The Templars

The Knights Templars were a military-religious order established around 1118 to protect Christian pilgrims in the Holy Land. They lived in Jerusalem at first but later spread all over Europe, and in time the order became rich from gifts from wealthy patrons. In 1307 the bankrupt king of France, Philip IV, tried to acquire the Templars’ wealth by starting a smear campaign, accusing the Templars of all kinds of crimes—including the heresy of worshipping a cat. The campaign worked, and in 1312 the pope dissolved the order. Several Templars were executed. It was neither the first nor the last time that a group or individual was sullied with the accusation of cat worshipping.
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