Here are a few random facts about the Knights Templar – things you may never have known. These are from the Templar Rule which every knight had to follow to the letter.
Hair – Templars were required to keep their hair short. No long flowing locks for them. During the reign of William II (Rufus) of England and Normandy, his male courtiers were accused of being sodomites on account of the length of their hair (amongst other things!). So our macho Templars had to keep it nice and short. The Draper, an official of the Templar Order, would tick off a knight who wasn’t keeping his hair neat. Templars could be bearded but not a big fulsome beard. Something trimmed.
Hunting – other knights might go off in to the forest to hunt deer or indulge in a bit of falconry, but not the Knights Templar. It was strictly off limits. Their horse was strictly a machine for war and not chasing after wild animals.
Fancy armour – forbidden! Medieval knights did like a bit of showy glitz with plumes and colourful crests and mantles. Templars were told that no decoration of this kind was allowed. Bridles, sword handles, helmets, etc – all plain.
Meals – like other monastic orders, Templar knights had to eat in total silence. If they wanted to ask for something to be passed along to them, they had to use sign language. Other orders like the Benedictines developed hand signs for use at meals and it seems Templar knights employed them as well.
Judges in courts – this may seem odd but there is evidence that Templars were able to sit as judges in trials for non-capital crimes, that is where the criminal was not likely to be executed. This might have narrowed their area of judicial activity down quite a bit as a lot more crimes were punishable by death in the Middle Ages than in modern times.
- Great Templar adventure you can download on iTunes (thetemplarknight.com)
- Who Were the Knights Templar? (history.com)