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A faltering war in the middle east. A band of elite warriors determined to fight to the death to protect Christianity’s holiest sites. A global financial network unaccountable to any government. A sinister plot founded on a web of lies. Jerusalem 1119. A small group of knights seeking a purpose in the violent aftermath of the First Crusade decides to set up a new order. The A faltering war in the middle east. A band of elite warriors determined to fight to the death to protect Christianity’s holiest sites. A global financial network unaccountable to any government. A sinister plot founded on a web of lies. Jerusalem 1119. A small group of knights seeking a purpose in the violent aftermath of the First Crusade decides to set up a new order. These are the first Knights Templar, a band of elite warriors prepared to give their lives to protect Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land. Over the next two hundred years, the Templars would become the most powerful religious order of the medieval world. Their legend has inspired fervent speculation ever since.  In this groundbreaking narrative history, Dan Jones tells the true story of the Templars for the first time in a generation, drawing on extensive original sources to build a gripping account of these Christian holy warriors whose heroism and alleged depravity have been shrouded in myth. The Templars were protected by the pope and sworn to strict vows of celibacy. They fought the forces of Islam in hand-to-hand combat on the sun-baked hills where Jesus lived and died, finding their nemesis in Saladin, who vowed to drive all Christians from the lands of Islam. Experts at channeling money across borders, they established the medieval world’s largest and most innovative banking network and waged private wars against anyone who threatened their interests. Then, as they faced setbacks at the hands of the ruthless Mamluk sultan Baybars and were forced to retreat to their stronghold in Cyprus, a vindictive and cash-strapped King of France set his sights on their fortune. His administrators quietly mounted a damning case against the Templars, built on deliberate lies and false testimony. Then on Friday October 13, 1307, hundreds of brothers were arrested, imprisoned and tortured, and the order was disbanded amid lurid accusations of sexual misconduct and heresy. They were tried by the Pope in secret proceedings and their last master was brutally tortured and burned at the stake. But were they heretics or victims of a ruthlessly repressive state? Dan Jones goes back to the sources tobring their dramatic tale, so relevant to our own times, in a book that is at once authoritative and compulsively readable.


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A faltering war in the middle east. A band of elite warriors determined to fight to the death to protect Christianity’s holiest sites. A global financial network unaccountable to any government. A sinister plot founded on a web of lies. Jerusalem 1119. A small group of knights seeking a purpose in the violent aftermath of the First Crusade decides to set up a new order. The A faltering war in the middle east. A band of elite warriors determined to fight to the death to protect Christianity’s holiest sites. A global financial network unaccountable to any government. A sinister plot founded on a web of lies. Jerusalem 1119. A small group of knights seeking a purpose in the violent aftermath of the First Crusade decides to set up a new order. These are the first Knights Templar, a band of elite warriors prepared to give their lives to protect Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land. Over the next two hundred years, the Templars would become the most powerful religious order of the medieval world. Their legend has inspired fervent speculation ever since.  In this groundbreaking narrative history, Dan Jones tells the true story of the Templars for the first time in a generation, drawing on extensive original sources to build a gripping account of these Christian holy warriors whose heroism and alleged depravity have been shrouded in myth. The Templars were protected by the pope and sworn to strict vows of celibacy. They fought the forces of Islam in hand-to-hand combat on the sun-baked hills where Jesus lived and died, finding their nemesis in Saladin, who vowed to drive all Christians from the lands of Islam. Experts at channeling money across borders, they established the medieval world’s largest and most innovative banking network and waged private wars against anyone who threatened their interests. Then, as they faced setbacks at the hands of the ruthless Mamluk sultan Baybars and were forced to retreat to their stronghold in Cyprus, a vindictive and cash-strapped King of France set his sights on their fortune. His administrators quietly mounted a damning case against the Templars, built on deliberate lies and false testimony. Then on Friday October 13, 1307, hundreds of brothers were arrested, imprisoned and tortured, and the order was disbanded amid lurid accusations of sexual misconduct and heresy. They were tried by the Pope in secret proceedings and their last master was brutally tortured and burned at the stake. But were they heretics or victims of a ruthlessly repressive state? Dan Jones goes back to the sources tobring their dramatic tale, so relevant to our own times, in a book that is at once authoritative and compulsively readable.

30 review for The Templars: The Rise and Spectacular Fall of God's Holy Warriors

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sean Gibson

    When you read non-fiction, you (hopefully) learn something about the world around you (if you don’t, you might want to consider finding better non-fiction to read, unless you’re Stephen Hawking reading a Physics for Dummies book). Sometimes, though, you also learn something about yourself. That something might be the fact that you scream like a wolf whose leg just got severed by a steel trap when you get a paper cut trying to flip through those damn picture pages they stick in the middle of the b When you read non-fiction, you (hopefully) learn something about the world around you (if you don’t, you might want to consider finding better non-fiction to read, unless you’re Stephen Hawking reading a Physics for Dummies book). Sometimes, though, you also learn something about yourself. That something might be the fact that you scream like a wolf whose leg just got severed by a steel trap when you get a paper cut trying to flip through those damn picture pages they stick in the middle of the book, or it might be the fact that you cry like a paid Victorian mourner when you read something tragic (like the fact that Michael J. Fox’s middle name is, in fact, Andrew, and he just made up the J). Or, it just might be the fact that, as you’ve gotten older, and as the world around you grows increasingly dark and intolerant, you’ve lost some of your appetite for reading about a time when the world was, well, very dark and intolerant. There was a time—a time that peaked around 15 years ago—when I was obsessed with medieval history. Knights, castles, Dark Ages, Crusades, Templars…all were grist for my mind mill (incidentally, I do not recommend the bread that gets made from that mill; it tastes a little bit like salty lamentation mixed with bitter regret…not too bad with butter, though, especially if it’s honey butter…mmmm…honey butter). In recent years, however, though my thirst for a good historical tome remains undiminished, I’ve taken less and less pleasure in visiting medieval times (though I still adore theme restaurant Medieval Times, if only because I find drinking out of tankards while consuming an entire turkey leg and lustily rooting for a dirty-goateed “knight” whose accent strongly suggests an origin in ye olde southern tip of Maryland highly satisfying). In a world where religion (inexplicably) continues to tear us apart and we try to destroy or harm that which we define as “other,” it depresses me to read about us doing exactly that some 700 years ago—the only difference is that now we have access to weapons that can kill a LOT more people with considerably greater efficiency. Despite that, I decided to pick up The Templars: The Rise and Spectacular Fall of God's Holy Warriors, if only because that lovably saucy lot of grail-guarding, cross-trampling, belly button-kissing miscreants has always stoked the fires of my imagination (check that: legends, tall tales, and conspiracy theories about the Templars have mostly fired my imagination; outside of the Templars downfall, their true history is less fascinating). I’ve read a few books about the Templars, and I’d put Jones’s book in the upper echelon—it’s cogent, comprehensive, and well-crafted, even if it drags on occasion. It’s well worth the time to read—and it will take some time, as it’s a dense book—if you’re a medieval history buff or Templar aficionado. As I watched the world burn around me (literally, in the case of California) as I read, however, I just couldn’t muster up the same enthusiasm I could once conjure for scenes of brave knights riding boldly into battle on mighty steeds, intent on vanquishing the infidel. For one, I now realize that there was absolutely no rational reason for vanquishing said infidels, and “infidel” is all a matter of perspective. Not a single death that resulted from the Crusades on any side of a battle was warranted, and I read accounts of those conflicts now not as stirring epics but rather as sad and horribly displays of small-mindedness. And then I just get frustrated and want to start kicking knights in the knuts, only to think better of it on account of my sensitive toes. Suffice it to say, this is an objectively well written and conceived book. But, I’m not sure I want to dive back into the world of the Templars—or any of their contemporaries—anytime soon. Maybe I’ll turn my attention to the Founding Fathers. They always…wait, they did what? To whom?? Sigh. Back to fiction I go…

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey Keeten

    ”It was exactly a century since Hugh of Payns had established the Order of the Poor Knights of the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem. Those one hundred years had seen the Templars transformed from indigent shepherds of the pilgrim roads, dependent on the charity of fellow pilgrims for their food and clothes, into a borderless, self-sustaining paramilitary group funded by large-scale estate management.” Hugh of Payns HUGH OF PAYNS, doesn’t the name itself evoke some chainmail wrapped Conan ”It was exactly a century since Hugh of Payns had established the Order of the Poor Knights of the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem. Those one hundred years had seen the Templars transformed from indigent shepherds of the pilgrim roads, dependent on the charity of fellow pilgrims for their food and clothes, into a borderless, self-sustaining paramilitary group funded by large-scale estate management.” Hugh of Payns HUGH OF PAYNS, doesn’t the name itself evoke some chainmail wrapped Conan the Barbarian or He-Man type character? The order had certainly changed from the days of Hugh by the time of that fateful date of October 13th, 1307, but as I read through Dan Jones’s account of their history, I’m left with the feeling that, though they became more bankers than shepherds, their original cause of returning the Holy Land to Christian control still remained their primary goal. Hugh saw a need for knights to protect the pilgrims who were flocking to Jerusalem after the First Crusade liberated that city in 1099. These pilgrims were being routinely slaughtered, sometimes by the hundreds, by roving bands of bandits. Hugh and a handful of knights saw it as their Christian duty to protect these defenseless Christians. The Knights Templar are born. The Crusades were expensive frolics in the Middle East, not only in financial terms but in loss of life. Frederick II of Prussia dilly dallied as long as he could from fulfilling his vow of going on crusade. Only after being excommunicated did he finally go on the Sixth Crusade. He was much more concerned with pursuing the pleasures of life than he was about rescuing the Holy Lands. Richard the Lionheart of England enjoyed being on campaign. Reading about his life is a story of war since the age of 16. While on the Third Crusade, he became very ill, but he still had his men bring him out on a stretcher so he could launch crossbow bolts at the enemy. A man’s man certainly, a natural leader of men. The crusader king who plays such a large role in the spectacular fall of the Knights Templar is Philip the IV of France. We will come back to him. The Knights Templar were simply fearless. They took their roles as knights of God very seriously. They lived in poverty so they could better serve their God. The order itself was far from poor, as money from lands they acquired by donations or by investment were piling up an impressive income. They fought to the death with strict rules governing them to stay in place around their flag until the final knight fell. This happened too often, as their opponents were also ferocious fighters led by celebrated and, in many cases, ruthless leaders, such as Zengi, Nur al-Din, Saladin, and Baybars. By the late 13th century, the Templar power waned as interest in the Crusades faded in Europe after several Christian defeats at the hands of the Muslims. The symbol of two knights on a horse were often used by the Templars to show their poverty and piety. The Piebald flag led them into battle. The Knights Templars lived by 25 decrees, which mostly seemed to focus on matters of sex. ”Declarations were made against sins including adultery, sodomy, bigamy, pimping, prostitution, theft and sexual relations with Muslims, for which the prescribed punishments ranged from penance and exile to castration and nose slicing.” I always think of Jack Nicholson’s nose in Chinatown whenever I see nose slicing mentioned in the history books I read. *Shiver* Oh, and women, they are just bad news. Templars were not even allowed to hug or kiss their own mothers for fear of...contamination??? They were men dedicated to their service. So, Philip the IV, or Philip the Fair as he was called because he was tall, well proportioned, and attractive (I just want to be clear that Fair referred to his appearance, not to his actions), was desperate for money. He was a spendthrift. He’d already kicked the Jews out of France and confiscated their property and took over collecting the money that had been lent by the Jews to other Frenchmen. He had angered the Catholic Church by trying to impose a tax upon the clergy. He had borrowed money from rich merchants and had them expelled from France so he could confiscate their property...oh, and not have to pay back those loans. Another organization that he owed a lot of money to was the Templars. They had financed his attempts at Crusade, and those sums were massive amounts. Much more than what Philip would ever want to pay back. Philip couldn’t just expel the Templars like he did the Jews and the Lombard merchants. They were servants of the Pope, but since he owned Clement V, he knew he would get his way. On October 13th, 1307, the Templars were arrested on charges of heresy, which they naturally denied. Denials are not a problem. ”The papal Inquisition largely employed the mendicant preaching orders--the Dominicans and Franciscans--as inquisitors. These men tended to combine solid knowledge of approved Church teachings with a self-selecting interest in sufferings of the flesh and, occasionally, an outright taste for violence. In 1307 they knew what they were doing, and they knew what they were looking for.” Confessions had to match the accusations. No man is immune to torture, but I must say those Templar Knights were strong and brave to the end. Philip the Fair does not escape this treachery unscathed. Jacques de Molay, the last Templar grand master, casts a final curse upon those who condemned his Order. ”Let evil swiftly befall those who have wrongly condemned us - God will avenge us.” Dan Jones is a very engaging story teller. I have enjoyed his books on the Plantagenets, as well as his historical TV documentaries. He had me swinging a sword at the gates of Jerusalem and looking with disdain at an dishonorable King of France. I knew a lot about the Templars, but Jones really filled in some gaps for me and added to my overall knowledge and respect for the order. After finishing this book, I picked up the book Monsieur by Lawrence Durrell, and the character who has just “killed” himself described himself as the Last Templar Knight. I love it when stuff like that happens. If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.com I also have a Facebook blogger page at:https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten

  3. 4 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    "Often the end fails to equal the beginning." Medieval proverb A proverb that perfectly chronicles the rise and fall of The Templars, a monastic order combined with the profession of the soldier. Divided into four parts, the reader follows the Templars from the beginning when they were just small group, seeking approval and rules, from the Pope, to the end when they were rich and powerful. Powerful and rich enough to become the object of a take down engineered by the French monarch, Phillip the "Often the end fails to equal the beginning." Medieval proverb A proverb that perfectly chronicles the rise and fall of The Templars, a monastic order combined with the profession of the soldier. Divided into four parts, the reader follows the Templars from the beginning when they were just small group, seeking approval and rules, from the Pope, to the end when they were rich and powerful. Powerful and rich enough to become the object of a take down engineered by the French monarch, Phillip the Fair. Though I did wish for more information on the daily lives of the Templars, I did learn much about their battles, their accumulation of wealth and status, and how they lost and regained these, over and over again. What a horribly bloody time, beheadings, constant wars with Saladan and a changing Christiandom. At one time they were basically given carte blanche from Popes and Kings. Bankers, holding the money of the same. Interesting and informative, narrated very well by the author himself.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Chrissie

    I knew very little about the Templars when I went into this book. One’s perception of a non-fiction book is influenced by what you know beforehand and one’s personal preferences. I have found The Templars: The Rise and Spectacular Fall of God's Holy Warriors to be informative, clear and well structured. It moves forward chronologically, starting with the origin of the Order of the Knights Templar--in 1119 the French knight Hugues de Payens spoke with King Baldwin II in Jerusalem about establishi I knew very little about the Templars when I went into this book. One’s perception of a non-fiction book is influenced by what you know beforehand and one’s personal preferences. I have found The Templars: The Rise and Spectacular Fall of God's Holy Warriors to be informative, clear and well structured. It moves forward chronologically, starting with the origin of the Order of the Knights Templar--in 1119 the French knight Hugues de Payens spoke with King Baldwin II in Jerusalem about establishing an order of men to assist and protect the pilgrims flowing into the Holy Lands. Crusade by crusade, each siege and battle are depicted in detail. The book concludes with King Philip IV’s and Pope Clement V’s crushing of the order during the years 1307 to 1314. By the third decade of the 14th century the order ceased to exist, except in myths and literature. In the epilog, even this is discussed. The Arthurian tales and poems begun by Chrétien de Troyes and Wolfram von Eschenbach live on today in contemporary works. Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code is but one example. Consider what has been written about Richard the Lionhearted and the Third Crusade! The book is split into four parts—Pilgrims, Soldiers, Bankers and Heretics. This follows the development the order as it altered with time. The first three parts are all tied directly to the crusades and military engagements. The fourth and last part is concerned with the order’s ultimate destruction and end. Heretics was the section I liked best. In this part, the focus shifts from the military to international political, financial and religious causes behind the order’s demise. I found the copious details depicting sieges, battles and gruesome beheadings, i.e. the military engagements, tiring. Names and places became a blur. The battles are grisly. Listening, I could not quickly flip to a map. These are available in the printed book. Am I glad I read the book? Definitely! With the knowledge I have now I probably would enjoy it even more with a second reading. It is difficult to learn about so many people and events all at once. It helps to recognize who is who. Each reading gives you more. When discussing contentious topics and when different views are voiced, the author examines the veracity of opposing views. I appreciate this. He explains pedagogically, and he is clear. The author, Dan Jones, narrates the audiobook, and he does this very well. Few authors can both write a good book and then read it well too. His narration has the perfect speed and is consistently easy to follow. I have given the narration four stars. I feel this book is a good choice not only for those new to the field but also those readers who wish to build on their previous knowledge concerning the crusades, the involvement of the Roman Catholic Church, the Templar and Hospitaller Knights and the leaders reigning during the 1100s to 1300s, the two centuries when the Templars held sway.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bradley

    A great treatment of a truly spectacular legend/horrorshow. The story of the Templar Knights is gloriously varied, complex, courageous, insane, praiseworthy, mysterious, and tragic. It's primarily a history about the five Crusades and chivalry, but it becomes a harrowing monstrosity by the time King Phillipe enacts his vendetta against the Order. I simplify. There's two hundred years worth of fascinating and edge-of-the-seat crusader action going on here as well as a farce of a trial that cut the A great treatment of a truly spectacular legend/horrorshow. The story of the Templar Knights is gloriously varied, complex, courageous, insane, praiseworthy, mysterious, and tragic. It's primarily a history about the five Crusades and chivalry, but it becomes a harrowing monstrosity by the time King Phillipe enacts his vendetta against the Order. I simplify. There's two hundred years worth of fascinating and edge-of-the-seat crusader action going on here as well as a farce of a trial that cut the head off of the first International Bank that the Templars had become for the sake of stealing its wealth. Of course, all the Templars COULD have been telling the truth after years of torture in dungeons extracting confessions that they were kissing bejeweled bearded heads and penises before and after spitting and trampling across the cross. But... Yeah... That's reasonable. Dan Brown does a damn good job with the narration, adding bright anecdotes wherever he could. My only complaint is the summary single-line dismissals in the epilogue for ALL "What Happened Afterward" theories. Whole popular books like Holy Blood, Holy Grail: The Secret History of Jesus, the Shocking Legacy of the Grail, The Da Vinci Code, and even Umberto Eco's satire Foucault's Pendulum were given nothing more a few words equivalent to a spit and a trample. The first was a genuine investigation that might not have panned out with further study, the second was a popular novel that leaves the decision to believe on us, and the third was a funny, sharp-as-nails tongue-in-cheek satire making fun of ALL conspiracies while being erudite at the same time. Dan Jones could have just kept his history focused on the actual history rather than mentioning, rather dismissively, a rather enormous library of works devoted to the mystery of the Templar Knights and "What Happened Afterward". His opinions in the epilogue are just that. Unsubstantiated opinions. Literally. Single-line dismissals. It mars what was otherwise a fantastic recounting of factual history, even if a lot of the history remains mysterious and missing. History does require a narrative for us to make sense of it. What Jones left out was the immense amount of learning, from science to history, the exchange of cultures between these two Holy War combatants across the centuries. We are also missing any possible deeper significance to what amounts to the bankrupting of whole nations to retake the Holy Land during a time of plague. It reads like nations preparing for the Olympics or a bloody Football League. WHY would so many resources be thrown at this Search for the Holy Grail? Oh, wait, see what I did there? I used a metaphor for the whole purpose of the Crusades to illustrate that for a lot of the people there, it was LITERALLY the Search for the Holy Grail. Narrative. See? Skip the narrative and all you have are a bunch of Monks With Swords aiming to get killed for the Glory of God. Nothing more. It doesn't exactly inspire my imagination. I'm sure the motivations were as varied among the Templars as they would be across any person alive. Anyway. lol

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sumit RK

    Non nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam! Not unto us, o Lord, not unto us, but unto your name grant glory! The Knights Templars is perhaps the most well-known military order of the medieval era. The Templars traces their origins in the aftermath of the First Crusade to their rise to spectacular rise as a feared & respected elite military force in the Holy Lands & the royal courts across Europe and to their eventual disbanding & persecution almost 200 years later. The Knights Non nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam! Not unto us, o Lord, not unto us, but unto your name grant glory! The Knights Templars is perhaps the most well-known military order of the medieval era. The Templars traces their origins in the aftermath of the First Crusade to their rise to spectacular rise as a feared & respected elite military force in the Holy Lands & the royal courts across Europe and to their eventual disbanding & persecution almost 200 years later. The Knights Templars, formed in 1119 by the French knight Hugues de Payens, as a small group of knights seeking a purpose in the violent aftermath of the First Crusade. Their main purpose was to protect the Christian pilgrims visiting Holy Land from bandits who preyed upon pilgrims. Soon they had the sanction of the Pope and patronage of the major Kings of Europe. What began as a charity,dependent protective detail for European pilgrims and Christian holy sites, rapidly became the central figure across two centuries of Christian Europe’s holy war against the Islamic world. From the Second Crusade to The Seventh, the book covers all key events and battles forming part of the Crusades. The entire story from Templar's humble beginnings (1119–1144); their rise as military power (1144–1187); the consolidation of their economic, military, political, and social power (1189–1260); and finally their fall from grace (1260–1311). Though it revolves around role of the crusaders, other key figures of the Crusades like Richard the Lionhearted, Saladin to Frederick II and King Philip IV of France, all play an important role in the narrative. A short epilogue touches on the lasting cultural influence of the Templars. The most striking part about this book is the extensive & in-depth research. The book contains several photos, maps and first-hand accounts from the times that help it make for a wonderful read. Jones explores centuries within a few hundred pages in an insightful way. If you know nothing of the Templars except what you have seen in movies or read in popular fiction, Jones offers up a delightful dose of reality that is no less fascinating than the myths surrounding this famed group. Having said that, the narration often jumps from one crusade to another, skipping few years in between and hence feels a bit disjointed. The book starts in the aftermath of the First Crusade. So if you have little or no knowledge of The Crusades, you may feel a bit lost, especially in the earlier chapters. Jones categorically refuses to talk about: the dubious, the sensationalist and the paranormal. So if you looking to know more about the modern day myths surrounding the Templars, you will be disappointed and perhaps this book is not what you are looking for. Also, you may need some basic knowledge about the crusades to appreciate this book fully. Overall The Templars can serve as a good introduction to the history of the Knights Templar. It can also provide a fresh look at familiar events for those who are well versed in the history of the Order. This is an engrossing examination of a period whose conflicts are still reverberating today.  

  7. 4 out of 5

    happy

    Dan Jones is fast becoming one of my go-to authors on all things medieval. His previous books that I’ve read all cover British medieval history, from Henry I through the end of the Wars of the Roses. With “The Templars” he takes his pen and gives the reader a reasonably complete overview of the “Warrior Monks – The Poor Fellow Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, AKA the Templars. The narrative mainly unfolds chronologically with a few sidetracks. The author traces their history from Dan Jones is fast becoming one of my go-to authors on all things medieval. His previous books that I’ve read all cover British medieval history, from Henry I through the end of the Wars of the Roses. With “The Templars” he takes his pen and gives the reader a reasonably complete overview of the “Warrior Monks – The Poor Fellow Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, AKA the Templars. The narrative mainly unfolds chronologically with a few sidetracks. The author traces their history from the beginnings in 1119 as protectors of pilgrims to the Holy Land after the First Crusade to the Pope dissolving the order in 1312 after Phillip, the King of France, engineers their downfall in order to gain control of their wealth, roughly 200 yrs. Any history of the Templars has to cover their military campaigns, Mr. Jones does not stint in this regard. He looks at how they became the Shock Troops of the Medieval Christian Armies in the Holy Land. Their discipline was something that most European armies of the era did not have. They followed the orders of their leaders to a fault, sometimes leading to disaster and sometimes to glory. The author looks at how a relatively few Templars, at their height there were appox 2000 knights, were able to hold the many castles guarding the invasion routes to the Holy Land and become the backbone of the Crusader Armies. In addition to telling the story of their operations in the Holy Land, Mr. Jones also looks at what they were doing in other parts of Europe, esp the Iberian Peninsula. In telling this story, he looks at the beginnings of the Reconquista. While not as in depth as the military side of the order, the author does look at how the Templars became the prototype for international banking. As the order gained power and more importantly prestige and wealth, travelers were able deposit their wealth at one Templar Facility, be issued a note and have that note redeemed at another, making the transporting of wealth both safer and easier. As the crusades wound down and Christian defeats led to the end of the Christian kingdoms, the author looks at end of the order. With the fall of Acre in 1291 and the end of the formal Christian Kingdoms in the Outremer, the Templars were basically left without a purpose. Mr. Jones tells the story of the attempts to end the order. However, by this time they were much too powerful and rich to go quietly into the night. There were numerous attempts by church authorities to merge the two warrior orders – the Templars and the Hospitallers, but neither would agree to it. Finally a cash strapped King of France with a puppet for a pope was able to successfully press his charges of heresy, sexual impropriety among other things. Beginning of Friday, 13 Oct 1307, King Phillip arrested all the Templars n France he could get his hands on. In keeping with medieval “justice” they were tortured until confessing to the charges. After several years in captivity, many of the French Templars were finally burned at the stake and many recanted their confessions as they burned alive. Probably most famously the Grand Master after recanting his confession, and while tied to stake prophesied that he would shortly meet both the King and the Pope before God. The Pope dies about 1 month later and the King in less than a year. I found the story of the end of the order fascinating. The Pope did not want to accede to the Kings demands and actually absolved the Templars of all heresies. He was unable to temper the Kings wrath however. One other thing, the King did not get the Templars riches. When his troops attempted to seize the supposed wealth, it was nowhere to be found. In addition to the important events in the history of the Templars, the author does a good job of explaining how they were organized, what oaths they took - including chastity and poverty, their manor of dress, and general the life they lived. In looking at how the order was organized, the author also looks at how the responsibilities were distributed between the major ranks of the order – Knight, Sergeants and Chaplains. The first two bearing arms and the last being ordained priests, responsible of the member’s spiritual welfare. All in all this is a very well researched narrative. It is also very readable. Mr. Jones has a gift for making long ago history come alive. I highly recommend this and would rate it 4+ stars.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Louise

    The book covers the founding of the Templars from its spectacular fundraising to its tawdry end. In between you see how the Templar’s mission changed from protecting pilgrims in the Holy Land to warfare and then to banking and financial services. Assembly of all this material is to be saluted if only for the logistics of finding and reading its primary sources in so many languages. Most of the book is about the Templar’s role in the Crusades and the many colorful participants on all sides. If you The book covers the founding of the Templars from its spectacular fundraising to its tawdry end. In between you see how the Templar’s mission changed from protecting pilgrims in the Holy Land to warfare and then to banking and financial services. Assembly of all this material is to be saluted if only for the logistics of finding and reading its primary sources in so many languages. Most of the book is about the Templar’s role in the Crusades and the many colorful participants on all sides. If you are a fan of medieval battles, there is a lot here for you. Sieges, skirmishes, fool-hardy bravery and military maneuvers are covered in detail. There is a bit (not often told in these histories) as to what is done with prisoners: some become slaves of the capturing army, some are sent away to be sold as slaves, some are tortured and high value POWs are both feted and tormented until they are ransomed. The focus on the Crusades leaves a lot unexplored. On p. 63 there is an impressive map of Templar properties. These are hardly mentioned until the end where there is an outline of their confiscation. How were these properties managed? How centralized or decentralized was their administration? I presume some were recruiting centers, how did that work? How did one move up the Templar ranks? How did their proceeds get stored and transported, particularly to the Holy Land. How did the Templars at these locations interface with their respective communities and monarchies? There is very little on the role of women. While there Is a lot here I felt I was losing the forest for the trees. The book is chronological but the episodes are only loosely tied together. There is very little to prepare you for the abrupt end which had to be a generation or so in the making. Were Philip IV’s criticisms, particularly of the sexual acts founded? I presume Philip IV was not acting alone: did descendants of those noble families who had donated their estates to the Templars want their land returned? Reading this was sometimes a chore but I stayed with it because I wanted to know about the Templars and Dan Jones has assembled a lot of information. There are 4 appendices: Brief citations on the participants; the Popes, and the Kings and Queens of Jerusalem and Masters of the Order of the Templars. The maps are very good. There are color plates, the most impressive being the tunnels under the docks of Acre. Between the Index and the list of participants I was able to find information when I needed a refresher (often). The best analyses are in the Introduction and the Epilogue.

  9. 5 out of 5

    K.J. Charles

    Well, that was depressing. A tour of the atrocities of the 12th to 14th centuries, with religious fanaticism, wholesale murder, torture, 'holy war', greed, self-righteous lunacy and just a lot of bloody awful people. It's a very solid history, well written, and I feel better informed, but the grind of colonisation, murder, treachery, war isn't really relieved by any grace in the tale. There's no great poetry or art or stories of things achieved or forward strides for humanity in any of it, it's Well, that was depressing. A tour of the atrocities of the 12th to 14th centuries, with religious fanaticism, wholesale murder, torture, 'holy war', greed, self-righteous lunacy and just a lot of bloody awful people. It's a very solid history, well written, and I feel better informed, but the grind of colonisation, murder, treachery, war isn't really relieved by any grace in the tale. There's no great poetry or art or stories of things achieved or forward strides for humanity in any of it, it's just grubs writhing in an endless night. Heavily armed grubs. What a dismal indictment of human nature it all is. This is not the book's fault; the author does a fine job. It's just reality that sucks. Informative yet unedifying.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    From their idealistic, religious, humble beginnings in Jerusalem after its capture during the First Crusade in 1119, for the initial task of protecting pilgrims on their journey to the Holy Land, to end up being dissolved by the jealousy of King Phillip IV of France (who needed money from his campaigns against the Jews), then this book contains probably the best, quasi-neutral account I have read of the Templars, or Knights of the Temple of Solomon as they were originally known as (due to holdin From their idealistic, religious, humble beginnings in Jerusalem after its capture during the First Crusade in 1119, for the initial task of protecting pilgrims on their journey to the Holy Land, to end up being dissolved by the jealousy of King Phillip IV of France (who needed money from his campaigns against the Jews), then this book contains probably the best, quasi-neutral account I have read of the Templars, or Knights of the Temple of Solomon as they were originally known as (due to holding the Temple Mount in Jerusalem). A military order - the first of its kind - it held 'rules' to be allowed into the organisation: chastity; no finery in clothes; regular prayers; subservience to Christ and a whole host of other, almost monastic precepts. Warrior 'monks' - a religious military order which later would include The Hospitallers and Teutonic Knights - would be a general term to describe them, whose legacy in the Levant (or Outremer) over the next near two-hundred years created a lasting legacy on their almost mythological status which lasts to this day. They also operated independently of Rome and European Monarchies and were granted this privilege and independence from the Pope. By at least middle of the thirteenth century, because of their slowly growing wealth gained from the Levant and the Crusades, then their property in France, England and so on made them almost an International Banking Institution who would lend money to various Monarchies (such as the French Kings) and help raise and organise various new Crusades. In many ways they were the first 'International Bank', and the Templars wealth towards the beginning of the fourteenth century, gained through honest means it seems, drew attention from the the French King, Phillip IV, who needed to raise money for his campaign against the Jews in France. Dan Jones' narrative history covers the years from the First Crusade and the formation of The Templars right up until 1314, when the last master of the order, a certain James De Molay was burnt at the stake for heresy, thus ending near two-hundred years of the monastic military order. An incredibly readable, page-turning, informative and gripping account, it also deals with the orders failures and losses too, such as the Battle of Hattin (1187) during the Third Crusade, whereby Saladin completely routed the Crusader forces and re-took Jerusalem (beheading most of both the Hospitallers and Templars who were captured), as well as some frighteningly poor Crusades (in fact most of the Crusades called after the Third - Richard the Lionheart and Saladins era) that failed rather abysmally. See my review of Thomas Asbridges 'The Crusades' for a more in-depth history of what happened to subsequent Crusades. The Templars were not just specifically a military order however; they owned substantial property in Spain, France, England, Cyprus etc, and helped finance, as I mentioned, other Crusades and bankrolled various European Monarchs. Which leads us to the unkindness and blatant jealousy of the French King Phillip IV. This monarch needed to raise funds for various conflicts he was embroiled in, as well as his campaign to expel Jews from France. He fabricated heretical accusations directed at the order, and appealed to the Pope of that time, Clemence V - who was almost under control by Phillip - to castigate them and seize the Templars substantial property (with the pretext of not wanting to take their land away, instead he claims he put them on trial for heresy - lies it appears). Also, possibly, due to the loss of the Levant and Outremer after the fall of Acre, the last Crusader fortress, in 1291, there possibly could have been some misgivings towards the orders, seen in the move to try and amalgamate all three military orders, Hospitallers, Teutonic Knights and the Templars, which was opposed by the Templars. Whatever the reasons, King Phillip had the Templars rounded up, tortured, tried and some were burnt at the stake, such as the last Master, James de Molay in 1314 after seven years in captivity. I used to believe that it was the Popes doing that dissolved the order, but the main architect was Phillip IV who then, by the sounds of things, browbeated the Pope into supporting the heretical claims. A good, interesting read. The Templars legacy of course lies in popular culture right through to modern times; in literature, such as Dan Browns 'Da Vinci Code', through to computer games such as 'Assassins Creed', the Templars still hold a sort of mythology, some of which is quite sinister (some secret order that survived their dissolution) and so on, which in reading Dan Jones book knocks down most of the 'secret society' allegations. I do recommend. 5 stars.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Trish

    I think everyone has heard the name Templars at some point in their lives. Some people know more about them, some less, and some even know actual facts. Personally, I have been fascinated with this topic for a long time. One reason is the historical context of the Crusades, the struggle between two major religions (technically three). I love ancient history more but knights in general have a certain allure because it's interesting where the truth lies between them being portrayed as chivalrous s I think everyone has heard the name Templars at some point in their lives. Some people know more about them, some less, and some even know actual facts. Personally, I have been fascinated with this topic for a long time. One reason is the historical context of the Crusades, the struggle between two major religions (technically three). I love ancient history more but knights in general have a certain allure because it's interesting where the truth lies between them being portrayed as chivalrous saviours and stinking raping brutes. Dan Jones has written a few other history books and seems to be well known amongst historians. I have his book about the Plantagenets but haven't gotten around to reading it. I was therefore very pleasantly surprised when starting this book because he's one of the young and enigmatic authors managing to simultaneously give us as much information as possible in a very readable way. He's also aware of the problem between historical accuracy and readability (he says so in the foreword). The book is divided into 4 parts: 1) Pilgrims, ca 1102 - 1144 2) Soldiers, 1144 - 1187 3) Bankers, 1189 - 1260 4) Heretics, 1260 - 1314 Then we get the Epilogue "The Holy Grail" as well as extensive appendices. In between, there are several pictures of paintings, frescos and statues as well as character depictions and photographs of still-existing sites significant in the Templar's history oh, and maps - you know how I love those. Each part goes into detail about the Templar's surroundings as much as the order itself. Probably also because we often only have hearsay instead of the order's own records (the last record disappeared when the Ottoman's took Cyprus). In the end, and the author makes that clear when talking about conspiracy theories as well as the Templar's depiction in pop culture etc, there will always be a certain mystery about these men. For anyone who didn't know yet: we have Friday the 13th as the supposed day full of misfortune because of them. Because it was Friday 13th, 1307 when the decision was made to go after the Templars and when James de Molay, along with his brothers, was arrested. It is NOT the day he was burned at the stake for begin a heretic (that was several years later after extensive incarceration and torture) but details such as this usually get muddled. The context makes it clear that the Templars were neither saints nor sinners. Instead, they were a great idea (protection for pilgrims) come to life with some rules that were definitely convoluted and - to a modern mind - almost ridiculous. However, it was one of those rules that got them killed / disbanded in the end - showing that it wasn't just the Templars who were a bit bonkers but the world in general back then! Yes, I'm talking about celibacy and potential homosexuality (sodomy, they called it). However, for centuries they showed that despite their rules they were able to adapt and change (to some degree) which can be seen most prominently in them first being bodyguards, then an elite military force in wars, then even bankers and diplomats. I was surprised to find out that it wasn't just the latter that led to their downfall: the threat they represented as a formidable fighting force stronger than most royal armies was another strong reason. Heartbreaking is how people originally trusted the Templars; they were revered even. Yet these same people turned on them in a heartbeat. As for the actual crusades ... the only thing I can say is that blame can be laid on everyone's feet. Neither the Christians nor the Muslims were squeamish in how they treated people. They wanted something, they went for it. They disemboweled and hacked to pieces people of all faiths, age groups and gender and often did so to a staggering extent. The distinction I usually allow is if someone actually enjoyed such acts. Killing 6000 people in one day (long before the invention of guns and grenades) is bad enough, but relishing the sound, sight and smell and participating in disgusting practices with the corpses? NOPE. And here, we apparently had more Muslim leaders culpable than Christians (no, it's not just Christian scholars trying to push an agenda). The whole intimidation and terror tactic based on the reputation of being "barbaric" was far more common in Muslim states than in Christian/Jewish ones, culturally (and is to this day). I will, however, not be drawn into a discussion about who "owns" the lands that are still so feverishly contested to this day. It is interesting, though, how the Templars saw it as their duty to also protect Jews and not just Christians. Until the Jews, too, became "unpopular" and "had to go". So, basically, we're talking about opportunism more than actual faith - at least in certain circles. Anyway. What can be proven is how the order came to be, how it grew, how disciplined a fighting force they often were, how they extended their influence and how they became rich. It can also be proven how the supposedly "pure soldiers of God" were suddenly "dirty and sick", accused of the foulest crimes against the very same God. Moreover, the extensive (and type of) torture they underwent is on record as well. Given enough time, even the strongest and most galant break. So they burnt or gave (probably false) confession or fled or someone made sure they'd "disappear". The only solace one might take is that the grand master's curse seems to have worked considering how the then king of France and other culprits in this farce of an "investigation" died within a year of burning de Molay. Was it God? Or someone acting on his behalf? Or just good old coincidence? We'll never know. This book was filled to the brim with historical facts but presented in an exceedingly enjoyable way that made learning the names, places and dates easy and fun. The audiobook I listened to during my hours of commuting was narrated by the author himself and his enthusiasm was palpable.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Giang Le

    The Templar is the most famous chivalric order among those created around or in the wake of the Crusades, yet their fame has been due to more fiction than facts. With this book, historian Dan Jones provides perhaps the fullest account to separate facts from fiction and tell the stories of the Templar in a complete, straightforward, and engaging manner, from their creation at the Temple of Solomon, their days of glory and ordeal at the Holy Land, and their spectacular downfall at the hand of a gr The Templar is the most famous chivalric order among those created around or in the wake of the Crusades, yet their fame has been due to more fiction than facts. With this book, historian Dan Jones provides perhaps the fullest account to separate facts from fiction and tell the stories of the Templar in a complete, straightforward, and engaging manner, from their creation at the Temple of Solomon, their days of glory and ordeal at the Holy Land, and their spectacular downfall at the hand of a greedy monarch. Before started reading it I was promised that the book would be, among other things, "entertaining". Instead of being entertained I become emotionally invested and find myself sympathetic to a group that existed hundreds of years ago and to which I share no connection (I'm not even Christian), and that speaks volume about Dan Jones' ability to communicate this amazing story to his readers. I am familiar with the author's other works, namely those on the Plantagenets and the War of the Roses, and while I have greatly enjoyed them, I think this book is my favourite of all. As of the writing of this review, Jones' new book "The Crusaders" is a few months away from release, and I am eager to see this time what he - whom I now look to as an authority on medieval Europe history - has in store.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    Really loved this book, maybe not quite as much as other Dan Jones books I've read, but I definitely recommend him when it comes to history. He's very good at finding the storyline in order to make it an entertaining read for nonfiction. Really loved this book, maybe not quite as much as other Dan Jones books I've read, but I definitely recommend him when it comes to history. He's very good at finding the storyline in order to make it an entertaining read for nonfiction.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Carlos

    Well it was nice to read a nonfiction book after all the YA I have been reading lately, Also the Templars have always been an interesting topic to me. I associate them with the crusades and all the militaristic life that was such a big part of the 13th century both in Europe and the Middle East. This book also gave me some new insights into the order and its demise , For one I thought that after the ordeal they went through in France the order was done for , but no . The Order of the Temple cont Well it was nice to read a nonfiction book after all the YA I have been reading lately, Also the Templars have always been an interesting topic to me. I associate them with the crusades and all the militaristic life that was such a big part of the 13th century both in Europe and the Middle East. This book also gave me some new insights into the order and its demise , For one I thought that after the ordeal they went through in France the order was done for , but no . The Order of the Temple continued on England , Spain, Italy and Cyprus for some time after that , but in a very weak role. It was absorbed by the Hospitallers and its possessions ended up in the hands of the Pope. All in all it was a very interesting book and easy to read. There are some graphic scenes but nothing you wouldn't expect from a book dealing with such a topic.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Irene

    This is a thorough history of the Medieval Order of the Knights Templar which lasted for nearly two centuries. Although this ecclesiastical order, for a time, wielded great economic, political and military power, it was its military campaigns in the Crusades for which it was best known. This book focused most of its attention on the bloody details of these battles. I am glad to have learned so much about this chivalric order which has taken on legendary status in popular culture.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Beata

    A very thorough insight into the Templars, really good, you need to know some background story, though. Highly recommended to those who are into medieval history.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Geoffrey

    (Note - I received an advanced copy of this book through NetGalley). Dan Jones (author of recent greats such as "The War of the Roses" and "The Plantagenets") delivers yet again with another absolutely spectacular work, and possibly his best to date. From their humble origins to their great fall, from Jerusalem to burning pyres in France, Jones takes readers through a grand history of the Knights Templar. His is a chronicle that offers focuses not merely on the military exploits of these legenda (Note - I received an advanced copy of this book through NetGalley). Dan Jones (author of recent greats such as "The War of the Roses" and "The Plantagenets") delivers yet again with another absolutely spectacular work, and possibly his best to date. From their humble origins to their great fall, from Jerusalem to burning pyres in France, Jones takes readers through a grand history of the Knights Templar. His is a chronicle that offers focuses not merely on the military exploits of these legendary knights in the Holy Land, but also by extension covers in fine detail the vast commercial empire that they built in the west and made them such tempting targets at their end, and nearly the full history of the Outremer Crusader states. In other words, his history is a fully and magnificently comprehensive one, and as usual for his works is presented in a way that does not overwhelm the reader with the sheer breadth of information packed in its pages, but rather keeps them fully engaged with his captivating narrative style. After being utilized for countless pseudo-histories and conspiracy theories of every shape and size, the Templar Knights now have a written champion in the this book, which does them and their order full justice. In a passionately-crafted work built on historical sources and not mere speculation or shoddy, biased-from-the-start scholarship, Jones shows that the Templars don't need mystery or myth to make them objects of interest. Their genuine history is clearly more than enough to keep their memory alive and make them rightfully remain a focus of fascination and enthusiasm long after their passing.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Scott Hitchcock

    It's just too big of a topic for 400 pages. While Jones does a good job of giving a high level view there's really very little in the day to day of the Templar body especially in regards to the crusades in the east. It did give me a lot of ideas for follow up topics I want to read about and refreshed my memory on a lot of this history. I do confess that every time the name Antioch was uttered in the back of my head.........the counting of the number shall be three, not four, not two unless then It's just too big of a topic for 400 pages. While Jones does a good job of giving a high level view there's really very little in the day to day of the Templar body especially in regards to the crusades in the east. It did give me a lot of ideas for follow up topics I want to read about and refreshed my memory on a lot of this history. I do confess that every time the name Antioch was uttered in the back of my head.........the counting of the number shall be three, not four, not two unless then proceeding to three, five is right out........

  19. 5 out of 5

    Silvana

    Should be titled The Templars, the Failed Crusades, and the Useless European Monarchs. A very readable history book and intro to these almost mythical knights yet it has very few of their point of views amongst all the political and military squabbles, and very little on how they lived their lives, how they trained, how they did their banking stuff exactly, and so on. The last part was the best. It is frustrating to read about the Inquisition. Indeed, Erasmus was right when he said Christians hur Should be titled The Templars, the Failed Crusades, and the Useless European Monarchs. A very readable history book and intro to these almost mythical knights yet it has very few of their point of views amongst all the political and military squabbles, and very little on how they lived their lives, how they trained, how they did their banking stuff exactly, and so on. The last part was the best. It is frustrating to read about the Inquisition. Indeed, Erasmus was right when he said Christians hurt fellow Christians more than others.

  20. 5 out of 5

    James Tullos

    There's a few bits here that you need a background knowledge to properly understand, so it's not the best introduction for a layman. Other than that it's a solid look at a fascinating topic. There's a few bits here that you need a background knowledge to properly understand, so it's not the best introduction for a layman. Other than that it's a solid look at a fascinating topic.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Marjolein

    I wanted to read The Templars: The Rise and Spectacular Fall of God's Holy Warriors for multiple reasons. In general I am interested in history but this is not limited to a certain period. I had heard from many of my bookish friends that Dan Jones is the man to go to for your shot of history. And secretly I have always been intrigued a little bit with the order that was destroyed in such a manner and still has some sort of cult status in popular culture (yes, they are the bad guys in Assassin's I wanted to read The Templars: The Rise and Spectacular Fall of God's Holy Warriors for multiple reasons. In general I am interested in history but this is not limited to a certain period. I had heard from many of my bookish friends that Dan Jones is the man to go to for your shot of history. And secretly I have always been intrigued a little bit with the order that was destroyed in such a manner and still has some sort of cult status in popular culture (yes, they are the bad guys in Assassin's Creed). So, when I saw this passing on Netgalley, I knew I had to give it a try. At the start of it my knowledge about said time period, crusades and the Knights Templar was rather limited and mostly coming from what I had read in fictional accounts. Dan Jones set that straight with this extensive work which did not only go over all the details but also put things into perspective. Besides, the writing and style made this an enjoyable read. At some points it moved a little too slow (and there might have been a little too many details for me), but overall it was very readable and I enjoyed it a lot. I will move from the Holy Land to medieval England with a couple of other books from Dan Jones I want to read now. Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! Find this and other reviews on https://www.urlphantomhive.com

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette

    This is an excellent non-fiction research and historic study of the Templars. That class of oath / vow declared warrior men who were originally formed to ensure the safety of pilgrim participants (Christian) who traveled to see the physical locations in which Jesus was born, lived, and died. This is a nearly perfect example of something I have noted within nearly all historic non-fiction. That the more focused the attention to one issue, one class, one battle, one document etc. that the better t This is an excellent non-fiction research and historic study of the Templars. That class of oath / vow declared warrior men who were originally formed to ensure the safety of pilgrim participants (Christian) who traveled to see the physical locations in which Jesus was born, lived, and died. This is a nearly perfect example of something I have noted within nearly all historic non-fiction. That the more focused the attention to one issue, one class, one battle, one document etc. that the better the outcome to the value of the book's precision to the reality of the past situations. It needs to be tightly focused on smaller fields of study. Not in multitude of factors or huge overreach theories for entire societal systems or multi national locations. In other words, the more closely narrowed the field of inquiry, usually the better the product. And in this case- the perfection of connecting to the 2 century length (it was comparatively short lived as such a powerful class/ entity) of Templar actualization and influence is just that precise. It is not easy read. It took me multitude times longer to complete than the "normal" book. There is so much crosscut change in both situational Templar actions and their power and influences aside from the physical acts of defense/offense. There are probably more myths and conspiracy factor theories in full blown detail that abound about Templars than even some modern day groups of power centered players who summer "wood camp" in secret society identity. This book clears up many of those assumed suppositions. I was most surprised at how fast they evolved to the banker and money centering roles that existed near the end of their two century passages. Excellent work. Dan Jones is a terrific interpreter of research without being bias loaded, IMHO. I note that other reviewers want "analysis". This satisfies me immensely in that it is NOT analyzed but reported to minutia. That's the best history. Not slanted history.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Caidyn (he/him/his)

    This review can also be found on my blog! Admittedly, the only reason I read this was because I love Dan Jones. Religious orders, along with the Crusades, aren’t really my area of interest. I love learning about medieval theology/Christianity, but this isn’t my huge area. But, I liked it. I think it was a solid book and I was able to identify areas that really interested me. I think the part that tried me was the way it never quite focused on the Templars themselves. They were there, always in the This review can also be found on my blog! Admittedly, the only reason I read this was because I love Dan Jones. Religious orders, along with the Crusades, aren’t really my area of interest. I love learning about medieval theology/Christianity, but this isn’t my huge area. But, I liked it. I think it was a solid book and I was able to identify areas that really interested me. I think the part that tried me was the way it never quite focused on the Templars themselves. They were there, always in the background, but it was more about the various rulers that they were against or partnering with. I wanted to know more about the order and what they did. What they thought. What they believed. What they taught. And the book focused outside of that. That’s not a bad thing, but it wasn’t what I wanted to know. The part I found most interesting was the fall of the Templars. God, that was a fascinating few chapters to read about the rulers who decided to do it and the things that they were forced to admit. That was so interesting to read, along with the brief epilogue on how the Templars, despite being gone for centuries, still lives in our imaginations. So, for me, this was a good overview. And Jones does overviews very good. If you haven’t checked out his book about the Plantagenets, I highly recommend it because it condenses a huge amount of history into a concise book. But, this book mainly helped me realize what areas I’d rather like to learn about if I decide to do more reading about the order.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Colin Mitchell

    An interesting book as an introduction to the Templar history however I did find that parts were dominated with lists of dates and names. Written in a chronological manner but lacked, for me any depth of analyses until the final chapter. Just Ok probably 2.5.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

    Excellent book by historian Dan Jones on the Templars. Written in an almost linnear progression, it was much easier to keep track of what happened than some other Templar books I have read. I had only one small niggle: I disliked the Anglization of names. I'm sorry, James of Molay just annoyed me. History knows him as Jacques de Molay and that is what he should have remained. Same went for the unilateral usage of "of" instead of "de". Hugh of Payens didn't ring true the way Hugh de Payens does. Sma Excellent book by historian Dan Jones on the Templars. Written in an almost linnear progression, it was much easier to keep track of what happened than some other Templar books I have read. I had only one small niggle: I disliked the Anglization of names. I'm sorry, James of Molay just annoyed me. History knows him as Jacques de Molay and that is what he should have remained. Same went for the unilateral usage of "of" instead of "de". Hugh of Payens didn't ring true the way Hugh de Payens does. Small niggle as I said, but in my mind it stopped it from being a 5 star read.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Colleen Browne

    A factual account of the Templars is a rarity in the world of Dan Brown books. Anyway, this is a well-written, fascinating account of the rise and fall of this group. The book provides a birds-eye-view into the politics of the age and the ultimate failure of the Christians to hold on to the Holy Land.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    As more and more pilgrims traveled to the Holy Land in the Middle Ages, they found themselves easy prey for bandits and warlords residing along the routes from Europe. So, in 1120 the Knights of the Templar were founded. These knights would take a vow of poverty and chastity similar to other Christian orders; however, these knights would be able to murder pagans on behalf of the Christian cross. In addition to protecting the pilgrim routes, they were soon helping Christian kings on Crusades to r As more and more pilgrims traveled to the Holy Land in the Middle Ages, they found themselves easy prey for bandits and warlords residing along the routes from Europe. So, in 1120 the Knights of the Templar were founded. These knights would take a vow of poverty and chastity similar to other Christian orders; however, these knights would be able to murder pagans on behalf of the Christian cross. In addition to protecting the pilgrim routes, they were soon helping Christian kings on Crusades to reclaim the Holy Land from Moslem insurgents. The Knights Templar proved to be the Crusades’ fiercest warriors. Highly admired for their exploits and the honorable vows they espoused, the Templars received gifts to support their efforts from all over Europe. As a result, they became large landowners and holders of great wealth. Before long, they became key bankers for European Kings and Popes. One of those kings who was heavily in debt to the order was Philip IV of France in the 1310s. He decided to obliterate his debt by destroying the order by any means necessary—spurious propaganda, confessions as the result of extreme torture, intimidation of ecclesiastical leaders, and ultimately the genocide of the entire order. He was helped by the ambivalence of other European leaders to the whole idea of going on further Crusades, the primary purpose of the Templars at this point. They preferred to focus on strengthening their own power and the economies in their own countries. The Christian fervor to fight in the Holy land had passed. Jones has done an amazing amount of research throughout Europe and the Middle East to obtain contemporaneous accounts of the Templars’ history. Further, he has written a highly readable account of the two hundred year period that the Templars’ influence reigned supreme. Recommend.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Barry

    If one could summarize the history of human warfare, one could do it using three words : arrogant, stupid and selfish. Most likely when a side lost a battle or war, one of the major factors was one or more of its leaders was either selfishly arrogant, arrogantly stupid, or stupidly selfish. In The Templars, Dan Jones set out to provide a rather concise narrative of who were the Templars and what factual activities were they involved in with respect to the Crusades. I’m not going to go into who’s If one could summarize the history of human warfare, one could do it using three words : arrogant, stupid and selfish. Most likely when a side lost a battle or war, one of the major factors was one or more of its leaders was either selfishly arrogant, arrogantly stupid, or stupidly selfish. In The Templars, Dan Jones set out to provide a rather concise narrative of who were the Templars and what factual activities were they involved in with respect to the Crusades. I’m not going to go into who’s “right” and all those other stuff people like to debate about the Crusades. Suffice to say, it’s disheartening to read so many examples of arrogance, stupidity and selfishness from numerous figures we meet in this book. One final notes : though, The Templars is still a compelling book to read, I find it less comprehensive and fun as his two previous books that I read. It’s still, however, a very enjoyable history book. I wish more history books are like this.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ctgt

    Concise narrative history of the Templars without all the extraneaous myths surrounding the organization. For a group that only existed for a couple hundred years The Templars certainly have captured a corner of the public's imagination. 8/10 Concise narrative history of the Templars without all the extraneaous myths surrounding the organization. For a group that only existed for a couple hundred years The Templars certainly have captured a corner of the public's imagination. 8/10

  30. 5 out of 5

    Brad Steele

    It was meticulously researched and well written, but for something i've been fascinated about for so long I found out the Templars just aren't all that interesting. It was meticulously researched and well written, but for something i've been fascinated about for so long I found out the Templars just aren't all that interesting.

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