Published: September 19, 2017
In a twist for my readers I give you a history book. What many do not know is that I am a huge history buff especially when it comes to British history. I have definitely become a Dan Jones groupie through his history books. If you have never read The Plantagenets you need to go do that right now. GO. NOW.
No? Still here? Ok then, The Templars is about the true history of the Knights Templar before, after, and during the Christian crusades up to the middle ages. Many of you have heard of the Knights Templar through popular culture most recently in Dan Brown’s book The Da Vinci Code. They have been purported throughout history as the keepers of the Holy Grail, makers of kings, and death to the infidels of the Muslim empire. However, their true story is quite less fantastical that other authors would have you believe. Through research with primary sources Jones takes the reader through the creation of this monastic military order right up to their forced disbandment. He describes how they got started and what made them such a powerful force to be reckoned with. He also states how the Templars were not the only monastic military order of the time but one of several. They, however, were the most military of them all and as such were trusted by kings and nobility to be in charge of their treasuries. Through their function as loaning agents they became quite wealthy and were granted lands all over Europe.
What I found rather interesting was that there were women who were part of the Templars even though they could not live in close quarters. The women were only mentioned briefly but they were nuns or wives of men who wanted to join the Templars though not as a full brother. What I didn’t know as well is that the fight against the Muslims on the Iberian Peninsula was also considered a crusade. When I think of the Christian Crusades, I think of Richard the Lion Heart (who is mentioned in the book) going to the Middle East to fight in the name of the Lord. Though that is not incorrect it is not the whole story behind the crusading culture of the middle ages. And though I found this book fascinating and I learned a lot I was surprised that it was the French king who went after the Templars and ultimately caused their destruction. I had always thought they were disbanded under papal order only but alas that was not the case. Though there are still many myths that the order survived the inquisition against them and that the Templars are still around today Jones confirms that those are definitely more myth than fact no matter how much we wish it to be true.
I know that books on history can be boring to read but if you read this novel or listen to the audiobook (like I did) you will not be disappointed. Dan Jones narrates the audiobook so you know how the author would pronounce everything. In addition to that his writing is like that of a novel. It is sleek and it is intriguing and it makes you want to listen to more or keep turning that page. And have you seen a picture of Dan Jones? He is like a rock star for the world of history. Like seriously, the guy is good looking, has tattoos, and wears a leather bomber jacket (at least that’s what it looks like). You don’t get much cooler for a historian. Make sure you give this book or any of his other ones a chance for a great educational read that doesn’t feel like you are learning.
—“Pincipium fini solet impar sepe uidere.
Often the end fails to equal the beginning.” – Medieval proverb, pg. 261–