The Glory Years


Grand Masters 1136-1191


The successor to Hugh de Payns, Robert of Craon is also known as “the Burgundian,” but he seems to have roamed about a bit. He was certainly living at the court of Fulk of Anjou in the 1120s. Anjou has never been part of Burgundy. Some say that Robert was married but he left his wife to join the Templars. He may have stayed in Burgundy for a while before going overseas or he may have returned in 1133, when he accepted the gift of a village near the commandery of Bure on behalf of the Templars. At that time, he was listed as seneschal of the order.1 He became Grand Master in 1135.2 He was still in France a while later when he accepted the service of several men to be supported by Lord Bertrand de Balm.3

As you can see, the life of most Templars before they entered the order was rarely important enough to be noted with any certainty. Most of the evidence comes from charters that these men witnessed for others.

Robert was master during the time when many of the important papal concessions were made to the Templars, so his years in the West may have been useful. In 1139, Pope Innocent II in his bull Omne Datum Optimum informed the bishops that the Templars were under his protection.4 That was also the year in which Robert led a “singularly rash and disastrous raid in the neighbourhood of Hebron”—the first engagement we know of in which the Templars participated.5

Robert also seems to have been the master who negotiated the agreement for a final settlement of the will of Alfonso I of Aragon and Navarre, in which he divided his kingdom among the Templars, the Hospitallers, and the canons of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem.6 The final agreement is addressed to him. All in all, he seems to have been the administrator that the order needed during the first years of its expansion, even though his military ability left something to be desired.


Everard de Barres had the misfortune to be the master of the Temple in Paris in 1147, when King Louis VII decided to set off on the Second Crusade. The story of his experiences during that expedition is told in chapter 14.

Everard was elected while serving in the Holy Land, perhaps because of his exemplary behavior in protecting the pilgrims, including King Louis and Queen Eleanor. In warfare, diplomacy, and piety he showed himself to be a model Templar.

After his election, he returned with Louis to France.7But Everard decided that he was not suited to Templar life. Perhaps he felt he’d had enough of the politics of the job. His motivations are not recorded but he retired from the order soon after coming back to Paris, despite the pleas of his seneschal to return to Jerusalem. It has been said that Everard eventually joined the Cistercians but I have not been able to find proof of this. I shall continue looking.

An odd side note on Everard is that he shows up in an epic written three hundred years after his death. In the poem, Saladin, composed in the middle of the 1400s, Everard’s son, William de Barres, goes to Jerusalem with King Philip II in 1191 and there meets his father, the master of the Temple.8Now, Everard was long dead by 1191 and there is no record of his ever having a son named William. But it is intriguing that this fairly obscure Grand Master should suddenly surface in a work of fiction.


Bernard of Tremelay may have come from the Dole region of Burgundy. 9 That’s all we know of him. He was elected Grand Master after Everard de Barres decided to leave the Templars. It’s not certain at what time he took over the position or even if he was in the East at the time of his election. However, he arrived in time for the battle of Ascalon, although he must have wished he hadn’t.10 On the night of August 15, 1153, the king of Jerusalem was leading a force in an attempt to take the city-fort of Ascalon from the Egyptians. During the attack a wall of the city was breached. Bernard rushed to the spot and led the Templars through the hole in the wall and into the city.

William of Tyre says that the Templars rushed in and refused to let others follow since they wanted the booty for themselves. This gave the Moslems time to reblock the wall. The Templars were trapped inside and all of them killed. The next day their bodies were hung from the towers of Ascalon.11 William was not there at the time and Ibn al-Qalanisi, writing from the point of view of the citizens of Ascalon, only mentions that the wall was breached. “At length the way was opened to them to deliver an assault upon it at a certain point in the city wall. Having battered it down, they rushed into the town, and a great host were [sic] killed on both sides.”12 Of course, al-Qalanisi wasn’t there, either. So the only thing we can be certain of is that Bernard died in the fighting. The Templars were again without a Grand Master.


The fifth grand master of the Templars is one of the most illustrious, not because of anything he did but because of his connection to one of the best-known men of the twelfth century.

It’s not certain when Andrew of Montbard was born, but he was the sixth child of Bernard, lord of Montbard, and his wife, Humberge. Two of his older brothers, Miles and Gaudry, joined the monastery established by their nephew Bernard of Clairvaux.13 It’s possible that Andrew may even have been younger than his famous nephew.

It’s amazing that Andrew managed to hold out so long against the family pressure to enter monastic life. Bernard managed to convince all but one of his brothers and most of his uncles and cousins to join him at his abbey of Clairvaux. Eventually Andrew decided that he should also embrace the religious life. But rather than becoming a cloistered monk, spending his days in prayer, he decided to join the Templars. Whether it was his own idea or he was nudged by Bernard, I don’t know. It’s known that the two men were close and Bernard seems to have approved of his uncle’s choice.14

There is some confusion about when Andrew went to Jerusalem. Sometime before 1126, Baldwin II, king of Jerusalem, sent two messengers to Bernard of Clairvaux. He explained that they were brothers of the Temple who wanted to get confirmation from the pope for their order and also aRule to live by. The king begged Bernard to use his influence with the pope and the “princes of Christendom” to aid them. The two men sent by Baldwin were named Andrew and Gundemar.15 This was before the trip made by Hugh de Payns.

Some authors have assumed that the Andrew mentioned was Andrew of Montbard. However, this isn’t likely. Bernard’s uncle wouldn’t have needed a letter of introduction to his own nephew. Also, there’s no mention of Andrew of Montbard in connection with the Templars before the 1140s. In 1148 “Ándreas de Muntbar,” seneschal of the Templars, witnessed a gift from Barisan d’Ibelin to the Order of St. Lazarus. 16 That’s the first mention of him that I’ve found.

It’s more likely that Andrew joined the order in the rush to enlist after the Council of Troyes and by the 1140s had made his way up the ranks to become seneschal of the order.

Andrew apparently kept his nephew up-to-date with matters in Jerusalem, as two letters from Bernard to Queen Melisande prove. In the first, written sometime in the 1140s, Bernard tells her, “And if the praise of my dearest uncle Andrew is true, and I believe him implicitly, you will rule by the mercy of God both here and in eternity.”17

The second letter voices Bernard’s concern over reports he has received concerning Melisande’s behavior, perhaps having to do with her unwillingness to give up power once her son, Baldwin III, had come of age. However, Andrew has written to Bernard to say that the gossip is false. “My uncle Andrew has happily intervened, and I can in no way disbelieve him. He writes saying better things of you, that you have behaved peacefully and mildly. You rule wisely and with wise counsel; have loved the brothers of the Temple and are friendly with them.”18

At the same time, Bernard wrote to Andrew himself, lamenting the internal problems that were afflicting the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Andrew may have believed that Bernard’s influence and charisma could bring the squabbling crusader families together, for he asked his nephew to come to Jerusalem. Bernard dithers on quite a bit before deciding that he really can’t make a trip like that, even though he would dearly love to see Andrew again.19

He never did. Abbot Bernard died at Clairvaux in 1153, a year before Andrew became Grand Master.

Andrew may have been the seneschal of the Templars when he wrote these letters or still only a knight brother. It is clear that he was in the confidence of the queen and, like Philip of Nablus, who had not yet joined the order, was one of her supporters. Both Andrew and Philip appear as witnesses on Melisande’s donations to St. Lazarus in 1150 and 1151.20

In the struggle between Melisande and her son, Andrew seems to have supported the queen and her younger son, Almaric. However, he was able to stay on the good side of Baldwin III, as well.21 In 1155 Andrew witnessed one of Baldwin’s charters to the abbey of Santa Maria of Josaphat and was a frequent witness to other charters of the king.22

Andrew was certainly a part of the Second Crusade from 1148 to 1150 and seneschal of the order by the end of it. In about 1150, he writes a plaintive letter to Everard de Barre, the Grand Master, who has returned with King Louis VII to France. Things are not going well in the Holy Land. Andrew tells Everard, “we are constrained on all sides by lack of knights and sergeants and money, and we implore your paternity to return to us quickly.”23

Everard did return to Jerusalem, but not for long. Command didn’t suit him and he became the first Grand Master ever to retire.24 He was replaced by Bernard of Tremelay while Andrew of Montbard continued as seneschal.

Andrew’s opportunity came in 1154, after the gallant but pointless death of Bernard of Tremelay at the siege of Ascalon.25


As with many of the Grand Masters, nothing is known of Bertrand’s life before he became a Templar. It is possible that he was of the same family who donated property to the Templars of Douzens. The land they gave was in the Aude Valley, north of Limoux in southern France, about twenty-five miles north of the Pyrenees.26Actually, the donation was made by someone who held the land for them. They just agreed to it.

Bertrand is not mentioned in any of the seven charters of the Blancfort—or Blanchefort—family to the Templars.27A misreading on these charters has led some people, not historians, to attach Bertrand to this family. They saw the name “Bernard de Blanchefort” on the charters of Douzens and, perhaps through wishful thinking, decided that it was just a misspelling of “Bertrand.”28However, the two names are as different and distinct as “Kelly” and “Kyle” and are not used interchangeably. Bertrand’s origins are not certain.

Bertrand had only been Grand Master for about a year when, along with Odo of St. Amand, another future Templar and Grand Master, he was captured by Nur-ad-Din at the siege of Banyas in June 1157.29He was released at the end of May 1159. So he spent his first two years as leader of the Templars in captivity.

As Grand Master, he wrote back to Europe, giving the state of affairs and asking for aid for the cause.30A few of these letters survive.

The most dramatic event of Bertrand’s tenure as Grand Master was in 1168, when the Templars refused to help King Almaric on his expedition to Egypt. Almaric had long believed that control of Egypt, particularly the port of Alexandria, was essential to the safety of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Unfortunately, he had a treaty with Shawar, the sultan of Egypt. Bertrand refused to allow the Templars to break the treaty.31 The campaign was a failure and forced Shawar to seek the protection of his adversary, Nur-ad-Din, proving Bertrand correct. Relations between the king and the Templars were not cordial during this time.

Bertrand of Blancfort died in 1169. His successor was much more inclined to support the king, mainly because he had started out as the king’s man.


Philip of Nablus was born in the Holy Land. He was the son of Guy of Milly and his wife, Stephania “the Fleming.” The family probably came from Normandy.32 They settled in the town of Nablus in the early 1100s and established a lordship there. Philip had two brothers, Guy and Henry the Buffalo.33

As a young man, Philip was very much involved in the activities of the court of Melisande, queen of Jerusalem. He supported her during the time she reigned for and with her son, Baldwin III. When Baldwin decided he was old enough to rule on his own, Philip stayed on the side of the queen. It was to Philip’s town of Nablus that Melisande retired after Baldwin had taken Jerusalem.

However, once Baldwin and his mother had come to an understanding, Philip began to appear on the king’s charters as a witness, meaning that he again had some position at court. So he must have been able to pacify Baldwin to some extent. In 1153, when the city of Ascalon was finally taken from the Egyptians, Philip was among the noblemen who fought for the king.34 He must have been there for the disastrous charge that led to the death of Templar Grand Master Bernard of Tremeley (see page 000). But this didn’t seem to deter him from joining the order, himself.

Sometime before 1144, Philip married a woman named Isabella. They had three children, Rainier, Helena, and Stephania.35 Rainier, the only son, didn’t survive his father, although he lived at least until 1168, when he witnessed a charter at the abbey of Notre-Dame of Josaphat. 36In 1148, Barisan of Ibelin confirmed a donation made by Philip’s maternal grandfather, Rainier of Rama, to the abbey of St. Lazarus, just outside Jerusalem. Philip was not one of the witnesses. However, the charter was signed at the chapel of the Templars with several of the brothers in attendance.37

Philip, still a layman, did witness a charter of Melisande’s to the lepers of St. Lazarus in 1150.38But, it isn’t until 1155 that we find Philip in connection with the Templars. In that year Prince Almaric confirmed a donation made by Philip, his brothers, and his wife and children, again to St. Lazarus. This donation was made in Jerusalem and may have been made at the Templar chapel, as the one of 1148 was. Here Andrew of Montbard, now Grand Master, and several other Templars are witnesses.39

This is not an indication that Philip was planning to join the order, for the Temple was used as a central meeting point in Jerusalem for many business transactions. It does assume that Philip was at least on speaking terms with the Templars.

Melisande died in 1161 and around that time, Baldwin III arranged for Philip to give Nablus to the Kingdom of Jerusalem. In exchange, Philip became lord of the Transjordan. It’s not clear if this was a reward or a demotion. The Transjordan is the area to the east and south of the Dead Sea. Much of it is in modern Jordan. Part of Philip’s territory probably included what is now the city of Amman and stretched down to the Red Sea.40It was larger than Nablus, but definitely frontier territory, on the caravan route between Alexandria and Baghdad. King Baldwin realized that the tolls the caravans and the Bedouins paid for a safe crossing were too lucrative to give up to Philip, so he kept them for himself. Philip got everything else, though, including the responsibility of defending the Syriac natives of the area from attack.41

Philip’s decision to join the Templars is starting to make more sense.

Nevertheless, for a time at least, Philip of Nablus became Philip of Transjordan.

Two years later, Baldwin III died. As he had no children, his brother, Almaric, became king of Jerusalem. Almaric had been on Melisande’s side in the battle for the throne and he was friendly toward the man who had not deserted her. He must have been attached to the whole family, for Philip’s brother, Guy, was made seneschal of the kingdom.42

Philip joined the Templars on January 17, 1166, “probably on the death of his wife.”43 When he did so, he gave the northern part of the Transjordan to the order, including Amman and the area around it.44 It must have been difficult for him to stay behind when the Templar master, Bertrand of Blancfort, refused to accompany King Almaric on his 1168 expedition to Egypt, for his lands bordered on those that Almaric wanted to conquer.

It was also about the time that Philip’s daughter Helena died. It would be natural that being in the Templars would be important to a man who had lost so many people he loved. He could continue to serve his king but also his prayers and sacrifice could help the souls of his wife and daughter.

Philip did take part in the campaign in Egypt against the Kurd Shirkuh and his nephew Saladin.45 When Bertrand of Blancfort died, it’s possible that King Almaric influenced the election of Philip as Grand Master. On the other hand, the brothers of the Temple may have thought it would be a good idea to have a leader who got along with the king. There’s no way to tell.

But Philip was Grand Master for only a short time. His loyalty to the king was stronger than his devotion to the Templars. He resigned in 1171 in order to return to the service of King Almaric, as an envoy to Constantinople. He apparently died there in April of the same year.46

Philip’s family continued in their support of St. Lazarus. In 1183, Philip’s grandson Humphrey of Toron gave the lepers twenty bezants a year for the soul of Lord Philip. No Templars were witnesses to this, but a Brother Guido Hospitaller was in attendance.47

Philip’s career is not that unusual for a Grand Master, although only Everard de Barres also resigned. But he is not the only one to have been elected because he had a good working relationship with the secular rulers.

ODO OF ST. AMAND, 1171-1179

Odo (or Eudes) of St. Amand started his career in the court of King Baldwin III. On June 19, 1157, he was the king’s marshal. Along with several other important members of the court and some Templars, he was taken prisoner by Nur-ad-Din at the siege of Banyas.48

On April 25, 1164, Odo of St. Amand was not listed as a Templar when he witnessed a charter of Almaric, king of Jerusalem, along with Philip of Nablus and others.49Soon after, as the king’s butler, he was sent to Constantinople to escort Almaric’s fiancée, Princess Maria, the grandniece of the emperor, back to Jerusalem. So, in 1165, Odo was clearly one of Almaric’s trusted officials.50

It’s not certain when Odo joined the Templars. It had to have been after Almaric’s wedding. I wonder if he was chosen to be Grand Master by the king before he had even become a Templar. If so, like Henry II’s nomination of Thomas Becket as archbishop of Canterbury at about the same time, it turned out badly.

For whatever reason, Odo of St. Amand became Grand Master on the retirement of Philip of Nablus. Odo’s first challenge came from a “renegade Templar,” a man named Malih, who was brother of the king of Cilician Armenia. Malih had apparently converted from the Eastern to the Western Christian beliefs and joined the Templars. This is the only mention I know of a native Christian becoming a Templar. At any rate, he didn’t stay one for long. When his brother the king died, Malih went to Nur ad-Din for help. With the men he was given, Malih took the throne of Armenia from his nephew and threw the Templars out of the kingdom.51

It wasn’t an auspicious beginning for Odo. Things got worse.

Some time later an envoy came to Jerusalem from the sect of the Assassins. He told King Almaric that the Assassins were tired of paying tribute to the Templars and Hospitallers. Instead, they would like to become Christian. William of Tyre says, “The king greeted the legates with a glad heart and granted the request, like the intelligent man he was.”52 I reserve judgment on that, but, again according to William of Tyre, the envoy was on his way back to Assassin territory when he was attacked and killed by a group of Templars.53

Upon learning that the Templars had ruined his treaty, King Almaric was furious. He went to his old friend Odo of St. Amand and demanded that the men in question be turned over to his justice.

Odo refused, saying that Templars could only be judged by the master and the pope. He sent word to Almaric that he had given the leader of the murderers, Walter of Mesnil, a penance and would send him to the pope for sentencing. This did not sit well with Almaric, who took a force to Sidon, where Walter was being held. He had the man dragged out, put in chains, and sent to Tyre. Presumably he died there.54

The friendship between Odo and King Almaric was at an end.

This story has often been repeated but it seems very strange to me. Some people say that it must, at least in part, be true because Walter Map wrote the same story at about the same time in England. However, in 1179, only two or three years after this was supposed to have happened, there was a council in Rome. Two of the delegates were William of Tyre and Walter Map.55 Now Walter didn’t say in his account, “I got this story over lunch with William.” But it’s just possible that William vented his annoyance about Odo’s actions in this willing ear.

Odo might have been in a lot more trouble over this episode but Almaric died soon after this, leaving his son, Baldwin IV, a sick boy of thirteen, to handle the problem.

Since William, archbishop of Tyre, wrote almost the only chronicle of this time, we are often stuck with his prejudices. William was not a fan of Odo’s. He thought the Templar master arrogant and didn’t attempt to show him in a good light. However, I don’t think he would make up all of the stories about Odo. I’m just not sure which parts are true.

In 1179 in an encounter with Saladin, Odo “led a charge of knights that by its sheer force so divided the Christian ranks that the battle was lost.”56William certainly blamed him. “Among those of our men captured here was Odo of St. Amand, the Master of the Knights of the Temple. He was a bad man, proud and arrogant, having the spirit of fury in his nostrils. He neither feared God nor respected men.”57

William adds with relish that Odo died in captivity in Egypt a year later.

It’s not good to make an enemy of a man with a pen.


Arnold was an experienced Templar who had been master of “Provence and parts of Spain” since 1167.58He came from Catalonia and may have entered the order there but all information on him comes from his years in Provence.

Even before he joined the Templars, Arnold gave the order vineyards and other property from his family estates near Lerida. His brother, Raymond, was also a patron of the Templars although he did not become one.59Arnold was a Templar by 1173, when he was present to receive a donation from Pons of Molièes of two serfs, part of the rent of a villa, and some forestland. Arnold is listed first in the charter, but still as a “knight of the Temple” not an official of the order.60By 1179, he is definitely the master of the Knights of the Temple in Provence and parts of Spain, according to a bull from Pope Alexander III confirming all the property of the Templars in Provence and Spain.61

The date of this confirmation is March 1179, which makes me wonder if Arnold was a Templar representative to the Third Lateran Council, taking place that month. Odo of St. Amand was busy fighting Saladin. Perhaps no one else could be spared from the East. As I mentioned above, William of Tyre was there, along with the bishops of Bethlehem and Caesarea.62 One of the laws decided at this council concerned the complaints of the bishops about how the Templars, Hospitallers, and other exempt orders were abusing the privileges the popes had given them.63 What better time for Arnold to make sure that the rights of Templars in Spain were all spelled out?

And, when the Templars may have been looking for a Grand Master who hadn’t been attached to the court of Jerusalem, Arnold would have been a good choice. He was someone who had done well in another area in which fighting was going on and he knew how to deal with the authorities.

Whatever the thinking, Arnold was elected.

One of his first and more unpleasant duties was to be part of a group that included the master of the Hospitallers, the patriarch of Jerusalem, and various nobles that went to Antioch in about 1181 to convince the prince of the city, Bohemond, to give up the mistress he had moved in with and return to his wife. Bohemond promised to do everything the committee asked, but as soon as they were gone, went home to his mistress and threw the noblemen out of town instead. He was excommunicated and Antioch put under interdict but the prince was not daunted.64 So much for the fear of hell.

Whatever the Templars were expecting when they elected Arnold, there isn’t much mention of what he did as Grand Master. In the three years Arnold served, Saladin made further inroads into the Latin kingdoms and poor Baldwin IV became more and more debilitated as his leprosy progressed. As things got worse, Arnold, along with Heraclius, the patriarch of Jerusalem, and Roger des Moulins, master of the Hospitallers, went on a tour of Italy, France, and England in an attempt to get more support for the East.65

Arnold never returned to Jerusalem. He died in Verona in 1184, just before the storm broke.66


After the professional competence of Arnold of Torroja, the Templars went back to someone with more personality than sense (in my opinion). Gerard of Ridefort was either Flemish or Anglo-Norman. He came to Jerusalem to seek his fortune and by 1179 was marshall of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

According to one story Gerard had first served Count Raymond of Tripoli. As a reward, he expected to be given an heiress in marriage. However, Raymond decided to have the woman Gerard had selected marry a Pisan merchant instead, possibly one he owed money to. Gerard was understandably piqued, especially because a Pisan merchant didn’t have the social status of a landless knight. It was a dreadful insult. Sometime later, rather than try for another heiress, Gerard joined the Templars.67 This story may not be true, but Gerard did have a deep dislike for Raymond of Tripoli.

The new Templar immediately got involved in local politics. It happened that Raymond of Tripoli had been declared guardian for the child king Baldwin V, successor to the leper Baldwin IV. Little Baldwin died before he turned six. His mother, Sybilla, the daughter of King Almaric, was considered by many to be the heir to the throne. Others, including Raymond of Tripoli, thought that he could do a better job. Guess which one Gerard supported?

Along with the patriarch of Jerusalem, Gerard saw to it that Sybilla was crowned ruler along with her husband, Guy of Lusignan. But the Latin kingdoms were now divided and Saladin, whose power was growing, would make the most of this.68

The first sign of the rift was when Gerard encouraged King Guy to take an army up to Tripoli and make Raymond obey him. Wiser heads prevailed but Raymond had already made a treaty with Saladin in anticipation of an invasion by Guy.

By the spring of 1186, Guy and Sybilla were willing to make peace with Raymond. Gerard, Roger, the Hospitaller master, along with several others were sent to see if Raymond would make peace. At the same time, Saladin’s eldest son, al-Afdal, took advantage of the truce with Raymond to bring some men into Tripoli. There are various explanations for this, depending on which side is telling the story. In the end, Gerard learned about the Moslem incursion and went to the nearest Templar house, where he gathered up some eighty knights, along with ten Hospitallers and forty men from the royal garrison.69 According to the chroniclers, both the Hospitaller master and the marshal of the Temple tried to stop Gerard from attacking. He overruled them.

It was called the Battle of Cresson Springs. Roger des Moulins, master of the Hospital, was killed, as were all the royal soldiers and most of the Templars.70

Gerard of Ridefort survived.

The next day a few men, including Gerard and the archbishop of Tyre, went to see about burying the bodies. Halfway there, Gerard turned back, “so painful and grievous were his wounds from the day before.”71 Count Raymond had to come out to help with the cleanup, “very sorrowful and greatly angered at the events of the day before, and all because of the pride of the master of the Templars.”72

The one good thing that came out of this was that King Guy and Count Raymond were reconciled. Gerard doesn’t seem to have had any sort of reprimand from either of them.

The main source for this event is an unknown chronicler who clearly favored Raymond. Perhaps Gerard didn’t always advise unprepared attacks. It was his surviving them that made him look bad.

When Saladin learned that Count Raymond had made peace with the king, he attacked the count’s main city of Tiberias while Raymond was away. Raymond’s wife, Eschiva, sent word to him that she was holding out in the citadel of the city but that things were desperate.

Reading the Moslem and Christian accounts of what happened next, I am struck by the similarity of the reasons for battle, at least according to the authors of that time. King Guy is advised to “go and chase Saladin out of the kingdom at the first opportunity; [because] he was in the early days of his kingship and, if he let himself appear a fool in the eyes of the Saracens, Saladin would take advantage of him.”73 Saladin’s advisers told him “to pillage the Frankish territories and to give battle to any Frankish army that might appear in their path, ‘Because in the East people are cursing us, saying that we no longer fight the infidels but have begun to fight Moslems instead. So we must do something to justify ourselves and silence our critics.’”74


The Battle of Hattin and the loss of the True Cross. (The British Library)

So, being men, they took their armies and rode out to save face.

What became known as the Battle of Hattin took place on July 4, 1187. The crusaders were defeated in the space of six hours. King Guy, Gerard of Ridefort, and many others were captured. The True Cross, which was always carried into battle, was either lost or taken by Saladin.75

All the Templars taken at Hattin were beheaded—except Gerard of Ridefort.

The Grand Master was held captive for about a year, during which time Saladin’s armies rolled over the country, taking Jerusalem and many of the coastal cities. It was said that Gerard traded his freedom for the Templar fort at Gaza. It surrendered at his order.76

Once released, Gerard joined King Guy in the attempt to regain the city of Acre. This time he did not survive. He died in battle in October 1191.

Were his rash acts and bad advice responsible for many of the decisions that led to the fall of Jerusalem? It’s hard to say. The anonymous chronicler seems to blame him. But if so, then why did the king keep taking him back? Why did the other Templars still obey him? Maybe he was slandered. Or maybe he was such a vibrant and charismatic person that he could get away with a lot.

Now the spotlight moves from the master of the Temple to the two men who still define crusading in the minds of most people, Saladin and Richard the Lionheart. But first we need to set the stage.


Marquis d’Albon, Cartulaire Général de l’Ordre du Temple 1119?-1150 (Paris, 1913) p. 44, charter no. 61.


Alfred Richard, Histoire des Comtes de Poitou t. IV 1086-1137 (Pau: Princi Negue, 2004) p. 163.


Albon, p. 87, charter no. 125.


Rudolf Heistand, Papsturkunden für Templaer und Johanniter (Göttingen, 1972) pp. 205-10.


T. S. R. Boase, Kingdoms and Strongholds of the Crusaders (London: Thames and Hudson, 1971) p. 86.


Albon, no. 145, p. 102; no. 72, p. 55; no. 324, pp. 204-5. Also see chapter 24, Templars and Money, and chapter 8, Go Forth and Multiply.


Malcolm Barber, The New Knighthood (Cambridge University Press, 1994) p. 70.


Suzanne Duparc-Quioc, Le Cycle de la Croisade (Paris, 1955) p. 203.


Barber, p. 74.


Please see chapter 16, Between the Second and Third Crusades (1150-1191).


William of Tyre, 17, 27, pp. 797-99.


Ibn al-Qalanisi, The Chronicles of Damascus ed. and tr. H. A. R. Gibb (London: Dover, 2002; reprint of 1935 ed.) p. 316.


Barber, p. 71.


See below for Bernard’s letters to and about Andrew. It’s too bad that we don’t have Andrew’s to him.


Albon, Cartulaire Général de l’Ordre du Temple 1119?-1150 (Paris, 1913) p. 1.


“Fragment d’un Cartulaire de l’Ordre de Saint Lazare, en Terre-Sainte,” Archives de l’Orient Latin Tome II (Paris, 1884) p. 126, charter VI.


Bernard of Clairvaux, Opera Omnia Vol. 1 (Paris, 1889) col. 435, letter CCVI, “et si verum est testimonium quod de vobis perhibit charissimus aunclus meus Andreas, cum multum credimus, et hic, et in eaterum Deo miserante regnabatis.”


Ibid., cols. 374-375, letter CCLXXXIX. “Sane intervenit Andreas charissimus avunculus meus, cui in nulo decredere possimus, scripto suo nobis significans meliora; quod scilicet pascifice et mansuete te habeas; fraters de Templo dilegas et familiars habeas.”


Ibid., cols. 572-574, letter CCLXXXVIII.


“Fragment d’un Cartulaire,” 129-130, charters VIII and X.


Barber, p. 70.


Chartes de Terre Sainte Provenant de L’Abbaye de N.-D. de Josaphat, ed. H-François Delaborde (Paris, 1880) p. 70.


Quoted in Barber, Knighthood, p. 70.




William of Tyre.


Cartulaire des Templiers de Douzens, ed. Pierre Gard and Elisabeth Magnou (Paris, 1965) charter 200, pp. 172-73.


Douzens charters, A 38, 185, 200, 207; C 4, 5, 6; see also chapter 41, The Cathars.


Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail (Random House, 1982) p. 514, note 12.


Wiliam of Tyre, book 18, 14, p. 831. Also in al-Qalanisi, The Damascus Chronicles of the Crusades, ed. and tr. H. A. R. Gibb (Dover, 2002; reprint of 1932 ed.) pp. 366-67.


Recueil des historiens des Gaule et de la France Vol. XVI, ed. Bouquet, et al. (Paris, 1878), letters 123, 125, 144, 145.


For more on this, please see chapter 16, Between the Second and Third Crusades (1150-1191).


Malcolm Barber, “The career of Philip of Nablus in the kingdom of Jerusalem,” The Experience of Crusading, Vol. 2, Defining the Crusader Kingdom (Cambridge Universtiy Press, 2003) pp. 62-63.


I have no idea why he was called that and would give a great deal to find out.


William of Tyre, Chronicon, Vol. II, ed. R. B. C. Huygens (Turnholt, 1986), book 17, 21, p. 790.


Barber, “Philip of Nablus,” p. 63. Stephanie had the misfortune to lose three husbands, the last being the Raynald de Chatillon who was personally beheaded by Saladin.


H.-François Delaborde, ed., Chartes de Terre Sainte provenant de l’Abbaye de N.-D. de Josaphat (Paris, 1880) p. 84, charter no. 36.


“Fragment d’un Cartulaire,” 126-27. One of the witnesses was Andrew of Montbard, future Grand Master.


Ibid., p. 129.


Ibid., p. 134.


Barber, “Philip of Nablus,” p. 68.


Ibid., p. 69.


Ibid., p. 71. No, I don’t know what happened to Henry the Buffalo.


Barber, Knighthood, p. 106.


William of Tyre, p. 1146, “dominus Arabie Secunde, que est Petracensi . . . et Syrie Sobal qui locus hodie Montis Regalis . . . utque trans Jordanum.”


Ibid., 19, 22, p. 893.


Ibid., 20, 22, p. 942, “Philippum Neapolitatum, qui iam militia Templi deposuerit magistrum.”


“Fragment,” pp. 146-47, charter no. 29.


Wiliam of Tyre, book 18, 14, p. 831. Also in al-Qalanisi, The Damascus Chronicles of the Crusades, ed. and tr. H. A. R. Gibb (Dover, 2002; reprint of 1932 ed.) pp. 366-67.


“Fragment,” p. 140, charter no. 22.


William of Tyre, p. 913, book 20, 1.


Ibid., p. 949, book 20, 26.


Ibid., p. 954, book 20, 30. “Rex autem legationem eorum leto animo et grantator suscipiens, petitionibus eorum, sicut vir discretissimus erat.”


Ibid., p. 955.




Peter W. Edbury and John Gordon Rowe, William of Tyre: Historian of the Latin East (Cambridge University Press, 1988) p. 23 for Walter Map, De Nugis Curialem.


John L. La Monte, Feudal Monarchy in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem (Cambridge, MA: Medieval Academy of America, 1932) p. 219, William of Tyre XXI, xxix.


William of Tyre, 1002, book 21, 28. “Capti sunt de nostris Odo de Sancto Amando militia Templi magister, homo nequam, superbus et arrogans, spiritum furoris habens in naribus, nec dem timens nex ad hominem habens reverentiam.” I don’t know what the part about fury in the nostrils means. Odo may have just had allergies.


Dominic Sellwood, Knights of the Cloister: Templars and Hospitallers in Central-Southern Occitania c. 1100-c. 1300 (Woodbridge: Boydell, 1999) p. 155.


Alan Forey, The Templars in the Corona of Aragon (Oxford University Press, 1973) pp. 55-56.


Cartulaire des Templiers de Douzens, ed. Pierre Gérard and Elisabeth Magnou (Paris, 1965) p. 246, charter no. B 74.


Rudolph Hiestand, Papsturkunden für Templer and Johnniter (Göttingen, 1972) pp. 288-90.


Charles-Joseph Hefele and H. Leclercq, Histoire de Conciles, Tome V, Part 2 (Paris, 1913) p. 1087.


Ibid., pp. 1095-96.


William of Tyre, pp. 1015-17, book 22, 7.


Barber, Knighthood, p. 109.


Peter W. Edbury, The Conquest of Jerusalem and the Third Crusade: Sources in Translation (Ashgate, Aldershot, 1998) p. 39.


Ibid., p. 38.


Please see chapter 18, Saladin, and chapter 16, Between the Second and Third Crusades (1150-1191), for more information.


Edbury, p. 32.


Ibn al-Athir, in Arab Historians of the Crusades, tr. Francesco Gabrieli (Dorset, 1969) p. 117.


Edbury, p. 34.




Ibid., p. 37.


Ibn al-Athir, p. 119.


Please see chapter 16 for a more complete discussion of the battle of Hattin, although not too complete because I think it was stupid to begin with and none of them seemed to give a thought to anything beyond their honor.


Barber, Knighthood, p. 117.

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