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Eric Myers




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PostPosted: Tue 06 Jan, 2009 7:50 pm    Post subject: The arrestors of Jacques de Molay?         Reply with quote

A friend of mine is a comic book artist, working on a story about the arrest of the Templar lead Jacques de Molay in 1307, and is looking for some information about the clothing and armor of the time, specifically of those who likely actually seized or arrested him. Would these people have been knights, or would the king (Philip the Fair) have had a special guard that performed this function, or would it have been simple soldiers, or what? Would armor still be pretty much mail, sur coat, and a helmet like a chapel-de-fer? Any advice, either textual or pointers towards good pictorial references, would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

Eric Myers
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Wed 07 Jan, 2009 5:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very probably men-at-arms--wouldn't de Molay have found it a bit insulting if the people taking him into custody were nothing more than mere foot? Of course, they probably had some assistance from other troops as well. I recall hearing about a French royal police force composed of archers but I'm not sure if 1) this force already existed (or still existed) in the early 14th century and 2) the "archers" were really archers rather than a different kind of troop that were only archers in name like the late 15th- and early 16th-century "archers" in the French Ordonnance companies.

Anyway, I'm not sure that the arrestors would necessarily have appeared in armor either, since the arrest might have been conducted in a "civilian" situation. After all, a quick peek at the Wikipedia article gives me this:

Quote:
Jacques de Molay was arrested in Paris, while he was planning to attend the funeral of Catherine of Valois.


and wasn't there a limit to the amount of weapons and armor that anybody could wear inside the limits of a city except if he had specific permission from the city, lord, or King?
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 07 Jan, 2009 8:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Given the religious aspect, your friend could take a cue from medieval depictions of the arrest of Jesus. Those almost invariably show a gaggle of common soldiers (in either light or no armour) accompanied by a better-equipped officer. A Templar probably would appreciate the symbolism.
-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Eric Myers




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PostPosted: Wed 07 Jan, 2009 8:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Good points guys, thanks.
Eric Myers
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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Thu 08 Jan, 2009 5:02 am    Post subject: Re: The arrestors of Jacques de Molay?         Reply with quote

Eric Myers wrote:
A friend of mine is a comic book artist, working on a story about the arrest of the Templar lead Jacques de Molay in 1307, and is looking for some information about the clothing and armor of the time, specifically of those who likely actually seized or arrested him. Would these people have been knights, or would the king (Philip the Fair) have had a special guard that performed this function, or would it have been simple soldiers, or what? Would armor still be pretty much mail, sur coat, and a helmet like a chapel-de-fer? Any advice, either textual or pointers towards good pictorial references, would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,


Eric...

Whatever your friend writes and illustrates about the Templars, I hope he will steer away from the enormous amount of erroneous information out there about the Order and the aftermath of its suppression. As someone with a serious interest in the Templars I cringe every time I read something about the Holy Grail, the Templar treasure that financed Robert the Bruce, etc. There simply is no historical record to support most of that.

Now that I got that out of the way, Philip le Bel was the instigator of the supression but he persuaded ( in reality probably coerced ) Clement V to participate. I suspect that the people who arrested Jacques de Molay were a mixed group of officers of the Pope and French knights. But, I also doubt there was any concern on the part of the King, or the Pope, about de Molay's feelings over who arrested him. The plan from the start was to destroy the Templar Order and its leaders, and only those who would confess to the heresy of which they were accused would survive. The Order of Arrest was sent to royal officers three weeks prior to the actual implentation and was written in Latin, the language of the clergy. This would seem to mean that persons from both parties were involved in the arrest. You would have had priests and armored knights, in their usual habit, carrying out the order. That does not help much with descriptions of clothing and equipment but it does indicate who was probably there, although I have not found any exact information in my references.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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David McElrea




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PostPosted: Thu 08 Jan, 2009 8:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

While I am largely in agreement with Lin, one small point...

Quote:
The Order of Arrest was sent to royal officers three weeks prior to the actual implentation (sic) and was written in Latin, the language of the clergy. This would seem to mean that persons from both parties were involved in the arrest. You would have had priests and armored knights...


Actually all (or most) legal documents were written in Latin at this time-- it wasn't just the language of the clergy, it was the language of the courts. Of course, given the nature of the charges, clergy may have been present, but I wouldn't read too much into the fact that the documents themselves were Latin.

Lin is right, though, in that there is a great cloud of misinformation surrounding the Templars, much of which would have been as offensive to them as the original charges that destroyed their order.
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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Thu 08 Jan, 2009 3:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One portion of the arrest orders, the details of the procedures to be used and the charges, was written in French. Edward Burman, in "The Templars - Knights of God", opines that this was for the French officials charged with carrying out the orders, while the Latin portions were for the clergy, who would be present, and by whose authority as church officers the orders of arrest were written out. This is, of course, subject to interpretation, but it is from this that Mr. Burman, and I concur, concludes that members of both estates were to be present at the arrests.
Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982


Last edited by Lin Robinson on Thu 08 Jan, 2009 8:03 pm; edited 1 time in total
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GG Osborne





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PostPosted: Thu 08 Jan, 2009 5:25 pm    Post subject: Templar arrest         Reply with quote

Okay, I'm going to jump into the fray with some thoughts. The Knights Templar were arguably the best trained, best equipped and best funded heavy troops in Europe at the time. You just don't send a rabbit go knocking on the door of the lion with an arrest warrant. Since the whole shebang was orchestrated by the King, I imagine a force of royal household and other heavily armed knights were involved. History records that the Templars pretty much gave up without any armed resistance. No resistance from a group hardened by years of fighting in the deserts of Palestine and other hard campaigning all over Europe just a few years earlier? I have a hard time swallowing that concept. I have an idea that either one of two things occurred: (1) overwhelming force was used or (2) total stealth and surprise. Frankly, its the lack of these elements that has given rise to so many of the Templar myths. Why would such a rich and powerful order just 'give up' knowing that incarceration in the Middle Ages was not a pleasant idea in the first place much less if the charge was treason and blasphemy. And this from the nation that gave dungeons the oulette? Nah, I have an idea that these knights were overwhelmed by a much superior force in a coup d'main of surprise. Just my thoughts!
"Those who live by the sword...will usually die with a huge, unpaid credit card balance!"
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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Thu 08 Jan, 2009 8:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Templar arrest         Reply with quote

GG Osborne wrote:
Okay, I'm going to jump into the fray with some thoughts. The Knights Templar were arguably the best trained, best equipped and best funded heavy troops in Europe at the time. You just don't send a rabbit go knocking on the door of the lion with an arrest warrant. Since the whole shebang was orchestrated by the King, I imagine a force of royal household and other heavily armed knights were involved. History records that the Templars pretty much gave up without any armed resistance. No resistance from a group hardened by years of fighting in the deserts of Palestine and other hard campaigning all over Europe just a few years earlier? I have a hard time swallowing that concept. I have an idea that either one of two things occurred: (1) overwhelming force was used or (2) total stealth and surprise. Frankly, its the lack of these elements that has given rise to so many of the Templar myths. Why would such a rich and powerful order just 'give up' knowing that incarceration in the Middle Ages was not a pleasant idea in the first place much less if the charge was treason and blasphemy. And this from the nation that gave dungeons the oulette? Nah, I have an idea that these knights were overwhelmed by a much superior force in a coup d'main of surprise. Just my thoughts!


Hi Glen...

Steve Krolick is making guns again. I am trying to talk him into a fishtail butt pistol, but no luck so far.

By 1307, the Templars had been out of the Holy Land for sixteen years, which was a long time in the 13th and 14th centuries. When they retired to Cyprus, they used a considerable amount of their movable treasure in the relocation and by the time of the suppression were, in terms of currency, broke. Jacques de Molay made a tour of Europe in an attempt to replenish their treasury in 1294 and came up mostly empty. The popularity of the Templars had waned as the need for their military service diminished - they were enjoined by their rule from killing fellow Christians, although heretics like the Cathars were an exception - so there was little work for them in Europe. In short, they really were not needed militarily any longer - unless there was another crusade. We can be certain that this inactivity had dulled their fighting skills considerably. Also, in their entire history, the fighting force of the Templars had been relatively small. There were more sergeants than knights in their ranks and even more grooms, cooks and priests.

Many of the European monarchs had borrowed from the Order in their role as bankers, none more than Philip le Bel. A major reason for Philip to hatch a plot to accuse the Order of heresy was to get what was left of their holdings, mostly land, grain and other commodities, and to wipe out his personal debt at the same time. Philip undoubtedly persuaded the Pope to come up with the idea of a unified military order with the king and/or his sons at its head, and to mount another crusade, an idea which was flatly rejected by the Grand Master. This served to further alienate the Templars from the rest of the population and probably kept any of the other military orders or what was left of their supporters from coming to their aid. I seriously doubt there was much fight left in the warrior monks by this time. Only fifteen persons of rank were captured in France during the initial stage of the suppression, and a dozen of the leading officials, including the Preceptor of France, got away. Interestingly, a number of Templars remained at large during the five years between the arrests and the dissolution of the Order in 1312, which apparently caused some concern on the part of the authorities. However, during all that time there was no concerted effort by the fugitives to mount a rescue operation. Many did come forward to express the innocence of the Order and their personal purity when invited by the authorities to do so, and were immediately thrown into jail.

After studying the Order for a number of years, while scrupulously avoiding all the nonsense that has been written about them, I have come to the conclusion that the Templars were easily taken by the authorities for two reasons: 1) they could not believe that a military order reportable directly and only to the Pope would ever or could ever be charged with heresy; 2) they knew that they were innocent and that an appeal to the Pope would bring acquittal. How wrong they were on both counts.

And, they were not at Bannockburn with Bruce.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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