The Templars at sea

Originally there was no reason for the Knights of the Temple to invest in maritime activities in the Mediterranean area. The foundation of the Temple did indeed have as only goal the pacification of "the roads and ways of the kingdom of  Jerusalem".

The development of the order, however, led the Templars to survey the quays of Acre and Jaffa, where Western pilgrims landed on their voyage to the Holy Places. During the 12th century the Temple came into possession of some 20 coastal commanderies, which communicated with each by sea through other parties. Most of these Commanderies had direct access to the sea, such as Acre, Tripoli, Tortosa or Latakia.

The charter of Italian ships seems to have preceded the acquisition by the different congregations of ships capable of crossing the Mediterranean. We thus see the Temple to import some two tons of iron in Acre, in 1162, through Venitian merchants. In the following years the order acquired fleets in the Bay of Biscay and in La Manche, where the brothers specialize in the export of La Rochelle wine to destination in England.

At the start of the 13th century the port of Marseille receives  the favor of the Templars and Hospitals because of its location at the mouth of the Rhone corridor that leads to the north of France. A "commander of the passage" watches on behalf of the Temple to tranship goods and fighters on their way to the Holy Land in times of tension. 

This blog is based on papers in French by Pierre-Vincent Claveri on the Templar Navy, such as this one; illustration templar ship, fresque in trhe Templar Chappel, Cressac, Charente, France, source
 

"Groundbreaking Agreement Brings OSMTJ and OSMTHU Templars to the Table"

In June 2019 the OSMTHU-blog The Templar Globe reported on an agreement signed between the OSMTJ and the OSMTHU. Both organizations aim to conteract fragmentation in the worldwide Templar movement. This movement, as the publication rightly states, "is characterized by many small groups of undetermined origin and frequent divisions in the main branches."

For the purpose of unification a Cultural Exchange Association between both branches was proposed.  Efgorts are undertaken to elect Vila Nova da Barquinha – of the Castle of Almourol, location of the Templar Interpretation Center (CIT), as the official seat of this Association.

Illustration left shows the adopted declaration. source the OSMTHU-blog

Geo-politics in 11th and 12th century Francia

For the purpose of TemplarsNow the medieval geo-political landscape of what is now France is important. The County of Champagne, especially the area around Troyes, was the native region of many an early knight Templar. This geo-political situation was fragmented to say the least, as the adjacent maps show.

In 987, Hugues Capet was elected king. The monarchy becomes hereditary, and the Capetians reign over France for more than 800 years. Nevertheless, the first Capetian kings only directly control a very small portion of the French territory, called the royal domain, and some of their vassals are much more powerful than them. 
 
In the twelfth century, royal power began to assert itself against the princes of the kingdom, but faced from the 1150s to the birth of a "Plantagenet empire" grouping together in England and the western third of France. 

The Capetian kingdom reached its peak in the 13th century, with the monarchy regaining the power it had lost while French art and culture asserted in Europe. 

Philip Augustus (1180-1223) managed to conquer most of the French possessions of the Plantagenets, temporarily putting an end to the English threat and considerably enlarging the royal domain at the same time. 

Louis IX (1226-1270) behaves as a referee of Christendom and participates in the seventh and eighth crusades, which will lead him to be canonized very quickly by the Catholic Church


Source text (translated from French by TN) and illustrations (1: situation 1030; 2: situation 1180) www.cartesfrance.fr

Templars in Switserland - then and now

As we have argued in an earlier post, certain historians and conspiracists alike suggest that the Knights Templar did in fact form Switzerland.  The evidence and likelihood seem pretty plausible. At the same time hard evidence is scarce and circumstantial at best. Historical fact is that the Order of the Temple counted on the current Swiss territory only two commanderies: La Chaux and Geneva.

 La Chaux in Cossonay is attested in 1223 and Geneva (district of Rive) is quoted in 1277. These had other dependent houses, particularly in Cologny, Bénex (commune of Prangins) and Entremont (commune of Yvonand). All these establishments belonged to the baillie (or preceptory) of Burgundy, subdivision of the Templar province of France.

La Chaux Commanderie was given by the lords of Cossonay to the Knights Templar before 1223. This commandery does not seem to have been particularly profitable, because in 1277 part of the possessions was sold to the Franciscan order to pay debts. After the dissolution of the Order, it passed in 1315 to the Knights of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. The commandery depended the hospices of Orbe, Villars-Sainte-Croix and Montbrelloz.

After the Protestant Reformation in the 16th Century, the commandery was secularized, subordinated to the last commander, then in 1539 to the brothers of the reformer Guillaume Farel, finally sold in 1540 to Robert du Gard.

In Geneva there is a Ruelle de Templiers. This name comes from a house and a chapel of the Knights Templar who were there. At the suppression of this order, in 1312, they passed, as everywhere, to the Hospitallers of Saint John. This establishment was destroyed in 1534 with the suburbs of the left bank.

Modern Swiss Knights Templar (probably part of the OSMTH.net branch, though this Order is not referred to directly on the website) are organized in the Commandery Bertrand de Blanquefort, situated in the hart of Geneva, and the Commandery André de Montbard at Kanton Vaud (no town mentioned).

Illustrations show La Chaux Commanderry and the location of the two historic commanderies in Switserland. Source of the illustrations and part of the text (translated and adapted) from Wikipedia and sources mentioned therein.