Here is my traditional Friday the 13th post:
Have you ever wondered why Friday the 13th is considered an unlucky day?
The short answer: Greed, the French Monarchy, and the Catholic Church.
Like most stories, the long version is more complicated. This is the
legend as I heard it:
"The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon" were a
military order of men who were living in Jerusalem in 1099 AD, at the
tail end of the Crusades. There were nine of them at the time, and they
were so poor that they were living in a stable and begging for food.
Legend has it that they discovered some of King Solomon's treasure while
digging in the area.
They returned to Europe, and invented what was essentially the first
international banking society. They were involved in shipping, banking,
and other money making ventures. They formed a large society, which at its
peak was comprised of over 20,000 members. Members held different
ranks, with the highest being called Knight Templar. A Knight Templar
was similar to what a full partner or a member of the board of directors
would be today. The 'board meetings' only took place at night, and this
was because of the need for secrecy. Remember that this was in the age
of pure monarchy, when no one who was not a King could own anything
without the King taking a large cut of it.
One odd thing about them was that they practiced elaborate rituals that
were designed to ensure secrecy. Since it was a crime punishable by
death at the time to engage in any ritual not endorsed by the Catholic
Church, any person who took part in such a ritual was bound to keep the
secrets of the others, or he himself would be killed.
The Knights Templar hired many men of the free masons' guild to build
large structures, such as the Cathedral at Notre Dame. At the time, the
free masons were not especially liked by the Church, mostly because the
masons were teaching that mathematics ran the world, and not a deity.
The Church had to put up with this to a certain extent, however, because
God was not in the business of building the Church's cathedrals, and
the free masons were.
The free masons, having built many buildings for the order, needed to be
sworn to secrecy. So they were sworn in as minor members of the order,
and were taught many of the Templar rituals.
All went well until October 13, 1307, when the King of France at the
time, King Philip IV, entered a partnership with Pope Clement V and
decreed that all of the Knights Templar would be declared to be Satan
worshipers and would be put to death. The king charged the Templars with
usury, credit inflation, fraud, homosexuality, heresy,
sodomy, immorality, and other abuses.
Many of the Kinghts Templar were killed at dawn that Friday the 13th, so
that their wealth could be confiscated while at the same time eliminating
the possible threat that the military order might pose to Philip's quest
for more power. The ones who weren't killed were tortured into
'confessing' to their crimes. The Pope, in
order to avoid the military action that Philip had threatened to take
against the Church, issued arrest warrants for all
of the Templars worldwide, which allowed the Church to confiscate their assets. The arrested members of the order were burned at the
stake in 1314, and the remainder of the Templars went underground and
became a secret society.
King Phillip and Pope Clement both died before the end of 1314, after
being cursed by one of the Templars they burned at the stake. According
to legend, he called out from the flames that both Pope Clement and King
Philip would soon meet him before God.
His actual words were recorded to be: "Dieu sait
qui a tort et a péché. Il va bientot arriver malheur à ceux qui nous
ont condamnés à mort" (free translation : "God knows who is wrong and
has sinned. Soon a calamity will occur to those who have condemned us to
No one really knows if this is the true account of what happened, but
that doesn't surprise me. History is a fiction that is written by the
winners. Even this morning's
newspapers are seldom an account of what actually took place yesterday, but are instead an account of what the powerful want the public to hear.