A comparison of the Cistercian and Knights Templar Orders, and the personal influence of Bernard of Clairvaux

Firth, Lori

September 2012

Thesis or dissertation

© 2012 Lori Firth. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

The thesis firstly establishes the origins and ideals of the early Cistercians from primary sources. Then an analysis of the Templar sources is used to draw comparisons between the two Orders. Lastly, the thesis looks at the personal influence of St Bernard, and his opinion on the paradoxical combination of monk and knighthood that is found in the Templar Order. The thesis discovers that there are many similarities in ideology in both Orders, but that this is not the many influence of the Cistercians upon the Templars. Authenticating the Order with the Roman Catholic Church and the Templar Order’s structure appear to be the most influential impacts that the Cistercians have, and it is through these that the Knights Templar managed to gain support and grow at an exponential rate. St Bernard’s personal impact was to bring the Templars into the mainstream thinking of the Church by tying them to traditional routes rather than portraying the Order as an innovation. Bernard’s support of the Order in turn led to widespread support in Europe that no other supporter could have provided for the Knights Templar.

Department of History, The University of Hull
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