Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Knights Templar - Chapter II.

(continued from Au piranha tondeur)

"XX. . . . . . . To all the professed knights, both in winter and summer, we give, if they can be procured, white garments, that those who have cast behind them a dark life may know that they are to commend themselves to their Creator by a pure and white life. For what is whiteness but perfect chastity, and chastity is the security of the soul and the health of the body. And unless every knight shall continue chaste, he shall not come to perpetual rest, nor see God, as the apostle Paul witnesseth: Follow after peace with all men, and chastity, without which no man shall see God. . . . . . .
"XXI. . . . . . . Let all the esquires and retainers be clothed in black garments; but if such cannot be found, let them have what can be procured in the province where they live, so that they be of one colour, and such as is of a meaner character, viz. brown.
"XXII. It is granted to none to wear white habits, or to have white mantles, excepting the above-named knights of Christ.
"XXIII. We have decreed in common council, that no brother shall wear skins or cloaks, or anything serving as a covering for the body in the winter, even the cassock made of skins, except they be the skins of lambs or of rams. . . . . . . .
"XXV. If any brother wisheth as a matter of right, or from motives of pride, to have the fairest or best habit, for such presumption without doubt he merits the very worst.
"XXX. To each one of the knights let there be allotted three horses. The noted poverty of the House of God, and of the Temple of Solomon, does not at present permit an increase of the number, unless it be with the license of the Master .
"XXXI. For the same reason we grant unto each knight only one
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esquire; but if that esquire serve any knight gratis, and for charity, it is not lawful to chide him, nor to strike him for any fault.
"XXXII. We order you to purchase for all the knights desiring to serve Christ in purity of spirit, horses fit for their daily occasions, and whatever is necessary for the due discharge of their profession. And we judge it fitting and expedient to have the horses valued by either party equally, and let the price be kept in writing, that it may not be forgotten. And whatsoever shall be necessary for the knight, or his horses, or his esquire, adding the furniture requisite for the horses, let it be bestowed out of the same house, according to the ability of that house. If, in the meanwhile, by some mischance it should happen that the knight has lost his horses in the service, it is the duty of the Master and of the house to find him others; but, on this being done, the knight himself, through the love of God, should pay half the price, the remainder, if it so please him, he may receive from the community of the brethren.
"XXXIII. . . . . . . . . It is to be holden, that when anything shall have been enjoined by the Master, or by him to whom the Master hath given authority, there must be no hesitation, but the thing must be done without delay, as though it had been enjoined from heaven: as the truth itself says, In the hearing of the ear he hath obeyed me. . . . . . . . .
"XXXV. . . . . . . . . When in the field, after they shall have been sent to their quarters, no knight, or esquire, or servant, shall go to the quarters of other knights to see them, or to speak to them, without the order of the superior before mentioned. We, moreover, in council, strictly command, that in this house, ordained of God, no man shall make war or make peace of his own free will, but shall wholly incline himself to the will of the Master, so that he may follow the saying of the Lord, I came not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
. . . . . . . . .
"XXXVII. We will not that gold or silver, which is the mark of private wealth, should ever be seen on your bridles, breastplates, or spurs, nor should it be permitted to any brother to buy such. If, indeed, such like furniture shall have been charitably bestowed upon you, the gold and silver
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must be so coloured, that its splendour and beauty may not impart to the wearer an appearance of arrogance beyond his fellows.
. . . . . . . . .
"XL. Bags and trunks, with locks and keys, are not granted, nor can any one have them without the license of the Master, or of him to whom the business of the house is intrusted after the Master. In this regulation, however, the procurators (preceptors) governing in the different provinces are not understood to be included, nor the Master himself.
"XLI. It is in nowise lawful for any of the brothers to receive letters from his parents, or from any man, or to send letters, without the license of the Master, or of the procurator. After the brother shall have had leave, they must be read in the presence of the Master, if it so pleaseth him. If, indeed, anything whatever shall have been directed to him from his parents, let him not presume to receive it until information has been first given to the Master. But in this regulation the Master and the procurators of the houses are not included.
"XLII. Since every idle word is known to beget sin, what can those who boast of their own faults say before the strict Judge? The prophet showeth wisely, that if we ought sometimes to be silent, and to refrain from good discourse for the sake of silence, how much the rather should we refrain from evil words, on account of the punishment of sin. We forbid therefore, and we resolutely condemn, all tales related by any brother, of the follies and irregularities of which he hath been guilty in the world, or in military matters, either with his brother or with any other man. It shall not be permitted him to speak with his brother of the irregularities of other men, nor of the delights of the flesh with miserable women; and if by chance he should hear another discoursing of such things, he shall make him silent, or with the swift foot of obedience he shall depart from him as soon as he is able, and shall lend not the ear of the heart to the vender of idle tales.
"XLIII. If any gift shall be made to a brother, let it be taken to the Master or the treasurer. If, indeed, his friend or his parent will consent to make the gift only on condition that he useth it himself, he must not receive it until permission hath been obtained from the Master. And whosoever
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shall have received a present, let it not grieve him if it be given to another. Yea, let him know assuredly, that if he be angry at it, he striveth against God.
. . . . . . . . .
"XLVI. We are all of opinion that none of you should dare to follow the sport of catching one bird with another: for it is not agreeable unto religion for you to be addicted unto worldly delights, but rather willingly to hear the precepts of the Lord, constantly to kneel down to prayer, and daily to confess your sins before God with sighs and tears. Let no brother, for the above especial reason, presume to go forth with a man following such diversions with a hawk, or with any other bird.
XLVII. Forasmuch as it becometh all religion to behave decently and humbly without laughter, and to speak sparingly but sensibly, and not in a loud tone, we specially command and direct every professed brother that he venture not to shoot in the woods either with a long-bow or a cross-bow; and for the same reason, that he venture not to accompany another who shall do the like, except it be for the purpose of protecting him from the perfidious infidel; neither shall he dare to halloo, or to talk to a dog, nor shall he spur his horse with a desire of securing the game.
. . . . . . . . .
"LI. Under Divine Providence, as we do believe, this new kind of religion was introduced by you in the holy places, that is to say, the union of warfare with religion, so that religion, being armed, maketh her way by the sword, and smiteth the enemy without sin. Therefore we do rightly adjudge, since ye are called KNIGHTS OF THE TEMPLE, that for your renowned merit, and especial gift of godliness, ye ought to have lands and men, and possess husbandmen and justly govern them, and the customary services ought to be specially rendered unto you.
LII. Above all things, a most watchful care is to be bestowed upon sick brothers, and let their wants be attended to as though Christ himself was the sufferer, bearing in mind the blessed words of the Gospel, I was sick, and ye visited me. These are indeed carefully and patiently to be fostered, for by such is acquired a heavenly reward.
"LIII. We direct the attendants of those who are sick, with every
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attention, and with the most watchful care, diligently and faithfully to administer to them whatever is necessary for their several infirmities, according to the ability of the houses, for example, flesh and fowls and other things, until they are restored to health.
. . . . . . . . .
"LV. We permit you to have married brothers in this manner, if such should seek to participate in the benefit of your fraternity; let both the man and his wife grant, from and after their death, their respective portions of property, and whatever more they acquire in after life, to the unity of the common chapter; and, in the interim, let them exercise an honest life, and labour to do good to the brethren: but they are not permitted to appear in the white habit and white mantle. If the husband dies first, he must leave his portion of the patrimony to the brethren, and the wife shall have her maintenance out of the residue, and let her depart forthwith; for we consider it most improper that such women should remain in one and the same house with the brethren who have promised chastity unto God.
"LVI. It is moreover exceedingly dangerous to join sisters with you in your holy profession, for the ancient enemy hath drawn many away from the right path to paradise through the society of women: therefore, dear brothers, that the flower of righteousness may always flourish amongst you, let this custom from henceforth be utterly done away with.
. . . . . . . . .
"LVIII. If any knight out of the mass of perdition, or any secular man, wisheth to renounce the world and to choose your life and communion, he shall not be immediately received, but, according to the saying of Paul, Prove the spirits, whether they be of God; and if so, let him be admitted. Let the rule, therefore, be read in his presence; and if he shall have undertaken diligently to obey the precepts thereof, then, if it please the Master and the brothers to receive him, let the brothers be called together, and let him make known with sincerity of mind his desire and petition unto all. Then, indeed, the term of probation should altogether rest in the consideration and forethought of the Master, according to the honesty of life of the petitioner.
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"LIX. We do not order all the brothers to be called, in every instance, to the council, but those only whom the Master shall know to be circumspect, and fit to give advice; when, however, important matters are to be treated of, such as the granting of the land of the fraternity, or when the thing debated immediately affects the order itself, or when a brother is to be received, then it is fit that the whole society should be called together, if it please the Master, and the advice of the common chapter having been heard, the thing which the Master considereth the best and the most useful, that let him do. . . . . . . . .
"LXII. Although the rule of the holy fathers sanctions the dedication of children to a religious life, yet we will not suffer you to be burdened with them, but he who kindly desireth to give his own son or his kinsman to the military religion, let him bring him up until he arrives at an age when he can, with an armed hand, manfully root out the enemies of Christ from the Holy Land. Then, in accordance with our rule, let the father or the parents place him in the midst of the brothers, and lay open his petition to them all. For it is better not to vow in childhood, lest afterwards the grown man should foully fall away.
"LXIII. It behoves you to support, with pious consideration, all old men, according to their feebleness and weakness, and dutifully to honour them, and let them in nowise be restricted from the enjoyment of such things as may be necessary for the body; the authority of the rule, however, being preserved.
"LXIV. The brothers who are journeying through different provinces should observe the rule, so far as they are able, in their meat and drink, and let them attend to it in other matters, and live irreproachably, that they may get a good name out of doors. Let them not tarnish their religious purpose either by word or deed; let them afford to all with whom they may be associated, an example of wisdom, and a perseverance in all good works. Let him with whom they lodge be a man of the best repute, and, if it be possible, let not the house of the host on that night be without a light, lest the dark enemy (from whom God preserve us) should find some opportunity. But where they shall hear of knights not excommunicated meeting together, we order them to hasten thither, not
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considering so much their temporal profit as the eternal safety of their souls. . . . . . . . .
"LXVII. If any brother shall transgress in speaking, or fighting, or in any other light matter, let him voluntarily show his fault unto the Master by way of satisfaction. If there be no customary punishment for light faults, let there be a light penance; but if, he remaining silent, the fault should come to be known through the medium of another, he must be subjected to greater and more severe discipline and correction. If indeed the offence shall be grave, let him be withdrawn from the companionship of his fellows, let him not eat with them at the same table, but take his repast alone. The whole matter is left to the judgment and discretion of the Master, that his soul may be saved at the day of judgment.
"LXVIII. But, above all things, care must be taken that no brother, powerful or weak, strong or feeble, desirous of exalting himself, becoming proud by degrees, or defending his own fault, remain unchastened. If he showeth a disposition to amend, let a stricter system of correction be added: but if by godly admonition and earnest reasoning he will not be amended, but will go on more and more lifting himself up with pride, then let him be cast out of the holy flock in obedience to the apostle, Take away evil from among you. It is necessary that from the society of the Faithful Brothers the dying sheep be removed. But let the Master, who ought to hold the staff and the rod in his hand, that is to say, the staff that he may support the infirmities of the weak, and the rod that he may with the zeal of rectitude strike down the vices of delinquents; let him study, with the counsel of the patriarch and with spiritual circumspection, to act so that, as blessed Maximus saith, The sinner be not encouraged by easy lenity, nor the sinner hardened in his iniquity by immoderate severity
"LXXI. Contentions, envyings, spite, murmurings, backbiting, slander, we command you, with godly admonition, to avoid, and do ye flee therefrom as from the plague. Let every one of you, therefore, dear brothers, study with a watchful mind that he do not secretly slander his brother, nor accuse him, but let him studiously ponder upon the saying of the
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apostle, Be not thou an accuser or a whisperer among the people. But when he knoweth clearly that his brother hath offended, let him gently and with brotherly kindness reprove him in private, according to the commandment of the Lord; and if he will not hear him, let him take to him another brother, and if he shall take no heed of both, let him be publicly reproved in the assembly before all. For they have indeed much blindness who take little pains to guard against spite, and thence become swallowed up in the ancient wickedness of the subtle adversary.
"LASTLY. We hold it dangerous to all religion to gaze too much on the countenance of women; and therefore no brother shall presume to kiss neither widow, nor virgin, nor mother, nor sister, nor aunt, nor any other woman. Let the knighthood of Christ shun feminine kisses, through which men have very often been drawn into danger, so that each, with a pure conscience and secure life, may be able to walk everlastingly in the sight of God." *

The above rule having been confirmed by a Papal bull, Hugh de Payens proceeded to France, and from thence he came to England, and the following account is given of his arrival, in the Saxon chronicle.
"This same year, (A.D. 1128,) Hugh of the Temple came from Jerusalem to the king in Normandy, and the king received him with much honour, and gave him much treasure in gold and silver, and afterwards he sent him into England, and there he was well received by all good men, and all gave him treasure, and in Scotland also, and they sent in all a great sum in gold and silver by him to Jerusalem, and there went with him and after him so great a number as never before since the days of Pope Urban." † Grants of land, as well as of money, were at the same time made
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to Hugh de Payens and his brethren, some of which were shortly afterwards confirmed by King Stephen on his accession to the throne, (A.D. 1135.) Among these is a grant of the manor of Bistelesham made to the Templars by Count Robert de Ferrara, and a grant of the church of Langeforde in Bedfordshire made by Simon de Wahull, and Sibylla his wife, and Walter their son.
Hugh de Payens, before his departure, placed a Knight Templar at the head of the order in this country, who was called the Prior of the Temple, and was the procurator and vicegerent of the Master. It was his duty to manage the estates granted to the fraternity, and to transmit the revenues to Jerusalem. He was also delegated with the power of admitting members into the order, subject to the control and direction of the Master, and was to provide means of transport for such newly-admitted brethren to the far east, to enable them to fulfil the duties of their profession. As the houses of the Temple increased in number in England, sub-priors came to be appointed, and the superior of the order in this country was then called the Grand Prior, and afterwards Master of the Temple.
Many illustrious knights of the best families in Europe aspired to the habit and the vows, but however exalted their rank, they were not received within the bosom of the fraternity until they had proved themselves by their conduct worthy of such a fellowship. Thus, when Hugh d’Amboise, who had harassed and oppressed the people of Marmontier by unjust exactions, and had refused to submit to the judicial decision of the Count of Anjou, desired to enter the order, Hugh de Payens refused to admit him to the vows, until he had humbled himself, renounced his pretensions, and given perfect satisfaction to those whom he had injured. * The candidates, moreover, previous to their admission,
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were required to make reparation and satisfaction for all damage done by them at any time to churches, and to public or private property.
An astonishing enthusiasm was excited throughout Christendom in behalf of the Templars; princes and nobles, sovereigns and their subjects, vied with each other in heaping gifts and benefits upon them, and scarce a will of importance was made without an article in it in their favour. Many illustrious persons on their deathbeds took the vows, that they might be buried in the habit of the order; and sovereigns, quitting the government of their kingdoms, enrolled themselves amongst the holy fraternity, and bequeathed even their dominions to the Master and the brethren of the Temple.
Thus, Raymond Berenger, Count of Barcelona and Provence, at a very advanced age, abdicating his throne, and shaking off the ensigns of royal authority, retired to the house of the Templars at Barcelona, and pronounced his vows (A.D. 1130) before brother Hugh de Rigauld, the Prior. His infirmities not allowing him to proceed in person to the chief house of the order at Jerusalem, he sent vast sums of money thither, and immuring himself in a small cell in the Temple at Barcelona, he there remained in the constant exercise of the religious duties of his profession until the day of his death. * At the same period, the Emperor Lothaire bestowed on the order a large portion of his patrimony of Supplinburg; and the year following, (A.D. 1131,) Alphonso the First, king of Navarre and Arragon, also styled Emperor of Spain, one of the greatest warriors of the age, by his will declared the Knights of the Temple his heirs and successors in the crowns of Navarre and Arragon, and a few hours before his death he caused this will to be ratified and signed by most of the barons of both kingdoms. The validity of this document, however, was
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disputed, and the claims of the Templars were successfully resisted by the nobles of Navarre; but in Arragon they obtained, by way of compromise, lands, and castles, and considerable dependencies, a portion of the customs and duties levied throughout the kingdom, and of the contributions raised from the Moors. *
To increase the enthusiasm in favour of the Templars, and still further to swell their ranks with the best and bravest of the European chivalry, St. Bernard, at the request of Hugh de Payens, † took up his powerful pen in their behalf. In a famous discourse "In praise of the New Chivalry," the holy abbot sets forth, in eloquent and enthusiastic terms, the spiritual advantages and blessings enjoyed by the military friars of the Temple over all other warriors. He draws a curious picture of the relative situations and circumstances of the secular soldiery and the soldiery of Christ, and shows how different in the sight of God are the bloodshed and slaughter perpetrated by the one, from that committed by the other.
This extraordinary discourse is written with great spirit; it is addressed "To Hugh, Knight of Christ, and Master of the Knighthood of Christ," is divided into fourteen parts or chapters, and commences with a short prologue. It is curiously illustrative of the spirit of the times, and some of its most striking passages will be read with interest.
The holy abbot thus pursues his comparison between the soldier of the world and the soldier of Christ--the secular and the religious warrior.
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"As often as thou who wagest a secular warfare marchest forth to battle, it is greatly to be feared lest when thou slayest thine enemy in the body, he should destroy thee in the spirit, or lest peradventure thou shouldst be at once slain by him both in body and soul. From the disposition of the heart, indeed, not by the event of the fight, is to be estimated either the jeopardy or the victory of the Christian. If, fighting with the desire of killing another, thou shouldest chance to get killed thyself, thou diest a man-slayer; if, on the other hand, thou prevailest, and through a desire of conquest or revenge killest a man, thou livest a man-slayer. . . . O unfortunate victory, when in overcoming thine adversary thou fallest into sin, and anger or pride having the mastery over thee, in vain thou gloriest over the vanquished . . .
"What, therefore, is the fruit of this secular, I will not say 'militia,' but 'malitia,' if the slayer committeth a deadly sin, and the slain perisheth eternally? Verily, to use the words of the apostle, he that ploweth should plow in hope, and he that thresheth should be partaker of his hope. Whence, therefore, O soldiers, cometh this so stupendous error? What insufferable madness is this--to wage war with so great cost and labour, but with no pay except either death or crime? Ye cover your horses with silken trappings, and I know not how much fine cloth hangs pendent from your coats of mail. Ye paint your spears, shields, and saddles; your bridles and spurs are adorned on all sides with gold, and silver, and gems, and with all this pomp, with a shameful fury and a reckless insensibility, ye rush on to death. Are these military ensigns, or are they not rather the garnishments of women? Can it happen that the sharp-pointed sword of the enemy will respect gold, will it spare gems, will it be unable to penetrate the silken garment? Lastly, as ye yourselves have often experienced, three things are indispensably necessary to the success of the soldier; he must, for example, be bold, active, and
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circumspect; quick in running, prompt in striking; ye, however, to the disgust of the eye, nourish your hair after the manner of women, ye gather around your footsteps long and flowing vestures, ye bury up your delicate and tender hands in ample and wide-spreading sleeves. Among you indeed, nought provoketh war or awakeneth strife, but either an irrational impulse of anger, or an insane lust of glory, or the covetous desire of possessing another man's lands and possessions. In such causes it is neither safe to slay nor to be slain. . . . . . .
III. "But the soldiers of CHRIST indeed securely fight the battles of their Lord, in no wise fearing sin either from the slaughter of the enemy, or danger from their own death. When indeed death is to be given or received for Christ, it has nought of crime in it, but much of glory. . . .
"And now for an example, or to the confusion of our soldiers fighting not manifestly for God but for the devil, we will briefly display the mode of life of the Knights of Christ, such as it is in the field and in the convent, by which means it will be made plainly manifest to what extent the soldiery of GOD and the soldiery of the WORLD differ from one another. . . . The soldiers of Christ live together in common in an agreeable but frugal manner, without wives and without children; and that nothing may be wanting to evangelical perfection, they dwell together without property of any kind, * in one house, under one rule, careful to preserve the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. You may say, that to the whole multitude there is but one heart and one soul, as each one in no respect followeth after his own will or desire, but is diligent to do the will of the Master. They are never idle nor rambling abroad, but when they are not in the field, that they may not eat their bread in idleness, they are fitting and repairing their armour and their clothing, or employing themselves in such occupations as the will of the Master requireth,
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or their common necessities render expedient. Among them there is no distinction of persons; respect is paid to the best and most virtuous, not the most noble. They participate in each other's honour, they bear one another's burthens, that they may fulfil the law of Christ. An insolent expression, a useless undertaking, immoderate laughter, the least murmur or whispering, if found out, passeth not without severe rebuke. They detest cards and dice, they shun the sports of the field, and take no delight in that ludicrous catching of birds, (hawking,) which men are wont to indulge in. Jesters, and soothsayers, and storytellers, scurrilous songs, shows and games, they contemptuously despise and abominate as vanities and mad follies. They cut their hair, knowing that, according to the apostle, it is not seemly in a man to have long hair. They are never combed, seldom washed, but appear rather with rough neglected hair, foul with dust, and with skins browned by the sun and their coats of mail.
"Moreover, on the approach of battle they fortify themselves with faith within, and with steel without, and not with gold, so that, armed and not adorned, they may strike terror into the enemy, rather than awaken his lust of plunder. They strive earnestly to possess strong and swift horses, but not garnished with ornaments or decked with trappings, thinking of battle and of victory, and not of pomp and show, and studying to inspire fear rather than admiration
"Such hath God chosen for his own, and hath collected together as his ministers from the ends of the earth, from among the bravest of Israel, who indeed vigilantly and faithfully guard the holy sepulchre, all armed with the sword, and most learned in the art of war. . ."
"Concerning the TEMPLE."
"There is indeed a Temple at Jerusalem in which they dwell together, unequal, it is true, as a building, to that ancient and
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most famous one of Solomon, but not inferior in glory. For truly, the entire magnificence of that consisted in corrupt things, in gold and silver, in carved stone, and in a variety of woods; but the whole beauty of this resteth in the adornment of an agreeable conversation, in the godly devotion of its inmates, and their beautifully-ordered mode of life. That was admired for its various external beauties, this is venerated for its different virtues and sacred actions, as becomes the sanctity of the house of God, who delighteth not so much in polished marbles as in well-ordered behaviour, and regardeth pure minds more than gilded walls. The face likewise of this Temple is adorned with arms, not with gems, and the wall, instead of the ancient golden chapiters, is covered around with pendent shields. Instead of the ancient candelabra, censers, and lavers, the house is on all sides furnished with bridles, saddles, and lances, all which plainly demonstrate that the soldiers burn with the same zeal for the house of God, as that which formerly animated their great leader, when, vehemently enraged, he entered into the Temple, and with that most sacred hand, armed not with steel, but with a scourge which he had made of small thongs, drove out the merchants, poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables of them that sold doves; most indignantly condemning the pollution of the house of prayer, by the making of it a place of merchandize."
"The devout army of Christ, therefore, earnestly incited by the example of its king, thinking indeed that the holy places are much more impiously and insufferably polluted by the infidels than when defiled by merchants, abide in the holy house with horses and with arms, so that from that, as well as all the other sacred places, all filthy and diabolical madness of infidelity being driven out, they may occupy themselves by day and by night in honourable and useful offices. They emulously honour the Temple of God with sedulous and sincere oblations, offering sacrifices therein with constant
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devotion, not indeed of the flesh of cattle after the manner of the ancients, but peaceful sacrifices, brotherly love, devout obedience, voluntary poverty."
"These things are done perpetually at Jerusalem, and the world is aroused, the islands bear, and the nations take heed from afar . . . . ."
St. Bernard then congratulates Jerusalem on the advent of the soldiers of Christ, and declares that the holy city will rejoice with a double joy in being rid of all her oppressors, the ungodly, the robbers, the blasphemers, murderers, perjurers, and adulterers; and in receiving her faithful defenders and sweet consolers, under the shadow of whose protection " Mount Zion shall rejoice, and the daughters of Judah sing for joy."
"Be joyful, O Jerusalem," says he, "in the words of the prophet Isaiah, " and know that the time of thy visitation hath arrived. Arise now, shake thyself from the dust, O virgin captive, daughter of Zion; arise, I say, and stand forth amongst the mighty, and see the pleasantness that cometh unto thee from thy God. Thou shalt no more be termed forsaken, neither shall thy land any more be termed desolate . . . . Lift up thine eyes round about, and behold; all these gather themselves together, and come to thee. This is the assistance sent unto thee from on High. Now, now, indeed, through these is that ancient promise made to thee thoroughly to be performed. 'I will make thee an eternal joy, a glory from generation to generation.'
. . . . . . . . .
"HAIL, therefore, O holy city, hallowed by the tabernacle of the Most High! HAIL, city of the great King, wherein so many wonderful and welcome miracles have been perpetually displayed. HAIL, mistress of the nations, princess of provinces, possession of patriarchs, mother of the prophets and apostles, initiatress of the faith, glory of the christian people, whom God
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hath on that account always from the beginning permitted to be visited with affliction, that thou mightest thus be the occasion of virtue as well as of salvation to brave men. HAIL, land of promise, which, formerly flowing only with milk and honey for thy possessors, now stretchest forth the food of life, and the means of salvation to the entire world. Most excellent and happy land, I say, which receiving the celestial grain from the recess of the paternal heart in that most fruitful bosom of thine, hast produced such rich harvests of martyrs from the heavenly seed, and whose fertile soil hast no less manifoldly engendered fruit a thirtieth, sixtieth, and a hundredfold in the remaining race of all the faithful throughout the entire world. Whence most agreeably satiated, and most abundantly crammed with the great store of thy pleasantness, those who have seen thee diffuse around them (eructant) in every place the remembrance of thy abundant sweetness, and tell of the magnificence of thy glory to the very end of the earth to those who have not seen thee, and relate the wonderful things that are done in thee."
"Glorious things are spoken concerning thee, CITY OF GOD!"

Footnotes
15:* Chron. Cisterc. Albertus Miræus. Brux. 1641. Manricus ad ann. 1128, cap. ii. Act. Syn. Trec. tom. x. edit. Labb.
26:* Ego Joannes Michaelensis, præsentis paginæ, jussu consilii ac venerabilis abbatis Clarævallensis, cur creditum ac debitum hoc fuit, humilis scriba esse, divinâ gratiâ merui.--Chron. Cisterc. ut sup.
26:† See also Hoveden apud X script. page 479. Hen. Hunting. ib. page 384.
27:* Annales Benedictini, tom. vi. page 166.
28:* Histoire de Languedoc, lib. xvii. p. 407.
29:* Hist. de l’eglise de Gandersheim. Mariana de rebus Hispaniæ, lib. x. cap. 15, 17, 18. Zurita anales de la corona de Aragon, tom. i. lib. 1. cap. 52. Quarita, tom. i. lib. ii. cap. 4.
29:† Semel et secundo, et tertio, ni fallor, petiisti a me. Hugo carrissime, ut tibi tuisque commilitonibus scriberem exhortations sermonem, et adversus hostilem tyrannidem, quia lanceam non liceret, stilum vibrarem. Exhortatio S. Bernardi ad Milites Templi, ed. Mabillon. Parisiis, 1839, tom. i. col. 1253 to 1278.
31:* i. e. Without any separate property.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Knights Templar - Chapter I.

(Continued from Au piranha tondeur)

The pilgrims who, through innumerable perils, had reached the gates of the Holy City, were plundered, imprisoned, and frequently massacred; an aureus, or piece of gold, was exacted as the price of admission to the holy sepulchre, and many, unable to pay the tax, were driven by the swords of the Turcomans from the very threshold of the object of all their hopes, the bourne of their long pilgrimage, and were compelled to retrace their weary steps in sorrow and anguish to their distant homes. * The melancholy intelligence of the profanation of the holy places, and of the oppression and cruelty of the Turcomans, aroused the religious chivalry of Christendom; "a nerve was touched of exquisite feeling, and the sensation vibrated to the heart of Europe."
Then arose the wild enthusiasm of the crusades; men of all ranks, and even monks and priests, animated by the exhortations of the pope and the preachings of Peter the Hermit, flew to arms, and enthusiastically undertook "the pious and glorious enterprize" of rescuing the holy sepulchre of Christ from the foul abominations of the heathen.
When intelligence of the capture of Jerusalem by the Crusaders (A.D. 1099) had been conveyed to Europe, the zeal of pilgrimage blazed forth with increased fierceness; it had gathered intensity from the interval of its suppression by the wild Turcomans, and promiscuous crowds of both sexes, old men and children, virgins and matrons, thinking the road then open and the journey practicable, successively pressed forwards towards the Holy City, with the passionate desire of contemplating the original monuments of the
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[paragraph continues] Redemption. * The infidels had indeed been driven out of Jerusalem, but not out of Palestine. The lofty mountains bordering the sea-coast were infested by bold and warlike bands of fugitive Mussulmen, who maintained themselves in various impregnable castles and strongholds, from whence they issued forth upon the high-roads, cut off the communication between Jerusalem and the sea-ports, and revenged themselves for the loss of their habitations and property by the indiscriminate pillage of all travellers. The Bedouin horsemen, moreover, making rapid incursions from beyond the Jordan, frequently kept up a desultory and irregular warfare in the plains; and the pilgrims, consequently, whether they approached the Holy City by land or by sea, were alike exposed to almost daily hostility, to plunder, and to death.
To alleviate the dangers and distresses to which these pious enthusiasts were exposed, to guard the honour of the saintly virgins and matrons, † and to protect the gray hairs of the venerable palmer, nine noble knights formed a holy brotherhood in arms, and entered into a solemn compact to aid one another in clearing the highways of infidels, and of robbers, and in protecting the pilgrims through the passes and defiles of the mountains to the Holy City. Warmed with the religious and military fervour of the day, and animated by the sacredness of the cause to which they had devoted their swords, they called themselves the Poor Fellow-soldiers of Jesus Christ. They renounced the world and its pleasures, and in the holy church of the Resurrection, in the presence of the patriarch of Jerusalem, they embraced vows of perpetual chastity, obedience, and poverty, after the manner of monks. *
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Uniting in themselves the two most popular qualities of the age, devotion and valour, and exercising them in the most popular of all enterprises, the protection of the pilgrims and of the road to the holy sepulchre, they speedily acquired a vast reputation and a splendid renown.
At first, we are told, they had no church and no particular place of abode, but in the year of our Lord 1118, (nineteen years after the conquest of Jerusalem by the Crusaders,) they had rendered such good and acceptable service to the Christians, that Baldwin the Second, king of Jerusalem, granted them a place of habitation within the sacred inclosure of the Temple on Mount Moriah, amid those holy and magnificent structures, partly erected by the christian Emperor Justinian, and partly built by the Caliph Omar, which were then exhibited by the monks and priests of Jerusalem, whose restless zeal led them to practise on the credulity of the pilgrims, and to multiply relics and all objects likely to be sacred in their eyes, as the Temple of Solomon, whence the Poor Fellow-soldiers of Jesus Christ came thenceforth to be known by the name of "the Knighthood of the Temple of Solomon." †
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A few remarks in elucidation of the name Templars, or Knights of the Temple, may not be altogether unacceptable.
By the Mussulmen, the site of the great Jewish temple on Mount Moriah has always been regarded with peculiar veneration. Mahomet, in the first year of the publication of the Koran, directed his followers, when at prayer, to turn their faces towards it, and pilgrimages have constantly been made to the holy spot by devout Moslems. On the conquest of Jerusalem by the Arabians, it was the first care of the Caliph Omar to rebuild "the Temple of the Lord." Assisted by the principal chieftains of his army, the Commander of the Faithful undertook the pious office of clearing the ground with his own hands, and of tracing out the foundations of the magnificent mosque which now crowns with its dark and swelling dome the elevated summit of Mount Moriah. *
This great house of prayer, the most holy Mussulman Temple in the world after that of Mecca, is erected over the spot where "Solomon began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshing-floor of Oman the Jebusite." It remains to this day in a state of perfect preservation, and is one of the finest specimens of Saracenic architecture in existence. It is entered by four spacious doorways, each door facing one of the cardinal points; the Bab el D'jannat, or gate of the garden, on the north; the Bab el Kebla, or gate of prayer, on the south; the Bab ib’n el Daoud, or the
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gate of the son of David, on the east; and the Bab el Garbi, on the west. By the Arabian geographers it is called Beit Allah, the house of God, also Beit Almokaddas, or Beit Almacdes, the holy house. From it Jerusalem derives its Arabic name, el Kods, the holy, el Schereef, the noble, and el Mobarek, the blessed; while the governors of the city, instead of the customary high-sounding titles of sovereignty and dominion, take the simple title of Hami, or protectors.
On the conquest of Jerusalem by the crusaders, the crescent was torn down from the summit of this famous Mussulman Temple, and was replaced by an immense golden cross, and the edifice was then consecrated to the services of the christian religion, but retained its simple appellation of "The Temple of the Lord." William, Archbishop of Tyre and Chancellor of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, gives an interesting account of this famous edifice as it existed in his time, during the Latin dominion. He speaks of the splendid mosaic work, of the Arabic characters setting forth the name of the founder, and the cost of the undertaking, and of the famous rock under the centre of the dome, which is to this day shown by the Moslems as the spot whereon the destroying angel stood, " with his drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem." * This rock he
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informs us was left exposed and uncovered for the space of fifteen years after the conquest of the holy city by the crusaders, but was, after that period, cased with a handsome altar of white marble, upon which the priests daily said mass.
To the south of this holy Mussulman temple, on the extreme edge of the summit of Mount Moriah, and resting against the modern walls of the town of Jerusalem, stands the venerable christian church of the Virgin, erected by the Emperor Justinian, whose stupendous foundations, remaining to this day, fully justify the astonishing description given of the building by Procopius. That writer informs us that in order to get a level surface for the erection of the edifice, it was necessary, on the east and south sides of the hill, to raise up a wall of masonry from the valley below, and to construct a vast foundation, partly composed of solid stone and partly of arches and pillars. The stones were of such magnitude, that each block required to be transported in a truck drawn by forty of the emperor's strongest oxen; and to admit of the passage of these trucks it was necessary to widen the roads leading to Jerusalem. The forests of Lebanon yielded their choicest cedars for the timbers of the roof, and a quarry of variegated marble, seasonably discovered in the adjoining mountains, furnished the edifice with superb marble columns. * The interior of this interesting structure, which still remains at Jerusalem, after a lapse of more than thirteen centuries, in an excellent state of preservation, is adorned with six rows of columns, from whence spring arches supporting the cedar beams and timbers of the roof; and at the end of the building is a round tower, surmounted by a dome. The vast stones, the walls of masonry, and the subterranean colonnade raised to support the south-east angle of the platform whereon the church is erected, are truly wonderful, and may still be seen by penetrating through
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a small door, and descending several flights of steps at the south-east corner of the inclosure. Adjoining the sacred edifice, the emperor erected hospitals, or houses of refuge, for travellers, sick people, and mendicants of all nations; the foundations whereof, composed of handsome Roman masonry, are still visible on either side of the southern end of the building.
On the conquest of Jerusalem by the Moslems, this venerable church was converted into a mosque, and was called D’jamé al Acsa; it was enclosed, together with the great Mussulman Temple of the Lord erected by the Caliph Omar, within a large area by a high stone wall, which runs around the edge of the summit of Mount Moriah, and guards from the profane tread of the unbeliever the whole of that sacred ground whereon once stood the gorgeous temple of the wisest of kings. *
When the Holy City was taken by the crusaders, the D’jamé al Acsa, with the various buildings constructed around it, became the property of the kings of Jerusalem; and is denominated by William of Tyre "the palace," or "royal house to the south of the Temple of the Lord, vulgarly called the Temple of Solomon." † It was this edifice or temple on Mount Moriah which was appropriated to the use of the poor fellow-soldiers of Jesus Christ, as they had no church and no particular place of
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abode, and from it they derived their name of Knights Templars. *
James of Vitry, Bishop of Acre, who gives an interesting account of the holy places, thus speaks of the Temple of the Knights Templars. "There is, moreover, at Jerusalem another temple of immense spaciousness and extent, from which the brethren of the knighthood of the Temple derive their name of Templars, which is called the Temple of Solomon, perhaps to distinguish it from the one above described, which is specially called the Temple of the Lord. " † He moreover informs us in his oriental history, that "in the Temple of the Lord there is an abbot and canons regular; and be it known that the one is the Temple of the Lord, and the other the Temple of the Chivalry. These are clerks, the others are knights." ‡
The canons of the Temple of the Lord conceded to the poor fellow-soldiers of Jesus Christ the large court extending between that building and the Temple of Solomon; the king, the patriarch, and the prelates of Jerusalem, and the barons of the Latin kingdom, assigned them various gifts and revenues for their maintenance and support, § and the order being now settled in a regular place of abode, the knights soon began to entertain more extended views, and to seek a larger theatre for the exercise of their holy profession.
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Their first aim and object had been, as before mentioned, simply to protect the poor pilgrims, on their journey backwards and forwards, from the sea-coast to Jerusalem; * but as the hostile tribes of Mussulmen, which everywhere surrounded the Latin kingdom, were gradually recovering from the stupifying terror into which they had been plunged by the successful and exterminating warfare of the first crusaders, and were assuming an aggressive and threatening attitude, it was determined that the holy warriors of the Temple should, in addition to the protection of pilgrims, make the defence of the christian kingdom of Jerusalem, of the eastern church, and of all the holy places, a part of their particular profession.
The two most distinguished members of the fraternity were Hugh de Payens and Geoffrey de St. Aldemar, or St. Omer, two valiant soldiers of the cross, who had fought with great credit and renown at the siege of Jerusalem. Hugh de Payens was chosen by the knights to be the superior of the new religious and military society, by the title of "The Master of the Temple;" and he has, consequently, generally been called the founder of the order.
The name and reputation of the Knights Templars speedily spread throughout Europe, and various illustrious pilgrims from the far west aspired to become members of the holy fraternity. Among these was Falk, Count of Anjou, who joined the society as a married brother, (A.D. 1120,) and annually remitted the order thirty pounds of silver. Baldwin, king of Jerusalem, foreseeing that great advantages would accrue to the Latin kingdom by the increase of the power and numbers of these holy
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warriors, exerted himself to extend the order throughout all Christendom, so that he might, by means of so politic an institution, keep alive the holy enthusiasm of the west, and draw a constant succour from the bold and warlike races of Europe for the support of his christian throne and kingdom.
St. Bernard, the holy abbot of Clairvaux, had been a great admirer of the Templars. He wrote a letter to the Count of Champagne, on his entering the order, (A.D. 1123,) praising the act as one of eminent merit in the sight of God; and it was determined to enlist the all-powerful influence of this great ecclesiastic in favour of the fraternity. "By a vow of poverty and penance, by closing his eyes against the visible world, by the refusal of all ecclesiastical dignities, the Abbot of Clairvaux became the oracle of Europe, and the founder of one hundred and sixty convents. Princes and pontiffs trembled at the freedom of his apostolical censures: France, England, and Milan, consulted and obeyed his judgment in a schism of the church: the debt was repaid by the gratitude of Innocent the Second; and his successor, Eugenics the Third, was the friend and disciple of the holy St. Bernard." *
To this learned and devout prelate two knights templars were despatched with the following letter:
"Baldwin, by the grace of the Lord JESUS CHRIST, King of Jerusalem, and Prince of Antioch, to the venerable Father Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux, health and regard.
"The Brothers of the Temple, whom the Lord hath deigned to raise up, and whom by an especial Providence he preserves for the defence of this kingdom, desiring to obtain from the Holy See the confirmation of their institution, and a rule for their particular guidance, we have determined to send to you the two knights, Andrew and Gondemar, men as much distinguished by
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their military exploits as by the splendour of their birth, to obtain from the Pope the approbation of their order, and to dispose his holiness to send succour and subsidies against the enemies of the faith, reunited in their design to destroy us, and to invade our christian territories.
"Well knowing the weight of your mediation with God and his vicar upon earth, as well as with the princes and powers of Europe, we have thought fit to confide to yon these two important matters, whose successful issue cannot be otherwise than most agreeable to ourselves. The statutes we ask of you should be so ordered and arranged as to be reconcilable with the tumult of the camp and the profession of arms; they must, in fact, be of such a nature as to obtain favour and popularity with the christian princes.
"Do you then so manage, that we may, through you, have the happiness of seeing this important affair brought to a successful issue, and address for us to heaven the incense of your prayers." *
Soon after the above letter had been despatched to St. Bernard, Hugh de Payens himself proceeded to Rome, accompanied by Geoffrey de St. Aldemar, and four other brothers of the order, viz. Brother Payen de Montdidier, Brother Gorall, Brother Geoffrey Bisol, and Brother Archambauld de St. Amand. They were received with great honour and distinction by Pope Honorius, who warmly approved of the objects and designs of the holy fraternity. St. Bernard had, in the mean time, taken the affair greatly to heart; he negotiated with the Pope, the legate, and the bishops of France, and obtained the convocation of a great ecclesiastical council at Troyes, (A.D. 11280 which Hugh de Payens and his brethren were invited to attend. This council consisted of several archbishops, bishops, and abbots, among
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which last was St. Bernard himself. The rules to which the Templars had subjected themselves were there described by the master, and to the holy Abbot of Clairvaux was confided the task of revising and correcting these rules, and of framing a code of statutes fit and proper for the governance of the great religious and military fraternity of the Temple.

Footnotes
2:* Elmacin, Hist. Saracen. Eutychius.
2:† Ingulphus, the secretary of William the Conqueror, one of the number, states that he sallied forth from Normandy with thirty companions, all stout and well-appointed horsemen, and that they returned twenty miserable palmers, with the staff in their hand and the wallet at their back.--Baronius ad ann. 1064, No. 43, 56.
3:* Will. Tyr., lib. i. cap. 10, ed. 1564.
4:* Omnibus mundi partibus divites et pauperes, juvenes et virgines, senes cum junioribus, loca sancta visitaturi Hierosolymam pergerent.--Jac. de Vitriaco. Hist. Hierosol. cap. lxv.
4:† "To kiss the holy monuments," says William of Tyre, "came sacred and chaste widows, forgetful of feminine fear, and the multiplicity of dangers that beset their path."--Lib. xviii. cap. 5.
5:* Quidam autem Deo amabiles et devoti milites, charitate ferventes, mundo renuatiantes, et Christi se servitio mancipantes in manu Patriarchæ Hierosolymitani professione et voto solemni sere astrinxerunt, ut a prædictis latronibus, et viris sanguinum, defenderent peregrinos, et stratas publicas custodirent, more canonicorum regularium in obedientia et castitate et sine proprio militaturi summo regi. Jac. de Vitr. Hist. Hierosol. apud Gesta Dei per Francos, cap. lxv. p. 1083.--Will. Tyr. lib. xii. cap. 7. There were three kinds of poverty. The first and strictest (altissima) admitted not of the possession of any description of property whatever. The second (media) forbade the possession of individual property, but sanctioned any amount of wealth when shared by a fraternity in common. The lowest was where a separate property in some few things was allowed, such as food and clothing, whilst everything else was shared in common. The second kind of poverty (media) was adopted by the Templars.
5:† Pantaleon, lib. iii. p. 82.
6:* D’Herbelot Bib. Orient. p. 270, 687, ed. 1697. William of Tyre, who lived at Jerusalem shortly after the conquest of the city by the Crusaders, tells us that the Caliph Omar required the Patriarch Sophronius to point out to him the site of the temple destroyed by Titus, which being done, the caliph immediately commenced the erection of a fresh temple thereon, "Quo postea infra modicum tempus juxta conceptum mentis suæ feliciter consummato, quale hodie Hierosolymis esse dinoscitur, multis et infinites ditavit possessionibus."--Will. Tyr. lib. i. cap. 2.
7:* Erant porro in eodem Templi ædificio, intus et extra ex opere musaico, Arabici idiomatis literarum vetustissima monimenta, quibus et auctor et imperarum quantitas et quo tempore opus inceptum quodque consummatum fuerit evidenter declaratur. . . . In hujus superioris areæ medio Templum ædificatum est, forma quidem octogonum et laterum totidem, tectum habens sphericum plumbo artificiose copertum. . . . Intus vero in medio Templi, infra interiorem columnarum ordinem rupes est, &c.--Will. Tyr. lib. i. cap 2, lib. viii. cap. 3. In hoc loco, supra rupem quæ adhuc in eodem Templo consistit, dicitur stetisse et apparaisse David exterminator Angelus. . . . Templum Dominicum in tanta veneratione habent Saraceni, ut nullus eorum ipsum audeat aliquibus sordibus maculare; sed a remotis et longinquis regionibus, a temporibus Salomonis usque ad tempora præsentia, veniunt adorare.--Jac. de Vitr. Hist. Hierosol. cap. lxii. p 1080.
8:* Procopius de ædificiis Justiniani, lib. 5.
9:* Phocas believes the whole space around these buildings to be the area of the ancient temple. Ἑν τῶ ἀρχαίω δαπεδω τοῦ περιώνῦμου ναου έκείνοὺ Σὸλομῶντος θεωρουμενοσ . . . Ἔξωθεν δὲ του ναου ἐστι περιαύλιον μεγα λιθόστωτον τὸ παλαιὸν, ὼς οῖμαι, του μεγαλου ναου δάπεδον.--Phocæ descript. Terr. Sanc. cap. xiv. Colon. 1653.
9:† Quibus quoniam neque ecclesia erat, neque certum habebant domicilium, Rex in Palatio suo, quod secus Templum Domini ad australem habet partem, eis concessit habitaculum.--Will. Tyr. lib. xii. cap. 7. And in another place, speaking of the Temple of the Lord, he says, Ab Austro vero domum habet Regiam, quæ vulgari appellatione Templum Salomonis dicitur.--Ib. lib, viii. cap. 3.
10:* Qui quoniam juxta Templum Domini, ut prædiximus, in Palatio regio mansionem habent, fratres militiæ Templi dicuntur.--Will. Tyr. lib. xii. cap. 7.
10:† Est præterea Hierosolymis Templum aliud immensæ quantitatis et amplitudinis, a quo fratres militiæ Templi, Templarii nominantur, quod Templum Salomonis nuncupatur, forsitan ad distinctionem alterius quod specialiter Templum Domini appellatur.--Jac. de Vitr. cap. 62.
10:‡ In Templo Domini abbas est et canonici regulares, et sciendum est quod aliud est Templum Domini, aliud Templum militiæ. Isti clerici, illi milites.--Hist. Orient. Jac de Vitr. apud Thesaur. Nov. Anecd. Martene, tom. iii. col. 277.
10:§ Will. Tyr. lib. xii. cap. 7.
11:* Prima autem eorum professio quodque eis a domino Patriarcha et reliquis episcopis in remissionem peccatorum injunctum est, ut vias et itinera, ad salutem peregrinorum contra latronum et incursantium insidias, pro viribus conservarent.--Will. Tyr. lib. xii. cap. 7.
12:* Gibbon.
13:* Reg. Constit. et Privileg. Ordinis Cisterc. p. 447.

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