The Templars, the Knights Hospitallers, the Teutonic Knights - the chivalric orders founded during the Crusades evoke romantic images of warrior monks who were fierce but spiritual, chaste and pious yet battle-ready. But what were they really like? How did their organisations form, rise and decline? And how much of what we think about them is myth?
The Knights Templar tells the stories of the major and minor military orders from the 11th century to - in the case of the surviving orders - the present day. Organised chronologically, the book follows the fates of orders, from the foundation of the Knights of St Peter in 1053 to the major crusading era in the Holy Land in the 12th and 13th centuries, from the Teutonic Knights in the Baltic to the Reconquista in Iberia and on to the Hospitallers' later ventures in the Mediterranean and even in the Caribbean.
Full of surprising details, the book not only explores how the military and religious aspects of the orders were reconciled, but also looks more broadly at the orders' work, from the Templars' role in the development of modern banking to hospital, castle and cathedral building, from the Teutonic Knights' treatment of non-believers to the Hospitallers' battles against Barbary pirates.
Illustrated with 180 colour and black-&-white photographs, artworks and maps, The Knights Templar is a fascinating history of about some of Europe's most often misunderstood organisations.