The Tragedy of the Templars: The Rise and Fall of the Crusader States

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Overview

Founded on Christmas Day 1119 in Jerusalem, the Knights Templar was a religious order of fighting knights dedicated to defending the Holy Land and Christian pilgrims in the decades after the First Crusade. Legendary for their bravery and dedication, the Templars became one of the wealthiest and most powerful bodies of the medieval world—and the chief defenders against the growing Muslim military campaign to reimpose foreign rule on a Christian society.

In The Tragedy of the ...

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Overview

Founded on Christmas Day 1119 in Jerusalem, the Knights Templar was a religious order of fighting knights dedicated to defending the Holy Land and Christian pilgrims in the decades after the First Crusade. Legendary for their bravery and dedication, the Templars became one of the wealthiest and most powerful bodies of the medieval world—and the chief defenders against the growing Muslim military campaign to reimpose foreign rule on a Christian society.

In The Tragedy of the Templars, historian Michael Haag explores the rise and fall of the Templars against the background story of the Crusader venture in the Holy Land, which even after four centuries of Muslim occupation had remained a predominantly Christian community with whom settlers from the West intermarried and created a distinctive civilization.

A stirring work of historical investigation, The Tragedy of the Templars masterfully details the conflicts and betrayals that sent the Knights Templar spiraling from domination and power to being burned alive at the stake.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Romanticized and demonized since the Middle Ages, the legendary Knights Templar devoted their lives to Christ as a military force sanctioned by the papacy to liberate and defend the then-predominantly Christian city of Jerusalem. Haag (The Templars: The History & the Myth) explores their evolution from 12th-century protectors of pilgrims trekking to the Holy Land to wealthy Crusaders frequently at war with Islamic forces across the Middle East and the Iberian peninsula. Throughout, the book suffers from one-sidedness: the author consistently characterizes the Muslims as brutal and vengeful, whereas the Templars are given relatively generous treatment as brave messengers of progress and development. Still, Haag’s account sparkles with fascinating ephemera, as when he quotes a 12th-century narrative of the creation of the myth of the Holy Grail, or when he describes the game-changing moves of the bold queen Eleanor of Aquitaine or the greedy, villainous Philip IV. The Templars were eventually defeated by the Muslims, but it was their own religious kin that brought them down: rumors of heresy and bizarre initiation rites were rampant, and Pope Clement—under the orders of Philip IV—finally disbanded the Templars in the 14th century. A dense and entertaining volume especially suited for those already interested in the order. 3 maps. Agent: George Lucas, Inkwell Management. (Aug.)
Library Journal
09/01/2013
Haag (The Templars: The History and the Myth) provides a thorough account of the Crusades, including the history of the Crusader states—known as Outremer—established by the Franks after the First Crusade. He expertly examines the Crusades from both the Christian and Muslim perspectives, drawing from contemporary chronicles, church records, and correspondence by Templars. Haag covers the motivations for the Crusades, why both Muslims and Christians wanted control of the Holy Land, and how the Templars were established—with the approval of Rome—as a fighting band of monks whose responsibility was to protect pilgrims visiting the area. He describes how the Templars became influential and, ultimately, extremely wealthy. With the fall of the Crusader states in the 1200s, secular powers sought to gain control of Templar assets. The Templar story is not at the fore of this work—Haag's real focus is the fate of Outremer, in which the Templars had a role. VERDICT This work will be of interest to general and specialty readers seeking an in-depth look at the Crusades and the importance of the Holy Land to both Western and Eastern groups. Further, it reminds us that this was a time not unlike our own in that religious intolerance created a dangerous environment for average worshippers no matter their creed.—Brian Renvall, Mesalands Community Coll., Tucumcari, NM
Kirkus Reviews
A long, complicated history of the Knights Templars in the Middle East. The Middle East has a long history of hatred, war and massacres in the name of religion. Haag (The Templars: The History and the Myth, 2009, etc.) lays out 1,000 years of Middle Eastern history before he gets around to the Templars. In the first quarter of the book, the author explores the history of the Abbasid, Umayyad, Arab, Muslim and Turkish wars--many names and places will be unfamiliar to the majority of Western readers. Haag's scholarship on the subject is obvious, but the main attraction is supposed to be the Knights Templar, a military order formed by French knights in 1120 and blessed by the pope to protect pilgrims from marauders on their trek to Jerusalem. They were primarily monks who lived the monastic life, but they were also well-organized, professional soldiers who did their best to save the mostly inept crusaders. Blessed with large donations, grants of land, and tithes from the church and Europe's most powerful nobles, the Templars became the wealthiest and most potent financial military organization in the medieval world. With the Knights Hospitaller, who cared for the sick and needy, they held most of the lands and castles in Outremer, the entire eastern edge of the Mediterranean. The Templars were France's treasurers and Europe's bankers, as well as large landowners, traders and sailors. Saladin did great damage, as did the Turks, but it was the Mamluks, ferocious slave soldiers originally from the Russian steppes, who destroyed the crusader states and left the Templars to the greed of France's King Philip IV. A solid picture of the Templars but a difficult read, with enemies coming from all directions. Be prepared to read it twice and take notes.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062059758
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/13/2013
  • Pages: 433
  • Sales rank: 634,846
  • Product dimensions: 6.16 (w) x 8.82 (h) x 1.22 (d)

Meet the Author

Historian and writer Michael Haag has written widely on the Egyptian, Classical,and Medieval worlds. He is the author of The Templars: The History & the Mythand Alexandria: City of Memory, a definitive study of Cavafy, Forster, and LawrenceDurrell in the city, as well as travel guides to Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt. He livesin London.

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2014

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    I have a Simple Touch.

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    Posted June 22, 2014

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    Mm.

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    Posted July 8, 2014

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    I have the glowlight

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  • Posted October 26, 2013

    Publishers Weekly: "Throughout, the book suffers from one-s

    Publishers Weekly: "Throughout, the book suffers from one-sidedness: the author consistently characterizes the Muslims as brutal and vengeful"

    So because it depicts the Muslims of the time as HOW THEY ACTUALLY WERE, its one sided.. Only in the warped indoctrinated mind of a liberal book reviewer would that make sense. I suppose it 'escaped' this reviewers attention the reason the crusades were launched, the attacks against christian pilgrims and relentless attacks on the Byzantine empire on top of slave raiding by muslims on Italy and the Balkans; on top of the beyond brutal attacks and conquests of Hindu territory that most people seem to ignore or excuse.

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