Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday 13th? Lucky or Unlucky?

It was Friday 13, October 1307 when Phillip IV of France raided the Knights Templars organization and arrested them for conspiracy against the Crown. It has always been touted as the end of that mysterious and iconic group of Knights.  In truth not more than a dozen Templars were arrested, most vanished without a trace, along with the cashe of gold and jewels they were known to pocess.  
Since that time we have considered Friday 13th of any year and any month to be bad luck.  I'm not sure why because it would seem to be the day that the Knights Templar got away. Rumors that the organization went "underground" and morphed into a world dominate force began that day in history. Nonetheless all of that is buried in superstition and mystery.  The word for fear of Friday 13th is Triskadeckaphobia, although technically it would be the fear of the number 13.  
So here is a thought. Given that Valentines Day is for lovers and happiness, and Friday 13th is a day of fear and bad luck, "HOW OFTEN DOES FRIDAY 13th FALL ON VALENTINES DAY?"  (Answer later in this blog)
What happend to the Templars is the speculation of many stories.  The one that seems to make sense to me is that they ended up in Switzerland.  For all that the Templars were supposed to be the one thing they did was create a banking system.  Pilgrams making a journey to the Holy Lands in the days of the Templars were routinely robbed of the money they traveled with. The Knights Templar decicated themselves to the protection of Christian pilgrams traveling to the Holy Land.  They established a bank for the travelers.  Instead of carrying all their money during the journey, the pilgrams would "deposit" their money with the Knights Templar, and get it back when they reached the Holy Land.  This way all the pilgrams had to carry with them was a piece of paper given to them by the Knights.  The Templars devised a syphor or code that only they could read. It could only be interpreted by other Templars stating how much money the pilgram had deposited. Of course some pilgrams never returned, some lost the paper stating their deposits, so the unclaimed money became the possession of the Templars. They soon became very rich with this idea.  
So back to Switzerland. It is just over the Alps from France where the Templars were last known to be. And the 14th century (Templars were arrested/fled France at the beginning of that century) is when according to Wikipedia "With the opening of the Gotthard Pass in the 13th century, the territory of Central Switzerland, primarily the valley of Uri, had gained great strategical importance and was granted Reichsfreiheit by the Hohenstaufen emperors. This became the nucleus of the Swiss Confederacy, which during the 1330s to 1350s grew to incorporate its core of "eight cantons". 
Besides the fine craftmanship of their time pieces Switzerland is most known for its banking system. Even during wars they have remainded nuetral as "holders of the world's purse".  It sounds like a very Templaresque idea.  But the most compelling thing to me is the Flag of Switzerland and the Flag of the Knights Templar. 
It is simple and immediately recognizable and came into use in the 14 century just about the time the Knights Templar (medival bankers) vanished from France.  To me the Swizz flag is very much like the Crest and Flag that the Knights Templars used.  One is an equalateral white cross on a red field, the other is an equalateral red cross on a white field.  The old addage goes, if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck... well you know the rest. 
It would seem to me that the Knights Templar simply crossed the Alps after excaping the clutches of hostle government to form their own country with the money they brought with them. They established their own government which would be more friendly to their banking business. As a final syphor or code they kept the coat of arms that had made them famous similar enough to let the learned know. 
Oh...Valentines Day will never fall on a Friday 13th because it is always February 14th. I'll bet I did not fool you with that one.
As you were,


P. Grecian said...

Now I've learned something about The Templars as they relate to the Swiss. Makes perfect sense. Thanks, Jay!

Coonnie Kaplan said...

i got married once on Friday the 13th. Turned out not to be a great idea.