The Templar Knight

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SPECIAL INVESTIGATION: Was cannibalism practised during the Crusades?

A special investigation by the Templar Knight blog into medieval allegations that human meat was eaten by soldiers during the Crusades

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How pagan temples became Christian churches in the Middle Ages – part one

I was in Rome last month and saw evidence of pagan temples converted into Christian churches – either by being converted for new use or rebuilt using materials from the old temple. When the Roman emperor Constantine embraced Christianity, he…

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Mysterious tunnels under Templar castle

Kerak is the crusader castle in modern day Jordan from which the notoriously cruel crusader Raynald of Chatillon used to throw people off the battlements. A great limestone hulk built on a ridge and protected by steep valleys, it’s riddled…

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Turcopoles – a Crusader’s best friend?

From the Roman empire onwards, armies have always vexed over how to get hold of the necessary manpower. This is particularly an acute problem when an empire is expanding far from home. Supply lines have always needed to be maintained…

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The medieval roots of Halloween

Pumpkins, trick or treat and witch costumes. We all know about modern Halloween – but how might a Templar have celebrated the same day? Back in the early Middle Ages, the day we now call Halloween was more commonly called…

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Being Jewish in the Middle Ages

It must be said that being Jewish in the medieval period was challenging – to put it mildly. The fortunes of Jews at this time varied dramatically but on the whole, things were not good. From the late Roman period,…

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Toledo – former capital of Spain – photos from my visit

I visited Toledo in 2010 and spent a lovely couple of days in this medieval city. Fascinating place because you really sense the Christian, Jewish and Muslim heritage of Al-Andalus in modern Spain. Toledo was once a jewel in the…

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Abu al-Quasim, Father of Modern Surgery

  Al-Andalus was the Islamic realm that covered the whole of modern Portugal and Spain and even reached in to the south of France at one stage. In the year 711CE, Muslim armies fanned across the Iberian peninsula and as…

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Holy Sepulchre – unholy row – where Jesus died

You would think that the site of the death and entombment of Jesus (the same church covers both areas) would be a place of quiet contemplation and prayer. You’d be mistaken. For the last hundred years, it’s been a place…

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Dealing with the violent bits in the Bible

I was at a christening two years ago when a priest in an Anglican church read a passage from the Old Testament.  It was the story of how God’s annointed people, the Israelites, totally destroyed a rival tribe taking no…

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