruptcy and he was perennially strapped for cash. Initially Philip IV was friendly with the Templars, having taken hospitality at the Temple Fortress fleeing a riot in Paris. Gradually, the Templars considerable presence as a "state within a state", papal authority to travel across all borders without any dues or regulation to secular authority, in addition to their considerable stores of wealth caught his attention. In addition, Philip IV had claims on Templar territory in Champagne, France and was troubled with their petition to form a Kingdom in Languedoc and later in Cyprus. On top of this, Philip IV was conducting his own campaign to expand royal authority and limit Papal Authority, succeeding in deposing Pope Boniface VIII and installing a Frencman as Pope Clement V and moving the papacy to Avignon from Rome. This coincided with the King's persecution of the Templars, their mass arrests on October 1307, Friday, the 13th. The Templars were arrested, accused of blasphemy (worship of crypto-Musim and neo-pagan Mystery Cult of Baphomet) and sodomy, tortured into confessions and burned at the stake. Overnight, the nearly 200 year old organization ceased to function, with Templar initiates, lapsing from the Order, joining rival orders and generally heading for the hills. These arrests ended the role of Church military orders in finance, and strengthened royal authority who once again became the centers of economy. It also became an endpoint for The Crusades whose enthusiasm had already ebbed, with the Templars serving as The Remnant. The dramatic fall from grace, from Poor Brothers venerated for their devotion to Christ to blasphemers and neo-pagans associated with usury, cemented the rise of the Templar legend.
The Knights Templar were skilled, pious, and occasionally highly-educated elite fighters, cavalry, and bankers. The order was, all-in-all, a fairly normal (if vastly successful until its demise) religious warrior class born from the upper crust of medieval society. Ironically enough, they only embodied the Knight Templar trope in their early days; within a few decades after their beginnings they had transformed, in the eyes of their more zealous contemporaries, into a notoriously tolerant organization that cultivated diplomatic contacts with the Muslim world; worked with Arab architects (which influenced the Gothic architecture seen everywhere in Europe), merchants, and even theologians; and disapproved of slaughtering enemies if they agreed to surrender. All of these points were used against them during the trials against them staged by Philip IV. The persistence of rumours that the Templars were somehow corrupt despite most evidence to the contrary means the Order is, to this day, an example of heroes with really bad publicity. The fact that the order ceased to exist effectively overnight, and that they're associated with a huge treasure trove, has since given rise to countless Ancient Conspiracy theories (such as the fact that many of the Order's members in France were arrested, tortured into giving false confessions, and then burned at the stake on Friday 13th (October 13, 1307, to be precise), is often erroneously cited as the origin of the belief that 13 Is Unlucky. Pope Clement V only officially disbanded the Order in 1312. The last Grandmaster, Jacques de Molay, was burnt on the stake in the year 1314, seven years after his arrest.
Tropes associated with the Templars:
- The Alliance: Frequently, with various nations in Europe, but defied when it came to uniting with the Hospitallers and the Teutonic Knights. They scrupulously refused the idea, possibly because they would have to operate under the control of the King of France.
- Ancient Conspiracy: Any Conspiracy Kitchen Sink worth its salt will involve the Templars one way or another.
- This is either because or in spite of the fact that the vast majority of their assets outside of France (and a significant chunk within them) were granted to the Hospitallers, and up to 25% were suspected to have been slipped into other Military Orders or secular administrative positions by monarchs not overly inclined to do the bidding of Philip IV.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: The Grandmaster was at the top of the Templar hierarchy. It was definitely more than just an administrative desk job, considering several of them died in combat.
- Badass Beard: Such a huge number of their Grandmasters sported these that one has to wonder if it was a tradition. Their rules did forbid them to shave, wash and change their underwear, amongst other things.
- Badass Bookworm: Warfare is Our Business. And vice versa. These guys invented dual accounting, letters of credit, holding companies, corporations, insurance, and travel agencies. And they're responsible for modern banking. And of course, befitting any medieval religious order, every Templar could read and write in Latin.
- Baphomet: King Phillip's accusations primarily revolved around worship of Baphomet and performing sinister rituals to him. This was very successful — their memory was forever tainted by the association.
- Celibate Hero: The knights took a vow of chastity, meaning the good ones would have been this.
- Church Militant: And one of the most iconic representatives of this trope.
- Dying Curse: A very popular apocryphal story of Jacques de Molay, the last Grandmaster of the Templars. While being burnt on the stake, Jacques de Molay cursed the King and Pope Clement V that they would be dead within a year. And moreover, the French Royal Family would be cursed to the 13th generation of their blood. This story is apocryphal needless to say and it only came out after Pope Clement V and Philip le Bel died a year later.note
- During The French Revolution, royalists (who were essentially the inventors of Conspiracy Theories) made claims that the Revolution was orchestrated by The Illuminati and the Freemasons (some of whom did consider Molay as a martyr of injustice) to enact the curse of Molay. Problems with this theory is that Louis XVI was the 15th generation of Philip's blood. There were also tall claims that during the execution, someone jumped on the scaffold and cried out, "Jacques de Molay, tu es vengé!" which any serious investigation of the Trial and Execution would regard as supremely unlikely. They also claim that the Jacobin Club was a hommage to Molay rather than the convent name which became its nickname.
- Gondor Calls for Aid: Averted in one notable instance in 1300. After being forced out of the Holy Land the Templars reached out to the Mongols to arrange an alliance against the Mamluks. Setting sail from Cyprus, they began by raiding the Egyptian and Syrian coast until they arrived at the arranged meeting spot... but the Mongols didn't show, due to poor coordination. They tried again several times, all with the same result, until they finally ran out of possible meeting places.
- Hiding Behind Religion: Historically, the main accusation against the Templars was that they had at some point stopped being pious and used the Templar cross as a front for all kinds of forbidden private lives. They were accused of being sodomites, homosexuals, crypto-Muslims, atheists and neo-pagans. Of course all of this was made up during the trial, the confessions extracted through torture, and can't really be taken seriously but it did a great deal to add to the Conspiracy legend.
- Historical Villain Upgrade: They really weren't as bad as their typical portrayals in popular culture suggest. The Other Wiki has some more information, but their bad reputation stems from two places; First, the abrupt disappearance of such an important political and military order in Europe led to endless conspiracy theories. Second, they invented trade based not on barter but credit, and thereby birthed the Byzantine labyrinth of economics. So everyone who ever lost their shirt thanks to a crooked banker had a good reason to visualize a Maltese cross on said banker's lapel.
- Kill the Creditor: King Philip le Bel had initiated a campaign for financial reform during his reign. But like many medieval Kings, he was perenially strapped for cash. He was also deeply indebted to the Knights Templar and the Knights Templars were a prominent banking institution. As a result, there are no more Knights Templars.
- Knight in Shining Armor or Tin Tyrant: Sometimes both in the same work.
- Knight Templar: Despite being the Trope Namer, they mostly avert this trope, and they suffer massively from Historical Villain Upgrade. Although most Templars were probably ruthless and fanatical, so was nearly everybody else during the Middle Ages (by our standards), and as the order grew wealthier, they became less and less involved with fighting. So why are the Templars singled out? Blame it on the conspiracy theories!
- Leitmotif: The Templars were fond of a chant (that predates them by five centuries, but they popularized it) called Da Pacem Domine, which was often used as a theme song of sorts for them.
- Loophole Abuse: So how does a medieval monastic order, forbidden by a Vow of Poverty from acquiring worldly wealth, end up becoming the richest single organization in Medieval Europe, and creating the modern concepts of banking and credit? Because technically none of the wealth the Templars had in their possession was their own; their patrons just gave it to them for safekeeping, and they could technically take it back any time they wanted. But until that time, they might as well use that money toward improving their organization (if that reminds you of how much of modern banking works, that's not a coincidence). In any case while the order as a whole was very wealthy, each individual knight was never allowed to own more than what the order provided them with, and adding anything else to it was harshly punished.
- Mission Creep: They faced its downfall because of its inability to resolve this issue:
- Their original mission was to protect Christian pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land after the First Crusade, and its initiates were the Poor Fellow Soldiers of Christ, Warrior Monks dedicated to the vow of poverty they took. But in the course of time, the Templars' facilities became respected stopping points where travelers could store their cash and reclaim it at another branch, and they slowly became bankers. They received exemptions from paying taxes from the Church, owned land in various European nations and gradually expanded their operations from their original mission as time passed and their duties became complex.
- By the 1290s things came to a head because The Crusades kept failing to attract royal patronage and favor, other church organizations wanted access to the Templar infrastructure and the Templars were considering forming an independent kingdom. Before they could act on it however, the French King Philip IV brutally purged them so as to better access their treasury and goods.
- Motive Decay: A rare positive example. They started off as the Trope Namer of the Knight Templar but eventually evolved beyond that into a kind of large scale and tolerant corporation. This was also the reason why they ended up being purged. King Philip IV was able to invent a host of false accusations that raised doubts about the Order's purpose as a Christian organization now that the Crusades were over. Historians stated that if the Order had disbanded and made themselves into a banking collective, they might have escaped being purged.
- Mystery Cult: The accusations against the Templars during The Purge, as per The Mole Esquieu de Floyrac was that the Templars started worshipping a deity called "Baphomet", a red-skinned hermaophrodite with a Goat's Head and the initiation rites involved spitting on Christ and homosexual orgies. When the Occult developed in Europe in the 19th and 20th Century, Baphomet found new life, especially in the rites of Aleister Crowley.
- Historians have speculated whether there was any basis in reality concerning "Baphomet". One theory argues that it was a misinterpretation of Templar trials to preserve faith in "Heathen" lands, a simulation of real-and-imagined apostasy and how to fake it. Another theory suggests that as a result of trade and contact with the Arab world, some parts of the Templars began exchanging ideas with Islamic scholars note and became syncretized. Which naturally was blown out of proportion during The Purge.
- The Order: One of the Trope Codifiers.
- Pirate: After losing their foothold in the Holy Land and taking up residence in Cyprus they turned to raiding the coast of Mamluk territory for awhile, so, like their brother order the Hospitallers, they were for a time ''Pirate'' Warrior Monks.
- The Purge: Victims of a famous real-life, the raid on the Temple Fortress led to mass arrests, tortures, executions by burning on the stake and seizures of property and incomes.
- Supervillain Lair: Well how much they can be considered villains is up in the air, but the Templars had several Fortresses across France, England and Scotland. The Temple was the name of the Fortress in Paris, and their final home before The Purge. During The French Revolution, The Temple was the Prison for the French Royal Family and after the execution of the King Louis XVI, it became a shrine for royalists and Napoleon Bonaparte (who only allowed shrines to himself) ordered its destruction in 1808.
- Warrior Monk: As noted, they were founded with the function of protecting pilgrims and as in other orders new members took monastic vows.
- Worthy Opponent: According to reports by Western chroniclers, anyway, they were seen as this by The Hashshashin cult, aka the original "Assassins", and vice versa - yes, Templars versus Assassins. The stated reason for this was actually quite pragmatic: the Assassins devoted a lot of time and training into sending out a single agent, whose task was to kill the enemy army's leader, even at the cost of his own life. This worked because most medieval militaries were Keystone Armies, and killing their commander made the entire force unravel. In contrast, the Templars were much better organized and regimented, close to the fashion of a modern military - according to the reports, the Assassins hated fighting the Templars because if they killed one Templar commander, he would simply be replaced by the next highest ranking officer, and the Templar force would maintain unit cohesion instead of just collapsing. So the Assassins ended up wasting a lot of agents and resources for limited results.
Works featuring or referencing historical Templars (or their successors):
- Crowley of Seraph of the End
- In Neil Gaiman's Marvel 1602, much of the early plot involves various characters chasing after the secret treasure of the Templars, which is being carried by their last survivor across Europe. It turns out to be Thor's hammer.
- The World Bank in the Carl Barks & Don Rosa continuity of Donald Duck is a front of the Templars. One epic arc focused on Scrooge's quest for their hidden treasure which was hidden under his family castle. Scrooge himself is a Templar descendant.
- The Sacred Order of Saint Dumas from Batman comics was originally a branch of the Templars but split up with them and thus survived their disbandment.
- Witchblade villains Kenneth Irons, Gerald Irons and Sir Renaud de Gaudin were members of The Knights Templar.
- They are featured in Crimson, having survived into modern times as monster-hunting extremists and serve as an antagonistic faction.
- The Spanish Tombs of the Blind Dead film series featured undead Templars as the villains/monsters. These built on the sudden disappearance of the Templars, with a premise that the Templars performed a ritual that gave them eternal life. The result is effectively skeleton zombies on horseback. Stay far away.
- The guardians of the Holy Grail in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade styled themselves "the Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword," but are also mentioned as originally being Templars.
- Brian de Bois-Guilbert (George Sanders) in the 1952 film version of Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe
- Kingdom of Heaven gives the Knights Templar some historical Hospitallier holdings. And they're the closest thing the film has to actual villains....
- In National Treasure the Templars found the treasure in Jerusalem and survived their dissolution in the form of the Freemasons, who smuggled it to America.
- The Maltese Falcon contains an example of the Hollywood History—the Malta-based order was The Knights Hospitallers (a.k.a. the Knights of Malta), and the Knights Templar were disbanded in 1312. The original book got it right, on the other hand. Introductory text appearing after the film's opening credits reads:
In 1539 the Knight Templars of Malta, paid tribute to Charles V of Spain, by sending him a Golden Falcon encrusted from beak to claw with rarest jewels...
- The Accursed Kings begins with the historical disbanding of the Knights Templar and execution of their Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, by the King of France.
- The Baphomet by French avant-gardist Pierre Klossowski is a visionary recreation of The Purge of the Templars and their afterlife in the European occult.
- In The Da Vinci Code, after Jerusalem was conquered, the Templars discovered documents proving that not only has Jesus really existed, but also married Mary Magdalene and had a child with her. After the crucifixion, Mary fled with their child to France, starting the Merovingian royal line (a.k.a. the Holy Grail), which exists to this day despite Vatican's efforts. Using this knowledge, the Templars have pressured the Church into giving them unprecedented power, which backfired on them, eventually, but the survivors reformed as "the Priory of Sion".
- The Books "The Metaphysics of War" and "The mystery of the Grail" by italian philosopher Julius Evola deal largely with the Knights Templar and get to similar conclusions as Dan Brown. The reason for this is, that Pierre Plantard, the originator of the "Priory of Sion" conspiracy theory actually copied aspects from Evolas books.
- In some books by french author Jean Parvulesco (who was friend with both Evola and Plantard), some real (at the time) contemporary french politicians are depicted as being involved in conspiracies involving remnants of the knights templar.
- In the Conspiracy Theory invented by the main characters of Foucault's Pendulum, Templars have discovered a way to harvest the tremendous energies of the telluric currents but were destroyed before they could actually use their discovery. The rest of the conspiracy theory is their convoluted plan to reform and Take Over the World six centuries later.
- Brian de Bois-Guilbert, Albert de Malvoisin, Grand Master Lucas de Beaumanoir, et al. in Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe; and Grand Master Giles Amaury in his The Talisman.
- Jan Guillou's The Templar Knight (book two of his Crusades trilogy) follows the adventures of a Swedish nobleman as a Knight Templar in the Holy Lands.
- A group of modern-day Templars feature in Steve Alten's The Loch, having made a (metaphorical, though they apparently believed it to be real) deal with the devil to protect an artifact of symbolic importance to Scotland. And by "devil" I mean "giant deep-sea eels that come into the loch via tunnel from the sea" (otherwise known as the Loch Ness Monster). Played with in that they turn out to be good guys.
- Sir Baldwin Furnshill, one of the detectives in Michael Jecks' "Medieval Murder" mysteries, is an ex-Knight Templar.
- In M. R. James's "Oh, Whistle and I'll Come to You, My Lad" the hapless Parkins finds a haunted whistle on the site of a ruined Templar preceptory.
- In Wolfram von Eschenbach's 13th century romance Parzival, the Knights of the Holy Grail are described as "templeizen" or Templars.
- Throughout the Requiem series of books by Robyn Young, which follows the fall of the Templars, we see the fall of Acre and the attempts of the Templar Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, and Pope Clement V to get another crusade going. They never do.
- In the Gemma Doyle Trilogy, Kartik tells Gemma that some of the Knights Templar were members of the Rakshana.
- In The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss, the Amyr seem clearly set up as a fantasy counterpart to the Knights Templar, complete with conspiracy theories surrounding their dissolution.
- A Knights Templar soldier appears in Robert Reed's short story, The Hoplite. The man, who was Resurrected for a Job, commands a squad of not very friendly soldiers - a SS officer, an Aztec warrior, a Greek hoplite, etc - who are used to subjugate rebellious territories on Earth and raid the colonies of Alpha Centauri.
- The Children of the Light in The Wheel of Time are a pretty clear Expy of the historical Knights Templar, right down to them getting better later in the series when Galad becomes Lord Captain Commander.
- In The 39 Clues, the Knight Templar was a part of the Thomas branch.
- The Templars are central to the plot of The Last Templar by Raymond Khoury.
- Brian de Bois-Guilbert (Sam Neill), Lucas de Beaumanoir (Philip Locke), et al. in the 1982 TV version, and Brian de Bois-Guilbert (Ciarán Hinds), Malvoisin (Jack Klaff), Lucas de Beaumanoir (Christopher Lee), et al. in the the 1997 TV version of Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe; and Grand Master Giles Amaury (Donald Burton) in the 1980 TV version of his The Talisman.
- Relic Hunter had a Templar knights episode, of course.
- In the episode "Seven Poor Knights from Acre" of Robin of Sherwood a band of Templars pursue Robin and the outlaws in the mistaken belief that they have stolen the Templars' gold emblem. They are treated as The Dreaded by every one of the regular characters, both good and bad. When Friar Tuck refers to them as "Poor Knights of the Temple of Solomon" Will Scarlet replies, "Poor? I'd hate to see the good ones!". However, they are eventually killed when they treacherously attack the outlaws despite having had the emblem recovered for them.
- The Brotherhood of the Black Diamond in Warehouse 13 is a secretive sect descended from the Knights Templar.
- America Unearthed: Invokes the Knights Templar frequently based on the conspiracy theories of Scott Wolter, who ironically arguably fits the trope of Knight Templar.
- The Danish children's TV series Tempelriddernes Skat sets a group of children hunting for the Templar's treassure, starting in the round churches of Borhnholm, which some conspiracy theorists claim were built by Templars.
- In the GURPS Fantasy setting, the Templars existed as an order on the world of Yrth; a world populated by fantasy creatures and humans accidentally transported from the era of The Crusades on Earth. The Templars were rumored to be the only humans to have deliberately transported themselves there by magic.
- In Corvus Belli's tabletop war-game Infinity, the Pan Oceanian Knightly Orders include a re-founded version of the Templars.
- Along with the Hospitallers, The Knights Templar are one of the knightly orders battling the demonic minions of The Unholy on the living planet of Wormwood in Rifts.
- The Black Templars chapter of Space Marines in Warhammer 40,000 borrow a lot of their imagery and general theme from the Knights Templar, and to a lesser degree so do the other Astartes Chapters (though for the most part they're more modeled on the Roman Legions). The Ultramarines, for example, protect territory on the Eastern Outskirts of the Imperium called Ultramar (sounds a bit like outremar in the Kingdom of Jerusalem, eh?)
- Possibly an even better stand-in for the Templars are the Crusader Houses, warrior monks who fight for the Ecclesiarchy.
- Nathan the Wise, a drama on religious tolerance by enlightenment poet Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, features a young Knight Templar as one of its main characters. In the play's multi-religion ensemble, he is the representative of Christianity.
- Assassin's Creed posits that the Templars themselves are part of an ancient society that has existed throughout human history (according to the Templars' old texts, Cain (yes, that Cain) was the founder of their order), and that the Knights Templar themselves were just the open military incarnation of them during the Middle Ages, operating in preparation for a takeover of the Holy Land. The public destruction of the order was actually a cover to let the Templars become secret once more, where they proceeded to gain enormous power in the shadows in Europe and elsewhere. The modern Templars are a collection of extremely powerful and highly advanced corporations. All history is actually fabricated by the Templars, and the Templars included, but were far from limited to, such famous historical figures as Pope Alexander VI, Henry Ford, and Thomas Edison.
- Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars.
- Crusader Kings and its sequel feature them alongside their fellow crusading orders once the Catholics get the Crusades up and running. In CKII it's even possible to take control of the order yourself if you can manage to breed a claim on the grandmaster's title and press it in war. The game also recognizes somewhat that the Templars were bankers by allowing you to borrow money from them (though this feature is also available with non-Templar holy orders).
- Deus Ex features a mission in a cathedral that was owned by the Templars and their descendants. A member of the Illuminati sends you there, in order to gain his favor, with orders to secure the gold inside that was originally seized by the Nazis in World War II and is now being held by members of Majestic 12.
- Deus Ex: Invisible War features them as bigot extremists, opposing body modification by any means necessary.
- Post Mortem saw MacPherson tracking down the "Head of Baphomet," which the Templars were accused of worshiping by The Pope (among other things).
- Medieval: Total War and Medieval II: Total War feature the Knights Templar as a special guild that can be established in certain cities, giving you access to the Knights Templar themselves — very, very powerful cavalry units which are almost unparalleled in combat. The only catches on the battlefield are their Leeroy Jenkins tendencies, their tradeoff in armour for defence skill, and the fact that France and Spain can produce heavy knights of the same or better quality. For factions who were lacking in cavalry, though (take England), they form the most powerful units in the cavalry wings.
- Sadly, in the vanilla game at least there was no reason whatsoever to allow the Templars into your cities besides the Rule of Cool: if you could hire them (as opposed to being stuck with Knights of Santiago or Teutonic Knights), that means you also satisfied the conditions for hiring Hospitallers who have the exact same stats and costs, but also provide a public health bonus via their guild buildings. Most mods corrected that by adding an income bonus to the Templar guilds (to represent the banking and money-lending they did IRL)... which turns Hospitallers into the completely naff choice.
- In the Crusades expansion campaign, the Kingdom of Jerusalem has a significant number of its troops supplied by the Templars - knights, archers, and spearmen among them.
- The MMORPG The Secret World has the Templars as a playable faction. However, in its universe, the historical Knights Templar were nothing but a temporary front for the real Templars that the player can join.
- Team Plasma of Pokémon Black and White are not explicitly based on Templars, but they are a fanatical extremist group who dress in knight-like outfits and have an emblem that heavily resembles the Chi Rho.
- Knights of Honor features the Templars as one of the best swordsman units, and available only to Catholic nations. Unfortunately, they don't have their own faction.
- Immortal Souls projects the Templars into a present day world as a ridiculously technologically-advanced order (essentially, white and red official-cross-symbol-adorned Power Armor and Energy Weapons, and other advanced gadgetry, in an otherwise normally-teched setting) of borderline-Mad Scientist Church Militants fighting in a Secret War against the "shadow world" of demons and monsters. It's implied even their current leader has no real clue how they got from then to now, since one plotline involves him procuring an artifact that will reveal his ancestor's memories and the history of his order. Doesn't work, unfortunately for him, since the artifact in question turns out to have been booby-trapped.
- In Azrael's Tear, during the Crusades a group of 12 of the Templars was sent to bear the Holy Grail out of Jerusalem to Scotland and protect it there. Some of them survive thanks to the Grail's life-sustaining effects, and the protagonist interacts with them through the course of the story.
- Civilization V does not have Templars. It does, however, feature the "Chivalry" tech which is very easy to associate with them. It ties in with a lot of economic techs, and unlocks Knights.
- One optional religious tenet, "Holy Warriors", allows you to purchase early units (including Knights) with faith, thus enabling you to create your own version.
- Two obscure hack-and-slash games called Knights of the Temple have the Knight Templar Paul as a Knight in Shining Armor protagonist.
- Ivanhoe: The King's Knight features the order twice. The second time they have been renamed "The Brotherhood of the Cross of Ashes" or some such thing.
- In 2008, a Spanish group claiming descent from the historical Templars sued the Vatican, seeking restoration of the order's reputation as well as recognition, but not restitution of the alleged billions of dollars in assets that the Church seized upon the order's dissolution.
- The World War II Adventurer Archaeologist, warrior (he was too independent in his style to be called a "soldier"), spy, nobleman, and general badass László Ede Almásy de Zsadány et Törökszentmiklós apparently was involved in an arcane cult that claimed descent from The Knights Templar. He worked for the Hungarians, which qualifies him as a Worthy Opponent of the Allies.
- In 2008, it was founded, in Brazil, a church named "Igreja Templária" (Templary Church), claiming to be knights.
- Some Freemasons claim descent from the Knights Templar. In the York Rite branch of Freemasonry, the highest-degree members become part of the Knights Templar. Freemasons of the Scottish Rite and other branches may also become Knights Templar by invitation only, but the Knights Templar are the only Freemason group that is Christians-only rather than simply requiring a belief in any concept of God. Whatever direct links might exist between Freemasonry and the original Knights Templar, if they exist, have apparently been lost to history.
- The Norwegian far-right-wing terrorist Anders Breivik claimed to be just one of a new order of Knights Templar planning to wipe out all of Europe's Muslims and left-wingers, although this has been officially dismissed as fantasy.
- In a rather chilling example, the remnants of one of Mexico's most notorious drug cartels, La Familia Michoacana, reformed into...well...Los Caballeros Templarios. Noted for preserving La Familia's Family Values Villain stance (members aren't supposed to use the drugs they traffic, and they are also supposed to "fight for social justice," etc.) and for the 2013-14 vigilante uprising against them when the government security forces proved ineffective.
- The Temple area in the City of London is indirectly named for the Knights: their "house" and church (Temple Church, still standing) in London were located there beginning in the 12th century.
Knights Templar found in Constructed Worlds:
- The Dragon Age series features the "Templar Order", an organization of Mage Killers, which, while formally associated with the Chantry, actually predates its establishment. The origin of their name is never revealed, since temples are referred only as "chantries" in the Andrastian religion.
- One can assume it's the Temple of Sacred Ashes, the resting place of The Urn of Sacred Ashes. This is supported by the presence of one as a ghost at the ruined site.
- Path of Exile has a member of Knights Templar as one of the player characters (dubbed "The Templar"). Again, the origin of their name is not elaborated upon.
- Starcraft: The Protoss warrior caste are called the Templars. The basic warriors are Zealots, while the spellcasters are High Templar. The Dark Templar rejected their teachings and were exiled, becoming invisible space ninja.
- David Eddings had a series (The Elenium and The Tamuli) with an order of knights based loosely on the historical Knights Templar.
- The Discworld fanwork "The Da Quirm Code Revealed" (it was by Trevor Truran, creator of Thud, and delivered as a lecture at a Discworld convention, which arguably gives it a thin veneer of canonicity) features the Knights Tippler, who eventually became the Priority of Shawn. Or possibly it was all made up by the authors of The Unholy Brood and the Holey Gruel.
- A.A. Pessimal's Good Omens fic I Shall Endure To the End has a chapter dealing with Jacques de Molay and Baphomet. Baphomet is a colleague of Crowley's.
- As a wide-reaching knightly order of warrior monks that were brought low by a political leader for sinister reasons, the Jedi are essentially Templars IN SPACE. They even suffer the same rapid loss of prestige as the Templars; once The Empire gets going, they're universally dismissed as a bunch of feeble mystics spouting nonsense.