Templar and Hospitaller cooperation in the 12th century Orient.

Contradictory views merit examination of the cooperation between the Templar and Hospitaller military orders buring the Crusades. The rules laid down by the Orders contain much information on their mode of coexistence in the East. Half a dozen of articles of the Rule of the Temple deals with the behavior to be adopted in the presence Hospitallers, devoting quite some to battles. During battle a wounded Templar could join the first Christian banner available, preferentially choosing that of the Hospital. (...)

The military orders soon became accustomed to collaborating on the battle fields of Palestine, whether in Hārim (1164), Montgisard (1177), Margelion (1179), La Fontaine du Cresson, and finally Hattīn (1187). Their first combined operation dates back to the siege of Damascus, led by the armies of the second crusade in 1148. (...) The same determination allowed in 1163 a contingent of Crusaders to unblock, with the support of Templars, the Hospitakker castle of Crack des Chevalliers, that was besieged by the Atabeg of Damascus, Nūr ad-Dīn. (...)

The fraternity of arms reigning between the Knights Templar and the Hospitallers also appears from the Battle of La Fontaine du Cresson on May 1, 1187, where the Grand Masters Gerard de Ridefort and Roger des Moulins fought side by side. Templar Grand Master Gérard de Ridefort did not listen to the precautionary advice of the Hospital master when deciding to engage in an unequal fight against a column of 7,000 Muslims on the verge of to regain its bases. Hospitaller Grand Master Roger des Moulins was killed along with sixty Templars. (...) Gerard de Ridefort escaped the Ayyubid swords in pitifully fleeing, as his subordinate had prophesied at the start of the fight. This same great master caused the fall of the Frankish Holy Land, a few weeks later, prompting Guy de Lusignan to reluctantly help the city of Tiberias, besieged by Muslims. The battle of Hattīn (4 July, 1187) was fatal to the Latins who lost 230 Templars, beheaded by order of Saladin, and 120 Knights of the Hospital.

This blog is based on the paper (in French) on "Combined operations of the military orders in the Medieval Levant (12th-13th centuries)" by Pierre-Vincent Claverie; illustration source

The Templar navy

During the twelfth century the Frankish navy seems never to have passed an embryonic stage, which compelled the kings of Jerusalem to constantly search for external alliances. There was no direct reason for the Templars to invest in maritime activities in the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe directly after the First Crusade. Their first objective was pacification of the roads of the kingdom of Jerusalem. 

Shortly after the Order was established in 1120 (Nablus) and confirmed by the papacy in 1129 (Troyes), it settled at the coastal cities such as Acre and Jaffa, where the Western pilgrims landed on their way to the holy places. During the 12th Century the Templars came into possession of twenty coastal commanderies. Most of these commanderies enjoyed direct access to the sea as in Acre, Tripoli, Tortosa or Latakia. The best known Templar port remains Tortosa, where the order had since 1152 half of the seignory of the city with a castle leaning against the shore. The coastal commandaries often communicated with each other by cabotage by sea. This is the transport of goods or passengers between two ports in the same country by a transport operator from another country.

Templars and Hospitallers appear to have expressed reluctance to fight on sea before the battle of Hattīn (4 July, 1187). Their first notable engagement came on 30 December 1187 when the two orders seized eleven Egyptian galleys blocking the port of Tyr. However, it was not until the Fifth Crusade (1217–1221) that the Order of the Temple was able to arm its own ships. The Fifth Crusade saw the Nile delta serve as a foundation operations to a multitude of squadrons. 

These vessels were intended to bring provisions and equipment to the contingents engaged in the Nile Delta from 1218. Knights Templar and Hospitaller transport speeded up considerably after the arrival of a Frisian squadron, composed of solid hulls (koggen). The crews of the Templar ships consisted at that time of crusaders and brothers in arms, versatile enough to handle trebuchets
These vessels were intended to bring provisions and equipment to the contingents engaged in the Nile Delta from 1218. Knights Templar and Hospitaller transport speeded up considerably after the arrival of a Frisian squadron, composed of solid hulls (koggen). The crews of the Templar ships consisted at that time of crusaders and brothers in arms, versatile enough to handle trebuchets (a type of catapult which uses a swinging arm to throw a projectile) in case of forced demobilization.

This blog is based on papers in French by Pierre-Vincent Claveri on the Templar Navy, such as this one; illustration templar ship, fresque in trhe Templar Chappel, Cressac, Charente, France, source

Development of the novelty of the right of clergy self-defense 1120-1176

"... sometime between 14 January and 13 September 1120 (...) at the hands of Patriarch Warmund (of Jerusalem; TN), Hugh of Payns, Godfrey of Saint-Omer, and certain other French knights pledged to live “more canonicorum regularium” (as regular canons, not monks, as is so commonly thought) and accordingly took vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. In return, Warmund and his fellow bishops enjoined upon these consecrated knights, for the remission of their sins, the principal task of keeping roads and highways safe for pilgrims against thieves and highwaymen. (...) these new armed, consecrated knights, soon to be known as ‘Templars’, were revolutionary indeed and required nearly another twenty years before they were approved completely by Rome.

This company received formal recognition and initial statutes in January 1129 at the council of Troyes, presided over by a papal legate, Matthew Cardinal of Albano; was vigorously defended in a treatise De laude novae militiae (On the New Knighthood) by Bernard of Clairvaux, arguably the most influential figure in all Europe in the second quarter of the twelfth century; and finally fully accepted as an ‘order’ (religio et ueneranda institutio) in the privilege Omne datum optimum in 1139, promulgated by Pope Innocent II, who cited John 15:13 in underscoring the task of these milites Templi to protect their fellows Christians against pagan incursions, defend the church, and attack the enemies of Christ.

Two additional bulls, Milites Templi (1144) and Militia Dei (1145), completed the establishment of this new way of religious life. Between the approbation of Troyes, the juggernaut of Bernard of Clairvaux’s rhetoric in his De laude novae militiae, and the blessing of Pope Innocent II, the opposition to this very great novelty was largely bowled over (but not entirely, as we have been recently reminded), and the way was now paved for Pope Alexander III. (...)

It was during his long pontificate that not just the three major Spanish military orders (which is usually what is emphasized), but in fact the five Iberian military orders came into being with full papal recognition (...) Alexander was an extraordinary lawgiver who arguably did more than any other pope to shape the canon law on canonization, the conferral of benefices, the system of vicars, marriage, papal electoral procedure, majority decision-making (including maior et sanior pars), judges delegate, and papal appellate jurisdiction has come to be recognized.39 Now his contributions to the militarization of the clergy and of the church deserve to be added to this long list of distinctive and influential features of his papacy."

This blog quotes from the paper "Armsbearing by the Clergy and the Fourth Lateran Council" by Lawrence G. Duggan; source illustration www.medievalists.net

Nablus 1120: the medieval ban of clergy bearing arms lifted

"It is revealing that in recovering this canon (on the prohibition of clergy bearing arms; TN) from earlier legislation, Gregory IX and Raymond of Peñafort went all the way back to the council of Poitiers in 1078, convened during the pontificate of Gregory VII (...) In sum, then, between 1049 and 1095, no fewer than thirteen councils and synods had damned clerical armsbearing. At nine of these thirteen assemblies, three different popes and six papal legates presided. The reforming papacy seemingly could not have been clearer on this issue." After that "there is almost nothing in the decrees of the seven so-called ecumenical or general councils held between 1123 and 1312". (...)

It was between Clermont in 1095 and Lateran IV in 1215 that the prohibition on armsbearing by the clergy had come to be effectively demolished by decisions made by prelates and popes. (...) What changed between 1095 and 1215 began in the Holy Land and ended in Rome. (...)

On the issue of clerical armsbearing, we can pinpoint the turning point. Two intertwined breakthroughs occurred in the crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem in 1120, and behind them both was the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Warmund or Gormund of Picquigny (1118-28). On January 16 of that year, King Baldwin II and the patriarch convened at Nablus a council of the great men of the realm, ecclesiastical and secular, (the same council at which the early Knights Templar recieved their royal commission; TN), to enact legislation touching a variety of issues in twenty-five chapters. Number 20 decreed that “Si clericus causa defenssionis [sic] arma detulerit, culpa non teneatur” (meaning: ‘If a cleric bears arms for the sake of defense, he is not to be held at fault’).(...)

What lay behind this unprecedented legislation? Very likely the vulnerability of the crusader states in the Holy Land exposed in 1119, the year before. Around Easter (6 April) a large group of about 700 pilgrims was attacked in the barren region between Jerusalem and the River Jordan; 300 were killed and 60 captured. And on 27 June, Prince Roger of Antioch and his army perished on the “Field of Blood” (ager sanguinis) in his vain effort to attack Aleppo. Antioch now stood defenseless. Its patriarch, Bernard, driven by necessity, ordered that clergy, monks, and laymen guard the walls of the city, and it was he, “nocte et die cum armato suo clero et militibus”, who protected the city until the arrival of King Baldwin of Jerusalem.

Was the legislation at Nablus six months later meant to justify ex post facto the earlier behavior of the patriarch of Antioch and his clergy? Perhaps, although the patriarch of Jerusalem had no jurisdiction over Antioch. It seems more likely that Warmund and the entire episcopate of the Kingdom (who were all present at Nablus) meant this provision to apply to their own clergy should similar dangers arise—and both the prologue to the canons of Nablus and a nearly contemporaneous letter Warmund sent to Archbishop Diego of Compostella reveal how frightened Warmund was of a Saracen world closing in on all sides."

This blogs from the paper "Armsbearing by the Clergy and the Fourth Lateran Council" by Lawrence G. Duggan; illustration  source

Muslim-Christian alliance in early crusader times? - quotes

In his article on Medievalists.net Peter Konieczny (...) presents the strong case that before and at the start of the First Crusade "an alliance existed between the Crusaders and the (muslim; TN) Fatimid rulers of Egypt (...) By the latter decades of the eleventh-century, these states (Byzantium and Fatimid Egypt; TN) had only known peace with each other in living memory, which is remarkable for the medieval world.

The Fatimids and the Byzantines had good reason to be allied with each other – they both were threatened by the Saljuq Turks, who by the mid-11th century were establishing an empire that stretched from Central Asia to the Mediterranean. They brought war against the Byzantines and Fatimids (...). It would be the Saljuqs who would conquer Jerusalem from the Fatimids in 1071 – and it was also they who started preventing Christian pilgrims from going to the Holy City. (...)

Several accounts about the First Crusade note that around February 1098, when the crusaders were besieging the city of Antioch, a delegation arrived by sea from Egypt. (...) at this point Jerusalem was still in the hands of the Saljuq Turks. (...) It was during this visit that crusaders engaged in battle with Ridwan of Aleppo, dated to February 9th (...). While other accounts acknowledge that the Egyptian delegation was present for this victory, Albert of Aachen is the only source that states they fought side-by-side against the Turks. (...)

The notion that the Crusaders and Fatimids had made some sort of alliance also helps to settle a question that has puzzled historians of the First Crusade: why did the crusaders, after defeating the Turks at Antioch in June of 1098, decide to wait until the beginning of 1099 to resume their march towards Jerusalem? Other factors have been suggested, such as turmoil among their leadership and questions of what was to be done with Antioch, but so could have been the idea that the crusaders were waiting for the Egyptians to complete their part of the deal.

In August of 1098 an Egyptian army marched to the gates of Jerusalem, and began a siege of the city. It did not take long for the local Saljuq garrison to surrender. Soon after, the Egyptian forces (to the opinion of the well known chronicler William of Tyre; TN) (...) seemed to imply that they were conferring a great favor on the Christians by allowing unarmed pilgrims to go to Jerusalem in groups of two or three hundred and return in safety after completing their prayers.The leaders of the Christian forces regarded this message as an insult (...) to which they would not consent. (...)

In early 1099 the crusaders began what was essentially a dash towards Jerusalem, hoping to catch the Fatimids unprepared. In fact, the city of Jerusalem was currently being demilitarized (by the Fatimid Egyptian occupation; TN) with its defences being torn down, which offers more indication that the Egyptian rulers were under the impression that they had a fairly strong alliance with the Crusaders. By the time they could react, Jerusalem would already be under attack, falling on July 15, 1099. (...)

The attack and capture of Jerusalem proved to be a shock to Egypt and the wider Islamic world, and crystallize a view among Muslim writers that the Crusaders, and Western Europeans (Franks as they would call them) were untrustworthy and duplicitous. (...)

(...) it suggests that the ideas that crusades was directed against Islam itself is somewhat misplaced – the initial threat happened to be the Saljuqs, who happened to be Muslim, and that they were prepared to work with other Muslims in order to defeat them. While the crusades would later evolve into a war between religions, it did not necessarily start out as one. (...)"

This blog quotes extensively from the paper"Were Christians and Muslims Allies in the First Crusade?" by Peter Konieczny, published on medievalists.net. Read the full paper for all important details. Source of illustration

Development of Templar legistlation

"The legislative body by which the friars of the Temple govern themselves underwent many logical adaptations to suit the times, along its existence. In spite of this, they channeled themselves in two different and complimentary but equally valid points: on the one side papal bulls and on the other the general chapters.

  1. Aulic Synod of Nablus where the canonical congregation is formed or the Brotherhood of the Milithia Christi Ierosolimitana , on 16 January of 1120, where vows are sworn by a roomful of defenders of the faith, they are given a rule, uniformity, a dwelling and a certain charisma
  2.  Council of Troyes on 13 January of 1129, for the sole purpose of officially creating the Order of theTemple: Swearing of solemn vows, they fashion the primitive order based on the previous one, as of now they are friars of full right.
  3. The bull Omne Datum Optimum of Pope Innocent II of 29 March 1139 for the purpose of officially creating the Order of the Temple. In it, aside from recognizing the Order, granted its members any spoils won from the Saracens in the Holy Land and they were exempt from paying a tithe to the corresponding bishoprics, not having to explain their actions or behavior to any one save the Pope.The name of this bull corresponds to the first threewords of Chapter 1, Verse 17 of the Gospel of James: Omne Datum Optimum et omne donum perfectum de sursum est transmutatio nec vicissitudinis obrumbatio (All good presents and every perfect ability come from on high, from the Father of lights, in whom there is no shift or variation of shadows). Along with the bulls Milites Templi and Militia Dei, (this bull; TN) constitutes the lawful base of the Order.
  4.  The bull Milites Templi (Soldiers of the Temple) was pro-mulgated by Pope Celestine II in 1144 with the purpose of increasing the privileges of the Templars. In it the clergy was ordered to protect the knights of the Order and to the faithful, contributing to their cause, for which he allowed, once a year, an act of comparison of virtues. This measure had very little appeal to the secular community, and it very likely, increased the already heady dislike towards the Order. 
  5. The bull Militia Dei (Soldiers of God) was promulgated by Pope Eugene III in 1145 with the purpose of consolidating the privileges of the Order by reinforcing its independence with respect to the secular clergy. In it is recognized the Order’s right to collect tribute, to bury its dead in their own ceme: teries and to have their own churches. Many are the complaints of the bishops and thus they decried it, upon seeing their congregations flocking to Templar churches, with the resulting loss of tithes and donations and adding to this the non obedience from those whom they considered their inferiors."
This blog quotes from the paper "The First Templar Knight - The Origin of the Temple" by Josè Maria Fernandez Nuñez in The Grail Magazine, September 2015. Illustration Templar seal, source Wikipedia

Noble legacies to the Knights Templar

"An astonishing enthusiasm was excited throughout Christendom in behalf of the Templars. Princes and nobles, sovereigns and their subjects, vied with each other in heaping gifts and benefits upon them, and scarce a will of importance was made without an article in it in their favour. Many illustrious persons on their deathbeds took the vows, that they might be buried in the habit of the order. And sovereigns, quitting the government of their kingdoms, enrolled themselves amongst the holy fraternity, and bequeathed even their dominions to the Master and the brethren of the Temple.

Thus, Raymond Berenger, Count of Barcelona and Provence, at a very advanced age, abdicating his throne, and shaking off the ensigns of royal authority, retired to the house of the Templars at Barcelona, and pronounced his vows (A.D. 1130) before brother Hugh de Rigauld, the Prior. His infirmities not allowing him to proceed in person to the chief house of the order at Jerusalem, he sent vast sums of money thither, and immuring himself in a small cell in the Temple at Barcelona. He there remained in the constant exercise of the religious duties of his profession until the day of his death. 

At the same period, the Emperor Lothaire bestowed on the order a large portion of his patrimony of Supplinburg. And the year following (A.D. 1131,) Alphonso the First, king of Navarre and Arragon, also styled Emperor of Spain, one of the greatest warriors of the age, by his will declared the Knights of the Temple his heirs and successors in the crowns of Navarre and Arragon. A few hours before his death he caused this will to be ratified and signed by most of the barons of both kingdoms. The validity of this document, however, was disputed, and the claims of the Templars were successfully resisted by the nobles of Navarre. But in Arragon they (The Knights templar, TN) obtained, by way of compromise, lands, and castles, and considerable dependencies, a portion of the customs and duties levied throughout the kingdom, and of the contributions raised from the Moors."

This blog quotes from The History of the Knights Templar, by Charles G. Addison [1842] published on sacred-texts.com; illustration statue in Barcelona of Ramon Berenguer III, Count of Barcelona, source Wikipedia.org

Templar hospitals normal features in medieval France

"The care of hospitals also falls within the remit of the military order of the Knights Templar. (...) Alms are one of the concerns of their rules. To the poor one must give broken and unfinished bread during meals; the old robes of the brothers belonged by right to the lepers. The meat ration of two knights is calculated so that there would be enough to feed two poor.
The early rivalry between the Templars and the Hospitable people made it clear that the former had not neglected the care of the hospices. And, in fact, in many places, tradition attributes to them institutions of this nature. (...) 

Hospices spread everywhere, monastic hospitals, cathedral hospices, parish hospices. We find some in Dijon, in Autun, in Chalon, in Màcon, in Auxerre, in Langres as in Cluny, in Saulieu very formerly, in Châtillon whose commercial importance becomes very large in the twelfth century, in Seraur which, at the end in the twelfth century the Duke of Burgundy freed men from the house of God from various royalties. Beaune already has at the gates of the city his Maison-Dieu, which later on was named St. Peter's Hospital. Vezelay, an important center of prayer and exchange, on the threshold of the duchy, has a similar establishment from the eleventh century, and Sens, also on the confines of the duchy, and Aigueperse and Cersy in the twelfth century."

English translation from the paragraph "Maison des Templiers de Dijon" on templiers.org.free.fr. Illustration The Hotel Dieu in Beaune, source

Diversity and multiculturalism in medieval times (2) - quotes

"(...) During the Crusades, coexistence manifested itself in another way. Richard the Lionheart (king of England, 1189–1199) attempted to arrange a marriage between his sister and the brother of Saladin (the most famous hero of the Counter-Crusade and founder of the Ayyubid Dynasty). Intermarriage between Christians and Muslims was commonplace in Anatolia, and it was quite frequent between the Seljuk Turkish (who had conquered Byzatium in 1071, TN) and Byzantine elite.

At the same time, recent scholarship (...) has uncovered that many Byzantine women who married into the Seljuk Dynasty maintained their Christian religious practices and passed them onto their children (future Seljuk sultans), many of whom were baptized at the Hagia Sophia, the main cathedral in Constantinople. A consciousness of conversion did develop in the medieval period, but a thirteenth-century Cilician Armenian law code suggests that conversions to Islam were reversible."

This blog quotes from "Diversity in the Medieval Middle East - Inclusions, Exclusions, Supporters, and Discontents" by Rachel Goshgarian, Chapter 9 in Lucia Volk's The Middle East in the World: An Introduction (Foundations in Global Studies) (Routledge, 2015) on www.academia.edu;; source illustration www.quora.com

Diversity and multiculturalism in medieval times (1) - quotes

"It might be surprising to imagine that the societies of the medieval Mediterranean were brimming with diversity.  (...) Linguistic and religious diversity were facts of everyday life throughout the medieval world. And—very much like today—diversity had its share of proponents and its discontents. In considering the religious diversity of the medieval Middle East, scholars often praise Islam for inclusive policies toward Christians and Jews, even when aspects of those policies were discriminatory. The concept of dhimma—the protection of the “people of the book”—meant that Christians and Jews could continue practicing their own religions even when conquered by Muslims.

In fact, the model of dhimma as defined in the Quran and in the hadith (the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad) stipulated that while Christians and Jews must pay a supplemental tax in exchange for exemption from military service, they were not to be forcibly converted to Islam. (...) Some descriptive sources from the medieval period (from the seventh through the fifteenth centuries) show that these prescriptions were not always followed. For example, in many cities under Islamic rule, Christians and Jews were compelled to wear specific colors and/or types of clothing in order to physically distinguish themselves from Muslims."

This blog quotes from "Diversity in the Medieval Middle East - Inclusions, Exclusions, Supporters, and Discontents" by Rachel Goshgarian, Chapter 9 in Lucia Volk's The Middle East in the World: An Introduction (Foundations in Global Studies) (Routledge, 2015) on www.academia.edu;; source illustration bywajtu.pl

11th century Benedictine translations of Islamic manuscripts

"Peter the Venerable (c. 1092 – 25 December 1156) was between 1122 and 1156 abbot of the Benedictine abbey of Cluny. Despite his active life and important role in European history, Peter's greatest achievement is his contribution to the reappraisal of the Church’s relations with the religion of Islam.

A proponent of studying Islam based upon its own sources, he commissioned a comprehensive translation of Islamic source material, and in 1142 he traveled to Spain where he met his translators. One scholar has described this as a “momentous event in the intellectual history of Europe.”

The Arabic manuscripts which Peter had translated may have been obtained in Toledo, which was an important centre for translation from the Arabic. However, Peter appears to have met his team of translators further north, possibly in La Rioja, where he is known to have visited the Cluniac monastery of Santa María la Real of Nájera. The project translated a number of texts relating to Islam (known collectively as the "corpus toletanum"). They include the Apology of al-Kindi; and most importantly the first-ever translation into Latin of the Arabic Qur'an (the "Lex Mahumet pseudoprophete") for which Robert of Ketton was the main translator. (...) The translation was completed in either June or July 1143, in what has been described as “a landmark in Islamic Studies. With this translation, the West had for the first time an instrument for the serious study of (and attack on; TN) Islam.”

Source text and illustration Wikipedia

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.org.free.fr 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.

From this latter source TemplarsNow composed a new map containing all known and probable Templar sites in the Allier department according to templiers.org.free.fr. This 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.org.free.fr.

Medieval Anatolian architectural hybridities - quotes

 "Until the establishment of Ottoman suzerainty over the region in the mid-fifteenth century, Anatolia was a place of cultural “betweenness.”

The Seljuks were the first Turkish Muslim entity to become established in the region (the Byzantine defeat by the Seljuk Turks took place 1071; TN). They were followed by many other similar Turkish and Persian-speaking principalities, which existed either as subservient to the Seljuks or in direct competition with them.

At the same time, the Armenians established their own principality and, later, kingdom in the region. And after the First Crusade, a Latin Crusader state was established around Antioch. This was followed by the entrance of the Mongols into the region. Those Mongols who had converted to Islam (and were known as the Ilkhanids) extended their territory into Anatolia in the mid-thirteenth century, forming the largest contiguous land empire in the history of humankind.

As all of these political entities established themselves in Anatolia, they supported the construction of churches, mosques, religious schools (medreses, or ma-drassas), dervish lodges ( zaviyes), and caravansaries (inns), completely transforming the physical landscape both of urban areas and the hinterland. These physical structures, in turn, altered the cultural life of the region, by providing spaces within which individuals could gather to pray, study, or participate in the development of mystical religious practices.

The architectural programs funded in Anatolia—by a range of individuals associated with myriad local principalities—altered the urban and rural landscapes of the region. On a purely aesthetic level, these architectural programs are material evidence of the kind of hybridity that was common in late medieval Anatolia. Many of the masons and architects constructing new “Islamic” buildings (e.g., mosques, madrassas, and dervish lodges) were members of indigenous Christian populations. As a result, while many of the buildings and their functions were new, the physical appearance of much of the early Islamic architecture of Anatolia looks very similar to what is traditionally considered the Armenian, Byzantine, and Georgian (i.e., Christian) architecture of the region."

This blog quotes a portion of "Diversity in the Medieval Middle East - Inclusions, Exclusions, Supporters, and Discontents" by  Rachel Oshgarian which can be found here. Illustration: Ruins of the Cathedral of Ani and the church of Redeemer in Ani, an ancient capital of Armenia in the 10th century; photo by Antonio, source Wikipedia Commons

Medieval Benedictine anti-islam manuscripts by Peter of Cluny

"Peter the Venerable (c. 1092 – 25 December 1156) was between 1122 and 1156 the 8th abbot of the Benedictine abbey of Cluny. (...) His greatest achievement is his contribution to the reappraisal of the Church’s relations with the religion of Islam (by translating Islamic manuscripts such as the Qur'an; TN).

Peter used the newly translated material in his own writings on Islam, of which the most important are the Summa totius heresis Saracenorum (The Summary of the Entire Heresy of the Saracens) and the Liber contra sectam sive heresim Saracenorum (The Refutation of the Sect or Heresy of the Saracens). In these works Peter portrays Islam as a Christian heresy that approaches paganism (...). His explicit purpose for commissioning the translation was the conversion of Muslims. For Peter, the point is not to "study" a "religion" but to refute a particularly vile form of Christological heresy, a heresy centered on the denial of Christ's divinity.

While his interpretation of Islam was basically negative, it did manage in “setting out a more reasoned approach to Islam (...) through using its own sources rather than those produced by the hyperactive imagination of some earlier Western Christian writers.” Although this alternative approach was not widely accepted or emulated by other Christian scholars of the Middle Ages, it did achieve some influence among a limited number of Church figures (...)."

Source text Wikipedia and the paper by John Tolan "Peter the Venerable on the "Diabolical heresy of the Saracens" " on academia.edu. Illustration: The Consecration of Cluny III by Pope Urban II, 12th century (Bibliothèque Nationale de France), source Wikipedia.

Frankish local society: in touch with the medieval Holy Land

On her "Real Crusader History Blog" Dr. Helena P. Schrader reviews "Frankish rural settlement in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem" by Ronnie Ellenblum (2003) as quoted below:

"In this seminal work, Ronnie Ellenblum, a professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, challenges the assumptions of prominent 20th-century scholars concerning the composition and character of crusader settlement and society.  (...) Ellenblum’s research enabled the “reconstruction” of entire villages ― property by property ― identifying in the process the origins and vocations of many of the inhabitants. This survey turned up roughly 200 Frankish settlements, most of which had never been heard of before either because the settlements themselves had since been abandoned, ruined and overgrown, or because their Frankish origins were hidden behind modern Arabic names and more recent construction.

One of Ellenblum’s chief theses is that: “The Franks…were very successful settlers and were not only fighters and builders of fortifications.  The migrants who settled in the Kingdom of Jerusalem established a network of well-developed settlements…includ[ing] the construction of developed castra [towns], of ‘rural burgi,’ and monasteries, of castles that served as centers for seigniorial estates, of smaller castles, manor houses, farmhouses, unfortified villages, parochial systems etc.”

Even more important, Ellenblum proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the claim of earlier historians such as Prawer and Smail “that the Franks were completely unaware of what went on in their fields (save when it came to collecting their share of the crops), and had no contact with the local inhabitants, is not based on written or archeological sources and is certainly not accurate.” (Emphasis added.) (...) This book makes all previous conclusions about Frankish society obsolete, and any depiction of Frankish Palestine that does not take Ellenblum’s conclusions into account can be dismissed as inaccurate."

Frankish Rural Settlement in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem (Cambridge OCR Advanced Sciences)

Cluny Abbey: 10th century start of restoring spiritual independence

As early as the tenth century the situation and dependence of the church on worldly power had alarmed many devout men. In the hope of improving the monastic system William I of Aquitaine, Duke of Aquitaine and count of Mâcon, nicknamed William the Pious, (...) asked the abbot Berno (850-927) of the monastery of Baume, near Besançon, for advice on the foundation of a small new abbey, where twelve monks would enter. This became the abbey of Cluny.  

Uniquely, William, as founder, renounced all his rights, which, according to the then popular practise accrued to him. Cluny was forbidden to hold lands by feudal service. A donor to this foundation had to make his gift in free alms, that is, the only service owed was prayers for his soul.
According to the founding charter, the abbey was only under the protection of the Pope (exemplo). This limited guardianship was only later accepted by the popes, but Cluny could count on a far-reaching autonomy, This Romana libertas, Roman freedom, gave the monastery a great prestige.

Cluny adopted a modified form of the Benedictine rule. St. Benedict had directed his monks to spend long hours at manual labor, but once a monastery grew rich in land and peasant labor, it was impossible to get the monks to work in the fields. The Cluniac rule greatly extended the hours to be devoted to performing the services of the church in the hope of keeping the monks occupied in that way.

By the eleventh century Cluny had many daughter houses. (...) With the support of the (German TN) emperor Henry III Cluniac monks reformed many German monasteries and men inspired by Cluny revived English monasticism.

This blog is a combination of quotes form Baldwin, M. W. (ed.): The first hundred years (1969) and sections of the Wikipedia entry on Cluny Abbey; source illustration .khanacademy.org, showing William of Aquitaine addressing two monks of Cluny, historiated initial, from the Miscellanea secundum usum Ordinis Cluniacensis, late 12th – early 13th century, folio 85r (Illuminated Manuscript no. 17716, Bibliotheque National de France, Paris)

Christian pilgrimage to the Holy Land during the first centuries AD

"From the earliest times Christians felt a desire to see for themselves the places hallowed by the incarnate God, where Christ was born and preached and suffered. (...)

During the first two centuries of the Christian era it was not easy to make the pilgrimage to Palestine. Jerusalem itself had been destroyed by Titus (70 AD, TN), and the Roman authorities did not approve of journeys thither. The fall of Jerusalem had resulted in the triumph of St. Paul's conception of Christianity over that of St. Iames', and the church sought to stress its universality at the expense of its ]ewísh origins. But the holy places were not forgotten. (...) When, after the triumph (of Emperor Constantine under the sign of Christ during the battle of the Milvian Bridge - 312,TN)  the empress Helena came to Palestine, the tradition that she found there was strong enough for her to be able to identify all the sacred sites.

The official recognition of Christianity, combined with Helena's voyage and her pious labors, which her son Constantine endorsed by building the great churches of the Holy Sepulcher at Jerusalem and the Nativity at Bethlehem, let loose a stream of pilgrims bound for Palestine. (...) By the beginning of the 4th century the number of monasteries and hostels in Jerusalem where pilgrims could be housed was said to be over three hundred."

This blog quotes form Baldwin, M. W. (ed.): The first hundred years (1969); illustration www.oldbookillustrations.com

11th Century Benedictine participation in the Toledo School of Translators

King Alfonso X
"Toledo, with a large population of Arabic-speaking Christians (Mozarabs) had been an important center of learning and translation since as early as the end of the 10th century, when European scholars traveled to Spain to study subjects that were not readily available in the rest of Europe. (...)

The translating efforts at Toledo are often overemphasized into a “school of translation”, however the representation of Toledo translating activity creates a false sense that a formal school arose around the Archbishop Raymond. Only one translation, by John of Seville, can be definitively dedicated to the archbishop. It is more accurate to consider Toledo as a geographically bilingual environment where local interests were favorable to translation efforts, making it a practical and appealing location for translators to work. As a result, many translators became active in the area and Toledo became the focus of translating activity.

However translating efforts were not properly organized until Toledo was reconquered by the Christian forces in 1085. (Archbishop) Raymond of Toledo started the first translation efforts at the library of the Cathedral of Toledo, where he led a team of translators that included Mozarabic Toledans, Jewish scholars, Madrasah teachers and (Benedictine, TN) monks from the Order of Cluny. They worked in the translation of many works from Arabic into Castilian, from Castilian into Latin, or directly from Arabic into Latin or Greek, and also made available important texts from Arabic and Hebrew philosophers who the Archbishop deemed important for an understanding of Aristotle. As a result of their activities, the cathedral became a translations center known as the Escuela de Traductores de Toledo (Toledo School of Translators), which was on a scale and importance not matched in the history of western culture."

Source of text and illustration Wikipedia

8th to 10th century pilgrimage to the Holy Land

"In the 8th century the numbers increased. Pilgirmage was now promoted as a means of penance. (...) Relations between the west and the Moslems soon improved. When in the 760s Charlemagne entered into an alliance with the Abbasid caliph Härün ar-Rashid from Baghdad, with the apparent objective of cooperating against the Umayyads of Spain, there was a sufficient number of pilgrims coming to Jerusalem tor the emperor to ñnd it worth while to obtain permission to have a hostel set up for them in the holy city. There were women again amongst the pilgrims, and there were Spanish nuns living attached to the Holy Sepulcher.”

There was another slight interruption in the course of the ninth century, owing to the growth of  Moslem power in the Mediterranean and the establishment of Arabs in Crete and Sicily and southern Italy. When (in 870, TN) the Breton Bernard reached Jerusalern he found Charlemagne's establishments still in working order, but they were shabby and the number of visitors had sadly declined.

By the beginning of the 10th century conditions in the Mediterranean had improved. The Moslems had lost their foothold in southeast Italy and were soon to lose their last pirate-nests in southern France. Crete was recovered for Christendom half way through the century; and the Byzantine fleet was already able to provide an effective police force. The Italian rnaritime cities were beginning to open up direct commerce with the Moslem ports.

In the east the Abbasid (...) vice-roys in Palestine were ready to welcome visitors who brought
money into the country and who could be taxed; and when the Ikhshïdids, and after them the Fätímids, succeeded to the possession of Palestine, the appearance of good-will increased. It was now not difficult for a pilgrim to take a boat at Venice or Bari or Amalfi which would take him direct to Alexandria or some Syrian port. Most pilgrirns, however, preferred to sail in an Italian ship to Constantinople and visit the renowned collection of relics there, and then go on by land to Palestine. (...)

That certain holy places endowed the visitor with peculiar spiritual merit was now generally accepted.  (...)  The penitential value of a pilgrimage was also widely recognized. (...) The crime of murder in particular needed such an expiation. "

This blog quotes form Baldwin, M. W. (ed.): The first hundred years (1969); additional text and source illustration Wikipedia, showing Harun al-Rashid receiving a delegation of Charlemagne in Baghdad, a painting by Julius Köckert.

Early christian pilgrimage and relics

"The fathers of the church were not altogether happy about this new fashion (of 4th century pilgrimage to the Holy Land, TN). Even Jerome, though he recommended a visit to Palestine to his friend Desiderius as an act of faith and declared that his sojourn there enabled him to understand the Scriptures more clearly, confessed that nothing really was missed by a failure to make the pilgrirnage. St. Augustine openly denounced pilgrimages as being irrelevant and even dangerous. (...) But the general public ignored such strictures, preferring to believe that the interesting journey brought spiritual merit as well.

To many of the pilgrims crowding to Palestine half the point of the journey was the possibility of buying some important relic with which to sanctify their churches at home. The greater number of the early saints and martyrs had lived in the east, and it was in the east that their relics could be found. It was now generally held that divine aid could be obtained at the graves of the saints, as the Spaniard Prudentius and the Italian Ennodius taught, while St. Ambrose himself believed in the efficacy of relics and sought to discover some. St. Basil of Caesarea was a little more cautious. He was prepared to believe that relics might have some divine power, but he wished to be absolutely certain of their authenticity. Here again popular enthusiasm was undeterred by the caution of the fathers.

The major Christian relics remained in the east, those of Christ being gradually moved from Jerusalem to Constantinople and those of the saints being preserved at their native homes. But it was often possible for a lucky pilgrirn to acquire some lesser relic, while others were brought to the west by enterprising merchants."

This blog quotes form Baldwin, M. W. (ed.): The first hundred years (1969); souce of illustration wikipedia, photo by
John Stephen Dwyer, showing a reliquary at Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary in the United States, with relics of St. James, St. Matthew, St. Philip, St. Simon, St. Thomas, St. Stephen and other saints.

11th Century Cluniac promotion of pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

"In 910 count William I of Aquitaine founded the abbey of Cluny, and in a few decades Cluny became the center of a vast ecclesiastical nexus, closely controlled by the mother-house, which itself owed obedience to the papacy alone. The Cluniacs took an interest in pilgrimage, and soon organized the journey to the Spanish shrines.

By the end of the 10th century they were popularizing the journey to Jerusalern and were building hostels along the route for the benefit of poorer pilgrims. They particularly encouraged pilgrims from the neighborhood of their great houses. (...) The dukes of Normandy and the counts of Anjou both were devoted patrons of the Cluniac movement; and we find Fulk Nerra of Anjou making three journeys to Palestine, all well merited by his sins, and Richard lll of Normandy collecting alms for the Palestinian shrines, which his brother duke Robert visited at the head of a large company in 1035. But it was the poorer folk that the Cluniacs particularly helped and enabled to go east in smaller independent groups.

Political events aided the Cluniacs in their work. About the beginning of the eleventh century the mad Fâtirnid caliph al Häkim began to persecute the Christians throughout his dominions and to destroy their Churches, including the church of the Holy Sepulcher itself; and during his reign pilgrimage was dangerous. Later, he persecuted the Moslems as well; and after his death there was a reaction in favor of religious toleration. The Byzantine emperor Rornanus III (c. 968—April 11/12, 1034) made a treaty with al-Hâkirns successors allowing him to rebuild the Sepulcher, and the treaty was confirmed in the time of Constantine IX, who sent his own workmen to set about the work."

This blog quotes form Baldwin, M. W. (ed.): The first hundred years (1969); illustration from englishhistoryauthors.blogspot.com, depicting The Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, as described by Arculf to Admonan. 9th century copy, Vienne, Osterreichisches National Bibliothek, Codex 458, f4v

10th Centrury worldy dominance over the church

"During the ninth and tenth centuries the church had become deeply involved in secular affairs. The extensive lands of the bishops and abbots were held of lay lords by feudal services, and the prelates had to perform the (worldy, TN) functions of vassals either personally or by deputy.

Some doughty bishops led their troops in battle wielding a mace, which they insisted did not violate canon law as it drew no blood, but most had secular agents called advocates to head their levies. But the prelates were appointed by the secular lords and invested by them with the insignia of their holy office. They served the lords as counselors and administrators.

As we have seen, the Capetian (French, TN) monarchy owed what little power it had to the prelates it controlled and the German empire was based on an episcopacy devoted to the emperor. This situation was harmful to the spiritual functions of the church."

This blog quotes form Baldwin, M. W. (ed.): The first hundred years (1969); source illustration thinglink.com

Crusade on the 11th century Mediterranean Sea

"Long before pope Urban II made his ímpassioned plea at Clerrnont, the Italian cities were fighting the Saracens on land and sea. During the four centuries preceeding 1095 they suffered from seemingly endless raids and plunderings; sometimes they allied themselves with the enemy to attack other cities; on occasion they met him with force, and these occasions increased in number and gained in success,

Eventually, in 915 the southern cities, in alliance with Byzantine and papal forces, drove the Saracens from their last stronghold in the peninsula, and a century later the northern cities attacked the various Arab maritime bases nearby. Finally, in the eleventh century the Pisans and
Genoese raided the African coast itself, and forced terms of peace upon the Saracen leader, among them the promise to refrain from further piracy. With this victory and peace, made in 1087, control over the western Mediterranean passed from the Arabs to the Italian cities."

This blog quotes form Baldwin, M. W. (ed.): The first hundred years (1969); source illustration Ceramic Bowl from 1175 -1225 showing Mediterranean ship. From National Museum of San Matteo, Pisa. Source Wikipedia

Co-habitation of church and state in early 11th century France

"At the beginning of the eleventh century France was the only feudal state in Europe. (...) Actually France was not a single state but an alliance of feudal principalities bound together by the feeble suzerainty of the king. In real power the king was weaker than most of his great vassals. His demesne was small and he could not control the barons of the lle de France. The monarchy survived largely because of the support of the church, which was inclined to prefer one master to many, and the resources that could be drawn from church fiefs.

While some of the great lords such as the count of Flanders and the dukes of Normandy and Aquitaine had obtained control of the bishops within their lands, the prelates of Burgundy and Champagne depended on the king. The bishops had large, rich fiefs with many knightly vassals. Hence the man who appointed the bishops had the use of extensive resources. Nevertheless, the Capetian monarchy of the early eleventh century could do little more than survive. In the lle dc France it had little authority and outside none whatever."

This blog quotes form Baldwin, M. W. (ed.): The first hundred years (1969); source illustration medievalchronicles.com

900th Anniversary of the Knights Templar in 2019 or 2020

On the internet, for example on the page of the OSMTH of France, one is preparing to celebrate this year the 900th anniversary of the Knights Templar. This stems from the proposed year of origin 1118 which is nowadays considered false.

At present it is widely accepted that it was in 1119 that the French knight Hugues de Payens approached King Baldwin II of Jerusalem (crowned king at Bethlehem on Christmas Day 1118) and Warmund, Patriarch of Jerusalem (installed in August or September 1118), and proposed creating a monastic order for the protection of these pilgrims. King Baldwin and Patriarch Warmund agreed to the request, probably at the Council of Nablus in January 1120. The king granted the Templars a headquarters in a wing of the royal palace on the Temple Mount in the captured Al-Aqsa Mosque.

In his paper The first Templar Knight (part 2), the origin of the Temple, Josè Maria Fernandez Nùñez proposes a six phase development period of the premordial Order of the Temple, from 1104 to 1120.

"The first history of the Brotherhood is known as the time that occurs between the Synod of Nablus (January 16 to 20, 1120, TN) until the Council of Troyes (January 13, 1129, TN), where the Order as such is definitely created, but...what about before? Before this period that covers from 1104 through 1120...what occurs during this period? This prehistory is the dark era of these knights. How did they support themselves?

As we shall see they had more than ample support, powerful support such as no other group of this sort ever counted on, not even the Deacon of St. John Hospitalier, to take off with such self assured success. They had economic power, they had hosts, they had lawfull cover. Later would come donations that miraculously multiply upon being accepted at Troyes. Their logistics and marketing worked marvelously.

Their provenance was made up of members of royalty and from the different noble houses of the Franks: Burgundians, Normans. etc. made the rest an easy passage of alliance with the highest spheres of the church, perhaps as Mellado says about its early ambition having no measure, perhaps it was not all bucolic and romantic as it has passed on in the annals of its first history.

It is a natural understanding that prior to this time there was already a formation “in testing” since previous  years. How many? Not known, but logic prevails and we must yield and honor the closest hypothesis based on archival documents that were consulted. If my conjectures are correct (and there is no authentic proof to think that they are not possible) we could be talking not of the nine years of its existence until Nablus. If we count 1104 as the year of its conception until 1114 when it is already constituted and is put into practice upon the arrival of the Hugh’s, in that year, until 1120, when its officially recognized at Nablus, some 16 years had transpired that would encompass the novitiate, the temporal acknowledgment; the creation of the Brotherhood or congregation in the aforementioned Synod. It can be stratified in six different periods.
  1. Ideological and embryonic phase from 1104 until 1107, in which the creation of a police force is perceived as necessary. Creative steps are taken that leave Godfrey of Sainte-Omer tasked with its creation.
  2. Formation of the Militia Christi phase, incorporating same with knights related to the conquerors that take Palestine as the new promised land, there whe-re the mister nobody’s can become someone, forcing that social stratification. In the long run, the church had served on not few occasions as a means of social climbing.
  3. Phase of activation with the presence of the Hugh’s from 1114 to 1120, where their relationship would be without rules, habits, monastic vows, no dependency on military or ecclesiastical authorities, bound only by the particular and personal oath of each of its members. Here we may apply from William of Tyre who wrote “the knights wore secular garb, they wore clothing such as all folk wear...”
  4. Foundation phase, Synod of Nablus (1120, TN) of the congregation or brotherhood, with a proper name, rules, dwellings, monastic vows, uniformity, disciplines, etc.,
  5. Acceptance by the church at Troyes phase (1129, TN). The Creation of the Order.
  6. Definite consolidation of the Order in 1139 by the Omne Datum Optimum Papal Bull.
(...) Thus the date of creation of the embryonic Templars, would be around 1107/1113, (...) From 1114 until 1120 is the recruiting phase. In 1120 the Brotherhood is legalized and in 1129 the Order is created by the Holy See, and is confirmed in 1139."

The quotes above illustrate that the ninth centennial of the Knights Templar should be celebrated in 2019 at the earliest and preferrably in January 2020. If more official events are taken al date of birth, the celebrations should be even later.

This blog quotes briefly from Wikipedia but mainly from an article "The First Templar Knights (Part 2)  -  The origin of the Temple" by Josè Maria Fernandez Nùñe in the December 2015 OSMTJ Spain The Graal Magazine to be downloaded here.  The text and interpunction was slightly improved and clarified.

"Journeys of Relics in Tenth to Twelfth Century Northern France and Flanders"- quotes

"The social importance of saints’ relics during the European Middle Ages is well documented, yet relics have rarely been treated as mobile objects beyond discussions of their transportation from one permanent location to another (a “translation”).

The dissertation "Bringing Out the Saints: Journeys of Relics in Tenth to Twelfth Century Northern France and Flanders" by Kate Melissa Craig (University of California, Los Angeles, 2015) examines the practice of taking relics on out-and-back journeys to explore the consequences of temporarily removing these objects from the churches in which they were housed and displayed, focusing on northern France and the Low Countries during the high Middle Ages.

Medieval relics were considered direct conduits to the supernatural power of the saints, and an itinerant relic projected religious, economic, and political authority onto the areas it traveled through.
However, travel also brought a relic into contact with unfamiliar audiences. Using evidence from customaries, hagiography, charters, and images, Kate Melissa demonstrates that while moving relics transformed them into versatile tools of power, it also exposed them to criticism, antagonism, and danger from both lay and ecclesiastical groups (...)."

Click here to read this dissertation from the University of California – Los Angeles

This blog quotes the first part of a paper with the same title on medievalists.net. Illustration from the same source.