Robert de Sablé

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Grandmaster coat of arms Roberts de Sablé

Robert IV. De Sablé († September 28, 1193 ) was from 1160 Lord of Sablé-sur-Sarthe , La Suze-sur-Sarthe and Briollay , participant in the Third Crusade and from 1191 until his death Grand Master of the Templar Order .



No exact year of birth is known, but Robert appears to have been a relatively old man at the time of his death. He was the son of Robert III. de Sablé and a leading Angevin vassal of King Richard I, the Lionheart of England . The core of his rule formed some lands around Sablé-sur-Sarthe in the Anjou region , which he had inherited from his father in 1160.

Angevin Civil War

In 1173 Robert supported Henry the Younger's revolt against his father, King Henry II of England . The revolt was put down, but Robert won the favor of the future King Richard the Lionheart for his support.

Career in the Holy Land

The Templar Grand Master Robert de Sablé and the Patriarch of Jerusalem meet King Philip II of France. Depiction from the Chroniques de Saint-Denis , 14th century.

In June 1190 he was appointed by King Richard the Lionheart, alongside Richard de Camville and Guillaume de Forz , to be one of the commanders of the fleet for the Third Crusade . Together with Camville, he then set off with a formation of 64 ships from the coast of Gascony to circumnavigate the Iberian Peninsula . A squadron of the citizens of London had already set up before them and was invited by King Sancho I of Portugal to defend the city of Silves against the Moors. Although they were rewarded for this, they began to plunder through Lisbon . After he and Richard de Camville arrived there with their ships, the situation degenerated into a real war against King Sancho. It was only when Guillaume de Forz's squadron appeared in the Tajo estuary on July 24 that they stopped the looting. United the fleet sailed on to Marseilles, where they received King Richard's crusade army.

After arriving in Palestine in 1191, he immediately joined the Knights Templar . Shortly afterwards he was elected the new grandmaster. In addition to the intercession of King Richard, he benefited from the fact that after the death of Gérard de Ridefort in the Battle of Acre , the Templars had not elected a new Grand Master for almost a year, as they first wanted to agree on a new rule of the order that would allow the service of the Grand Master at the forefront covered. He had joined the order just in time for the upcoming election. Robert established a new headquarters for the Templars in the newly conquered city of Acre , where they could hold out for 100 years.

Templar rule in Cyprus

On the way to the Holy Land, Richard's crusade army had conquered Cyprus in May 1191 . After retaking Acre in July 1191, Richard agreed to sell the island to the Templar Order for 100,000 white bezants . While the Hospitaller Order would later succeed in establishing solid bases on Rhodes and Malta , Robert de Sablé gave his order the chance to secure rule in Cyprus. After the Templars had struggled to repel some of the Cypriots' uprisings, they finally returned the island to Richard, even though they forfeited their deposit of 40,000 bezants. The cause of the Templars' failure is to be found in the weakened military position of the Templars in the Holy Land as a result of the defeat of Hattin . Although they apparently had large financial resources, they could only garrison twenty knights of the order on Cyprus. Richard sold the island in 1192 for 60,000 bezants to his vassal Guido von Lusignan , the former, now landless king of Jerusalem and was able to cover the costs of his crusade with the proceeds.

Death and offspring

Robert died on September 28, 1193 in the Holy Land .

His daughter Marguerite de Sablé, married to Guillaume des Roches , also a participant in the Third Crusade, inherited his lands. Other children were his son Geoffroi († 1200), lord of Cornillé-les-Caves , and his daughter Philippe, who married Geoffroi Marteau .


  • Wilhelm Ferdinand Wilcke: History of the Templar order . Leipzig, CHF Hartmann 1826. ( online here (Google Books) )
  • Malcolm Barber: The new knighthood. A history of the Order of the Temple. Cambridge University Press, 1995, ISBN 0-521-55872-7 .
  • Kenneth M. Setton, HW Hazard, RL Wolff, NP Zacour, MW Baldwin: A History of the Crusades: The Later Crusades, 1189-1311. University of Wisconsin Press, Madison 1969.


Individual evidence

  1. See Barber, p. 119.
  2. Cf. Marie-Luise Bulst-Thiele : Sacrae domus militae Templi hierosolymitani Magistri. Studies on the history of the Knights Templar (1118 / 1119–1314). Goettingen 1974.
predecessor Office successor
Robert III Lord of Sablé
Guillaume des Roches
Gérard de Ridefort Grand Master of the Knights Templar
Gilbert Hérail