Casual dismissals get very annoying.
Barbara Frale is a great researcher who, among other achievements, re-discovered the Chinon Document which had been miss-filed in the Vatican’s Secret Archives. Umberto Eco wrote the forward in Frale’s book on the subject. It includes this gem:
“The only way to determine if a book on the Templars is serious is to check if it ends in 1314, the year their last grand master was burned at the stake.”
Umberto Eco is guilty of The Inductive Fallacy – A fallacy of induction happens when a conclusion is drawn from premises that only lightly support it.
I would argue that neither he nor Frale provide any proof of what happened to the Templars who were released. Zero. It’s enough to say the church forgave them and that’s all it took for them to abandon their cause and become happy farmers again.
The opportunity here is for someone to do serious research into changes in land records, benefaction, and movement of peoples involved in the Templar order – especially the more important members.
More from Eco’s forward –
“…many today remain fascinated by the secret practices attributed to the Templars and wonder about the vast majority of knights who did not die at the stake but simply vanished when the order was disbanded. Contrary to the conclusion that they went into hiding, built lives for themselves, and maintained their silence, there is the more sensational fictional interpretation: they went underground and continued their activities for seven centuries–and are still around us.”
Here Umberto Eco deployed The False Dilemma Fallacy. He attempted to create a huge divide by asserting there are only two mutually exclusive options.
Jim Egan, either unknowingly or purposefully, pulled out The Bandwagon Fallacy. This one is most often used by those who aren’t fully versed in the subject they’re arguing. Tons of people who haven’t researched the Templars have heard that “The Templars were wiped out on Friday the 13th, 1307.” The fact that lots of people repeat that does not make it accurate.
1307 – King Philip IV of France ordered the arrest and torture of the Templars in his country.
1308 – Pope Clement V absolved the last Grand Master, Jacques de Molay and the rest of the leadership.
1309 – Most of the bishops throughout Christendom had not initiated a single proceeding against the Templars.
1310 – Philip IV ordered 54 Templars who had been found innocent (per the Chinon Document) burned at the stake in France. A flagrant violation of papal authority.
1311 – The church leaders in London agreed to dissolve the Templar order. Only 3 Templars were tortured. None were burned.
1312 – Pope Clement V officially dissolved the Order of the Knights Templar with his Vox in excelso.
1312 – Clement ordered all Templar property be turned over to the Hospital.
1314 – Jacques de Molay and Geoffrey de Charny were burned on an island in the river Seine.
Seven years went by from 1307 when Philip IV lit the fuse to the time the Order of the Temple was “ended.” I’m sure seven years was plenty of time for those Templars who were motivated to make their exit.
Nicholson, Helen J., “The Knights Templar on Trial, The Trial of the Templars in the British Isles 1308 – 1311. The History Press, 2009 ISBN 978 0 7509 4681 0.
Frale, Barbara, “The Templars: the Secret History Revealed” Arcade Publishing, Inc. ISBN 978-1-55970-889-0
Jacques de Molay sentenced to the stake in 1314, from the Chronicle of France or of St Denis. Public Domain