Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Templar Biography: Gilbert Horal

Gilbert Horal (also known as Gilbert Erail or Erill) was the 12th Grand Master of the Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon and served at the end of the 12th century. His tenure is marked by an increase in the tensions between the Hospitalliers and the Templars as well as the consolidation of Templar possessions in France and Apulia (southeastern Italy).

Gilbert Horal was born around 1150 AD in Aragonese (from the Kingdom of Aragon which is in modern-day Spain). He joined the Knights Templar at a young age and was stationed in Provence and Aragon where he took part in Reconquista in Spain. Around 1190 AD, Horal took command of the Aragon province before becoming Grand Preceptor of France. After the death of Robert de Sablé, Horal was elected as Grand Master of the order.

Horal wished for peace between the Christians and the Muslims which some thought was treasonous even with Horal's reassurances. This also fueled the disputes between the Templars and the Hospitalliers. Tensions between the two orders were already strained because of armed fighting over control of cities and castles around the Levant got so out of control that the Vatican had to intervene. Pope Innocent III favored the Hospitalliers which is likely due to Horal's favor for peace with the Saracens. Although the Pope did come to Horal's rescue when the Bishop of Sidon excommunicated Gilbert; only the Pope has the authority to excommunicate a Templar (see "Omne Datum Optimum"). Horal continued to give Templar support to the Reconquista for which they were rewarded with the fortress of Alfambra (sometimes spelled Alhambra) by King Alfonso II of the Kingdom of Aragon in 1196 AD.

During the reign of Horal, the world saw the rise of the Orden der Brüder vom Deutschen Haus St. Mariens in Jerusalem, or, simply, the Teutonic Knights, rise from a monastic order to a full fledged military order.

The Pilgrim's Castle was erected during Horal's governance which was located along the coastal road between Acre and Jerusalem. This massive fortress is said to have housed up to 4,000 troops.

Gilbert Horal died in December 1200 AD which was around the start of the Fourth Crusade. Phillipe de Plessis would succeed Horal as the Thirteenth Grand Master.

References

1. Addison, C. G. (1842). The History of the Knights Templars, the Temple Church, and the Temple. 

2. Gilbert Horal. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilbert_Horal 

3. Gilbert Horal (1152??-1200). (n.d.). Retrieved from Project Beauceant: http://www.templiers.org/gilbert-horal-eng.php 

4. Gourdin, T. S. (1855). Historical Sketch of the Order of Knights Templar: An Address Delivered Before the South Carolina Encampment No.1 of Knights Templars, and the Appendant Orders. 

5. Grand Masters. (n.d.). Retrieved from Ordre Souverain et Militaire du Temple de Jérusalem (OSMTJ): https://www.theknightstemplar.org/1942-2/ 

6. Napier, G. (2008). A to Z of the Knights Templar: A Guide to Their History and Legacy. The History Press.

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