Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Templars, Hospitallers and Teutonic Knights: Images of the Military Orders, 1128-1291

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Templars, Hospitallers and Teutonic Knights: Images of the Military Orders, 1128-1291

Article excerpt

Templars, Hospitallers and Teutonic Knights: Images of the Military Orders, 1128-1291. By Helen Nicholson. (New York: Leicester University Press. Distributed in the United States and Canada by St. Martin's Press, New York. 1995. Pp. xvi, 207. $59.00 clothbound; $24.95 paperback.)

The author begins by clearly stating her objectives and then sets out to accomplish them in a straightforward manner. The book is, as its title claims, a study of the images which the military religious orders evoked in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, that is, how they were viewed by various segments of society. After a general introduction, which sets forth the methodology and the types of sources employed, a brief chapter presents a chronological framework for studying contemporary attitudes toward the military orders. The book is concerned with the three major orders, Templars, Hospitallers, and Teutonic Knights, in Western Europe; Spain is excluded since it has already been studied in detail. A chapter deals with the attitudes of Christian rulers toward the orders, another with those of the clergy, and then those of various classes of the laity, as well as those of non-Christians. A chapter treats of the representation of the orders in literary sources such as chronicle, epic, romance, and legend.Then the author considers the self-image of the orders, what they thought of themselves and the image they sought to present.There is a brief chapter on the implication of the orders in the loss of Acre in 1291. Among other things, the conclusion notes-to nobody's surprise-that there was some praise for the orders and some criticism; the criticism grew stronger as time went on, especially after 1250. …

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