Barbara Frale - The history of the Templars and the contribution of new discoveries



Barbara Frale - The history of the Templars and the contribution of new discoveries

[Printed in Eadem, The Papacy and the Templar Trial. Chinon's unprecedented acquittal in the light of the pontifical diplomat, Rome 2003, pp. 9-48 © by the author - Distributed in digital format by "Reti Medievali"]

Inside the legend

The story of the Templars is one of the most desolate and obscure pages in the history of the medieval West: created as a religious-military order for the defense of the Holy Land, after becoming one of the most powerful and authoritative institutions of the whole Christianity the Temple was put under trial at the beginning of the fourteenth century and then suspended in 1312 due to the serious accusations that weighed on its members. The last Grand Master Jacques de Molay, along with one

of the highest dignitaries, he chose to die to bear witness to his innocence and that of the confreres with respect to the faults that had been attributed to them: heresy, adherence to an anti-Christian creed, depravity of customs, idolatry 1.

Sentenced to the stake for having wanted to defend to the full the honor of the Temple, just before his death Molay would have summoned Clement V and Philip the Fair before the Court of God to give an account of their responsibilities. Both died before the turn of the year: the story, handed down in a contemporary chronicle written by a probable eyewitness of the execution 2, soon generated legends of great fortune which were handed down over time, inspiring the inventiveness of the creators of secret sects and of the novelists of the romantic era.

It was the Renaissance, with its great passion for magic and occultism, that dusted off the old papers of the trial, fantasizing about those confessions extracted from the Inquisition where one read of strange secret rites, which however had never enchanted the men of the the first fourteenth century that really lived the story: this is the case of Dante Alighieri, who in Canto XX of Purgatory makes Ugo Capeto express the condemnation of the heir Philip IV for having destroyed the Temple for the purpose

of profit, or that of Boccaccio, whose father was in Paris to practice the trade and witnessed the burning of the last Grand Master 3.

Historical studies have shown that these alleged esoteric affiliations belong to a romantic dream; nevertheless, it is a strand that has its importance and constitutes a relevant page in the history of European culture above all for the interest that the tragic story of the Templars is able to arouse even today, after almost seven hundred years from its end 4.

The first cause of the attack against the Temple, solidly identified in the need of capital of Philip the Fair by France, was also evident for the society of the time; but there are many aspects of the long process, which lasted seven years technically, still waiting to be clarified.





The absolution

In September 2001 an original document was found at the bottom of the Castel Sant'Angelo of the Vatican Secret Archives that the scientific community had long ago lost: it is a parchment containing the absolution granted by authority of Pope Clement V to Jacques de Molay and to the major dignitaries of the Temple held by the King of France in the dungeons of his fortress of Chinon. The document is an integral part of the pontifical investigation which took place in Poitiers in the summer of 1308, of which it constitutes a sort of special session established separately for reasons of force majeure 5; in this publication it is published for the first time reinserting it within the context to which it belongs.

That Clement V had absolved the Templar leaders from the excommunication was known from indirect sources, about which, however, historians have always shown a laudable mistrust: the absence of the original, combined with the subsequent events of the dissolution and burning of the last Great Master, rightly they pushed to doubt that such a document had ever been written 6.

Immediately after identification four internationally renowned scholars were consulted, specialists in the history of the Temple, from whom they could come to the sure comfort but also the verification for the question that arose: Malcolm Barber professor of Cambridge and then of Reading, Alain Demurger of the Sorbonne, Franco Cardini of the University of Florence and Francesco Tommasi of the University of Perugia; from them came the confirmation that, at least according to the current bibliography, the document is unpublished 7.

Passed to the scrutiny of the diplomatic, palaeographic and codicological analysis, the Chinon parchment was genuine in all its aspects and presents no doubt points.

Two serious reasons of perplexity were posed to the historian before the indirect news of an absolution of the pope to the Staff of the Temple: firstly, since the Curia still preserves a large part of the documentation produced during the trial, it seemed unlikely that he had lost that very place act, perhaps the most significant of the entire procedure and which in any case expressed a precise choice of the pontiff; secondly, if that document had really existed, how could it have remained muted and completely ineffective?

Only two years after the discovery it was possible to identify only some of the issues that explain the complex story, located at the center of a very intricate international affair where politics and religion, money and spirituality were mixed. To try to understand the historian, today he has only a few pieces of paper darkened and worn by time, he also has to deal with another reality that is no less daunting: if it is proved that the entourage of Filippo il Bello falsified the documents for use politician, Clement V was an experienced lawyer and a consummate diplomat, able to interpret the principles of canon law very freely and to make them flexible instruments of his strategies, if necessary 8.

The way to understand why the parchment has remained hidden for so long passes through the activity of scholars within the Secret Archive since its opening, wanted by Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903) 9.

The adjective "secret" is today only an improper adaptation of the ancient secretum, that is private of the pontiff, and the papal archive was never really impenetrable as shown by the many entry coupons issued starting from the sixteenth century; but scholars have always had to face a much more difficult obstacle, that is the immense amount of documentation that is often even such as to prevent research because it would take years of counting only to identify the papers containing what is of interest: the Index Room is large today as a comfortable apartment, and the inventories, where every binder or register containing millions of historical information appears only as a name and a date, amount to thousands of volumes.

Thus the same amount of documents, which implies unimaginable management difficulties for an external observer, in fact contrasts the dissemination efforts made by those who have followed in the direction of the Archive after Leo XIII: still today, despite the rapid computerization and systematic program of electronic scanning of the most precious funds, it is often impossible to find a specific document within an acceptable timeframe if the precise mapping of a fund is not achieved after years of patient research 10.

These are the reasons that made Chinon's parchment unavailable to great scholars of the past, and which unfortunately only make it now, in far more inexperienced hands.





Among the shelves of the history of Europe

Between the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century two distinguished German-speaking professors, Konrad Schottmüller and Heinrich Finke, worked on the study and publication of the sources of the trial of the Templars kept in the Vatican; the first published the proceedings of the investigation of Cyprus, Brindisi, the English area and also of the inquiry held in the Roman Curia at Poitiers 11; the second edited the edition of other fragments, that is a part of the files merged into the Avignon register 48 and those of an investigation that took place in an unknown location preserved in the Avignon 305 12; none of them took care of the beautiful parchment written in Chinon. A few years later, Paul Viollet and Georges Lizérand faced the analysis of confessions released by Jacques de Molay, concluding that no original account of the Grand Master's single appearance had survived before the pontifical authority; twenty years ago Gilmour Bryson completed the publication work by adding the large membranous scroll to the hearing held in the Heritage of San Pietro in Tuscia and Abruzzo; but their works did not include the document in question 13.

The historians who devoted themselves to the trial after Schottmüller and Finke departed from these prestigious two-editions and took it for granted, as is perfectly understandable, that they were born from a systematic research and that no source of the process had escaped them: hence the lack of a tradition study throughout the twentieth century. A fundamental track towards the solution of the enigma is found in the very rich retrospective study of bibliographic sources and

Archives accomplished by Francesco Tommasi 14, who in recent years has found himself struggling with the same problem of studying an original document of the process that has remained unpublished for a long time: borrowing his excellent methodology and tracing back the tradition of studies, it is possible to go back to the reasons that probably relegated the precious testimony to a forgotten branch of the pontifical archive.

The consideration that Schottmüller and Finke had carried out an exhaustive investigation of the Templar documents in the Vatican Archive was so to speak, given the many scientific merits of the two professionals, but neglected an important fact: perhaps because he had worked before the opening to the public , Schottmüller did not provide the precise archival signature of the various pieces making it very difficult to identify them among the hundreds of thousands of documents


Probably for this reason on the copy of his publication preserved in the Vatican Apostolic Library a hand of the early twentieth century put the exact signature of the various acts in pencil: it would not be too surprising if it was discovered that the anonymous signal was just Heinrich Finke, grappling with the arduous problem of identifying what has already been published and studied by its predecessor.

Surely the huge amount of procedural documents found at the Archive led both to make a choice, but this explanation is too simplistic and does not clarify why they would have completely neglected the most significant document of the papal investigation; a retrospective search allows to identify the most reliable answer, that is, that at the origin of their oversight there was a combination of factors.

Both German scholars worked on a manuscript inventory made in 1628 by Giambattista Confalonieri, then Custodian of the Archive of Castel Sant’Angelo, who arranged the most important acts of the process inside the wardrobe marked with the letter D 15; nevertheless during the Napoleonic deportation the fund lost many documents because the French generals, in particular the Radet who had carried out the siege of Rome, showed a real greed for the documents of the Templar trial: they even pretended to open the cases where the employees of the papal archive had packed the documents even before the convoy left for Paris 16.

After the tiring return from France, the documentation returned to its collocations but with the bitter certainty that many pieces had been lost or destroyed. In 1909 Cardinal Melampo promoted a new inventory of the bottom of Castel Sant'Angelo both because the ancient one was damaged and in some places illegible, and because the remarkable progress made by historical studies in the last decades of the nineteenth century required much more sophisticated and modern instruments for archival research.

It was an operation carried out in a long time and with great care, aimed at completely rearranging the bottom, recording the presence of seals and other important elements, transcribing irrecoverable documents; it was also known that many deeds believed to have been lost were instead finished in different funds, so they started a carpet sweep that in 1913, as the writer Vincenzo Nardoni noted with satisfaction, had allowed to recover at least a hundred of pieces.

Unfortunately it had to be noted that a whole section of the Templars' proceedings had actually disappeared during the transfer to Paris 17.

Schottmüller published his edition in 1884 and Finke in 1906; both then researched the Archives before the great reorganization of Cardinal Melampo, before the fund was reorganized and it was clarified precisely how many documents had disappeared when the papal archive was brought to Paris, and what could actually be hoped to recover from the mopping; therefore the two scholars did not publish the parchment of Chinon, the most significant act of the papal inquiry, probably because they worked at that stage during which many pieces of the trial were given for lost. It remains to explain why the two scholars did not evaluate with an appropriate discussion at least the news of the parchment; this question could only have a convincing explanation, that is, that the presence of the parchment was hardly recognizable: in fact two hounds of Schottmüller's ability and Finke would have turned over the funds of the archive if only they had known that somewhere it could be found. The most convincing demonstration comes

from the fact that Gaetano Lamattina, still in recent years and having the new detailed inventory, made an excellent repertoire of all the papal documents relating to the order of the Temple which however ignored the Chinon parchment, briefly reviewed in the appendix list of another popular book of his without recognizing in it the very important document or identifying precisely the act that many had sought in vain 18. At the origin of the confusion there was probably a topographical misunderstanding, a trivial slip-up that unfortunately diverted Lamattina as it had already happened for Schottmüller and Finke.

The archivist Confalonieri had described the investigation held in Chinon by the three cardinals Commissioners of Clement V as a procedure located in the diocese of Tours; the notation is correct since the castle of Chinon was located precisely in the diocese of Tours, also being a judicial procedure of the Church the topographical identification based on the diocese was far more significant than that of the single fort.

With the bull Faciens misericordiam of 12 August 1308 19 the pope ordered the opening of surveys on the Templars throughout Christianity, investigations that were to be held by the diocesan bishops and that then continued throughout the two-year period 1309-1311: the notation of Confalonieri in the diocese Turonensi, combined with the fact that many of the stolen pieces were precisely acts of diocesan inquiries, must have confused two scholars who probably did not recognize the very important pontifical procedure and believed it to be one of the many provincial inquiries 20. The writer Nardoni moved very easily in reading ancient documents but he was not an expert on Templar history: in his eyes Chinon's investigation was only one of the many hearings in the Templar trial, a scroll among the many parchment scrolls D that referred to proceedings carried out in the various dioceses of Europe. No wonder he limited himself to preserving the original wording used by Confalonieri, which could not seem wrong to him since the location on the parchment was in castro de Caynona diocesis Turonensis.

The merit of the discovery goes to Bérenger Frédol, the personality and activity of which I had to study in previous research. Noting him among the investigators who held the inquiry in the Turonensi diocese, I immediately understood that something was not right: one of the best canonists of his time, cardinal in first promotion, prominent member of the Sacred College, papal legate for the most delicate missions and nephew of the Pope, could he abandon the Curia to go and direct one of the many provincial investigations 21?

Tommasi maintains that the generic signatures of the past (Instr. Miscell.), Combined with the news of huge losses suffered by the papal archive during his peregrinations, ended up disorienting and discouraging scholars; indeed the Schottmüller, who was also a tireless researcher, refers to pieces that can no longer be found after Napoleon's deportations 22.

The Perugian scholar adds that the diaspora of the proceedings of the trial against the Temple appears very strange and seems to suspect that it is not simply due to the case: the complete census as well as the

at least virtual recomposition of the original fund, which in the XIV century was called processus Templariorum, would be really desirable 23.

The recently identified document opens up many historical questions that cannot be defined unless in a long time and through a study as broad as possible of the entire trial story in all its faces: the political one, the economic one, the one concerning international diplomacy; the diffusion of the news has also aroused a strong interest and many requests on the part of scholars, who urge with just pressure that the document be made available as soon as possible to the scientific community.

The period that has elapsed since the discovery is too limited for the historical discussion of Chinon's inquiry to be dealt with in the exhaustive manner that it would require, and the event is not understood except in relation to many external factors of the context to which it belongs: so yes it is chosen to provide here especially the edition of the source together with a general presentation of the new questions, postponing a more detailed discussion possible only after having carefully analyzed the many papal bulls and other testimonies that followed one another in the scorching summer of 1308 .

The Chinon parchment is therefore offered to the attention of historians, so that the general reflection and the contribution of the various specialists may lead us to a clearer and more reliable picture of the facts.







Servants of the Holy Sepulcher

The order of the Temple was born on the initiative of Hugues de Payns 24, a French knight originally from Champagne who had perhaps participated in the first crusade; around the year 1119 he had gathered in Jerusalem some companions in a brotherhood of lay soldiers determined to donate their life and the specific military skills of the social group to which they belonged for the defense of the Sepulcher and the Holy Land 25.

The initiative itself was not really revolutionary and it already found some important precedents in the 11th century West: in the area of ​​southern France and above all of the Iberian peninsula, areas that had been occupied for some time in the reconquista against the Islamic occupation, they had organized confraternities armed, associations of lay warriors who fought against the Saracens assuming a specific religious commitment but without effective conversion to

monastic life.

Communities of temporary duration and in a certain sense almost experimental in nature, ideally linked to important centers of worship, defending their assets against Islamic attacks and protecting the access routes traveled by pilgrims: at the base there was a sort of alliance with the host ecclesiastical bodies, a mutual benefit based on the offer of defense in exchange for spiritual benefits 26.

The initiative was born as a choice of private faith and had first of all penitential character, in harmony with a widespread tendency among military aristocracies in the age of the first crusade; in short, according to the sources, the group decided to take on a definitive and stable religious commitment: as converts, they were welcomed by the Canons of the Holy Sepulcher, lived with them, in all probability following the same habits of life 27.

The choice to address this particular institute probably stemmed from the affinity between a certain symbolic formulation of the spirituality of the Canons and the specific mentality of the converted members of the military elites. In the aftermath of the Latin conquest, Godfrey of Bouillon had established in Jerusalem four foundations of regular canons 28, that is clerics who lived in common according to the rule of Saint Augustine, dealing with the care of souls and solemn worship 29: among them the Canons of Holy Sepulcher, to whom at first the confraternity of converted soldiers of Hugues de Payns turned, and the Canons of the Temple, next to whom the group lived afterwards, so called because they settled in the cave church of Templum Domini that stood inside of the ancient enclosure of the Temple of Solomon (Haram ash Sharif).

In 1114 the Canons of the Temple received a definitive regulation from the Patriarch Arnolfo di Chocques and from then on they followed the same liturgical ordinary of those of the Holy Sepulcher 30.

The very root of Augustinian spirituality, and especially a certain way of looking at religious life as a militant service in the world for the salvation of others, were certainly decisive for the Canons to accept to welcome among them these lay knights who intended to devote themselves to God while continuing to remain in the ranks of the warrior aristocracy.

Since the early centuries of Christianity a current of thought had emerged that absolutized the message of non-violence contained in the Gospel, and, although Christ had shown indulgence towards the figures of military professionals encountered, as in the case of the centurion, the Christian society of the phase preceding the edict of tolerance tended to consider the trade of weapons with distrust and reprobation: especially in the context of the nascent monasticism, animated by the desire for renunciation of the world, a conflict had developed between the militia saeculi,

that is, the life marked by secular values, and the militia Dei, understood as an interior struggle against sin with the only weapons of penance and faith 31.

This orientation was widespread during the first three centuries of the Christian era; converts were advised against a military career, which according to Lattanzio in a catechumen even represented a sign of contempt for God, and there were also exemplary cases of saints who had given up their arms. During the third century Christianity had spread widely in the Roman army, affecting most of its militias; consequently the need for a new theological reflection to assess whether the profession of arms was incompatible with the dictates of the new religion 32 was imposed.

The attacks on the empire by the barbarian populations, with the massacres provoked during the episodes of looting and invasion, induced some Church Fathers to rethink the function of weapons as an act of legitimate defense against an attempted oppression. In particular, Saint Augustine of Hippo, forced to personally experience the sufferings of the Roman population of Africa before the invasion of the Vandals, had experienced the problem in all its drama reaching the conclusion that the armed force, when used strictly to defend a necessary and honest cause (bellum iustum), can be a form of service also valid on a religious level: in fact it means endangering one's own survival to fight the danger of death and to ensure the salvation of others 33.

Combat acquired in the Augustinian vision the character of an indispensable remedy for a terrible evil, namely the unjust suppression of the innocent by the wicked, against whom the liberating war was an act of defense; the legitimization of this type of war arose essentially from the exaltation of peace, considered as a supreme good: peace and war no longer appeared as irreconcilable opposites, but two aspects necessary in the same search for social order and justice 34.







An idea of struggle as a sacrifice and a gift

Augustine had not confined himself to expressing a more lenient attitude towards military professionals, following the traces contained in the Gospel that exhorted the combatants to an ethics of justice and honest service; the dramatic tenor of the times, and the same vision of religious commitment as a battle in the world fought against evil to gain the salvation of others, led his preaching to be energetically covered with military symbolism.

The sense of defense assured to the weak against the abuses of the bullies was very strong and felt as a religious duty, a necessary pastoral burden:

Admonish the fomenters of disorder, console the pusillanimous, support the weak, refute the contradictory, guard against the intriguing, instruct the ignorant, stimulate the indolent, calm quarrels, fix the pretentious, calm the protesters, rescue the poor, free the poor oppressed, encouraging the good, enduring the bad and loving all 35.

Between the kind of life that Augustine would have liked, the quiet of contemplation in the peace of the cloister, and what he had accepted to carry out by the will of God, the weight of pastoral activity, there was a sharp contrast that had to be overcome for the good of the others. The religious vocation is above all service to the Church, especially towards its weakest members exposed to all kinds of oppression; in this personal sacrifice and fatigue are configured as sequela Christi, emulation of Jesus in his struggles against evil and in his renunciations:

We are servants of the Church, and especially servants of its weakest members ... If the mother Church requires your services, do not accept them for greedy yearning to go up or refuse them for the seductive desire to do nothing, but obey God with humble heart ... Do not put the quiet of your contemplation before the needs of the Church ... If the good shepherd, who offered his life for his sheep, could raise up for himself so many martyrs from these same sheep, with how much greater ardor they must fight for the truth to the death, and up to shedding his own blood fighting against the sin, those to whom the Lord entrusted his sheep to feed, that is to form and to guide 36?

References to military symbolism had developed abundantly in the canonical tradition, which identified its mission as a commitment in the world and possessed a mental attitude led to read the service for the Christian community as an offensive battle against evil. One of the major representatives of twelfth-century spirituality, Geroch of Reichesberg, said that the cleric must overcome the world with the struggle as the monk wins it with his escape, and his brother Arnone, the probable author of the text bearing the title of Scutum canonicorum, reaffirmed the same concept, also accusing of selfishness those who reject the commitment to fight evil in the world:

the monastic order, taking refuge in its own tranquility, shut itself up in the silence of its cloister or, worse still, accepted iniquity, while I, a canonical order, fought to the death through my children in private and in public 37.

Although the mentality of the canons as well as their theology related the concepts of war commitment to a purely symbolic sphere, the offer of these soldiers decided to obliterate themselves at the Sepulcher to obtain the forgiveness of sins had to appear as a kind of transposition in the secular field of the canonical profession: if the regular clerics daily waged their battle against sin with the weapons of renunciation and pastoral service, the comrades of Hugues de Payns, members of the military aristocracy, could equally live a similar concept of Christian commitment using their skills in war for the physical defense of their brothers. The situation of the recent Kingdom of Jerusalem was very precarious, road communications constituted a risk since the streets were infested by Islamic marauders who threw themselves on travelers and pilgrims to plunder them and murder them; according to Fulcherio di Chartres the population lived in a perpetual state of insecurity, with the ear always inclined to perceive a signal that the warned of the danger 38.

In 1119 a fatal event happened that probably played a decisive role in the foundation of the Templar order: a group of pilgrims traveling between Jerusalem and the Jordan was completely slain and the massacre produced such an impression that its echo reached even the chroniclers of the West 39. A year later, in 1120, there was an important assembly in Nablus that gathered the main exponents of the clergy and nobility of the kingdom of

Jerusalem: historians see in that gathering the most probable occasion to officially plead the cause of the newly formed military brotherhood, and the sources, in fact, place the beginnings of the Templar group around that year 40.

Perhaps the dismay following the disaster made the converts at the Sepulcher sensitize them to interpret the spirit of Augustinian theology, which in any case they had absorbed thanks to the preaching and pastoral care of the canons, in a more specific and concrete way to meet the needs of survival of the Christian population: the group took the three monastic vows of obedience, poverty and chastity before the Patriarch of Jerusalem, and he entrusted them with the specific mission of fighting the Islamic enemy to defend the pilgrims on their way to the Holy Sepulcher 41.






The bold design of the religious militia

The initiative of Hugues de Payns was essentially penitential, constituted the most complete expression of the ideals that had supported the crusade and was born as a religious choice of a private nature accepted and supported by the canonical institute; but thanks to its unique characteristics, especially after having taken on the military mission of armed defense of the routes frequented by pilgrims, it lent itself to being appreciated also in view of other purposes.

The king of Jerusalem, Baldovino II, has been favoring the confraternity since its inception and has promoted both its expansion and its transformation towards something more institutional: the creation of an independent militia, but placed under the control of the Church, seemed of great utility in the defense of the Christian territories and at the same time could have provided him with support against the autonomistic ambitions of the nobility of the Holy Land 42.

The first step was the transfer to a new, more august and representative site: Baldovino ceded to the group a wing of his ancient palace that stood near the ruins identified with the remains of the Temple of Solomon. The knights took to be called Militia Salomonica Templi, and later milites Templi or Templarii, next to the name that probably were chosen in homage to the vow to serve God with weapons in the spirit of poverty: pauperes commilitones Christi 43.

The project to promote the growth of the group and give it an institutional face matured during a journey undertaken in 1127 by the founder Hugues de Payns and his most influential companions to the West, where they would have knocked on the door of some great feudal lords talking also on behalf of the king of Jerusalem and trying to make them aware of the problem of defending the Holy Land: militias were urgent, and the same military-religious organization of Payns had known in those years a modest development, which the sources allow us to indicate at most in a thirty knights 44.

The founder and his companions traveled throughout France and also reached England, but their purpose was not only to recruit as many riders as possible to replenish the ranks of the group and the Holy Land militias: a true institutional promotion of the brotherhood it could not have been without the initiative obtaining a broad consensus in the Christianity of the West, but above all an effective recognition within the Church.

Both objectives appeared difficult: in fact, in those years the papacy was plagued by serious problems of institutional stability 45, and most of the ecclesiastical circles still felt the lay state, in particular the life of warlike aristocracies, as an obstacle to eternal salvation.

The orientation was strongly affirmed during the 11th century thanks to Pier Damiani's reforming work which had condemned in any case the direct and indirect recourse to force; the saint in his writings constantly associated secular life with sin and surrounded it with terms that refer to the sphere of corruption 46. Along the same line was Bernard of Clairvaux, one of the greatest theologians and communicators of the time; just to him Hugues de Payns turned to seeking spiritual comfort and ideological support for the constitution of what many, and initially even the abbot himself, had to look like a monstrous hybrid: an order of monks devoted to war 47.

Perhaps Hugues de Payns moved at the request of the king of Jerusalem, who had written to Saint Bernard asking him to draw up a rule suitable for the Templars 48, or perhaps on his own initiative, especially if some historical traces that seem to be placed in a family relationship were confirmed. the family of Payns and that of the saint 49. In addition to being one of the major religious figures of the time, the Cistercian abbot found himself on the front line in the struggle to defend the pontifical role within Christian society and consequently had excellent support at

the Curia: pleaded by Bernardo, the Templar cause would have had much more hope of success.

Initially the abbot showed an indifferent attitude; but later, and for reasons that the historical analysis has not yet fully clarified, he enthusiastically joined the project by making his spiritual, intellectual and political resources available to promote its development. While always continuing to see in monasticism the preferential path towards salvation, an idea that led him to regret the Count Hugues of Champagne because he had joined the Templars, abandoning the idea of ​​entering Cîteaux 50, Bernardo unreservedly supported the project of to establish a religious militia and also tried to gain the endorsement of some great religious personalities of his time 51.






The armed wing of peace

The apparently contradictory attitude of St. Bernard acquires a very different meaning when one refrains from considering it only for himself and makes it to the context to which it belongs, that is, the conditions of the lay society of the early twelfth century. One of the greatest scholars of medieval cavalry, Franco Cardini, pointed out that in an era like that, dominated by institutional precariousness and the violence to which the lifestyle of aristocratic groups was based, creating a

the ideal of a religious warrior was perhaps the only possible way to try to Christianize a society that would otherwise have opposed complete resistance: it would have been an imperfect, contradictory, superficial Christianity, but would have led to a certain adaptation of the laity to religious precepts, which in practice it meant a limitation of violence on the unarmed masses 52.

The specific mentality that characterized the Western military elites since their Germanic origins, to put it with an expert such as Stefano Gasparri their "traditional culture", was completely based on war values ​​and focused on a real ethic of war 53 ; this form of mind inherited from the past could have been enhanced in the troubled period of incursions by the Vikings, the Hungarians and the Saracens and aggravated by the decay of the Carolingian institutions, when in the climate of general chaos the practice of armed struggle had been the only way to survive for the populations abandoned to their fate by the legitimate holders of public authority 54.

In certain areas where the collapse of the imperial structures had been earlier, such as the French, groups of professionals from the war on horseback often emerged, often only of their destructive capacity: sometimes by linking up with old members of the Carolingian aristocracy, sometimes succeeding on his own to carve out local autonomous lordships with respect to the royal authority, they gradually established a new organization of society based on nuclei of de facto power, concretely dominated by juridical arbitrariness and widespread violence between the X and the XI century 55.

The registers of Gregory VII allow a realistic idea of ​​the behavior of the military aristocracy even in the last decades of the 11th century, on the threshold of the first crusade: the documents describe a generalized climate of anarchy, oppression, indiscriminate violence that scourges the masses and they do not even save the highest prelates. At Terouanne in 1083 the miles Oilard and the Eustache count violated the cathedral by breaking the door, profaning the relics, stealing valuable furnishings and dragging away the bishop Lambert who was prostrated in prayer and was horribly maimed; in 1074 the archbishop of Tours, on his way to Rome on a pilgrimage, had been attacked in the street by the Lanzelin de Beaugency miles at the head of a troop and the same fate had been reached in 1080 by the bishop of Liège attacked by the count of Chiny 56.

Ildebrando di Soana possessed a realistic and combative temperament, he was a good connoisseur of human nature and when he addressed those milites often in paternal reproach, seeking the path of a political-social understanding, he had no illusions: the aristocratic groups and their armed clientele, as well as the knights without social classification, were steeped in violence also because they were raised in a specific perspective that ended up considering the offensive force even as a value 57.

Gregory VII developed a tendency that had established itself during the course of the eleventh century, on the occasion of certain episodes that had seriously endangered the fate of the Roman See, that is, of assigning a religious value to the armed struggle carried out in defense of the Church and of believe that such a commitment had a power of sanctification: in 1053, for example, Pope Leo IX had assimilated to the martyrs those who had died fighting in defense of the pontifical cause in the battle of Civita against the Normans; it was a specific strategy and the event was publicized telling that the fallen had appeared to the Pope in splendid clothes, a sign of their heavenly glory. Gregory VII called solemnlyemilites beati Petri those who had chosen to serve the cause of the pontiff in arms, and Bonizone di Sutri considered them true martyrs to be counted among the saints; in 1090

Bruno di Segni will speak of these blessed Petri milites as milites Christi, a decidedly showy innovation with respect to the traditional vision that the militia Christi referred to the monk fighting against sin 58.

The pontiff had understood that it would not have been possible to intimately convert these men and their culture; instead, better results would have been obtained by trying to direct the violence they were able to develop towards a less ignoble end, which they would not have renounced in any case 59.

When the news of the devastation that the Turks had operated in Jerusalem arrived, Gregorio VII planned to personally lead a military expedition for the liberation of the Holy Sepulcher and the protection of the Christians of the East 60: although this attempt at the crusade ante litteram fell on deaf ears, the idea remained in the widespread feeling of time and a few years later, in 1095, it would have provoked the enthusiastic response of the crowds to the appeal launched by Urban II during the Council of Clermont 61.






Bernardo di Clairvaux e la cavalleria alternativa

The problems faced by the papacy in the last decades of the eleventh century had sensitized intellectuals by pushing them to moderate censorship of military activity if aimed at defending Christian or ecclesiastical objectives; on the institutional level, therefore, the pontifical approval was not an unattainable goal, provided that the blessing should turn to lay knights who lived in the century and would have continued to live there: the problem posed by the brotherhood of Hugues de Payns was however radically different, because these converted warriors should have left

the lay state to get into arms in the monastic state.

Bernardo mobilized his knowledge and it was thanks to his help that in a council celebrated in Troyes in 1129 62, in the presence of the papal legate Cardinal Matteo d'Albano and the most authoritative representatives of Cistercian monasticism such as Stefano Harding 63, the first order was established military religious in the history of the Latin Church; the Temple received a specific rule written under the guidance of the abbot 64. Later, probably around 1135, Bernardo dedicated an encomiastic and at the same time exhortative work entitled De laude novae militiae to the order in which he outlined the characteristics of the Templar ethics and spirituality: conversion, rejection of worldliness, spirit of service in the comparisons of the Christian cause and aspiration to martyrdom in the name of faith 65.

The treaty did not represent at all a betrayal, and not even a rethinking, of the negative judgment that the saint held concerning the use of violence and the lifestyle practiced by the lay aristocracies, a social milieu that he knew very well having been born by birth and with whom he had chosen to break definitively by becoming a monk at Cîteaux 66. Already at the beginning of his activity as an abbot he had used the concepts of militia Christi referring them to the monastic, ascetic and contemplative life, according to that ancient current that had crossed the entire history of the Church and which indissolubly linked holiness to contemptus mundi, voluntary renunciation to the enticements but also to the logic of behavior prevailing in the 67th century.

Bernardo always remained on the same line although with more moderate attitudes, and even after having obtained the constitution of the Templar order, though so warmed up and shared, he will always feel the inferiority of that conversion with respect to the choice of the monk who remains the miles Christi in the sense taller and fuller 68; moreover, his model of religious militia was not invented from nothing since Bernardo probably had looked at, and perhaps even drew from, a certain current of thought developed in the past within his own Benedictine bed, particularly in the Cluniac environment.

Around the year 930 the abbot Oddone of Cluny had written a hagiographic work really sui generis and unprecedented until that time: his hero of the faith, the noble Gérard d'Aurillac, had been able to reach holiness remaining secular and without abandon the controversial profession of arms, indeed even making it the instrument of one's salvation. Beyond the religious intent the writing also constituted a cultural, social and political operation that intended to promote a new model of behavior for military aristocracies and urged them to limit the indiscriminate use of violence by channeling it towards the defense of causes useful to the peacekeeping 69.

The orientation of Abbot Oddone was in line with the trend that will spread some decades later, when the bishops of the French regions most severely afflicted by anarchy will try to gather the heads of the military bands involving them in solemn religious oaths known as truces of God 70. The center of Cluny, actively engaged in the reform and Christianization of the secular society, also received requests of this kind; inside the experiment attempted by Abbot Oddone originated a current of thought that, although not in a continuous or coherent way, is

transmitted to the cultural environment of the twelfth century from which Bernardo derived it.

Gérard d'Aurilliac had been an example of a powerful man engaged in the struggle for the defense of the weak, of the Church, of justice against the oppression of the dishonest: a true secular incarnation of the Augustinian concept of bellum iustum, devoted to personal sacrifice for the good of others militating in the world; but this noble portrait, as pointed out by Ambrogio Piazzoni, was still far from that cultural evolution that will later lead to the enhancement of the use of war force for a just cause. He is essentially a monk in the intimate, in the mentality, in the models of behavior, and even possesses the element of the contemptus mundi that most traditionally characterizes the monastic vocation: Gérard is certainly a miles sanctus, but his militia Christi is an inner quality and spiritual 71.

In the mid-eleventh century, more than a hundred years after Oddone had written the Life of Saint Gérard, another biography of santomiles appeared in the Cluniac area in which certain instances were brought to more decisive developments evidently in accordance with the tenor of the era. It was the 10noble Burcard count of Vendôme and benefactor of the monastery of Saint-Maure near Paris, a powerful and illustrious figure who had embraced the monastic life following an illness: the important fact was that his biographer celebrated his figure and example in the Christian sense when this man was still in the world, that is, in the midst of his feudal power and even in the condition of marriage.

Burcard was a model of a holy warrior very different from Gérard: if the count d'Aurilliac was a lover of peace and strove as far as possible not to fight, that of Vendôme did not at all escape the fights, which, however just and favored from God, they still involved killing enemies; if the former, while remaining secular, lived a monastic life in the century, the latter remains immersed in the world and in its honors, reflecting, if anything, a positive ethic of a great just feudal lord, faithful companion and servant of King Ugo Capeto. The Vita Burcardi, in the mid-11th century and a few decades before the first crusade, shows how certain changes had occurred in the model that the Cluniac ambit thought fit for the new emerging class of milites; and although it could not even be considered as an immediate antecedent of the Templar project, it proves that similar ideas were actively disseminated 72.

Even if Bernardo did not directly use this cluniac hagiographic genre, since explicit references are not obvious, it is inevitable to think that he has drawn upon it ideologically; in this case the abbot would have made a generous and intelligent effort at syncretism to check whether the Augustinian setting of the bellum iustum, on which the Templars had formed, were compatible, and the Benedictine approach of the contemptus mundi, which represented the indispensable ideal of Cistercians.






Penitent knights in the spirit of poverty

The key to the problem lay in the penitential character of the brotherhood of Hugues de Payns, an original element of great importance because it was in his name that the knights had oblated themselves to the Holy Sepulcher. The primitive ideal of the Templars had been to offer themselves to the Sepulcher as canonical converts, a condition which already possessed a specific identity in the religious sense and also a framework within the Church 73; the Scutum canonicorum described them as "lay men who have abandoned everything to submit to the yoke of Christ, who, though unable or unwilling to reach the priesthood, can reach monastic perfection by working with their own hands and punishing vices and lusts of their flesh in the habit of penitents: they are those who go to the monasteries and who make themselves similar to the monks also in the habit, called scapular “.74

The fundamental element was precisely the search for a way to atone for sins, the dimension of penance, which also appeared conspicuously in the external aspect: the robe resigned and devoid of any ornament, but also a long beard (bearded fratres defines them Scutum), the renunciation of any worldly office, the ban on attending shows, folk festivals and noisy banquets, sobriety in drinking and eating, continence; this was exactly the tradition traditionally used by those who, although not being public sinners, voluntarily took penitential forms to those imposed as an act of personal humiliation and offered to God 75.

Each of these elements is present in the Templar rule drawn up under the guidance of St. Bernard, and each derives from the maintenance of the original spirit, marked by the status of canonical converts, which Payns and his companions had desired to embrace in Jerusalem. As penitents and pauperes, by their free choice, the Templars manifested that contempt of the world that the vow of chastity made complete, and as milites offered their labor and suffering

physical, as well as life itself, for the salvation of others and in the service of a just cause according to the teachings on which the canons had formed them.

In short, the Templar project was indeed plausible: provided, however, that perfect harmony was accomplished which was given only by conceiving the religious militia as a defensive instrument. Jean Leclercq 11 has defined the Treaty for the Templars as "the Bernardian card for the limitation of violence", and sees substantially in order not a parallel cavalry but rather an alternative to the secular one; the abbot intends to create a chivalrous model that replaces the violence of the secular militia with the use of force, first reduced to a minimum, and in any case subject to defense and inspired by charity 76.

In the Templar the monastic ideal of Cîteaux was fused together, centered on the inner struggle against sin in the solitude of the retreat, and the combative one inherent in Augustinian theology, which sees the war against evil in the world as a service and offer of oneself for the others: only under these conditions, because there is still a definite ascetic intention in the Templars, Bernardo agrees to approach them even if only once to his very high concept of militia Christi 77.

The Templars would have imitated the example of Christ in poverty, avoiding all the manifestations of luxury and social supremacy that characterized the customs of the lay cavalry, and at the same time would have followed him fighting battles against the enemies of the faith just like the knights lay people accompanied their seniors in war:

Poor with the poor Christ, they were also milites with the Cristo miles and dux militum, the one who had chased the merchants from whipping that Temple which had later become the seat of the warriors ... The pauper miles Christi was the companion of these in his cosmic struggle against His enemies, but also in the intimate, daily struggle against himself, temptation, sin 78.






A change of mission?

During his recruitment journey Hugues de Payns earned several knights at the Temple; Western society responded very positively to the project promoted by St. Bernard, as demonstrated by the many donations of powerful people but also of private individuals who, within a few decades, dotted the French region and other European countries with installations 79: the time felt the need for such a presence, as well as goodness and value, as evidenced by the

subsequent foundation of other religious-military orders 80. The Temple would have become an enormous supranational organization spread over most of the Mediterranean countries and beyond, counting possessions and fortresses that ranged from Scotland to Sicily and from Portugal to the Armenian region.

At first the Templars were subject to obedience to the Patriarch of Jerusalem, framed in the Latin Church of the East to which they belonged by birth and spiritual setting, and even later maintained the organization of prayers and liturgies prescribed in the ordinary of the canons of the Holy Sepulcher 81; in 1139, with a privilege entitled Omne datum optimum, Pope Innocent II made concessions to the Temple which opened the way to his absolute independence from the ecclesiastical hierarchy, making it subject exclusively to the person of the Roman pontiff 82.

The order possessed an internal hierarchical subdivision based on the distinction between knights (milites), who had received the knightly investiture or belonged however to families of chivalrous rank, and sergeants (servientes), who could not boast this title. The knights of the Temple had the privilege of wearing white clothes as a symbol of chastity and purity of purpose that animated the order, while the sergeants were given brown robes; in 1147 Eugenio III added a red cross to the dress Templar to wear permanently on the mantle 83.

The Temple, flanked by the contingent of the Hospitallers, constituted a fundamental part of the Christian garrison in the Holy Land 84: according to an authoritative expert on military history the Templars were the first example of a body organized according to the modalities that will be proper to the armies of the modern age 85. To the war practice of the lay cavalry, based above all on courage and personal initiative that at times provoked disorder or even destructuring in the troop, the Temple contrasted an iron discipline and great capacities of coordination. The papal privileges reserved for the order exalt its heroism and self-denial in shedding its blood for the Christian cause 86; from the ferocious expressions that the Islamic sources use towards the Templars we can well evaluate their power of impact on the enemy troops 87.

In the thirteenth century the order had spread widely counting hundreds of foundations; the great proliferation of the houses of the order (mansiones, in French maisons, that is "magioni" or 12 "commende") had made necessary the creation of provinces subjected to a general manager, called Visitor, directly subordinated to the Grand Master 88. During the phase of maximum commitment in the East, which corresponds to almost the entire course of the twelfth century, Western installations functioned above all as companies for the production and collection of resources that were conveyed to the Holy Land, where they were employed in financing military actions 89 .

Due to the great trust that the Templars enjoyed in the society of the time, thanks also to the remarkable mediation skills matured during the campaigns in the Holy Land, they were very often used by European monarchies and by the papacy for delicate diplomatic missions. In addition to strong military qualities, the order could also boast great prestige in the religious and spiritual field: its members were recognized as the undisputed authority in identifying authentic relics and was a knight of the Temple, flanked by his Hospital correspondent, who had honor of guarding and escorting the precious reliquary with the wood of the True Cross held in Jerusalem 90 in procession.

In 1187 a terrible defeat inflicted by Saladin on the Christians near Hattin halted the Crusader expansion in Syria-Palestine and began the progressive loss of the territories 91. In the thirteenth century the Islamic reconquest in the Holy Land continued in an almost unstoppable manner; the Temple and other military orders were the subject of bitter controversy because the society of the time ended up attributing the failure of the crusading experience to the greed and vices that were believed to have weakened the Christian contingent 92.

During this phase the order progressively changed its specific role; alongside the function of armed garrison, the treasury function of the Christian sovereigns 93 and of the Church was introduced for the custody and management of the money destined for the crusade.

The overlap of the two functions, however linked by the same objective at least at the ideal level, led the order to develop specific financial skills; the European sovereigns also used it for reasons inherent in the internal politics of their own kingdoms: the emblematic case was the headquarters of the Temple of Paris, which became the Treasury of France 94.






Crisis of an era

During the sixties of the thirteenth century the reconquests made by the Sultan Baibars reduced the Crusader kingdom in Syria-Palestine to a thin coastal strip with the capital San Giovanni d'Acri 95; when in 1291 this city too was lost, the last bastion of the Christian presence in the Holy Land, the Temple and the other military orders had to undergo a very heavy moral repercussion in addition to human and material losses: although the Grand Master Guillaume de Beaujeu died heroically in an attempt to defend Acre, and although the Templars were the last to leave the burning city 96, this latest defeat placed the orders in a very difficult position before the entire West.

Templars and Hospitallers established the new headquarters of the Orient in Cyprus, an island where the Templar presence had already existed for a long time and that for a short period had been governed directly by the order 97. The failure of the Crusader policy threatened to seriously undermine the existence of military orders: already in the context of the Council of Lyons, in 1274, the possibility of realizing the merger of the Temple and the Hospital into a single institution was discussed 98.

The end of the Kingdom of Jerusalem rekindled the controversies and the plans for reform, which the two Grand Masters knew how to keep up with: the last one dated back to 1305, when Clement V had sent a consultation to both of them to decide on the preparation of a new crusade and on the hypothesis of the single order 99. Temple Grand Master Jacques de Molay declared himself against the merger; the corresponding reply dossier written by Folques de Villaret, Grand Master of the Hospital, which probably expressed only on the crusade 100 has not been preserved. The project found favorable Clement V, as Niccolò IV had also been, because the unification of military and logistic resources would have significantly improved the operational yield and therefore increased the hopes of reconquering Jerusalem; nevertheless it was a theoretical calculation, destined to clash with not a few material difficulties.

In the long memorial written by Molay to justify the reasons for a refusal that surely disappointed the pontiff, there is interesting information which sheds light on the future events of the process: the Grand Master strongly advised against the merger because the Temple and the Hospital followed codes of different norms and the Hospitallers, accustomed to a much milder discipline, would not have easily adapted to the very strict one of the Temple; then there were two

different hierarchies that would have had to merge into one, with the consequent abdication from the command of many dignitaries, who certainly would have done everything to preserve their role, giving rise to fierce internal struggles.

The most important reason, however, Jacques de Molay explained to the pope only in terms very suggestive of respect for the dignity of the man to whom he referred: Filippo il Bello, a long time strenuous promoter of the merger project, had no intention of using energy in the reconquest of the Holy Land. His commitment must above all serve two purposes: first, the future expedition to the East would have been a magnificent cover for a French occupation plan of Armenia, to which the cavalry troops would have dedicated themselves to their landing, which had so worried the Armenians to induce them to report the danger to the Grand Master of the Temple 101; secondly, Filippo il Bello intended to pilot the merger of the two major military orders and then secure control over it by assigning the role of chief to a member of his family.

At the Council of Lyon in 1274 the Templars had already demonstrated to Niccolò IV what would have happened if such an event had occurred: orders would lose their function and eventually become political bodies and diplomacy serving the interests of the crown ; and in any case, the Grand Master had reiterated, as faithful children of the Church of Rome the Templars would have forgotten the last will of Pope 102. In a few years the order would be indicted by the king of France and then suspended in the Council of Vienne of 1312 with an authority measure taken by Clement V, in agreement with the Council Fathers, to avert a grave danger for the Church . The epigones of the story, sadly known, were the death on the stake of Jacques de Molay and the Preceptor of Normandy executed by Philip the Fair on March 18, 1314 after having taken them from the authority of the ecclesiastics in charge of their judgment 103: but already shortly after the At the beginning of the process, the contemporaries clearly understood that one of the main causes for the dissolution of the order had been the net refusal by Molay to carry out the merger with the hospital so insistently demanded by the king of France 104.






The subtle mechanism of arrest

On 13 October 1307, with a completely illegal and sudden act, all the Templars of France were imprisoned in one day by order of Philip the Fair; thanks to an agreement that the sovereign had tightened independently from the pontifical authority with the head of the Inquisition of France, the Dominican Guillaume de Paris, the terrible mechanism of the Court that applied to suspects of heresy was triggered against the prisoners. . The arrest constituted an abuse because the Templars were a religious order, moreover a series of privileges granted by the popes had reserved the judgment to the pontiff alone 106.

The order of the Temple observed from its foundation a vow of absolute fidelity to the person of the Pope, probably a legacy left by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux who was the spiritual founder of the order and his first patron 107; in the specific ethics of the Templars, in fact, the pope was not simply the Vicar of Peter but his person identified himself with that of the saint, so much so that they turned to him calling him Our Father the Apostle.

The legislation expressed this link very clearly, as when it sanctioned, for example, that the Pope was the absolute master of the order immediately after Our Lord 108; in fact these norms find a precise confirmation in the words pronounced by the leaders of the order during the Council of Lyons in 1274, when that fusion project that threatened to reduce the Temple to a vast lockable piggy bank that European sovereigns would have sacked for their interests. Embittered and discouraged before such a prospect, however the Grand Master had reiterated:

We are submissive children of the Holy Roman Church, and we will always be, with the help of God. We are children of obedience, we will be children again: and we will keep faith with that vow made throughout our lives to serve the defense of the Holy Land. Through it we will give all that we have, ready to offer life with joy also according to the will of the Our Father 109.

Precisely because of the special bond established with the Apostolic See, the order of the Temple had received the privilege of being exempt from both lay and ecclesiastical jurisdiction, a concession by virtue of which it became practically unassailable and subjected only to the authority of the pope; however, in this armor of invulnerability that covered the order there was a weak point deriving from an episode that happened in the first decades of the thirteenth century.

At the time of Honorius III, several regions of Western Christianity, and especially of France, had been affected by the propagation of the Cathar heresy which had made many proselytes even among the ranks of the Church; in 1221, given the gravity of the moment, the pontiff had granted the Inquisitor of Tuscia the extraordinary faculty to proceed with the investigation even with regard to orders exempt from any jurisdiction, namely the Templars, the Hospitallers and the Cistercians 110.

It was an emergency measure and above all dictated by a particular situation, however that faculty was never subsequently revoked by the pontiffs and therefore remained in force, as a sort of latent weapon that in the future could also have been used against the three privileged orders.






“Mors tua, vita mea”

During the following decades of the thirteenth century, when the power and political ascendancy of the Templars were remarkable within Christian society, no one thought of that juridical precedent which in any case remained valid since the privilege had never been repealed or quashed for issue of a contrary decree.

Still under the reign of Saint Louis IX, a personality prone to mysticism and above all very sensitive to the needs of the Holy Land, the collaboration between the Temple and the French crown remained close and cordial 111; already under his successor Philip III, relations began to crack, at least according to the evidence that the sovereign tried to prevent the Templars from acquiring the assets of the dead man as had happened in the past. His son Philip IV repeated the same maneuver later, but it was with the outbreak of the Franco-English conflict following the invasion of Guienna, in 1294, that a terrible mechanism of international consequences was triggered 112.

Exhausted by the expenses of the war that lasted far beyond the king's predictions, France was on the brink of bankruptcy and lawyers close to the crown induced the sovereign to unduly tax the kingdom's clergy; before the fierce reaction of Pope Boniface VIII (Benedetto Caetani, 1294-1303) against the abuse of the Church, the maneuver was set by the director as a distinctly political struggle and formally aimed at dethroning that pope by presenting him as the usurper of papal throne after the abdication of Celestino V. The situation progressively worsened until the excommunication of Filippo il Bello (with the bull uper Petri solio, drawn up but not promulgated) and the attack in Anagni (1303) 113.

Pressed by serious economic emergencies, the King of France had realized that a large portion of the Church of the kingdom, namely the Templars and the Hospitallers, possessed a substantial patrimony of productive units and liquid capitals but it was not at all taxable precisely because of specific privileges which they reserved all the resources of the military orders for the needs of the Holy Land. The king aspired to place that patrimony under the control of the crown by advocating the unification of the Temple and Hospital which had been discussed in the Council of Lyons, and which Philip intended to pilot by imposing as member of the single order a member of his family: he himself, if necessary, after having abdicated the throne in favor of the firstborn; but the plan fell due to the firm opposition of the Templars and the indecision of the popes 114.

Faced with this failure, an alternative strategy was conceived within the Royal Council, or more likely in the circle of royal lawyers, which would have allowed the sovereign to manage the assets of the two military orders even if the merger hypothesis had fallen: Philip the Fair secretly brought into the Temple twelve spies who became friars but worked patiently to collect all that could be used for a possible maneuver against the order 115.

In 1306 the situation in France reached such a serious level that there was a revolt of the Parisian population and Philip IV was forced to take refuge in the Tower of the Temple with his court to escape the assault of the crowd; on that occasion he probably put heavy pressure on the central Treasurer of the Temple, friar Jean de La Tour, to grant him a loan to stem at least the first necessities. The amount claimed by the sovereign, 300,000 gold florins, was

enormous and certainly unbalanced the solvency of the captain's house in Paris because the Templars also played the role of a bank and had to ensure full repayment of capital to their creditors; if we consider that the sum corresponds at that time to the annual budget of the maritime republic of Pisa 116, it is not at all risky to suppose that the collection of the king of France had practically cleaned up the coffers of the Temple of Paris. But the most serious thing, without justification and able to provoke the expulsion of the Treasurer from the order, was the absolutely illegal dynamics of the loan, carried out in violation of the Templar regulation and that is leaving the Grand Master completely in the dark 117.

The scandal of the central Treasurer gave rise to a stormy situation that made the relations between the Temple and the crown 118 very tense: when the Grand Master returned from Cyprus, at the beginning of 1307, he verified the accounting books and noticed the enormous treacherously opened shortage for the benefit of the king.

Philip the Fair had demanded that money without giving any guarantee, without for example engaging any of the assets of the crown that would have allowed the Templars to justify that loan 119.

In the past the sovereign had fought against Bonifacio VIII convinced that he could tax the French clergy at his leisure to meet the financial needs of the kingdom; Won contention 120, he intended to move to the patrimony of that privileged order that the treasury of the kingdom kept and took a large part of the proceeds from assets located in French territory. He had acted with unprecedented arrogance and the reaction of the Grand Master was so harsh that the pontiff himself had to intervene to stop the crisis.

The Treasurer La Tour was reinstated in the proper order thanks to the intercession of Clement V, a provision that essentially made the whole event appear as an accident occurred due to a misunderstanding and that, at least in the hopes of the Pope, would have saved the relations between Jacques de Molay and Filippo il Bello 121: but the king had understood that that Grand Master would have fiercely opposed the control of the crown on the Temple, and that with him to the leadership of the order the Templar assets would never have been an emergency reserve for the needs of French politics.

The attack that the sovereign will accomplish from there probably did not derive from some preconceived ideological hostility, although historians tend to design it as an irascible personality and prone to religious fanaticism. With the same strategy, Philip the Fair had requisitioned the assets of important financial groups of the kingdom, that is the Jews and Florentine bankers, putting them on trial and expropriating their assets 122: in the mind of the sovereign, or if we prefer in the subtle theoretical construction of his lawyers, no price seemed too high to promote the power of France.



1. La bibliografia storica sul processo è sconfinata; un orientamento utile è reperibile in M. Barber, The Trial; Demurger, Vie et mort de l’Ordre du Temple; Frale, L’ultima battaglia dei Templari.

2. Cronique de Geoffroi de Paris, coll. 143-145.

3. Dante Alighieri, Purgatorio, XX, 91-96; Giovanni Boccaccio, De casibus virorum illustrium, libro IX.

4. Sullo sviluppo del mito templare cfr. Partner, The Murdered Magicians. 5. Secondo lo schema generale fornito dal Frenz la pergamena di Chinon è tecnicamente un documento pontificio non papale emanato dall’autorità di Clemente V per mezzo di cardinali legati; cfr. Frenz, Papsturkunden, pp. 95-96.

6. Cfr. Barber, The Trial, p. 275, nota 50, sull’assenza di una redazione originale dell’inchiesta di Chinon: «There is no proper transcription of these hearings. The information derives from a letter of the cardinals to King Philip (Baluze, III, pp. 98-100); an extract from the Vatican Archive register of the Avignon popes given in Finke, II, pp. 324-8; and the bull Faciens misericordiam, Port (ed.), Guillaume Le Maire, pp. 438-40».

7. Alcune fra le opere più famose di questi storici sono indicate nella sezione dedicata alla Bibliografia.

8. Il fatto di possedere un’eccellente preparazione giuridica permetteva a Clemente V di agire con grande libertà in situazioni d’emergenza, inventando soluzioni nuove che ad un papa di diversa formazione sarebbero parse inaccettabili. Un esempio importante è l’intervento di cancellazione di tutti i passi di condanna contro Filippo il Bello nei registri di Bonifacio VIII, compiuto con sottigliezza giuridica ammirevole e frettolosamente etichettato dalla storiografia come l’ennesimo atto di sudditanza di questo pontefice verso il sovrano. Il procedimento merita decisamente un’analisi ulteriore perché si rivela reversibile, una vera arma a doppio taglio nei confronti della monarchia francese.

9. Sulla formazione dell’archivio pontificio cfr. Peri,Progetti e rimostranze, pp. 191-237.

10. Gli inizi di questa ricerca risalgono al 1995, durante il secondo anno della Scuola Vaticana di Paleografia, in occasione della tesi di specializzazione per la quale scelsi il registro avignonese 48.

11. Schottmüller, Der Untergang des Templerordens. 12. Finke, Papsttum und Untergang des Templerordens.

13. Viollet, Bérenger Frédol; Lizérand, Les dépositions du Grand Maître , pp. 81-106; Gilmour Bryson, The Trial of the


14. Si veda l’introduzione all’edizione della fonte: Tommasi,Interrogatorio di Templari a Cesena, pp. 265-285.

15. L’inventario seicentesco del Confalonieri si trova presso l’Archivio Segreto Vaticano (d’ora in poi ASV), Sala Indici, manoscritto n. 57.

16. La sorte dell’archivio papale ed i vari incidenti accaduti durante la deportazione sono narrati dal Cameriere privato del Prefetto agli Archivi Marino Marini, che seguì il convoglio in Francia e poi, dopo la Restaurazione, provvide al rientro del materiale in Roma; cfr. Regesta Clementis papae V, I, pp. ccxxviii-cccxxv.

17. Cfr. ASV, Sala Indici, n. 1001.

18. Lamattina, I Templari nella storia, p. 275.

19. Il testo della bolla, prodotta in eundem modum e trasmessa a tutti i vescovi diocesani, è in Regestum Clementis papae V, n. 3402.

20. ASV, Sala Indici, n. 57, c. 116 r : erano testi di udienze avvenute nelle diocesi di Toul, Sens, Tours, oltre a un documento segnalato come «Responsiones consiliariorum provincie Narbonensis super facto Templariorum».

21. Cfr. Hierarchia Catholica, I, p. 14, e Viollet, Bérenger Frédol, pp. 62-178.

22. Tommasi, Interrogatorio dei Templari a Cesena, pp. 265-285, alla p. 273; Schottmüller, Der Untergang, I, p. 705.

23. Mentre questo libro passa attraverso le fasi della stampa è in corso un primo studio ricostruttivo, i risultati del quale saranno probabilmente esposti in un breve articolo di prossima pubblicazione.

24. Al riguardo è fondamentale la biografia tracciata nel volume dedicato ai Gran Maestri dell’ordine da Bulst-Thiele, Sacra Domus, pp. 19-29; Cerrini, Le fondateur de l’ordre du Temple, pp. 99-110.

25. Per un inquadramento generale sulla storia dell’ordine cfr. Forey, Templari, in Dizionario degli Istituti di Perfezione, coll. 886-896; ottima la discussione e l’analisi delle fonti sulle origini gerosolimitane in Tommasi,Pauperes commilitones Christi, pp. 443-475. Un orientamento prezioso sui titoli più recenti è in Cerrini, L’ordine del Tempio. Aggiornamento bibliografico, pp. 153-163.

26. L’argomento è trattato in maniera chiara ed esauriente in Ligato, Fra ordini cavallereschi e crociata, in particolare pp. 645-653.

27. La teoria sui legami fra i canonici del Sepolcro e i compagni di Payns costituisce una vera tradizione all’interno degli studi storici sul Tempio che merita decisamente di essere approfondita; le linee principali in Leclerq, Un document sur les débuts des Templiers, pp. 81-91; Meyer, Zum Itinerarium peregrinorum, pp. 210-221; Elm, Kanoniker und Ritter vom Heiligen Grab, pp. 141-169.

28. Cfr. Dupont Lachenal, Canonici regolari di s. Agostino, coll. 553-565.

29. La notizia è narrata nella cronaca di Guglielmo di Tiro (IX, 9).

30. Cfr. Elm, Canonici del Tempio, in Dizionario degli Istituti di Perfezione, coll. 884-886.

31. Leclerq, “Militare Deo”, pp. 3-18.

32. Cfr. Cardini, I Cristiani, la guerra e la santità, pp. 9-17.

33. Il problema in rapporto alle origini dell’ordine templare è analizzato in Cardini, I poveri cavalieri del Cristo, pp. 15-29.

34. Cfr. Sicard, Paix et guerre dans le droit canonique, pp. 79-81.

35. Sermones, 240, 1; cfr. Lanzi, Agostino, predicatore e pastore di anime, p. 425.

36. Ibidem, pp. 425-429.

37. Cfr. Fonseca, “Militia Deo” e “militia Christi” , pp. 343-354. La storia dei Templari e l’apporto delle nuove scoperte 43

38. Historia Hierosolymitana, II, 4, pp. 373-374 e III, 42, p. 763, discusso in Barber, The New Knighthood, pp. 3-7.

39. Demurger, Vie et mort, pp. 21-23.

40. Hiestand, Kardinalbischof Matthäus von Albano, pp. 295-325; Tommasi, “Pauperes commilitones Christi” , pp. 454-458.

41. Barber, The New Knighthood, pp. 8-9.

42. Demurger, Vie et mort, p. 22.

43. La denominazione antica è oggetto di un accurato studio specifico in Tommasi, Pauperes commilitones Christi, pp.


44. Secondo Guglielmo di Tiro il gruppo contava allora appena nove individui, cioè era rimasto praticamente limitato ai compagni del fondatore; la cronaca di Michele Siriano riporta invece la cifra di circa trenta cavalieri, che sembra più probabile. Cfr. la discussione affrontata in Barber, The New Knighthood, p. 6 e nota 6; Demurger, Vie et mort, pp. 23- 24.

45. Il pontificato di Onorio II (Lamberto Scannabecchi da Fagnana) si era aperto nel 1124 in un clima di lotta fra due potenti schieramenti dell’aristocrazia romana; alla morte del papa, avvenuta fra il 13 e il 14 febbraio 1130, la contesa giunse addirittura allo scisma con l’elezione di due pontefici, il legittimo Innocenzo II (Gregorio Papareschi) e l’antipapa Celestino II (Teobaldo Buccapeco); cfr. le loro biografie a cura di S. Cerrini e T. di Carpegna Falconieri in

Enciclopedia dei Papi, II, pp. 255-268.

46. Cardini, I poveri cavalieri di Cristo, pp. 63-64.

47. Questo giudizio sul pensiero di Bernardo appare solidamente provato ed è condiviso da molta parte della storiografia; cfr. Zerbi, La “militia Christi” per i Cistercensi, in particolare la discussione alle pp. 277-281.

48. Il testo è edito in Léonard, Cartulaire, n. 1.

49. Cfr. Leclercq, Un document sur les débuts des Templiers, p. 88; Vacandard, Vie de saint Bernard, I, p. 254, citati in Cardini, I poveri cavalieri del Cristo, p. 98.

50. Epistola 31, VII, pp. 85-86.

51. Fra questi Pietro il Venerabile, Guigue de la Grand-Chartreuse e Isacco di Stella; cfr. rispettivamente The Letters of Peter the Venerable, n. 172, p. 408; Lettres des premiers chartreux, pp. 154-161; Isacco di Stella, Sermones, III, n. 48; discusso in Cerrini, Une experience neuve, II, p. 502.

52. Cardini, Alle radici della cavalleria medievale, p. 174, discusso in Zerbi, La “militia Christi” per i cisterciensi , pp. 284-285.

53. Gasparri, La cultura tradizionale dei Longobardi; nonostante la lontananza cronologica rispetto all’epoca analizzata dallo studioso e le peculiarità etniche del popolo longobardo, molti aspetti e modelli di comportamento tipici delle élites militari potrebbero essere passati ai secoli dell’alto medioevo, aver subito il filtro deformante della cristianizzazione per manifestarsi nei rituali della cavalleria medievale e, di conseguenza, in quello specifico d’ingresso nell’ordine del Tempio: si tratta però soltanto di una traccia interessante verso una ricerca ancora tutta da svolgere.

54. Per un inquadramento generale cfr. Tabacco, L’ambiguità delle istituzioni, pp. 401-438; Regno, impero e

aristocrazie, pp. 15-29.

55. Il problema della nascita della cavalleria come fenomeno sociale e politico è molto complesso e vanta una lunga

discussione, alla quale si deve rinunciare nonostante l’affinità tematica con l’argomento di questo saggio perché

comporterebbe una digressione tale da usurpare la centralità del discorso. A titolo di riferimento si citano tre opere

famose che saranno ottime guide per una ricerca più vasta: Duby, Les origines de le chevalerie, pp. 739-761; Cardini, Alle radici della cavalleria; Flori, L’idéologie du glaive.

56. Gaudemet, Grégoire VII et la France, p. 238.

57. Ottimi lavori recenti sulla vita e sulla personalità del pontefice sono il volume di Cowdrey, Pope Gregorius VII, e il contributo di Ovidio Capitani in Enciclopedia dei Papi, pp. 188-212.

58. Cfr. Cardini, I Cristiani, la guerra e la santità, pp. 9-17; Fonseca, “Militare Deo” e “militia Christi” nella tradizionecanonicale , pp. 343-354.

59. Interessante il contributo di Gaudemet, Grégoire VII et la France, pp. 213-240.

60. Alphandéry, Dupront, La cristianità e l’idea di crociata, pp. 21-25.


61. Anche in questo caso la bibliografia utile è smisurata; pertanto si ritiene di dover citare solo le opere più recenti o più rilevanti nell’ottica specifica di questo saggio: Autour de la première croisade, par M. Balard; Bull, Knighty piety and the lay response to the first crusade; Flori, La première croisade; Purcell, Papal crusading policy.

62. Su questa datazione alternativa rispetto a quella tradizionale del 1128 si veda Hiestand, Kardinalbischof Matthäus von Albano, pp. 17-37.

63. Sulla regola conciliare del Tempio esiste un accurato studio filologico, codicologico e paleografico condotto da Cerrini, Étude et édition des règles latine et française, tesi di Dottorato in due volumi. Una sezione importantissima del lavoro riguarda proprio le personalità laiche ed ecclesiastiche che presero parte al concilio (II, pp. 394-433).

64. Gli storici sono discordi se la regola templare si debba considerare semplicemente parte della famiglia benedettina oppure se il ruolo cisterciense sia da ridimensionare; per la questione si rimanda alle linee svolte in Tommasi, “Pauperes commilitones Christi”, pp. 465-466, con l’aggiornamento dovuto agli studi di Simonetta Cerrini secondo la quale vi sono prove che Bernardo lavorò materialmente alla stesura del testo; cfr. Cerrini, Une experience neuve, II, pp. 389-393.

65. Si veda Cardini, I poveri cavalieri di Cristo, pp. 15-129, e Tommasi, Templari e Cisterciensi, pp. 227-74.

66. Per il quadro biografico generale si veda il contributo di Jean Leclercq in Dizionario degli Istituti di Perfezione, I, pp. 1394-1396, oppure, dello stesso autore, Bernard de Clairvaux, «Bibliothèque d’Histoire du Christianisme», 19 (1989).

67. Zerbi, La “militia Christi” per i Cisterciensi , pp. 274-275.

68. È opinione di Jean Leclercq, forse il miglior conoscitore contemporaneo del pensiero di san Bernardo, condivisa da Pietro Zerbi e in parte anche da Franco Cardini: cfr. Leclercq, Attitude spirituelle de saint Bernard devant la guerre, pp. 195-225; Zerbi, La “militia Christi” per i Cisterciensi , pp. 273-294; Cardini, I poveri cavalieri del Cristo, pp. 94- 99.

69. Un’ottima analisi degli intenti socio-politici sottesi a quest’opera è espressa in Duby, Les origines de la chevalerie,

pp. 754-756.

70. La bibliografia sull’argomento è sconfinata; a titolo orientativo si vedano Blumenthal, Papal and local Councils, pp. 137-144; Carozzi, La tripartition sociale et l’idée de paix au XI e siècle, pp. 9-22; Althoff, Nunc fiant Christi milites, pp. 317-333, oltre ai già citati lavori di George Duby (Spoleto 1968) e di Jean Flori (Gèneve 1983).

71. Piazzoni, “Militia Christi” e Cluniacensi , pp. 241-246.

72. Cfr. Vie de Bourcard le vénerable, pp. 1-32, discusso in Piazzoni, “Militia Christi” e Cluniacensi, pp. 254-256.

73. Cfr. Fonseca, I conversi nelle comunità canonicali, pp. 304-305. 1874. Patrologia Latina, 194, col. 1524.

75. Meersseman, I penitenti nei secoli XI e XII, pp. 308-309.

76. Cfr. Leclercq, Bernard de Clairvaux, p. 52, e, dello stesso autore, Attitude spirituelle de Bernard devant la guerre, pp. 212-215, entrambi discussi in Zerbi, La “militia Christi” per i Cisterciensi , pp. 279-280. Si veda sull’argomento anche il recente contributo di Cerrini, I Templari: una vita da fratres, pp. 19-48.

77. Altro punto sul quale gli storici non sono d’accordo è la classificazione ecclesiastica della condizione templare, se cioè fossero considerati effettivamente monaci. Le motivazioni di quanti dissentono sono certamente valide, sta però di fatto che Bernardo li definisce inequivocabilmente monachi nel suo De laude, sebbene di una tipologia del tutto particolare: cfr. Zerbi, La “militia Christi” per i Cisterciensi, p. 278.

78. Cardini, I poveri cavalieri di Cristo, p. 88.

79. In merito cfr. le ricostruzioni in Demurger, Vie et mort, pp. 47-93, e Barber, The New Knighthood, pp. 229-279.

80. Per una visione generale degli ordini monastico-militari del medioevo cfr. Nicholson, Templars, Hospitallers and Theutonic Knights; un’analisi recentissima ed eusariente è quella di Demurger, Chevaliers du Christ.

81. Legras, Lemaitre, La pratique liturgique des Templiers, pp. 77-137. Per una visione generale sulla spiritualità degli ordini militari cfr. Demurger, Chevaliers du Christ, pp. 181-195.

82. Il testo del privilegio, riutilizzato ampiamente dai papi per concessioni successive, è edito in Hiestand, Papsturkunden für Templer und Johanniter, n. 3, pp. 204-210.

83. La distinzione è gia presente nella Regola conciliare (cfr. Curzon, Règle, § 16; Cerrini, Édition , § 6) e viene ribadita nella normativa successiva (cfr. Curzon, Règle, § 337). Per un chiarimento su tale differenza sociale cfr. Barbero, L’aristocrazia nella società francese del medioevo, in particolare pp. 243-324. Per la concessione della croce rossa sul mantello cfr. Demurger, Vie et mort, pp. 66-67.

84. Cfr. Demurger, Templiers et hospitaliers dans les combats de Terre sainte, pp. 77-96. Sulle installazioni militari in Siria-Palestina cfr. Pringle, Templar Castles between Jaffa and Jerusalem e Templars Castles on the Road of the Jordan, entrambi in The Military Orders, rispettivamente pp. 89-109, 148-166.

85. Gaier, Armes et combats, pp. 47-56.

86. La raccolta completa di tutti i documenti pontifici riservati ai Templari è in Lamattina, Regesta Pontificum Romanorum erga Templarios.

87. Cfr. Livre des deux jardins, III, pp. 277, 299.

88. Curzon, Règle, §§ 87-88. Si vedano in generale anche le fonti processuali, ad esempio la deposizione del Visitatore di Francia Hugues de Pérraud durante la prima inchiesta parigina, in Michelet, Procès, II, pp. 361-363.

89. Demurger, Vie et mort, cfr. in particolare pp. 133-183.

90. Sull’argomento è fondamentale il contributo di Tommasi,I Templari e il culto delle reliquie, pp. 191-210.

91. Sul problema cfr. Barber, Supplying the Crusaders States, pp. 315-330.

92. Ibidem, in particolare pp. 226-231; dello stesso autore cfr. anche Les templiers, Matthieu Paris et le sept péchés capitaux, pp. 153-169.

93. Sull’argomento cfr. Demurger, Trésor des templiers, trésor du roi, pp. 73-85.

94. In merito cfr. estensivamente Delisle, Mémoires sur les opérations financières des Templiers.

95. Runciman, Storia delle crociate, II, pp. 953-981.

96. Demurger, Vie et mort, pp. 235-236; Barber, The New Knighthood, pp. 119-120.

97. Ibidem, cfr ad esempio pp. 213, 217, 236-237; Favreau-Lilie, The military orders and the escape, pp. 201-227.

98. Ibidem, pp. 224-25. Cfr. Amargier, La défense du Temple devant le concile de Lyon, pp. 495-501.

99. Cfr. Finke, Papsttum und Untergang, II, pp. 33-37; su questi progetti tardivi di recupero della Terrasanta cfr. Schein, Fideles Crucis.

100. Cfr. Lizérand, Le dossier, pp. 2-15; cfr. anche Guillemain, Il papato sotto la pressione del re di Francia, p. 198.

101. Cfr. le affermazioni di Molay nel memoriale di risposta al papa discusso in Frale, L’ultima battaglia dei Templari, pp. 43-48. Sulle installazioni dei Templari in quel territorio Riley-Smith, The Templars and Teutonic Knights in Cilician Armenia, pp. 92-117.

102. Cfr. Amargier, La défense, pp. 495-501.

103. Cfr. il testo della bolla di sospensione intitolata Vox in excelso, in Villanueva, Viage litterario, V, pp. 207-221.

104. Cfr. Finke, Papsttum und Untergang des Templerordens, II, p. 51: «Intendo tamen, quod summus pontifex et dominus rex hoc faciant causa habendi de eorum moneta et quia facere volunt de Hospitali et Templo et omnibus aliis freriis unam simplicem mansionem, cuius mansionis rex predictus unum ex eius filiis regem facere dexiderat et intendit. Templum autem de hiis multum durum existit nec adhuc in hiis se voluit convenire».

105. Per un inquadramento generale sul problema delle eresie medievali Merlo, Eretici ed eresie medievali. Sull’Inquisizione cfr. Lea, A History of The Inquisition.

106. Barbiche, Les Actes Pontificaux, n. 1205.

107. Il legame con san Bernardo è espresso e discusso particolarmente in La storia dei Templari e l’apporto delle nuove scoperte Cardini, I poveri cavalieri del Cristo, pp. 15-129; cfr. anche Cardini, Bernardo e le crociate, pp. 187-197; Ambrosioni, Bernardo e il papato, pp. 59-79.

108. Curzon, Règle, § 475.

109. Cfr. Amargier, La défense, pp. 499-500: «Filii sumus et imediate subiecti sacrosancte Romane ecclesie et erimus,

auctore Domino, in futurum. Filii sumus obedientie et erimus et vota que fecimus perpetua ad Terre sancte subsidium

nos offerimus impleturos. Et parati sumus expandere in Terre Sancte subsidium omnia que habemus et libenti animo

19propria corpora morti exponere quam voluit pater noster».

110. Cfr. Regesta Honorii papae III, n. 3431.

111. Sulla politica crociata di Luigi IX cfr. ad esempio Runciman, An History of the Crusades, II, pp. 902-933; Cardini, Le crociate tra il mito e la storia, pp. 134-154.

112. Sulla situazione della Francia sotto Filippo il Bello cfr. Coulet, Francia e Inghilterra nella guerra dei cent’anni, p. 623; Carozzi, Le monarchie feudali, pp. 359-361; Boutaric, La France sous Philippe le Bel, pp. 230-231.

113. Cfr. Fawtier, L’attentat d’Anagni , pp. 153-179; Guillemain, Bonifacio VIII e la teocrazia pontificia, pp. 129-174.

114. Una sintesi aggiornata sulla questione della fusione in Demurger, Chevaliers du Christ, pp. 218-220.

115. L’informazione fu rivelata al pontefice dallo stesso avvocato regio Guillaume de Plaisians durante un’arringa tenuta presso la Curia; cfr. Finke, II, pp. 145: «Rex etiam in diversis partibus regni sui ordinavit, quod aliqui, bene XII numero, intrarent ordinem illum et audacter facerent, quicquid eis diceretur et postea exirent. Qui predicta omnia testificati sunt esse vera. Multi etiam, qui conversati sunt cum eis, testificati sunt hoc»; Barber, The Trial, pp. 51-52.

116. Ringrazio il professor Marco Tangheroni per avermi suggerito questa importantissima evidenza.

117. Gestes des Chiprois, p. 329.

118. Frale, L’ultima battaglia dei Templari, pp. 48-59.

119. Un episodio del passato, accaduto durante la prima crociata di san Luigi, poteva fornire un precedente importante e indicare la via per accontentare il sovrano in difficoltà senza violare la rigida disciplina del Tempio; cfr. Joinville, Histoire de Saint Louis, pp. 134-136.

120. Il duro conflitto ideologico scoppiato per la tassazione indebita del 1295 finì per assumere toni più moderati e si giunse ad una soluzione di compromesso: una legazione di ecclesiastici francesi viaggiò fino a Roma sia per lamentare al papa le angherie che la Chiesa stava subendo dalla corona, sia per testimoniare che la situazione era davvero critica e chiedere a Bonifacio VIII di venire incontro alle necessità del sovrano. Pur ribadendo l’immunità fiscale della Chiesa da parte dell’autorità laica, il papa riconobbe la facoltà dei sovrani di imporre al clero tasse straordinarie qualora la situazione del paese lo rendesse necessario; la fase di relativa distensione durò fino al 1298 e culminò con la canonizzazione di re Luigi IX, nonno di Filippo il Bello. Cfr. Dalle Piane, La disputa tra Filippo il Bello e Bonifacio VIII, pp. 497-500; Garfagnini, Il Tractatus de potestate, p. 158.

121. Gestes des Chiprois, p. 329. 122. Barber, The Trial, pp. 39-40.