The Templars at the Roman Curia in the thirteenth century: a network?

Karl Borchardt



Based primarily on select papal registers of the thirteenth century, it is possible to collect some evidence about Templars at the papal curia. There were permanent representatives and ad hoc envoys of the Templar order in the Holy Land. There were also Templars who conducted administrative or financial business on behalf of the popes. They informed the pope about events in the Holy Land and were helpful in collecting monies and alms for the defence of the Levant against the Muslims. In this respect the Templars were similar to the Hospitallers and the other military-religious orders. But one should be careful not to assume one single network of Templar brothers at the papal curia. On the contrary, many Templars came to the papal curia in order to serve their local rulers, their own families and friends. Broadly speaking the extant documents concern five issues: licences to transfer adherence from one religious order to another, appointments to serve as prelates, justice or mercy against punishments imposed by Templar officers, graces for relatives, and finally commissions from rulers and others outside the Templar order. So each Templar belonged to a great variety of either more occasional or more permanent networks. The study of such networks is difficult because of the lack of information in the fairly standardized charters of the time. Nevertheless, it is the only chance for historians to try and understand thirteenth-century processes of decision-making behind the more formal structures of both the papal curia and the Templar order.


Templars; papal curia; papal registers; European kings; 13th century; charters

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ISSN (print) 0867-2008
ISSN (online) 2391-7512

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