The Templar Order - home and prison to knights and criminals

 "The initial Latin Rule, and its companion piece, In Praise of the New Knighthood, was public. Later translations and revisions of the Rule were not. During its first translation, in the 1140's, the Rule was removed from the public eye and revised, from then on, only within the Order. (...) The most likely reason for secrecy was military security; most of the changes involved specific military tactics and infrastructure. (...)

It was also during this time that a controversial change in the Rule was made, one that would have created great scandal if it had been known outside the Order. The regulation enjoining the members to recruit only among non-excommunicated knights (Rule 12, TN) was changed to exhorting brothers to recruit specifically from among excommunicated knights.

Historians have noted that the Temple was so desperate for members that it was willing to take in many of the criminals who had been flocking to the Holy Land since the First Crusade had opened up the region to European colonization. The Templars so successfully absorbed these unruly elements that outside authorities sometimes sentenced great criminals who were too influential to kill (from murderers to embezzlers) to join the Order. Since membership in the Temple was lifelong (even expelled members. were not released back into the community, but were imprisoned, instead) this was a life sentence."

A translation in English of the full collection of Rules in French was published in The Rule of the Templars: The French Text of the Rule of the Order of the Knights Templar (Studies in the History of Medieval Religion) by J.M. Upton-Ward (2008).

This blog presents slightly edited and/or rearranged quotes from the Preface of Stiles, Paula Regina, "BETWEEN TWO FAITHS: THE ARABIZATION OF THE KNIGHTS TEMPLAR DURING THE CRUSADES" (1999). Open Access Master's Theses. Paper 1805. The illustration shows the first page of the Rule of the Templars source

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