Knights Templar

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Paw cross of the Knights Templar

The Knights Templar was a religious knightly order that existed from 1118 to 1312. Its members are referred to as Templars , Knights Templar or Templars . His full name was Poor Knighthood of Christ and the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem ( Latin : Pauperes commilitones Christi templique Salomonici Hierosolymitanis ).

The order of knights was founded in 1118 in the Kingdom of Jerusalem . He was the first order to combine the ideals of noble knighthood with those of monasticism , two classes that had been strictly separated until then. In this sense he was the first order of knights and an elite military unit during the Crusades . He was directly subordinate to the Pope. Under pressure from the French King Philip IV , the order was officially dissolved by Pope Clement V on March 22, 1312 at the Council of Vienne after a lengthy, sensational process ( Templar process ) . As a result, there were several organizations that related to the legacy of the Templar Order and some are still active.


The name "Poor Knighthood of Christ and the Temple of Solomon" comes from the fact that King Baldwin gave the order a wing of his palace, today's Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, where until it was destroyed by the Persian Sassanid ruler Chosrau II . in the year 614 the basilica of St. Maria had been offered as quarters, which had been built on the foundation walls of the temple of Solomon .


At the site of today's Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount , where the Basilica of St. Mary stood from 530 to 614 , was the first headquarters of the Knights Templar until 1187 .
Baldwin hands over the Temple of Solomon to Hugo von Payens and Gottfried von Saint-Omer.

The events of the early years of the Knights Templar cannot be definitively established historically. The most important source in this regard is the report of Archbishop Wilhelm von Tire . Wilhelm, however, was born around 1130 and was therefore not an eyewitness or contemporary. Further descriptions come from Jakob von Vitry , who was bishop of Acre in the early 13th century .


Settlements of the knightly orders in Outremer until 1291

The exact founding date of the order is not known, it was probably between 1118 and 1121. Difficulties in dating are due to the contemporary style of the documents. The Council of Troyes , in the context of which the first documentary mention falls, is documented at the time for January 1128. However, at that time in southern France the documents were dated in the so-called style of the Annunciation , in which the beginning of the year is celebrated on March 25, so that the documented January 13, 1128 was probably January 13, 1129 according to today's calendar. Like almost everything in the early history of the order, this interpretation is not undisputed. The document in question speaks of the ninth year of foundation, which, with the restriction mentioned above, suggests that it was founded in 1119 or 1120.

At that time Jerusalem was a magnet for many pilgrims and adventurers from Europe. Shortly after the first crusade , the sea route was open. However, the roads from the coast inland were very unsafe. The numerous pilgrims in the mountainous regions on the route from Jaffa via Ramla to Jerusalem attracted robbers. The majority of the crusader army had returned to Europe, which is why there was little protection from raids. In all likelihood it was Hugo von Payns , Gottfried von Saint-Omer and seven other French knights who therefore founded an order whose task it was to secure the roads of the Holy Land for Christian travelers. The knights took a religious vow before the Patriarch of Jerusalem . In addition to the "classic" vows related to poverty, chastity and obedience, the friars also committed themselves to ensure the protection of pilgrims.

In addition to Hugo von Payns and Gottfried von Saint-Omer , Andreas von Montbard (an uncle of Bernhard von Clairvaux ), Gundomar, Gudfried, Roland, Payen von Montdidier, Gottfried Bisol and Archibald von Saint-Amand are also founding members . The early title of the order was Paupere Militie Christi (Poor Knights of Christ). The new king of Jerusalem, Baldwin II , left the buildings of his former palace on the Temple Mount to the Templars in 1119 . He himself moved into a newly built palace near the Tower of David . The order then called itself Pauperes commilitones Christi templique Salomonici Hierosalemitanis (Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem), from which the usual names Templar Knights , Templars and Templar Orders are derived.

Order rule

The statutes of the order were based on the rule of Benedict of Nursia from the 6th century. The first version was written in Latin in 1129 at the Synod of Troyes . By 1260 the original 72 chapters were expanded to 686. The rule was translated into French early on, as very few Templars were able to speak Latin. The additions mainly concern the military area, as well as the penalties for offenses against the rules of the order. The praise of the new knighthood , written by Bernhard von Clairvaux in 1139 , a justification for the new way of life of the monk knights , was also integrated into the rule text.

The 72 chapters of the order's rule included:

  1. How the brothers should attend the worship service
  2. How many Our Fathers the brothers should pray when they cannot attend the service
  3. What to do after the death of a friar
  4. Chaplains and clergy receive nothing but maintenance and clothing
  5. What to do after a temporary servant dies
  6. Religious brothers should not make vows
  7. When to stand or sit at church service
  8. From the common meal
  9. A sacred reading is to be given at lunch and dinner
  10. There should be meat for the healthy three times a week
  11. About the order at meals
  12. On the remaining days, two or three vegetable dishes or other dishes should suffice
  13. Which dishes should be served on Friday
  14. After the meal they should always say a prayer of thanks to God
  15. The tithe of every bread should always be given to the almsman
  16. It is left to the discretion of the master, the brothers before Compline to have to pour a glass of wine or water
  17. After Compline silence should be kept. It may only be broken if absolutely necessary
  18. Exhausted people do not need to get up to Matutin , but can lie down with the permission of the master
  19. Ritter and the other brothers receive the same meal
  20. How and in what way the knights and the other members of the monastery should be dressed
  21. Servant brothers should not wear white coats
  22. Only the Knights of the Order are entitled to the white coat
  23. How the old clothes should be distributed to the squires , the serving brothers and the poor
  24. They should only sheepskins have
  25. Whoever desires better should get simpler things
  26. How clothes and shoes should be made and what number one should have
  27. The clothes manager should ensure that the clothes are the same
  28. About the superfluity of hair, whiskers and mustaches
  29. Of pointed shoes and shoe bows and the length of the robes of those who are not permanently on duty
  30. On the number of horses and squires
  31. Nobody should presume to beat his squire who serves out of love
  32. How the Temporary Brothers are received
  33. No one should go out according to his own will, rather (only) at the command of the master
  34. Nobody should personally ask for a horse or weapons
  35. From the reins, stirrups and the spurs
  36. Coverings over lances , skewers and shields are not permitted
  37. How the horse's feed sacks should be
  38. Of the Master's authority to give one thing to another
  39. No brother is allowed to exchange his things without Master's order
  40. One should not ask anything from the other, except insignificant things and only the brother from the brother
  41. From the closure on the riding bag and suitcase without the permission of the master
  42. Whether a friar can write or receive letters without permission
  43. It is not allowed to chat with another about his or her mistakes or those of others
  44. Nobody should catch another bird with the bird
  45. You should beware of any opportunity to hunt
  46. There are no rules regarding the lion
  47. Hear the verdict on every thing asked of you (addendum of the court)
  48. The same should be done for all things taken from you
  49. All professed knights are allowed to have land and people
  50. Of the sick knights and other brothers
  51. How their carers should be
  52. No one should incite the other to anger
  53. How to deal with married people
  54. It is not allowed to continue to have sisters
  55. It is not good, with excommunicated maintain handling
  56. How to welcome the brothers who are newly entering
  57. When to call all the brothers to council
  58. How is prayed
  59. Whether it is evil to take the oath of a servant
  60. How boys should be received
  61. How the old men should be honored
  62. Whether it is useful to give food and clothing to everyone equally
  63. From brothers who travel through different provinces
  64. Of tithe to be raised
  65. Of light and serious offenses
  66. By what guilt a brother is no longer accepted (i.e. expelled)
  67. From Easter to All Saints' Day a brother should only have a linen shirt if he wants
  68. How many and which sheets are needed in the beds
  69. Of grumbling to be avoided
  70. They should not turn their attention to the face of women
  71. Nobody should be a godfather
  72. From the regulations

Early years

In 1125 the order experienced its first boom with the entry of Count Hugo I of Champagne , who had been a friend of Abbot Bernhard of Clairvaux . Bernhard was one of the most important clerics of his time. After initial skepticism, from 1129 onwards he spoke out for the support of the Knights Templar.

In 1127 Hugo von Payens traveled back to Europe accompanied by other founding members (number is not known; one speaks of eight to thirty members) to recruit new members for the order. In addition, the idea of ​​the union of warriors and monks had raised issues that the Templars wanted to submit to the spiritual greats of Christianity. In Jerusalem there were probably already a number of members of the order at this time, because after ten years the expansion of the Al-Aqsa mosque into a fortress and seat of the Templars was completed in 1129 . This could hardly have been achieved and managed by the four members who remained behind in Jerusalem.

From 1127 onwards there was an increasing number of donations of land to the Order, especially in France, but also in England, Spain, Portugal and Italy. A large part of the donations is attributed to the influence of Bernhard von Clairvaux , who was abbot of the Cistercian monastery of Clairvaux .

On January 13th 1129 the Council of Troyes took place. According to the preamble to the rule of the order, Cardinal Matthias von Albano, some bishops, Abbots Hugo von Mâcon von Pontigny , Bernhard von Clairvaux, Stephan Harding von Cîteaux as well as other clerics and lay people were present; von der Templern, Hugo von Payens, Andreas von Montbard and possibly other members of the order attended the meeting. The rules of the order were laid down in writing. They were influenced by Augustinian , there are also Cistercian influences recognizable, which for some suggests that Bernhard was involved in establishing the rules. With numerous other joinings, there was an increase in donation income. In the Holy Land, the castles of Baghras (from 1134 or 1137), Roche Roussel and Darbsak were among the earliest possessions of the Templars.

On March 29, 1139, the organization of the Templars was confirmed again by Pope Innocent II with the bull " Omne datum optimum " and the order was placed directly under the Pope. As a result, the order actually formed a state within a state and was almost inviolable for secular rulers. So he was not only exempt from tax , but was allowed to raise taxes himself. He also lent money against interest, which was forbidden, but tacitly accepted. The Templars slowly began to concentrate more and more on this business.

The Templars were the first order to combine the ideals of noble knighthood with those of the monks . Following the example of the Templars, further fraternities were transformed into religious orders of knighthood. The most important of these in Europe is the Order of St. John or Hospitaller , which existed as a pure hospital brotherhood as early as 1099 and expanded its field of activity from the accommodation and care of pilgrims, the sick and the poor to their military protection by religious knights by the middle of the 12th century. The Hospitallers residing in Malta are known as the Order of Malta. The Teutonic Order , founded in 1189 as a hospital fraternity, was expanded into a religious knightly order in 1198 based on the model of the Templars. In the period that followed, there was lively competition for power and influence in the Holy Land, particularly between the Knights of St. John and the Templars, which sometimes even degenerated into bloody battles and weakened the Crusader states as a whole.

Principles and goals

Protection of the pilgrims

The numerous pilgrims in the mountainous regions on the route from Jaffa via Ramla to Jerusalem increasingly attracted robbers. Therefore, the roads from the coast to the interior were very unsafe, not least because most of the crusader army had returned to Europe. For this reason, there was little protection against raids, which is why it was its first and original task when the order was founded around 1118 to secure the roads of the Holy Land for Christian travelers.

Military activities

Templar castle in Ponferrada , Spain, which was built in the 12./13. Century on the edge of the Camino de Santiago was built and also to protect the pilgrims served

The Order's first war effort on the occasion of the siege of Damascus in 1148 ended in fiasco. Many, if not most, of the Templars died in battle. However, the ranks were replenished, and the Templars participated in all major military actions in the Holy Land. Like the other orders, the Templars remained independent from the Kingdom of Jerusalem and became a separate political force. After the fall of the city of Acre , the last capital of the Christian Outremer , on 18 May 1291 the local Templar citadel still held another ten days was then interrupted, by the troops of Mamelukes - Sultan undermined and exposed to an assault, on the Defenders together. The last two castles on the mainland, the fortresses Tortosa and Athlit , were evacuated without a fight in August. The order withdrew to Cyprus . An island (nowadays waterless) off Tortosa, Ruad , remained in the possession of the Templars until September 28, 1302 .

The order actively participated in the expulsion of the Moors ( Reconquista ) from the Iberian Peninsula .

Economic activities

The branches of the Knights Templar in Europe around 1300

The Templars were not only concerned with the war trade: the income of the European Commanderies had to be transported to Outremer , the Latin states in the Holy Land. These transports established the financial activities of the temple. Initially, the temple houses in the east were only used as safes and treasuries in the country; the first rental shops are guaranteed as early as 1135. Towards the end of the 12th century, the Templars made money loans a regular business activity and became a European financial power. Her financial reputation was so good that Muslims also made use of her services. The Templars invented their own type of letters of credit (forerunners of today's travelers' checks ) as well as advanced accounting techniques.

About 15,000 members of the order administered around 9,000 estates scattered across Europe (only a small number of which were independent commanderies). Their job was to generate profits to finance the struggle in Palestine and to recruit men. Among the best known are the two " headquarters ", the Temple in Paris and the Temple Church in London , as well as the settlement around the Commandery Tempelhof ( Tempelhoffe , 1290), today's Berlin-Tempelhof , where the castle-like raised and walled village church Tempelhof in the old Park represents the last remnant of this old Templar Commandery. Tempelhof was more of a country estate than castle festivals: "We have to renounce the cliché that portrays the Templars (or the Johanniter) as knights ready to fight at all times, who roamed Christendom from their [Central European] monastery festivals." There is still a castle of the old Templar Order in Europe ( Castle of Ponferrada in Spain), all others have been destroyed in the meantime, apart from the fortified monastery complex Convento de Cristo in Tomar, Portugal .

The resolution


Templar kisses cleric from behind (Propaganda Manuscript Illustration, circa 1350)

Like the establishment of the order, its end came in several steps. The reasons were varied. For one thing, the structures of the kingdoms increasingly solidified between 1100 and 1300. Where one was previously a Christian and then, for example, a subject of the French king, this relationship gradually reversed. The kings viewed the supranationally organized papal orders with increasing distrust, especially since the monk knight orders formed the largest standing army and also the most experienced in combat. Unlike the Templars, the other two great orders knew how to secure their own territorial domains: the Johanniter on Rhodes and the Teutonic Knights in the Baltic States. In addition, the Templars rejected the application for membership of King Philip IV (Philip the Fair).

In addition, after the fall of Outremers, several scholars in confidential reports recommended a new crusade to the French king. The king was supposed to get some of the money by destroying the Templars and confiscating their goods. Since Philip IV was heavily in debt, including with the Templars, he took this advice to heart, but without thinking of a crusade. However, such an obvious procedure was also impossible for the king: The legal scholars expressly emphasized that the confiscated goods had to benefit the Christian cause in the Holy Land .

Through the permanent coexistence with Muslims, the acceptance of the Templars towards Islam increased. The close contact of the Templars to the Muslims also aroused the displeasure of the church and was one of the main charges against the community in the dissolution process against the Templar Order in 1312.


Cremation of Templars for alleged sodomy and heresy

In 1307 the members of the order were finally charged with heresy and sodomy (in the sense of homosexual acts). The Pope was dependent on the French king at the time, so the chances of the order were slim. Philip IV made the matter a state affair. He skillfully put pressure on Pope Clement V , who came from France and had relocated his official residence to Avignon, and, on the pretext of allegedly existing children of the Pope, threatened a heretic trial against his predecessor and mentor Boniface VIII , which continued until his death of the assassination attempt of Anagni (1303) initiated by Philip IV . The king also threatened to split off the Church of France if the Pope did not stop supporting the Templars, because if the latter stood in front of the heretical Templars, he himself could get the reputation of being a heretic.

Philip IV's arrest warrant and arrests

On September 14, 1307 (the important feast of the " Exaltation of the Cross " and thus certainly a well-considered date), Philip IV's arrest warrant was issued, for all Templars without exception. They are to be arrested, detained and brought to the judgment of the Church ( capti tenantur et ecclesiae iudicio preserventur ), their possessions and movable property are to be confiscated and kept in safe hands ( omnia bona sua mobilia et immobilia saisiantur et ad manum nostram saisita fideliter conserventur ) . Sealed letters were sent from the royal chancellery to all "departments" in France with the condition that they be opened on Friday, October 13th , 1307 and then strictly according to the contents. The letters contained the arrest warrants. With this nationwide concerted action it was successfully prevented that the brothers could warn each other. Through numerous and almost simultaneous arrests, all Templars in Philip's entire sphere of influence were surprised. The royal side boasted that only twelve knights had escaped, including only one dignitary. The wave of arrests was a well-organized police commando - the first known of its kind in history.

138 people were arrested in Paris. In 1309 a papal commission counted 546 prisoners in Paris, where they had been taken. The investigation of the Inquisition dragged on for years. The allegations were the same for all the brothers: primarily heresy , sodomy (in the sense of homosexuality) and idolatry. From today's perspective, there was no real basis for the Templar trial . From the point of view of that time, however, there were certainly clues, namely in the consuetudines , i.e. the detailed implementation provisions of the rule that could be used for this. The consuetudines, which were fairly detailed, were usually strictly confidential. (There is a known letter from a Templar from southern France to the Grand Master, in which he reports almost desperately that the consuetudines had fallen into the hands of the king's people .) These also take a position on grievances, such as those in some cases occurred in all monasteries; For example, paragraph 573, which tells about three brothers convicted of sodomy and the punishments they met with. The Grand Master Jacques de Molay initially confessed under torture , but withdrew shortly afterwards. A very long preliminary investigation followed, against the will of the French king, who wanted a short trial. Had he succeeded in proving that the order had left the path of its rule without being criticized by the Pope (who had approved the order and had the duty of supervision), the Pope himself would have been in trouble. The Pope prevented this. A test of strength between Pope and King finally ended with a compromise to the detriment of the Templars: The Pope refrained from bringing the king to trial because of the Anagni assassination attempt , and in a bull rex glorie virtutum of April 27, 1311 confirmed the divinity of the kingship ( electum a domino) and ordered the physical removal / destruction of the bull unam sanctam from the Vatican records (which also happened), in which the primacy of the Pope over kingship was expressly affirmed; the king renounces a " Celestine V " trial. The victim was the Knights Templar, whose possession remained with the church, or with the Johannites and newly founded orders in Spain and Portugal (ad subsidiam terram sanctam).

Dissolution of the order under Pope Clement V.

On March 22, 1312 Pope Clement V dissolved the order at the Council of Vienne (France). After there was no more medal, no more trial was possible; it remained with the preliminary investigation. In its entirety, the order was not condemned; individual Templars were condemned. The goods of the dissolved order were transferred to the Johanniter . Some of the surviving friars have joined Spanish / Portuguese orders, in Germany also the Teutonic Order .

On March 18, 1314, the last Grand Master of the Templar Order, Jacques de Molay , was burned at the stake with Geoffroy de Charnay in Paris. Jacques de Molay had initially been sentenced to life imprisonment. Since he had revoked again and again rejected all accusations against the order, he was burned as a "relapsus" (recidivist heretic) according to the then applicable law. The execution took place on the west side of the Pont Neuf on the Île de la Cité in Paris. At this point, a plaque commemorates Jacques de Molay, and flowers are laid in memory.

Procedure timeline

  • September 14, 1307: Philip IV's secret order to arrest the Templars on October 13, 1307 and the start of the Templar trials
  • October 13th, 1307: (" Black Friday ") capture of all Templars in France
  • 24./25. October 1307: Jacques de Molay's confession
  • November 22nd, 1307: Clemens V pulls the trial
  • December 24, 1307: Jacques de Molay revokes his confession
  • August 8, 1309: Beginning of the papal investigation, which lasted until June 5, 1311
  • May 12, 1310: 54 Templars burned near Paris
  • October 16, 1311: Opening of the Council of Vienne
  • March 22nd / 3. April 1312: Abolition of the Templar order by Clemens V (Bulle Vox in excelso )
  • May 2, 1312: Transfer of the Templar goods to the Johanniter (Bulle Ad providam )
  • March 18, 1314: Jacques de Molay is burned at the stake in Paris with Geoffroy de Charnay
  • since 2001: evaluation by historians
  • October 25, 2007: The Vatican releases the Templar Act, which was lost in the 17th century, for the public

Fate of the Templars after the dissolution of the order

Although, according to official sources, almost all Templars in France had been arrested, only a few death sentences were actually carried out, and only in France. For example, in Avignon , the papal seat at the time , not a single death sentence was carried out. Outside the direct sphere of influence of King Philip IV , the Templars were only partially persecuted, and sometimes even left in peace. Tradition has it that the last Knights Templar in the Rhineland fell in a heroic battle at Lahneck Castle . However, with the loss of the intellectual and economic leadership and the head office of the order in Paris, the power of the Templars was broken. Their activities were only local or regional in nature. In Cyprus and elsewhere, the dignitaries remained in custody until death, and in Spain numerous Templars were acquitted. It is recognized, including by the Pope, that the charges against the Templars as a whole were unfounded. There were only misconduct by individuals. Sometimes it is spoken of the "most monstrous judicial murder in history"

Early links to the Knights Templar

The Spanish order of knights of Montesa followed on from its history immediately after the order of the Knights Templar was dissolved. The Order of Montesa was founded in 1316 by James II of Aragón and provided with the goods of the Templar Order. This order was founded mainly for the purpose of providing shelter for the Templars.

In 1319 King Dionysius founded the Order of the Knighthood of Jesus Christ ( Christ Order ) in Portugal . The goods of the Knights Templar in Portugal were transferred to the newly founded order of the "Knights of Christ". It was also determined that the knights had to live according to the rules of the Order of Calatrava . Since the foundation had been prepared over several years, the new order received papal confirmation. Many of the Templars who fled before Philip IV were accepted into it. Portugal did not take part in the persecution of the Knights Templar because it ran counter to its own interests.


Numerous castles, comers and other possessions of the Knights Templar were widespread in Western and Central Europe.

After the order was dissolved in 1312, most of the properties were transferred to the Order of St. John.

Motto, seal and coat of arms

Copy (cast) of a younger seal of the Knights Templar in an exhibition in Prague

The motto is the beginning of Psalm 115: 1:

Non nobis Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam
"Not us, Lord, not us, but your name give honor"

The older seal bore the inscription:

"Seal of the soldiers of Christ from the temple"

The best known seal is the back seal of the master bull , which was later used for visitors to the order in Europe, and shows two armored knights on a horse. Its interpretation is controversial. It could point to the vow of poverty upon entry into the order, others suspect it is a symbol for the basic idea of ​​brotherhood, a third theory says that the two riders are one person, once as a warrior and once as a monk. During the wave of arrests under Philip the Fair , the prosecution assessed it as evidence of the order's homosexual practices.

In the founding phase, the knights of the order were initially only identified by a white coat over the brown or black habit (both were called clamys ). Later ( awarded by Pope Eugene III on the occasion of the Second Crusade on April 27, 1147 ) this coat was provided with a red cross over the left shoulder. At the beginning this was an isosceles, which was later developed into a paw cross . Crutch crosses have also been used occasionally in the history of the order .

The order's banner (“Beaucéant”) is divided into two parts: a black and a white side (top and bottom - stands for strength and purity), later it looked like a chessboard, and later the Templar cross was added.



The internal religious organization was based on the caste system of the Middle Ages. Although originally every free man could become a member, a clear hierarchy soon developed :

  1. The chaplains were the clergymen, who distributed the five services that are compulsory for all members of the order and who accepted the confession. This numerically very small group occupied the highest positions in the hierarchy of the order and had certain privileges below the dignitaries and duties of the order (e.g. the regional and house committees). A chaplain wore a white coat from the rank of bishop, chaplains below this rank wore black or brown coats.
  2. The knight brothers always came from the nobility and must have received the knighthood before entering the order. They were the only ones entitled to the white coat over the black or brown dressing gown (besides the chaplains of the rank of bishop or higher), and they also had three horses (a war horse, a riding horse and a pack horse ). Four horses of selected breeds were available to the dignitaries and officials. The knight brothers had to bring their complete and very expensive equipment (especially the chain gear and the horses) into the order. They pledged themselves for life and, after a probationary period, took the vows of chastity , obedience , the renunciation of personal possessions and the protection of pilgrims on their way .
  3. The sergeants (sarjanz de mestier / servienten) or serving brothers were divided into armed brothers who fought as light cavalry and working brothers who did the work (blacksmithing, saddlery, agriculture). They wore a dark coat (black if regionally available, otherwise dark brown) and had a horse.
  4. The squires supported the knight brothers in battle. They wore a dark coat (black if regionally available, otherwise dark brown)

In the possessions of the Orient and Spain, chaplains and fighting brothers were numerous, in the Commanderies of the Occident they were rare.

In addition, one could belong to the order in other forms:

  1. milites ad terminum were knights assigned to the order as fighting brothers for a time.
  2. Turkopolies served the Templars as mercenaries. These were Christians from the Holy Land who fought like the Saracens (i.e. as light cavalry with bows and arrows or as infantry).
  3. fratres ad succurendum were lay people who only joined the order on their deathbed because of their salvation.
  4. Donates gave themselves (and part of their property) to the order. The donation usually only came into effect in old age, so that it can be seen as a kind of provision, also for the salvation of the soul.
  5. Confratres were material patrons of the order who benefited above all from the reputation of the order. This could also be women.


At the head of power stood the grandmasters elected by the brothers . In the ranking followed:

  • the Grand Commander , who was in charge of the monastic treasury, the defense and administration of a branch of the order, the so-called Kommende (also Commandery).
  • the Grand Marshal who was in charge of weapons and warfare.
  • the Großspittler , who supervised the religious hospitals.
  • the company doctor who was responsible for nursing.
  • the large draper who was responsible for the clothing and equipment.
  • the tressler (treasurer) for finance.

List of grandmasters

No. Surname Beginning of the term of office Term expires Remarks
1 Hugues de Payns   1118/19 May 24, 1136 (†)
2 Robert de Craon  June 1136 Jan. 13, 1147 (†)
3 Everard des Barres  Jan. 1147   1152 (autumn) resignation
4th Bernard de Tromelai  Jan. 1152 16 Aug 1153 (†) fallen before Ascalon
5 André de Montbard Aug 14, 1153 Jan. 17, 1156 (†)
6th Bertrand de Blanquefort  Oct. 1156 0Jan. 2, 1169 (†)
7th Philippe de Milly Jan. 27, 1169   1171 (beginning) Resignation; † April 3, 1171
8th Eudes de Saint-Amand  Apr. 1171 October 19, 1179 (†)
9 Arnaud de Toroge   1179 Sep 30 1184 (†)
10 Gérard de Ridefort  Oct. 1184 0Oct. 1, 1189 (†) fallen before Acre
11 Robert de Sablé   1189 (end) Jan. 13, 1193 (†)
12 Gilbert Hérail  Feb. 1193 Dec. 20, 1200 (†)
13 Philippe du Plessiez   1201 (beginning) Nov 12, 1209 (†)
14th Guillaume de Chartres   1210 Aug. 26, 1218 (†)
15th Pedro de Montaigu   1219   1232 (†)
16 Armand de Périgord   1232 Oct 17, 1244 or Oct 20, 1244 † in captivity between 1244 and 1247
17th Richard de Bures   1244   1247 (†) possibly only by proxy
18th Guillaume de Sonnac   1247  Apr. 1250 (†) fallen at al-Mansura
19th Renaud de Vichiers  July 1250  Apr. 1256 (†)
20th Thomas Bérard   1256 25th Mar 1273 (†)
21st Guillaume de Beaujeu 13 Mar 1273 May 18, 1291 (†) fallen in Acre
22nd Thibaud Gaudin  Aug 1291 Apr 16, 1292 (†)
23 Jacques de Molay  May 1292 18 Mar 1314 (†) executed


Traces of the Knights Templar


Chapels / churches



Successor organizations from the 18th century

In the 18th century, the establishment of new organizations began that bore the name of the Knights Templar, sometimes in variations, or that assert a reference to the earlier order. In 1705, an Ordre du Temple at Versailles was reconstituted as an order of lay knights. Napoleon I followed the zeitgeist when he set up a commission to rehabilitate the Ordre du Temple in 1805. King Louis XVIII of France took over the protectorate over the order in 1814, and Emperor Napoleon III. confirmed the status of the order as Ordo Supremus Militaris Hierosolymitani in 1853 . During the Second World War , the reign was transferred to neutral Portugal in 1942 . In 1957 a German priory was founded under the name of the German Templar Order - Ordo Militiae Crucis Templi (OMCT). In 1959 the OMCT joined the Ordo Supremus Militaris Hierosolymitani in Porto . From 1980 to 1991, the former National Socialist functionary Hugo Wellems was Prior of the OMCT. In 1997 the Ordo Militiae Templi (OMT) was founded as the umbrella organization of the European religious provinces of Christian-ecumenical Templars.

The New Templar Order, founded in 1900, followed on from the historical Templar Order. Due to its racist ideology, it is one of the many predecessor organizations of the NSDAP. The Neutempler Order was dissolved at the end of the 1930s.

A large number of these communities operate almost worldwide. The religious orientation within these orders varies greatly: from Catholic to ecumenical to non-denominational . Even esoteric orders belong to these groups like the Rosicrucians . In some Masonic systems, the Templars played a role.

The existing successor organizations of the Templar Order are not among the orders recognized by the Catholic Church. This emerges, for example, from a communication from the State Secretariat of the Vatican dated October 16, 2012, in which there is a warning against “unrecognized orders of knights”. In Germany "Ritterorden" or "Orden" is not a protected term like " Verein " and therefore does not require recognition by any other legal or religious institution. Thus, any association of persons can call itself a "knight order" or "order", but does not have the status of a legal person and is not a legal entity , but an association of persons. For this reason, some orders such as the Templar Archiconvent, as an association of persons, choose an entry in the register of associations of the competent district court according to § 21  BGB.


The Templars and about existing myths and mysteries rain the imagination of people to a particular degree, be culturally extensive rezipiert than for example with the remaining Johanniter - / Order of Malta , the Teutonic Order or the grave knights is the case. The forms of cultural reception are considerable: we encounter the Knights Templar in numerous novels, films, computer games, documentaries, audio books and pictures. Examples are: Ivanhoe , a novel by Sir Walter Scott published in 1820 , the novel Das Foucaultsche Pendel (1988) by Umberto Eco (also edited as a radio play), Da Vinci Code is the 2004 translation of a thriller by Dan Brown , filmed in 2006 under the Title The Da Vinci Code - The Da Vinci Code , The Legacy of the Knights Templar (2004), an American adventure film by Jon Turteltaub , another film is Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) by Steven Spielberg , Assassin's Creed (2016), a French-American Science fiction and action film by Justin Kurzel , which is based on the video game series of the same name and as a last example Baphomet's Curse , a five-part adventure series by Revolution Software, should be mentioned.

There are also toy and / or collectible figures. Swords and shields with emblems that are based on the Knights Templar are also offered. The cross of the Knights Templar can be found on jewelry as well as on hoodies. Entire garments in the style of the Knights Templar are available.


  • Hans Prutz : Development and Fall of the Templar Order. Using previously unprinted materials . Grote, Berlin 1888; Reprint: Martin Sendet, Walluf 1978, ISBN 3-500-24640-0 .
  • Marie-Luise Bulst-Thiele : Sacrae domus militiae Templi Hierosolymitani magistri. Studies on the history of the Knights Templar. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1974, ISBN 3-525-82353-3 .
  • Karl Borchard: The Templars in Central Europe . In: The Crusades and the Military Orders - Expanding the Frontiers of Medieval Latin Christianity (Zsolt Hunyadi and József Laszlovszky, eds.). Budapest 2001, ISBN 963-9241-42-3 , pp. 233-244 ( limited preview ).
  • Alain Demurger: The Templars. Rise and Fall 1120–1314. 50–55 Thousand. CH Beck, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-406-52367-0 (original title: Vie et mort de L'ordre du Temple, translated by Wolfgang Kaiser).
  • Alain Demurger: The Knights of the Lord. History of the spiritual orders of knights. CH Beck, Munich 2003, ISBN 3-406-50282-2 (original title: Chevaliers du Christ, translated by Wolfgang Kaiser).
  • Alain Demurger: The last Templar. The life and death of the Grand Master Jacques de Molay. CH Beck, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-406-52202-5 (original title: Le crépuscule des templiers, translated by Holger Fock and Sabine Müller).
  • Peter Dinzelbacher : The Templars. An order shrouded in mystery? Herder, Freiburg 2002, ISBN 978-3-451-04805-0 .
  • Kaspar Elm : The Templar Trial (1307-1312). In: Alexander Demandt (Ed.): Power and Law. Great trials in history. CH Beck, Munich 1996, ISBN 3-406-39282-2 ( Beck'sche series, vol. 1182).
  • Barbara Frale : The Chinon Chart. Papal absolution to the last Templar, Master Jacques de Molay. In: Journal of Medieval History. Vol. 30, 2004, pp. 109-134, ISSN  0304-4181
  • Barbara Frale: The Templars. The secret history revealed. Maverick House Publishers, Dunboyne 2009, ISBN 1-905379-60-9 .
  • Barbara Frale: Il Papato e il processo ai Templari. L'inedita assoluzione di Chinon alla luce della diplomatica pontificia. Rome 2003, pp. 9-48, ISBN 88-8334-098-1 (on the 2001 rediscovered document of Clement V's repeal of the excommunication of Molay in Chinon 1308). From p. 9–48: La storia dei Templari e l'apporto delle nuove scoperte (online, PDF; 169 kB)
  • Benedikt Hallinger: Milites Templi: Life and equipment of the serving brothers of the Templar order around 1190 . ePubli, Berlin 2018, ISBN 978-3-746788-37-1 .
  • Anke Krüger: Guilt or Prejudice? Protocols of the Templar Trial in a text comparison , p. 340 ff., ( PDF )
  • Joe Labonde: The Templars in Germany. An investigation into the historically inherited legacy of the Knights Templar in Germany. Bernardus-Verlag, Aachen 2010, ISBN 978-3-8107-0088-9 .
  • Jürgen Sarnowsky : The Templars. CH Beck, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-406-56272-3 (CH Beck knowledge).
  • Julien Théry: Philip the Fair, the Trial of the 'Perfidious Templars' and the Pontificalization of the French Monarchy , in: Journal of Medieval Religious Culture 39/2 (2013), pp. 117-148 ( download from ).
  • Dieter H. Wolf (Ed.): International Templar Lexicon. Studien-Verlag, Innsbruck 2003, ISBN 3-7065-1826-0 .

Web links

Commons : Images and Buildings of the Templar Order  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Commons : Seal of the Templar Order  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Alain Demurger: The Templars. Rise and fall. Munich, 4th ed. 1994, p. 260.
  2. Rudolf Hiestand: Cardinal Bishop Matthäus von Albano, the Council of Troyes and the emergence of the Knights Templar . In Journal of Church History . Stuttgart 99. 1988 ISSN  0044-2925 pp. 295-323.
  3. ^ Jürgen Sarnowsky: The Templars . P. 57 f.
  4. Bernd Roeck: The morning of the world . 1st edition. CH Beck, 2017, ISBN 3-406-74119-3 , pp. 227 .
  5. ^ Alain Demurger: Die Templer , p. 157.
  6. Stephan Köhler (University of Mannheim): Die Templer, in: Die Münze, March / July 2020, pp. 17–20, here p. 20; the article appeared on the occasion of the issue of a 10-euro special coin in the magazine of the Austrian Mint Club ; Information about the magazine:
  7. Source is not available.
  8. Manfred Heim : Introduction to Church History. 2nd Edition. Munich, C. H. Beck, 2008, ISBN 978-3-406-58297-4 , p. 70 (quoting J. Haller)
  9. Martin Bitschnau , Hannes Obermair : Tiroler Urkundenbuch, II. Department: The documents on the history of the Inn, Eisack and Pustertal valleys. Vol. 2: 1140-1200 . Universitätsverlag Wagner, Innsbruck 2012, ISBN 978-3-7030-0485-8 , p. 192 No. 632 . The seal from 1163/64 described there shows, surrounded by the inscription, on the obverse two fighting knights on horseback, on the reverse the Mohammedan Dome of the Rock on the Jerusalem Temple Square.
  10. a b c Data on the history of the Templar Order
  11. Ordo Militiae Crucis Templi: Grand Masters & Priore ( Memento from November 23, 2016 in the Internet Archive ), see below: Priore des OMCT - German Priorat eV
  12. Vatican warns of false knights KNA , October 17, 2012.