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The Knights Templar: The History and Myths of the Legendary Military Order Paperback – November 20, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books (November 20, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560256451
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560256458
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #128,048 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sean Martin was born in Somerset, England, and now lives in Edinburgh, Scotland. He is the author of the bestsellers The Knights Temlpar: The History & Myths of the Legendary Military Order, The Cathars: The Most Successful Heresy of the Middle Ages and The Gnostics: The First Christian Heretics, amongst others. He has appeared on various TV programmes, including the History Channel and National Geographic.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

75 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Ju1ian on November 28, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent, sober and balanced primer on what has been the subject of hysterical writing in the last few years, especially since the release of The Da Vinci Code.

Sean Martin has written a very well structured book. It's divided into four main sections: the origins, activities, and fall of the Templars, as well as an additional section on the current mythology surrounding The Order.

It lays out the whole history of The Order, from Hughes de Payen's offer to the King of Jerusalem, to Bernard of Clairvaux's lobbying to the Council of Clermont, the first crusade and then on to the eventual downfall of the Templars with Jacques de Molay's execution in 1314. I won't enumerate all the details because if you're reading this review, you are probably a Templar buff, in which case you know all this. For those looking for an introduction to this subject, this is THE book to get.

Sean Martin has an elegant, simple writing style, making the book a very easy read (which is bad news, because you finish it too quickly).

Too many history books are written in too scholarly a tone, resulting in a very tedious read-you only need to check some of the weightier volumes on the Crusades. The writing style of this book makes you feel part of the events unfolding page by page. Occasional dry humor that comes out in the writing adds to the enjoyment.

A bonus is that the storyline of the Templars in this book is weaved faultlessly with that of the Crusades, so that it also de facto becomes a primer on the latter. Not too many books on the Templars do this well-Gordon Napier's "The Rise and Fall of the Knights Templar" is one of a few that comes to mind.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By J. Stoeving on February 7, 2006
Format: Paperback
I bought this book to learn more about the knights templar, which is kind of the new craze these days. And let it be said : I did learn more about the templars.

The book is very simple, and the build-up is very sensible. At certain points a deeper introduction to some of the things would have been appropriate. But I guess you can't expect that at this price and with the writers background.

Basically this book does what it is meant to do, but should be seen as an introduction to the subject. If you wan't to dig deeper, you need to read other books.

My favorite thing is the ancient maps on the inside of the cover, which shows europe(and the middle east) at the time of the templars. Great addition!
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Readalots on June 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
This little book offers a wealth of information on the history of the Templars. It surprised me by its compact size and plethora of information. Martin tells an interesting well-sourced (with end notes) story in four chapters (145 pages).

Martin's maps, chronology, and lists in the appendixes make this book a text for students of the Crusades and monastic knights. His research is easy to follow, and discover. This book will quickly become sourcing for others.

One hopes that Martin will continue to write history. This book is very recommendable.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By evilandy on April 4, 2005
Format: Paperback
I am currently writing a report about the Knights Templar and during the research phase this was my main source because it is incredibly informative and easy to read. I also like the way that it is concise but packs a lot of info in. He did a good job of seperating fact from legend but included them both. the appendicies were quite helpful, I reccomend this book to anyone who is interested in the Knights Templar or anyone who in't but would like to learn more.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Jim Martin on August 8, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This being my 1st book about this particular topic, "The Knights Templar" was a very easy read, and I think a good start in the field of Templar History. Sean Martin breaks everything out in a very understandable way. He discusses their origin and how The Templars began. He makes note of all the different kings, and various religious orders involved in the Crusades. After viewing the wonderful film, "Kingdom Of Heaven" recently released - you see some great characters come to life again, namely: Saladin, King Guy, King Baldwin the leper, etc).

I like the way Sean Martin explains the mysteries in the last section of the book. He goes into detail about the myths surrounding this unbelievable organization. Also, towards the end of the book, we see the decline of The Templars. It goes to show that when someone/some organization gets too powerful, the government will do whatever is necessary to rid the world of their existence. The same practice is still present in today's society! Nevertheless, it's still hard to believe that anyone had the ability to take The Templars down (being as rich, powerful, and influential as they were). *They had received papal bulls from Pope Innocent II (and a few popes to follow) which granted them unprecedented power without having to answer to anyone, kings included - simply amazing! The Templars had "divine power" (answering solely to the pope) and they used that leverage to their advantage for any endeavor they pursued. We'll never see that kind of institution again!

I will definitely have to read this book again to get more acquainted with the times, important figures, events and so on. For a small paperback, there is a lot of information to take in which makes this book a great little treasure to have!
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