An explosive new history of the medieval world's most powerful military order, the Templars-and the momentous discovery that finally allows the full story to be told. At its height, the Order of the Knights Templar rivaled the kingdoms of Europe in military might, economic power, and political influence. For 700 years the tragic demise of this society of warrior-monks amid accusations of heresy has been plagued by controversy, in part because the transcript of their trial by the Inquisition-which held the key to the truth-had vanished. Templar historian Barbara Frale happened to be studying a document at the Vatican Secret Archives when she suddenly realized that it was none other than the long-lost transcript! It revealed that Pope Clement V had absolved the order of all charges of heresy. Using this sensational new information, Frale chronicles the Templars' spectacular rise and fall against a sweeping backdrop of war, religious fervor, and the struggle for dominance, and finally lifts the centuries-old cloak of mystery surrounding one of the world's most intriguing secret societies.
In 1307, Philip IV of France arrested the Knights Templar, a holy order dedicated to retaking Jerusalem, on charges of blasphemy, idolatry, and sodomy. Since then, speculation about the order's practices has been widespread, with various authors calling them either martyrs or sorcerers. Here, Frale, a historian at the Vatican Secret Archives, provides a new history of this mysterious order. Though other books, most notably Malcolm Barber's The New Knighthood, provide a more comprehensive examination, Frale draws on newly discovered legal documents from the archives relating to the Templars' initiation ceremony. These documents are crucial for understanding the charges against the knights. Frale tantalizes us with hints of further research underway on her part, relating to other aspects of the legend, but the bibliographic notes in this book are insufficient for tracking down what information came from which source heretofore. Overall, though, the work is a solid contribution on a topic where misinformation is rife and where there is little comparable material available in English. Readers interested in the history behind Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code will find this book illuminating. Suitable for public and academic libraries.-Daniel Harms, SUNY at Cortland Lib. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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May 01, 2011
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