The obscure early years of the Knights Templar

"The first ten years of the Temple were difficult. According to a later chronicler (they were ignored by contemporary chroniclers in Palestine), the original Templars were so poor that they had to rely on local charity for food, clothing, and supplies. They had no specific uniform. Everything from their clothes to their quarters on the Temple Mount consisted of dilapidated handme-downs. 

Early Templar military tactics for protecting pilgrims and more

"The nature of the earliest Templars' duties in Palestine made them a more mobile and disciplined group than the Frankish military forces. The Templars' original purpose was "that, as far as their strength permitted, they should keep the roads and highways safe from the menace of robbers and highwaymen, with especial regard for the protection of pilgrims. (...)" For that they developed their own, Oriental military tactics, very unlike normal Western practises.

The Arabization of the Knights Templar during the Crusades, 1119-1314

"The military orders, especially the first, the Order of the Poor Knights of the Temple of Solomon (Knights Templar) played a critical role in the preservation of the Crusader kingdoms in Palestine between 1119 and their fall in 1291. It is generally acknowledged that part of the Templars' success, in both Palestine and Spain, stemmed from their ability to deal with the Muslim enemy in a variety of situations. This naturally involved some assimilation of the Templars into the local culture during the 12th and 13th centuries. (...) 

The Crusades - from chaos to shared ideal in Christian Europe

"Following the collapse of the Carolingian Empire in the 9th century, Christian Europe had wrestled with increasingly senseless and uncontrollable violence. Muslim and Viking invasions during that time caused internal disintegration that eliminated all centralized power. By the 11th century, knights--even kings--had become indistinguishable from brigands." How did the Crusades change this?

Crusader-Muslim relationships during the Crusades

ln the late eleventh century, when the first crusade arrived in the Middle East, the region was not predominantly Muslim. The population was divided between Greek and other eastern Christians, Jews, Muslims, and minority religious groups which did not fit precisely into any of the three great religions. 

Templar wealth: personal austerity, liturgical richness

Abbot Bernard of Clairvaux had noted in his letter "In praise of the new knighthood" that the Templars led an austere lifestyle and that their clothing and armour was undecorated, in contrast to secular knights' flamboyant appearance. (...) Overall the Templars appear to have stuck with this image of austerity. Nothing should be wasted on themselves; all possible money should be saved for the help of the Holy Land. The exception to this was in their attitude to divine worship.

Friday, 13 October 1307 - an affair of state

The arrest of the French Templars on Friday 13 October 1307 left its mark on the minds of contemporaries. It even gave rise to myths and superstition linked to the choice of the date of Friday the 13th, which today has become both a day of misfortune for the superstitious and a day of luck for the French national lottery. Unlike often thought, the arrests were an initiative of the French King Philip the Fair, without consent of or cooperation by Pope Clement V who alone held supreme authority over the Templar Order.

The facts on Mount Sion and the crusaders

Ever since the Priory of Sion was made famous by popular literature as well as a recent relaunch of a similarly named association, Sion rings a bell with people interested in the crusades in general and Templars in particular. What are the facts?

Louis IX and his Holy relics

"In 1236, the Latin emperor of Constantinople, Baldwin II, approached the West for help in defending his moribund empire, one of the Latin States of Greece, born of the diversion of the fourth crusade in 1204. Early in 1237 he went to meet the French king Louis IX in Paris, telling him that, having run out of resources, he was obliged to borrow money against the relics with which Constantinople was still crammed, even after its sacking of 1204. Owing to his inability to repay the loans, these relics were at risk of falling into his creditors hands. On two occasions Louis IX redeemed the pledge.