What is The Order of St. Dumas on Gotham?

(Photo: DC Comics)

Spoilers for Gotham Season 2 Episode 5: Scarification Ahead!

On tonight's Gotham, we learned about the history of Gotham City and found out the secret identity of the Galavan siblings all in one go. Theo and Tabitha Galavan's last name was adopted after their ancestor, one of the founding fathers of Gotham City, was exiled, betrayed by the Wayne family, amongst the others of the time. They changed their name from Dumas to Galavan, as the Dumas family was wiped from the history books.

Their ancestor, Caleb Dumas, took his exile literally, and went to "a religious sect founded by their family’s patron saint," as the story went. So just what is this sect? In the comic books, they're known as the Order of St. Dumas, and they have an interesting history with Gotham City and more importantly/directly, with Batman.

When the Knights Templar were formed during the Crusades, many groups splintered off from them, feeling that the Templars weren't doing one thing or another the right way. The Order of St. Dumas was one such group, following a man called Dumas that was their "saint" despite never being sainted by the Church.

Dumas taught a lesson of might makes right and vengeance being valued as the ultimate form of justice. Warriors have been trained by The Order for generations, with the prominent ones taking on two names: Dumas, or Azrael. These warriors have crossed paths with the heroes of DC Comics, including Batman, sometimes as allies and sometimes as enemies.

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One Dumas fought the vigilante named Manhunter, and failed in his mission. This caused the splinter group to itself splinter, creating another version of the Order. They trained the first Azrael, and subsequent ones for years, who ruthlessly killed those who opposed the Order, and manipulated knowledge and order to bring themselves greater power. That's much of what Theo Galavan and his dear sister have been doing so far on Gotham, so it's possible they're from this second version.

A third version of the Order, called the Order of Purity, would later emerge. Their dedication was not to wealth or power, but to the ideas of their religious fervor. A new Azrael, wearing the Suit of Sorrows and equipped with a flaming sword, would be their version of the warrior champion. That character has appeared in multiple DC Comics series, as well as in the Arkham series of video games from Rocksteady Studios and WB Interactive Entertainment.

In a nutshell, the Order of St. Dumas are always zealots, always vengeful, and always have trained warriors to do their bidding. That means the citizens of Gotham are in big trouble.