Monday, April 2, 2018

900th Anniversary of the Knights Templar in 2019 or 2020

source
On the internet, for example on the page of the OSMTH of France, one is preparing to celebrate this year the 900th anniversary of the Knights Templar. This stems from the proposed year of origin 1118 which is nowadays considered false.

At present it is widely accepted that it was in 1119 that the French knight Hugues de Payens approached King Baldwin II of Jerusalem (crowned king at Bethlehem on Christmas Day 1118) and Warmund, Patriarch of Jerusalem (installed in August or September 1118), and proposed creating a monastic order for the protection of these pilgrims. King Baldwin and Patriarch Warmund agreed to the request, probably at the Council of Nablus in January 1120. The king granted the Templars a headquarters in a wing of the royal palace on the Temple Mount in the captured Al-Aqsa Mosque.

In his paper The first Templar Knight (part 2), the origin of the Temple, Josè Maria Fernandez Nùñez proposes a six phase development period of the premordial Order of the Temple, from 1104 to 1120.

"The first history of the Brotherhood is known as the time that occurs between the Synod of Nablus (January 16 to 20, 1120, TN) until the Council of Troyes (January 13, 1129, TN), where the Order as such is definitely created, but...what about before? Before this period that covers from 1104 through 1120...what occurs during this period? This prehistory is the dark era of these knights. How did they support themselves?

As we shall see they had more than ample support, powerful support such as no other group of this sort ever counted on, not even the Deacon of St. John Hospitalier, to take off with such self assured success. They had economic power, they had hosts, they had lawfull cover. Later would come donations that miraculously multiply upon being accepted at Troyes. Their logistics and marketing worked marvelously.

Their provenance was made up of members of royalty and from the different noble houses of the Franks: Burgundians, Normans. etc. made the rest an easy passage of alliance with the highest spheres of the church, perhaps as Mellado says about its early ambition having no measure, perhaps it was not all bucolic and romantic as it has passed on in the annals of its first history.

It is a natural understanding that prior to this time there was already a formation “in testing” since previous  years. How many? Not known, but logic prevails and we must yield and honor the closest hypothesis based on archival documents that were consulted. If my conjectures are correct (and there is no authentic proof to think that they are not possible) we could be talking not of the nine years of its existence until Nablus. If we count 1104 as the year of its conception until 1114 when it is already constituted and is put into practice upon the arrival of the Hugh’s, in that year, until 1120, when its officially recognized at Nablus, some 16 years had transpired that would encompass the novitiate, the temporal acknowledgment; the creation of the Brotherhood or congregation in the aforementioned Synod. It can be stratified in six different periods.
  1. Ideological and embryonic phase from 1104 until 1107, in which the creation of a police force is perceived as necessary. Creative steps are taken that leave Godfrey of Sainte-Omer tasked with its creation.
  2. Formation of the Militia Christi phase, incorporating same with knights related to the conquerors that take Palestine as the new promised land, there whe-re the mister nobody’s can become someone, forcing that social stratification. In the long run, the church had served on not few occasions as a means of social climbing.
  3. Phase of activation with the presence of the Hugh’s from 1114 to 1120, where their relationship would be without rules, habits, monastic vows, no dependency on military or ecclesiastical authorities, bound only by the particular and personal oath of each of its members. Here we may apply from William of Tyre who wrote “the knights wore secular garb, they wore clothing such as all folk wear...”
  4. Foundation phase, Synod of Nablus (1120, TN) of the congregation or brotherhood, with a proper name, rules, dwellings, monastic vows, uniformity, disciplines, etc.,
  5. Acceptance by the church at Troyes phase (1129, TN). The Creation of the Order.
  6. Definite consolidation of the Order in 1139 by the Omne Datum Optimum Papal Bull.
(...) Thus the date of creation of the embryonic Templars, would be around 1107/1113, (...) From 1114 until 1120 is the recruiting phase. In 1120 the Brotherhood is legalized and in 1129 the Order is created by the Holy See, and is confirmed in 1139."

The quotes above illustrate that the ninth centennial of the Knights Templar should be celebrated in 2019 at the earliest and preferrably in January 2020. If more official events are taken al date of birth, the celebrations should be even later.

This blog quotes briefly from Wikipedia but mainly from an article "The First Templar Knights (Part 2)  -  The origin of the Temple" by Josè Maria Fernandez Nùñe in the December 2015 OSMTJ Spain The Graal Magazine to be downloaded here.  The text and interpunction was slightly improved and clarified.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

"Journeys of Relics in Tenth to Twelfth Century Northern France and Flanders"- quotes

"The social importance of saints’ relics during the European Middle Ages is well documented, yet relics have rarely been treated as mobile objects beyond discussions of their transportation from one permanent location to another (a “translation”).

The dissertation "Bringing Out the Saints: Journeys of Relics in Tenth to Twelfth Century Northern France and Flanders" by Kate Melissa Craig (University of California, Los Angeles, 2015) examines the practice of taking relics on out-and-back journeys to explore the consequences of temporarily removing these objects from the churches in which they were housed and displayed, focusing on northern France and the Low Countries during the high Middle Ages.

Medieval relics were considered direct conduits to the supernatural power of the saints, and an itinerant relic projected religious, economic, and political authority onto the areas it traveled through.
However, travel also brought a relic into contact with unfamiliar audiences. Using evidence from customaries, hagiography, charters, and images, Kate Melissa demonstrates that while moving relics transformed them into versatile tools of power, it also exposed them to criticism, antagonism, and danger from both lay and ecclesiastical groups (...)."

Click here to read this dissertation from the University of California – Los Angeles

This blog quotes the first part of a paper with the same title on medievalists.net. Illustration from the same source.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Pre-crusade Muslim religious tolerance in the Holy Land


In his book "Dungeon, Fire and Sword - the Knights Templar in de Crusades" (1991) John J. Robinson describes religious tolerance in the pre-crusade Holy Land as follows:

"Christians in the Holy Land were permitted to practice their religion, and there was no barrier to pilgrims visiting the Holy Places. They had to pay a toll to enter Jerusalem, but they also had to pay a toll to pass through the gates of London or Paris. As for the “Saracen“ rulers of Palestine, they had no problem with the presence of either Orthodox or Latin Christians in their territory, whether as pilgrims or as permanent residents.

The Benedictine Rule prevailed among Roman clerics in Palestine, and was followed by a small order that was permitted to maintain a hostel or “hospital“ for Christian pilgrims in Jerusalem. It had been founded about twenty years earlier, in 1075, by Citizens of the Italian city of Amalfi. The order was dedicated to St. John the Compassionate, sometimes called St. John the Alms-giver, a seventh-century Patriarch of Alexandria known for his pious works of Charity.

With such religious tolerance on the part of the Muslim rulers of Jerusalem, and with access to the Holy Places for Christian pilgrims, it was going to take some skillful effort on the part of the pope to stir up the people of Europe to the point that they would leave their homes to risk their lives in a foreign land."

source: "Dungeon, Fire and Sword - the Knights Templar in de Crusades" (M. Evans & Company, Inc. 1991) by John J. Robinson

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Depicting "Saracens" in the Middle Ages - part 2

Saladin source
"Representations of Saracens as "the other" abound in ... the earliest manuscripts of the 13th century to the copies of the early 15th century books. These images reinforce stereotypes of Muslims that depict them as barbarians, berserkers, idol worshipping pagans, and nothing less than the enemies of God and mankind. Highly racial and pejorative depictions of these figures highlight their negative qualities through dark skin and distorted facial features.

Despite this there are also many images from the manuscripts examined in this study that depict Saracens and Christians similarly and acknowledge certain admirable Saracens. The depictions of Saladin and Ferragut as western figures, kings and Knights no less, establish a different kind of representation of Saracen than the biased views of other depictions. Although individuals like Saladin and Ferragut are rare, this demonstrates that the artists of these manuscripts understood that these figures could be received favorably by their audiences. ...

By depicting them with western characteristics these figures were elevated from the standard Saracen topos and honored by the extension of a kind of pseudo western status to them. This is hardly an example of tolerance, for the favorable depiction of them is entirely on standard Christian terms, but it still displays a kind of nuanced understanding of the figures that is important to note. It demonstrates that Christians from the time understood Saracens as more than the monsters that they so often depict them with in the other manuscripts examined in this study..."

This blog quotes from the conclusions of "Benjamin Anthony, "Monstrous Muslims? Depicting Muslims in French Illuminated Manuscripts from 1200-1420" (2015). Honors Theses and Capstones. 236 to be found here.