July 26, 2014

The Knights Templar, monks and soldiers - part 2

This blog is a translation from French to English of parts of the web-article "Les Templiers, moines et soldats" from www.pelerin.com

King Baldwin of Jerusalem
acknowledges the Knights Templar
In this interview, the medievalist Alain Demurger elaborates on the role on the soldiers of the Holy Land and their presence among the Crusaders, the Franks, the Christians of the Orient and the Muslims. When were the Orders of Hospitallers and Templars born? What was their original purpose and how did this develop?

When and how were these orders of "monk soldiers", the Templars and the Hospitallers, born?
Alain DemurgerThe Order of the Knights Templar was established during the years 1115-1120 in respons to military needs in the the Orient. This is the first religious order with such a military function to be recognized, at the Council of Troyes in 1129. At first the Templars gave themselves the mission to protect and assist the pilgrims. But soon, they were integrated into the armies of Frankish States of Outre Mer.

The order of the Hospitallers was founded somewhat earlier, around 1050, by Amalfi merchants who were at Jerusalem and had obtained from the Sultan of Egypt land in Jerusalem to build a hospital. The Order knew a fast development after the first crusade. At first a charitable order only (TN), militarization developed gradually, first to defend their own property. Later on because they saw that the military vocation of the Templars encouraged rich donations from knights and faithful. By 1180, the Hospitaller order was completely militarized, but managed to keep a balance with hospital and charitable services. This was the key to its success.

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