The Origin of the Templars according to Jacques de Vitry ca 1220

Jacques de Vitry (Jacobus de Vitriaco, c. 1160/70 – 1 May 1240), probably born at Reims, was a noted theologian and chronicler of his era. He wrote one of earliest and most detailed accounts on the origin and early years of the Knights Templar. What were his views on this Order?

Horses in the Temple

An important component amongst the equipment of a Templar knight were his horses and the equipment therefor. The well known Article 52 states: "We utterly forbid any brother to have gold or silver on his bridle, nor on his stirrups, nor on his spurs. That is, if he buys them; but if it happens that a harness is given to him in charity which is so old that the gold or silver is tarnished, that the resplendent beauty is not seen by others nor pride taken in them: then he may have them. But if he is given new equipment let the Master deal with it as he sees fit." What were some other rules on Templar horses in peacetime?

Location of the first Templar fortress revealed

In the Middle Ages the important coastal road from Acre and Haifa to Jerusalem ran through a narrow, probably man made passage in the sandstone ridge that runs parallel to the coast line directly to the east of Atlit peninsula. In primary sources this passage is called amongst others Petra Incisa ("carved rock") or Districtum/Destrictum, Destroit or Détroit ("strait") . The setting made the site an ideal location for robbers to ambush pilgrims and other travelers. As even King Baldwin I of Jerusalem discovered in 1103, when he was wounded by robbers in the area. What is the history of this remarkable place and what have the Templars to do with it?

Hugues de Champagne, from Count to Templar knight

Born around 1074, Hugues, the later Count of Champagne, was the third son of Thibaud I Count of Blois and Adèle of Valois. In 1089, his half-brother Etienne-Henri succeeded Thibaud as the head of the Counties of Blois and Meaux.

On 1 January 1093, Hugues inherited from his other brother Eudes (Odo) IV the Counties of Troyes, Vitry-le-François and Bar-sur-Aube. Only to abdicate in 1125 to become a Templar knight in the Holy Land.

How did his lifes develop from being a rich and important French nobleman to becoming a poor Templar?