8 Best Books About the History of the Knights Templar

Our picks offer historical information about the warrior monks.

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A great deal has been written about the Knights of the Temple, and thanks to popular fiction like ​The DaVinci Code a fresh wave of "history" books on the topic have been published. Unfortunately, many dwell on the myths that have sprung up around the story of the warrior monks, and some are downright shoddy with respect to accuracy. The books presented here are all well-researched, historically factual accounts of the actual events, practices, and people involved with Templar history.

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The New Knighthood: A History of the Order of the Temple by Malcolm Barber

The New Knighthood book cover


The definitive history of the Templars from the foremost Templar historian, The New Knighthood is engaging and enjoyable as well as informative and enlightening. From the mysterious origins of the organization and the concept of a militarized monastic society to the demise of the order and its enduring myth through the ages, Barber offers well-referenced, scholarly examinations of the evidence and a lucid, flowing narrative of events. Includes photos, maps, a chronology, a list of grandmasters, an extensive list of references and an explanation of available bibliographic sources.

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The Knights Templar: A New History by Helen Nicholson

A Reader in History at Cardiff University, Dr. Nicholson is an authority in Crusades History, and in ​The Knights Templar: A New History, her extensive knowledge of the Templars is made easily accessible by her straightforward style. Next to Barber's work, The Knights Templar: A New History is the best general history of the Templars available, and, having been published more recently, it offers a somewhat fresher perspective. (True Templar enthusiasts should read both books.)

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The Trial of the Templars by Malcolm Barber

The companion piece to Barber's The New Knighthood, this absorbing account of the ordeal of the Templar Knights in France offers a detailed, well-supported examination of the tragic events. An academic study of not only the trial but the history surrounding it, all highly readable.

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The Real History Behind the Templars by Sharan Newman

The Real History Behind the Templars
The Real History Behind the Templars.

For anyone new to the whole topic of the Templars, this entertaining and accessible book is the place to start. The author sets forth the story of the knights in logical, chronological order, with personal observations and keen insight that makes the reader feel as if history -- even the complex history of a vilified and obscured brotherhood of warrior monks -- is something he can really understand and relate to, even if he never has before. Includes a map, a timeline, a table of the rulers of the kingdom of Jerusalem, an index, photos, and illustrations, recommended reading, and a segment on "How to Tell if You Are Reading Pseudohistory." Highly recommended.

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Knights Templar Encyclopedia by Karen Ralls

This "Essential Guide to the People, Places, Events, and Symbols of the Order of the Temple" is a valuable reference tool for both scholars and newcomers to the topic. Providing detailed and friendly entries on an extensive selection of topics, the Encyclopedia offers quick answers to numerous questions about Templar history, organization, daily life, significant individuals and much more. Includes a chronology, lists of grandmasters and popes, the charges against the Templars, selected Templar sites and recommended academic publications as well as a bibliography.​

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The Templars: Selected Sources, edited by by Malcolm Barber and Keith Bate

No Templar enthusiast worth his salt should overlook any primary sources he can get his hands on. Barber and Bate have collected and translated period documents concerning the order's foundation, its Rule, privileges, warfare, politics, religious and charitable functions, economic development, and much more. They have also added useful background information on the documents, their authors, and the situations concerned. An absolutely invaluable resource for the scholar.

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The Knights Templar by Stephen Howarth

For those with no background in the Middle Ages or the Crusades, Barber and Nicholson may be a difficult read, as both assume some knowledge of these subjects. Howarth makes a decent alternative with this accessible introduction for the newcomer. By offering some background and peripheral information, Howarth sets the events of Templar history in the context of the times. A decent starting point for anyone not already familiar with the Crusades and Medieval History.

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The Knights Templar: The History and Myths of the Legendary Order by Sean Martin

If you absolutely must explore the myths of the Templars, be sure to start with the facts. In addition to a concise history, Martin provides an examination of some of the rumors associated with the order and the factual origins and misunderstandings that may have led to them. Though largely drawn from secondary sources, the assertions are referenced, and Martin succeeds in clarifying the difference between fact and supposition. Also includes a chronology, the charges brought against the Templars, and a list of ​grandmasters.

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Editors, ThoughtCo. "8 Best Books About the History of the Knights Templar." ThoughtCo, Aug. 30, 2022, thoughtco.com/best-books-knights-of-the-templars-1789434. Editors, ThoughtCo. (2022, August 30). 8 Best Books About the History of the Knights Templar. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/best-books-knights-of-the-templars-1789434 Editors, ThoughtCo. "8 Best Books About the History of the Knights Templar." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/best-books-knights-of-the-templars-1789434 (accessed March 25, 2023).