You are not currently logged in. Please create an account or log in to view the full course.

The Templars and Hospitallers in the Crusader States, 1119-1187

1. The Origins of the Military Orders

This is the course trailer. Please create an account or log in to view this lecture.

  • Description
  • Cite

About this Lecture


In this module, we think about the origin the military orders, especially the Knights Templar, focusing in particular on: (i) the range of military orders founded in this period, including the Knights Templar, the Knights Hospitaller, the Order of Santiago, the Order of Alcántara, the Order of Calatrava, the Livonian Brothers of the Sword, and the Teutonic Knights; (ii) the apparent contradiction between the values of the Catholic church (poverty, chastity, obedience, etc.) and the values of a military order; (iii) the importance of the success of the First Crusade in demonstrating God's approval of holy war as a legitimate Christian endeavour; (iv) the practical importance of the Knights Templar, initially as escorts for pilgrims, but later as general military support for the Kingdom of Jerusalem; (v) the importance of Bernard of Clairvaux as a key advocate for the Knights Templar, culminating in their formal establishment as an institution of the Catholic church at the Council of Troyes in 1129; (vi) the idea (promoted by Bernard of Clairvaux) that the Knights Templar were engaged in a 'dual battle' that was merely an extension of the spiritual battle already being fought by monks against the forces of evil; and (vii) the positive examples of divinely-sanctioned warriors from the Old Testament, especially David and Judas Maccabeus.


In this course, Dr Nicholas Morton (Nottingham Trent University) thinks about the military orders in the Crusader States between 1119-87, focusing in particular on the Knights Templar and the Knights Hospitaller. We begin in the first module by thinking about the origins of the military orders: where did the idea come from? After that, we consider the growth and development of the military orders in the 12th century, before turning in the third module to their internal structure and organisation: how did they operate? how were they led? Finally, in the fourth module, we think about the role of the military orders in the fall of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, focusing in particular on events in the run-up to the disastrous Battle of Hattin in July 1187.


Dr Nicholas Morton is a specialist in the history of crusading and the Medieval Mediterranean between the tenth and thirteenth centuries. More recently he has begun to focus specifically upon the theme of inter-faith relations between Christianity and Islam in this region. He has published extensively on topics connected to this subject area, writing a range of monographs and scholarly articles. He is also an editor for the Ashgate series Rulers of the Latin East.

Currently Dr Morton is completing a monograph exploring the First Crusaders' attitudes and behaviour towards the various non-Christian peoples they encountered during their campaign. This will be a highly revisionist work addressing many key scholarly and public orthodoxies surrounding the nature of Christian/Islamic interaction during the crusade.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Morton, N. (2018, August 21). The Templars and Hospitallers in the Crusader States, 1119-1187 - The Origins of the Military Orders [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Morton, N. "The Templars and Hospitallers in the Crusader States, 1119-1187 – The Origins of the Military Orders." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 21 Aug 2018,

Image Credits