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Another Grand Master Gets Burned

Jacques de Molay. Illustration by anonymous (c. 19th century). Bibliotheque Nationale de France. PD-70+ Wikimedia Commons.
Jacques de Molay. Illustration by anonymous (c. 19th century). Bibliotheque Nationale de France. PD-70+ Wikimedia Commons.

I gave my father a copy of our recently published book Where Did They Burn the Last Grand Master of the Knights Templar? A Walking Tour of Medieval Paris–Volume One. He actually read the book. I only know this because he asked me the other day who the Knights Templar were and what did they do.

I stared at him in disbelief. My first thought was how could you not know who the Knights Templar were. I mean, haven’t you seen the Indiana Jones movies? I immediately flashed back to the book and its contents and asked myself if I had ever explained in the books who they were and why they existed. I looked over at Sandy and she had read my mind. She shook her head and said nope.

This is a great example of taking your audience for granted.

The Origins of the Knights Templar 

Coat of arms of Jacques de Molay, last Grand Master of the Knights Templar. Illustration by Odejea (2008). Musée de Versaille. PD-Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.
Coat of arms of Jacques de Molay, last Grand Master of the Knights Templar. Illustration by Odejea (2008). Musée de Versaille. PD-Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

On 16 July 1099, the First Crusade ended after Jerusalem fell to the Christian crusaders. Only approximately 300 knights and 300 foot soldiers remained behind after the majority of the crusaders returned to Europe. Christians were now able to make the pilgrimage to the Holy Lands and Jerusalem. However, it was a very dangerous journey.

During this time, organizations of knights were being formed around Europe. The premise was that a knight should use their weapons in the service of God. Hugh of Champagne founded one of these, the Order of the Temple, in 1125. The pope gave his blessing to what became the first approved religious military unit.

The original intent of the knights was to protect pilgrims on their journey to the Holy Lands. As time went on, their role turned to a more military active one whereby they became participants in future crusades. Read More Another Grand Master Gets Burned

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Medieval Sleep Number® Bed

Saint-Denis Cathedral: Recumbent statues of King Charles V and his queen, Jeanne de Bourbon. Photo by Dan Owen (2014).
Saint-Denis Cathedral: Recumbent statues of King Charles V and his queen, Jeanne de Bourbon. Photo by Dan Owen (2014).

Sandy and I were travelling through England several years ago when we visited a 17th-century manor. I don’t recall a whole lot of visitors at the time we were there so we pretty much had the whole house to ourselves. For security purposes, a docent was stationed in every room and they looked really bored—except for one.

Why Is the Bed So Short? 

Medeival sleeping chamber in Marksburg Castle. Photo by Efgeka (2009). PD-Creative Creations Attribution-Share Alike 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.
Medeival sleeping chamber in Marksburg Castle. Photo by Efgeka (2009). PD-Creative Creations Attribution-Share Alike 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

When we got to what I think was the master bedroom, the fellow keeping an eye on us struck up a conversation. His comments were very interesting and considering the cost to get into the manor and its grounds, all of the room monitors should have done what he did and offer up treasures of information. Yet it was one of his questions that stuck in my head all these years. He asked us if we knew why the bed was so short.

I thought I’d impress him with my knowledge and responded that the people back then were short. In other words, they didn’t need the extra nighttime real estate. He agreed but said that wasn’t the real answer. So much for impressing him.

The Devil Made Me Do It

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