Molay, Jacques de (zhäk də môlāˈ) [key], 1243?–1314, last grand master of the Knights Templars. He distinguished himself in defending Palestine against the Saracens. After the Templars were driven from the Holy Land, he moved to Cyprus, where he began to organize a new force to recapture the lost territory. He was summoned (1306) to Avignon by Pope Clement V to discuss a new crusading effort. Philip IV, king of France, was jealous of the Templars' riches and fearful of their power. In 1307 all of the Templars in France were arrested, and their property was confiscated. De Molay and his knights were brought before an inquisitorial court, charged with heresy and other accusations, and tortured. The grand master, thus subjected, admitted certain charges (later recanted) and was burned at the stake in Paris.
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