And they were, well, read on:
The Templars were a rum lot, all right, quite apart from Da Vinci Code imaginings. At the time of their suppression in 1312 they were accused of worshipping a head, of spitting on the crucifix, and of sodomy. These habits were presumed to have been picked up in Moorish lands. In 1314, their Grand Master, James of Molay, protesting his innocence, was burnt at the stake by Philip IV of France.
Only in 2005 was it discovered why he protested so much. A scroll misfiled in the Vatican Secret Archives turned out to be the sworn account of the interrogation of Molay and his colleagues at the castle of Chinon. They admitted that on initiation into the Templars they had been told to spit on the crucifix and to denounce Christ, but they declared they had not meant it in their hearts. As for sodomy, none admitted it, and none had worshipped any head.
The importance of the Chinon parchment is that it proves that Pope Clement V had absolved these Templars from their crimes and cleared them of any taint of heresy. The subsequent dissolution of the order was the work of the French king's persevering campaign.
And the Temple Mount?
Well, it started back in
The new foundation was granted as its headquarters the al-Aqsa former mosque. This domed building on the Temple Mount was thought at the time to be Solomon's Temple, hence Templars.
Michael Haag, in his well-knit narrative, gets through an enormous spread of history, helpfully telling readers what the Bible has to say about the Jewish Temple before running through the Roman, Muslim and Crusader centuries.