Taking the Templar Habit: Rule, Initiation Ritual, and the Accusations against the Order
Edgeller, Johnathan James
MA Thesis, Texas Tech University, August (2010)
Originally the Poor Knights of the Temple of Solomon were fewer than a dozen knights, pilgrim knights who had sworn to protect travellers to the Holy Land. Their seal exalted this humility by showing two knights sharing one horse. However, as the west learned of these strange but inspiring “warrior-monks,” donations and recruits began to come from far and wide. By 1170 about 300 knights in the Kingdom of Jerusalem were responsible for defending many of the kingdom’s strategically important sites. From the Second Crusade onward, the Templars were usually in the vanguard of crusader armies, maintaining discipline and structure on the march for any leader’s rank and file. Their military prowess was demonstrated in actions throughout the Mediterranean, including their bravery at the Battle of Montisgard in 1177 and their great sacrifices on the front line at Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212. The Templars built some of the largest and most high-tech castles the west had ever known. By the 1250s, they were the church’s largest military institution and the most influential standing army in Holy Land.