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Southern Magic - History Tidbits

The Crusades and the Knight Templars

By Carla Swafford

To qualify for membership in the Order of the Knights Templar, a young knight must be of the holy Catholic faith, born legitimate and of a knightly family. He must not be married or in holy orders, not be in debt, and not have bribed anyone to gain admission to the Order.

Templar knights were provided with two shirts, a long-sleeved tunic, two pairs of shoes and drawers, a long surcoat, a cape, two mantles. They were also given two towels, their bedding, their armor, including a suit of mail, helmet, leggings, and white surcoat with red cross. Yep, there's more. They were provided with a sword, a lance, a shield and three knives, and finally three horses.

Outfitting Templar knights were very expensive but the Order had grown rich. Over the years they had won many privileges, including tithe and tax exemption.

By the 1240s, rivalry increased between the Hospitallers and Knight Templars to the extent they fought each other openly in the streets of Acre.

The 13th century brought forth a new word, the "Crusades." Before then, people would go on "The expedition of God," "the business of Christ," or "the pilgrimage."

Robert, duke of Normandy, pawned his entire duchy just to join the First Crusade.

When a knight went on "the business of Christ," he was not obligated to pay taxes, pay off debts, or incur any interest on his debt. He held a temporary clerical position under the church's jurisdiction and, in turn, the church was to protect his family and property.

At the end of the third crusade, after four years of fighting, a treaty was made between East and West. Peace was to reign for a term of three years, three months, three weeks, three days, three hours, three minutes, and three seconds. During this treaty, the cities of Acre and Jaffa were left in Christian hands, allowing them to make pilgrimages to Jerusalem in safety.

Begun in 1198, the Fourth Crusade never reached Jerusalem. Instead the army ransacked Constantinople, a Christian city.


Taken from Magic Moments - October 2000 Volume 3/Issue 10