People behind the Knights Templar

Usually the Knights Templar are referred to as if it was a a coherent body. This may have been the case in their later days. But in their early days, when the concept of knight-monks and the organisation were as such new, it seems more likely that they were a on-coherent group of individuals of different origins, mainly coming from early 12th century Francia.

Virtually nothing is known about the origins of the founders of the first military orders, although legends grew up around them later. Clearly, they were not particularly important people. Most of those who joined the military orders came from the lesser nobility, the ordinary knights or rich peasant farmers ... . There were very few really rich or influential members. Instead, we find many examples of men joining the orders as a means of gaining influence and promotion which would otherwise have been beyond their reach (...)

Women also joined the Military Orders, including the Order of the Temple, despite the fact that the Templar Rule forbad the admission of women. The brothers rapidly discovered that they could not afford to offend female patrons by refusing them admission to the order (...).

Adapted from the internet paper by Helen Nicholson entitled "The Templars, Hospitallers and other military orders in the eyes of their contemporaries, 1128-1291"; Illustration Hughes de Payns, the first Master of the Knights Templar (source)

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