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Cheat Sheet

The Templar Code For Dummies

From The Templar Code For Dummies by Christopher Hodapp, Alice Von Kannon

The Knights Templar hold an interesting place in the history of Europe. The hierarchy of the people of the Templar Order was as well-structured as their architecture, both of which you'll see below. You'll also find some important dates in the rise and fall of the Knights Templar.

People of the Templar Order

Every organization has a chain of command, and the Knights Templar were no different. This alphabetical list shows the different people who made up the Templar Order and the duties they performed for the Order:

  • Chaplains: The Catholic priests within the Order.

  • Commanders of Knights, Houses, and Farms: Knights responsible for the specific operation of Templar holdings, under the Commanders of the Lands.

  • Commanders of the Lands: Administered Templar operations in the Holy Land regions of Jerusalem, Tripoli, and Antioch, which included castles, farms and Templar "houses" or Preceptories.

  • Craftsmen: Farmers, cooks, masons, smiths, and other serving brethren who performed the day-to-day menial tasks of supporting the Order. Some also took on a military role and were armed when needed (and were, thus, considered to be of higher rank), while others did not.

  • Draper: In charge of all clothing for the Order.

  • Grand Master: The head of the Order in both military and administrative matters. The Grand Master was elected for life and answered only to the Pope.

  • Knights: Noble-born Templars, groomed for battle.

  • Marshal: The Minister of War within the Order, responsible for coordinating all military action.

  • Masters: Heads of the Order within the provinces of Apulia, Italy; Aragon, Spain; England; Scotland; Poitiers, France; Portugal; and Hungary.

  • Provincial Masters: Located outside the Holy Land, the Provincial Masters were involved in the administration of the banking side of the Order, along with being European recruiters.

  • Seneschal: Second in command to the Grand Master.

  • Sergeants: Common soldiers who held a lower rank because of their lowborn status.

  • Squires: The young attendants to the Knights, who aspired to eventually become knights themselves.

  • Turcopoles: Turkish/Greek, Eastern Orthodox soldiers recruited as light cavalry or scouts, of lower rank than the Sergeants.

  • Under-Marshal: In charge of all equipment.

Templar Architecture

The Templars were ambitious builders who modeled much of their architecture after Byzantine examples. The following list shows elements of Templar architecture and explains their uses:

  • battlements: A castle wall's defenses, consisting of the walk wall along the top ridge, protected by the parapet.

  • concentric: This style of castle, favored by the Knights Templar, features a series of outer walls surrounding the castle. Attackers breaching one wall would find themselves suddenly trapped in a narrow alley confronting yet another inner wall.

  • donjon: A French word for the keep; not a dungeon as we know it today.

  • garderobe: The one thing everybody needed, the community toilet. It was a hollowed-out area in the castle wall, with a chute down to the moat or sewer pit.

  • gatehouse: The entry to the castle, usually secured by a drawbridge and a portcullis, and often defended by towers or turrets on either side of the entrance. The gatehouse is the easiest entry, the weakest link to all the castle's defenses, and therefore usually the most heavily fortified.

  • Great Hall: The primary social center of the castle. The Great Hall served as a ceremonial reception room and dining hall.

  • keep: A strong, central tower, either square or round; the place of last resort to hole up in when all other defenses have failed. Round towers were easier to defend with fewer blind spots, but square towers provided more conveniently shaped interior rooms.

  • moat: A ditch surrounding the castle. It was filled with water if water was handy. There was no need for crocodiles to keep waders and enemies out, because the moat was usually full of the castle's sewer. P.U.

  • murder holes: Openings in the ceiling of the front gate, used for dropping large rocks, firing arrows, or pouring boiling liquid on the enemies' heads.

  • parapet: A crenellated wall of high and low vertical indentations, so archers could fire from the wall and then hide, simply by moving to one side or the other.

  • portcullis: The gate, usually made of iron, that could be slid down behind the drawbridge entryway.

  • postern gate: A secret back gate to the castle, usually well camouflaged. Used for sneaking troops out to surround the enemy or to let spies and scouts come and go.

  • towers: Large, defensive structures placed at corners or strategic positions along the castle's walls. Towers could be square, round, or D-shaped. Round exterior walls meant greater visibility all around and were harder for attackers' ladders to rest against.

  • turret: A small, round tower. In some castles, turrets protruded from the walls of the keep so archers could shoot down on enemies.

  • ward: The castle's interior courtyard; sometimes called the bailey.

Important Dates in Templar History

The following timeline highlights historical events and people that shaped the Templar Order, established the Templars' place in history, and eventually led to its dissolution:

1000 b.c. King Solomon's Temple built on Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
a.d. 638 Muslims conquer the Holy Land.
1095 Pope Urban II calls for the First Crusade.
1099 Jerusalem taken from Muslims. Priory of Sion allegedly founded.
1119 Founding of the Templars by Hughes de Payens.
1129 The Templar Rule is adopted at the Council of Troyes.
1139 Pope Innocent II exempts the Templars from all but papal authority.
1146 Second Crusade begins.
1187 The Battle of Hattin: Saladin and the Muslim army retake Jerusalem, killing 200 Templars.
1191 Third Crusade captures the port of Acre, becomes new Templar headquarters.
1192 Richard the Lionheart and Saladin agree to open Jerusalem to Christian pilgrims.
1202–1204 Constantinople sacked. Christian relics fall into hands of the Templars.
1291 Acre, the last Crusader state in the Holy Land, falls to the Muslims. Templars move to Cyprus.
1293 Jacques de Molay becomes Grand Master of the Templars.
1307 Templars arrested by Phillip IV (le Bel or "the Fair") in France on Friday, October 13.
1308 Edward II, under pressure from the pope, arrests all Templars in England.
1310 54 Knights Templar burned at the stake in France to compel remaining Templars to confess.
1312 Templar Order dissolved by the Council of Vienne, transferring property to the Knights Hospitaller.
1314 Jacques de Molay and Geoffroy de Charney burned at the stake in Paris. Templars alleged to assist Robert the Bruce of Scotland at the Battle of Bannockburn. Phillip the Fair dies in a hunting accident. Pope Clement V dies.
1319 Order of Christ founded in Portugal by King Dinis as a new home for the Templars.
1446 Rosslyn Chapel construction begins in Roslin, Scotland.
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