The Knights Templar were the most powerful military order that played part in the Crusades. The Knights Templar were formed from several groups of knights for the express purpose of protecting Christian pilgrims in the Holy Land. The incorporation of these groups of knights created a powerful military force which formed the nucleus of the Crusading Army. The order adopted a monastic way of life based on that of St. Benedict. This dual identity brought about the famous description of them as "fiercer than lions and gentler than lambs." The monastic life of the Knights Templar granted them the peace of mind and soul to fulfill their prescribed mission. The successes of the Knights Templar were numerous, especially in the Third Crusade. The Knights Templar fought fiercely against Saracen encroachment into territory held by the Latin Kingdoms of Palestine, but were driven into Cyprus when Acre fell in 1291. From Cyprus, the Knights Templar achieved financial success which in turn brought them the wrath of King Philip IV of France. The order was persecuted from 1308-1314 and destroyed with the death of the last Grandmaster, Jaques de Molay.
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