From Michael Haag, bestselling author of The Templars: The History and the Myth, comes The Tragedy of the Templars, an exciting new look at the rise of Templar power and the saga of their destruction.
Founded on Christmas Day 1119 in Jerusalem, the Knights Templar was a religious order dedicated to defending the Holy Land and its Christian pilgrims in the decades after the First Crusade. Legendary for their bravery and dedication, the Templars became one of the wealthiest and most powerful bodies of the medieval world—and the chief defenders of Christian society against growing Muslim forces.
In The Tragedy of the Templars: The Rise and Fall of the Crusader States, Haag masterfully details the conflicts and betrayals that sent this faction of powerful knights spiraling from domination to condemnation.
This stirring and thoroughly researched work of historical investigation includes maps and full-color photographs of important cultural sites, many of which doubled as battlefields during the Crusades.
Romanticized and demonized since the Middle Ages, the legendary Knights Templar devoted their lives to Christ as a military force sanctioned by the papacy to liberate and defend the then-predominantly Christian city of Jerusalem. Haag (The Templars: The History & the Myth) explores their evolution from 12th-century protectors of pilgrims trekking to the Holy Land to wealthy Crusaders frequently at war with Islamic forces across the Middle East and the Iberian peninsula. Throughout, the book suffers from one-sidedness: the author consistently characterizes the Muslims as brutal and vengeful, whereas the Templars are given relatively generous treatment as brave messengers of progress and development. Still, Haag's account sparkles with fascinating ephemera, as when he quotes a 12th-century narrative of the creation of the myth of the Holy Grail, or when he describes the game-changing moves of the bold queen Eleanor of Aquitaine or the greedy, villainous Philip IV. The Templars were eventually defeated by the Muslims, but it was their own religious kin that brought them down: rumors of heresy and bizarre initiation rites were rampant, and Pope Clement under the orders of Philip IV finally disbanded the Templars in the 14th century. A dense and entertaining volume especially suited for those already interested in the order. 3 maps.