To believe Dan Brown and Ron Howard, the Knights of the Temple of Jerusalem guarded some secret and shocking knowledge the cardinals of the Catholic Church have long conspired to conceal. The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons are utter fabrication, to say nothing of blasphemy. The true story of this first Military Religious Order, born in the heroic age of the Crusades and suppressed by treachery and greed, is far more compelling.
The Crusades gave birth to something new in both Church and military history, the soldier monks of the Military Religious Orders. The first of these orders was the Poor Fellow Soldiers of Jesus Christ also known as the Knights of the Temple of Jerusalem or, simply, the Templars.
The Knights Templar reviews the arguments for, and the objections to, this new hybrid, considers Saint Bernard of Clairvaux's eloquent and powerful justification for the Templars, explains their life in garrison and in the field, reviews their influence in the politics of Outremer, and looks at the tragic tale of their suppression at the hands of Pope Clement V and Philip IV of France.