The Templar Rule: its multiple origin and long development

The Primitive Rule of the Temple originated as result of the Troyes Council of January, 1129. During that council Hughes de Payens, the major founding member of the group of knights that from about 1119 lived in the former Al-Aqsa mosque on Table Montain, related an account of this group's foundation and history. 
According to William of Tyre, writing between 1170 and 1184, Hughes and his knights first lived as regular canons who professed vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience to Warmund, the Patriarch of Jerusalem. This can be taken as evidence that a certain form of communal rule already existed during the decade that preceeded the Troyes Council, and the Rule originating there.

October 13, 1307 - the Templars' demise remembered and retold

On Friday, October 13, 1307, King Philip IV of France, also known as Philips the Fair, had all of the Templars throughout the domains of France arrested in one surprising campaign. This was done on the basis of the King's secret orders to his baillis and sénéchaux throughout France, dated September  14, 1307. 

Martyrologies and legendaries: local roots of Medieval Templar communities

Among the books discovered in Templar churches (during the investigations following the Templar arrests of October 13, 1307; TN) were many psalters, legendaries, martyrologies, and antiphonals, but also books for different offices (officiaria) and breviaries. (...) The legendaries and martyrologies recorded in the inventories are also of particular interest in this context for their potential insights into the devotional idiosyncrasies of Templar communities.

The Templar Rule and the prohibition of chess, or was it dice?...

Chess is a game of Arabic origin, that was well known and appreciated at all medieval courts, Muslim and Christian, in Al Andaluz and beyond. The prohibition of Templars playing chess attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux is not to be found in one of the 76 Primitive Rules designed on the results of the Troyes Council (January 1129). It can be found in Article 317, which is one of the Rules on the Conventual Life of the brothers (Articles 279-385), part of the seven other parts of the Rule that has 686 articles in total. These were composed in the 1160s.

The masonnic Templar link - myths and facts

Templar history has always been accompanied by myths. The French author Honoré de Balzac, for instance, in 1836 proposed a current of thought according to which the Templar Order had not disappeared despite the trial and the verdict of dissolution that followed, but emerged at the same time as Freemasonry. The Temple was supposed to have survived, underground, within the Freemasons, which may have been a real guild of tradesmen in the Middle Ages but by the Early Modern Era, had kept only the symbolism and imagery of masons.

Knights Templar: council to Kings

For almost the entire duration of its presence in French lands, the Temple enjoyed good relations with royal power. The French monarchs frequently employed members of the Temple as advisors and collaborators. Louis VII was the first Capetian monarch to admit Templars into his inner circle, such as Eustache Chien and even more so, Geoffroy Foucher, with whom he maintained friendly correspondence.

Templar territorial organisation in the West

The purpose of the European Templar sites was to transfer significant amounts of resources to the East. Provisions, weapons, horses, and coinage formed an ensemble that Templar sources termed "responsio", from "to respond". To organise this, the Temple developed a three-tier territorial organization connecting the central house in the East to each of its Western commanderies by means of an intermediate district, termed the ‘province’.

Templar chapel architecture in France

Chapels are today the most iconic remains of Templar buildings in France. Sometimes alone in their village or in the open countryside, they have long attracted the attention of art historians. The myth of the primacy of round churches which has only been documented for the Temple in Paris, Laon and perhaps Metz in France, has now been disproved. The most recent regional studies have found that the brethren did not necessarily seek to develop their own architecture and used a style that is rightly described as “simple and practical.”

More Templar sites in the Allier department, Central France.

On internet much information on the Knights Templar (Templiers) in France is available. Many mix fact and imagination, myths and truths. Two sites are above question.

Project Beauceant (www.templiers.org) is an extensive website (in French), with the main objective to set up a kind of encyclopedia on the Templar Order and a catalogue of diverse historical remnants that the presence of these men has left everywhere in Europe and the Middle-East. To do it, the Project is open to any person, professional or not, who wants to share his research and experiences on this topic. It also contains much information on Templar commanderies.  Regretfully many commanderies in the Centre of France seem to be missing. For these other sources have to be considered, such as the ones below.

Templiers.net is another great website (in French) with a lot of information on the Knights Templar and the crusades. It includes very detailed descriptions of the French commanderies, in alphabetical order and per Département.

Mainly from this latter source TemplarsNow composed a new map containing all known and probable Templar sites in the Allier department according to templiers.net. To this were added sites mentioned on templarii3m.free.fr. All sites were checked on other maps and aerial photographs and categorized, and indicated on the best possible geographical location.

The resulting map is shown below and can also be reached by this link. The work on the map continues, adding information from other sources. TemplarsNow acknowledges gratefully that this map could not have been made without the data from templiers.net.

Similar maps for (for now) 20 other French Departements can be found here.


 
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