The relationship between Hugues de Payns and Bernard de Clairvaux

Often it is suggested that the Templar founder and first Master Hugues de Payns and the Templar's spiritual inspirer, the Cistercian abbot Bernard de Clairvaux must have been well acquainted at the onset of the start of the group that became known as the Templars (between 1114 and 1120). One of the arguments is that they both came from noble houses in the Champagne region, so must have known each others. And perhaps even worked together in the founding of the Templar Order. What are the facts?

Ships and navigation during the Middle Ages

The medieval period brought on the maritime scene the emergence of new construction and navigation techniques coming mainly from the North, but also from the East (Arabs, and indirectly Chinese). A centuries-long dialogue between the Mediterranean and these diverse influences followed. 

On the one hand, we can observe the technical excellence of the Scandinavians, who brought to ship design a real empirical talent for hydrodynamics and a more solid clinker construction. On the other hand, in the Mediterranean, the work of the Byzantines, who took care of the large galley fleets and took this type of ship into the Renaissance.

The Origin of the Templars according to Michael the Syrian ca 1180

Michael the Syrian (ca 1129-1199) is also known as Michael the Great or Michael Syrus or Michael the Elder, to distinguish him from his nephew. He was a patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church from 1166 to 1199. He is best known today as the author of the largest medieval Chronicle of Michael de Great, Patriarch of the Syrians, which he composed in Syriac. Various other materials written in his own hand have survived.

Fate of the Templars outside France during the arrests of 1307-1308

We can consider that the great majority of the brothers of the Temple were indeed arrested throughout the kingdom of France, during the raid of October 13, 1307. But because the Order was international, one can wonder what was the fate of the Templars in other countries. Here are the facts for England, Aragon, Castile-Leon and the Templars headquarters Cyprus.

The Ciphers of the Cistercians

The medieval Cistercian numerals, or 'ciphers' in 19th-century parlance, were developed by the Cistercian monastic order in the early 13th century at about the time that Arabic numerals were introduced to northwestern Europe. They are more compact than Arabic or Roman numerals, with a single character able to indicate any integer from 1 to 9999. Is this cipher secret or occult?

The Origin of the Templars according to Walter Map ca 1190

Walter Map (Latin: Gualterius Mappus; French: Gautier Map; 1140 – c. 1210) was an English medieval  courtier and writer. Map claimed that he was a man of the Welsh Marches. He was probably born in Herefordshire. Map was a courtier of King Henry II of England, working as clerck in the royal household, and as itinerant justice and justice in Eyre. The King also sent him on missions to Louis VII of France and to Pope Alexander III. Map's studies and employment took him to several church services: canon and precentor of Lincoln, parson of Westbury-upon- Severn in Gloucestershire, prebendary of Mapesbury in the Willesden neighbourhood of London, and in later life (1197) Archdeacon of Oxford.

The Cistercian Order: incorporated instead of founded

Unlike what is generally thought, there was no Cistercian Order at all for much of the twelfth Century. (...) A Cistercian Order was only invented in the third quarter of the twelfth century. That Order as we usually think of it, an administrative institution that united more than five hundred abbeys by 1215 (when its organization was held up by the Fourth Lateran Council as a model to be emulated), did not appear in 1119 or 1113 or 1098, the dates usually asserted, but much later. 

The 1074 call for Crusade by Pope Gregory VII

On November 27, 1095, Pope Urban II delivered his speech at Clermont Ferrand, aimed at arrousing the people to start a armed pilgrimage to deliver the Holy Land from the hands of the "pagans", that later became known as the First Crusade. Of this speech several quite different versions have been delivered to our time by primary sources.

Therefore Pope Urban's speech is relatively well known in our days. Less known is the speech delivered by Pope Gregory VII in 1074. In this speech Pope Gregory VII suggested a military expedition to assist the Byzantine empire against the Seljuk Turks, following the defeat of the Byzantine army under Emperor Romanos IV Diogenes by the Seljuk Turks at Manzikert in 1071.