Monday, May 17, 2010

Grand Masters of the Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon

Here is the list of the Grand Masters that commanded the famous Knights Templars. A fuller biography of each Grand Master will come later, but here are some bullet points of the more famous events that occurred during their reign.

Hugh de Payens + - 1118-1136
  • First Grand Master
  • Established Houses in England and Scotland
  • Established the Order as an influential military and financial institution
Robert de Craon - 1136-1147
  • The 2nd Crusade begins at the latter part of his rule
Everard des Barres - 1147-1149
  • Officially abdicated in 1951 and became a monk of Clairvaux
  • Ruled during 2nd Crusade
Bernard de Tremelay * - 1149-1153
  • Died in the Battle of Ascalon on August 16, 1153
  • Ruled during 2nd Crusade
André de Montbard + - 1153-1156
  • Uncle of St. Bernard of Clairvaux
  • Ruled during 2nd Crusade
Bertrand de Blanchefort - 1156-1169
  • Known as the "great reformer of the Order"
Phillipe de Milly - 1169-1171
  • Mysteriously resigned in 1171 as Grand Master
Odo de St Amand * - 1171-1179
  • Won the Battle of Montgisard
Arnold of Torroja - 1181-1184
  • Knights Hospitallers reach a new peak in influence
Gerard de Ridefort * - 1185-1189
  • Killed during the Seige of Acre on October 1, 1189
  • Saw the start of the 3rd Crusade
Robert de Sablé - 1191-1193
  • Lord of Cyprus - 1191-1192
  • Elections were postponed for over a year until he joined the Templar Order
  • Ruled during the 3rd Crusade
Gilbert Horal - 1193-1200
  • Tension increased between the Hospitallers
  • Organized and consolidated the Templar possessions in France and Apulia
Phillipe de Plessis - 1201-1208
  • Helped uphold the treaty between Saladin and Richard I
  • Relations with the Hospitallers is tense
  • The rule of the Order of the Temple reached its height in Europe
  • 4th Crusade occurred during his reign
Guillaume de Chartres - 1209-1219
  • Assisted in the coronation of Jean de Brienne, King of Jerusalem.
  • The Order flourished in Spain during this rule
  • Ruled during half of the first half of the 5th Crusade
Pedro de Montaigu - 1218-1232
  • The relationship between the Hospitallers eased; Hospitallers were led by Guerin de Montaigu
  • An effective battlefield leader; Siege of Damietta.
  • Saw the 2nd half of the 5th Crusade as well as the 6th Crusade
Armand de Périgord * - 1232-1244
  • Descendant of a previous Grand Master (unknown though)
  • Many of his attacks failed and reduced the effectiveness of the Order
  • Made a treaty with the Sultan of Damascus
  • Defeated during the Battle of La Forbie against the Sultan of Egypt in 1244, but believed to have survived until 1247
Richard de Bures - 1244-1247
  • Unsure if actually was elected to be Grand Master or just acted during the captivity of Armand de Périgord
Guillaume de Sonnac * - 1247-1250
  • His tenure was considered a violent one
  • Along with the French King and his army seized Damietta; the beginning of the 7th Crusade
  • Miraculously escaped after the defeat during the Battle of Mansurah
  • Was killed during the Battle of Fariskur
  • Was known as a chronicler; created most in-depth, codified records
Renaud de Vichiers - 1250-1256
  • Ruled during the latter part of the 7th Crusade
Thomas Bérard - 1256-1273
  • Initiated cooperation between two other military orders: Knights Hospitallers and Teutonic Knights
  • Grand Master during the 8th and 9th Crusade
Guillaume de Beaujeu * - 1273-1291
  • Died during the Siege of Acre
Thibaud Gaudin - 1291-1292
  • Known as a man of great piety
  • Attempted to reorganize the Order
Jacques de Molay * - 1292-1314
  • The last Grand Master
  • Met with Western leaders to gain support for another Crusade
  • Reigned during the arrest and inquisition of the Templars by King Phillip of France and Pope Clement V
  • Burned at the stake on the Isle de Juifs, a small island on the Seine river
* - Killed in Action
+ - Founding member

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