What fascinating facts about the Knights Templar do you think you know? Nowadays, when people hear the word “Templar,” they think of those bad guys from the “Assassin’s Creed” video games or that weird secret society from Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code.” If that’s you, then it’s time to change your perceptions. The Knights Templar were very real, living, breathing people in history. As you’ll soon discover, they started as a rag-tag team and grew into a dominate and powerful force. But, just who were these enigmatic knights really? And what led to their inevitable demise? We’re here to answer those questions and more. So, ready your sword and shield, here are 25 fascinating facts about the Knights Templar that will challenge everything you thought you knew about this mysterious order.
The white mantles
One of the most defining features of a Knight Templar were the white mantles that they wore. All knights in the order were required by oath to wear a white surcoat emblazoned with a red cross at all waking hours of the day, and they were even forbidden from eating or talking unless wearing it. Even when riding into battle, the knights would proudly don their white mantles over their chainmail, and would outfit their horses with white caparisons that also displayed the Templar red cross.
The Templar Cross
The red cross is probably the most well recognized symbol of the Templars, as it was displayed on everything from their banners, to their clothing, and even on the barding of their horses. The crosses were usually framed by a white or black background and are thought to symbolize blood, purity, and martyrdom. The Templars were willing to lay down their lives for God and receive honor by dying in battle.
They never surrendered
The Knights Templar had a very strict set of rules when it came to warfare. One of the most important rules was that a knight could never surrender while the red cross still flew over the battlefield. As part of their oath, all Templars agreed to lay down their lives for the order should the need arise, meaning they could not lay down their weapons or attempt a retreat until all the flags had fallen. When paired with their excellent training and heavy armaments, this uncompromising devotion and willingness to fight till their last breath made Knights Templar one of the most fearsome adversaries anybody could face on the battlefield.
They had no set method of martial training
There is no argument that the knights of the Templar Order were well-armed and incredibly well-trained. Surprisingly, however, there were no set regulations or standards of training set by the order. This is likely because knights were already expected to have received training before becoming a Templar. Although they did not train together, all Knight Templars would have been adept with swords, polearms, and horseback riding, as well as have a good understanding of fighting tactics.
The Templar Eschielle
Templars were masters of the eschielle, or squadron, and their deadly organized charge was incredibly effective on on the battlefield. The knights would form a tight-knit formation and charge the enemy head-on on horseback with the goal of breaking a hole in the enemies’ defenses, that could be exploited by infantry or other soldiers, to scatter the enemy and win the day.
While simple in concept, the tactic was incredibly difficult to pull off in the heat of battle and required excellent organization, horsemanship, and well-armed soldier units trained to exploit the tactic. The technique almost always secured a victory when executed effectively. However, when imperfect, there was a chance it could leave the knights scattered and stranded behind enemy lines.