Monday, April 10, 2006

More baloney on the Knights Templar

I'm on a scholarly mailing list of medieval historians and enthusiasts, and they've already been outraged or saddened by a Daily Telegraph article entitled "First Knights Templar are discovered," which seems to imply that there has never before this archaeological discovery in Israel been any real evidence, or perhaps physical proof, that the Knights Templar ever existed.

There have been a lot of bizarre stories told about the Knights Templar since the French King Philip IV ("the Fair") set out to destroy them in the 1310s. But the order is perfectly historical, whatever myths have grown up since.

There are so many amateur sites on the KT on the web that it's hard to sort through them. The old (early 20th c.) Catholic Encyclopedia entry seems to be OK.

Update: The scholar leading this dig, Dr Thomas Asbridge (Senior Lecturer in Medieval History Queen Mary, University of London) responds to another blog, making clear that whatever the Daily Telegraph may have done, he's a legitimate scholar. This was always my impression and nothing in this weblog should be taken as a criticism of Dr. Asbridge, who was only trying to make his work available to the public.


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