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 in Latin literally translated as the “Poor Fellow-soldiers of Christ and the Temple (of Solomon)” — see link
One of the big changes in a word’s meaning happened in England around 1300 with the granting of “knighthoods” by the king. Within the Roman/Greek cavalry, there is no rank of “knight” — back then, the word “cniht” in old English simply meant “boys”, “servants” including armed fellows employed on a retainer to oversee the guarding of the land (or the castle) from outsiders. Following William the Conqueror's Norman invasion of England in 1066, many of the nobles made use of the locals for this purpose, to keep the peace. But about 1300, the ennoblement by the king via these "knighthoods" is recorded following the opening of the English Parliament in 1295, requiring the presence from every shire of two "Knyghts" (Public Servants), Milites Comitatus ("County Soldiers") in Latin, or Chevalier ("Horse-riders") in French.
First reference to Knights Templar published in English, according to this link wasn't until 1610.
So, earlier in 1119 in Palestine 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 “Fellow-soldiers of the Temple” later called “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 Templars 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 (in Latin, the Order of the Brotherhood of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem) who provided a hospital for poor, sick and injured pilgrims, vied with them for attention.
And next came the legends and poetry, about Merlin and King Arthur and his "nobles" at the round table (table ronde) — see link c.1155. Based on a Latin work written by a Welsh cleric c.1136. Next came French stories of Lancelot and Perceval, the Holy Grail and Galahad.
Being a "Templar" was pretty cool, and it became cooler with
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 Hospitallers, 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
But on the other hand commoners being "knighted" by the King for services rendered to the state, recorded in English history c.1300, gaining the rank of nobility and henceforth being addressed as "Sir" with the wife addressed as "Dame", was another outcome. Idealized in Geoffrey Chaucer's
Blessings all Steve
Stephen Williamson Computing Services Pty Ltd