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The New Knighthood: A History of the Order of the Temple

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The Order of the Temple was founded in 1119 with the limited aim of protecting pilgrims around Jerusalem. It developed into one of the most powerful corporations in the medieval world which lasted for nearly two centuries until its suppression in 1312. Despite the loss of its central archive in the sixteenth century, the Order left many records of its existence as the spea The Order of the Temple was founded in 1119 with the limited aim of protecting pilgrims around Jerusalem. It developed into one of the most powerful corporations in the medieval world which lasted for nearly two centuries until its suppression in 1312. Despite the loss of its central archive in the sixteenth century, the Order left many records of its existence as the spearhead of crusading activity in Palestine and Syria, as the administrator of a great network of preceptories and lands in the Latin west, and as a banker and ship-owner. Because of the dramatic nature of its abolition, it has retained its grip on the imagination and consequently there has developed an entirely fictional 'after-history' in which its secret presence has been evoked to explain mysteries which range from masonic conspiracy to the survival of the Turin Shroud. This book offers a concise and up-to-date introduction to the reality and the myth of this extraordinary institution.


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The Order of the Temple was founded in 1119 with the limited aim of protecting pilgrims around Jerusalem. It developed into one of the most powerful corporations in the medieval world which lasted for nearly two centuries until its suppression in 1312. Despite the loss of its central archive in the sixteenth century, the Order left many records of its existence as the spea The Order of the Temple was founded in 1119 with the limited aim of protecting pilgrims around Jerusalem. It developed into one of the most powerful corporations in the medieval world which lasted for nearly two centuries until its suppression in 1312. Despite the loss of its central archive in the sixteenth century, the Order left many records of its existence as the spearhead of crusading activity in Palestine and Syria, as the administrator of a great network of preceptories and lands in the Latin west, and as a banker and ship-owner. Because of the dramatic nature of its abolition, it has retained its grip on the imagination and consequently there has developed an entirely fictional 'after-history' in which its secret presence has been evoked to explain mysteries which range from masonic conspiracy to the survival of the Turin Shroud. This book offers a concise and up-to-date introduction to the reality and the myth of this extraordinary institution.

30 review for The New Knighthood: A History of the Order of the Temple

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jan-Maat

    Well you know what it is like, you turn up in a country, kill loads of people, create a colonial regime, then as tourists and pilgrims start to turn up it turns out that the surviving locals just will not accept Progress and murder them when they can - oh, the ingratitude. The world cries out for heroes, and there comes a time when a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do: take holy orders, gird his loins and ride about on a warhorse in unforgiving climates. That at least for Barber was how it all Well you know what it is like, you turn up in a country, kill loads of people, create a colonial regime, then as tourists and pilgrims start to turn up it turns out that the surviving locals just will not accept Progress and murder them when they can - oh, the ingratitude. The world cries out for heroes, and there comes a time when a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do: take holy orders, gird his loins and ride about on a warhorse in unforgiving climates. That at least for Barber was how it all began. In hindsight the military orders were an unavoidable conclusion of parallel tendencies in European society - warrior culture and religiosity, in practise it took the special circumstances of eleventh century Palestine to get there. As a neat consequence of specialising in two of medieval Europe's favourite things - fighting and God, the Templars along with their rivals, the Hospitallers, got to be extremely rich which along with being booted out of the Middle East led to their demise - in this way the book is something of a prequel to Barber's earlier book The Trial of the Templars. The last chapter takes their post-existence story down to Foucault's Pendulum - what begins seriously and with conviction ends up in conspiracy theories and God alone knows what. The study suffers somewhat through insufficient comparison with the other military orders which didn't succeed or perhaps want to be as international as the Templars and yet all of the others managed to see the crisis which would emerge from the end of the crusader states in the Middle-East and managed to find new roles for themselves, in the case of the Teutonic Knights only after several attempts. There's an issue under-examined there too that for several generations the order either met a social need or managed to appeal to donors and volunteers and yet could be wound up and ended in a couple of years and not be replaced by some kind of successor. The narrative underlaying that clearly laid out in this book.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Joshua

    Barber has written himself into the position of the de facto historian of the Templar order, and this book just seals it. I won't deny that I didn't actually enjoy reading this book very much, though this was due largely to the fact that I had to rush through it for a class. Nevertheless, the density of this book can be both a blessing and a curse to the overall goal of writing a definitive and highly details the history of the Templar order. Malcolm Barber demonstrates his ability as a historia Barber has written himself into the position of the de facto historian of the Templar order, and this book just seals it. I won't deny that I didn't actually enjoy reading this book very much, though this was due largely to the fact that I had to rush through it for a class. Nevertheless, the density of this book can be both a blessing and a curse to the overall goal of writing a definitive and highly details the history of the Templar order. Malcolm Barber demonstrates his ability as a historian as well as a researcher by giving his reader page after page of extensive background, analysis, and textual analysis of the long and colorful history of the Templar order of Knights. This history is extensive and by the end, even though I was rushed through the reading, I still feel that I have come away with a stronger and far more nuanced assessment of the Templar order of Knights, because this history offers a real insight into the humanity and fallibility of the order as well as the troublesome nature of the little documentation available to historians and researcher. Rather than give in to speculation, and feed conspiracy, Barber provides his reader with facts, lots of them, and the ultimate effect upon the reader, after an initial feeling of being overwhelmed, is satisfaction in knowing about an order of men tasked with preserving Christendom who were ultimately undone by the very institution they were trying to defend...while also getting really rich. History's complicated yo, that's what makes it fun.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Suzannah

    The only conspiracy theories you'll find in this history of the Templars are the ones dissected in the last chapter, which come accompanied by an assortment of what I believe the kids these days are calling "sick burns". As always, Barber is detailed, careful, and meticulous in recounting and weighing the historical facts: he doesn't just tell you what the primary sources say, he also weighs them up and discusses their biases. This detail and carefulness doesn't make for the most accessible poss The only conspiracy theories you'll find in this history of the Templars are the ones dissected in the last chapter, which come accompanied by an assortment of what I believe the kids these days are calling "sick burns". As always, Barber is detailed, careful, and meticulous in recounting and weighing the historical facts: he doesn't just tell you what the primary sources say, he also weighs them up and discusses their biases. This detail and carefulness doesn't make for the most accessible possible reading experience, but I had no trouble nibbling through this at the rate of 20 pages per day. Like many Crusader historians, Barber assumes that Christianity is by definition a pacifist faith (an assumption that would have struck men from Theodosius and Belisarius to Stonewall Jackson and Alvin York speechless with amazement), but otherwise, I was pleased by his willingness to accept sincerely religious motivations for historical happenings: it's hard to take seriously any medieval historian who doesn't get faith. Chapter 2, on the concept behind the Templars, was the standout of the whole book for me as it outlined St Bernard's influential treatise On the New Knighthood which set the vision for the whole enterprise, as well as going over some early criticisms made by men I respect from William of Tyre to John of Salisbury. (The latter has been a hero of mine ever since I dug him up while researching equity in law school. It was ridiculously exciting to read his opinion of the Templars.) As detailed and informative as this book was, in some cases I would have preferred some more straightforward answers to my questions. It's only in a footnote, for example, that Barber confirms that the Templars are never known to have made war with the purpose of forced conversions (I basically assumed as much from previous study, because nothing on the historical record suggests this was true, but it would have been nice to know). I would have liked a little more solid detail on the structure and usages of the Order: for instance, how knights were titled ("Brother" not "sir", I assume) and also some information on the status and experience of serving brothers. The second-last chapter, on the dissolution of the Order, gave only an impressionistic summary of the events, instead choosing to focus very closely on ancillary questions such as Philip II's motivations in prosecuting the Order. If I hadn't read a previous account of the trial, I'd have been completely lost. Finally, a caution: if you haven't read Scott's Ivanhoe or The Talisman, Barber spoils the plots of both of them pretty comprehensively in the last chapter. They're good yarns, so make sure to read 'em first! ;)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Legens

    Probably very useful for a serious student of medieval history, but overwhelming for the layman by its sheer amount of names and events that are not quite introduced. The dry writing does not help either. The book shines whenever it does not strictly follow chronology, so the chapters on the concept of the Templar order, Templar life Nd the Templar network are the strongest part.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Billy

    Extremely Detailed. Painstaking research w/ references, Barber has proven that he has a gift for at least 2 things: research and writing based on research. This is probably the most concise history of the Knights Templar ever written. Barber has an extensive bibliography and footnote reference section at the end of the book that covers writings I, a long-time Templar lore lover, had not yet stumbled upon. The list provides even more topics for me to cover, which is great in itself. Barber has prese Extremely Detailed. Painstaking research w/ references, Barber has proven that he has a gift for at least 2 things: research and writing based on research. This is probably the most concise history of the Knights Templar ever written. Barber has an extensive bibliography and footnote reference section at the end of the book that covers writings I, a long-time Templar lore lover, had not yet stumbled upon. The list provides even more topics for me to cover, which is great in itself. Barber has presented a detailed, historical outline, with explanations of the political and religious influences of the times. He is candid and unbiased in his presentation of the material which results in a book of exceptional quality and quantity. A must read for any history lover, Knights Templar history lover, medieval history lover, crusades lover, or even conspiracy theory lover. Barber also penned an extensive study of the trial of the Templars by the catholic church and I highly recommend that as well; The Trial of the Templars. Fantastic reading for people who want the straight facts without a lot of "hollywood" crap surrounding it. Move past "The Da Vinci Code" and get the real details about these intriguing knights from the late middle ages.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sergio ruocchio

    completo e ben descritto, la vera storia dei templari , spiegata senza "veli" completo e ben descritto, la vera storia dei templari , spiegata senza "veli"

  7. 5 out of 5

    Evan Moore

    "Fuck, I'm done with that shit!" This is what I said as I slammed the book on my bed after reading the last page (not including the 100 pages of references and index). Now, don't get me wrong, I don't regret reading the thing. It had substantiated historical facts up the whazoo, and for that I am pleased. The depth of information is not lacking whatsoever, and I feel comfortable knowing what I read is based on evidence rather than credulous circle jerking. I can only warn readers that they shoul "Fuck, I'm done with that shit!" This is what I said as I slammed the book on my bed after reading the last page (not including the 100 pages of references and index). Now, don't get me wrong, I don't regret reading the thing. It had substantiated historical facts up the whazoo, and for that I am pleased. The depth of information is not lacking whatsoever, and I feel comfortable knowing what I read is based on evidence rather than credulous circle jerking. I can only warn readers that they should know what they're getting into when diving into this exposition. I went into The New Knighthood hoping for intimate accounts of Templars with feet on the ground, or even people with assossiations with the Order. Although this exists in the text, the vast majority is concerned with endless names and dates that will never find purchase in my head despite their abundance. I will admit, that what I was looking for might not exist, so I don't fault Malcolm Barber for being so concise. It was more of an issue with my expectations. Overall, I am pleased with what I have learned and I am encouraged to dig deeper on this subject. Recommended for those with volumptuous mind castles.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jimmy

    This is not a quick read; it is dense, scholarly, dispassionate, and thoroughly researched. It is, however, interesting and valuable background for other, more spirited accounts. It is organized more by subject than by chronology, so that consideration of the Templar's military operations considers the sweep of their existence where the next chapter starts at the beginning describing their financial system. If there is one chapter that seems to peel back the veil and reveal a glimpse of the autho This is not a quick read; it is dense, scholarly, dispassionate, and thoroughly researched. It is, however, interesting and valuable background for other, more spirited accounts. It is organized more by subject than by chronology, so that consideration of the Templar's military operations considers the sweep of their existence where the next chapter starts at the beginning describing their financial system. If there is one chapter that seems to peel back the veil and reveal a glimpse of the author's personality, it is the final chapter where he surveys the various fantasies and conspiracies imputed to the Order. He reveals a rigorous nature, adhering to the evidence he has found. It also provides a description, and possibly an indictment, on our present, unsettled time of paranoia and love of conspiracy theories.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Henry

    This was a very difficult read for me. It assumes prior knowledge as it whizzes through dates and names without explanation or context, and is so densely packed with facts, one after another, that it reads more like an accountant's ledger than a history book. This was a very difficult read for me. It assumes prior knowledge as it whizzes through dates and names without explanation or context, and is so densely packed with facts, one after another, that it reads more like an accountant's ledger than a history book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Loredana Puma

    Un po' di fatti... finalmente Se pensate che in ogni mistero irrisolto e in ogni congiura possibile e immaginabile ci sia lo zampino dei Templari... allora non comprate questo libro. Trattasi infatti di un'attenta e precisa ricostruzione, basata su fonti squisitamente storiche, dell'ascesa e del declino dei Templari, delle cause che li portarono a essere il più potente ordine religioso-militare del proprio tempo e su quelle che li condussero alla rovina, ma senza spazio per voli pindarici o ipote Un po' di fatti... finalmente Se pensate che in ogni mistero irrisolto e in ogni congiura possibile e immaginabile ci sia lo zampino dei Templari... allora non comprate questo libro. Trattasi infatti di un'attenta e precisa ricostruzione, basata su fonti squisitamente storiche, dell'ascesa e del declino dei Templari, delle cause che li portarono a essere il più potente ordine religioso-militare del proprio tempo e su quelle che li condussero alla rovina, ma senza spazio per voli pindarici o ipotesi non avallate da prove. Con la scusa dei Templari, il saggio finisce per illuminare il lettore anche su certi aspetti della mentalità medioevale e su eventi strettamente connessi come le Crociate (per gli amanti del film di Ridley Scott, avrete l'occasione di conoscere - seppur per sommi capi - il vero Baliano di Ibelin). Troverete anche un interessante capitolo sulla vita quotidiana dei Templari e uno, ancor più interessante, sul ruolo che questi monaci guerrieri hanno finito per rivestire nell'immaginario del nostro tempo. Peccato, a questo proposito, che il libro sia di qualche anno fa (2001, se non erro), e che quindi non abbia potuto esaminare gli ultimi sviluppi del fenomeno. Avvertenza: in alcuni punti può risultare un pò noioso, proprio perché ogni minima affermazione o deduzione dell'autore è riccamente documentata, quindi evitatelo se non siete amanti di questo genere di cose. Se invece la Storia è pane per i vostri denti... allora accomodatevi e riscoprite un'epoca. Giudizio finale: interessante e molto utile per sfatare un sacco di falsi miti.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Duval

    With the caveat of being an amateur history buff, this comes across as a comprehensive and thorough history of the Knights Templers Order. Obviously an academic labor of love but more suited to the advanced history major than the general public. I found the last chapter most interesting regarding the myths and perceptions that have surrounded the famous order.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Steven Wadzinski

    Just on beginning of this book and it goes into a lot of the overall detail of the Templar organization and how they were related to the social movements and other monastic/crusading orders or the time (Teutonic, Hospitaliers)

  13. 4 out of 5

    N.W. Martin

    At the top of the field at the moment. Barber synthesizes the Order's code with an examination of how they evolved and acted in Europe and the East. Overall, if you want the most detailed, most complex and most balanced account of the Templars, read Barber's research! At the top of the field at the moment. Barber synthesizes the Order's code with an examination of how they evolved and acted in Europe and the East. Overall, if you want the most detailed, most complex and most balanced account of the Templars, read Barber's research!

  14. 5 out of 5

    AskHistorians

    Probably the definitive history of the Knight's Templar by one of the world's experts on the order. Probably the definitive history of the Knight's Templar by one of the world's experts on the order.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    The facts and not the myths.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Old-Barbarossa

    Read this ages ago. Remember it being very informative and not too heavy a read. Will probably re-read after Tyerman's "God's War". Read this ages ago. Remember it being very informative and not too heavy a read. Will probably re-read after Tyerman's "God's War".

  17. 4 out of 5

    Taddow

    Comprehensive historical book about the formation and history of the Knights Templar. A little slow reading though.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Doğan Demir

  19. 5 out of 5

    JP Lang

  20. 4 out of 5

    MJ

  21. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

  22. 5 out of 5

    Crompippo

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

  24. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Dorsey

  25. 4 out of 5

    Dark T897147898 Lyons

  26. 5 out of 5

    Pete

  27. 4 out of 5

    Omonymous

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tihomir

  29. 5 out of 5

    Onur

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ania

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