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What to Know About The Knights Templar Before Watching ‘Knightfall’

History’s new scripted drama Knightfall centers on the the Knights Templar in the early 1300s who lost the Holy Grail when their last stronghold in the Christian world has fallen and the Grail lost. Years later, the new master, Landry, shifts the Templar’s attention to regaining control in the Holy Land.

While the new series is riveting, there’s a lot about the history of the Knights Templar that is worth noting before diving in to the premiere on December 6.

The Knights Templar were created to protect Christians

After the Christian armies captured Jerusalem in 1099, pilgrims traveled from all over Western Europe to visit the Holy Land, however, many of them were attacked along the way as they crossed through different territories. But, around 1118, a French knight along with eight friends and family members created the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and the Temple of Solomon, which became known for short as the Knights Templar.

It took 20 years to get Papal recognition

When the Knights Templar was first formed, they received a lot of criticism from religious leaders, but in 1129 a prominent figure in the French Catholic Church, Benedict of Clairvaux, gave formal endorsement of the group. It wasn’t until 1139 that Pope Innocent II issual a Papl Bull that gave the group special benefits, like exemption of taxes and held to no one’s authority except the Pope’s.

 The Fall of Acre really happened

This is where our Knightfall story kicks off. In 1291, what became known as The Fall of Acre was the fight for the last Crusader refuge of the Holy Land but the Knights list. Support for the Knights’ campaigns quickly began to disappear and criticism of their power and wealth began to be questioned. By 1303, they lost their grasp on their last foothold in the Muslim world and were forced to establish a new base in France.

Don’t miss the premiere of Knightfall on December 6 at 10pm ET on HISTORY.