The different profiles of Templars and Hospitallers

When were the Orders of Hospitallers and Templars born? What was their original purpose and how did this develop?  Medievalist Alain Demurger elaborates on the different profiles of the Templars and the Hospitallers.

When and how were these orders of "monk soldiers", the Templars and the Hospitallers, born?
Alain Demurger: The Order of the Knights Templar was established during the years 1115-1120 in respons to military needs in the the Orient. This is the first religious order with such a military function to be recognized, at the Council of Troyes in 1129. At first the Templars gave themselves the mission to protect and assist the pilgrims. But soon, they were integrated into the armies of Frankish States of Outre Mer.

The order of the Hospitallers was founded somewhat earlier, around 1050, by Amalfi merchants who were at Jerusalem and had obtained from the Sultan of Egypt land in Jerusalem to build a hospital. The Order knew a fast development after the first crusade. At first a charitable order only, militarization developed gradually, first to defend their own property. Later on because they saw that the military vocation of the Templars encouraged rich donations from knights and faithful. By 1180, the Hospitaller order was completely militarized, but managed to keep a balance with hospital and charitable services. This was the key to its success.

This blog is a translation from French to English of a part of the webarticle "Les Templiers, moines et soldats" from The illustration depicts King Baldwin II ceeding the location of the Temple of Salomon to Hugues de Payns and Gaudefroy de Saint-Omer. The fourth person is Warmund, Patriarch of Jerusalem. source Wikimedia.

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