Barbara Frale gives us an explosive, exhaustively researched history of the medieval world’s most powerful military order, the Templars. At its height, the Order of the Knights Templar rivaled the kingdoms of Europe in military might, economic power, and political influence. For 700 years, the tragic demise of this society of warrior-monks amid accusations of heresy has been plagued by controversy, in part because the transcript of their trial ...
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The Templars: The Secret History Revealed

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Barbara Frale gives us an explosive, exhaustively researched history of the medieval world’s most powerful military order, the Templars. At its height, the Order of the Knights Templar rivaled the kingdoms of Europe in military might, economic power, and political influence. For 700 years, the tragic demise of this society of warrior-monks amid accusations of heresy has been plagued by controversy, in part because the transcript of their trial by the Inquisition—which held the key to the truth—had vanished.

Templar historian Barbara Frale happened to be studying a document at the Vatican Secret Archives when she suddenly realized that it was none other than the long-lost transcript! It revealed that Pope Clement V had absolved the order of all charges of heresy. The Templars chronicles the spectacular rise and fall of the organization against a sweeping backdrop of war, religious fervor, and the struggle for dominance, and finally lifts the centuries-old cloak of mystery surrounding one of the world’s most intriguing secret societies.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

In 1307, Philip IV of France arrested the Knights Templar, a holy order dedicated to retaking Jerusalem, on charges of blasphemy, idolatry, and sodomy. Since then, speculation about the order's practices has been widespread, with various authors calling them either martyrs or sorcerers. Here, Frale, a historian at the Vatican Secret Archives, provides a new history of this mysterious order. Though other books, most notably Malcolm Barber's The New Knighthood, provide a more comprehensive examination, Frale draws on newly discovered legal documents from the archives relating to the Templars' initiation ceremony. These documents are crucial for understanding the charges against the knights. Frale tantalizes us with hints of further research underway on her part, relating to other aspects of the legend, but the bibliographic notes in this book are insufficient for tracking down what information came from which source heretofore. Overall, though, the work is a solid contribution on a topic where misinformation is rife and where there is little comparable material available in English. Readers interested in the history behind Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code will find this book illuminating. Suitable for public and academic libraries.
—Daniel Harms

Kirkus Reviews
Vatican historian Frale supplies plenty of facts about the controversial Crusaders. In these post-Da Vinci Code days, the very mention of the Templars is enough to spark readers' curiosity, yet the true history of this shadowy order of warrior-monks has more often than not been misrepresented in film and fiction. The author debunks common delusions about the origins, organization, rise to prominence and ultimate demise of the Knights Templar, using troves of documents she unearthed from the Vatican Secret Archives. The military order was originally intended to protect the interests of the king of Jerusalem during the Christian occupation of the Holy Land between the 12th and 14th centuries. The ideal Templar was a knight whose religious devotion and piety were strong enough that he would take vows of poverty and chastity, offering his body in sacrifice to defend Christians against Saracen threats. The Templars enjoyed an unprecedented degree of independent governance. They were not required to answer to any church authority except the pope, nor was their strictly regulated income subject to taxation by secular rulers. Since no other monastic order in the Catholic tradition had ever born arms against actual rather than spiritual enemies, the foundation of the group required some creative theological solutions. Once the Christian territories in the Middle East had been lost and the Crusades no longer inspired the masses to war, the Templars continued to serve as bankers to Europe's potentates, a role that, coupled with their shocking initiation practices, would prove the order's undoing. Perhaps by design, the subject's enormous popular appeal is not reflected in Frale's prose; herstraightforward history privileges names and dates over an entertaining narrative. Detailed chronicles of each Crusade and the political workings of successive popes overshadow the story of the Templars themselves. A good resource for scholars, but not particularly satisfying as a revelation of "secret history."First printing of 20,000
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781628721072
  • Publisher: Arcade Publishing
  • Publication date: 5/1/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 404,145
  • File size: 768 KB

Meet the Author

Dr. Barbara Frale is a historian on staff at the Vatican Secret Archives. An expert in ancient documents, the Templars, and the Crusades, Frale is the author of several books including The Last Battle of the Templars, The Papacy and the Trial of the Templars, and The Templars. She is also the author of the acclaimed The Templars: The Secret History Revealed. Frale earned her PhD at the University of Venice.

Gregory Conti is a professor of modern Italian history at the University of Rochester, a lecturer in English at the University of Perugia, and a freelance translator. He lives in Perugia, Italy.

Umberto Eco is a professor of semiotics at the University of Bologna and the author of Foucault’s Pendulum, The Name of the Rose, and other international bestsellers. He lives in Milan, Italy.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2012

    Great historical narrative

    One of the best histories of the Templars. Written by a historian on staff at the Vatican's Secret Archives, this book is probably the most accurate history of the Templar order.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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