The Knights Templar

Table of Content

            The Knights Templar is considered as one of the famous type of medieval army that existed in the western part of the world. Being zealous to the Roman Catholicism and to the Papacy, the Knights Templar was seen to be much disciplined in the field of combat and warfare. Many Catholic devout also joined and supported the cause of the Templars and further influence majority of the people that belongs to the same faith. Moreover, there are also members of the Knights Templar that were highly skilled in engineering and economics that greatly helped European nations with regards to their infrastructure programs and trade commerce 1. The order of the Knights Templar also played a major role in the medieval history of the world. However, there are controversies that many historians are still puzzled up to now. One particular issue is that what transpired and made a very little organization lifted up from humble beginnings up to the side with the monarchs. Another controversy was the things happened that led to the massacre of many of the Templar members in the hands of the inquisitors. All of these concerns can be made clear by studying the facts about the Knights Templar.

            The origin of the order of the Knights Templar can be traced back after the capture of Jerusalem in the year 1099. When the king of Byzantine sought help from the Pope against the Turkish army that continuously causing problems on their occupied lands 2. As a response, the

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1Martin, p.80

2 Martin, p.95

Pope during that time, Pope Urban II, preached and called for the devout to join the crusade to

reclaim the city of Jerusalem 3. After a series of attempts, the Catholic devout warriors finally captured the city of Jerusalem. After capturing the Holy Land, many Christian devout visited the city of Jerusalem and journeyed across the European continent just to reach this famous place in the Christian faith. Though the entire city of Jerusalem was completely guarded, many Muslim raiders placed ambushes and threatened the European people visiting the Holy City wherein many of them killed the journeyers on their way to Jerusalem. Some of the routes to Jerusalem include roads that pass to other lands such as Antioch and Istanbul 4. Similarly, sea routes also were plagued with pirates waiting for pilgrims that would be passing through their territories.

Because of this, a proposition was made to resolve the problem caused by the said marauders outside the city of Jerusalem. The proposition also aims to protect the people coming from various nations visiting the Holy Land. The highest official of Jerusalem consented to the proposal and gave a place for them as the Templar’s headquarters. Their group took the name as unfortunate Knights of Christ and their building was located at the ruins of the Temple of Solomon, where the name “Templar” was coined after 5. The group started with only nine members and provided safety pass for pilgrims coming to Jerusalem. They were motivated with the stance of immediate entry to heaven when they die while performing their duties. However, they were quite confused with what they should do in executing their mission against Muslim invaders. It is against the Christian belief to kill but their enemies murders the those pilgrims


4 Burman, p. 19

5 Barber, p.8

they capture. With this confusion, the Templars still managed to perform the duties of being a

zealous Knights Templar. For one decade, these Knights Templars patrolled the entire Mediterranean region to secure the pilgrims entire journey to and from Jerusalem. They adopted

a symbol of two knights riding in one horse, implying the financial scarcity of the members of the said group 6. The Templars relied merely on donations coming from other people and possesses only little resources to spend for their expenditures. Their economic situation started to improve when some personalities impressed concern and support for the Knights Templar. A very influential figure, Saint Bernard of Clairvaux expressed his support and the Templars finally got their approval and support from the Catholic Church in the year 1129 7. He said that Templars can be considered to be the most dependable army available because of their intense motivation to perform their rightful duties as guardians of the Holy Land and the entire Catholic faith. He praised the Templars for having exceptional obedience toward its mission while maintaining its sober status. He further added that the Templars do not delight on earthly possessions unlike the conventional Knights that lack discipline and motivation.  Many supporters coming from businessmen and nobles then pour out donations for the group right after the endorsements made of the Church officials. Financial support flooded the Templars coming from those who believed on their undertakings to secure the Holy Land. The Templars also benefitted from one decree made by Pope Innocent II wherein they were awarded tax exemptions being imposed by local authorities 8. Another decree given by then Pope Lucius II gave the



8 Burman, p. 70

Templars build their own churches and even buries their dead on the ground even without the presence of an officiating minister. This autonomy later would be misinterpreted by other high ranking Church officials and monarchs, causing more problems on the part of the Knights Templars. One accusation that appeared later against them was that they initiate ceremonies that were not rightfully for them like hearing confessions from ordinary citizens 9.

            Having a clear undertaking and sufficient resources, many joined the cause of the Knights Templar and won many battles against the invaders of the Holy Land. They were usually set to charge the enemies and break the formation of the opposition’s army. One particular battle against the famous Saladin was decisively won by the Catholic armies with the help of the Knights Templars. However, a major battle that involved the Knights Templars was the siege of the castle in Acre, where their protagonists won over the Catholic warriors 10.

            Though the Knights Templar is primarily organized to protect the Holy Land from invasion by using military force, some of their members are inclined more on non-military duties. Some Templars assisted on the management of the banking system of the group itself. Those Templars that was assigned to perform his duties away from his home entrusts all his assets to other members of the Templar order. Those who would intend to visit the Holy Land also entrusted their valuable belongings to the Templar members who would keep the things that the pilgrims entrusted into them until their return from the city of Jerusalem. This system helped



the journeyers to be less attractive from thieves who would normally set ambushes while the pilgrims are on their way to the Holy Land. This system helped the Templars to accumulate more wealth beyond the gifts being given by their supporters. Moreover, their business dealings aid them to get hold of huge areas of land on the European and Asian soil. They managed these lands and built farms and other income-generating structures, adding more to their further increasing wealth. They also established sea trades between them and other nations, helping them further to become good wealth managers.

            For almost 40 years, The Templar order experienced vibrant growth, with its members increased up to tens of thousands of recruits. Funds continue to flourish the coffers of the Templars, making it more attractive for other s to join the said cause. In the year 1165, the knights templar order was confidently recognized, though there were internal problems between the Templars assigned to watch over the Holy Land 11. This conflict between factions of Knights Templar caused problems particularly on their primary purpose and mission. Many of the enemies experienced little opposition form the crusaders, making it easier for them to pass from one state to another. Because of this, many of the states entered perturbed treaties with the invaders, making the security over the Holy Land weaker.

The main protagonists of the Knights Templars are also considered to be great Moslem warriors like Saladin, Zengi, and Baybars 12. With these famous leaders, the Templars suffered many



defeats which would later bring defeat to the cause of the Knights templar. Many strategies were implemented by the said Islamic army leaders that were left unanswered by the Templars. With the use of horse archers, they attacked the Templars and killed many of them in the battlefield.
With an enormous number of warriors deployed by the Moslem leaders, they laid siege on the Jerusalem and routed many Catholic warriors. A decisive battle happened in Hattin where Islamic elite warriors attacked Jerusalem against the Templars and other Catholic armies but Moslems triumphed over the Catholic devout warriors 13. After the fall of Jerusalem, many of the Christians that were left behind were freed by the Islamic militants in exchange of a considerable amount of ransom. On the other hand, the Templars temporarily served as non-combatant leaders in the monarchy while regaining forces to revenge on the defeat from the Jihad warriors. When they finally collected enough armed forces, they captured and defended the castle in Acre but still went home defeated by the highly motivated Moslem warriors. After the defeat, the Templars never returned to the Holy Land. At home, the Templars were accused of treason against the Catholic faith, convicting many of them to die like heresies. They were accused of doing acts like homosexuality, corruption, and other unholy acts 14. They were also accused of not abiding with the holy sacraments of the Catholic church. The Knights Templars order finally vanished upon the death its leaders and most of its members. The remaining survivors joined the other order of knighthood.  Though the Templar order vanished, many still recognize their loyalty and dedication to fulfill their mission. Even their main undertaking was lost, still the Templars are remembered to have set the standard of being faithful to one’s oath until death.



Works Cited

Martin, S. (2005). The Knights Templar: “The History and Myths of the Legendary Military

Order.” New York. Thunder’s Mouth Press.

Burman, E. (1990). “The Templars: Knights of God.” Rochester. Destiny Books.

Barber, M. (1994). “The New Knighthood: A History of the Order of the Temple.” Cambridge:

 Cambridge University Press.

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