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|Obsoleted by||Steam Power|
Produces one Crusader every 5 turns.
Added in Conquests.
May trigger Golden Age for Militaristic and Religious civilizations.
The Knights Templar was a holy order devoted to defending the fledgling crusader states founded during the First Crusade against Muslim reconquest. The king of Jerusalem allowed them to make their headquarters in the main temple of Jerusalem, from which they took their name. In exchange for this hospitality they swore allegiance to the throne of Jerusalem. They participated in several major battles and did very well; this increased their numbers substantially. Eventually their power grew so much -- to the point where they could field an army of almost 10,000 knights and still uphold their promises to garrison individual towns -- that the Pope decided to place them under his direct control.
Templar valor in the Holy Land resulted in many rewards back in Europe; knights who fought under the red cross and white field of the Templars often found themselves with new estates and castles in their native countries. As a result the order became fantastically wealthy, as the Grandmasters shrewdly invested the order's wealth, using plunder to buy goods and sell them throughout the Mediterranean.
Kings, however, often become jealous of wealthy organizations over which they have little or no control. The French king Philip IV, his treasury emptied and his debts monstrous from constant warfare, accused the Templars of heresy and blasphemy, and confiscated almost all of their wealth in France. Other monarchs followed suit, embarking on a program of persecution and repression whose goal was mostly to secure the Templars' money for themselves. Hundreds of Templars gave false confessions of heresy under torture, and others were burned at the stake. The order died out completely in the early 14th century when the entire Templar leadership had been murdered.