The langue d’oïl, the mother tongue of the Knights Templar

French lands have always had a privileged relationship with the Temple. But what tongue did the Templars speak?

Templar founders were from what is now northern France, but at the time was all of Francia. Hugues de Payns came from the family of the lords of Montigny, from the area between Champagne and Burgundy, or Godefroy de Saint-Omer and Payen de Montdidier, both of more elevated status, who were respectively from Flanders and Picardy. 

 The language of Northern France at that time, oïl, was the official language of the order. The so called Primitive Rule given to the brothers at the Council of Troyes in January 1129 was translated from Latin into oïl French under the Mastership of Robert de Craon, who was Master between 1136 and 1149. This decision was revolutionary given the practice of religious communities at the time (which usually sticked to Latin, TN). Subsequently, the Hierarchical Statutes further regulating the order were written in the French langue d’oïl around 1165.

Most probably, Latin never disappeared from the practice of Temple and other vernacular languages were used, but from the outset, oïl French was the international language of the order.

Main text adapted from Philippe Joserand (2015) The Templars in France: Between History, Heritage, and Memory; in: COSTA, Ricardo da, SALVADOR GONZÁLEZ, José María (coords.). Mirabilia 21 (2015/2), Medieval and early modern Iberian Peninsula Cultural History (XIII-XVII centuries), Jun-Dez 2015/ISSN 1676-5818. Additional information from Upton-Ward, J.M. (2005), The Rule of the Templars: The French Text of the Rule of the Order of the Knights Templar. Studies in the History of Medieval Religion, Volume IV, The Boydell Press, UK 199 pp. Illustration Map of the langues d'oïl according to Henriette Walter (1988) in French in all senses, , source Wikipedia Commons

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