The philosophy of the crusades is summarized by Christopher Tyerman as follows:
"The crusades were wars justified by faith conducted against real or imagined enemies deﬁned by religious and political elites as perceived threats to the Christian faithful. The religious beliefs crucial to such warfare placed enormous significance on imagined awesome but reassuring supernatural forces of overwhelming power and proximity that were nevertheless expressed in hard concrete physical acts: prayer, penance, giving alms, attending church, pilgrimage, violence.
The philosophy of the crusades is summarized by Christopher Tyerman as follows:
"The promotion of the tenets of their faith on one hand and desire to return to the simplicity of early monasticism on the other, permitted the Cistercians (...) art and architecture. (...) As St Bernard envisaged the Earth as the work of Divine Architect, he himself as a head of his order, actively participated in many practical aspects of founding new Cistercian monasteries, including solving concrete architectural problems. (...)
Templars in Art: Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863) Rébecca enlevée par le Templier (The abduction of Rebecca, 1858)
Throughout his career, Delacroix was inspired by the novels of Sir Walter Scott, a favorite author of the French Romantics. This painting depicts a scene from Ivanhoe: the Jewish heroine Rebecca, who had been confined in the castle of Front de Boeuf (seen in flames), is carried off by two Saracen slaves commanded by the covetous Christian knight Bois-Guilbert. The contorted, interlocking poses and compacted space, which shifts abruptly from the elevated foregound to the fortress behind, create a sense of intense drama. Apart from the still life at lower left, the only element of calm is Rebecca herself.
The painting is kept at Metropolitan Museum of Art, (Met Fifth Avenie in Gallery 801). The present picture is Public domain published by the MetMuseum. Text from the same website. Another version is kept at the Musée du Louvre.
Formed in the setting of the Chapter of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem from a brotherhood of Champenois and Burgundian knights, the Templars received their rule at the Council of Troyes in 1129. They inspired all the foundations that followed by showing the way to militarization of charitable fraternities.
Alexius’ abandonment and the sudden death of Adhémar left the Crusaders in an unexpected and little prepared for position. Alone in the Levant and confident of their military might, Crusaders acted as an autonomous group which would carry out their own will irrespective of the Byzantines.
Crusaders interpreted Alexius’ actions as the submission of Antioch to the Latins, and immediately sent a petition to Pope Urban. (...) The letter sent by the Crusaders demonstrates how they understood their own actions in the Levant. Their obedience to Adhémar and the restitution of territories back to the Byzantines was done to honor the Pope’s wishes. Without the papal legate and the Byzantine’s betrayal, the work Crusaders were doing took on an entirely new meaning. The views expressed through the Crusaders words and actions placed Rome at the head of the pentarchy of Churches. From their position and for their immediate concerns Rome was to be the administrator of the biblical lands they were conquering. This sudden turn of events forced Crusaders to voice their views towards the Pope and the role he should play among Christians. The need for the Latin’s own clerics also signaled their will to institute a Western religious orthodoxy over the Eastern ‘heretic’ Christians. The crusading campaign was suddenly transformed into a campaign of conquest for Rome and the West."
This blog quotes adapted sections of the dissertation THE LITURGY OF THE HOLY SEPULCHRE AND THE TEMPLAR RITE: EDITION AND ANALYSIS OF THE JERUSALEM ORDINAL by Sebastián Ernesto Salvadó, August 2011, Stanford University. Illustration: Portrait of Emperor Alexios I (1048-1118), from a Greek manuscript; source Wikipedia.
In 1844 François-Marius Granet (1775-1849) painted the "Chapitre de l'Orde du Temple" (Chapter of the Order of the Temple), said to have taken place in Paris in April 1147.
Every five years, the Chapter of the Templar Order convened, bringing together the high dignitaries of the order. They debated political questions and decided acts which engaged the order as a whole. It was also the internal court of appeal that dealt with serious disciplinary questions.
On April 27, 1147, eight days after Easter, a general chapter of the Order of the Temple in France was gathered in the Commandery of the Temple of Paris. Before Pope Eugene III, the King of France Louis VII, and many prelates, the Knights Templar and their master Evrard des Barrès engaged for the first time for the second Crusade. At this meeting Pope Eugene III granted the Templars the right to wear a red cross on their white coat.
The painting is kept at the Versaille Palace, France. Photo (C) RMN-Grand Palais (Château de Versailles) / Gérard Blot. Published with permission under the rules of T&C of rmngp.fr, Text inspired by Wikipedia.
In his famous book The New Knighthood: A History of the Order of the Temple Malcom Barber reconstructs in detail the birth of the Order. He argues that it is probable that, prior to their recognition by King Baldwin II sometime after Spring 1118, the brotherhood that later became the Knights Templar existed in another form. Prior to settlement on the former royal palace at the Temple Mount and becoming "The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon" (in Latin: Pauperes commilitones Christi Templique Salomonici), this brotherhood probably already existed for some years as one of the brotherhoods of the Holy Sepulcher.
When in the 12th to 14th centuries Knights Templar returned from their Crusade, they settled also on the territory of Banyuls and Collioure, (departement Pyrénées-Orientales, region of Occitanie, Southwest France), and restored the noble grape varieties planted there by the Phoenicians centuries earlier.
The Templars established themselves in the duchy of Brittany in the
second quarter of the twelfth century, perhaps as early as 1128, during
the travels in western Europe of the first master of the order, Hugh of
The Templars lived on well beyond the Middle Ages in the local collective memory, in spite of the poorness of the buildings which may be directly ascribed to them.
Even if the present paper is interested in the traditions and myths the Templars provoked in Brittany, it is based on medieval and modern sources which are not as scarce as scholars have often thought.
Thus, over a period of two hundred years, this study explains the Templars’ regional growth, violently broken by the trial of 1307, and it throws light on the establishment of a complete network of possessions organized at its peak, during the second half of the thirteenth century, in about ten commanderies and integrated in the province of Aquitaine.
This blog quotes the English abstract of the paper "Les Templiers en Bretagne au Moyen Âge : mythes et réalités" by Philippe Josserand published on journals.openedition.org. Illustration from the same sorce, showing the Chapel of the Commandery of Coudrie (cliché Chr. Renault).
Originally there was no reason for the Knights of the Temple to invest in maritime activities in the Mediterranean area. The foundation of the Temple did indeed have as only goal the pacification of "the roads and ways of the kingdom of Jerusalem".
In June 2019 the OSMTHU-blog The Templar Globe reported on an agreement signed between the OSMTJ and the OSMTHU. Both organizations aim to conteract fragmentation in the worldwide Templar movement. This movement, as the publication rightly states, "is characterized by many small groups of undetermined origin and frequent divisions in the main branches."
For the purpose of unification a Cultural Exchange Association between both branches was proposed. Efgorts are undertaken to elect Vila Nova da Barquinha – of the Castle of Almourol, location of the Templar Interpretation Center (CIT), as the official seat of this Association.
Illustration left shows the adopted declaration. source the OSMTHU-blog
In 987, Hugues Capet was elected king. The monarchy becomes hereditary, and the Capetians reign over France for more than 800 years. Nevertheless, the first Capetian kings only directly control a very small portion of the French territory, called the royal domain, and some of their vassals are much more powerful than them.
In the twelfth century, royal power began to assert itself against the princes of the kingdom, but faced from the 1150s to the birth of a "Plantagenet empire" grouping together in England and the western third of France.
The Capetian kingdom reached its peak in the 13th century, with the monarchy regaining the power it had lost while French art and culture asserted in Europe.
Philip Augustus (1180-1223) managed to conquer most of the French possessions of the Plantagenets, temporarily putting an end to the English threat and considerably enlarging the royal domain at the same time.
Louis IX (1226-1270) behaves as a referee of Christendom and participates in the seventh and eighth crusades, which will lead him to be canonized very quickly by the Catholic Church
Source text (translated from French by TN) and illustrations (1: situation 1030; 2: situation 1180) www.cartesfrance.fr
La Chaux in Cossonay is attested in 1223 and Geneva (district of Rive) is quoted in 1277. These had other dependent houses, particularly in Cologny, Bénex (commune of Prangins) and Entremont (commune of Yvonand). All these establishments belonged to the baillie (or preceptory) of Burgundy, subdivision of the Templar province of France.
La Chaux Commanderie was given by the lords of Cossonay to the Knights Templar before 1223. This commandery does not seem to have been particularly profitable, because in 1277 part of the possessions was sold to the Franciscan order to pay debts. After the dissolution of the Order, it passed in 1315 to the Knights of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. The commandery depended the hospices of Orbe, Villars-Sainte-Croix and Montbrelloz.
After the Protestant Reformation in the 16th Century, the commandery was secularized, subordinated to the last commander, then in 1539 to the brothers of the reformer Guillaume Farel, finally sold in 1540 to Robert du Gard.
In Geneva there is a Ruelle de Templiers. This name comes from a house and a chapel of the Knights Templar who were there. At the suppression of this order, in 1312, they passed, as everywhere, to the Hospitallers of Saint John. This establishment was destroyed in 1534 with the suburbs of the left bank.
Modern Swiss Knights Templar (probably part of the OSMTH.net branch, though this Order is not referred to directly on the website) are organized in the Commandery Bertrand de Blanquefort, situated in the hart of Geneva, and the Commandery André de Montbard at Kanton Vaud (no town mentioned).
Illustrations show La Chaux Commanderry and the location of the two historic commanderies in Switserland. Source of the illustrations and part of the text (translated and adapted) from Wikipedia and sources mentioned therein.
Therefore, TemplarsNow has started a project which will pinpoint the geographical location of Templar sites in France. TemplarsNow has earlier done a similar job for The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.
The French maps will be constructed by combining the information of both websites mentioned above and plotting it on modern Google-satellite maps, one per Department. In the process, the geographical location of each site is checked on the Cassini-map and other sources on the internet. Primary source is the templiers.net website. Additional information is used from the templiers.org website and from other sources on the internet. The site description on the maps uses snippits of text (for now in French) and photographs, mainly from the templiers.net website. If other information is presented, the sources are indicated. The illustration above presents a part of the resulting map for the Creuse Department (23). All completed maps will be summed up on the page on France.
On the maps four types of Templar sites are distinguished:
- major actual Templar site which at present holds multiple important buildings and/or ruins
- actual Templar site which at present holds one or a small number of buildings and/or ruins
- historical Templar site where as yet no remains are found but of which the former presence can be inferred from toponymes etc
- historical Templar site which is mentioned in the sources but whereof no traces whatsoever in the field are known today
Obviously these new TemplarNow maps could not be made without the information provided by the websites http://templiers.net and http://templiers.org and additional sources. Therefore these maps should be seen as the elaborated and augmented representation of the great work of others.
Only one year earlier, in the summer of 1098, the (Muslim) Fatimid Emir (commander) al-Afdal Shahinshah had taken Jerusalem from the (also Muslim) Seljuk Turks after a 40-day siege, on orders of the Fatimid Vizier (Minister of State) al-Musta’li, ruler of Egypt. Many months of political and diplomatic maneuvering with the Franj (Franks–the Arabic term used for all Western European Crusaders) and the Rumi (Romans–actually the Greeks of the Byzantine Empire) had not gotten the vizier the concessions he wanted, so he simply had sent Emir al-Afdal to seize the city the Crusaders were coming to capture, thereby presenting the Franj invaders with a fait accompli.
These 1098 events indicate that the negotiations between the Byzantine and Franj on the one hand, and the Muslim Fatimid rulers of Egypts on the other hand on combined efforts against their common enemy, the Muslim Seljuk Turcs that controlled the eastern part of the Byzantine Empire as well as Jerusalem, had turned sour.
These negotiations may have been one of the reasons why the Crusader army, after the successful siege of Antioch in June 1098, remained in that area for the rest of the year. Other reasons being disagreement between the leaders of the army on what to do next. Bohemond of Taranto had claimed Antioch for himself and wanted to remain there. Baldwin of Boulogne remained in Edessa, captured earlier in 1098. By the end of the year 1098, the minor knights and infantry were threatening to march to Jerusalem without their leaders. Eventually, on January 13, 1099 Raymond of Toulouse began the march south, down the coast of the Mediterranean, followed by Robert of Normandy and Bohemond's nephew Tancred, who agreed to become his vassals.
The 1099 siege and conquest of Jerusalem is notable for the mass slaughter of Muslim and Jewish perpetrated by the Christian crusaders, which contemporaneous sources suggest was savage and widespread. Atrocities committed against the inhabitants of cities taken by storm after a siege were normal in ancient and medieval warfare by both Christians and Muslims. The Crusaders had already done so at Antioch, and Fatimids had done so themselves at Taormina, at Rometta, and at Tyre. However, the massacre of the inhabitants of Jerusalem may have exceeded even these standards. Historian Michael Hull has suggested this was a matter of deliberate policy rather than simple bloodlust, to remove the "contamination of pagan superstition" (quoting Fulcher of Chartres) and to reform Jerusalem as a strictly Christian city.
Sources text historynet.com and Wikipedia. Illustration a 13th-century miniature depicting the siege, Wikipedia
Dr Holt reported on his project to identify the "most important" books on the Crusades. He asked 34 leading medieval historians to provide their own preferential list. Their replies resulted in a list of some 150 titles. Analyzing this as to the number of times each title had been mentioned by the scolars, Dr Holt identified "the 15 most important Books on the Crusades". The titles are shown below, including the number of times each title was mentioned.
The summer of 1098 saw the much-fought-over fortress city in Egyptian hands. The Fatimid Emir (commander) al-Afdal Shahinshah had taken Jerusalem from the Seljuk Turks after a 40-day siege, on orders of Vizier (minister of state) al-Musta’li, ruler of Egypt.
The agricultural revolution described in an earlier blog resulted in a change in the land use that allowed the subsistence farmer to go with his surplus crop to the market, originally at the local church, to buy and sell.
During the medieval period, hundreds of thousands of Europeans migrated to the Near East to take part in the Crusades, and many of them settled in the newly established Christian states along the Eastern Mediterranean coast. This changed the genetic codes of the region.
Though little is known of his actual life and deeds except for his last years as Grand Master, he is the best known Templar, along with the Order's founder and first Grand Master, Hugues de Payens (1070–1136). Jacques de Molay's goal as Grand Master was to reform the Order, and adjust it to the situation in the Holy Land during the waning days of the Crusades.
|Death-site plaque of Jaques de Molay on Isle des Juifs, Paris|
source text and illustrations wikipedia.org
"The most thorough discussion of the number of combatants on the First Crusade is that offered by John France and this study cannot improve on his painstaking assembly of the relevant data and the plausible manner in which it assessed. However, the estimates of the size of the Crusader army vary considerably.
"Upon leaving for the crusade, very many property owners made substantial donations to the church, in return for ready coin with which to finance their involvement on the expedition. These transactions were recorded and churches and monasteries preserved the charters throughout the centuries, being ever diligent on such matters.
"When the Muslim Seljuks, a Turkish steppe tribe, spectacularly defeated an army of the Byzantine Empire at the Battle of Manzikert in ancient Armenia in August 1071 CE, a series of events followed which would lead to centuries of East-West warfare couched in religious terms: the Crusades.
"Participants in a historic religious procession during the 2018 Heiligdomsvaart (Relics Pilgrimage) in Maastricht, Netherlands.
The history of this seven-yearly catholic pilgrimage goes back to the Middle Ages. The first 'modern' version took place in 1874. On both Sundays of the 10-day festival, a procession is held in which the main relics and other devotional objects are exhibited.
This photo was taken at Het Bat during the (second) procession on Sunday 3 June 2018. This particular group consists of members of the interdenominational OSMTH Order of the Knights Templar. They are followed by a group representing the nearby parish of Houthem-Sint Gerlach, where Saint Gerlachus is venerated."
Source text and illustration Wikimedia. Photo by Kleon3 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link
"(...) Local (14th Century TN) chroniclers in England ‘supported the French version of the Templars’ heresy’, although King Edward II and his prelates did not. This raises the question of whether local chroniclers were aware of irregularities in the Templars’ religious beliefs that were not known to the higher authorities.
The original Latin Rule, from the Council of Troyes, was actually written by the council’s scribe, John Michael, though the credit for its contents goes to St Bernard; ‘At the very least he must have been a major influence on the framing of the Latin Rule, for it is clear that the later Templars valued their Cistercian links above all’.
The structure of the text is strikingly similar to that of ‘Carta Caritatis’ and the Rule of St Benedict, which implies a replication of Cistercian organisation and values. What is very interesting to note is that it was at the Council of Troyes that the Knights Templar came to follow the Rule of St Benedict; ‘At the time of the Council, the Templars had been following the Rule of St. Augustine, however, this changed in 1129 with the direct influence of the Cistercian abbot St. Bernard of Clairvaux.’
The Rule itself describes procedures that the Templar brothers should adhere to on a day-to-day basis. The description of procedures -in particular clause three, which relate to clothing- resonates the tone of both the Cistercian ‘Charter of Charity’ and also the Rule of St Benedict. In fact much of the Rule appears to have strong monastic overtones, rather than a military aspect and the detail that is given to food and drink is very similar to that of the Cistercians.
Buy your own Rule here. For the original Latin Rule in French visit templiers.org.free.fr
This blog is in part based on the thesis by Lori Firth, Hull University (2012): "A Comparison of the Cistercian and Knights Templar Orders, And the Personal Influence of Bernard of Clairvaux", to be found here
The Primitive Rule in English is quoted below in its entirety. Source: www.templiers.org