Relics and Idols
The New Temple of Solomon is fictional. The house is inspired by similar houses in Newport, many of which once existed as summer homes of the high and mighty – at least until they ran out of money. The basement is equally fictitious and in truth its appearance is something of a cross between Masonic lodges, church crypts, cathedral side chapels, my vivid imagination, castle dungeons while also taking account of the accusations placed against the Templars prior to their excommunication. One of the most bizarre accusations that cropped up in the trials was that the Templars worshipped a strange head, usually a painting or an animal. In recent years evidence has come to light that the Templars owned the Turin Shroud, believed by the order to be the burial shroud of Christ.
The name associated with the object is Baphomet, a meaning for which is still to be explained. In the case of this novel, the so-called demon, sometimes known as Baphomet, is replaced with Asmodeus, the mythical builder of Solomon’s Temple, a figure of biblical pedigree also deeply entrenched in Masonic folklore. Instead of the Baphomet describing a head, I have swayed toward accepting the views of Dr. Hugh Schofield who suggested the word was created through use of an atbash, a device used to substitute letters for numbers, forming a translation of the word Sophia. In The Templar Agenda the Baphomet is an ancient collection of knowledge, granted only to full Templars, entitled to participate in a baptism of wisdom. The Templar’s agenda is in part inspired by the tales in this book of wisdom. The book is fictional, though it does concur with certain suggestions that arose at the time of the trial.
The other relic of note in The Templar Agenda is the skull and crossbones. Two alleged sources exist here. One, an old Templar legend, describes the story of an evil Templar who desecrated the grave of his mistress, only for the corpse to give birth nine months later to this strange idol, usually called the Skull of Sidon. Another legend, used in the novel, is that loyal supporters of de Molay on collecting his remains after his execution found only the skull and thighbones. Historically, the Templars did use the skull and crossbones on their ships, and graves, as a sign of man’s mortality.