Chronicle of events between 1050 and 1350

Translation : David COBBOLD

  • 1050

    The Muslim world was divided into two big religious tendencies:
    The Fatimid caliphate in Cairo, from Shiite ritual, occupied Egypt, Palestine and Syria
    The Abbasid caliphate in Baghdad, from Sunni ritual, stretched from the banks of the Euphrates to the Indus plain
    The Abbasid caliphs were subject to the power of their Buyids' Emirs and as such powerless. The latter acted as Merovingian Palace Mayors. Their decadence, and infightings between the two groups provoked the end of Abbasid hegemony and the emergence of a new power : the Seljuk Turkoman from the Aral plains.
    After he invaded Khorassan (a region between Turkmenistan and Iran), the Seljuk leader, Tughril Beg, seized Ispahan and made it his capital.

    The Byzantine empire fell prey to violent infighting leaving it disorganised and unable to keep intact its eastern borders. These borders were constantly under attack through Buyid emirs.

    In Western Europe, a mosaic of little feudal estates formed. Allies one moment and enemies the next, the coalition was headed by the Henri I, the grandson of Hugh Capet. He tried to strengthen his own authority and uphold the Capetian dynasty against numerous rival barons, including his own brother Robert and Count Eudes II de Blois. In England, successive fights between rival Saxon dynasties brought Edward the 'Confessor' to the throne. He would be the last representative of the Wessex lineage. In Germany, Emperor Henri III intervened in Church affairs adding to the schism between the three popes: Benoit IX, Sylvestre III and Gregoire VI. Henri organised a mission to Italy to settle the problems and restore order in the Holy See.

    On the Iberian Peninsula the Visigoth kingdom had collapsed long ago as a consequence of the Ommeyad invasions. The Ommeyad emirs, close to Abbasids in Baghdad, had installed their capital in Cordoba. At the beginning of the Xth century, emir abd er Rhaman III proclaimed himself caliph and thus created a spiritual division between Baghdad and Cordoba.
    Less than a century later, the Ommeyads devolved into anarchy as a result of by Taifa's revolt. This saw the creation of numerous little independent and rival Muslim kingdoms. In the North, taking advantage of this anarchy, the three small Christian kingdoms of Castile, Navarre and Aragon joined together against the Muslim threat.

    On the great plains in Northern and Eastern Europe, the banks of the Baltic Sea were divided into kingdoms derived from Viking and Slavonic tribes plus feudal states of the Germanic empire. Each fought for possession of land and power. More to the east, Kiev and Novgorod became seats for two important slavonic principalities whose borders stretched from the Baltic to the Black Sea.

  • 1052 The armies of Seljuk invaded and devastated Armenia in the Kars region, near the Caspian Sea.

  • 1054 Tughril Beg, at the head of his armies, devastated Armenia in the Van Lake region, but Byzantine forces, well entrenched behind the walls of their fortresses, resisted and prevented Malazgert (Mantkizert) falling into enemy hands.

  • 1055 The Abbasid caliphate in Baghdad went through its biggest crisis. Buyid Emir Khusrű Fîrűz al-Rahim, weak and vacuous, gave power to Basâsîrî, one of his principal officers. Basâsîrî, a Shiite heretic conspired in favour of Fatimid.

  • 1057 Byzantine empire grapple with a devastating civil war. Emperor Michael VI Stratiokos' factions are defeated by Isaac Comnenus one's, who take then the title of Emperor of Byzantium. Seljuks take advantage of this chaotic situation and execute razzias in Cappadoce. They completely devastate Melitene region.

  • 1058 At the end of December, Basâsîrî took advantage of the absence of Tughril Beg when he reoccupied Baghdad and proclaimed the end of Abbasid and the advent of Fatimid.

  • 1059 In France, Philip I ascends to the throne and is crowned in Reims on May 23rd.
    Tughril Beg comes back to Baghdad after having crushed a revolt started by his cousin Ibrahîm Inâl in 'Irâq 'Adjemi. In December, Beg replaces the Abbasid Caliph on his throne, defeats the army of Basâsîrî, then seizes and executes him.
    Isaac Comnenus, Byzantium Emperor, abdicates in favour of Constantin X Dukas.
    Turks continue to take advantage of the disorder in the Byzantine Empire. In July, they attack the city of Sebaste (Sîwâs) and massacre a great part of its population.

  • 1060 The Sicilian conquest by the Norman armies of Robert Guiscard begins.
    Death of the French King Henri I. His son Philip I succeeded him to the throne

  • 1063 Seljuk Sultan Tughril Beg died. His nephew Alp Arslân succeeded him and with that the real Seljuk invasion of the Byzantine territories began.

  • 1064 Alp Arslân, at the head of his armies, invaded the North-East of the Empire and seized the cities of Ani and Kars.
    Unfortunately for him he could not take advantage of these victories because he had to come back to his capital, Ispahan, to quell a revolt by several of his cousins.

  • 1066 William 'the Conqueror', Duke of Normandy, disembarked in England and annihilated the armies of King Harold II at Hastings.

  • 1067 The slow but affable Basileus Constantin X Dukas died and Romanus IV Diogenes, a member of the Anatolian military, is crowned Emperor. His first acts were to reorganise the entire Byzantine army to face the increasing threat of the Seljuks.

  • 1068 Romanus Diogenes led several expeditions through Cappadoce and the Cilician mountains. At the end of the year, he seized the city of Membij (Heliopolis) on the Euphrates River, in the confines of Syro-Cilician territory.
    During this time, Turkoman gangs plundered the suburbs of Neocesaria on the banks of the Euxine Sea. They continued their expeditions to Amorium, in the middle of Phrygia, while carefully avoiding direct confrontations with the Imperial Army.

  • 1069 Romanus Diogenes faced a revolt by his Norman mercenaries led by Crispin. In spite of this easily subdued revolt, Diogenes drove the Turkomans from the Cesarea region and proceeded towards Western Armenia. A part of his army, led by Philaretos, was defeated by the Seljuks at Melitene which was then seized.
    The Turkoman launched an expedition in South Anatolia where they plundered the Iconium (Qoniya) region.

  • 1070 Alp Arslân returned to the head of his armies on the Byzantine border after successfully ending the rebellion of the young Seljuk lords in 'Iraq 'Adjemi. Arslân led his army to Mantkizert (Malâzgert) and wreaked havoc on this last Armenian stronghold still in Byzantine hands. He devastated the Melitene region and raided up to Edesse, but he could not seize this strongly defended city. Arslân changed his initial goal and moved against Alep's emir, Rashîd al-Dawla Mahműd. Mahműd who had refused to send Arslân a military contingent was forced to surrender the city.
    In the West, the Turkish armies advanced in Western Phrygia and plundered Khonae.
    Manuel Comnene, a brilliant Byzantine general, was defeated and captured by Seljuks near Sebaste (Sîwâs) after he had been betrayed by Armenian units.

  • 1071 Troops of the Turkish sultan Alp Arslân invaded Anatolia and destroyed the army of the Byzantine emperor Romanus Diogenes at Mantkizert (Malâzgerd).

  • 1072 Alp Arslân doesn't take advantage of his victory at Malâzgerd. He left the Greek territories, which had just fallen in his hands, and concentrated his attention on Transoxiane (a region near Samarkande). Arslân died during one of the expeditions he led in these territories. His son, Malik Shâh, succeed him and strengthened the power of Seljuk authority.
    In Europe, Alphonse VI is crowned King of Castile and Leon.

  • 1073 Gregory VII was elected Pope and began a reform of the Church (restoration of religious mind and discipline in the Roman Church).
    Roussel de Bailleul (leader of Norman mercenaries of Byzantium and the lieutenant of Romanus Diogenes during the battle at Malâzgerd in 1071) wanted to exploit the war between the Turkomans and Greeks. He wanted to carve an independent kingdom in the centre of Anatolia for himself. de Bailleul revolted against Isaac Comnene during one expedition and began the conquest of Lycaonia and Galatia for himself.
    Isaac Comnenus, caught in the crossfire, was defeated by the Seljuks at Qaisariya. The new Emperor Michael VII Dukas sent a new army to Anatolia led by his Uncle, Caesar Jean Dukas. Dukas encountered Roussel de Bailleul near Amorium (Ammuriye) and was defeated and captured by the Normans. Roussel de Bailleul forged ahead to plunder Chrystopolis (Scutari) in front of Constantinople. To legitimise his acts de Bailleul proclaimed his prisoner Jean Dukas Emperor against Michael VII, latter's nephew.
    To thwart the Norman installation of Jean Dukas as Emperor, Michael VII made the terrible decision of aligning with the Seljuk forces of Sulaimân ibn Qutulmish, a Malik-Shâh lieutenant.

  • 1074 The Seljuk Sulaîman ibn Qutulmish forged an alliance with the Byzantium Emperor and sent him troops in exchange for the Greek territories already occupied by the Turks. A big Turkish army came to Cappadocia and put to flight the 3000 Normans of Roussel de Bailleul at Mount Sophon. de Bailleul managed to escape and sheltered in the mountains near Siwâs, where he held off the Greek and Muslim troops.
    The arrival of the Byzantine General Alexis Comnenus put an end to the Norman adventure in Anatolia. With help from a Seljuk General, he set a trap and captured Roussel de Bailleul.
    This first attempt to create a Norman State in the East was a failure, but Turkish establishment in Minor Asia was much stronger.

  • 1075 The Investiture Quarrel between Pope Gregory VII and German emperor Henry IV began.

  • 1077 At the beginning of July, Byzantine Emperor Michel VII (Dukas) was overthrown by Nicephorus III (Botaniates). Nicephorus, Strategist of the Anatoliques Province, called on bands of Seljuk mercenaries to support his fight.
    Edesse is besieged by Vasil, Lieutenant of the Armenian leader Philaretos. After 6 months and aided by an Armenian up-rising against the Byzantine governor, Vasil reached took the city.

  • 1078 On January 7th, Nicephore III (Botaniates) was crowned emperor in St-Sophia Basilica in Constantinople.
    Turkish mercenaries, led by Sulaîman ibn Qutulmish, took advantage of the situation and began to settle down in Phrygia, Bythinia, Lydia and Ionia. This imperial garrison also occupied the cities of Nicea, Nicomedia, Chalcedonia, Chrysopolis,...
    At the end of the year, Turkoman mercenaries revolted against Botaniates. To cover justify the revolt they claimed to support Nicephore Melissenos as their new imperial leader.
    After the death of the Byzantine governor of Antioch the population rose up. Driven by fear of Seljuk raids, they called upon the Armenian Prince Philaretos to annexe their city to his Principality, the capital of which was Mar’ash.
    Sharaf al-dawla Muslim ibn Quraish (the Mossoul Arab Emir), an ally of the Seljuk Prince Tutush, who was himself brother of the great conqueror Malik Shâh, besieged the city of Aleppo, which was commanded by Sâbiq, an Emir from the Mirdâsid tribe.

  • 1079 Roupęn, a Lieutenant of Kakig II (the last Armenian King of Nis and murdered by the Byzantines), was in revolt against the Empire. Roupęn was based in Partzerpert Massif, in North of Cilicia.
    At the same time, another Armenian Lord, Oshin, was firmly entrenched on the crests of the Cilician Taurus mountains in the city of Nemrűn. This is where Oshin started the Hethoumian Dynasty.
    Philaretos, an old Byzantine mercenary and Armenian Lord, aimed to unify these two Houses. He found a new Principality of Armenia which included the regions of Cilicia, Melitene, Edesse and Antioch.
    Having regard to the rising power of Seljuk and not wishing to share anything with them, Sharaf al-dawla left the army of Tutush at the siege of Aleppo. Tutush fought alone but could not seize the city. He had to abandon his goal. The treachery of Sharaf al-dawla succeeded and Sâbiq, the Mirdasid emir defending Aleppo, gave Sharaf the city as reward for thwarting the siege of Tutush. Sharaf al-dawla Muslim ibn Quraish thus became head of a State that stretched from Kurdistan to North Syria and from Mossul to Aleppo.
    Despite his defeat at Aleppo, Tutush remained determined to carve a territory in Syria so he headed for Damas, a city besieged by a Fatimid Emir. Tutush put this Egyptian army to flight and was received as saviour and suzerain by Atsiz ibn Abaq, the city’s governor. But Tutush didn’t want to share his new power so he had Atsiz ibn Abaq murdered. With the victory over Damas, Tutush reign covered all of the Southern Syria.

  • 1081 Advent of Alexius Comnenus, the new Emperor of Byzantium.

  • 1085 On the Iberian Peninsula, Alphonse VI, King of Castile, seized the city of Toledo on April 7th.
    Turkoman Emir of Anatolia, Sulaîman ibn Qutulmish, seized the city of Antioch thanks to a betrayal by one of Philaretos's sons.

  • 1087 William 'The Conqueror' died on November 9th.

  • 1088 Odon de Lagery (born in Châtillon-sur-Marne, a province of Champagne, France) was elected Pope Urban II.

  • 1091 Bernard de Sore (Bernard of Clairvaux, the future St Bernard), was born at Fontaine de Dijon in the province of Burgundy, France.

  • 1094 El Cid, Hero of Reconquista, seized the city of Valence.
    The council of Autun began on October 16th. Philippe I, King of France, was excommunicated by Pope Urban II because of his marriage to Bertrade de Montfort.

  • 1095 Pope Urban II called a Council in Clermont and the First Crusade was decided.Pilgrimages in the Holy Lands were suspended because of the Seljuk occupation of Palestine.
    The Reconquista, which had the purpose of recapturing Southern Spain from the Muslims, had prepared European minds to the idea of a crusade. It was Pope Urban II though who formalised the Crusade concept, particularly through his speech at the Council of Clermont.

  • 1096 Springtime saw the start of the Popular Crusade led by Pierre l'Ermite and the knight Gautier Sans Avoir. After traversing Europe from West to East and plundering several cities along the way, in October the expedition was destroyed in Anatolia by Kilij Arsan, Sultan of Nicee.

    First Crusade (1096-1099)
    The First Crusade, also called the 'Crusade of Barons' began. In July, Godefroy de Bouillon, Raymond IV de Toulouse, Bohémond de Tarente, Etienne de Blois, Tancrede de Hauteville and Robert de Flandre joined their armies and headed for Jerusalem.

  • 1097 A Byzantine offensive along the Minor Asia coasts.

    A conflict erupted between Crusaders and Alexius Comnenus. When the Barons arrived at Constantinople, the situation of Alexius Comnenus no longer obliged him to receive them as saviours.
    However, having no means to forbid them entry, he strived to use them for his own aims. Comnenus induced some of them to recognize his suzerainty on their conquests. This oath would turn out to be worthless because the first real contact between East and West led to mutual hostilities.

  • 1098 Fatimid armies seized Jerusalem.
    Crusaders besieged Antioch and took the city. Bohemond became prince of this new Frankish State. Baudouin de Boulogne became Count of Edesse.
    In Europe, the Monastic Order of Citeaux, the Cistercian Order, was created.

  • 1099 Jerusalem was conquered by Crusaders on July 15th. A large number of its inhabitants, the majority of whom were Muslims and Jews, were slaughtered.
    The Frankish kingdom of Jerusalem was created and Godefroy de Bouillon was proclaimed king. In either a sincerely humble or astutely political move, Godefroy refused this title and instead announced himself as 'Protector of the Holy Sepulchre'.
    The Canons of the Holy Sepulcher were formed.

  • 1100 Godefroy de Bouillon dies. His brother Baudouin de Boulogne became sacred King of Jerusalem. He took the name of Baudouin I.

  • 1101 Several reinforcement expeditions made up of French, Lombard, Bavarian, Aquitain and Nivernais armies failed and were massacred by Turkomans.

  • 1108 Philip I, king of France died. His son, Louis VI was crowned in Orleans.

  • 1110 The Order of the Brothers Hospitalers of Jerusalem was created. They later became known as the Order of Hospitalers, rivals of the Order of the Temple.

  • 1112 Bernard de Fontaines (future St Bernard) entered the Abbey of Citeaux. Bernard was a key figure of the Crusades Period. He also played an important role in the development of the Knights Templar as he contributed to the creation of their Rule.

  • 1115 Bernard founded Clairvaux Abbey.

  • 1118 Creation of the Order of Poor Knights of Jesus Christ.
    Baudouin II became sacred king of Jerusalem after his cousin Baudouin I died.

  • 1119 The Order of Poor Knights of Jesus-Christ became the Order of The Temple.
    Hugues de Payns was the first Master of the Order.

  • 1122 The Council of Worms stopped the Papal Investiture Quarrel.
    The Venetian Crusade began.

  • 1123 The city of Tyre is captured and the Venetian fleet destroyed the Egyptian one.

  • 1128 Hugues de Payns travelled to Europe at the request of Baudouin II. His mission was to convince the nobility to send troops to Palestine to help to defend the new Latin States of the East.
    Accompanied by several of his fellows, Hugues de Payns started a 'recruiting campaign' to increase the Order's forces and initiate the receipt of donations.
    Council of Troyes.
    After long discussions Rules of the Temple is formulated from Rules of St Augustine. Johannes Michaelensis was asked to rewrite Rules of St Augustine according to the recommendations made by the Council.
    The new Rule was known as the 'Primitive Rule'. This Rule served as an internal Civilian Code for the Order. It managed every aspect of life within this very severe organisation.

  • 1129 Hugues de Payns arrived back in Palestine with numerous knights, including the future king of Jerusalem, Foulques d'Anjou.
    In September, Baudouin II, bolstered by the arrival of reinforcements and a pact with Ismaelians, decided to besiege Damas.

  • 1130 This is an approximate date for the publication of 'In Praise of the New Knighthood' written by Bernard de Clairvaux. Bernard actively contributed to make the Order of the Temple an extremely famous and important militia.
    The letter of Bernard was eloquent on its stand which significantly influenced the Holy See to make Templars only answerable to the Pope.

  • 1131 Baudouin II died. Foulques d'Anjou succeeded him on the Throne of Jerusalem.

  • 1136 Hugues de Payns, first Master of the Order of the Temple, died. Robert de Craon succeed him.

  • 1137 The wedding of Queen Peronelle of Aragon and Raymond Berenger IV, Count of Barcelona, unifies the Earldom of Barcelona and the Kingdom of Aragon.
    Louis VI, King of France, died. His son, Louis VII is crowned in Reims.

  • 1138

    In Italy, En Italie, beginning of the conflict between Guelphs and Ghibellines

    On August 22th, the armies of England and Scotland clash near Northallerton in the "Battle of the Standard". The battle ended with the defeat of the Scots and the signing of the Treaty of Durham the following year.

  • 1139 Pope Innocent II published the Bull 'Omne Datum Optimum' which bestowed privileges to the Templar Order.
    The Order entered a very important political phase. The privileges, allowed by the Holy See, gave them a dominant position in the power game between Europe and Holy Lands.
    In summertime, Battle at TecuaMore informations...

  • 1144 The fall of Edesse
    The Greek and Muslim apathy which allowed the strengthening of the Latin States didn’t last. Jean Comnene reaffirmed the byzantine claim to Syria. Seljuk Atabeg of Aleppo, Zengui, proved a formidable enemy. Faced by these dangers, the Frankish princes, who only received help from the West in the form of the military orders (Templars and Hospitalers) shaped a political alliance with Damas against Aleppo and with Cilician Armenians against Byzantine, without always manage to avoid failures. The loss of Edesse and of the offensive by Zengui and his son Nour ad-Din against Antioch endangered the existence of the Latin States themselves.

    Baudouin III became King of Jerusalem

  • 1146 Bernard of Clairvaux preached for the Second Crusade.

  • 1147 Second Crusade (1147-1149)
    la croix rouge pattée de gueule ... On April 27th, in the new templar preceptory in Paris, Pope Eugenius III granted the Templars the right to wear a red cross. This red height pointed cross, called the Cross Pattee, became the symbol of the Templars. The Templars than gathered to study a request from King of France. The King wanted to organise a new crusade that required an important contribution from the French and Spain Templar preceptories.
    On the Iberian Peninsula, Templars took part in the siege of Tortosa in Catalogna. Tortosa fell the next year, while the siege of Lisbon succeeded in October.
    According to certain sources, Robert de Craon, second Master of the Temple Order, died in January. Other sources suggest he died in 1149.
    Following the first case, Evrard des Barres became the third Master of the Order.

  • 1148 The loss of Edesse in 1144 and Bernard's preaching woke the Crusade Spirit in the West. The German Emperor and the King of France led a new expedition. They arrived in the Holy Lands despite the hostility of Manuel Comnene. They threw themselves upon Frankish allied Emirate of Damas.
    They failed to seize the city and left Palestine having only achieved a reinforcement of the power of Nour ad-Din. Saladin eventually liberated the city to his own advantage. This helped him to realise the unity of Muslim Syria by 1154.

  • 1149 The new Basilica of Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem was consecrated.
    According to certain sources, Robert de Craon, second Master of the Temple Order, died in January. Other sources suggest he died in 1147.
    Regardless of the accuracy of either date, in 1149 Evrard des Barres became the third Master of the Order.
    Raymond Berenger IV, with help from the Templars, seized the city of Lerida in Catalogna.

  • 1151 Evrard des Barres, Master of the Temple, resigned his position and retired to a monastic life at Clairvaux. Bernard de Tremelay was elected fourth Master

  • 1153 On August 20th St Bernard died in the monastery of Clairvaux.
    The siege of the city of Ascalon began.More informations...
    Bernard de Tremelay died at the siege of Ascalon and Andre de Montbard was named fifth Master of the Order.

  • 1154 Nour ad-Din seizes Damas.
    Frederic 1st Barberousse was named Emperor of Germany
    Henri II Plantagenet was crowned King of England.

  • 1156 Andre de Montbard died and Bertrand de Blanchefort was elected as sixth Master of the Order.

  • 1157 On June 19th, Bertrand de Blanchefort, Master of the Order, was captured with other Frankish princes during a battle near the Meron Lake (or Hule Lake) at the Ford of Jacob.

  • 1158 Antioch was occupied by the Byzantine Manuel Comnenus, the Second Crusade (1148) failed, the power of Nour ad-Din (1154) was reinforced...
    The deteriorating Frankish strength in the region left them no choice but to form an alliance with Comnenus. They paid for this alliance with their submission to his ambitions. One such ambition was the invasion of Antioch. Another was the conquest of Egypt (1167).

  • 1162 Amaury I became King of Jerusalem.

  • 1163 The Egyptian Campaign of Amaury I began.

  • 1167 Manuel Comnenus took his fleet and disembarked the byzantine and frankish soldiers in the Nile Delta. They moved against Egyptian armies in Cairo where, thanks to apathy and Fatimid decadence, Comnenus did manage to occupy the city. Despite this victory, the true perils of the region were neglected...

  • 1169 Taking advantage of the decadence of Fatimid, Nour ad-Din managed to install a Vizir of his choice. The Vizir was Salah ad-Din (Saladin) who, two years later, would proclaim himself sultan and abolish the Khalifat. Saladin took control of Arabia (1171), then Syria (1183) where he inherited the domain of Nour ad-Din. The days of the Frankish States were numbered...
    The Famimid Khalifat in Cairo ends.
    Bertrand de Blanchefort dies and Philippe de Milly (or Naplouse) was elected Master of the Temple.

  • 1170 Philippe de Milly resigned of his position of Master of the Temple and Eudes de Saint-Amand was elected by the General Chapter.

  • 1174 Saladin seized Damas and besieged Aleppo.
    Amaury I died and Baudouin IV became King of Jerusalem.

  • 1177 Battle in Montgisard (West of Jerusalem). More informations...

  • 1179 March: The 'Chastelet' was built at the Ford of Jacob on Jourdan River, south of Hule Lake and 'Chastel-Neuf' was built to the North-West.

    August: Saladin destroyed the 'Chastelet', after besieging it and slaughtering the Templar garrison.
    During this battle Saladin captures Eudes de Saint-Amand, Master of the Order.

  • 1180 Philippe Auguste was crowned King of France. Although at the end of his reign, Louis VII tried everything to avoid a direct conflict with the Plantagenet Dynasty his son Philippe didn't hesitate to commit himself. He excited the discord between King Henry II and his son Richard (Lion Heart). After the crowning of Richard the Lion Heart in 1189, Philippe, conspiring with the German Emperor, hatched a plan to ambush and capture Richard on his way back from the Crusade. While partially successful Richard was freed and immediately led his army in a war without mercy against his French adversary. This left Philippe and France embattled until the unexpected death of Richard in 1199. His death restored the power of Philippe to its prior situation.

    Eudes de Saint-Amand died in the captivity of Saladin. According to the footnotes of history, de Saint-Amand refused to be exchanged for Saladin's nephew held captive by Franks.

  • 1181 Arnaud de Toroge (or Tour Rouge) was elected Master of the Order of the Temple.

  • 1183 Saladin seized the city of Aleppo.

  • 1184 Arnaud de Toroge died in Verona, while travelling to France to plead for the sending of reinforcements to the Holy Land.
    Gerard de Ridefort, the most controversial Master of the Temple, was elected.

  • 1185 Death of Baudouin IV, the Leprous King. His nephew, Baudouin V aged 11, became King of Jerusalem, under the guardianship of Raymond III, the Count of Tripoli.

  • 1186 Wedding of the German Emperor Henri IV with Constance, heiress of the Kingdom of Sicile.

    Unexpected death of Baudouin V. His stepfather, Guy de Lusignan, supported by the Master of the Temple Gerard de Ridefort, schemes against Raymond III (who was the Regent) for control of the Throne.

  • 1187 June 1st: Gerard de Ridefort led 150 Knights Templar and Roger des Moulins (Master of the Hospital) to the disaster in Sephoria. Only 3 men escape the slaughter. Gerard de Ridefort was one of them.

    July 3rd-4th: Battle at Hattin Horn. More informations...
    The kingdom of Jerusalem fell into the hands of Saladin.

  • 1188 The Master of the Templars, Gerard de Ridefort is set free by Saladin in exchange for the surrender of the Templar fortress of Gaza.

  • 1189 Third Crusade (1189-1192)

    The fall of Jerusalem in 1187 aroused a deep emotion in Europe. The German Emperor and the Kings of France and England went on Crusade. Saladin was particularly in awe of Frederic who unfortunately died by accident. Following this, the whole German army disbanded.
    King Richard and King Phillipe arrived by sea and cleared the coastal zone (1991). But Philippe Auguste quickly returned to France leaving Richard Lion Heart to achieve some brilliant victories. He did not recapture Jerusalem though. Before this was possible Richard was summoned back to Europe (1192) because of the hostile policy of Philippe Auguste. Richard left the Holy Land after compromising with Saladin. The only real benefit of the Crusade was the occupation of Cyprus by Richard (1191).

    Frederic I died in Minor Asia.
    Gerard de Ridefort died during the siege of Saint Jean d'Acre. For several months, the role of Temple Master stayed vacant.

  • 1191 Robert de Sable was elected Master of the Temple during the siege of Acre.
    On his travels to join the Third Crusade at the Siege of Acre, Richard Lion Heart seized Cyprus Island, defended by the Byzantines.
    Acre is reconquered by the armies of the Third Crusade.
    Richard Lion Heart gaves the Island of Cyprus to the Templars.

  • 1192 The Order of the Temple sold Cyprus to Guy de Lusignan.
    Richard Lion Heart returned to Europe to oppose the conquests of Philippe II Auguste.

  • 1193 Saladin and Robert de Sable died. Gilbert Horal (or Erail) is elected Master of the Temple.
    Richard Lion Heart was captured by Leopold, Archduke of Austria and thrown in a dungeon as a prisoner of common law.

  • 1194 Chartres' Cathedral was built.
    Richard Lion Heart is released from gaol by payment of a great ransom. He left for England in March.

  • 1198 The Teutonic Order was created.
    Pope Eugene III transformed the Hospitaler Order of Sainte Marie des Allemands into a Military Order, like the Templars and Hospitalers of St John.
    Heinrich Walpot, a burgess from Breme was elected Master of the Teutonic Order.
    Innocent III is elected Pope after the death of Eugene III.

  • 1199 Richard Lion Heart died on April 6th.

  • 1200 Gilbert Horal died at the end of December.

  • 1201 Philippe du Plessis was elected head of the Knights Templar at the beginning of the year.

  • 1202 The Fourth Crusade began (1202-1204).

  • 1203 Constantinople was seized. The Latin States of Greece were created.
    The Fourth Crusade was diverted from its goals.

  • 1204 In the West of France, Philippe II Auguste seized the Plantagenet domains.
    The Order of the Knights of the Sword was created in Livonia (Riga).

  • 1209 The Crusade against Albigenses in Languedoc began.
    Philippe du Plessis, Master of the Templars died. Guillaume de Chartres was elected as Master of the Order.

  • 1212 The battle in Las Navas de Tolosa was fought. It was an essential stage in the Reconquista.

  • 1214 Philippe Auguste was victorious in Bouvines. The English Army was destroyed.

  • 1215 The Council of Latran IV was convened. A new crusade was decided.

  • 1216 Pope Innocent II died.
    Henry III is crowned King of England.

  • 1217 The Fifth Crusade (1217-1221) began.

  • 1218 Guillaume de Chartres, Master of the Temple, died in the battle of Damiette. Pierre de Montaigu, who at the time was Preceptor for the Provinces of Spain & Provence, was elected Master.

  • 1219 Damiette was seized by Crusaders on November 5th.

  • 1220 The Mongols began to invade Persia.

  • 1221 The Frankish armies were defeated at the battle of Al-Mansurah near Cairo. They also lost Damiette.
    This signalled the failure of the Fifth Crusade.

  • 1223 Philippe Auguste died. His son Louis VIII was crowned King of France.

  • 1226 St Francis of Assisi died.

  • 1227 Frederic II, the Germanic emperor, was excommunicated.

  • 1228 The Sixth Crusade (1228-1229) began. Jerusalem was recovered.

  • 1229 Frederic II entered Jerusalem. Thus began the quarrel between the Germanic Emperor and the Templars.

  • 1231 The Inquisition was entrusted to the Mendicant Orders (Dominicans and Franciscans).

  • 1232 Pierre de Montaigu, Master of the Temple, died. Armand de Perigord was elected Master of the Order.

  • 1238 The King of Aragon seized Valence.

  • 1239 The Frankish armies were defeated in the fight for Gaza.

  • 1244 ‘Montsegur’s Stake’: the Crusaders seized the castle of Montsegur and all the Albigenses captured were burned at the stake.

    The Franks lose Jerusalem definitively.
    Armand de Perigord was captured during the disastrous battle in La Forbie. This battle nearly caused the complete annihilation of the three Religious Orders.
    (Some historians suggest Armand de Perigord died during this battle.)

  • 1247 Some historians suggest Armand de Perigord died in captivity.
    Guillaume de Sonnac was elected Master of the Temple.

  • 1248 The Seventh Crusade (1248-1254) began. The Crusade in Egypt was led by Louis IX, King of France.

  • 1249 The Crusaders seized Damiette.

  • 1250 Frederic II, the Germanic Emperor, died.
    The Mameluk sultans came to power in Egypt.
    Guillaume de Sonnac, Master of the Temple, died. Renaud de Vichiers was elected Master of the Order.
    Louis IX was captured during the battle in the battle of Al-Mansurah. He was freed in exchange for the city of Damiette and a ransom.

  • 1252 Pope Innocent IV sanctioned the use of torture in the Inquisition.
    King of France, Louis IX signed a truce with Mameluks.
    Some historians suggest in this year Renaud de Vichiers resigned as Master of the Templar Order and Thomas Beraud was elected in his place (see 1257).

  • 1254 Louis IX arrived back in France after spending more than two years reorganizing and reinforcing the Frankish defences in the Holy Land.

  • 1257 Some historians suggest this is the year in which Renaud de Vichiers died and Thomas Beraud succeeded him at the head of the Templar Order.

  • 1258 Baghdad was seized by Mongol armies, which meant the end of Abbassid Khalifat.

  • 1260 The Mongols were forced back from Syria by Mameluks.

  • 1261 The Greeks take back control of Constantinople.
    Pope Urban IV was elected.

  • 1265 The cities of Cesaree and Arsuf were seized by Muslims.

  • 1266 Charles d’Anjou, the brother of Louis IX, took possession of the Sicilian Kingdom.
    The Frankish fortress of Safet was lost.

  • 1268 The strongholds of Jaffa, Beaufort, Antioche, Banyus et Gastein were all lost.

  • 1269 Hugues III of Cyprus became King of Jerusalem.

  • 1270 The Eighth Crusade began.
    Louis IX died in the battle for Tunis. This signified the failure of the Crusade. Philippe III le Hardi succeeded his father.

  • 1273 Thomas Beraud, Master of the Temple, died. Guillaume de Beaujeu succeeded him.

  • 1274 The second Council of Lyon (France) was convened.

  • 1276 Raymond Lulle founded a college to teach missionaries to speak Arabic.

  • 1282 Sicilian Vespers is the traditional name given to the uprising against Charles of Anjou, which broke out in Palermo on 31 March (Easter Tuesday). Charles, Count of Provence and brother of St Louis, received the crown of the Two Sicilies from Urban IV. He established his authority by force and cruelly repressed the Ghibelline revolt led by Conradin in 1268.
    The Sicilian Vespers was a spontaneous popular movement due to the oppressive administration and fiscal tyranny of Charles of Anjou. The insurrection broke out, amid cries of "Death to the French".
    As a result of the uprising the projects Charles planned for the domination of the East were foiled. The crusade against Constantinople did not take place, and Charles began a long and fruitless war against the House of Aragon. The war exhausted Charles’ resources and he never regained control of Sicily. He did hold Naples and South Italia though.

  • 1285 Philippe IV le Bel was crowned King of France in Reims.

  • 1291 Acre fell and the East Latin States disappeared.
    Guillaume de Beaujeu, Master of the Temple Order, died while defending the walls of Acre against enemy assaults led by Marek-el-Ashraf.
    The surviving Templars withdrew to Cyprus Island.
    Thibaud Gaudin was elected Master of the Order.

  • 1292 Thibaud Gaudin died.
    Jacques de Molay, the last Master of the Temple Order, was elected.

  • 1296 Jacques de Molay took the side of Pope Boniface VIII against King Philippe le Bel.

  • 1302 November 18th: Pope Boniface VIII issues the Bull ‘Unam Sanctam’ at the Council of Rome. The Bull asserted Papal supremacy against King Philippe le Bel.

  • 1303 The Templars were defeated on Ruad Island.
    September 7th: ‘Anagni’s Attack’ - Guillame Nogaret slapped the face of Pope Boniface VIII.
    October 11th: Boniface VIII died shortly after he excommunicated Philippe IV, King of France.

  • 1304 July 7th: Benoit XI died after a short pontificate. The short pontificate of at the point to the day when he prepared Nogaret’s excommunications.
    Joinville wrote ‘the History of St-Louis’.

  • 1305 Clement V was elected Pope.

  • 1306 Philippe IV confiscated Jewish possessions. He took refuge in the Temple of Paris during a riot.
    Templars organized an expedition in Greece.

  • 1307 September 22nd: Guillaume de Nogaret was appointed as Chancellor of the kingdom.
    October 13th: Templars are arrested throughout the Kingdom of France.
    October 14th: A royal manifesto was distributed in the streets of Paris. It made public the accusations contained in the ‘Arrest Order’ (Templars guilty of apostasy, obscene rituals, sodomy, idolatry and insults against Christ himself)
    October 15th: The Preaching Brothers and Royal officers ran through the Palace Gardens and Parisian streets to expose the false arrests to the ‘brave people’.
    October 16th: Philippe IV sent letters to Princes and Prelates of Christendom, inviting them to follow him and arrest Templars in their States. These letters only received three favourable answers from: Jean, Duke of Basse-Lorraine; Gerard, Count of Juliers and the archbishop of Cologne.
    The answers from the Bishop of Liege, the King of Aragon and Albert, King of Romans said that the affair was for the competence of the Pope. The King of England, Edouard II (son-in-law of Philippe IV), replied saying he would not allow himself to be persuaded.
    Furthermore he would write to the Kings of Portugal, Castile, Aragon and Sicilia suggesting they only take action after due consideration of accusations which seemed to be imposed by defamation and cupidity.
    October 19th to November 24th: Guillaume de Paris interrogated 138 prisoners in the lower room of the Paris Temple. 36 of the prisoners died! Only three others denied the crimes of which they were accused: Jean de Chateau-Villars, Henri de Hercigny and Jean de Paris. These three were interrogated on November 9th, in the absence of Inquisitor Guillaume and his second; Nicolas d’Ennezat. These two were ‘taking care’ of the Visitor of France; Hugues de Pairaud.
    October 27th: Pope Clement V sent a protest letter to Philippe IV concerning the treatment of the Templars.

  • 1308 February: Before the Templars were turned over to the Pontiff, notes from the Master circulated amongst the ranks asking them to revoke their confessions as he and others dignitaries had done. Did this rescission change the behaviour of the Pope? Immediately after the denials, the Pope broke the Inquisitor’s power and proclaimed his intention to attend to the affair.
    In the bull ‘Pastoralis Praeeminentiae’, Pope Clement V ordered all of the Princes of Christendom to arrest the Templars in their countries.
    March 15th : The King of France assembled the States-General in the city of Tours. The call was written in the same style as the accusation against the Templars. Another text which bore the stamp of the legist Pierre Dubois circulated with the title: ‘Admonishments of French People’. This text was introduced as the result of a popular consultation about the Templar affairs made in Tours.
    May 26th : Philippe IV personally visited the city of Poitiers to meet Pope Clement V.
    May 29th : Pope Clement V convened a consistory in his presence. During this meeting Guillaume de Plaisians (legist of Philippe IV) delivered two speeches containing barely veiled intimidations against the Pope.
    June 27th - July 1st : 72 Templars were delivered by Philip IV to appear before Clement V. There were no dignitaries amongst these Templars. They were predominantly sergeants, a number of whom had previously left the order. They offered their testimony before the arrests were decided. There were some preceptors present, but they were insignificant in number. Philip IV justified the absence of the Templar dignitaries by their ill health. They were therefore left imprisoned in Chinon. The dignitaries included: Jacques de Molay (Master of the Order), Hugues de Pairaud (Visitor of France), Raimbaud de Caron (Preceptor of France), Geoffroy de Charnay and Geoffroy de Gonneville. To question these men, the Pope dispatched three cardinals to Chinon. They were: Beranger Fredol, Etienne de Suisy and Landolphe Brancaccio. The two first were familiar with King of France. What is more, Inquisitors, Nogaret and Plaisians were present during the cross-examination!

  • 1309 The Knights Hospitalers seized Rhodes Island.
    August 8th: The first ecclesiastical commission of France began in the St-Genevieve monastery of Paris. This commission was formed almost entirely by bishops utterly devoted to the cause of the King of France: Gilles Aycelin (Archbishop of Narbonne and ancient Minister of Justice, just before Nogaret), Guillaume Durand (Bishop of Mende), Guillaume Bonnet (appointed by royal intervention at the archdiocese of Bayeux) and four other prelates of obscure origin.
    The role entrusted to this pontifical commission was essentially to hold an enquiry about the guilt of the Templars. The commission was to listen to everybody who wanted to testify for or against the Order, but only as witnesses, not if accused. The summons sent took more than two months to be distributed to interested people.
    November 22nd: The first witness appeared. His disorganized words gave the impression of a ‘simple mind’.
    November 26th: Jacques de Molay appeared. When the statement he allegedly made in Chinon on August 30th 1308, before the three cardinals delegated by the pope was read, he showed the most violent astonishment. November 28th : Jacques de Molay appeared again, but this time in the presence of Nogaret. Ponsard de Gisy, preceptor of Payns in Champagne, also appeared. His oral statement overwhelmed the previous confession through insights as to the methods used to extract such confessions from the Templars. He described the tortures to which he was subjected!

  • 1310 February 6th: The pontifical commission again gathered to resume their questioning. The number of Templars who wanted to appear and defend their Order grew significantly.
    March 28th: 546 Templars asked to testify.
    May 2nd: 573 Templars asked to testify. The Templars managed to organize their defence despite the obstacles. They appointed four spokesmen : Renaud de Provins, Pierre de Boulogne, Guillaume de Chambonnet et Bertrand de Sartigues.
    May 10th: The Templar spokesmen asked the commissioners to meet and hear them without delay, having learned that a provincial council was convened for the day after in the city of Sens. King Philippe IV had just posted Philippe de Marigny, brother of his ‘favourite’ Enguerrand, to the Archdiocese of Sens.
    May 11th : A wooden stake was erected outside the Paris walls , near the ‘Porte de Saint-Antoine’ where 54 Templars died because of their ‘relapse’ and proclamation of innocence.
    May 13th : The pontifical commission reconvened. The first witness, Aimery de Villiers le Duc, threw himself at the commissioners’ feet. The day before he witnessed the departure of his brothers to the stake.
    November 3rd : The pontifical commission was postponed because of a lack of witnesses. Philippe de Marigny refused allow the appearance of one of the defence delegates detained in his province. Another of these delegates, Pierre de Boulogne, disappeared in the following months…

  • 1311 June 5th: The inquiry of the ecclesiastical commission closed.
    October 16th: Pope Clement V opened the council of Vienne in the cathedral. Searches made at the time of the Templar arrests didn’t bring forth any exhibits! In contrast, seven Templars, and then two more, introduced themselves and declared that they wanted to defend the Order. The Pope merely put them in jail.

  • 1312 February 17th: A delegation of the royal retinue entered Vienne. Included in this suite are Nogaret, Plaisians, Marigny and some lay advisers of Philippe IV. They had daily meetings with the four French, and one Italian cardinals who favoured the French King. These five cardinals were : Arnaud de Pellegrue, Arnaud de Canteloup, Béranger Frédol, Nicolas Fréauville and Arnaud Novelli.
    March 2nd: Philippe IV sent a letter to the Council requiring the abolition of the Templar Order and the transfer of their goods to another Chivalric Order.
    March 20th: Philippe IV arrived in Vienne in a great train.
    March 22nd : During a secret consistory, Clement V approved the abolition of the Order of the Temple by the bull ‘Vox in Excelso’. Its text didn’t sentence the Order but instead referred to the opportunity of the Church to suppress the Order for its good.
    April: Guillaume de Nogaret died.
    May 2nd: Bull ‘Ad Providam’ assigned the Templars’ goods to the Hospitalers. Philippe IV wanted these goods put at the disposal of the Holy land, perhaps even creating a new Order, as suggested by his adviser, the legist Pierre Dubois.
    May 6th: Clement V ordered the provincial councils to continue their trial and reserved that of the dignitaries.
    December: Guillaume de Plaisians died.
    December 22nd: Clement V delegated his power to three cardinals: Nicolas de Fréauville, Arnaud d'Auch et Arnaud Novelli. All three were devoted to the French King.

  • 1314 March 11th (Some said it was on March 18th) : A scaffold was erected on Notre-Dame square. The four Templar high dignitaries appeared : Jacques de Molay, Hugues de Pairaud, Geoffroy de Charnay and Geoffroy de Gonneville. The three cardinals, with Philippe de Marigny, archbishop of Sens, at their side, stated the final sentence which condemned the Templars to life imprisonment. Two of the worst torturers of the Order were absent : Guillaume de Nogaret and Guillaume de Plaisians. They both died the year before.
    At the statement of the sentence, Jacques de Molay and Geoffroy de Charnay stood proud. Solemnly, in front of the gathered crowd, they protested, claiming that their only crime had been to have made false confessions to save their lives. The Order was holy, Rules of the Order was holy, fair and catholic. They hadn’t committed the heresy attributed them. The same day, a stake was erected near the Palace gardens. This location is approximately where the ‘Pont Neuf’ (statue of Henri IV) stands today.
    The two Templars who relapsed were burnt at the stake that very evening. At their execution they asked to be placed facing Notre-Dame where they could see the Blessed Virgin. When the fires were lit they cried their innocence then, before the stunned crowd, died with quiet courage. Jacques de Molay also summoned the Pope and the King to appear before God’s Court by Years’ End.
    April 19th: At the castle of Rocquemaure, Clement V died during the night.
    November 29th: Philippe IV died from an apoplectic stroke suffered on November 4th.

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