Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"Last Stand of the Templars" on NatGeo 4/4/2011

The National Geographic Channel will air "Last Stand of the Templars" beginning this Monday, April 4th, at 10PM.

From the website:

The Templars were considered the pope's private army, protecting Jerusalem for more than 50 years. But their legacy came to a sudden end casting them from the heights of wealth and power to the dark corners of history. Now, on the ruins of a 12th century castle near the border between what are now Israel and Syria, a team of archaeologists peel away centuries of sediment, uncovering signs of a six-day siege that could have led to the Templars' demise.

The program was created by Arcadia Productions from Nova Scotia. The company has released a story about the show here.

Unfortunately, the original show as produced for Canadian TV was 2 hours long, and the NatGeo airing has been hacked down to an hour, or more likely, 47 minutes, with commercials. I have a feeling that the scenes of Levant Preceptory, Indiana's medieval Masonic Templar group, wound up being cut out. The crew came to Indianapolis and spent two days shooting us in Indiana Freemasons' Hall and the Indianapolis Scottish Rite Cathedral. Hopefully, the entire program will be made available to the public for purchase, since more than half of it will be unseen on NatGeo.

Here we are in all of our helmeted and mailled glory.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

"Knights Templar" Enter Mexican Drug Wars?

The western Mexican state of Michoacan has a new drug gang to deal with: a group calling itself the Knights Templar. I suppose it was only a matter of time, but irony can be woefully depressing in the hands of ignoramuses.

According to an Associated Press story today, a series of banners appeared across the state on Thursday announcing the group, less than a month after the La Familia drug cartel supposedly disbanded.

From the AP story:

The signs said the "Knights" will replace the cartel, which is considered Mexico's leading trafficker of methamphetamines, and fend off any other gangs looking to make inroads in Michoacan state.
"To the people of Michoacan, we inform you that starting today we will be carrying out here the altruistic activities previously realized by La Familia Michoacana," read one sign, hung on the fence of a school.

"We will be at the service of the people of Michoacan to attend to any situation that threatens the safety of Michoacanos," it continued. "Our commitment is to: keep order; avoid robberies, kidnappings, extortion; and protect the state from possible (interventions) by rival organizations. The Knights Templar."

There was no immediate comment from police, who quickly removed the banners hung from footbridges, in a public square, on a monument and elsewhere in cities including the state capital of Morelia, as well as in Zitacuaro and Apatzingan.

Such signs are commonly used by drug gangs to threaten rivals, to deny responsibility for crimes or to send messages to authorities.

It is the first public mention of a group by that name, and the authenticity of the banners could not immediately be confirmed. The name alludes to a Christian order of knights founded in 1118 in Jerusalem to protect pilgrims in the Holy Land after the First Crusade.

Somehow I suspect their "altruistic" motives will be anything but.

More than 35,000 people have died across Mexico in drug-related violence since December 2006.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

"Ironclad" Opens Friday 3/4/11

Medieval seige fans, take note. Ironclad opens this Friday, March 4th. The story takes place in England in 1215 following King John's signing of the Magna Carta, and his first attempt to renege on those pesky rights he agreed to. The film features James Purefoy as a Knight Templar recruited by Baron William de Albany (Brian Cox) to lead a rag-tag group to defend Rochester Castle against the appropriate screaming tantrums of Paul Giamatti's King John.