Jacques de Molay Biography
Born In: Molay, Haute-Saône, France
Jacques de Molay, alternatively spelt “Molai”, was a member of the Knights Templar and served as its 23rd and final Grand Master between 1292 and 1312. While very little information is available on his personal life and deeds before he became the Grand Master, he is one of the most famous Templars in history. As Grand Master, his ultimate objective was to bring about drastic reforms to the Order. He also wanted the Order to adapt to the new circumstances in the Holy Land in the waning days of the Crusades. The powers in Europe had become reluctant in their support for the Crusades, and various forces had begun actively campaigning for the Order to be dissolved, so they could lay claim to the wealth of the Templars. King Philip IV of France, who had incurred massive debt to the Order, imprisoned Molay and several other Templars in 1307 and put them through severe torture to acquire false confessions. Philip eventually executed Molay by burning him upon a scaffold on an island in the River Seine in front of Notre-Dame de Paris in March 1314. This brought the two-hundred-year-old order to a sudden and violent end. Since then, both the Templars and Molay as its last leader have become subjects of stories and legends.