Sunday, July 24, 2011

Norwegian Killer Breivik's Knights Templar Obsession

As more news and even more speculation about Norwegian mass-murderer Anders Behring Breivik comes to light, his motives are being ascribed, variously, to Christian fundamentalism and white supremacism.

A YouTube video that Breivik created points to neither of those traits, but does strongly indicate cultural conservatism along with his hatred of Islam, Marxism, and multiculturalism.

While some accounts point to his membership in the Freemasons, one aspect of his apparent influences that has been discussed less is his obvious obsession with the Order of the Knights Templar.

The Templars were an Order of Priest/Knights who were one of the most effective military forces in the Crusades and who also created an economic infrastructure within Europe that became a forerunner of modern banking.

It was the wealth that they created that led to their undoing when Philip IV of France forced Pope Clement to dissolve the order and execute all the Templars so he could absorb their wealth. Legends of surviving Templars have existed for centuries and their continuation within the Order of Freemasons (which has its own, very separate origins from the Templars)  has been the source of conspiracy theories and popular fiction.

The Templars were famous for interacting with other cultures and learning from them and much is made of the mystical nature of the Order. Umberto Eco, the author of The Name of the Rose, wrote a Templar conspiracy novel in 1988 called Foucault's Pendulum about a secret order of modern-day Templars bent on world domination. The novel was interesting in that it was based on the plot being advanced through the Internet, which at the time was only available to relatively few people.

Breivik's YouTube video, titled Knights Templar 2083 includes numerous depictions of Templars and concludes with a now chilling photograph of the killer holding a weapon, clearly stylized to make him look like a continuation of the Order's tradition.

Out of the flow of information and rumour that will come as Breivik's life and judicial process is further revealed, it seems likely that wild conspiracy theories involving a long-dead Crusader Order will be part of them.

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