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
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Dr. Barbara Frale
is a historian on staff at the Vatican Secret Archives. An expert in ancient documents, the Templars, and the Crusades, Frale is the author of several books including The Last Battle of the Templars
, The Papacy and the Trial of the Templars
, and The Templars
. She is also the author of the acclaimed The Templars: The Secret History Revealed
. Frale earned her PhD at the University of Venice.Gregory Conti
is a professor of modern Italian history at the University of Rochester, a lecturer in English at the University of Perugia, and a freelance translator. He lives in Perugia, Italy.Umberto Eco
is a professor of semiotics at the University of Bologna and the author of Foucault’s Pendulum, The Name of the Rose
, and other international bestsellers. He lives in Milan, Italy.