Origins – Friday the 13th

On Friday, October 13, 1307, King Philip IV of France ordered the arrests of Jaques de Molay, Grand Master of the Knights Templars ( the poor knights of the temple solomon) and sixty of his senior knights in Paris. Thousands of others were arrested elsewhere in the country. After employing torture techniques to compel the Templars to “confess” to wrongdoing, most were eventually executed and sympathizers of the Templars condemned Friday the 13th as an evil day. Over time a large body of literature and folk wisdom have reinforced the belief.

At the commandery of Ypres, there’s a bit of everything. According to the chronicle, servants and fleeing brothers were killed, but at least one Templar put up a fierce battle, taking the sword of a soldier and killing four frenchmen with it. Here’s the passage in old flemish, that was passed on by the only person to escape alive and who witnessed this event (he was hiding until the french had left, and escaped later on):

Onder ander hoorde ik op een kamer, die omtrent was, alwaer dat sliep broeder Michiel Tinket, zijnde een grooten sterken man, dat deze ontwakende op het aenkomende gerugt zig in posture stelde ende vanden eersten soldat, denwelken in de kamer drong, zijn degen ontweldigde ende zig daemede zoo deftig verweirde, dat hy vier soldaten daermede omverre stak, welk geval ik hoorde van de soldaten in ‘t fransch, welke tale ik wel verstond, maer door den toeloop van vele anderen wiert hy tenlesten overompelt ende deirlijk vermoort.

Literally translated, this gives (grammatically, it might sound strange) :

Among other things, I heard in a nearby room, where brother Michiel Tinket slept, who was a tall strong man, that he awoke on hearing the uncoming noise, of those entering his room, he took the sword of the first soldier that came into his room and with it he defended himself so violentely, that he slew four soldiers with it, as I heard from soldiers [talking] in french, whose language I did understand, but as many more soldiers came running, he was at last taken and sadly murdered.

If things happened as described above is something that we will perhaps never know. But if we put the story of Ieper and Arras together, we have two similar events in towns not so far from each other. In his extensive work, Mannier doesn’t mention the drama of the commandery of Ypres (Ieper). If I had not been born in Ieper, I might never have found out about the story, so perhaps there are more similar tales waiting to be collected ? There’s a least one other story that can be added to the list, to the north of Flanders, in the Netherlands, it seems that another Templar house was violently raided during the arrest. I will try to check the story. Source : ROGGHÉ P. De Orde van de Tempelridders en haar geschiedenis in het oude graafschap Vlaanderen. Gent : Drukkerij Erasmus, 1973, p. 147.

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~ by vwbora25 on 09/27/2008.

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