Thursday, August 9, 2012

Templar Treasure Legends in Poland, Templars-part 3

The believers of  the legends about the knights Templars escaping to Poland have one valid point: Poland was one of very few regions in Europe which practiced religious tolerance. Relatively, for those days. Later in the history several hundred different believers or atheists were killed. Poland wasn't "the country without burning stakes," as sometimes was called. This is a myth. However, the level of religious tolerance was higher than in other European countries, even later in comparison to for ex. tolerant Netherlands. For long no single religion dominated. However, the popular religious movements in Europe were also rebellions of the peasant and those of  urban poor as they spoke against the excesses of the religious leaders and aristocracy. Such rebellions were gladly helped by the feudal lords, who saw those as not only rebellions against religion, but also against their "God given" privileges. The Templars were of the privileged class.

One of the Templars forum member in Poland wrote once jokingly in his post that he will reveal where the Templar treasure is located, and this revelation will cause obsessions, mental illness etc. for those who will search for it. Poland, sadly, has its own brand of treasure hunters, who illegally dig and damage historical sites which could be properly excavated by archaeologists, and properly secured by them in order to prevent further damage. There is something of a touch of madness in such enterprises too by individuals armed with metal detectors, shovels, flash lights and night visors. Directed by greed and in search for becoming another Indiana Jones.Some inhabitants of the places associated with treasures fear them, (damage not only historical sites), and chase them away. In Rennes le Chateau associated with story about Templar treasure illegal digs was also a huge problem.

There are legends associated with Templar treasure in Poland, and in an old German folk song, telling about the Templars, their castle and their treasure in Poland. In Poland the  treasure legends are relatively numerous in comparison to the legend of the location of the Holly Grail, which is bound with one location only.

 I mentioned the legend of Templar fleet which was sailing from Marseilles to the Baltic Sea down the river Vistula already. It was supposed to carry Templar treasure from France, away from the greedy hands of the king Phillipe the Bel.

Some legends mention him by name, and there are other names of people involved, their kinship, if applicable, nationality, etc.One particular legend, which according to another oral tradition, resulted in treasure hunt by the Swedish, who during the Deluge (war with Sweden) were taking apart the walls of the castle of the local lord whose predecessor allegedly took the treasure for himself. This legend is strangely detailed, with the names of all people  involved, all details mentioned above, rank in the  Templar order, events such as hunting,  injuries on parts of their bodies, emotional and family relations etc.Long and very detailed story. With lots of details, which can of course make someones head spin. This is the story how a Polish local lord together with his relatives attempted robbery, knowing about the treasure, when the plan of the robbery didn't bring any desired results-as robbery happened,but  treasure wasn't there- they spied on the treasurer who hid it. (He was form Western Europe). Than they stole the treasure, and were in fight with the treasurer, with swords, when one of the robbers killed the treasurer with an arrow shot form the distance, a very un-knightly behaviour in addition to the robbery.

 I am omitting here the details of the story, which is long, and out of respect for the past troubles which this story excited. I was born and lived not too far from one of the locations of alleged Templar treasures, I respect oral traditions, but I found out that not everyone shares similar respect. Mentioned the treasure hunters already. Not like you and me, for  some people this stuff  simply creates confusion, oral tradition is only as interesting as can allegedly point to the location of the treasure. Sad but true.

The other legends about the Templar treasures are of course bound with the locations of former Templar commanderies, of villages owned by them with sometimes telling names as Templewo. Quite often they are very similar to the legends which were  teaching social mores, and were against the vice of greed. They are very similar to the legends about the treasure connected to the Summer Solstice hoard, just the treasure was Templars' and the access there was only during the Winter Solstice, during the Midnight mass, when the guardian spirits or the devils leaved the place leaving the doors open. The versions tell about one man who found the place, and was courageous enough not to be sacred of the spirits. Each year took some of the treasure, but one year he took too big of the sack, and busy to fill it with riches was captured there forever as the doors closed again when the mass was over. He was changed into one of the guarding spirits.

What about the legends which are not fantastic at all, like the legend above, which mentions just the events, without any supernatural involved? May they be true? Maybe yes, maybe not. People were gossiping during the Middle Ages and later, and were even paid for their gossip, when they told interesting story, as today. Their story might have been a sort of bestseller when they were journeying from village tot village, and from castle to castle, story telling was a profession. As today. Those stories than took life on their own when were retold. But sometimes the stories in oral traditions give pointers to the truth which is than confirmed by archaeologists, as the tale about Johannites, one of the military orders with which the Templars merged. The legend said that those knights were growing unloyal toward the Polish king, and also were minting counterfeit coins. The angry king took over their castle. Today's excavations in the castle lead by archaeologists unearthed minting presses and fake coins of various origins, among them fake coins of the Teutonic Knights, the other crusaders present in the country .

Sometimes I wish the rumors of the treasure will be combined with the treasure found in Poland, extremely valuable, hidden during XIV.c. found during the second half of the XX c. now is possession of museums.Why not to say this was the lost Templar treasure, and stop digging for it? Among the treasure's precious objects was also this beautiful royal crown. It is difficult to appraisals of  treasures, but this one was is worth today from 50 million to 100 million dollars. Fitting rich organization, like Templars.

Via Wikipedia Commons 
 And here is a rather creepy edited video with some castles in Poland, some of them associated with Templar treasure. I dislike the soundtrack, very much to be honest.

 Ruins of the Castle Ogrodzieniec is one of the alleged sites of the Templar treasure location. There is the well, recognized by the cross bars, from which according to another tale appears a huge black hound, very terrifying beast appears from time to time.  This  is the ghost of the one's of the owners who rebuilt the castle, and he was an immensely rich man. The castle itself was very rich. Actually competed in splendor with the royal castle in Cracow. But its owner was also a sadist, very protective of his treasures, and as the legend say, he was punished for his cruelties by becoming a hunting spirit in the the form of this huge black dog.
Treasure were always stuff of the legends, and excited human emotions as lotteries and Las Vegas slot machines are. Treasure stories are also archetypical belong to the quest category.