Knights Templar – In Hoc Signo Vinces

This photograph is of a Masonic Knights Templar symbol showing a cross within a crown inside a Maltese cross, which has the Latin phrase, “in hoc signo vinces.” The phrase means “in this sign you shall conquer” and was used by Constantine as a military motto in the early 4th Century. The phrase was also used by the original Knights Templar military order that was founded during the Crusades. The Freemasons began using Templar rituals and symbols in the late 1700s.

Knights Templar legends and myths are quite popular in movies and books such as The Da Vinci Code, Foucault’s Pendulum, National Treasure, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Some also see parallels between the Jedi Knights of Star Wars and the Knights Templar military order.

Photo: from the mausoleum of Dr. J.G. Locke, Fairmount Cemetery, Denver, Colorado

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42 Responses to Knights Templar – In Hoc Signo Vinces

  1. Linda Kelley says:

    we have stumbled on apparently an old Templar sword. the emblem IN HOC SIGNO VINCES is on this piece around a cross at what appears to be a 33 degree angle. We are trying to find out as much as we can as to it’s age and history. The sword has what appears to be an ivory handle. It was made for a Thomas Henry Rosenberger. The sword company making it is Henderson Ames. Can you help us in our search

    • Kevin H∴ says:

      Sounds like you have an old Masonic Knights Templar ceremonial sword made between 1890 and 1923 when Henderson-Ames ceased to operate. The cross being close to 33 degrees is not representative of anything in particular, as the Knights Templar do not use that number within their organization.

  2. Hamish Osborn says:

    Would be most interested to see detailed photographs of sword
    U.S. KT swords tend to be of high quality and if old tend to be named for the wearer.
    I have purchased a number of them over the years, which I regularly use at KT meetings here in the UK. You will often see examples for sale on Ebay which will allow you to get an idea of the value of your sword. Personally I feel they are always a good talking point. Also maybe you would be interested in becoming a Freemason, oh yes there are many Ladies and Mens lodges. You only have to ask any Freemason and they will be delighted to talk to you. We are not a secret society, we are however a society with some matters that we consider to be private. You will also find out that The United States of America was founded on Masonic principles and that in your oath of allegence you are quoting a Masonic obligation. Even you famous Greenback $1 bill carries the all seeing eye, a masonic pyramid and the rays of heaven. All masonic symbols
    Best regards to you accross the other side of the pond

  3. Jill Prestigiacomo says:

    Recently visited the grave of a friend’s grandfather. She couldn’t tell me what the badge on his headstone symbolized. It’s a flower-like shape with the initials E, C, W, U, F in each of it’s five “petals.” There is a pentagon with a cross, a crown, and a maltese cross in the center.

    Sounds like he could have been a Freemason, but what do the initials stand for?

  4. Daniel Dawson says:

    I have found my grandfathers sword it has castle and knight designs on the blade it is inscribed with Ralph C. Dawsons name. It is made by the M.C. LILLEY & CO. COLUMBUS OHIO. In the middle Guard there is a crown and inside of the crown, there is a cross it has the inscription that says In Hoc Signo Vinces. On the Pommel there is a knights head. Connecting from the Pommel to the Guard there is a gold chain. On the grip there is a cross.

  5. Mike Smitson says:

    The swords described above resemble the Masonic Knight Templar swords used in the United States. Some of the swords can date back to the beginnings of KT in the US. Most of the swords described above were made by one company in Ohio, and was a well known manufactor of Masonic regalia(?). It was a very common event to have the name of the purchaser of the sword engraved on the sword. This practice still exists today. Since the middle of the 1800s to the middle of the 1900s the KT in the US were very numerous and therefore the swords were very common. The value of each sword is different, based upon condition, the actual history of the sword and its contents, such as gold and ivory, etc. Please contact a local Masonic Lodge to help you research these swords.

    Thanks

  6. alan gordon says:

    this is the emblem for the royal black preceptory

  7. brian evans says:

    i have a silver coin with in hoc signo vinces on the reverse with regina maria and a crown with 4 x’s underneath——any ideas???

  8. Tim G says:

    Brian-
    Most KT orgainzations sell such coins as fund raisers for the lodge, or the KT charities. The Templar Eye foundation is a big charity. Usually they are found in the back of the KT magazine published monthly. Cost is around $5-$10.
    If it is silver it might be an older coin. I don’t think we’re on to anything new by selling coins with our motto on them to raise money for charity. I think our membership has been minting coins for sale for a long time to raise money.

  9. Julia Baglioni di Ragusa says:

    For the Constantinian motto “In Hoc Signo Vinces”, type it into wikipedia.com. It is also a permutation of letters which also mean “knowing the vine of Jesus of Jerusalem” or the lineage of Jesus. It derives from the Emperor Constantine the Great, and was assumed by a few noble families in Europe, such as the Earl of Arran (Sudley), and even earlier by the(Irish) “O’Donnell of Tyrconnell” nobility, some of whom are also Knights of Malta, and one of whom is a Commander of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George. The motto of that nobiliary order is also “In Hoc Signo Vinces”. The motto was bestowed, along with the Red Cross coat-of-arms, by Saint Patrick on Conall, the son of the Irish High King Niall, ancestor of the O’Donnells. The O’Donnells came to power in Tyrconnell at the time that the Knights Templar were being abolished/banished. Some came to Sligo (Templemore) and Donegal, and under O’Donnell protection then went to Scotland. The name O’Donnell is no accident. It is Gaelic for World Ruler or in Latin, Rex Mundi, a Cathar concept. Many O’Donnells hold key positions of power, in the British government one is the head of the civil service; another is the Duke of Tetuan in Spain; others are counts in Austria, barons in Ireland, and run part of the United Nations, and one Argentinian O’Donnell is a top political advisor to the USA and UN. Others included a Cardinal, several Generals, Ministers, and the Apostle of Newfoundland. The top O’Donnells are also descended from Irish, Scottish, English, Merovingian, Hungarian, and Scandinavian kings, and from the Makhir of Narbonne, as well as from the Caesars (see Charles Mosley’s Blood Royal book). Their family saint is Columba/Colmcille who brought Christianity to Scotland, and was an O’Donnell. Their oldest manuscript was written by him, and is Ireland’s most ancient, over 1500 years old, the Cathach.

    • Paul O'donnell says:

      Hello my name is Paul O’Donnell and I would love to know where you manged to find the link between the Irish O’Donnell’s and the Knights templar, I have read a fair bit but never have I seen or was any conncetion intimated by any scholar, would love to have more info as both subjects (O’Donnell ancestery and knights templar) are very interesting to me!!

  10. Sir Knight Mark says:

    Wow. yes the Templars were removed from Malta and scattered throughout the world. Their society still exists today and their rituals are intact. The swords you all are asking about were issued to Knights Templar when they were Knighted. The sword companies no longer exist as many closed during the depression. Their value is directly proportional to your family lineage. If your husband or son becomes a Knight, through Masonry, the sword would be of a great value. They range from 50 -250 on average, with some unfortunately being scammed for as high as 2,000 in Reno. They have ivory handles and are ceremonial in nature….

  11. Colleen says:

    These Knights Templar swords are regalia of the Masonic concordant body of Knights Templars. They (KT org) have a website if you want to learn more about them. As far as the sword manafucturers, common: M.C. Lilly Co. – sold to C.E. Ward Co. (New London, OHIO) in 1951. In 1987 – C.E. Ward sold to Ames Sword Co. who also has a website. I believe the ‘ivory’ in the hilt is actually scrimshaw. If swords are in less than pristine condition, Ames website indicates they do repairs. There are also other companies on the internet that offer repair/restoration. What a treasure to hang on your wall!

  12. Mike says:

    Um, there is NO WAY that symbol is a maltease cross. The Cross in the picture is a cross pattee

    The Maltese Cross is the symbol of the knights hospitallers and came into use in the 1500s Althought the Hospitallers and the templars were formed around the same time in 1100s, the templars were wiped out or went underground (depending on who you believe) in early 1300s The Hospitallers didnt even go to malta until 1530

  13. Sir Knight Edward says:

    You can find KT swords all through the internet – Pricing is all over the board. Usually, a run of the mill sword can be had in the $200 – $500 range … Some more, some less. If there is ANY chance that you will have a son, nephew, etc that may some day become a York Rite Mason, I would encourage you to save the sword and pass it down. A sword is a very important part of the York Rite Commandery. An old sword with some history would be extremely meaningful to the recipient.

  14. Misti Cooper says:

    Thank you for the intriguing read! Alright playtime is over and back to school work.

  15. Sue says:

    We, too, have a sword which my husband inherited from his great-grandfather and father. It is at our son’s house but I will look at it more closely over Christmas. What I have is a piece of jewelry (pendant?, watch fob???)about 1.5″ square. It is a gold ornate square cross and in the center is a red cross circled by a crown. Around this are the words In Hoc Signo Vinces. It is quite beautiful…On the reverse side there is a circle of letters…I can’t tell which letter is the beginning so I’ll start at the lower left letter…T.K.S.H.T.W.S.S. Does anyone have any information for us?

    • Kirk Kirkpatrick says:

      The reverse is from the Mark Master degree of the York Rite. The letters should be read in this order: H.T.W.S.S.T.K.S. I am a Mason and a Knight Templar. I know what the letters mean, but cannot disclose its meaning. Your husbands grandfather was a Master Mason and advanced further through the York Rite. He went Chapter Degrees of Mark Master, Past Master (Virtual), Excellent Master and Royal Arch Degree. Then the Cryptic degrees of Royal Master, Select Master and Super Excellent Master. Finally the Templar Degrees of the Illustrious Order of the Red Cross, the Order of the Knights of Malta, and the Order of the Temple.

  16. Sue says:

    In my response yesterday I described a piece of jewelry that has been in my husband’s family (we also have a sword). This appears to be either a small pendant to be worn on a chain or a watch fob. I have not yet seen any response to my posting….does anyone have an idea about this quite beautiful piece?

  17. Robert Dean says:

    I don’t have a sword. I have a letter opener, made by the robbins co. On it: 1913 Denver colorado, 32d Triennial Conclave, in hoc signo vinces. kt and has a cross and a crown emblem. On top or handle is a knights helmet, a cross and a chain. I found where one just like it was sold on e-bay 10/31/2007. I don’t know who sold it or for how much.

  18. Johnny Ray Daniels says:

    I to am in possession of what I believe to be a KT sword. It was made by The M.C. Lilley Co. for O.K. Anderson Poore and it too has all the markings described in previous post except for the ivory grip. On mine it is leather. It also has some of the most beautiful engravings along both sides of the blade.

  19. Patsy Brennan says:

    In the cathedral in Lyons, France, the holy water font has the inscription: In hoc signo vinces. The motto of my family name (Brennan) is also: In hoc signo vinces. I was fascinated by the details of the O’Donnells, I have not come across any O’Ds in our family tree. It would seem the line was associated with Bran the Blessed. Any other insights would be much appreciated! Thanking you.

  20. jennifer nixon says:

    HELP, WE HAVE A FAMILY GRAVESTONE WHAT APEARS TO BE A WOODSMAN OF THE WORLD STONE,7’HIGH. ON THE BACKSIDE, UP HIGH AND APPROX. 1 1/2SQ.FT IS A MALTESE CROSS WITH THE CROSSING SWORDS(ALTHOUGH THEY ENTER FROM THE BOTTOM NOT THE TOP). IN EACH OF THE 4 ARMS OF THE CROSS ARE THE LETTERS(FROM TOP CLOCKWISE) C;U;K;R. IN THE CIRCLE IN THE CENTER OF THE CROSS ARE THE LETTERS: S_J. WHERE I PUT THE _ THERE APPEARS TO BE Z OR WHAT LOOKS LIKE A Z WITH VERTICAL DASH ABOVE IT AND BELOW IT BETWEEN THE S AND J. ANY IDEAS WOULD BE OF GREAT HELP. THANKS

  21. Ann S says:

    Hi. My great, great grandfather was a Major in the Massachusetts Cavalry (Major David B. Keith, Fourth Regiment, 2nd Battalion, Companies A, B C and D). We have his sword along with many other documents from his days in the Army during the Civil War. Based on some quick research the sword seams to be Knights Templar sword, it has the In Hoc Signo Vinces, made by M.C. Lilly and has a beautiful gold inlay on both sides of the sword depicting what appears to be an Arabian night on horseback along with his name David B. Keith on the front side only. I would never part with any of these historical pieces but I am curious to know if there is any historical value to detemine if it is better suited on loan to a local Cival War museum rather than in my mother’s attic! Thanks.

  22. marian says:

    I too now am in possession of my Grandfathers sword. It was the sword of my Great Grandfather and very possible before that.. My family is masonic all the way back on both sides. The Youngs and the Lee’s were York rites and the Rexroad and Mortons were scottish rites. Both of my Grandmothers were Eastern Star as well as the majority of my Aunts. I am a member of Eastern Star. This sword in in amazing condition. Ivory hilt topped by a Knights head, on the back side of the ivory hilt is one large red cross alone. Below that is the “cross” (below the hilt (handle) Oval in the middle of two maltese crosses in the oval is the red cross in the center of a crown Alittle futher down is raised gold 1st Fluer de le then a knight covered by a shield with a sword almost at the bottom slightly sideways. in the middle (the raised designs are on the seath of the sword) another fleur de le with a symbol with 3 thing coming from the top into it and three of the same coming out of the bottom—maltese cross.followed by another fleur de le. The raised design on the bottom is harder to describe-very ornate. on the sword itself the skull and bones are etched with designs crosses / knights / flowers–could be a rose/ fleur de le’s and so forth. I am still sitting back in awe—-that I am the offspring of these amazing forefathers. Wish I knew more, any information would be greatly appreciated…….
    Marian
    ..

    • zafs7 says:

      not sure if my last message came thru. i wasnt a member yet. Just wanted you to know, i recently purchased a sword with the name of charles L Lee on it. thought maybe it was a relative of yours. its on a kt sword made from fs armstrong..i would guess somewhere in the 1800s.

  23. Valgeir Örn Hinriksson says:

    the templar knights are gone the were wiped out 600 year ago somany ppl and orders say they are nights templar manny orders to there costums and rituals and ther names but it dosenot mean you are a knight templar

    • marian young says:

      My Great Grandfather had the Gold Sword—skull and bones—-order of the cross—as well as masonic–yes he was one! I have it now!!

    • cory says:

      I do not see how there were any ties to the Masons and Knight Templar… Confused. Two different society’s ?

  24. Billy belcher says:

    I have a sword with that symbol and it has a date that says 1701 on it

  25. Jon C. says:

    I found a really old door ornament, seems to have been attached to a door at some time. it had a lion type creature, and “in hoc signo vinces” written on it. any idea of wwhat and where it came from?

  26. Jon C. says:

    Another thing about the door hanger, it seems to be made of brass.

  27. Chris avery says:

    I have a sword with the same markings on it. It’s old but I don’t know how old. I found it a few years ago In an old truck that I was taking to the scrap yard, if any one can help me it would be great.
    Thank you for your time.
    Chris Avery

  28. Melissa Richardson says:

    I have a sword made from E.A Armstrong in Detroit MI, on the blade it says H F Bates, I think and on the handle the letters TP, which because of the stying in the letters, I am also unsure. on the sheath it reads IN HOC SIGNO VINCES around a cross, below that, TK. It has a beautiflly etched scene on the blade. From research I know Armstrong was bought out by another company, but can I found out how old this sword is? And how do I sell t? Should I? Thanks Melissa Richardson

  29. Mr Ricrhard Hazlehurst says:

    I have a cross & on the face is In Hoc Vince on the back 31-5-25 the looks its made of bronze

  30. Christine Kuch says:

    I have a watch fab which has a red cross, crown and in hoc signo vinces, but on the other side is a double headed eagle in gold with a black triangle between the eagle heads with what looks like the number 32 on it. Does anyone know what all this means? This was from my grandfather Brown who was originally from the Boston area

  31. Joann says:

    I have what looks like a small coin– a little smaller than a dime– with a eyelet on top to put a string through. The edge has the groves like a coin does. And on the inside along the edges on both sides has dots making a circle. On one side it has a cross through a crown which is inside a circle which is inside a cross with two swards behind that cross. In each triangle of the outer cross has IN HOC SIGNO VINCES (one word in each) 18 on the left outside of outer cross, Denver on top outside cross, 92 on right outside, Colo. on bottom. On back has a triangle with rays around it and bar under it. Below that is a coat of arms with 3 mountain peaks with a pick axe and sledge hammer crossed under the mountains in the coat of arms. Below the coat of arms is a ribbon with the words: NIL SINE NUMINE
    I was wondering if anyone knew what it was that I had. Very interested to find out. Thank you all for your time!

  32. Christian verardi says:

    I have an old silver coin that says “in hoc signo Vince’s” on it and I’ve tried to do research on it, all I could find was that its from anywhere from 1680 to early 1700’s and I’d like to know the value

  33. Patricia Vasquez says:

    I have what looks like a pendant a gold square cross that has black stones in each side of the cross it also has two swords that cross through the middle of the cross and under a piece of gold that has letters on it H.T.W.S.S.T.K.S. On the other side it has a circle of gold that has a red cross on it and a crown with diamonds in it, there is a knights head on top with shoulders. The circle has the words IN HOC SIGNO VINCES can someone tell me something about it?

  34. Donya D says:

    I found a sword with in hoc signo Vince on it. It has the name John Kingsepp on the blade could some one please help me with more information on it.

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