Embracing Death, Celebrating Life: Reflections on the Concept of Martyrdom in the Order of the Knights Templar

Detail of a miniature of the burning of the Grand Master of the Templars and another Templar. From the Chroniques de France ou de St Denis, BL Royal MS 20 C vii f. 48r

Although research on the concept of martyrdom during the era of the Crusades has gained considerable prominence, it has rarely been applied to the Knights Templar. This is surprising, as the Templars were the first military order and paved the way for a new monastic development; they were devoted to warfare only; and they, together with the other military orders, but unlike most Crusaders, established a permanent presence in the hostile environment of the Holy Land, consequently facing the threat of death both regularly and frequently.

How far were the Military Orders responsible for the results of the Third Crusade?

Gerard de Ridefort and his troops

In order to assess how responsible the Military Orders were for the results of the Third Crusade this article will be structured by the analysis of three key areas in which they played a part; the siege of Acre, the march to Jaffa and their other military contributions, and their role as councillors to King Richard I of England.

Templars, Hospitallers, and 12th-Century Popes: The Maltese Evidence

Templars Hospitallers and 12th-Century Popes The Maltese Evidence

To date, scholars have cataloged approximately 1,000 pre-1198 papal documents for Templars and Hospitallers, including deperdita (lost documents, inferred from other, still existing documents), as well as forgeries and falsifications.

BOOKS: Medieval Ireland

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In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, here are some great books on medieval Ireland!

How secret was the Templar admission ceremony? Evidence from the proceedings in the British Isles

Templars

I have argued in my introduction to the proceedings against the Templars in the British Isles that we cannot believe any of the evidence given by the Templars during the proceedings against them.

Steamy Syrian Scandals: Matthew Paris on the Templars and Hospitallers

Templars

Matthew Paris is a major source of information on the Templars and Hospitallers. But we ask: ‘How far can this Mad Monk be trusted? Was he in the pay of the Evil Emperor?’

Templar attitudes towards women

Templars

The rule of the order of the Temple took a traditional monastic attitude towards women, being strongly anti-feminine in tone, and seeing women as contaminating the brothers.

Strange Bedfellows : The Rise of the Military Religious Orders in the Twelfth Century

Military and religious life in the Middle Ages and at the period of the Renaissance (1870)

Although they were devout members of a pacifist religion, they were also its dominant military force. By the most basic tenants of Christianity, the Military Orders should never have existed.

Ghost Commandery: Shaping Local Templar Identity in the Cartulary of Provins

templars seal

What makes the case of this cartulary particularly interesting is that the Templar house in Provins was not established until 1193, sixty years after André’s gift. In 1133, there were no Templars living in Champagne at all.

BOOK REVIEW: “Defending the City of God” : A Medieval Queen, the First Crusades, and the Quest for Peace in Jerusalem, by Sharan Newman

Defending the City of God - Sharan Newman

This is my review of Sharan Newman’s latest book, Defending the City of God: A Medieval Queen, the First Crusades, and the Quest for Peace in Jerusalem.

Bernard of Clairvaux’s Writings on Violence and the Sacred

The Vision of St Bernard, by Fra Bartolommeo, c. 1504 (Uffizi)

Monk, exegete, political actor and reformer, Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) was not just a man of his times; he was a man who shaped his times.

A Heresy of State: Philip the Fair, the Trial of the ‘Perfidious Templars,’ and the Pontificalization of the French Monarchy

Interrogation Of Jacques De Molay - 19th century image

This article provides an outline for a new interpretation of the trial of the Templars, with special attention to the texts written by the instigators of the case, namely, Philip the Fair and his ministers.

Star Wars and the Middle Ages

Star Wars and the Middle Ages

When George Lucas wrote up the screen play that would become Episode IV: A New Hope, he would make use of medieval history to help create his galaxy far, far away.

The impact of the crusading movement in Scotland, 1095-c.1560

Godefroy de Bouillon and Four Knights - image courtesy Walters Art Musuem

The involvement of Scots in the Crusades has never been studied in detail either by historians of Scotland or of the Crusades, but it is hoped that the present thesis will show such a detailed study to be worthwhile.

Sodomy and the Knights Templar

Templars

In this article, I will analyze testimony relevant to the charges of the Inquisition that members of the order of Knights Templar throughout Christendom practiced homosexual acts of various sorts from illicit kisses to sodomy.

The Cult of the Cross in the Order of the Temple

Templar cross in Cour de la Commanderie, La Rochelle

The military orders were unique religious institutions in very obvious ways, but one characteristic feature that has so far attracted little attention is the fact that of all the regular religious orders and communities that existed during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries only they wore the cross, which was the sign of the crusader, permanently on their habit.

Templar (Graphic Novel)

Templar (Graphic Novel)

Graphic novels that focus on the medieval period are getting more and more popular – and works like Templar are a good reason why. Set during the downfall of the Templar Order in 1307, it is a historical adventure story that combines action, humour and romance with some royal politics and a mysterious treasure.

The Participation of the Military Orders in Truces with Muslims in the Holy Land and Spain during the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries

Siege of Sidon (1260)

Although the military orders’ primary function was to fiŠght against the inŠfidel, warfare in the Middle Ages was never continuous, as armies could not be kept in the Šfield indeŠfinitely, and when there was an imbalance of power between Christians and Muslims it was in the interests of the weaker side to seek truces, even at the expense of concessions.

The Hospitallers’ and Templars’ involvement in warfare on the frontiers of the British Isles in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries

Templari_MatthewParis

Although in theory they were independent religious orders answerable only to the pope, in the British Isles the Templars, and particularly the Hospitallers, were increasingly secularised institutions, serving the king of England and playing important roles in royal government

The Battle of La Forbie (1244) and its Aftermath

Battle of La Forbie

How did the kingdom’s leaders cope with the battlefield defeat? How did the settlements survive? Above all, what was the Military Orders’ contribution to the kingdom’s stability after the chaos following the battle?

Muslim Perspectives on the Military Orders during the Crusades

Saladin ravaging the Holy Land

What caused the particular enmity between Saladin and the Templars and Hospitallers? To understand this situation one must begin with examination of Muslim perspectives on monasticism in general.

The patronage of the Templars and of the Order of St. Lazarus in England in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries

Templars

The religious revival of the late eleventh and early twelfth centuries saw the rise of a host of new orders ranging from the Cistercians and Carthusians to the Augustinian and Premonstratensian canons. In addition, it also saw the development of the Military Orders which originated in the Holy Land after the capture of Jerusalem in 1099, and fulfilled a mixture of military, hospitaller, religious and political functions.

Hot Holiday Reads!

BOOKS: A Feast of Ice and Fire The Official Game of Thrones Companion Cookbook

Put down those turkey left-overs and check out some of these hot holiday reads!

Salutare Animas Nostras: The Ideologies Behind the Foundation of the Templars

Knights Templar on a tomb

The meteoric rise of the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and the Temple of Solomon (more commonly known as the Knights Templar) and their equally swift fall has fueled fanciful tales and scholarly research. The order promoted their mythological origins and the extreme charges leveled against them by Philip IV of France (1285-1314) created an atmosphere of speculation.

Nomadic Violence in the First Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem and the Military Orders

Templars

That the threat posed by bands of marauders was taken seriously by the early crusader settlers can be seen by some of the barons’ brutal reactions to it.

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