BAPHOMET, the imaginary symbol or idol which the Knights Templars were accused of worshipping in their secret rites. The term is supposed to be a corruption of Mahornet, who in several mediaeval Latin poems seems to be called by this name. Von Hammer wrote a dissertation in the Mines de l'Orient, 1818, in which he revived the old charge against the Templars. The word, according to his interpretation, signifies the baptism of Jfetis, or of fire, and is, therefore, connected with the impure rites of the lowest Gnostic sects, the Ophites. Additional evidence of this, according to Von Hammer, is to be found in the architectural decorations of the Templars' churches. An elaborate and, so far as has yet appeared, successful criticism of Von Hammer's arguments was made in the Journal des Savans, March and April 1819, by M. Raynouard, well known as the defender of the Templars. See also Hallam, .Middle Ages, e. i. note 15.