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Matthew Paris
Extracts from the chronicles of Matthew Paris relating to the Templars, Hospitallers and Teutonic Knights

 

translated from the Rolls Series editions by
Helen Nicholson.
© Helen Nicholson 1989

Matthew Paris: Chronica Majora

Taken from the edition ed. H. R. Luard, Rolls Series 57, 7 vols, (London, 1872-84)
Trans. and copyright H. J. Nicholson.
Direct translation is in normal type. Paraphrase or summary is in italics. Explanations and additions are in square brackets.

Vol.3

[Until the arrival of the emperor Frederick II in the Holy Land in 1228, Matthew` Chronicle account of the military orders follows that of his predecessor at chronicler at St. Albans, Roger of Wendover. Then Matthew begins to express his own opinions....]

1229 (Vol. 3 pp.177-9)

About the Templars' and Hospitallers' pride and jealousy

[Frederick has recovered Jerusalem by negotiation with the Sultan of Egypt and his army has entered Jerusalem]

So God had arranged for matters to go in this way, but Sathanas, the ancient sower of discord, resented the Christians’ success, and prompted the inhabitants of that country, especially the Templars and Hospitallers, to become jealous of the emperor’s successes. Their jealousy was encouraged by the pope`s hatred for the emperor when they heard that the pope had already hostily invaded the empire. They receive so much income from the whole of Christendom and, only for the defence of the Holy Land, swallow down such great revenues as if they sunk them into a chasm of the Great Abyss! And now, because they themselves wished to gain the credit for all these wonderful deeds which the emperor had done, they craftily and treacherously told the Sultan of Babylon [Cairo] that the emperor proposed to go to the river where Christ was baptised by John the Baptist. There he intended to adore the footsteps of Christ and the feet of His Forerunner - John the Baptist, of whom Christ said: ‘no mother`s son ever arose greater than him’. He would go in secret and humbly, dressed in linen, with a few companions. So the sultan could capture or kill the emperor there as he liked.
When the said sultan heard this and noticed that the letter with this information was sealed with a familiar seal, he was disgusted at the cunning tricks, envy and treachery of the Christians, and especially of those who appear to wear the religious habit with the sign of the cross. Calling two most reliable and discreet counsellors to him, he poured all this information into their ears, showing them the letter - to which the seal was still fixed - and said: ‘See the loyalty of Christians!’
Having inspected the letter, after long and diligent deliberation they replied like this: ‘Lord, a peace treaty has been made which is pleasing to both sides, which it would be villainous to violate. To throw all the Christians into confusion, send this same letter to the emperor, with the seal attached. He will then be very friendly towards you, and with good reason.’ The sultan did as they advised and sent the letter to the emperor, informing him of all the aforementioned trickery.
Now, while this was going on, the emperor had been warned of the treachery by his efficient and hardworking spies, but he at first hesitated, not believing that religious men were capable of such great malice. While he was in doubt, the sultan`s messenger arrived bringing him the said letter, which made him certain about it. Rejoicing that he had escaped the hidden snare, he pretended that he knew nothing about any of this until the time for retribution should come, and made the necessary preparations for his return to his country. This was the cause of the hatred between the emperor and the Templars and Hospitallers; although the Hospitallers drew less shame from what had been done. From this time on the emperor was bonded to the sultan with an indissoluble glue affection and friendship. They were allies and sent each other precious gifts, among which the sultan sent the emperor an elephant.
The Templars and Hospitallers and their accomplices, finding that the emperor had put off the pilgrimage that he had proposed to make to the River Jordan, realised through this and other signs that their trick bhad failed. Therefore they drew the Patriarch of Jerusalem into their conspiracy, and he is said to have written this letter to defame the emperor.

The letter of Gerald, patriarch of Jerusalem.

‘Gerald, Patriarch of Jerusalem, to all Christ's faithful in the Lord, greeting. How marvellous and how miserable the emperor's expedition to this side of the sea has been from beginning to end, in grave prejudice to Jesus Christ's business and contempt for the Christian faith, may be clearly seen from his actions here which were rotten from start to finish, since he arrived excommunicate, bringing scarcely 240 knights with him, and without money, hoping to support himself by plundering the land of Syria.
First he came to Cyprus and captured the nobleman John of Ibelin and his sons, whom he had summoned to him to deal with the business of the Holy Land - an uncourteous deed, for he seized them when he had invited them to dine with him. Afterwards he retained the king [Henry] as if he were a prisoner, after summoning him. So he completely occupied the kingdom through violence and treachery. Having done this, he crossed to Syria. And although at the start he promised to do great things and boasted about this in the presence of simple people, he at once sent messengers to the sultan of Babylon [Cairo] asking for peace. On account of this he seemed contemptible to the sultan and his pagans, especially when they saw that he had not brought a large enough armed force with him to harm them. Meanwhile, on the excuse of fortifying Joppa [Tel Aviv/Jaffa] he headed that way with the Christian army in order to get nearer to the sultan in order to be better able to negotiate with him for peace or a truce. What more shall I say? After a long drawn-out negotiation and without taking advice from anyone in the country he suddenly announced one day that he had made peace with the sultan. No one saw the peace treaty when the emperor swore to preserve its terms. However, you can clearly see the malice and fraudulent dealing in some of the clauses of that truce from the copy of it we have sent you.....
....for he said, among other things, that the holy city was to be restored to him. When the Christian army went there on the eve of the Sunday on which ‘Oculi Mei’ is sung [17 March 1229]. On the disordered and confused day which followed, Sunday, although he was excommunicate he placed the diadem [crown] on his own head, in manifest prejudice to the imperial honour and excellence. The Saracens hold the Lord's Temple and Solomon's Temple in their hands and proclaim Mohammed's law publicly as before, not without great confusion and grief for the pilgrims. The same emperor, although he had promised many times before that he would fortify the city, the following Monday left the city at the crack of dawn without a word of farewell to anyone. The brothers of the Temple and Hospital who were present solemnly insisted that if he wished to fortify the city as he had promised they would give him counsel and aid as far as they could. But he, who had no concern to mend matters, seeing that the treaty could have no strength and the city could not be held or strengthened now that it had been restored, was content with just the promise of restitution. That same day he hurried back to Joppa with his household. When the pilgrims who had entered the city with him saw this they did not want to remain after he had left.
The next Sunday, i.e. when ‘Laetare Jerusalem’ is sung [25 March] he came to Acre. And drawing the people to him in the city he conceeded a privilege of liberty to them, as a means of begging their favour for himself. As for why he did this, God knows and his following actions showed.
As the time to cross the sea was drawing near and all the pilgrims together, great and small, had visited the Sepulchre and completed their pilgrimage, they prepared to go back home. As we did not have a truce with the sultan of Damascus, we, seeing that the country was destitute and the pilgrims had abandoned it, called a council and decided that we would hire knights out of the alms of the king of France of blessed memory [presumably the money left to the Holy Land by Philip II of France] for the common good. When the emperor heard this he informed us that he was amazed, since he had made a truce with the sultan of Egypt. We replied that the iron was still in the wound because we had no truce or peace with the sultan of Damascus, the nephew of the said sultan, who was opposed to him; adding that Damascus could do us a great deal of damage against the will of the sultan of Egypt. The emperor replied, that since he was king of Jerusalem, knights should not be hired to fight in the kingdom without his counsel and leave. We replied to this that we were very sorry to hear this because we could not wait for his counsel on this and similar things without danger to our souls, since he was excommunicate. The emperor made no reply to this.
On the following day he had a public proclamation made that the pilgrims who were living in the city should assemble outside the city on the sand; and the prelates and religious were also summoned through special messengers. He stood among them in person and first began to complain about us, piling up false accusations. Then he turned his speech to that venerable man the master of the Temple, and tried to cloud his public reputation considerably with various false statements. In this way he intended to twist his own fault, which was now obvious, on to others. He added that now we were going to retain mercenaries, to his prejudice and damage. On account of this he forbad all the pilgrim knights of any nation, as they loved him, to remain any longer in the country. He ordered Count Thomas [of Acerra] whom he had assigned to remain as his representative in the country to use corporal punishment on any he found in the country, so that the punishment of one would terrify all. When everything was finished, allowing no excuse or reply to those slanders which had been so ignominiously spread about, he left. And at once he ordered his crossbowmen to stand at the city gates, ordering them not to allow the brothers of the Temple to go out or in. He ordered both the churches and other tall buildings in the city to be equipped with crossbows, and especially those places which gave access to us and the house of the Temple. You should know that he had never been so harsh or harmful towards the Saracens, or so inflamed against them.
Realizing his obvious malice, we decided to convoke the prelates and pilgrims and excommunicated all those who gave counsel or aid to the emperor against the Church, the brothers of the Temple and other religious or pilgrims of the country. The emperor swelled up with anger at this and had every entrance carefully guarded, forbidding anyone carrying food to approach us or those who were with us, placing crossbowmen and archers everywhere.They seriously attacked us and the brothers of the Temple and pilgrims. And in order to complete his malice, he had the Friars Preacher and some Minors, who assembled on Palm Sunday [8 April] in set places to preach the Lord's word, torn out of their pulpits by his men-at-arms and thrown to the ground, dragged out and beaten through the town like criminals.
Then, when he saw that he could not get what he wanted through siege, he began to treat for peace. We replied to this that we did not wish to negotiate for peace until the guards, crossbowmen and other armed men had been removed, the goods which had been taken from us restored and all was in the same state and as free as the day he entered the city. He at once ordered that what we requested be done, but it was not put into effect and so we placed the city under interdict. The emperor, seeing that his malice could not make any progress, did not wish to make a longer stay in the country. However, as if he wanted to destroy everything, he had the crossbows and weapons which had been reserved for a long time for the defence of the country placed secretly into ships at Acre; and he sent many things to the sultan of Egypt, as if to his dear friend. And sending some of his knights to Cyprus, he had no little money extorted from the inhabitants. What seemed even more amazing to us was that he had the galleys which he could not take with him destroyed. When we heard this we ordered that he be given a warning. But he, despising the warning and correction, secretly on the feast of the Apostles Philip and James [1 May] went on board a galley, using a secret road and harbour, and hurried towards Cyprus. He bade farewell to no one, leaving Joppa abandoned, and may he never return.
Already the bailiffs of the said sultan have barred the way out of the city to poor Christians and Syrians; so many have died on the pilgrim road. The emperor committed these things and many others which we leave to others to tell which the world knows, in the Holy Land and to the detriment of his soul. May the merciful Lord deign to moderate them when He pleases. Farewell.’
When this letter reached a western audience it clouded the emperor's renown considerably and reduced many people's good opinion of him. . The pope rose up with even more determination to overthrow the emperor and strove avidly to collect money.

Roger of Wendover`s account ends in 1235 and Matthew continues it.


1236 p. 374 The Dominicans and Franciscans preach a new crusade.

And afterwards the lord pope sent into England Brother Thomas the Templar, his confidant, with a letter bearing the papal seal which said that he could absolve those who had taken the cross from their vows of pilgrimage as he wished and saw expedient, in return for a payment which he said he would spend usefully for the advance of the Holy Land. When those who had taken the cross heard this they wondered at the insatiable greed of the Roman Curia, and were very indignant that the Romans strove with so many arguments to cheat the people`s pockets so impudently. The preachers added that if anyone had taken the cross or not, who could not complete so laborious a journey personally but they had the wherewithall in goods, they should not omit to give something for the relief of the Holy Land, and so fully enjoy the aforesaid indulgences. But all these things made the hearers suspicious.

1237 pp. 404-6. The slaughter of the Templars in the Antioch area.

Around this time, lamentable news spread, drenching the whole Holy Land with confusion. For the sultan of Aleppo had died and the truce made between the Templars and the same sultan had expired. Therefore, wishing to enlarge their boundaries to the honour of Christ, the Templars, girding themselves for battle, proposed to besiege a certain castle called Guascon [Baghras; but in fact they were going from Baghras to attack Darbsak/Trapesac] which is sited to the north of Antioch. They pitched their tents in the grassy places near the castle, appointing as their leader the preceptor of Antioch, William of Montferrat, from Auvergne. So as they were approaching the said castle with their battle lines drawn up, captive Christians held in chains as well as certain apostates saw them and cried out: ‘Flee, miserable ones, flee! Why are you rushing to your death? You are all dead. Your infinite enemies are ready with the forces of the whole province to bring about your downfall, by the order of the sultan of Aleppo, who has prepared ambushes for you.’
Hearing this, the preceptor of Antioch spurned the threats of the shouters, calling them apostates and traitors. However, many of the knighthood of the Temple, considering the chancy events of war and their small number and the great number of the enemy, advised him to take precautions by avoiding ambush until they had investigated the enemy`s strength more fully. To which the aforementioned preceptor replied that he did not wish to have fearful people with him in that risky context and allow them to share in so great a victory, calling them false and cowardly. Thus headlong and imprudent, although many of his men had gone back, he challenged the enemy to battle.
Before he had expected the assembled enemy attacked. Surrounded by the people of the province, he was unable to bear the weight of the battle and fled, which is against the rule of the Temple. With him fled others of his men who had more courage than the others; but in that conflict fell more than 100 knights of the Temple, and 300 crossbowmen, not counting other laity and no small force of infantry. Of the Turks, up to 3000. There fell in that disastrous contest an illustrious knight of the Temple, English by nation, Reginald de Argenton, who was Gonfanier [standard bearer] that day. Like the others who fell he first inflicted a very bloody slaughter on the enemy. He held the standard tirelessly until his shins, legs and hands were broken. Also the preceptor alone, before he was cut to pieces, sent around 16 of the enemy to hell, not counting those lethally wounded. This deplorable engagement took place in June.

Thierry, the prior of the Hospital in England, is sent to help the Holy Land.

When they heard about this, the Templars and Hospitallers living in the west girded themselves manfully, wishing to avenge the blood of their brothers which had been shed for Christ. The Hospitallers sent Brother Thierry [of Nussa], their prior, a most elegant knight of German nationality, with knights and a hired retinue and no small treasure to help the Holy Land. Having made the necessary arrangements, they set out elegantly from their house at Clerkenwell with around 30 uncovered shields, spears raised and standard going before them, towards the bridge, obtaining the blessing of all who saw them. The brothers laid back their hoods and bowed their heads, commending themselves to the prayers of all.


p. 412. Henry III’s three unpopular counsellors

He also had infamous and untrustworthy counsellors who were said to have encouraged [the king’s bad policies]. The nobles of England hated them all the more because they were all natives of the kingdom. Their names were John, earl of Lincoln, Simon, earl of Leicester [Simon de Montfort] and Brother Geoffrey Templar.

1239 p. 629. How Master Simon Norman and Brother Geoffrey Templar were ignominiously thrown out of the king`s council

[Simon Norman:] Since the king could no longer tolerate his insolent pride, he ordered him to be expelled from his council....

....Also, driven by a similar spirit, the king ordered Brother Geoffrey Templar removed from the court, which many desired. [He adds at the foot of the page:] The major cause of this was that Simon did not wish to approve a certain detestable writing which had been made against the interests of the lord king`s crown, which stated that Count Thomas of Flanders should receive toll on each sack of wool brought from England through his lands. This amounted to 4 pence per sack. Nor would Geoffrey Templar agree to this irregular deed, although the king was very anxious to enact it.

[In fact Geoffrey Templar remained in office after 1239]

Vol. 4


1239 pp. 25-6. Letter from Count Amaury de Montfort to the countess, his wife, regarding the defeat of the French crusaders at Gaza.

You should know that Damascus was not captured, as was said earlier; instead everyone returned to Acre. What is more, you should know that the king of France has moved all his treasure from the Temple [the order's house in Paris] because the neither the Templars nor the Hospitallers wished to help in this battle. And know that 80 were captured alive and afterwared 10 noble knights were expected in return for them

1240 p. 139. Letter of Richard, earl of Cornwall, younger brother of Henry III of England, from the Holy Land to Baldwin de Redvers earl of Devon, the abbot of Beaulieu and Robert Clerk in England.

He says that the Holy Land was in a bad state when he arrived: discord ruled instead of peace, schism instead of unity, hatred instead of affection, and justice is excluded:

‘The two brother who struggle in their mother`s womb although they were established in order to defend their mother and whose excessive wealth has made them followers of pride, foment and encourage these problems,and cause them to spread far and wide. For their ample supplies of property only stimulates them to attack each other. Because the scourges of the presiding father of the Holy See [the pope] is reluctant to be harsher on them, their bad reputation has long since spread throughout the world. We put a great deal of effort into making peace between them, but the path to peace has not yet been trodden because words of peace do not quieten those who follow discord. They are anxious to win over those who bring money, while it lasts, but when the time comes to avenge their Mother`s shame, they swiftly desert their wellwishers, pretending that there are obstacles to their acting, because they have absolutely no concern to console their Mother. For this reason, and because recently an enormous number of French knights - almost double the army of Saracens which attacked them - was miserably defeated in perverse fashion, the enemies of the cross have been made unexpectedly confident, so that a few of them think almost nothing or little of many of us."

[As Matthew Paris notes in his margin, this is an attack on the Templars and Hospitallers. The Mother is the Church: the Templars and Hospitallers are the cubs quarrelling in her womb. The image of the mother beast torn apart by the quarrelling cubs in her womb frequently appears in the Grail literature of the 13th century. The beast is always the Church, but the identity of the cubs varies according to whom the writer wishes to criticise. Note the reference to the pride and greed of the Templars and Hospitallers and the complaint that they are weakening the Holy Land. The reference to the recent defeat of the French knights refers to the defeat at Gaza in 1239.]

1241 pp. 167-8: Of the dishonourable war and infamous discord between the Templars and the Hospitallers in the Holy Land.

About the same time as the crowd of pilgrims was leaving the Holy Land after the departure of Earl Richard, the Templars, who alone did not accept what he had done, were stirred by the stimulus of envy and derided , abused, disparaged and scoffed at him. Impudently infringing the truce he had made, they bitterly attacked the Hospitallers, who had accepted the said peace and truce and kept it without infringing it. The Templars carried their attack so far that they besieged the Hospitallers` house in Acre and did not allow them to collect food, nor even to carry their dead out to burial from their houses in which they were besieged. Also to spite the emperor the Templars pursued and drove out the brothers of St. Mary Teuton [the Teutonic knights], leaving scarcely a few whom they regarded as friends to minister to the church.
The Teutonic brothers placed a grave complaint at the emperor`s feet about this and took refuge with other ecclesiastical and lay Christian magnates. Grave scandal arose from these attacks, because those who grow fat on so many revenues so that they may powerfully attack the Saracens were impiously turning their forces and strength against their Christian brothers and gravely provoking God`s anger on themselves. Because of this, when the earl left the Holy Land, as if aware that these problems would arise, he did not wish to entrust to the Templars` pride either Ascalon or the treasury which he left there for completing the construction of that fortress. For this reason they conceived great rancour against the earl. Instead he preferred to entrust its safekeeping to the emperor`s procurator.

1242 p. 197 Also in that year the Templars in the Holy Land triumphed gloriously in unexpected victory by more miraculous than human strength over many thousands of Saracens sent from Babylonian [Egyptian] parts.

[Peter Jackson reckons that this was misinformation from the Templars; the victory was due to Muslim politics, not Christian arms. See his ‘The Crusades of 1239-41 and their Aftermath’ in the photocopy collection.]

1243 p. 256. The Templars, at Acre and in other places, besiege and gravely harass the Hospitallers.

And during those times, the Templars in the Holy Land besieged and gravely harassed the Hospitallers, so that they were so shut up that they could not carry out bodies from their house, which is in Acre, to burial. Over and above this, the Templars drove out the brothers of the Teutonic church of St. Mary, in spite of the emperor, and expelled them from their boundaries, heaping God`s anger on their own heads, and exalting the enemies of the cross.

[This is in fact a repeat of the entry under 1241]

1244 p. 288. Delightful events in the Holy Land about a peace treaty which had been made. But it had a very sad outcome.

The most joyful news flew through the Christians` regions, confirmed with this letter:


‘Hermann de Perigord, humble master of the poor knighthood of the Temple, to Brother Robert de Sandford, preceptor in England.’

Summary: Hermann says that the sultan of Babylon, Nasr lord of Kerak, and the Templars discussed a renewal of the truce. The Muslims promised to restore all the land west of the Jordan to the Christians. Hermann decided to send some of the Templar brothers, noble and discreet messengers, to the sultan in Cairo to negotiate on this. He promised to return what he had held for six months, Gaza, Hebron, Nablus and Darun. But by divine inspiration the master saw that this was a trap, and that the sultan wanted a truce so that he could subjugate the sultan of Damascus, Kamel prince of Emessa and Nasr lord of Kerak and their lands more easily, and then break the truce. He adds that all the Christians in the Holy Land could not resist the sultan of Cairo. So the master, the prelates and some of the barons debated over this. They refused the truce and offered terms to the sultan of Damascus and Nasr: all the land this side of the Jordan except Hebron, Nablus and Bethsan should be given up at once to the Christians.
This was accepted. So at last after 56 years the Holy City of Jerusalem is inhabited by Christians alone, and in all the holy places reconciled and purified by the prelates of the churches. Where for 56 years God has not been invoked, now, God be blessed, the divine mysteries are daily celebrated. Everyone can go freely and safely to visit the Holy Places. ‘It is not to be doubted, that it may remain long in this fortunate and prosperous state, if only the Christians on this side of the sea were of one mind and in accord. But many are opposed to the truce. As a result we alone, with our convent and the prelates of the churches, and with a few barons of the land giving us what help they can, bear on ourselves the weight of its defence..... However we fear that God will take grave revenge on those who gave no support for this undertaking and opposed it.’ He will punish them for their ingratitude.
The Templars propose to build a very strong castle on Toron, near Jerusalem, if they can get good help. It is hoped that through this castle they will be able to hold and defend the whole land more easily forever against the enemy. But they can in no way defend what they hold for long against the sultan, who is a most powerful and astute man, unless Christ and His faithful give them effective support.

When this letter reached the hearing of many Christians they could hardly believe the words which had been written, because of:

1)The ancient infamy of the Templars and Hospitallers, for it is said that they keep the Christians and Saracens constantly fighting and prolong the war so that they can collect money from the pilgrims who come from everywhere;
2)Their fighting between themselves;
3)Their plot to capture the emperor.
The Templars have nine thousand manors in Christendom and the Hospitallers have nineteen thousand plus emoluments and various profits from the confraternity, income from preaching and gains from their privileges. Each manor could without any difficulty find a knight to help defend the Holy Land without any loss to the community, plus everything that a knight needs. The Christians, remembering this, assert that they always cloak their fraud and hide wolfish traps under their sheepskin cloaks. If there had not been pretence and fraud, so many energetic Western knights would have violently penetrated the obstacles of the whole East by now.

The battle of La Forbie, 1244.

1244, pp. 300-305.

The Kharizmians, who have been expelled from their own lands by the Tatars, are sent by the Sultan of Cairo against the Christians. They attack Jerusalem and capture it. Frederick II writes to Richard, Earl of Cornwall, his "beloved brother-in-law" about the disaster.
The Christians, urged on by the Patriarch of Jerusalem, went to engage the Kharizmians in battle, but hardly any escaped alive. From all the barons of the land and the knights of the kingdom of Jerusalem, all the convent of the knighthood of the Temple, viz., 300 brothers, and 200 Hospitallers of St. John, and all the forces of the house of St. Mary of the Teutons, none returned except the aforesaid Patriarch, and the lord of Montfort (Philip) the constable of Acre who was the kingdom`s standard bearer, and four knights and a handful of sergeants of the Temple, nineteen Hospitallers and only three sergeants from the brothers of the Teutons, by the aid of fortune or flight, O sorrow. He learnt this from a letter sent to him by the convent of St. Mary of the Teutons. He goes on to look for reasons, and says that apart from the ‘proud religion of the Temple and the idleness of the barons’, the sultan of Cairo summoned the Kharizmians to attack them, belittling the treaty he had with the emperor and the brothers of St. John and St. Mary of the Teutons. The Brothers called the sultan of Damascus and the lord of Kerak to help them, but they did not come, contrary to the treaty they had made with the Christians.
‘...as it has been clearly stated to us by some religious men who came from Overseas, the Templars eagerly received the aforesaid sultans and others within the cloisters of the houses of the Temple and allowed them to perform their superstitions with invocation of Mohammed and worldly revelry.’

pp. 307-311. Letter to M. de Merlai, from Brother William de Chateauneuf, humble master of the holy house of Jerusalem and custodian of Christ`s poor.

He also describes the above disaster. He begins by describing the agreement with the sultans of Damascus and Kerak and how the Christians recovered Jerusalem in return for helping them against the sultan of Egypt. He describes the approach of the Kharizmians and the decision by the Christians to evacuate Jerusalem and march to Jaffa, because they could not defend the city, although the Christian standards were left on the walls of Jerusalem to fool them. They escaped but the city was sacked.
The Christians went to attack the enemy, but nightfall ended the fight. They had lost many men but they believed that the enemy had lost four times as many. The next day, 18 Oct. 1244, the brothers of the Knights Templar and the Hospital and all other religious men dedicated to war and their forces and the general army of the Christians of the Holy Land gathered under the Patriarch`s public edict, began
‘the most bloody battle’ with the Kharizmians and five thousand Saracen knights from Egypt. ‘And they attacked on both sides with so strong a charge that we could not escape them.’ He admits: ‘unable to resist such a multitude.... wounded and exhausted, still feeling the effects of the previous battle, we gave way, leaving them the field and the victory.…’
‘It was granted to us by Him Who is the Saviour of souls that not even a hundred slipped away and fled. Instead, as long as we could stand we struggled on indefatigably and eagerly, encouraging and comforting each other in Christ, so that the enemy were amazed, until we were captured - which many of us avoided - or were cut down and expired. The enemy were extremely amazed at this, and said afterwards to the captives, "Did you voluntarily give yourself up to the dangers of death, and why?" The captives replied, "We prefer to die in battle and our bodies to be slain and glorified rather than to give way to shameful flight." Such were certainly extremely formidable warriors.’

The master of the Knights Templar, the master of the Hospital (Peter de Vieillebride), and the masters of the other orders and the convents and their followers fell, and Lord Walter de Brienne was captured and lord Philip de Montfort killed. 18 Templars escaped and 16 Hospitallers ‘who however afterwards repented having escaped.’

pp. 337-44: Matthew then gives another letter on the same battle, this one from Robert, Patriarch of Jerusalem, Henry archbishop of Nazareth, J. bishop-elect of Caesarea, Rodulf bishop of Acre, the bishop of Sidon, Brother William of Montfort, vicemaster of the house of the Temple and the convent of the house, H. prior of the Holy Sepulchre, the abbot of St. Samuel, the abbot of the Premonstratensian order of the Blessed Mount of Olives, J. of the Lord`s Temple, P. of Mount Thabor, and R. of Mount Sion, abbots. This describes events of late 1244 yet again and gives a different number of survivors from the battle. Their Saracen allies fled and left them to fight alone. 33 Templars survived, 26 Hospitallers, 3 Teutonic knights. There is no news of the archbishop of Tyre, the bishop of St. George (Lydda), the abbot of St. Mary of Jehosaphat, the master of the Temple and the preceptor of St. Mary of the Teutons, and many other religious men and clergy. The Master of the Hospital and Count Walter de Brienne were taken as captives to Egypt.
‘Also we have received messengers and letters of the 22nd Nov. from the castellan and brothers of the Hospital who are in the castle of Ascalon, that the army of Saracens of Babylonia [Egypt] had already besieged the castle and held it under siege, imploring relief and speedy help from us and Christendom.’

1245. p. 416. Earl Richard of Cornwall, from his innate munificence, sent ?1000 to the Holy Land via the Hospitallers. The king of France, the Hospitallers and Templars sent knights and money.

1246. pp. 524-6. How the Templars and Hospitallers wished to redeem their captives.

..Realizing the bad state they were in, the Templars and Hospitallers were reconciled to each other, although late in the day. They decided between themselves that they should pray and fast should be done more devotedly than usual for the specific purpose of liberating the Holy Land. Above this, realising that their masters, along with certain knights Templar and others, were held alive as captives in the prison of the sultan of Babylon, they sent certain of their brothers whom they had found to be more prudent than the rest to the said sultan to negotiate with him over a ransom for the liberation of the above captives. They should not spare any quantity of gold and silver to this end, even if the ransom was high and very expensive.
Having obtained a truce for safe negotiations, they first offered precious gifts to the sultan`s chief ministers, begging that they should diligently intercede for them with the sultan, and that he would receive as much gold and silver as he liked for the ransoms of their masters and the brothers whom he held incarcerated. However, when the sultan realised this, he reproved his interpretors and criticised the same Templars and Hospitallers.
‘Those Christians whom we call Templars and Hospitallers are a poor lot,’ he said. ‘They break their own law and order. For first they wished a few years ago to fraudulently hand over their emperor Frederick when he was a pilgrim in the service of his Christ, but through our propitious piety they did not succeed.
‘Again, although they who are bound to love each other like brothers and help each other in necessity they have maintained hostilities and inexorable hatred between each other for five years now, and not even Earl Richard, brother of the king of England, who is regarded as most illustrious among the Christians, could make peace between them. The Templars claimed that he was no more than a boy, and in contempt of him they shamelessly broke the truce he had prudently begun, in spite of their brothers, viz. the Hospitallers. Again, recently in a battle between us and them their standard bearer, whom they call the Gonfanier, retreated in battle and ran away, against the decree of their order. So now, adding evil to evil, and heaping up transgression of their rule on transgression, they are striving to ransom their captive masters and brothers by paying a large sum of money, although we know that they should not be ransomed except for a belt or halter.
‘Therefore their God has deservedly given them into the hands of those who hate them, to be given up to prison.’ And thus, with severe expression and grim aspect he ordered those interceding for the brothers to retire, adding that the condition of the prisoners would at once be made worse.
When the messengers received the news, they sadly made ready to leave. They said to the said mediators: ‘And what is to be done now? Did we waste our gifts to you, when we hoped you could help us? Give us effective advice as to how our prisoners whom we are seeking can be freed.’
The interpretors replied, ‘It is true that you conferred desirable gifts on us, and we will give you faithful advice in return. This is all you can do. Arrange for the lord emperor Frederick, whom our lord loves and reveres above all mortal men, to pass a small request on to our lord either by messenger or in writing and undoubtedly all those whom you seek will be freed directly.’ The messengers replied, ‘Never as long as we have ears to listen will we agree to go along with this advice.’ And thus they returned in confusion without hope for the liberation of their captives and bitterly criticised. It can be gleaned from the course of these events how great was the friendship between Frederick and the sultan.

1247 p. 640. A portion of the Lord`s blood
was sent from the Holy Land by the masters of the Temple and Hospital, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, the archbishops and bishops, abbots and other prelates and magnates of the Holy Land in a phial of the most beautiful crystal, via a certain well-known brother of the Templars, for the church of St. Edward, Westminster [i.e. Westminster Abbey].
[p. 643.] On the occasion of the Lord`s Blood being carried by King Henry III from St. Paul`s to Westminster Abbey, Walter bishop of Norwich preached a sermon. Some people doubted that the blood was real. Then Lord Thierry, prior of the Hospital of Jerusalem, said to the bishops and those seated around, ‘Dearest lords, why are you still wavering? Did any of us, Templar or Hospitaller or even the brother who carried it, ask the lord king or any other for any repayment or any little gift of gold or silver in exchange for this gift?’ And the king replied, ‘By no means.’ The brother continued, ‘Why then are so many great men speaking in damnation of their souls in support of such a claim [that it is the Lord`s Blood], and have affixed their seals to it, which are evident pledges of faith?’ And his words were approved by all, both bishops and other listeners, although they were from a layman.

....Matthew himself was present on this occasion and the king ordered him to write an account of the day`s events.

Vol. 5.


LOUIS IX`S CRUSADE

1249 pp. 70-1. Louis attempted to reconcile Frederick II and the pope and failed, but he was more successful elsewhere. The king of the French, relying on sound and holy counsel, fully pacified many warring magnates in Cyprus and other parts of Christendom, and the Templars and Hospitallers. He did this so that he could take up the journey he had begun [to the Holy Land] more safely, leaving no problems behind him.

p. 87. Rumours spread that the king of the Tatars had been converted to Christianity. Matthew says that these were to console the Christians and encourage the crusaders, and were spread principally by the bishop of Marseilles and certain leading Templars. Many believed the tales because they came in letters under their seal, but when they discovered the truth, they were more seriously upset.

The military orders' exemptions from the authority of bishops.

1250 p. 97.

The... bishop of Lincoln [Robert Grosseteste], although he was old, laboured vigilantly to bend more strictly to his will those who had appealed to the pope against his unheard of severity. [His regular visitations]. For the exempt orders, the Templars, Hospitallers and many others, had appealed and later bought exemption [from his visitations] for themselves from the lord pope.

p. 108. In Egypt, the crusaders are starving and many have deserted to the Saracens. So many whose faith was not strong began to be worn down with desperation, blasphemy and hunger; and the faith of many, alas, alas, began to waver, and they said to each other: ‘Why has Christ abandoned us? We have always fought through Him and for Him. For we have been defeated many times during our lifetimes, and our enemies - no, Christ's enemies - have triumphed and gloried in our blood...’ They list their defeats by the Muslims since the 5th crusade... ‘But now which is worst of all, our most Christian king has was miraculously brought back from the dead and all the nobility of France are in shameful danger. Our Lord has become like an enemy to us... what is the point of our devotion, the prayers of religious people, the alms of our friends? Isn`t the law of Mohammad better than the law of Christ?’ (Matthew calls these ‘delirious words’.)

p. 118. More false rumours from Egypt: letters from the bishop of Marseilles and certain Templars spread the rumour that Cairo and Babylon have been captured and the fleeing Saracens have left Alexandria undefended. These letters exhilerated credulous listeners but left them more pained at the end and as a result, Matthew says, we refused to believe other letters after that, even true ones.

p. 140. The origin of the false reports. Damietta has been captured by the French. Its lord is hanged. His brother, custodian of Cairo, had a long time before consented to the Christian law in his heart and secretly had some of those whom he held captive in chains brought to him, i.e.Templars, Hospitallers and French recently captured at Gaza in battle (1239 or 1244). He made a speech to them, offering to surrender Cairo to them, and in first guarentee of this he freed them. They went joyfully to the king at once, secretly, and informed him of the offer. Louis refused to act until he was more certain of the truth of it, but he recalled the English nobleman William Longespee from Acre, where he had retired after a quarrel with the French crusaders. (William was leader of the English contingent on Louis` crusade.) The French then set out to advance from Damietta.

The battle of Mansurah, Feb. 1250.

1250 p. 147. Count Robert of Artois, Louis` brother, and William Longespee went to attack Mansurah. The count proposed to attack it, but when he entered he was almost smothered in stones and had to retire. They then discussed what to do next. Robert, hoping to inspire the rest to advance, said to the then master of the Temple in the hearing of William Longespee that they would follow the fugitives from Mansurah while they had the advantage. (p.148).
The master of the Temple, who was a very discreet and circumspect man and skilled and experienced in military matters, replied, ‘O magnificent lord count, we commend your great energy and innate high spirit and bold willingness to further the honour of the Lord and His universal Church, which we know and have often seen in practice. However we desire and beneficially advise and pray that you should prefer to restrain this fervour with the rein of modesty and discretion so that after this triumph which the Lord has conferred on us we may also recover a little honour. For we are tired with the heat and labour of battle, we are wounded, hungry and thirsty, and although the honour and glory of the desired victory may comfort us, no honour and glory can revive our horses, which are failing and wounded. It would be better advised to return now to be reinforced by the counsel and aid of the lord king`s united army and so that we and our horses may rest. When our enemy see this they will praise our prudence and fear us more. When we have consulted our own people we may all assemble in the battle we have already begun and attack more strongly and with our collected forces we will be strengthened with more confidence. For the shouts of the fugitives can now be heard - those who escaped on very swift horses and are informing the sultan and our other enemies, who are confident in their strength and numbers, both about our small numbers and the small size of the whole army. They always want us to be divided and when we are divided they are stronger and more encouraged and will attack us more confidently and boldly when they have been informed of it. Now they are pouring out their forces to harm and confuse us. For they know that if they are crushed now they and their wives and children will be completely disinherited and irrevocably reduced to nothing.’
The count of Artois was extremely indignant, and blown up and inflated with anger and pride he retorted: ‘Oh ancient treachery of the Temple! O old plotting of the Hospitallers! O long-hidden trickery, how clearly it now bursts out into full view! This is what we have predicted for a long time. and it was truly predicted, that this whole land of the East would have been won long ago if we laity had not been impeded by the frauds of the Temple and Hospital and of others who proclaim themselves to be religious. Behold, it is as clear as your hand that this Templar here is trying to impede the capture of the sultan and the confusion of all paganism and the perpetual exaltation of the Christian law with his contrived and fallacious speeches. For the Templars fear and the Hospitallers are afraid and so are their accomplices that if the land is subdued to the Christian law the domination which they feed with ample revenues will expire. This is why they use various potions to poison faithful Christians who come here girded for the business of the cross, and, in alliance with the Saracens, they kill them with different sorts of treacheries. Isn’t Frederick, who has experienced their snares, a most reliable witness of this?’
At these satirical and biting words the said master of the Knighthood and his brothers and the master of the Hospital similarly with his brothers, bitterly hurt, unanimously replied: ‘For what reason, O generous count, did we receive the religious habit? Surely not to overturn the Church of Christ, and to lose our souls by plotting treacheries? Far be it, far be it from us, no, from every Christian!’ And the angry master of the Temple uttered a great shout, bellowing to the gonfanier, ‘Unfurl and raise our standard, and we shall advance to battle, so that today we may enter together the uncertain dangers of battle and death. We would be invincible, if we remained inseparable. But we are unfortunately divided, like sand without lime, unfit to be built into a spiritual building with the cement of charity, and like a wall pushed down we shall be ruined.’
Hearing these things, William Longespee was very much afraid of a division in the army. Wishing to calm the count of Artois’s impetuousity and mitigate the master of the Temple’s anger, he replied: ‘The Lord’s Word says that desolation follows schism and division.’ [Matthew 12, v.25] ‘Therefore, most serene count, we believe this man to be holy and honest. He has lived in this country a long time and he knows the Saracen's strength and strategies, taught by long experience. We are young and strangers; it is not surprising if we don't know the dangers of the East. As far as the East is from the West, so are the Westerners different from Easterners.’ And, turning to the master of the Temple he spoke to him with calm and sweet words, trying to calm him down. But the count of Artois interrupted him, cursing and swearing in the French way, and let loose the following insults in the hearing of many:
‘O fearful timid tailed ones, how blessed, how pure would the present army be if it was purged and curtailed of tails.’
When William heard this he was shocked, wounded and angered by the offensive words. He replied: ‘O Count Robert, I will certainly advance unafraid to whatever fate awaits me. I shall be today, I believe, where you will not dare to touch my horse's tail.’ And they put on their helmets, unfurled their banners and advanced towards the enemy, which covered the plains, mountains and valleys all around...

The sultan rejoiced at the divisions in the Christian army and attacked the Christians. William and Robert de Vere, his standard bearer, were killed with many of the English. The count fled, tried to cross the river on his horse and was drowned by the weight of his armour. Only 2 Templars, 1 Hospitaller and one ‘contemptible person’ escaped. William is a martyr: his mother Ela, countess of Salisbury, had a vision of him ascending to Heaven.

p. 165. Matthew blames the disaster on the count of Artois’s pride.

p. 196. All the Christian army was cut to pieces in Egypt, alas, consisting of all the nobility of the French, Temple, Hospital, Saint Mary of the Teutons and St. Lazarus.

The military orders and Henry III

1252 p. 339.

About the same time [13 Oct.] the master of the Hospital of Jerusalem [Robert de Manneby] in the house of Clerkenwell, who had been waiting patiently until he found a quiet suitable time to talk with the king, lodged a complaint about a certain blatant injury which had been done to him. He also showed the king charters given by kings and by Henry himself which guaranteed the order’s protection.
The king uttered a great oath and replied angrily to him in a raised voice: ‘You prelates and religious, but especially Templars and Hospitallers, have so many liberties and charters that your superfluous possessions make you proud, and your pride makes you insane. Therefore, as they were imprudently conceded to you they should be prudently recalled, and what was scattered carelessly about without consultation should be advisedly taken back.’ And he added, ‘Doesn’t the lord pope sometimes, no, often, revoke his acts? Isn’t this tag applied, "Notwithstanding breach of earlier charters"? So I also may infringe this and other charters which my ancestors and I have rashly conceded.’
The master of the Hospital, whom they call the ‘prior’ replied with alacrity with head held high: ‘What are you saying, lord king? God forbid that such churlish and absurd statements should come from your mouth. As long as you do justice, you may be king; and as soon as you infringe it, you cease to be king.’ To which the king very unwisely replied: ‘O what does that mean, you English? Do you want to throw me down from the kingdom, as you once did my father, and kill me when I have fallen?’

1253. p. 363.

Henry persuaded Richard de Clare, Earl of Gloucester, to marry his son to Alice, daughter of Guy of Lusignan, count of Angouleme, Henry`s half-brother. Henry promised Richard 5000 marks for the marriage. The count, stimulated by avarice, agreed. Henry did not have the money to hand because he was accustomed to spend it quickly on everything. So he imperiously begged the abbot of St. Albans and the abbot of Reading and the abbot of Waltham to guarantee this money to the earl of Gloucester, which they in no way should or would do. For who can force a recalcitrant king to pay? He also pressingly begged the Templars and Hospitallers to take on the said obligation. When they refused, asserting that they could not do this, the king was angry and threatened them horribly. And in this anger he chased Brother Roger Templar from the office of Almoner and ordered him to leave the court; and on other excuses which he found he laid new traps for the Templars and Hospitallers.

The Holy Land after 1250

p. 387 Matthew tells a story of a good French knight in the Holy Land who was insulted by one of his rivals - he called him ‘fugitivus et victus,’ (fleeing and conquered: = coward) which is in French ‘recreant,’ and this word is the greatest insult among them - his son then slew the insulter. The son fled to a church but was taken out and hanged without his father`s knowledge or Louis` intervention. The father went over to the Saracens. Matthew then continues:
A very similar misfortune to this had happened 40 [30] years before, when a certain Templar, for the sake of one desirable horse which had been violently taken from him, deserted to the Saracens. His name was Ferrand and he was energetic in arms and wise in counsel. Through him the Christians unfortunately lost Damietta and all honour; but at last when they were exposed to drowning his compassion stirred and so that the sin of one should not redound on so many thousands, he aided those who were about to perish.

1254. pp. 457-8. After Richard of Cornwall had refused the kingdom of Sicily, the pope offered it to Henry III, who wanted it for his son Edmund. He turned all the crusaders from their first intention viz., they were not to go to the Holy Land but to follow the king of England and swear to recover Sicily and Apulia. Hearing this the Templars and Hospitallers, the patriarch of Jerusalem and all the prelates and inhabitants of the Holy Land who oppose the enemies of Christ and already feared the worst were grieved to death, detesting Roman treachery.

1257. p. 655.
The Tatars and Saracens were raging in the East with tyrannical and hostile enmity, and forced many peoples, such as sultans, emirs, princes and even caliphs, to pay them tribute. When the Tatars wished to force the Christians to pay tribute in the same way, the brothers of the Temple and Hospital and all the inhabitants of the Holy Land assembled to take on the insupportable yoke. When they had had a long and very diligent nocturnal debate, as if with one mouth they all replied to the Tatar`s messengers that they would not free themselves from God`s service for the sake of an easy life. They would rather die for Christ, who did not refuse to bear the punishment of death in that land in order to restore the human race. Therefore let the Tatars, demons of Tartaros, come and they would find servants of Christ prepared in the field for battle to defend the Christian law against them.


1259. pp. 745-6.

How the Templars and Hospitallers killed each other.

Also at the same time, the Templars, brothers of St. Lazarus and St. Thomas, the men of Acre, Hospitallers and their fellow-provincials, also others like the Genoese and Pisans, quarrelled in the Holy Land. They used to be legitimate defenders of the Church, but then became destroyers of it and of peace, and even became its cruel exterminators. For a certain lethal dissension arose between the Hospitallers and the Templars, and the Hospitallers unanimously rose up against the Templars. They wiped out the greater part of themselves but, it is said, completely destroyed the Templars. So as it is said scarcely one of the Templars’ side survived, but many of the Hospitallers. Never among Christians, especially religious, was such a great and miserable slaughter reported.
For this reason all the Templars remaining on this side of the sea took counsel together and urgently informed all the brothers of their order dwelling in their houses spread everywhere, as it is said, that with no excuses allowed, they should assign necessary guards to each house and hastily congregate in the Holy Land. This was to make some small restoration of their houses in the regions of Acre which had been emptied and an infinite number of brothers destroyed, and in order to inflict horrible vengeance and hostile retribution on the Hospitallers. It was greatly feared that unless the Almighty should alleviate the situation, the peace and great stability of the Christians should largely perish on account of their intolerable fury.

(This was one of the last things Matthew wrote. There are only three further paragraphs in his Great Chronicle. It seems to refer to the war of St. Sabas, which was between Genoa and Venice. The Hospital gave support to the Genoese and the Temple supported the Venetians, but no other source mentions them fighting. The Temple`s appeal for help from the West was due to the great danger from the approaching Tatars.)

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Matthew Paris: Flores Historiarum [Flowers of History]

Taken from the edition ed. H. R. Luard, Rolls Series 95, 3 vols (London, 1890)

Trans. and copyright Helen Nicholson, 1989.
(To be used with reference to the extracts from Matthew Paris’ Chronica Majora.)

Vol. 2

1229 pp.194-5: He describes the emperor Frederick II`s departure from the Holy Land, as in Chronica Majora vol. 3 pp. 177-9; summarizing the plot to have the emperor seized when he went to the Jordan to pray, but without mentioning the military orders. He only talks of ‘domestics, whom he had thought were friends....Ever after he regarded the Templars as most hateful, as persons who were under suspicion, and regarded the sultan as most friendly, seeing fidelity in infidels, and detesting the infidelity of the faithful...’

(But having not mentioned the Templars’ involvement in the plot, he gives no reason for Frederick hating the Templars.)

1241 p. 250. (Summary of the year) It was most inimical to the Holy Land, because the Templars hostilely attacked the Hospitallers, and they could not be pacified by the even most diligent efforts of Earl Richard. (See Chronica Majora vol. 4 pp. 167-8.)

1243 p. 264. The Templars besieged the Hospitallers at Acre, and in their contempt and contumacy impudently broke the truce prudently concluded by Earl Richard with the sultan of Babylon on the Hospitallers’ advice. They did not fear to attack the sultan himself, in alliance with other sultans, thinking to find good faith in the faithless. This showed the threat of the Gospels, ‘Every kingdom divided against itself will perish.’ (See Chronica Majora, vol. 4 p. 256.)

1243 p. 268 [The year] generated schism and scandal for the Templars and Hospitallers.


1244 p. 272.

The battle at Gaza or La Forbie between the Christians and the Kharizmians, and the miserable slaughter, forever to be deplored and the capture of the masters of the Temple and Hospital....

...and almost all the Templars and Hospitallers and other brothers of various orders e.g. the house of the Germans, of St. Lazarus, and almost all the nobles of the Holy Land either fell in battle or were thrust into captivity by the Saracens. The sultan of Babylon, whom the Templars had attacked after breaking the truce begun by Earl Richard, had directed the Kharizmians to exterminate them in order to avenge the a great injury. (See Chronica Majora, vol. 4 pp. 300-5.)

1245 p. 287. In those days the Templars and Hospitallers, in order to restore the loss of their brothers, received as many laity as they could elect into their order, and sent succour to the Holy Land to defend the desolate cities and castles which were already besieged or waiting to surrender to the Muslims. (Not in Chronica Majora.)

1250 p. 365. (Does not mention the role of the Templars and Hospitallers at the Battle of Mansourah. Compare Chronica Majora vol. 5 pp. 147-65.)

Summary of 1250: Louis IX`s army was scattered, Louis was captured and so were many of his magnates, and the convents of the Temple, Hospital, Teutons and St. Lazarus.


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Matthew Paris: Historia Anglorum [History of the English]

from the edition ed. by Frederick Madden, 3 vols, Rolls Series 44 (London, 1866-9) Trans. and copyright Helen Nicholson.

Vol. 1

pp. 222-4 Of the origins of the order of the Temple (as in Roger of Wendover and thus in Matthew`s own Chronica Majora. But adds:) the first of them were Hugh de Pagans and Godfrey de St. Omer. At first they were so poor, although they were energetic, that they had only one warhorse between two. So in memory of their primitive poverty and their observance of humility, on their seal is engraved two riding one horse.

Vol. 2

1229 pp. 312-14 See the Chronica Majora vol. 3 pp. 177-9. Recounts the emperor Frederick II`s intention to go to the Jordan to bathe. The inhabitants of the Holy Land, ‘especially the Templars and Hospitallers, envious of the emperor`s magnificent deeds,’ decide to claim the credit for his great deeds and to please the pope, who has invaded Frederick’s empire. So they write to the sultan to tell him of the emperor’s plans. (There are no complaints here of the enormous funds swallowed up by the orders.) The sultan detests the Christians’ treachery, ‘and especially of those who seem to bear the cross-signed habit of religion.’ He sends the letter to the emperor, who thanks God and the sultan and pretends that he has not been offended ‘until the time of fit retribution.’ He then prepared to return home.

This is said to have sown hatred between the emperor and the Temple and Hospital. However, the Hospital incurred a smaller stain of infamy over this because they later purged themselves by oath. After this the sultan and emperor were great friends, and the sultan sent the emperor an elephant.

(These sentences are marked with red letters in the margin): Erase, because offensive to the Templars.

pp. 314-15. The Templars, learning that the emperor`s pilgrimage to the Jordan was deferred, realised through this and other indications that their uncovered strategem lacked the intended effect. Therefore they attracted the Patriarch of Jerusalem to their conspiracy, who is said to have written this letter to defame the emperor, and sent it to various eastern [sic] princes:
‘Gerold, Patriarch of Jeruslaem, to all Christ`s faithful, greetings in the Lord.’
(see Chronica Majora, vol. 3 pp. 179-85).

1237 p. 399. Summarized account of the battle at Guascun (should be Darbsak) castle between the sultan of Aleppo and the Templars, Hospitallers and some companions under the leadership of the preceptor of Antioch, William of Montferrat. There fell in the battle more than 100 knights of the the Temple, and 300 crossbowmen. Others fled, against the rules of their order. But 3000 Turks died, although because of their great numbers this scarcely showed. There fell in that unfortunate struggle an illustrious Knight Templar, of English nationality, Reginald of Argentan, to whom that most bloody day the task of bearing the banner which is called ‘Baucan’ had been committed on account of his singular prowess. He bore it untiringly until with his horse maimed and his arms severed, and drilled with many other wounds, he fell covered in blood and thus commended his spirit to God. However, by his hand around 60 of the enemy were sent to Tartaris.
This engagement took place in June. To revenge this injury and loss there was sent from England Thierry, prior of the Hospital, with a great number of knights and much wealth, because in that sad conflict both Hospitallers and Templars fell. Also the Temple poured out what forces it could, in order powerfully to avenge its brothers’ blood.

1239 p. 433. Letter from Count Amaury de Montfort to his wife regarding the defeat of the French crusaders at Gaza: as Chronica Majora, vol.4 pp. 25-6, but adds: ‘and also many of the Templars and Hospitallers were captured and killed when they wanted to redeem their reputation, and their magistrates and elite knights were captured and their standards thrown down.’

1243 p. 472. Detestable discord between the Templars and Hospitallers

The Templars gravely attacked the Hospitallers, besieging them so that they were not allowed to carry bodies out of their house in Acre to be buried. To spite the emperor the Templars also drove out the Teutonic brothers of the church of St. Mary from their territories, heaping up God`s anger on their heads and exalting the enemies of the cross by their discord. (See Chronica Majora, vol. 4 p. 256.)

1243 p. 477. (Summary of year.) It generated schism and scandal for the Templars and Hospitallers.

1244 pp. 483-4. Summary of a letter from the prelates of the Holy Land telling of the defeat of the Christians at La Forbie - this is in the Chronica Majora vol. 4 pp. 337-44.

Vol.3

1247 p. 29. Brief notice of the phial of Christ`s Blood sent to Westminster from the Holy Land.Described at length in Chronica Majora vol. 4 p. 640ff..

1250 pp. 83-4. Richard earl of Cornwall is brought news at the Exchequer in London that the whole Christian army in the Holy Land i.e. the army of the king of the French and of certain English, Templars, Hospitallers, Teutons and St. Lazarus has fallen defeated. This is blamed on the ‘unfortunate and proud’ count of Artois. At the end of his list of the slain, Matthew adds in the margin: ‘Besides them, the knighthood of the Temple and Hospital was thrown into confusion.’

p. 90. Summary of events 1200-1250: ....There were captured, killed and scattered the convents of the Temple, Hospital, St. Mary Teutonics, and St. Lazarus, twice.

p. 92. Also the same emperor [Frederick II] persecuted the Templars, accusing them of treachery.

p. 95. The Saracens triumphed many times as they wished: the general army of the Christians, viz. of the French, with the king present, of Templars, Hospitallers, Teutonics, brothers of St. Lazarus and inhabitants of the Holy Land, was conquered, captured, slaughtered, alas!

p. 102. On the numbers which died at Mansourah through the pride of the count of Artois, brother of the king of the French, he notes in the margin: according to the assertion of the master of the Temple in Scotland. (i.e. the master of the Temple in Scotland provided Matthew with his details of the casualties).

Abbreviato Chronicorum Angliae - [Abbreviation of the Chronicles of England].

in same volumes as Historia Anglorum.

1229 p. 259. Now, when he had made peace, the emperor very much wished to visit the holy places to pray before he crossed back over the sea to his own lands. And when he was proceeding to the river Jordan, the sultan was informed by the emperor`s betrayers that he could capture him easily, as he would have bare feet and be dressed in wool with no one to protect him. When the sultan heard this he marvelled at such great enormity of treachery. However, those who do not love the honour of the Temple and the Hospital lie when they accuse them of this. For it is not credible that religious men could be capable of such great wickedness, although it would seem to help the pope`s cause..
The sultan sent the letters to the emperor, as a result of which he and the emperor were henceforth the best of friends. However, this was what sowed the hatred between the emperor and Templars and also the Hospitallers.
See Chronica Majora, vol. 3, pp.177-9.

1237 p. 274 Same account of the battle of 1237 as in the Historia Anglorum vol. 2, p. 399.

1239 p. 280 Notice of defeat at Gaza but no details given and the orders are not mentioned.

1243 p. 287 The Templars gravely harassed the Hospitallers, besieging them so that they were not allowed to carry bodies out of their house in Acre to be buried. To spite the emperor, the Templars also drove out the Teutonic brothers of the church of St. Mary. Then the infidels, rejoicing, laughed aloud and derided their religion. (See Chronica Majora, vol. 4 p. 256.)

1244 p. 289. Notice of the bishop of Beirut bringing a letter from the Holy Land about the disaster at La Forbie. Same figures as the Historia Anglorum vol. 2 p. 484 and the Chronica Majora vol. 4 pp. 337-44.

1247 p. 302 Notice of the phial of Christ`s blood sent to Westminster from the Holy Land. The testimonial letters guaranteeing its authenticity include letters from the masters of the Temple and Hospital. See Chronica Majora, vol. 4 p. 640.

1250 p. 313 Notice of the battle of Mansourah and the deaths of Robert of Artois and William Longespee and other English nobles, but no mention of the military orders.

1250 p. 317 Notice of the destruction of King Louis’ army and the scattering of the convents of the Temple, Hospital, Teutonic knights and St. Lazarus.


Dr. Helen Nicholson

   
 
 
 
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