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The Templars: The Secret History Revealed [Kindle Edition]

Barbara Frale , Umberto Eco , Gregory Conti
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Barbara Frale gives us an explosive, exhaustively researched history of the medieval world’s most powerful military order, the Templars. At its height, the Order of the Knights Templar rivaled the kingdoms of Europe in military might, economic power, and political influence. For 700 years, the tragic demise of this society of warrior-monks amid accusations of heresy has been plagued by controversy, in part because the transcript of their trial by the Inquisition—which held the key to the truth—had vanished.

Templar historian Barbara Frale happened to be studying a document at the Vatican Secret Archives when she suddenly realized that it was none other than the long-lost transcript! It revealed that Pope Clement V had absolved the order of all charges of heresy. The Templars chronicles the spectacular rise and fall of the organization against a sweeping backdrop of war, religious fervor, and the struggle for dominance, and finally lifts the centuries-old cloak of mystery surrounding one of the world’s most intriguing secret societies.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Founded just after the First Crusade, the Knights of the Temple was a military-religious order subject only to the pope and dedicated to Christian rule of the Holy Land. It lasted beyond the fall of the Crusader states by becoming a bank for Western Europe’s superwealthy. Choosy about lending, the Templars frustrated French king Philip IV, who in 1307 had every Templar he could reach condemned by the Inquisition and arrested. He didn’t tell Pope Clement V because he was still smarting from Boniface VIII’s censuring him for taxing and trying to bring the French church under his control. Clement eventually disbanded the Templars, and Philip executed its leaders, but its property went to another military order. Clement didn’t condemn the order, however, and didn’t say why, though it was long rumored that he had interrogated the leaders. In September 2001, Frale found the record of that interrogation. She discloses its revelations immediately, which doesn’t vitiate the ensuing historical overview. Indeed, consider this little book the first-choice primer on its legend-laden subject. --Ray Olson

About the Author

Barbara Frale is a historian on staff at the Vatican Secret Archives. A specialist on the Templars, the Crusades, and the papacy, she earned her Ph.D. at the University of Venice. She lives in Viterbo, Italy.

Product Details

  • File Size: 336 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Arcade Publishing; Reprint edition (May 1, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005M26IT8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,662 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
50 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a great work on the Templars. January 19, 2009
It goes without saying that much of what has been written about the Templars is pure poppy-cock. The Templars have been linked with the Grail legend and Dan Brown's book The DaVinci Code didn't help clarify the mystery surrounding the Templars, and, in fact his novel Angels and Demons probably muddied the waters even more. There are some wonderful works providing valid insight into this historically famous (some would say infamous) band of brother knights, and Barbara Frale's The Templars: The Secret History Revealed has to go to the head of a very short list.
Frale, a Vatican Secret Archives historian has access to a document trove virtually unlike any other in the world. She is a specialist on the Templars and is recognized as a specialist on the crusades and the papacy.
Frale gives us an almost intimate introduction into the beginnings of the Templars. During the Middle ages the Holy Land had become the destination of many pilgrims from Europe. Jerusalem Christians had marked virtually all of the significant sites important to the faith. However, in the seventh century Jerusalem had been overrun by Muslim raiders and would remain in Muslim hands for quite sometime. Initially, the Muslim rulers were relatively tolerant of the Christian citizens of the area as well as the pilgrims. However, in time the pilgrims became easy pickings for raiders and this, in time became the basis of the early Crusades.
After a time, Jerusalem is re-captured from the Muslims and becomes a Christian kingdom. However, Christian pilgrims are still harassed by Muslim bandits. Herein lies the beginning of the Templars.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
If you're looking for a book that venerates the mysteries and conspiracies of the Knights Templar (unimaginable treasures found under the Temple of Solomon, their protection of the Holy Grail, etc.) this is not the book for you. This is a concise and direct history of the Order, almost a "Templars for Dummies" that outlines its formation, its role in the Crusades and defense of the Holy Land, and its muddled dissolution due to conflict between the Pope and the King of France. While it does touch on some of the stranger initiation practices, it does not perpetuate the fantastical rumors of bizarre rituals or heretical acts. It simply addresses the Order's functions, characters, and key players during its tumultuous history, which Frale does in a simplistic and well-researched way. What pleased me the most was the final statement Frale makes in her afterward, which I will let you discover for yourself.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, A Real Templar History September 20, 2009
While nothing as earth-shattering as the cover may indicate, this is nonetheless a stand-out in Templar books for one main reason: It's real history. In fact, using Vatican documents and real scholarly research, Frale clarifies the Templars and dispels myths. Perhaps she should analyze all of wild post-Templar disbandonment theories as well. See also Knights Templar: The Essential History and Dungeon, Fire and Sword: The Knights Templar in the Crusades.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Knights and Dazed April 16, 2009
Before you run off to Rennes-le-Chateau in search of ancient Templar myths you might want to pick up a copy of Dr. Barbara Frale's THE TEMPLARS-THE SECRET HISTORY REVEALED.
Frale, a staff historian at the Vatican Secret Archives offers up a better fact-based take on the Spartan-like Knights Templar than many of the books on the subject today.
Her discovery of The Chinon Parchment shines new light into the realm of these Holy Warriors, their secret initiations, their hard fought battles, and the political chicanery that deftly demonstrates that not all of their life and death struggles came in defense of the Holy Land or against their Muslim opponents.
This well researched and impressive work details the nearly 200 years and eight Crusades of the Templar's existence from their founder Hugh de Payens in 1120 to the execution of their last Grand Master Jacques de Molay in 1314 at the bloodied hands of France's Phillip the (not always) Fair.
The book is for the serious student or reader that wants to bring the Order of Knights Templar out of the realm of myth and lore and back into a more human focus and reality. Frale's book will often remind you too that fact is sometimes stranger than fiction with a learned nod regarding the bizarre Cadaver Synod and how one King sought to resurrect it.
A brilliant historical book that reads like a good novel!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars May Very Well Be the Last Word in Templar Studies November 1, 2012
Professor Frale's book *The Templars: The Secret History Revealed* is a great addition to Templar studies, especially concerning their trial and dissolution. Despite what the title might suggest the book stays well away from the ridiculous pop conspiracy theories, indeed gives them a crushing blow. This book (and Frale's other books) are based on sound scholarship not popular fantasy.

Citing a heretofore unknown, misdated transcript of a papal inquisition regarding the Templars she discovered by accident several years ago, the "Chinon Parchment," Frale proves, once and for all, that the Templars were innocent of the charges leveled against them by Philip the IV (something everyone in the 14th century knew and all academic historians have since known), as they were absolved by Clement V of all the charges save blasphemy (as a test to prepare them for possible capture by Muslims, Templar novices in their initiation were required to spit on the cross and renounce Christ, as Muslim prisoners were often required to do; Clement understood that this was simply a training exercise, that the Templars weren't really renouncing Christ, nevertheless it still technically counted as blasphemy, which he felt he had to hold them accountable for). Certainly he pronounced them innocent of the other charges of sodomy, heresy and idol worship. Clement was then forced by Philip to dissolve and disband the order against his wishes. However Clement's secret inquisition and the Templars' subsequent absolution is the "lost history" alluded to in the books title.

The book sets out a general history of the order before proceeding to the piece de resistance, the examination of the secret papal inquest at which Clement V absolved the Templars.
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