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Download The Last Templar: The Tragedy of Jacques de Molay, Last Grand Master of the Temple epub

by Alain Demurger

The end of the Order of the Temple is one the great stories of the Middle Ages. The Last Templar is a pioneering investigation into the last days of the mighty Knights Templar and their last grand master, Jacques de Molay, by one of France's greatest medieval scholars.

Download The Last Templar: The Tragedy of Jacques de Molay, Last Grand Master of the Temple epub
ISBN: 1861975538
ISBN13: 978-1861975539
Category: History
Subcategory: World
Author: Alain Demurger
Language: English
Publisher: Profile Books (January 1, 2005)
Pages: 304 pages
ePUB size: 1695 kb
FB2 size: 1882 kb
Rating: 4.1
Votes: 979
Other Formats: doc azw mobi lit

This is a pretty academic work on the biography of Jacques de Molay, the last Grand Master of the Order of the Temple. In truth, his whole biography is summed up in the last chapter - there isn't much to go on, and if anything, the author, in painting a balanced view of de Molay, tries to understand the truth behind the legends. In essence, de Molay is seen as a relatively simple man, with a temper, that was ill equipped for leading the order in a post-crusades politically charged Europe. The book itself is not that fun to read, and it proved to be very dry. If you have a passion for the Templars or de Molay, you might find it worth picking up. If you don't, take a pass on it.
Just as described. Thank you ????
Must have for Templar researchers.
Abandoned Electrical
This is a meticulous piece of scholarship by one of the leading French specialist of the Templars. While portrayed as the biography of Jacques de Molay, it is also, and perhaps mostly, a very detailed study of the arrest, trial, condemnation, abolition and destruction of the Order of the Knights of the Temple. The main interest and value of this book lays in the cold analysis of the sources with a view towards reconstructing the events and presenting in great detail not only what happened, but also why and how it happened.

To begin with, the mistakes made by the last Grand Master both before and during the trials are well presented. He underestimated the harm that the French King’s propaganda and accusations of heretical practices could do to the Order’s reputation and to some extent played into the hands of his enemies. He also overestimated the pope’s resolve to defend and protect the Order and his own papal prerogatives. He also underestimated to what extent the pope wanted to see the Orders of the Hospital and of the Temple merged and, finally, he let down his Brothers by choosing the wrong system of defence, believing almost to the end that pope Clement V would support him. Each of these mistakes, the events leading to them, and their consequences, are presented, discussed and analysed in great and sometimes excruciating detail.

Also fascinating, and a second valuable feature of this book, is the author’s ability to dispel misconceptions, myths and legends. Contrary to what is often believed, the Templars had not become decadent and had certainly not renounced in reconquering the Holy Land, as the author demonstrates, once again in great detail. In other words, the idea and ideals of the Crusade and of doing “God’s work” was still very much a central belief and Alain Demurger shows that their attempts – and those of other Christians in the East - to ally themselves with the Mongols against the Mamluks were not as far-fetched as it is often believed. Moreover, the failure of these enterprises can be laid at the feet of the Mongols who, for a number of reasons that are briefly presented in the book, failed to turn up contrary to promises and expectations.

Another particularly valuable contribution are the elements related to Jacques de Molay’s background and character, on the one hand, and his ruling of the Order during a period for about fifteen years, on the other hand. Alain Demurger retraces Jacques de Molay’s background – a family from the low to medium nobility in Burgundy and draws on the sources to depict the Grand Master’s personality and character, with its qualities, its limitations and perhaps also its flaws.

The second component that is particularly original in this book is to show the activity of the Grand Master, what his priorities were, how his powers were limited, particularly with regards to the nominations of some of his senior officers in the various Christian kingdoms, and how he attempted, somewhat timidly, to reform the Order. While these attempts were essentially “too little and too late”, there are reasons for this, reasons that Alain Demurger explains rather well. While the rather special rites that had been added over time when a new Brother was accepted into the Order could be portrayed as heretical or blasphemy, the Grand Master and his Templars seem to have seen these mainly as a way to test the discipline and obedience of the candidate, tests that they had themselves successfully passed. What the Grand Master does not seem to have realised, however, is how these rituals could be misinterpreted and misused against the Order, painting it in a rather horrific light. This is exactly what the propaganda machine of King of France Philip IV the Fair and those who applied his policy (Nogaret and the Marigny brothers, in particular) managed to do.

A final comment is that this book, while mostly fascinating, does have a few limitations. Apart from being a very detailed piece of scholarship, with issues discussed at length, this book has also been translated from the original French version. Although the translation is accurate, this shows at times, especially since some of the rather long sentences of the original version have been kept in the English one. This tends to make the book a bit more difficult to read than would otherwise have been the case. Four strong stars all the same for a valuable and eye-opening account of “the Last Templar”, in more senses than one.
I bought this book for two reasons. First, because I hoped it would shed some like on the subject and clear up some questions I was left with after reading another book about the Templars: "The Knights Templars: God's Warriors, The Devil's Bankers." Secondly, I was intrigued by the statement on the back of the book regarding the 2007 release by the Vatican of the original documents on the trial of the Templars. This book shed no light on the first question, and the second was passed over lightly in the six page epilogue at the end of the book.

As for the book, itself: I see it as progressing in three dissimilar parts. The first, that part of the book up until Chapter 8, which begins on page 139, covers Jacques de Molay's early life and his activities after becoming Grand Master of the Templars. As near as I can tell from reading these pages, nothing is known about Jacques de Molay's early years as a Templar and almost nothing is known about his activities as Grand Master prior to his arrest. All that appears to be known is that he was or may have been here or there at various times and may or may not have done this or that. This part of the book is very disjointed, with the author constantly introducing new topics and characters, and skipping back and forth in time; apparently to fill the allotted pages.

Immediately following that is what I would call part two, pages 140-205, which commence loosely with the events leading to Jacques de Molay's arrest. These pages continue in much the same vein, but are better organized chronologically and present slightly more information relevant to Molay's movements. But, still, there is little specific information regarding what Jacques de Molay actually did as Master during these years. It is only with Chapter 12, pages 206-222, that the author finally gets down to the crux of the matter and attempts to pull together what is actually known about Molay's life, trial, and death in a more coherent and organized manner. Even here, however, this reader was left still wanting to know more.

As a result of all this: I can't recommend this book to any casual reader. That's not to say that, on the face of it, the Templars in general and Jacques de Molay in particular aren't interesting subjects for a book. But this book is based on scant factual information and is so drawn out and disjointed that it leaves much to be desired. My suggestion for anyone other than a student of medieval history would be to read Chapter 12 and perhaps the epilogue, and skip the rest.
Zeks Horde
I have given this work 4 stars, tho' 3.5 stars is more like it. I do agree with the other review that it is slow going in some parts. I think perhaps this may be due to the fact that the work was translated from the French. But the work is significant in that a lot material that I had never read before about Jacques de Molay was brought to light. If you are interested in the Knights Templar and the final chapter of the old military order, then this is an important read. Prior to this book the descriptions of the last Grand Master were cursory at best. De Molay is revealed in this work to be a more capable administrator than previously thought. In all the previous books about the Templars I have read de Molay was often referred to as gung-ho warrior type with little talents beyond the military aspects of the Order. However, Demurger shows that this was not the case.