The high expenses of Templars in the Holy Land

Keeping the Templar army in the Holy Land took considerable effort. Some figures.

"Every Templar knight was an extremely well-trained mounted knight who cost a lot of money. In France in the second half of the 12th century a mounted knight needed the yield of 750 acres of land to equip and maintain himself. A century later, this cost had increased fivefold, to 3,750 acres. 

For a Templar operating in the Holy Land, the bill was even higher, as many things had to be imported, including horses. Each Templar knight had three horses and as these were often affected by war and disease and only lived for about ten years, they had to be renewed more frequently than local breeding allowed. Between the 12th and 13th centuries, the price of horses increased sixfold. Moreover, these animals eat five to six times more than a man and must be fed even if they do nothing. In the event of a bad harvest in the East, food for men and animals had to be sent quickly.

Each Templar also had a squire to look after the horses. Not to be forgotten are the sergeants who also acted as squires. Less heavily armed than the knights they were also equiped with a horse. The sergeants were often recruited locally and wore a brown or black tunic, not white. In fact, each Templar knight was surrounded by about nine people who helped him. (...)

The growing responsibilities of the Templars in the Holy Land increased their the cost considerably. Unable to maintain and defend their castles and fiefs, the secular lords entrusted these tasks to the military orders. According to Benedict of Alignan, a Benedictine abbot who visited the Holy Land in the 1240s, the Templars spent 1,100,000 Saracen besants in two and a half years to rebuild their castle at Saphet (Safed). At the time a knight of Acre could live comfortably on 500 Saracen besants a year. The Templars continued to spend 40,000 Saracen besants each year on the day-to-day running of the castle. Saphet had 50 Templar knights, 30 mounted sergeants, 50 mounted archers, 300 crossbowmen, 820 engineers and other men in charge of certain missions, not to mention 400 slaves, making a total of 1,650 people, a number that rose to 2,200 in wartime. All were housed, fed, armed and supplied in various ways.

Only the vast estates overseas and especially in the West allowed the Templars to operate on such a scale and to recover from losses and setbacks in order to continue defending the Holy Land."

This blog is a slightly edited and abreviated French-English translation by TN from a May 5, 2021 post by Ginette Frere on Facebook. The source of that FB post was a 2015 blog on Illustration from this source

Support TemplarsNow™ by becoming a Patron, tipping us or buying one of our Reliable Books












No comments: