Were the traps in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade made by the three knights?

In the "Name of God" trap from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade question there is a comment that the "J" shouldn't even exist on the trap, because there isn't a J in the Latin alphabet. Since the answer is spelled out in Latin, that means the trap wasn't written in a language written or spoken at the time of Christ (ie Aramaic or Hebrew).

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    Wha? Latin was a rather popular language spoken at the time of Christ. It probably would date that particular trap to when the Church was dominated by Rome; otherwise, it would have likely been in a 'local' language (Aramaic/Hebrew) or the 'educated' language (Greek). Actually, the better question would be, if there is no 'J' in the Latin alphabet, why is there a 'J' as a floor tile (what alphabet would the be using)? Oct 3, 2012 at 23:47
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    While "J" does not exist in the Latin alphabet, Latin had largely become a ceremonial/historic language by the time of the First Crusade. The three knights were knights of the First Crusade, dating them at roughly 1100 AD. The final knight even speaks English remarkably well - probably because most knights of the crusade came from Western Europe. Having a "J" tile is not illogical.
    – phantom42
    Jul 29, 2013 at 13:00
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    The I/J "test" is stuff and nonsense, you know. Latin did have J; or more precisely, there were scripts used to write Latin that used a letter that looked like J. It's just that I and J were considered to be exactly the same letter, kind of like we have two ways to write a lowercase 'a' or lowercase 'g', but there's no functional difference between them. (U and V used to be similar glyph variants, too.)
    – Martha
    Jul 29, 2013 at 14:14
  • I always assumed A Wizard Did It.
    – Christi
    Jul 30, 2013 at 18:11

2 Answers 2


Technically, they weren't traps: they were tests, albeit ones that rewarded failure with death.

Given their elaborate nature, it's unlikely that Medieval knights would be responsible for their manufacture, and it is much more feasible that The Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword are responsible, as Stefan has pointed out.

It's not the aim to make access impassible, but to allow only the Truly devout and Holy pass through, those who are worthy of the gift of God.


  • Only a Holy man would know the true name of God, and thus traverse the stepping stones.

  • A Holy man would kneel in submission of the Lord, and avoid being decapitated by the blades.

  • A Holy man would have faith to trust in the Lord, and commit to the leap of faith.

Whilst these puzzles have relatively simple answers in retrospect, in prospect they require very specific knowledge and a very learned interpretation of the 'Clues' in order to decode.

They were likely crafted between 11th-13th Century (with enhancements possibly modified in the Interim), in a time when only scholars and the wealthy elite would have had access to the level of education to understand the Holy Passages; let alone interpret them accordingly, launch an expedition and find the site in the First place.

Considering the Crusades were 'waged' against Muslims and Heretics (in a time of Dogmatism), traps as simple as the spelling of 'The word of God' could even be interpreted as a deterrent to non-Christians; who would either not be educated enough to know the word of God, or more likely consider claiming the Name of the Lord to be anything other than Allah, Vāhigurū, (insert monotheistic Deity name) to be an act of Heresy.

If the Brotherhood of the Cruciform sword are responsible for the maintenance of the location, they could have modified the traps in keeping with modern developments (gramatically speaking), but considering the point in the tests is to reward those would would seek the cup, making the answer less obscure seems to defeat the purpose.

To step out of the narrative universe for a moment, it's most likely an oversight by the writing team. The idea of the tests fits nicely into the narrative, but the ramifications of centuries of change were perhaps not as thoroughly poured over as we might wish, but who can blame them?

  • I agree with your out-of-universe answer. Not only does "J" not exist in Latin, the use of the name of God as "Jehovah" is an incorrect transliteration and was not used in English until about 1530, well after the time of the Crusades and, presumably, the creation of the "tests" shown in the movie.
    – scott
    Feb 21, 2018 at 20:02

Much as it might suck I do not think there is definitive information in the film to explain who actually made the traps, but I always thought it was the first action of 'The Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword'.

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    The Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword objective was to safeguard the Grail from anyone, why would they leave clues for the traps? Oct 3, 2012 at 16:12
  • They were protecting the grail from anyone with evil intentions not just anyone. Otherwise Indianna would not have been able to befriend Kazim. Also, the fact that the set the traps does not mean they left the clues.
    – Stefan
    Oct 3, 2012 at 20:16
  • Kazim only helps him because Indy says he isn't interested in pursuing the Grail, but is instead looking for his father. Oct 3, 2012 at 20:22
  • I cannot recall the scene so I take your word for it. do you have a reference for the Brotherhood leaving the clues or could anyone else have done it? Also don't they specify that they are protecting the grail from those with evil intentions?
    – Stefan
    Oct 3, 2012 at 20:42
  • imsdb.com/scripts/Indiana-Jones-and-the-Last-Crusade.html search for "my father" to see the relevant section. Oct 3, 2012 at 20:50

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