The Templars: The Dramatic History of the Knights Templar, the Most Powerful Military Order of the Crusades

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Macmillan, 1999 - History - 350 pages
16 Reviews
In 1099, the city of Jerusalem, a possession of the Islamic Caliphate for over four-hundred years, fell to an army of European knights intent on restoring the Cross to the Holy Lands. From the ranks of these holy warriors emerged an order of monks trained in both scripture and the military arts, an order that would protect and administer Christendom's prized conquest for almost a century: the Knights of the Temple of Solomon, or the Templars.

In this articulate and engaging history, Piers Paul Read explores the rise, the catastrophic fall, and the far-reaching legacy of these knights who took, and briefly held, the most bitterly contested citadel in the monotheistic West. Drawing on the most recent scholarship, and writing with authority and candor, Read chronicles the history of the blood-splattered monks who still infiltrate modernity in literature, as the inspiration for secret societies, and in the backyard fantasies of any child with access to a stick and a garbage can lid.

More than armed holy men, the Templars also represented the first uniformed standing army in the Western world. Sustaining their military order required vast sums of money, and, to that end, a powerful multinational corporation formed. The prosperity that European financiers enjoyed, from the efficient management of Levantine possessions and from pioneering developments in the field of international banking, would help jump-start Europe's long-slumbering Dark Age economy.

In 1307, the French king, Philip IV, expropriated Templar lands, unleashing a wave of repression that would crest five years later. After Templar leaders broke down and confessed, under torture, to blasphemy, heresy, and sodomy, Pope Clement V suppressed the Order in 1312. Was it guilty as charged? And what relevance has the story to our own times? In this remarkable history, Piers Paul Read explores the Crusades and the individual biographies of the many colorful characters that fought them.
  

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Review: Templars: The Dramatic History of the Knights Templar, the Most Powerful Military Order of the Crusades

User Review  - Andrew - Goodreads

Proves to be almost more of a history of the Crusades with some asides to focus on the Templars through the majority of the book, until it covers the trials of the Knights of the Temple of Solomon in the early 14th century to close out the book. All in all, a fun little overview. Read full review

Review: Templars: The Dramatic History of the Knights Templar, the Most Powerful Military Order of the Crusades

User Review  - Marthalie Thurston - Goodreads

First off, very very informative. Complete appendices. Thought stimulating epilogue. Excellent colored graphics. The story is told clearly which helps immensely as the period of history is long and ... Read full review

Contents

The Temple 1 The Temple of Solomon
3
The New Temple
16
The Rival Temple
44
The high tide of Islam
52
The Temple Regained
56
Christendom at the time of the First Crusade
73
The Templars
85
The Poor FellowSoldiers of Jesus Christ
87
Templar preceptories and castles in the West in the midtwelfth century
182
Frederick of Hohenstaufen
196
The Kingdom of Acre
209
Louis of France
220
The Fall of Acre
235
The Fall of the Templars
245
The Temple in Exile
247
The Temple Assaulted
259

Outremer
89
The Templars in Palestine
107
Outremer
128
Jerusalem and the Temple Mount in the twelfth century
132
Principal Templar strongholds in Syria and Palestine
144
Saladin
149
Richard the Lionheart
164
The Enemies Within
178
The Temple Destroyed
283
The Verdict of History
302
The Later Crusades
317
Grand Masters of the Temple
324
End notes
330
Index
342
Copyright

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About the author (1999)

Piers Paul Read studied history at Cambridge University and has authored twelve acclaimed novels and three works of non-fiction, including the international bestseller Alive. His novels have won the Hawthornden Prize and the Geoffrey Faber, Somerset Maugham, and James Tait Black Awards. He is married with four children and lives in London.

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