King Philip IV, commonly referred to as Philip the Fair (le Bel), was born in the year 1268, one hundred and fifty years after the formation of the Knights Templar. Philip was King of France from 1285-1314. How could someone as corrupt as he, be called by the people, Philip the Fair? The term “The Fair” was a reference to Philip IV’s good looks, being tall and handsome with long blonde hair and blue eyes. Philip Le Bel, in contrast to his pleasing looks, was a cold and secretive man who had strong wishes for France to be the head of the empire. In order to accomplish this plan he would need great financial resources (which the Templars possessed) and a week and subservient Papal Throne. Philip is well known for his battles with Boniface VIII (see chronology below) At one point Philip publicly burned Boniface VIII’s Bull Unam Sanctam which gave the Pope absolute supremacy over everyone.
There was, at the time of around 1305, a plan to unite all the religious fighting orders into one order called the Knights of Jerusalem. A plan, which Jacques de Molay was involved in but disapproved of, for fear that the other orders were not, as disciplined as his Templar Knights. The supreme ruler of this order (The Rex Bellator or War King) was Philip Le Bel’s desire. In fact he even went so far as to make this a proposal to Rome, stating that future Kings of France should automatically be given the title and any extra revenues of the order given to the Rex Belletor. The uniting of the orders never did come to be.
Philip’s persecution of the Templars in his quest for money was not his first attempt to destroy a people. He first went after the Jews and the Italian bankers (Lombards) He expelled Jews from France after taking their properties.
Philip in his quest for more and more money, recalled all the coinage and melted it down for his usage. He then replaced it all with coins minted of lesser value. This in a round about way, is probably the first recorded case of devaluing currency. It was when Philip so devalued the French currency that he was forced to seek refuge from his people in a Templar shelter. Here in the Paris temple, Philip became aware, perhaps for the first time of the true wealth of the Knights Templar. It was here in the protecting arms of the order that he first manifested the idea of stealing their vast wealth for his political agenda.
As the Templars were free of all authority save for that of the Papal Throne, the only way Philip could lawfully seize Templar assets was to accuse them of magic and heresy, which he did through his right hand man, Guillaume de Nogart, who has King Philip’s chancellor. An interesting side note to Guillaume is that the lawyer’s parents had been burned at the stake as Albigensian heretics.
On Friday the 13th of October 1307 (the real reason the day carries bad luck) all the Templars in France were arrested on a variety of charges and accusations. The trials of the Templars lasted from that date through until March 19th, 1314 when Jacques de Molay the last (known) Grand Master of the order was burned at the stake. So the story goes, as he burned in agony, he invited both Philip and to join him within a year. Philip the Fair, accuser of the Templars died in 1314, perhaps helping to perpetuate some of the myths of occultism surrounding the Templar knights.
Chronology Of Philip IV (The Fair)
1268 AD – Birth Of Philip The Fair
1285 AD – Succeeds his father (at the age of seventeen) as The King of France
1294 AD – Boniface made Pope
1296 AD – Boniface issues a Bull forbidding Clergy of paying Taxes (Clericus Laicos) This created a problem for Philip IV as he wanted these funds to bail himself out of debt
1299 AD – Philip refuses to support Boniface against Aragon
1302 AD – Boniface issues Papal bull Unam Sanctam giving absolute power over all
1302 AD – Philip publicly burns Boniface’s Bull
1302 AD – Boniface offers French throne to an Austrian Emperor Albert
1303 AD – Philip has Boniface VIII attacked…Boniface subsequently dies
1303 AD – Edward I makes peace with Philip
1305 AD – Philip makes Bertrand de Got Pope (Clement V)
1306 AD – Attempt by Philip and Clement to unite orders of Templars and Hospitallers
1307 AD – Templars arrested by Philips men on Friday October 13th
1314 AD – Philip condemns Jacques de Molay to death by burning at the stake
1314 AD – Philip and Clement both die within one year of de Molay’s Death
We hope you enjoyed this article on King Philip IV.
TemplarHistory.com was started in the fall of 1997 by Stephen Dafoe, a Canadian author who has written several books on the Templars and related subjects.
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