Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-mwx4w Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-06-20T05:58:59.935Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

2 - The Impact of Victory and Defeat on the Military Orders’ Public Image

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 January 2024

Kelly DeVries
Affiliation:
United States Military Academy
Get access

Summary

Throughout their existence the military orders were acutely dependent on maintaining a positive public image in Western Christendom. Popular military orders could expect to receive substantial donations and enthusiastic support from their benefactors, sufficient to pursue their military and medical vocations. Less popular orders might find themselves at the mercy of their detractors, whose censure could impact their revenues, their recruitment or even their existence. This article examines how news of battles fought in the borderlands could impact the military orders’ public image away from the frontier, in Christendom's core countries. It demonstrates that news of victory or defeat could have either a positive or negative impact on an order's reputation. It all depended on how this news was offered and how it was received.

The monastic military orders were among of the most distinctive manifestations of the crusading movement. The earliest were the Knights Templar. They began as a small group of warriors protecting pilgrims travelling to Jerusalem in the years after the First Crusade (1095–99). Over time they grew to become both a vast international operation and a formal institution of the Church. Later years saw the establishment of many other military orders, following their example. These included the Hospitallers, a medical and charitable institution formed prior to the Templars, but which acquired a military role in the 1120s. Another was the Teutonic Knights, a medical and later military order established in 1190 during the Third Crusade. These would become the three largest military orders and they all rose to prominence at least in part through their dedication to the defense or reconquest of Jerusalem. Elsewhere, from the twelfth century onwards, many other military orders emerged to fight Christendom's opponents, especially in Iberia and the Baltic.

In their origins, most military orders, including the Templars, Hospitallers and Teutonic Knights, were small operations. They conducted their vocations with the assistance of local patrons or visiting pilgrims who expressed their support by offering buildings, income, or land to facilitate their activities. In some cases, the smaller military orders never grew much beyond this simple model. Conversely, some military orders expanded to become massive international institutions and, in each case, they brought about this growth by capturing the attention of patrons in Western Christendom.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2023

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×