<div>The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and the Temple of Solomon, popularly known as the Knights Templar or the Order of the Temple, were among the most famous of Christian military orders. The order, which existed for about two centuries in the Middle Ages was created after the First Crusade of 1096. Endorsed by the Catholic church in 1129, the order grew rapidly in membership and power. Templar knights were some of the best equipped, trained, and disciplined fighting units of the Crusades. When the Holy Land was lost and the Templars suffered crushing defeats, support for the Order faded. Rumours about the Templars' secret initiation ceremony created mistrust, and King Philip IV of France, deeply in debt to the order, began pressuring Pope Clement V to take action. On Friday 13 October 1307 King Philip had many of the order's members in France arrested,, tortured into 'confession' and burned at the stake. The sudden disappearance of the Order, disbanded by the Pope, gave rise to speculation and legends, which have kept the name 'Templar' alive.</div>
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