“A new knighthood has appeared in the land of the incarnation, a knighthood which fights a DOUBLE battle, against adversaries of flesh and blood and against the spirit of evil.” These words by Bernard of Clairvaux from 1129 sum up the attitude towards the Knights Templar, the elite fighting force of the Crusades. Throughout history, their legend of secrecy and unseen influence on politics and culture have made this group (and all the fascinating information they supposedly have in their files) one of the most pored-over histories of any group in the world. SECRETS OF THE KNIGHTS TEMPLAR by Susie Hodge is a big, gorgeous coffee table compendium of the facts and features of the history of this group since its inception in the 12th century.
"SECRETS OF THE KNIGHTS TEMPLAR is one of the most beautiful history books I’ve ever seen.... Perfect for history nuts!"
Most of what you had read about the Knights in THE DA VINCI CODE is recounted here, but there is so much more. A group of men --- brave, chivalrous, wealthy and ambitious --- was started as a means of defending the Christian faith during the Crusades. Eventually their power grew, and their belief in that power (and all the influencing they did with it) was the one thing that began to tear them apart and eventually bring them to their knees.
SECRETS OF THE KNIGHTS TEMPLAR is one of the most beautiful history books I’ve ever seen. It traces the donations that began the foundation of their great wealth and the ways in which they became essentially consultants to the papacy. “He is evidently the avenger of Christ towards evil-doers and he is rightly considered a defender of Christians,” said Bernard of Clairvaux in 1135. He was a supporter of Pope Innocent II, who ratified the Rule of the Templar Order at the Council of Pisa in 1135. That is the point at which the Vatican and the Knights made an indelible link to each other in the name of defending Christians.
Illustrated with beautiful paintings and photos of cathedrals and other places important to the history of the Templars, SECRETS OF THE KNIGHTS TEMPLAR deals with the variety of rumors and facts that make up this group’s fascinating span of time in which it has intrigued the world.
Do they know the location of the Holy Grail? What are their rituals? Hodge reveals all in this book, yet doesn’t attempt to say for sure if some of the more far-out legends are true or not. But there is plenty of historically accurate information here that showcases a world-renowned organization and its past, present and future in a gorgeous volume. Perfect for history nuts!
Reviewed by Jana Siciliano on January 17, 2014