An Illustrated History of the Knights Templar

Overview

A lavishly illustrated, comprehensive look at the mysterious history of the Order of the Knights Templar

• Presents the myths and historical truths of the Knights Templar, the elite warrior army of the pope who were destroyed as heretics some 700 years ago

• Examines the evidence of the Templar connections to the Assassins and the Cathars

• Includes more than 170 period illustrations and contemporary photos of former Templar strongholds in Europe and Jerusalem

Despite the ...

See more details below
Paperback (Original)
$15.88
BN.com price
(Save 20%)$19.95 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (25) from $3.19   
  • New (9) from $8.67   
  • Used (16) from $3.19   
Sending request ...

Overview

A lavishly illustrated, comprehensive look at the mysterious history of the Order of the Knights Templar

• Presents the myths and historical truths of the Knights Templar, the elite warrior army of the pope who were destroyed as heretics some 700 years ago

• Examines the evidence of the Templar connections to the Assassins and the Cathars

• Includes more than 170 period illustrations and contemporary photos of former Templar strongholds in Europe and Jerusalem

Despite the increasing scholarship devoted to the study of the Templar order, founded in 1119, the mystery surrounding the Templars endures. Secret societies from the Freemasons to the Ordo Templi Orientis claim descent from this religious order of warrior-monks. As the private army of the pope, the Knights Templar were initially established to protect Christian pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land but grew to become one of the most powerful organizations in the Middle Ages. With period illustrations from manuscripts from the Crusades, interpretive romantic paintings from the 18th and 19th centuries, and contemporary photos by Steven Brooke and others of former Templar strongholds in Europe and Jerusalem, James Wasserman, author of the bestselling The Templars and the Assassins, provides a fascinating history of the Order and the many mysteries and legends that surround it.

Wasserman presents the evidence for the Templar connection to mystical Islamic organizations such as the Assassins as well as their ties to “heretical” groups such as the Cathars, who were targeted by a crusade in southern France to expunge the challenge they presented to the orthodoxy of their time. In addition to providing an overview of the Templars’ actions during the Crusades, Wasserman revisits the trial and the charges leveled against them, showing how the Order was ruthlessly crushed. He also explores the nature of the treasure they left behind, which has fueled popular imagination for centuries.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“James Wasserman has gathered the most beautiful, authoritative, and complete collection of Crusader and Templar images available anywhere. But this is not just a picture book. Wasserman’s text also gives us an exceptionally clear, historically accurate, and esoterically true account of the history of this most mysterious of medieval knightly Orders. His sense of the way in which Templar esotericism fuses Judaic, Islamic (Ismaili), and Christian elements is a welcome and convincing alternative to the usual conditioned view that sees the three great religions separate and opposed.”

". . . one of the best illustrated and most honest accounts of the Templar. . . . this is an exciting read and a 'must have' for any bookshelf."

". . . scholarly, yet accessible. . . a fascinating read."

". . . this book sets an excellent foundation for research and understanding of this tradition."

"AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF THE KNIGHTS TEMPLAR makes the most of visuals from all centuries and is a recommended pick for any new age collection, even those who already have several books on the topic. Little is duplicated, here."

"History is the blended story of individuals, issues, and the times in which they existed. Wasserman has done an excellent job of defining the times of the Knights Templar, the political climate, the position of the Church, as well as giving us the background of the men that were involved in the tradition."

author of An Endless Trace: The Passionate Pur Christopher Bamford
“James Wasserman has gathered the most beautiful, authoritative, and complete collection of Crusader and Templar images available anywhere. But this is not just a picture book. Wasserman’s text also gives us an exceptionally clear, historically accurate, and esoterically true account of the history of this most mysterious of medieval knightly Orders. His sense of the way in which Templar esotericism fuses Judaic, Islamic (Ismaili), and Christian elements is a welcome and convincing alternative to the usual conditioned view that sees the three great religions separate and opposed.”
author of An Endless Trace: The Passionate Pur Christopher Bamford
“James Wasserman has gathered the most beautiful, authoritative, and complete collection of Crusader and Templar images available anywhere. But this is not just a picture book. Wasserman’s text also gives us an exceptionally clear, historically accurate, and esoterically true account of the history of this most mysterious of medieval knightly Orders. His sense of the way in which Templar esotericism fuses Judaic, Islamic (Ismaili), and Christian elements is a welcome and convincing alternative to the usual conditioned view that sees the three great religions separate and opposed.”
Jan 2007 - Skirmish
". . . one of the best illustrated and most honest accounts of the Templar. . . . this is an exciting read and a 'must have' for any bookshelf."
Christopher Bamford
“James Wasserman has gathered the most beautiful, authoritative, and complete collection of Crusader and Templar images available anywhere. But this is not just a picture book. Wasserman’s text also gives us an exceptionally clear, historically accurate, and esoterically true account of the history of this most mysterious of medieval knightly Orders. His sense of the way in which Templar esotericism fuses Judaic, Islamic (Ismaili), and Christian elements is a welcome and convincing alternative to the usual conditioned view that sees the three great religions separate and opposed.”
Bonnie Cehovet
". . . this book sets an excellent foundation for research and understanding of this tradition."
Jan 2007 Skirmish
". . . one of the best illustrated and most honest accounts of the Templar. . . . this is an exciting read and a 'must have' for any bookshelf."
Sophia Gift
". . . scholarly, yet accessible. . . a fascinating read."
Diane C. Donovan
"AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF THE KNIGHTS TEMPLAR makes the most of visuals from all centuries and is a recommended pick for any new age collection, even those who already have several books on the topic. Little is duplicated, here."
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594771170
  • Publisher: Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
  • Publication date: 11/15/2006
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 1,026,319
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

James Wasserman is the author of the bestselling The Templars and the Assassins: The Militia of Heaven, The Mystery Traditions, and The Slaves Shall Serve: Meditations on Liberty. He is a longtime student of the occult sciences and lives in New York City.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

The Founding

The Knights Templar, or Poor Knights of the Temple of Solomon, or Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Jesus Christ, were founded by Hughes de Payens, a French knight who had taken religious vows upon the death of his wife. He is known to have been an austere man of deeply held spiritual values, humility, and uncompromising valor. He was nearly fifty when he founded the Order, a veteran of the First Crusade who had spent the previous twenty-two years of his life east of Europe.

Two of the most widespread accounts of the Order’s founding agree that in 1118 or 1119, Hughes, along with eight other knights, took vows of obedience to the Patriarch of Jerusalem, resolving to live in holy poverty and chastity, and to devote themselves to the care and protection of Christian pilgrims traveling through the Holy Land. King Baldwin II awarded them lodging in the al-Aqsa mosque near the Dome of the Rock, the original site of the Temple of Solomon.

The timing of the founding of the Knights Templar was critical. A group of seven hundred pilgrims had been attacked on the eve of Easter 1119. Three hundred were brutally massacred. Sixty more were taken prisoner, and all the possessions of the group were seized as booty. Despair swept through Jerusalem. The establishment of the Order was a prerequisite for the continued survival of Christendom in the Holy Land.

The Hospitallers, or Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem (now the Knights of Malta) had been established around 1080 as a charitable group to provide medical care and shelter for pilgrims and had received papal recognition in 1113. During the 1130s, the Hospitallers became involved in military activities, although militarism was never the exclusive province of the Hospital as it was of the Temple. Jerusalem was virtually isolated from the rest of the European holdings in Palestine. Though symbolically and emotionally of the greatest importance to Crusaders, the city was surrounded by Muslims and in constant danger of attack. It was ruled jointly by the Patriarch of Jerusalem, the Latin king, and whichever particularly powerful crusading feudal lord might be in the area—a politically unstable situation that often led to breakdowns in communication and conflicts of interest.

The dangers to pilgrims were manifold as there was little control of the route between the port of Jaffa (modern Tel Aviv) and Jerusalem, some thirty-five miles as the crow flies—a two-day journey along a dangerous mountain road through fierce desert heat and arid terrain, surrounded by brigands, Muslim armies, and wild animals such as lions. The Holy Land endured a chronic shortage of stable military manpower. The port cities of Palestine were the only real centers of economic activity. Merchants from the Italian cities of Genoa, Pisa, and Venice conducted a brisk Mediterranean trade. The desire of King Baldwin I to build up the Western population of Jerusalem as a safeguard against the surrounding Muslim enemies motivated him to provide economic incentives to encourage people to move there.

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux and the Growth of the Order

The young Order was particularly vulnerable to any number of problems. The knights, having pledged themselves to poverty, wore secular clothing donated by the faithful. Their seal shows two knights riding a single horse, emblematic of the vow of poverty and their humble origins. Their quarters were described as somewhat dilapidated by a contemporary historian. Yet they were growing. Saint Bernard, who rose to become the most influential and politically powerful Catholic theologian of his time, took a deep interest in the fledgling Order. Bernard was the nephew of André Montbard, one of the original knights of the Temple and later a Grand Master. Bernard was a member of the Cistercian Order and was chosen to be the first abbot of the Monastery of Clairvaux.

In 1126, André Montbard and a Templar named Gondemar left Jerusalem for Europe. Baldwin II had written to Bernard, asking for his help in getting papal approval for the Templar Order and crafting a Rule to guide Templar conduct. Hughes de Payens traveled to Europe shortly thereafter to recruit new knights, solicit donations of land and money, and spread the word of the Order’s works.

Bernard was of enormous help to the Templars. He was uniquely qualified to synthesize the concept of a knightly religious order. Born in 1090, he had grown up intending to become a knight until he experienced a religious conversion at the age of twenty that forever changed his life. At age thirty-six, Bernard was approaching the height of his power. While chronic ill health made him physically frail, he radiated an immense spiritual vitality. His personal influence on the twelfth-century Church is incalculable by modern standards. He literally functioned as the conscience of Christianity. That which he supported flourished, that which he condemned withered. His energetic support of the Templars practically guaranteed their success.

Bernard had become a Cistercian monk in 1112, when the brotherhood was on the verge of failure. In 1115, at the age of twenty-five, he was chosen to become the superior of Clairvaux. Under his leadership the Cistercians grew from seven abbeys in 1118 to 328 in 1152. He was an extremely talented organizer who had a particular skill for hierarchical organization and the efficient structuring of power. He applied this skill to the Templars.

Bernard was also a highly developed mystic. He was a leading exponent of the cult of the Virgin Mary that began to flourish in the twelfth century. The ideal of the Virgin as mother and intercessor would inform the Templar Order. Bernard realized the tremendous emotional potential offered by the worship of the mother of Christ. He taught that a sincere, ardent, and sustained aspiration on the part of the seeker would result in a “sweet inpouring of the Divine Love.”

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction

1 The First Crusade and Victory

2 The Knights Templar Order

3 The Growth of the Knights Templar

4 The Second Crusade and the Syrian Assassins

5 The Rise of Saladin

6 The Third Crusade and Richard the Lionhearted

7 The Byzantine Crusade

8 The Albigensian Heresy

9 The Fifth Crusade and Saint Francis

10 The Sixth Crusade and Frederick II

11 The Seventh Crusade and Baybars

12 The Eighth and Final Crusade

13 The Templars in Defeat

14 Arrest and Trial

15 The Treasure of the Knights Templar

Maps

Acknowledgments

Notes to the Text

Photo Credits

Bibliography

Index

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)