- Distance today: 5.4 mi
- Distance Camino 2017: 255.3 mi
We slept in this morning leaving Calzadilla de la Cueza at 7:30. We walked nearly 4 miles before stopping at 9:00 in the village of Ledigos (pop.74) for breakfast.
We’ve missed seeing the beautiful fields of sunflowers (“girasoles”) with their bright yellow blooms along the way. They peaked in early to mid-August and the fields are kinda drab. But alas, this morning we passed several late blooming fields with a few scatterered, near-peak plants.
Hopefully we’ll see more along the way.
At around 10:00, we stopped at Albergue Los Templarios, our home for the day, at the edge of Terradillos de los Templarios (pop.78) once home to a 13th-century church belonging to the Knights Templar.
The Knights Templar were a medieval military order responsible for protecting pilgrims. While the order was popular and successful for almost 200 years, grand master Jacques de Molay was arrested in 1307 (on Friday the 13th, possibly the origin of this superstitious date) and burned at the stake for heresy and a variety of trumped-up charges. The order was disbanded in disgrace, though many think the charges had more to do with politics than any actual wrongdoing.
The Knights Templar was a Catholic military order recognised in 1139 by pope innocent II’s papal bull Omne Datum Optimum of the Holy See. The order was founded in 1119 and active from about 1129 to 1312. This ruling meant that the Templars could pass freely through all borders, were not required to pay any taxes, and were exempt from all authority except that of the pope.
Although the primary mission of the order was militaristic, relatively few members were combatants. The others acted in support positions to assist the knights and to manage the financial infrastructure. The Templar Order, though its members were sworn to individual poverty, was given control of wealth beyond direct donations. A nobleman who was interested in participating in the Crusades might place all his assets under Templar management while he was away. Accumulating wealth in this manner throughout Christendom, the order in 1150 began generating letters of credit for pilgrims journeying to the Holy Land: Pilgrims deposited their valuables with a local Templar preceptory before embarking, received a document indicating the value of their deposit, then used that document upon arrival in the Holy Land to retrieve their funds in an amount of treasure of equal value. This innovative arrangement was an early form of banking and may have been the first formal system to support the use of cheques; it improved the safety of pilgrims by making them less attractive targets for thieves, and also contributed to the Templar coffers.
Based on this mix of donations and business dealing, the Templars established financial networks across the whole of Christendom. They acquired large tracts of land, both in Europe and the Middle East; they bought and managed farms and vineyards; they built massive stone cathedrals and castles; they were involved in manufacturing, import and export; they had their own fleet of ships; and at one point they even owned the entire island of Cyprus. The Order of the Knights Templar arguably qualifies as the world’s first multinational corporation.
The order, which was among the wealthiest and most powerful, became a favoured charity throughout Christendom and grew rapidly in membership and power. They were prominent in Christian finance. Templar knights, in their distinctive white mantles with a red cross, were among the most skilled fighting units of the Crusades.
The Templars were closely tied to the Crusades; when the Holy Land was lost, support for the order faded.
King Philip IV of France was heavily in debt and had borrowed huge sums of money from the Knights Templar and he had no intention of paying them back. He used the Knights Templar loss of support to his advantage by colluding with Pope Clement V, a relative who was heavily influenced by Philip. Since the papacy was at that time located in Avignon, France, Philip convinced Clement to bring charges against the Knights Templar and disband the order and arrest them, charging them with heresy during the Inquisition.
The order was disbanded by the Pope in 1308 and Jacques de Moray, the Grand Master of the Knights Templar and 70 other Templar leaders were arrested on October 13, 1307 and were tortured into confessions.
Even though De Moray, age 71, recanted his tortured confessions, he was burned at the stake in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral on March 18, 1314 after 7 years of solitary confinement and torture.
While burning on the pyre, De Molay cursed King Philip IV of France, his descendants, Pope Clement V, and everyone else who supported his death. De Molay said that within a year and a day, Clement V and Philip IV would die. He also said Philip’s bloodline would reign in France no more
It happened as De Molay wished for, and death came for Clement first. He lost a battle with a damaging disease on April 20, 1314 at age 54. Shortly after the Pope, Philip died of a stroke while hunting at age 46. A tragic death was also the destiny for all of Philip’s successors. Between 1314 and 1328 all three sons and grandsons of the French king died. Within fourteen years from the death of De Molay the House of Caped no longer existed – after it had stood for 300 years.
In September 2001, a document known as the “Chinon Parchment” dated 17–20 August 1308 was discovered in the Vatican Secret Archives by Barbara Frale, apparently after having been filed in the wrong place in 1628. It is a record of the trial of the Templars and shows that Clement absolved the Templars of all heresies in 1308 before formally disbanding the order in 1312, as did another Chinon Parchment dated 20 August 1308 addressed to Philip IV of France, also mentioning that all Templars that had confessed to heresy were “restored to the Sacraments and to the unity of the Church”.
The current position of the Roman Catholic Church is that the medieval persecution of the Knights Templar was unjust, that nothing was inherently wrong with the order or its rule, and that Pope Clement was pressed into his actions by the magnitude of the public scandal and by the dominating influence of King Philip IV, who was Clement’s relative.
Albergue Los Templarios (opened in 2007) is the nicest albergue we’ve stayed in, so far. It has bunk bed rooms (literas-8€) and single bed rooms (camas) with or with shared bathrooms. Grassy areas surround the albergue and there are clotheslines aplenty. After machine washing our clothes, the owner gave us an extra handful of clothespins. (Clothespins are always in short supply when hanging out your clothes to dry!) Los Templarios has an all day open bar and pilgrim menus for lunch (1:30-3:00) and dinner (6:30- 8:00 ).
Our habitacion con bano (38€) is bright, spacious with two comfortable twin beds, an adequate sized bathroom with complementary soap! Even though it was too early to check in, the owner gave us a room anyway and within a half hour we had showers and our dirty clothes were being machine washed (4€).
Note the orange towels, which surely must indicate there are Clemson fans in the area!
We had lunch in the albergue cafeteria including wine for 12€ and a nice pilgrim dinner for 10€ each.