Information flow between the Templar brothers during their trial in France (1309-1311)
Keywordshistory, the Middle Ages, military orders, Templars, France, communication, Templars’ trial, papacy
After the arrest of the Templars in France in October 1307, they were held in various prisons throughout the kingdom for almost three years. They did not have the opportunity to exchange information with each other and, above all, to get instructions from the leaders of the Order. This changed in the beginning of 1310, when more than 650 brothers came to Paris to participate in the inquiry led the papal commission against the Order as a whole. In the beginning of the Paris proceedings, French Templars were offered a chance to defend the Order together. They tried to make use of this opportunity, but in May of 1310, after fifty-four brothers were condemned as relapsed heretics by the Council of Sens and burned at stake, they abandoned it.
The paper focuses mainly on the first phase of the Paris proceedings (before the Council of Sens). The information flow between the Templar brothers and its influence on their situation at that time will be analysed. It will address the following questions: Was the possibility to exchange the information enough for the Templars to defend the Order in an effective manner? Could they do this without the involvement of the Grand Master and other dignitaries of the Order? The answers to these questions will then allow to show that, contrary to the opinion of the vast majority of historians working on this topic, the Templars lost their chance to defend the Order long before the tragic events of May 1310.
The paper focuses mainly on the first phase of the Paris proceedings (before the Council of Sens). The information flow between the Templar brothers and its influence on their situation at that time will be analyzed. It will allow to answer the following questions: Was the possibility to exchange the information enough for the Templars to defend effectively the Order? Could they do it without the involvement of the grand master and other dignitaries of the Order? The answers to those questions will then allow to show that the Templars lost their chance to defend the Order long before the tragic events of May 1310.
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