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The Templars (Manchester Medieval Studies) (Manchester Medieval Sources) Paperback – 8 Aug 2002

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press; 1st Edition edition (8 Aug. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 071905110X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0719051104
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 2.5 x 14 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 657,850 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


…the collection is most welcome and long overdue. Virtually all of the important surviving documents from Templar history are here. This is an admirable achievement…a remarkably useful and illuminating collection. No one with an interest in the Templars can afford to be without this volume! Paul Crawford, Alma College, Crusades Vol 4 --Paul Crawford, Alma College, Crusades Vol 4

About the Author

Malcolm Barber is Professor of Medieval History at the University of Reading. Keith Bate was Senior Lecturer in Classics at the University of Reading

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If one googles "Templars" one finds a large number of articles on the web about "the Knights of the Temple of Solomon of Jerusalem". To the professional historian most of these articles are distressingly inaccurate and lacking in hard facts about this organisation.

This book is a useful correction to the fantasies. It is a collection of translations of original French and Latin documents about the Templars. Many of them were written by officials of the organisation.

It is useful for students of history to read these documents, which tell us what is actually known about the Templars, as opposed to the fantasies that so many authors feel happy to write, presumably without having read them.

For example, some of the fantasists feel quite happy to state that the Templars were a subversive, non-Catholic organisation with secret beliefs. The actual documents provide no evidence at all that they believed anything other than the ordinary Catholic theology, nor that their ceremonies were anything other than the customary rites of the Church.

Their real history is quite spectacular enough without making them the "fathers" of Freemasonry or other weird religions, something for which there isn't any evidence. In the case of Freemasonry there is nothing to connect the Templars after their suppression in 1312 to the emergence of Masons in the 17th century - 300 years of absence of evidence.

There are 85 pages on the trial of the Templars at the instigation of the King of France, Philip the fourth. Interestingly, the documents about their Trial, when they were suppressed because the French king wanted their money, remind the reader of the accusations made during the Show Trials during Stalin's Terror in the 1930s.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.9 out of 5 stars 2 reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A Very Select Collection of Sources 7 Jan. 2017
By Stefano Nikolaou - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Everybody wants to 'own' the Templars. New Agers see them as a mystical sect with esoteric knowledge. Conspiracy theorists come up with all sorts of crazy claims. Liberals are embarrassed by their fanaticism. Right wing Christians even see them as as 'Christian Warriors' who knew how to stand up to militant Islam. I decided to check out this sourcebook to see what the primary sources had to say.

The sourcebook is divided into easy sections- the foundation of the order, warfare and politics, religious and charitable functions, human and material resources, attitudes towards the Templars and, of course, the trial. I found this division to be really convenient. In all the sourcebook translates 79 sources. It shows the development of the Templars from a small group to an international organisation. My pick is source 63, the Poem of Ricaut Bonomel from 1265. I also found the various rules to be interesting.

The biggest complaint is the lack of non Latin/ French sources. The only non Western sources is a brief extract from Michael the Syrian on the origins of the Templars. Where are the Muslim sources? Where are the Greek sources? Where are the sources from the native Christians of the Middle East? You can hardly write on the attitudes to the Templars without these!

I was also disappointed that none of the sources referred to the 'War of Saint Sabas' fought between Venice and Genoa between 1256 to 1270 over territory in Tyre. The Templars sided with Venice and the Hospitallers sided with Genoa. This war put to rest the myth of chivalry surroundings the Templars. They were quite happy to fight their fellow Christians and quite happy to employ Muslim mercenaries against their enemies. Sources for this conflict are hard to find and I thought this sourcebook might help but, alas, no!
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rich source of Historic Documents 4 Oct. 2012
By Stephen Bloom - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Malcolm Barber is the expert on the real history of the Knights Templar. This book gathers together in one place a rich collection of translated documents relating to the Templars. Barber introduces the book with his usual lucidity. It is a key source in English for those interested in understanding the real nature of the Knights Templar.
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