Whether as chivalrous knights or devil worshipping heretics, the Knights Templar have long been the subject of fascination. They were the first of the military-religious orders, soldier-monks who fought in the Crusades. The Templars became one of the most powerful organisations of medieval Europe, with lands across the Continent. An international military and charitable organisation battling an ideological war against non-Christians, the Templars were a sort of medieval NATO and Red Cross combined. But within two hundred years of their foundation, the order had been destroyed. Accusations of heresy saw the knights put on trial across Europe with many burnt at the stake by zealous inquisitors. This dramatic end has led to endless conspiracy theories about the order, from a secret survival in America to whether they really were devil worshippers. This is your guide to how to critique and dismantle these myths of the Templars.
Since the year 2000, over 150 history books on the Templars have been published in the UK and US. Yet not one of these books has been dedicated to dismantling the conspiracy theories and pseudo-histories that have grown up around this crusading order, stories of secret survivals, links to Freemasonry, and escapes to Scotland and America. Historians are well-aware of the holes in these theories, but most have chosen to just ignore these works rather than better inform the public by challenging them. Drawing upon the latest research, and written by an academic historian of the Templars, The Fake History of the Templars will show readers how to dismantle the myths around the order step by step, looking at the arguments pseudo-histories make and the sources they cite before showing the holes in each of them. In the process, readers will learn valuable skills that they can use to recognise and challenge fake history and disinformation of any strain.
Rory MacLellan grew up in Wiltshire before studying ancient and medieval history at the University of Winchester, which was soon followed by an MLitt in medieval history at the University of St Andrews. He remained in St Andrews for a PhD in the same subject with a thesis on the Knights Hospitaller in Britain and Ireland, graduating in 2019.
Rory now works for Historic Royal Palaces as a postdoctoral researcher based at the Tower of London, researching the site’s medieval Jewish history for a project supported by the Rothschild Trust. He specialises in medieval religion and t...
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