~ This is the second of a six-post series called Star Wars and History. (See below for the six posts’ titles.) ~
In Revenge of the Sith, the Chancellor/Emperor orders the sudden liquidation of the Jedi Order, including an assault on the Jedi Temple. The story models the fall of medieval Europe’s Knights Templar. The Templars were a religious order whose key members were both knights and monks (kind of like the Jedi). They fought in the Crusades and were among Christendom’s most feared warriors. They also became wealthy as pioneers in banking.
France’s King Philip the Fair owed the Templars a fortune, and he wanted to escape their political power. So he ordered the simultaneous arrest of all Templars in the kingdom, on Friday the 13th of October, 1307 (a possible source of our Friday the 13th superstition). The liquidation included a raid on the order’s Paris headquarters, called the Temple — as well as hundreds of arrests.
The king accused the Templars of secret rites involving idol worship, homosexuality, and heresy, including spitting on the cross. And he had most of the prisoners tortured and executed. The order’s Grand Master was burnt at the stake. And under pressure from King Philip, the Pope directed Europe’s other monarchs to arrest the Templars in their realms, and he ultimately dissolved the order.
In Star Wars, a few Jedi escape and disappear, including Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobe. The same goes for the Templars. In fact, even in France, it’s likely the majority got away. No one knows what became of them.
If you like fantasy + history, you’ll love my book, The Jericho River!
Below are the six posts in this series, Star Wars and History:
1. Roman Republic and Empire
2. Fall of the Knights Templar (above)
3. Joseph Campbell and the Urban Myth with a Thousand Faces
4. Father vs. Son in Myth
5. Divine Conception in Myth
6. Samurai and Nazis
See also, Why Sounds Yoda So Archaic?
Image: • Knights Templar, source unknown — provided through Wikimedia Commons
© 2016 by David W. Tollen. All rights reserved.