The Templars

The New Knighthood

Before the Templars’ formation, the concept of a fighting monk was unprecedented. Unsurprisingly, this resulted in some scepticism from elements of the church. When questioned by an assembly of Churchman, including the Pope, at the Council of Troyes, Hugues de Payens provided the first insight into the exact purpose of the Templars and the Rule that had previously governed them. Up to that point, Templar life had been surprisingly frugal for men used to the life of nobility. Influenced by Clairvaux, the council drew up a series of regulations, now known as the Latin Rule. The Rule contained 73 clauses, each one dictating the way the order, both individually and collectively, would operate. The requirements largely mirrored those of the Cistercian order. They were, however, granted permission to fight in battle. Bernard of Clairvaux wrote of the new order that:

‘A Templar Knight is a truly fearless knight, and secure on every side, for his soul is protected by the armour of faith, just as his body is protected by the armour of steel.’