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Tales of the Knights Templar Mass Market Paperback – June 1, 1995
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You get an good overall sense of what the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and the Temple of Solomon (later, the Knights of the Temple) were really all about. These were men from all over Christiandom (and perhaps beyond) who were pledged to protect pilgrims and holy places with their lives and honor. The took a vow of absolute poverty- individual knights owned nothing. Any wealth the order amassed was put to the purpose of the protection of pilgrims- and later, all of the Christiandom. A measure of their success at fulfilling their original purpose lies in the fact that, from humble pilgrims to kings, all knew that they could trust their lives, as well as, their last penny to the Templars. Even the infidels knew that Templars were honorable men, for they neither asked for, nor accepted ransom, nor would they retreat in battle (unless out-numbered by at least three-to-one, and even then only under direct orders.) It is said that even the famed Assassins feared and payed tribute to the Templars.
Of all the fictional stories in this collection, I would have to say that my favorite is "Choices" by Richard J. Woods. This tale gives the best sense of the overall character of individual Templars and the order. It also links the German mystic Meister Eckhart sympathetically with their tradition.
If you have a more esoteric inclination, it is also pointed out that the rule of seventy-two articles granted to the order was based at least partially upon the Essene Rule of the Master of Justice. Also, it is pointed out that the name of the idol that Templars supposedly worshiped (Baphomet) is actually a code for Sophia (Holy Wisdom.) It seems that tht Templars were "lovers of Sophia", i.e. "philosophers." Finally, it is pointed out that in certain traditions the order lives on- as astral knights with a "mandate to protect the weak, right wrongs, restore what was lost, make whole the broken." Afterall, there is a reason that Wolfram von Eschenbach portrayed the Grail Knights as Templars....