Originating among Christian knights devoted to the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem following the first crusade, after just a few decades the Templars became the most powerful religious-military order of Christiandom. Professionals of horse-mounted war-making and men of religion at the same time, the Templars were initially responsible for protecting pilgrims to the Holy Land from the attacks of Islamic raiders; after a few decades the support of the Pope, Christian kings and ordinary people had transformed the Templars into a great, supranational organism operating across the Mediterranean and beyond. At the beginning of the 14th century, French King Philip the Fair, under pressure due to economic difficulties, attacked the order, took over its possessions and accused its members of heresy. Pope Clement V, after a long diplomatic and legal struggle, was forced to choose between sacrificing the order's survival and risking a schism that would have detached the French Church from Roman obedience. The Temple was thus disbanded by the Vienna Council in 1312. For centuries a glorious history and a tragic, mysterious ending have fuelled curiosity and legends concerning the Templars. Frale's book chronicles the order's existence on the basis of original research and includes surprising discoveries.
Barbara Frale earned a doctorate at the University of Venice with a dissertation based on documents pertaining to the Templars' trial and is an official of the Vatican's Secret Archive.
English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish and Czech rights sold.