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THE TEMPLAR SEAL

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When being presented with our Great Priory Certificate, the presenting officer, will draw attention to the seal of the Order which is placed in the bottom left hand corner depicting two knights on horseback with a lance facing left. On the original seal is the inscription Sigillum militum Christi loosely translated means the seal of Christ's soldiers this compares with the Masonic Great Priory inscription auperes Commilitones Christi et Templi Salomonis and is translated thus 'poor fellow-soldiers of Christ and the Temple of Solomon'.

The seal belonged to the Order's Grand Master Bertrand De Blanchefort and was adopted by the Order in 1168 and afterwards fell into common use.

Many people today associate the seal as representing their vow of poverty, sugesting that the original-founding members were too poor to each afford their own horse. Some consider this as true due to the fact that many of the knights were often the second or third sons of noble families, with the first son invariably inheriting the family's wealth and titles. This certainly changed as the Orders wealth grew and by the time the Templar Rule was established at the time of the Council of Troyes, it was common for each knight tobe in possession of three horses and his Grand Master five. So great was the Templars' wealth, that they are known to have loaned enormous sums to many European Monarchs and in so doing, many believe that hey actually invented the forst known banking system as we know it today utilising documents on which enable pilgrims to deposit their money in one country and withdraw it in another by presenting a cheque together with a sign and password. The accumulation of this vaste wealth and powerful debtors was the inevitable cause of their final downfall.

Some have said it refers to the bible and the passage form Mathew where Christ says "Wherever two or more of you are gathered in my name, there am I, in the midst of them."

Or even that it is a representation of the duality or conflict that existed in their order:

They were poor by vow, yet rich beyond belief (in their assets)
They were introspective, yet well versed in the matters of the world
They were monks on one hand, yet feared as warriors on the other

Recent research into medieval warfare has alluded to another explanation that warrants further examination. For in those early times, the horse of a knight was a fast Arabian thorough bred stallions but rather a large, powerful and muscular Shire or Carthorse with great stmina to carry the burdon of well equiped warriors over long distances. Such an animal was of course more than capable of carrying two knights at a time.

Two men to one horse would enable both defence and attack at the same time making this formation a formidable fighting machine, in essence a form of medieval tank.

Fiat Lux

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