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Templar Quest in the Languedoc, France
Knights Templar, Cathars, Troubadours, Rennes-le-Château, Megaliths




Topics Covered

The Knights Templar

The Cathars and the Troubadours

Rennes-le-Château and its Mysteries

Megaliths in the Languedoc, France

Other: ranging over topics such as Otto Rahn and Montsegur, the Priory of Sion, The Kabbalah, Mary Magdalene, The Sacred Feminine, and the Gnostic Gospels,

 

 

 

The Knights Templar - with Tim Wallace-Murphy

The Knights Templar were a religious military order, established early in the early 12th century at the time of the First Crusade. Their stated purpose was to protect western pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem, though in practice they rapidly evolved into a crack fighting force. Their full name was the Order of the Poor Fellow Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon.

Like their brother Knights Hospitaller, the Knights Templar were monks as well as knights. To become a Knight Templar one had to be of noble birth, and worthy of knighthood. The knights took monastic vows and followed a "Latin Rule" based on that of Cistercian monks. Indeed it was a Cistercian, Saint Bernard, who gave them their "rule", ultimately that of the Benedictines. They took vows of personal poverty, chastity and obedience and spent their time fighting or practicing fighting where other monks would be working or studying. Saint Bernard assured them that in killing God's enemies they would win a reward in heaven.

Following the lead of the Count of Toulouse, western kingdoms and churches throughout Europe rewarded the Templars with land, treasures and titles. They accumulated even greater wealth by building castles and ports which earned them rents, duties and taxes; and by lending money. They invented international banking along with commercial instruments.

By the early years of the 14th century: Philip 1V of France who was heavily in their debt contrived to have his puppet pope dissolved Knights Templar on the basis of accusations that are now known to have been fabricated. The Templars were accused of heresy. Their properties in France and elsewhere were confiscated. Some Templars fled but those rounded up in France were tortured. Some - those who refused to admit the false accusations, or who confessed under torture but then denied their confessions were executed. In 1312 the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar was condemned and burnt at the stake in front of Knitter Dame in Paris.

There are many vestiges of the Templars throughout Europe from Rosily Chapel, just south of Edinburgh to the Temple Church in London and their commanderies in the Languedoc.

We will visit Templar sites, and hear talks on them by well known historians and authors, discuss the Order and its history, assess its role during the two centuries during which it flourished, investigate its demise and discuss the various mysteries associated with it.

Fortified Templar Village in the Languedoc
Fortified Templar Village in the Languedoc

 

Inside a Templar Village - the best preserved in France.
Inside a Templar Village - the best preserved in France.

 

 

The Cathars - with James McDonald

The Cathars were a Christian group who flourished in Europe, especially the Languedoc, during the twelfth century. The Catholic Church claimed to represent the One True Christian Church and regarded the Cathars as heretics (just as the Cathars regarded the Catholics as heretics, having been mislead from the True Faith in the fourth century).

The Cathars recognised no priests. All baptised Cathars were equal. They preached and lived as the apostles had lived. Men and women alike, they lived in poverty, working for their food; ate minimal diets - just enough to stay alive; dressed simply; lived celibate lives; refused to kill, lie, swear oaths or judge others; and led lives of extreme asceticism, expressing contempt for everything material.

While Catholics and Cathars considered not only heretical, but inspired by the Power of Evil. For Cathars the Catholic attachment to material items like church buildings, crosses and crucifixes, holy relics, fine vestments and jewelled mitres invited contempt. For Catholics the popularity of Catharism represented an existential threat. Neither preaching nor debating did anything to bring people back to the Catholic Church, so Pope Innocent III called a crusade against the Cathars of the Languedoc. This was only partially successful, so the Dominican Order created the first papal Inquisition to root out the last vestiges of Catharism.

It would be this same Inquisition that a century later would eliminate the Knights Templar, accusing the Templars of some of the same improbable heresies that Cathars had been charged with.

We will hear talks on the Cathars by James and visit Cathar sites; review Cathar origins and their fate, discuss their beliefs including Gnosticism and Dualism, and consider their role in popular culture and whether there were any links between the Cathars and the Templars.

The Iconic Castle of Montsegur
The Iconic Castle of Montsegur

 

 

The Troubadours with James McDonald

Troubadour were composers of Occitan lyric poetry during the High Middle Ages (1100–1350). The troubadour tradition began in the late 11th century in Occitania (roughly the Aquitaine and the Languedoc).

It subsequently spread into France (what is now Northern France), Italy, Spain and Germany, under different local names: trouvères in France, trovadorismo in Galicia and Portugal, and Minnesanger in Germany.

The texts of troubadour songs deal mainly with themes of chivalry and courtly love. Many were humorous or vulgar satires. There were many genres, the most popular being the canso, the sirventes and the tensos.

Troubadours originated in the Languedoc
Troubadours originated in the Languedoc

 

 

Rennes-le-Château introduced by Henry Lincoln

Rennes-le-Château is a small village in the Languedoc. It lies at the centre of a series of mysteries focused on a nineteenth century priest, Abbé Saunière, who was the curé of the church here and involving theories about the nature of the Holy Grail.

A number of books have been written about Rennes-le-Château, including Holy Blood, Holy Grail and The Da Vinci Code. We will review the various theories and assess how much validity they carry.

The demon Asmodeus supporting the holy water stoup at Rennes-le-Château
The demon Asmodeus supporting the holy water stoup at Rennes-le-Château

 

 

Megaliths - with Rupert Soskin

 

The largest passage tomb in Southern France: a prehistoric allée couverte, known as the hill of the fairies. Within the remains of the allée are two portals, each constructed from two stone slabs, with semi ovoid entrance holes cut into each, which together would create an oval shaped entrance.
the hill of the fairies

 

 
     
 
The Knights Templar Cross

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