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Templars and Hospitallers as Professed Religious in the Holy Land

Jonathan Riley-Smith

Publication Year: 2010

The Templars and the Hospitallers were the two earliest and most famous of the major Military Orders of the Roman Catholic Church from the early twelfth to the middle of the thirteenth century. In this book, Jonathan Riley-Smith attends to the Templars’ and Hospitallers’ primary role as religious orders, not as military phenomena or economic powerhouses. In a prologue, four chapters, and an epilogue, Riley-Smith discusses the origins of the orders in dedication to the protection of pilgrims to the Holy Land (Templars) and to the care of the poor and the sick among them (Hospitallers). He examines their traditions and early history, the organization of their communities, modes of governance, and, in the fourth chapter, important differences between the orders and a brief account of their respective fates in the wake of the Crusades. The Templars were eventually persecuted by the Church and the order suppressed. Riley-Smith speculates that the violent end of the order was caused both by jealousy of its wealth and by internal problems of governance that left it vulnerable to accusations of conducting blasphemous rites. The Hospitallers survived in one form or another to the present day; vestiges of the original order inform the contemporary Knights of Malta.

Published by: University of Notre Dame Press


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p. v

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pp. vii-viii

I began to work on the Military Orders nearly half a century ago, when my research supervisor at Cambridge, R. C. Smail, provided me with a wonderful topic. Beginners need projects that everyone agrees ought to be undertaken and for which the materials are...


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p. ix

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pp. 1-7

Military Orders are orders of the Roman Catholic Church, the brothers (and occasionally sisters) of which are professed religious, subject to the usual obligations of, and constraints in, canon law, except that some of them had the right and duty to bear arms. Priests...

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pp. 9-24

In March 1198 there was a gathering in Acre of almost everyone of importance in the city. The patriarch of Jerusalem; the archbishops of Nazareth, Tyre and Caesarea; the bishops of Bethlehem and Acre; the masters of the Temple and the Hospital; Henry of Champagne, the...

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pp. 25-42

When he was minister of the Franciscan province in the Holy Land Fidenzio of Padua was asked by the grand master of the Temple to provide two friars to assist as chaplains at the castle of Saphet. He recalled later that when Saphet fell to the Egyptians in 1266, after...

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pp. 43-59

In a letter written in 1260 Grand Master Thomas Berard of the Temple exclaimed: “there is not a prince in this world who could conveniently hold seven castles at the same time . . . and add [to this] the costs involved in the defence of such a great city as Acre, a major part...

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pp. 61-65

In a memorandum written in 1305 James of Molay, the last grand master of the Temple, asserted that “the Hospitallers were founded to care for the sick, and beyond that they bear arms . . . whereas the Templars were founded specifically for military service.” 1 The Templars, in other words...

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pp. 67-70

Between 1278 and 1283 the Hospitaller knight William of Santo Stefano was compiling a collection in translation of historical texts, with the help of the order’s treasurer, who lent him material from the archives. William was transferred from Palestine to Lombardy, where...


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pp. 71-104


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pp. 105-118


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pp. 119-131

E-ISBN-13: 9780268091712
E-ISBN-10: 0268091714
Print-ISBN-13: 9780268040581
Print-ISBN-10: 0268040583

Page Count: 160
Publication Year: 2010

OCLC Number: 694144452
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Templars and Hospitallers as Professed Religious in the Holy Land

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Templars -- History -- To 1500.
  • Hospitalers -- History -- To 1500.
  • Military religious orders -- History.
  • Mediterranean Region -- History -- 476-1517.
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