Behind The Templar Agenda
The Templars and Switzerland
Another theme used in The Templar Agenda is the premise that outlawed Templars escaped into the Alps, eventually assisting in the foundation of Switzerland.
The Switzerland theory forms the backbone of a book by Stephen Dafoe and Alan Butler, entitled The Warriors and the Bankers. As part of their investigation, the authors argue that around the time of the Templar demise the peasant communities who dwelled in the mountains were assisted by riders in white. The best example occurred in 1315 when the army of Leopold V of Austria was ambushed by mountain folk on the St. Gotthard Pass. Other evidence includes the similarities between the Swiss flag, a white cross on a red background, almost exactly the same as the Templar red cross on a white background.
The possibility that the Templars situated in the south of France used their geographical knowledge of the Alpine region when fleeing the inquisitors is certainly plausible. Perhaps most interesting is their shared expertise of banking. The Swiss banking system has long been famous for its complex nature, its reliability and secrecy. Curiously, many elements of the Templar banking system do overlap, including the Templar use of safe deposit boxes, a prominent feature of Swiss numbered accounts.
To my mind the greatest surprise was that the duo did not mention any connection with the Swiss Guard. In addition to the Swiss expertise at banking, in the 1400s the Swiss became increasingly famed for their valour and military prowess. Throughout Europe mercenary forces had grown in importance as the Hundred Years’ War continued to escalate. Historically, Pope Julius II employed mercenaries from Switzerland in his war against Naples, marking the formation of the Swiss Guards at the Vatican. The possibility that these Catholic mercenaries owe their heritage to the outlawed Templars is a theme I have picked up on in the novel and, as far as I am aware, has not been put forward elsewhere. In my opinion it is likely that members of the order did seek refuge in Switzerland, their expertise eventually making its mark on the Swiss nation, though the foundation of the nation was already well underway by 1312.