THE KNIGHTS TEMPLARS AND THEIR INFLUENCE ON THE INTERNAL POLITICS OF THE KINGDOM OF CYPRUS ON THE EVE OF THE ORDER'S DISSOLUTION (Templariusze i ich wplyw na polityke wewnetrzna Królestwa Cypru w przededniu kasaty zakonu)
Thanks to countless donations from almost all European countries and profits from their multiple activities (transporting pilgrims to the Holy Land, managing trade and banking transactions between the West and the Levant) the Templars enjoyed a reputation for fabulous wealth. As the authority of the rulers of the Kingdom of Jerusalem declined in the 13th century, the Order, which held a chain of military castles in Syria and Palestine, became not only an independent force but also sought to negotiate separate agreements with the Moslems. When Acre, the last Crusader stronghold fell to the Mameluk army on 28 May 1291, the Order moved their headquarters to Limassol on the island of Cyprus. The Templars' ambitious policies soon put a great strain on their relations with the King of Cyprus, Henry II de Lusignan. The conflict reached its climax in 1306 with the removal of Henry II from power by his brother Amalric, who had the support of the Templars. Meanwhile, however, ominous signals had been coming from Europe. It was not only that the apparently irreversible fall of the Kingdom of Jerusalem made the continued existence of the Knights Templars problematic. They were suddenly confronted with a raft of scandalous accusations ranging from fraud to practicing black magic, heresy and sodomy, while at the same time the Pope pushed for their merger with the other main military order, the Hospitallers. On 13 October 1307 Philip IV of France, who had assisted in the criminal investigations, issued orders to arrest the Grand Master Jacques de Molay and all Templars who found themselves in France. Pope Clement V followed suit with an urgent call to all European monarchs to detain and imprison every Templar they could lay their hands on. The arrests were followed by trials in virtually the whole of Western Christendom. As an institution whose cross-border networks and enormous profits made it a major European power, the Order of Knights Templars could not help throwing its weight around wherever it was offered a foothold. This is what happened in the Kingdom of Jerusalem, and later, after its fall, in Cyprus. There, when the Templars could not get on with the reigning monarch, they helped to depose him by a rival who had their confidence.
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