|In this book The New Knighthood: A History of the Order of the Temple Malcom Barber explores the original aim of the Knights Templar.The following text is based on quotes from this book.|
"Chronicler William Archbishop of Tyre (died c. 1186) says: 'Under the year 1118, certain noble men of knightly order, devoted to God, pious and God-fearing’, the two most important of whom were Hugh of Payns (in Champagne, France) and Godfrey of Saint-Omer (in Picardy, France), took vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience at the hands of Warmund of Picquigny, Patriarch of Jerusalem. They promised to devote themselves to God’s service in the manner of regular canons. In return the King gave them a base in his palace, to the south side of the Temple of the Lord, which was the name given by the Franks to the Dome of the Rock.
The distinctive feature of this fraternity, however, was the duty ‘enjoined on them by the lord patriarch and the other bishops for the remission of their sins’, which was that ‘they should maintain, as far as they could, the roads and highways against the ambushes of thieves and attackers, especially in regard to the safety of pilgrims’.
|Old town Jerusalem, with Temple mount |
at the right bottom corner source,
including explanation of lettre codes
confraternity, and that later a more active role was suggested to them. Chronicler Michael the Syrian, the Jacobite Patriarch of Antioch (died 1199) says that it was the king, a man acutely aware of the deficiencies of the military establishment, who persuaded Hugh of Payns and thirty companions ‘to serve in the knighthood, with those attached to him, rather than becoming a monk, in order to work to save his only soul, and to guard these places against robbers’.
While it seems certain that the Templars influenced the Hospitallers to take on a military role during the 1130s, it is equally likely that initially the Hospital, which Order was established prior to the Templars, provided Hugh of Payns and Godfrey of Saint-Omer with an effective example of what could be done to help pilgrims.
Certainly the creation of a permanent guard for pilgrim travellers must have seemed to both king and patriarch an ideal complement to the activities of the Hospitallers, who provided shelter and medical care for pilgrims and had been formed as an annex to the monastery of Santa Maria Latinain about 1080. After the Frankish conquest in 1099 they quickly gained royal favour, grants of property and, in 1113, papal recognition."