Karl Borchardt

title.none: Upton-Ward, ed. and trans., The Catalan Rule (Karl Borchardt)

identifier.other: baj9928.0411.011 04.11.11

identifier.issn: 1096-746X

description.statementofresponsibility: Karl Borchardt, Stadtarchiv Rothenburg,

publisher.none: .

date.issued: 2004

identifier.citation: Upton-Ward, Judi, ed. and trans. The Catalan Rule of the Templars: A Critical Edition and English Translation from Barcelona, Archivo de la Corona de Aragon, Cartas Reales, MS 3344. Series: Studies in the History of Medieval Religion, vol. 19. Woodbridge: Boydell, 2003. Pp. xxviii, 113. $75.00 0-85115-910-9. ISBN: .

type.none: Review

relation.ispartof: The Medieval Review

The Medieval Review 04.11.11

Upton-Ward, Judi, ed. and trans. The Catalan Rule of the Templars: A Critical Edition and English Translation from Barcelona, Archivo de la Corona de Aragon, Cartas Reales, MS 3344. Series: Studies in the History of Medieval Religion, vol. 19. Woodbridge: Boydell, 2003. Pp. xxviii, 113. $75.00 0-85115-910-9. ISBN: .

Reviewed by:

Karl Borchardt
Stadtarchiv Rothenburg

Long before recent political events stirred new interest in medieval crusades, the Templars used to attract wide-spread attention. The circumstances of their trial and final dissolution by Pope Clement V at the instigation of the French king Philip the Fair and his court have undoubtedly created a popular myth. Furthermore, the Templars were the first military-religious order. Their community was created exclusively for the purpose of protecting Christian pilgrims to Jerusalem und fighting the Muslims. Whilst their rivals, especially the Hospitallers and later also the Teutonic Order, always emphasized the more traditional obligations to care for the sick and to run hospitals both in Jerusalem and elsewhere, the Templars represented something new in the history of Western religious ideals. For the Templars fighting was not a sometimes unavoidable, necessary evil. Instead, they and their supporters considered fighting itself to be meritorious. The Templars and after them other religious orders regarded themselves as communities which led a perfect Christian life, not despite of but because of their military activities. This new monastic ideal was developed and formulated early in the twelfth century, vigorously supported for example by Bernard of Clairvaux's De laude novae militiae.

There are numerous sources, especially charters and chronicles, for the activities of the Templars. Unfortunately the publication of such sources has not profited very much from the popular enthusiasm for the Templars and their myth. The basic texts for the internal life of the order are naturally its rule, its statutes and its retrais, a kind of case-law, decisions about specific queries by the officers and chapters of the Templars. These texts must have been available in a large number of Templar houses and commanderies both in the Latin East and in Europe. Strangely enough, not many manuscripts are known, six in Latin and five in vernacular languages. At least four of the Latin manuscripts were apparently not used by the Templars. They belonged to other ecclesiastical libraries whose owners and users studied and discussed monastic ideals in general, among them the new and not uncontroversial concept of fighting monks. The Templars did have some priests and clerks in their order. The majority of their brethren, however, were probably knights or sergeants. And it was the knights who ruled the order and made all important decisions. As laymen the knights would not know much Latin. It is therefore the vernacular manuscripts, four in French and one from Barcelona, that provide us with an insight into the daily routine of the Templars. There is only one manuscript, München, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Clm 2649, that has retrais in Latin. The French texts, which comprise 686 clauses, have been edited by Henri de Curzon, La règle du Temple, Paris 1886, on the basis of three manuscripts. This was translated into English by Judith M. Upton-Ward in 1992 as vol. 4 of the Studies in the History of Medieval Religion, together with a historical introduction and with a commentary by Matthew Bennett, La Règle du Temple as a Military Manual or How to Deliver a Cavalry Charge. The three manuscripts used by Henri de Curzon include that of Dijon that was stolen in 1985. The 76 chapters of the Latin rule have been edited by Gustav Schürer, Die ursprüngliche Templerregel, Freiburg im Breisgau 1903, on the basis of two manuscripts. A new microfiche edition on the basis of all extant manuscripts was published by Simonetta Cerrini as her thèse du doctorat, Une expérience neuve au sein de la spiritualité médiévale: l'ordre du Temple (1120-1314), Paris 1999. According to no. 5, a certain Johannes Michaelensis wrote the rule by order of the council of Troyes in 1129 and of Bernard of Clairvaux. Simonetta Cerrini established that the Latin rule was composed for the official recognition for the new military-religious order, whereas its slightly different French version probably follows the earlier draft by Hugh of Payns, the Master of the Templars at this time.

New statutes and retrais continued to be added throughout the history of the Templars. The manuscripts vary, and the texts do not give exact dates. A critical edition of the statutes and retrais of the Templars is therefore extremely difficult. The achievement would be important, and the wide-spread interest for the Templars would certainly make such a publication a success. But the fact that one important manuscript has been stolen and moreover the intrinsic difficulties of the task continue to deter scholars. This sad situation makes the recent publication by Judith M. Upton-Ward even more welcome. She edits and translates into English one incomplete manuscript with statutes and retrais, Barcelona, Archivo de la Corona de Aragón, Cartes Reales, MS 3344, or according to Simonetta Cerrini, Codices Varia IX. Her edition counts 206 clauses. Generally speaking, the primitive rule, the hierarchical statutes and the sections concerning conventual life are missing; most clauses correspond to those sections in Henri de Curzon's edition which concern the holding of ordinary chapters, penances and reception into the order. The manuscript was not known to Henri de Curzon when he prepared his edition. So Joseph Delaville Le Roulx, Annuaire-Bulletin de la Société de l'Histoire de France 26/2, 1889, pp. 185-214 published 54 clauses which were not in Henri de Curzon's edition. The new and complete edition by Judith M. Upton-Ward now reveals that 46 clauses have no parallels in Henri de Curzon (Upton-Ward nos. 6, 34-39, 41-45, 54, 82, 83, 145-155, 172-183, 191-197, 203-206). Delaville Le Roulx does not have her no. 145 against abandonment of march castles and her nos. 191-195 on various misdemeanors, which are so badly preserved that the person who made the transcriptions for Delaville Le Roulx could not read them. There remain some dubious cases: Upton-Ward nos. 18, 19, 26, 32, 33, 72. Not a small number of clauses in the French text is only partially or loosely identical with the Barcelona text: Henri de Curzon nos. 71, 72, 303-305, 307, 386, 388, 389, 395, 397, 407, 424, 428-432, 434, 443-445, 450, 468, 469, 471, 472, 475, 486-490, 497, 498, 501-503, 518-522, 621, 628, 657, 658, 660, 661, 669-672, 675-678, 681-683, 685, 686. Some regulations are unique in the Barcelona manuscript; for example, brethren who contract leprosy should be forced to join the Order of St Lazarus (Upton-Ward no. 40), whereas according to the French texts (Henri de Curzon nos. 443-444) they could opt to stay among the Templars. Apparently the statutes and retrais were some kind of living texts. Clauses could be added or changed, whenever the officers and chapters of the Templars made new decisions.

So each manuscript represents an important step in the constitutional development of the order. The Barcelona manuscript must be dated after 1268, because no. 180 reports in detail on the conquest of the castle of Gaston north of Antioch by the Mamluk Sultan Baybars in 1268. The last Templar Master mentioned is Thomas Bérard, who died on 25 March 1273. Some of these references seem to imply that he was already dead. Therefore, the mid-1270s appear to be the most likely date. Judith M. Upton-Ward thinks that the manuscript was compiled in the East, either in the Holy Land or on Cyprus, because places in the East are always referred to as being 'on this side of the sea'. Folios 15 to 21 containing the procedures for the reception of a brother nos. 60-72 are more worn than others, which indicates heavy use during this ceremony. The Master could delegate the authority to receive brethren. So the possibility cannot be excluded that the manuscript was used to receive brethren not in the East, but by the Aragonese provincial master. The main language of the manuscript is Catalan, with influences from Occitan and Castilian. The editor's introduction and commentary is short but concise. An index and a short summary of the clauses help to find subject issues. Among the bibliography, Jochen Burgtorf, Führungsstrukturen und Funktionsträger in der Zentrale der Templer und Johanniter von den Anfängen bis zum frühen 14. Jahrhundert, Microfiche, Düsseldorf 2001, should be added.

Apart from the loss of Gaston, about which Judith M. Upton-Ward published an article in The Military Orders: Fighting for the Faith and Caring for the Sick, ed. Malcolm Barber, Aldershot 1994, pp. 179-188, the most interesting information provided by the Barcelona manuscript concerns specific cases of misdemeanor and historical examples: No. 44 a Spanish commander Brother Palayo who was replaced by Brother Rosoli and came to Damietta to see the Master without license. No. 121-123 Brother Richart de Bures and others who had been received through simony. No. 126 disclosing of the contents of a chapter meeting held by the commander of Aragon Brother Guillem of Cardona. No 127 cessation of penance at Château Pèlerin without the license of the Master Peter of Montaigu. No. 128 the same at Safad without license of the Master Thomas Bérard. No. 129 killing of some Christian merchants by Brother Paris and two others in his company at Antioch. No. 131 expulsion of a brother at Château Blanc who hid a jar of butter from the Master Armand de Périgord. No. 133 expulsion of Brother Ugó from the house of Acre, because he had kept a mantle for two nights. From no. 156 to the end of the extant text almost all clauses give similar examples of punishments.

The French text no. 326 and the charges brought forward during their trial tell us that the Templars tried to keep secret their retrais and their rule. Only brethren should have access to such books, no squires and no secular men. There has been a lot of speculation about secret teachings and practises among the Templars. Extant examples such as the Barcelona manuscript reveal another story. No religious order used to publish punishments inflicted upon its members by its officers or chapters. Only general statutes and laws were written down, presented for inspection and used for instruction. It was only the Templars who did not draw a clear distinction in their rule, statutes and retrais between general principles and specific cases. Instead they relied upon some kind of case-law which meant that their manuscripts included many detailed stories about crimes and abuses which one would not find among similar manuscripts of other orders. This may be one of the main reasons why the Templars, contrary to other orders, tried to keep secret not only the various punishments pronounced within their order but also the books with their rule, statutes and retrais. The Barcelona manuscript which Judith M. Upton-Ward has now made accessible to the scholarly community is a very good example for this mixing of general clauses and specific cases that in the end proved to be fatal for the Templars, because it made secrecy necessary and thereby fostered suspicion.