A Reading List
- The best comprehensive study of the Templars is Malcolm Barber’s THE NEW KNIGHTHOOD. Barber covers the entire history of the order and also discusses the various myths that have grown around them.
- Another similar book, which is also based on primary documents is Edward Burman’s THE TEMPLARS: KNIGHTS OF GOD.
- The rules and statutes of the Templars, far from being secret, were written in both Latin and Old French, since many of the Templars did not have a clerical education. I don’t know of any English translation of these rules, although one may exist. However, there are several in modern French. The one I like best is Laurent Daillez RÈGLE ET STATUTS DE L’ORDRE DU TEMPLE. He includes photos of the original manuscript and the rules are in two columns, Old French on the left and modern on the right.
- Another French compilation of texts is Pierre Girard-Augry AUX ORIGINES DE L’ORDRE DU TEMPLE. This includes the text of St. Bernard’s endorsement of the order “In Praise of the new Knighthood” and also letters concerning the early days of the Order. He does discuss the myth, but his strong Catholic bias is obvious. For an objective, scholarly assessment, stick with Barber.
- Bernard’s very influential treatise is available for free in the Latin Liber ad Milites Templi De Laude Novae Militiae, written at the request of Hughes de Payen, the founder of the order is available for free. One of the other charter members was Bernard’s uncle, André de Montbard. An english translation exists titled In Praise of the Knighthood: A Treatise on the Knights Templar and the Holy Places of Jerusalem (Cistercian Fathers) translated by Conrad Greenia.
- If you still feel you’d like to know more, some of the Templar Charters have been published. They are in Latin, with French introductions. The two I have in my library are:
- Maurice D’Albon, CARTULAIRE GÉNÉRAL DE L’ORDRE DU TEMPLE, Paris, 1913 which is mostly from Northern France, and…
- Pierre Gérard et Élisabeth Magnou, CARTULAIRES DES Templiers de Douzens, Paris, 1965, which covers a great deal of Southern France.
If you want to learn even more about the middle ages, here are some web pages set up by medievalists:
- Medievalists.net can be a fun read for someone who’s just finding their feet.
- To explore the architecture and history of a medieval abbey, you may want to visit an excellent site devoted to L’abbaye de Saint-Germain d’Auxerre.
- For medieval texts try Labyrinth, which has a number of primary sources online, as well as lesson plans for grade and high school teachers.
- There is a Center for Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University.
- Leeds University in England, also has an Institute for Medieval Studies.
- One can also find the Center for Millennial Studies.
- The University of Manchester hosts a site for many medieval documents.
- If Medieval Music is to your liking, you can visit the aforementioned site of my friend Dr. Judith Cohen, or you can also visit New Orleans Musica da Camera the oldest surviving early music organization in the country, founded in 1966 by director Milton G. Scheuermann, Jr. The group is dedicated to the music of the 10th through 16th centuries, and to making that music current and living for the listeners of the 21st century.