Anyone reasonably well versed in medieval history should be able to produce a list of some illustrious (and sometimes ignominious) members of the Knights Templar Order. Sure enough, in popular culture (books, movies, video games) these men are often ascribed deeds and character traits that probably had nothing to do with reality, but they remain actual historic figures no matter what. However, these historic Knights Templar are often outdone is bravery, wisdom and mischief by the Templars who never existed. It is time these characters are cataloged, lest someone assumes them to be real medieval warrior monks.
Arn Magnusson is a Swedish Templar featured in the series of novels by Jan Guilou. Movie adaptations of these novels (2007 and 2008) faithfully depict Guilou’s story of Arn who has since become perhaps the most beloved fictional Templar ever.
Brother John Mark (Jean-Marc) Larmenius of Jerusalem was the supposed author of the document currently known as the Larmenius Charter. The provenance of this document is extremely uncertain and its authenticity is doubted even by the masonic and neo-Templar organizations that use it as a part of their lineage claims. The charter insists that Jacques de Molay made Larmenius his secret successor as the leader of the Order. Thus the Knights Templar managed to survive the persecutions and the undercover Order has been in existence ever since. Some people today believe that even though Larmenius himself never existed, the document hints at what really happened to the Order of the Knights Templar.
Brian de Bois-Guilbert
Brian de Bois-Guilbert is one of the main characters in Walter Scott’s novel Ivanhoe. Brian is a villain, driven by greed and lust. It can be argued that Walter Scott’s portrayal of this Templar commander has been influenced by the grim and grotesque legends about the Knights Templar which used to be especially popular in Northern France.
In the 2011 film Ironclad, Thomas Marshall is a Templar Knight who joins the struggle of some English nobles against King John. This heroic and somewhat troubled character is very loosely based on William Marshall 2nd Earl of Pembroke whose family had close ties with the Knights Templar.
Martin of Carmaux
In Raymond Khoury’s novel The Last Templar, Martin of Carmaux is a young knight who is charged with the task of protecting the greatest secret of the Order.
It may seem that this list is short. Please suggest any names that are worthy of being included here. At the time of writing, the biggest hope for any Templar fan is that the new History Channel production Knightfall will create some very memorable characters.
3 comments… add one
Hi. I walked across Spain in 2010 and saw some fabulous Templar ruins and other Romanesque structures attributed to the Templars. One in particular is Eunate. It’s a small octagonal church along the Camino. It most likely was built by the Templars for a bunch of reasons namely they had the means to build such a thing, and it served as an outpost for them as they rode shotgun on pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostella… I’m writing a book on my adventure and would seriously like to have a name or names of real Templars who served in the area between 1109 and 1307 AD. I guess I need to brush up on my Latin, French, and Spanish and buy a ticket to return their to comb through some dusty archives in churches along the Way. Having a name or names would be attaching a mystical string across time to real people working in service to their fellow humans… Ideas?
Did you take a look at the list of reference books on this site (just click on Books at the top). It’s for sure the easiest way to get some real names. Also you might want to check out “Legends of the Knights Templar,” there are some good stories from Spain.