Their fundraising campaigns asked for donations of money, land, or noble-born sons to join the Order, with the implication that donations would help both to defend Jerusalem, and to ensure the charitable giver of a place in Heaven. The Order's efforts were helped substantially by the patronage of Bernard of Clairvaux , the leading churchman of the time, and a nephew of one of the original nine knights. The Order at its outset had been subject to strong criticism, especially of the concept that religious men could also carry swords.
By so doing, Bernard legitimised the Templars, who became the first "warrior monks " of the Western world. Bernard wrote:. Donations to the Order were considerable. The King of Aragon , in the Iberian Peninsula , left large tracts of land to the order upon his death in the s. New members to the Order were also required to swear vows of poverty, and hand over all of their goods to the monastic brotherhood.
This could include land, horses and any other items of material wealth, including labor from serfs, and any interest in any businesses. It stated that the Knights Templar could pass freely through any border, owed no taxes, and were subject to no one's authority except that of the Pope. It was a remarkable confirmation of the Templars and their mission, which may have been brought about by the Order's patron, Bernard of Clairvaux, who had helped Pope Innocent in his own rise.
The Order grew rapidly throughout Western Europe, with chapters appearing in France , England , and Scotland , and then spreading to Spain and Portugal. The Knights Templar were the elite fighting force of their day, highly trained, well-equipped and highly motivated; one of the tenets of their religious order was that they were forbidden from retreating in battle. Not all Knights Templar were warriors. The mission of most of the members was one of support - to acquire resources which could be used to fund and equip the small percentage of members who were fighting on the front lines.
Because of this infrastructure, the warriors were well-trained and very well-armed. Even their horses were trained to fight in combat, kicking or biting the enemies.
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The combination of soldier and monk was also a powerful one, as to the Templar knights, martyrdom in battle was one of the most glorious ways to die. Their code required them to stay on in battle almost to the point of recklessness, and they were forbidden to retreat unless outnumbered by 3-to-1, and even then only by order of their commander, or if the Templar flag went down. The Templars were also shrewd tacticians, following the dream of Saint Bernard who had declared that a small force, under the right conditions, could defeat a much larger enemy. One of the key battles in which this was demonstrated was in , at the Battle of Montgisard.
The famous Muslim military leader Saladin was attempting to push toward Jerusalem from the south, with a force of 26, soldiers. He had pinned the forces of Jerusalem's King Baldwin IV , about knights and their supporters, near the coast, at Ascalon. Eighty Templar knights and their own entourage attempted to reinforce. They met Saladin's troops at Gaza , but were considered too small a force to be worth fighting, so Saladin turned his back on them and headed with his army towards Jerusalem.
Another key tactic of the Templars was that of the "squadron charge". A small group of knights and their heavily armed warhorses would gather into a tight unit which would gallop full speed at the enemy lines, with a determination and force of will that made it clear that they would rather commit suicide than fall back. This terrifying onslaught would frequently have the desired result of breaking a hole in the enemy lines, thereby giving the other Crusader forces an advantage.
The Templars, though relatively small in number, routinely joined other armies in key battles. They would be the force that would ram through the enemy's front lines at the beginning of a battle, or the fighters that would protect the army from the rear. Though initially an Order of poor monks, the official papal sanction made the Knights Templar a charity across Europe.
Further resources came in when members joined the Order, as they had to take oaths of poverty , and therefore often donated large amounts of their original cash or property to the Order. Additional revenue came from business dealings. Since the monks themselves were sworn to poverty, but had the strength of a large and trusted international infrastructure behind them, nobles would occasionally use them as a kind of bank or power of attorney. If a noble wished to join the Crusades, this might entail an absence of years from their home.
So some nobles would place all of their wealth and businesses under the control of Templars, to safeguard it for them until their return.
The Order's financial power became substantial, and the majority of the Order's infrastructure was devoted not to combat, but to economic pursuits. By , the Order's original mission of guarding pilgrims had changed into a mission of guarding their valuables through an innovative way of issuing letters of credit, an early precursor of modern banking. Pilgrims would visit a Templar house in their home country, depositing their deeds and valuables.
The Templars would then give them a letter which would describe their holdings.
Modern scholars have stated that the letters were encrypted with a cipher alphabet based on a Maltese Cross ; however there is some disagreement on this, and it is possible that the code system was introduced later, and not something used by the medieval Templars themselves. This kept the pilgrims safe since they were not carrying valuables, and further increased the power of the Templars. Knights Templar playing chess , The Knights' involvement in banking grew over time into a new basis for money , as Templars became increasingly involved in banking activities.
One indication of their powerful political connections is that the Templars' involvement in usury did not lead to more controversy within the Order and the church at large. Officially the idea of lending money in return for interest was forbidden by the church, but the Order sidestepped this with clever loopholes, such as a stipulation that the Templars retained the rights to the production of mortgaged property. Or as one Templar researcher put it, "Since they weren't allowed to charge interest, they charged rent instead.
Their holdings were necessary to support their campaigns; in , a Burgundian noble required 3 square kilometres of estate to support himself as a knight, and by this had risen to The Order potentially supported up to 4, horses and pack animals at any given time, if provisions of the rule were followed; these horses had extremely high maintenance costs due to the heat in Outremer , and had high mortality rates due to both disease and the Turkish bowmen strategy of aiming at a knight's horse rather than the knight himself.
In addition, the high mortality rates of the knights in the East regularly ninety percent in battle, not including wounded resulted in extremely high campaign costs due to the need to recruit and train more knights. In , at the battle of La Forbie, where only thirty-three of knights survived, it is estimated the financial loss was equivalent to one-ninth of the entire Capetian yearly revenue.
The Templars' political connections and awareness of the essentially urban and commercial nature of the Outremer communities naturally led the Order to a position of significant power , both in Europe and the Holy Land. The Knights Templar were truly part of the fabric of everyday society in Europe for nearly years.
Their success attracted the concern of many other orders, with the two most powerful rivals being the Knights Hospitaller and the Teutonic Knights. Various nobles also had concerns about the Templars as well, both for financial reasons, and nervousness about an independent army that was able to move freely through all borders. The battle marked a turning point in the Crusades, and within the year the Muslims had re-taken Jerusalem. This shook the foundation of the Templars, whose entire reason for being had been to support the efforts in the Holy Land.
They attempted to drum up more support among European nobility to return to battle, but after the fallibility shown by Grand Master Gerard de Ridefort, the French withdrew their own support of the war. Without the support of other countries, even the remarkable leadership of King Richard the Lion-Hearted could not prevail. Kochel provide compelling and current reading suggestions for younger boys—information that educators, librarians, and parents alike are desperate for. Comprising titles that are almost all well-reviewed in at least one major professional journal, or that are such big hits with kids that they've received the "stamp of approval" from the most important reviewers, this book will be invaluable to anyone whose goal is to help boys develop a healthy enthusiasm for reading.
It includes chapters on adventure books; animal stories; graphic novels; historical fiction; humorous books; mystery, horror, and suspense titles; science fiction and fantasy; and sports novels. Within each chapter, the selections are further divided into books for younger readers grades 3—6 and titles for older boys in grades 5—8. Elementary and middle school librarians and teachers, public librarians, Title One teachers, and parents of boys in grades 3—9 will all benefit greatly from having this book at hand.
Want to identify fiction books that boys in grades three through nine will find irresistible? There certainly is research to suggest that boys find reading more challenging than girls, but many of the suggestions in this book are things that girls also will enjoy. There is also evidence that Ascendant- A Mira Raiden Adventure. A Scream of Angels. The Samson Effect: A Novel. Tony Eldridge.
The Templar's Secret. Chloe M. The Menagerie. The Thirteenth Legion. The Riddle. The Circle of Eight. The Law of Radiance. Blood Relics. Fall of Night.
History of the Knights Templar - Wikipedia
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