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Knights Templar symbols

Lion as a Templar symbol

Lion as a Templar symbol.The Templar Rule, while prohibiting hunting and falconry, permitted the Knights to hunt lions because “the lion comes encircling and searching for what he can devour.” The phrase, of course, is a very clear reference to 1 Peter 5:8:  “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour”. It is likely that this curious clause indeed referred to the spiritual battle, but real lions presented a serious threat to pilgrims in the Holy Land. It would have been unwise to prohibit the knights from killing these animals. Still, the main connection between lions and the Knights Templar lies in the realm of symbolism.
The lion is an ancient and powerful symbol, well represented in medieval European heraldry. It is not surprising that lions can be observed on some Templar seals. They were also used as architectural elements. Thus, according to the historian known as the “Templar of Tyre”, the tower of the Templars’ bastion in Acre was topped with four gilded lions passants, each the size of a donkey, costing fifteen hundred bezants — certainly a sight capable of conveying the notion of the Order’s might and wealth. However, the Knights Templar probably chose this popular symbol not just because of its commonly accepted connotations of strength and military valor. Bernard of Clairvaux, in his famous tract In praise of the new knighthood, specifically compared the Knights Templar to ferocious lions, while also pointing out their lamb-like meekness (one might remember that the lamb is another symbol that the Knights Templar often used, as evident in some of the Order’s seals):
Ita denique miro quodam ac singulari modo cernuntur et agnis mitiores, et leonibus ferociores, ut pene dubitem quid potius censeam appellandos, monachos videlicet an milites…

And so finally, in a wonderful and remarkable manner, they are observed to be both gentler than lambs, and fiercer than lions, so that I almost doubt which I had better determine to call them: monks or soldiers... [click to continue…]

Knights Templar cross

Templar cross on ships' sails Anyone familiar with the history of Christianity knows that the symbol of the cross has been used in a variety of different ways. Even prior to the time of Crusades there were stories about crosses miraculously showing up on the garments of particularly worthy individuals. There could have been nothing more suitable for crusading armies than to implement crosses as a visual distinction. Abbot Guibert in his History of Jerusalem (1.5) says that Pope Urban II instituted this sign both as an indicator of military distinction and a symbol that would help Christian knights fight with greater valor for God’s cause. The abbot clarifies that the pope ordered the figure of the cross to be cut out of any material (ex cujuslibet materia) and sown onto tunics and cloaks of the members of the expedition. [click to continue…]

Knights Templar rings: the joys of eBay

There is a big market for antique rings. Some of them, just like ancient coins are quite cheap, and the condition varies greatly. It is highly amusing to read the descriptions. though:

Ancient Medieval Knight’s
Crown Shield Ring!

Surely, they have some kind of certificate of authenticity proving that the ring in question really belonged to a) a Knight b) who participated in a Crusade.

It is much harder, however, to find a ring that even pretends to be a Templar ring. Primarily because there is so much masonic stuff, totally obscuring anything that could actually be valuable as a medieval object.

Knights Templar Decorative Sword

FilmSwords is a company makes medieval decorative swords “as seen in the movies.” This makes me believe that the Swedish film “Arn: The Knight Templar” is more popular than I thought.

Peter Johnsson (who works as designer for Albion) modelled it on a type of sword being used at the end of the 1100s. A well-known representative of this type exists and is preserved in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna: the sword of Saint Maurice, part of the imperial regalia of the Holy Roman Empire.

Arn was given his sword by his master and mentor, monk and one-time Templar, Brother Guilbert.

The sword bears an inscription “In hoc signo vinces” – “With this sign though shall be victorious.” This motto is not exclusively a Templar device, but it was somewhat favored by the Knights of the Temple. Other than that I have nothing to say about the authenticity of the sword. Buy at your own risk!

For a very serious Templar buff, there are functional swords, such as this one by Marco of Toledo: