In his book The Aristocracy in the County of Champagne, 1100-1300, Theodore Evergates sketches the administrative situation in the County of Champagne, France in the 12th century. Champagne is the birth place of the Cistercian monastic Order, and also played an important part in founding of the Knights Templar. A summary.
According to recent research referenced in the source quoted at the bottom, after the conquest of Jerusalem in 1099 the Kingdom of the Franks did not endure a perpetual state of emergency, as the chroniclers and many historians wanted us to believe. Rather, the roughly ninety years leading to Saladin’s decisive victory over the Frankish army at Hattin in 1187, which put an end to the first Frankish kingdom, can be divided into a period of frequent military engagement between Franks and Muslims, a period of relative security, and a period of sustained Muslim offensive, which resulted in the creation of the Frankish frontier.
"Evrard des Barres was the third Grand Master of Knights Templar from 1147-1151. After his career at the Temple he retired to Clairvaux near the end of the life of St. Bernard (died 1153). This again is an illustration of the close relationships that existed between the Knights Templar and the Cistercian Order.
People who read Jan Guillou's books on Arn Magnusson, the imaginary Swedish Knight Templar, often ask if there really have been Knights Templar as far up north as Sweden. It has of course been speculated that the noble man who appears in the relief on Forshems church, and who inspired Guillou, must have been a Knight Templar. Is there reason to believe this?
In his book Nostradamus and the Lost Templar Legacy (2003) Rudy Cambier presents the results of his decade long research and analysis of the verses of Nostradamus' 'prophecies'. He argues that the language of those verses does not belong in the 16th Century, nor in Nostradamus' region of Provence, France. An intriguing alternative vision unfolds.
This work is hampered by much pseudo-information in books and on internet that is at least imaginative and at worst sensational. Such work is often characterized by repetition of earlier published information without presenting any or sufficient primary sources. Obviously, well documented information, based on sound historical research with ample professional references, preferably primary sources, is of the utmost importance for an objective picture of the Knights Templar, their origin and their impact then and, probably, now.
The following set of well annotated sources are sound and valuable introductions to professional literature on the Knights Templar. A useful collection of annotated primary sources is The Templars Selected Sources Translated And Annotated by Malcolm Barber and Keith Bate (2002).
The best introductions to the Templars are
* Malcolm Barber, The New Knighthood: A History of the Order of the Temple (1994, reissued 1996)
* Alan Forey, The Military Orders from the Twelfth to the Early Fourteenth Centuries (New Studies in Medieval History) (1992)
* Helen Nicholson, The Knights Templar: A New History, new ed. (2004).
Malcolm Barber, The Trial of the Templars, 2nd ed. (2012).
Templar myths are the subject of Peter Partner, The Knights Templar and Their Myth, rev. ed. (1990).
A full collection of books thought of by scolars as sound and reliable can be found on our special "Reliable Books" Page.
Islamic knowledge contributions to Medieval Europe were numerous, affecting such varied areas as art, architecture, medicine, agriculture, music, language, and technology. From the 11th to 13th centuries, Europe absorbed knowledge from the Islamic civilization. The Benedictin monastery at Cluny played an important part.
On this occasion Dom Olivier, abbot of present day Cîteaux Abbey, has asked to pass on the following invitation to all the members of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance O.C.S.O.. This request is relayed here in full.
"Our community is going to celebrate the ninth centenary of St Bernard’s entering of Cîteaux (1112 or 1113?). To mark the event, we are setting up a campaign of prayer for vocations, from 20th August 2012 to 20th August 2013. We invite you to join us with this prayer:
PRAYER FOR VOCATIONSMost gracious Father,in setting up the New Monaster your fathers followed the poor Christ into the desert.Thus they lived the Gospelby rediscovering the Rule of Saint Benedict in its purity.You gave Bernard of Fontainethe ability to make this new life attractive and appealing to others,in the joy of the Holy Spirit.Grant that we today, after their example,may live our charism deeplyin a spirit of peace, unity, humility,and above all, in the charity which surpasses all other gifts.May men and women of our timebe newly called to follow the Gospel in monastic life,in the service of the Church’s mission,and in a world forgetful of You.Remember Lord, Cîteaux,where Bernard arrived with his companions.May the brothers therecontinue to live in the enthusiastic and generative spirit of the founders.Remember all who live the Cistercian charism.Remember all Cistercian communities,those which are aging and those newly-born,in all parts of the world, north and south, east and west.Let them not lose courage in times of trial,but turn to her whom Bernard called the Star of the Sea.Holy Father,from whom we have already received so much,grant us again your blessingthat our communities may grow in numbers,but above all in grace and in wisdom,to your glory,who are blessed for ever and ever.Amen."
A Hebrew school of great importance, directed by the highest rabbinical authorities and attended by numerous students from various lands, especially Germany and France, flourished at Troyes in the twelfth century. Several synods whose ordinances were adopted in foreign countries assembled at Troyes about 1160. A blog on Jewish roots and Christian sequel.
Through kindred the Order of the Temple maintained close ties with leaders of society. These relationships were mutually beneficial. What was the situation in the the duchy of Burgundy, the county of Champagne, and the area that is now commonly referred to as Languedoc in southern France?
The years 1114 till 1129 are key years of history of the Knights Templar: the years. What happened in that timespan? The source of this blog provides historical context as well as creative thinking and myth building. What do you think?
"Whenever Templars appear in books or films, it is always the knights of the Order in their flowing white surcoats, hacking their way through the dust of battle. But to function properly, the Order needed more than squadrons of combat-hardened knights. It required armies of other men to undertake the hundreds of skilled tasks necessary to keep everything running. The Templar workforce.
The idea to create an international forum of researchers of military orders in Toruń resulted from the cooperation between Polish and German historians established during conferences organized since 1974 under the auspices of UNESCO, and devoted to the role of the Teutonic Order in history textbooks.
The founder of Toruń’s meetings of researchers of military orders and the editor of the first eleven volumes from the series “Ordines militares” was Zenon Hubert Nowak from the Institute of History and Archival Science of Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń. After his death in 1999 Roman Czaja from NCU and Jürgen Sarnowsky from the University of Hamburg took over the organization of conferences and the edition of the series.
The subject of the first volumes from the series “Ordines militares. Colloquia Torunensia Historica” centred around the history of the Teutonic Order; however in the beginning of the 1990s the thematic scope started to include the history of the Hospitallers, the Knights Templar and orders set up in the Iberian Peninsula.
Both the thematic scope of the conference and the growing number of participants have contributed to the fact that the conferences from the series “Ordines militares” have become one of the most important forums for meetings of researchers of military orders from all over the world. The meetings of young researchers dealing with the history of military orders constitute an important element of Toruń’s conferences organized since 2003.
The growing academic prestige of the series “Ordines Militares. Colloquia Torunensia Historica” led to its being transformed into a yearbook devoted to the history of military orders. In keeping with tradition, each volume includes a definite thematic scope, which refers to the subject of a conference from the “Ordines militares” series. Moreover, articles, polemics, research surveys, source monographs and reviews concerning the history of military orders are published there in English, German and French.
source text and illustration www.ordinesmilitares.umk.pl
The trilogy, dubbed the Crusades trilogy, consists of the following books:
- The Road to Jerusalem, originally Vägen till Jerusalem (1998)
- The Knight Templar, originally Tempelriddaren (1999)
- Birth of the Kngdom, originally Riket vid vägens slut (2000)
Guillou also wrote a follow-up novel about Birger Jarl, founder of Stockholm, entitled The Heritage of Arn (in Swedish Arven efter Arn) published in 2001. In Guillou's fictional universe, Birger Jarl is the grandson of Arn Magnusson.
The books were reworked to a film released in December 2007: Arn – The Knight Templar (In Swedish: Arn - Tempelriddaren, and its sequel Arn – The Kingdom at Road's End (in Swedish: Arn – Riket vid vägens slut), released August 22, 2008.
While the films are mostly in Swedish and most of the production was made in Sweden, the film is a joint production between the four Scandinavian countries of Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland and Germany. With a total budget of around 210 million Sweidsh Krona (ca. 30 Million US$ for both films, it is the most expensive production in Swedish cinema.
Based on the detailed stories by Guillou, the question may be put forward: did the Knights Templar really live in Sweden? This question will be dealt with in another blog.
It's worth mentioning that there is a decent mini film series based on these books: link.
July 2013, a new 480-page graphic novel about the Knights Templar was published by Jordan Mechner. It is called Templar. A review is presented here.
The storyline: Martin is one of a handful of Templar Knights to escape when the king of France and the pope conspire to destroy the noble order. The king aims to frame the Templars for heresy, execute all of them, and make off with their legendary treasure. That's the plan, anyway, but Martin and several other surviving knights mount a counter-campaign to regain the lost treasure of the Knights Templar.
With gorgeous illustrations by LeUyen Pham and Alexander Puvilland and lush coloring from Hilary Sycamore, this 480-page, full-color, hardcover graphic novel by Jordan Mechner is itself a treasure.
On boingboing.net Mark Frauenfelder presents a 28-page preview, of which one sample page is presented here.
Media project made for Knights Templar Priory of Belgium. Designed to provide our Order with a first-contact video brochure for introducing OSMTH to prospective new members.
ASSOCIATION HISTORIQUE DU TEMPLE DE PARIS
40 Rue des Blancs Manteaux
Tél . +33 1 30 70 00 52
In Paris, France an association exists called L'Association Historique du Temple de Paris. This is an independent association under French law that does not receive any subsidies. The objective of the association is:
- to establish in a general way the historical and heritage of the Temple district in Paris District (3rd Arrondissement) through the history of the Temple and of the life of the Knights Templar
- Combining efforts to disseminate publications by supporting writers in a joint action towards booksellers, local groups and the general public
- Organizing events such as exhibitions, lectures, tours, interventions in educational institutions, entertainment etc
- Establishing a strategy on communication, information and promotion,in partnership with local communities.
- Contributing to the cultural,historical and tourist development of the area of the Temple.
The website of the Association, which appears a bit outdated and undermanaged at the moment (May 2021), holds interesting information on events of all sorts, results of research undertaken at the Temple district as well as research carried out in the subterranean caves below the old town. The most important remains of Paris are to be found below ground, in the cellars of the houses that add up to many thousands. The research project is carried out by Danny Sandron, Director of the Centre André Chastel, in partnership with the Paris Department of History of Architecture and Archaeology, The Heritage Service and Inventory of the Regional Council of Ile de France and the Center of Parisian topography.
Both illustrations source
Around 1050 the Amalfi merchant family De Pantaleon opened a hospital under the protection of St. John the Baptist in Jerusalem, close to the Holy Sepulchre. That is almost half a century before the first Crusade. An even earlier origin has been proposed. After the conquest of Jerusalem in 1099, this hospital developed further and the organisation was ultimately recognized as an independent Order by the Pope.
The Allier Department does not house very many present day Templar sites, as can be seen on this map. However, one of the best preserved Templar houses, as yet usually overlooked, stands near the village of Saint Hilaire. TemplarsNow visited this Templar House, which is a private agricultural property and not to be visited, in the Summer of 2012 and was allowed to take some photograhs.
|aerial view of the Temple House at Beauchassin, Allier France. source google.com|
|view from the northwest (photo TemplarsNow 2012)|
|driveway seen from the west (photo TemplarsNow 2012)|
The "Maison du Temple" of Beauchassin is located at the village of Saint-Hilaire, Département Allier, Arrondissement: Moulins, Canton: Bourbon-l'Archambault, municipality of Saint-Hilaire. Beauchassin is located close to and to the east of the "bourgh" of Saint Hilaire.
The name of the Templar settlement changed as follows: Bois-Chassain, Bost-Chassin or Bourg-Chassain and today Beauchassin. The site still shows traces of the Knights Templar, for instance in the stone tablet in the wall of the House (aerial photo above nr 1).
This tablet earlier was described to show a cross pattée, a type of cross which has arms narrow at the centre, and broader at the perimeter. This cross appears very early in medieval art, and became one of the characteristic signs of the Knights Templar. It is known, however, that in their early days Knights Templar wore a simple cross, as did all early crusaders. The present day cross at Beauchassin is not clearly a cross pattée as can be seen on the recent photographs below.
|cross pattée (?) above the main door of the house in the |
southeast facade of the House (photos TemplarsNow 2012)
|cross pattée (?) in detail|
Some traces of the chapel still exist in the form of an ornamented doorway, shown on the pictures below. This doorway, set in the northwest facade of the building indicated nr 2 on the aerial photo above, nowadays leads into a agricultural building with a tin roof.
decorated doorway in northwest facade former chapel
detail doorway (both pictures TemplarsNow 2012)
So there is not very much left of the former Templar origin of the site, although this origin is still documented by some striking details. Probably the Knights Hospitaller did take this house when the Temple Order was abolished in the early 14th century. However, only about 1 km to the westnorthwest, on the nearby D1 road, another (former) Hospitaller House is located, now aptly called La Croix Rouge (The Red Cross).
The color photographs were made and copy-righted by TemplarsNow. They may be re-used for non-commercial purposes, but only with full reference to this site and TemplarsNow. The above text is mainly a French-English translation by TemplarsNow of the text in www.templiers.net. The drawings are from templiers.net, which mentions as source thereof the municipal archives of Saint-Hilaire.