From: Stephen Williamson
Sent: Thursday, November 22, 2012 12:03 PM
Subject: Knights :-)
After chatting about warfare the other day, great article in Wiki on the Knights Templar, originally the “Poor fellow-soldiers of Christ and the Temple (of Solomon)” — see link
One of the big changes in a word’s meaning happened around 1119 with that word “knight”. Within the Roman/Greek cavalry, there is no rank of “knight” — back then, the word “knight” simply meant a “Boy” i.e. a “Servant”
These “boys”, what do we say “willie and the poor boys” would meet Christian pilgrims at Joppa (which is now part of Tel Aviv) by the sea, with a horse / horses, and conduct them to the Temple Mount at Jerusalem where they had been given their own headquarters. Yes, they were the “Boys of the Temple” i.e. “Knights Templar”.
After hundreds of years of difficulties with Muslim conquerors, “Temple” marketing in Europe just hit the roof, pilgrims coming from everywhere, with Templar headquarters being set up initially in Troyes in France, in London and in Edinburgh, around 1125. Other countries followed. These “knights” in Jerusalem were suddenly inundated with money, possessions, and prestige, which of course brought its own pressures and arguments, as numerous mercenaries joined from all over Europe. A rival military group, the Knights Hospitaller who provided a hospital for poor, sick and injured pilgrims, vied with them for attention.
And at the same time, now came the legends and poetry, about the mythical Merlin and King Arthur and his legendary “knights of the round table” in England — see link
Being a knight, was now pretty cool, and it became even cooler with chivalric and honorific orders established.
Of course, it all changed for the Templars after the fall of Jerusalem in 1187, when they were forced to shift their headquarters to Acre (Akko) in the north. After the failures of several crusades over the next 100 years, Acre fell to the Mamluk armies from Egypt in 1291. Their headquarters shifted to Cyprus but after an edict in France in 1307, they were hounded and killed throughout France and England, with their property in France confiscated and going to the French crown. In 1312, the Pope disbanded the organization, transferring all of their assets to the Knights Hospitaller, who now established themselves at Rhodes.
Hmm, yes, how are the mighty fallen. Needless to say, the next century was not a pleasant century in Europe, with the “Hundred Years War” between France and England, as well as the Black Death plague, reported to have killed over 30% (even possibly up to 60%) of the population.
Blessings all Steve
Stephen Williamson Computing Services Pty Ltd