After a group of pilgrims were murdered in 1119, nine crusaders formed a pact to protect any others like them from harm. This pact is now famously remembered as the Knights Templar.
Fans of "The Da Vinci Code" know the Knights Templar as a secret society, but the story of their tumultuous two centuries in power is more shocking and scandalous than any Hollywood movie. Follow our team of experts as they go to Jerusalem's Temple Mount, the most bitterly contested sacred site in the world. With the help of DNA tests and a remarkable discovery in the Vatican archives, we reveal the truth about the knights' rise into the world's most powerful military religious order to their spectacular and sudden fall from grace.
Access even more free Smithsonian Channel full episodes and documentaries online through participating TV providers.
Find out if your television provider carries Smithsonian Channel.
Don't panic! It's simple to upgrade to the latest version of one of these browsers:
Don't panic! To get the best possible experience on smithsonianchannel.com we recommend you upgrade your operating system.
For the best possible site experience, please use Chrome for Android.
Add username "SmithsonianChan" on Snapchat for fun and fascinating facts. We'll be sharing spontaneous photos and videos as inspiration strikes.