Introduced by Fra Matthew Festing
The 12th century saw the foundation of the great crusading military orders: the Templars, Knights of Malta and the Teutonic Knights, some of which still survive today. This is a fascinating history of their attempt to fight their way into heaven.
'His scholarship is great, his theme both interesting and largely unexplored and his judgment sound'In the 12th century the Church was in need of crack troops to devote their lives to the Crusades. To address this need, the knight brethren of the military orders banded together: noblemen vowed to poverty, chastity and obedience, living a monastic life in barracks, waging war on the enemies of the Cross. The three great orders were the Templars, Hospitallers (Knights of Malta) and Teutonic Knights, though Santiago and Calatrava were no less formidable. They were the first properly disciplined and officered troops in the West since Roman times.
'The work of someone who knows and accepts the standards of critical history...an epic'
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