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Hugues de Payens (c. 1070 – 1136) was a French knight and the first Grand Master of the Knights Templar.


In 1129, de Payens ushered in the era of Order of the Knights Templar as a publicly recognized military and monastic organization as their first Grand Master. He proposed to Baldwin II of Jerusalem that the Order be trusted to protect pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land. Approving this, Baldwin gave Al-Aqsa Mosque to the knights as their headquarters.[1]

Together with Bernard de Clairvaux, de Payens wrote the Latin Rule, the creed of the Knights Templar, gained the support of the Church and ensured that the Order was recognized and confirmed during the Council of Troyes. Although the Templar Order was now public, its true goals remained secret. During this period, the Templars grew so financially, religiously and politically powerful that they were able to influence the kings, emperors and popes of the time.[1]


During the Reconquista, the Spanish Templar Ojeda possessed a sword featuring a carving of de Payen's head on its pommel to show his unwavering loyalty to the order.[2]