Could you provide some sources for these ideas you have about the Knights Templar (I really wish you would stop calling them Templar Knights as that is not their title and the grammar is horrendous)? You claim that they were not only a religious order but were keepers of ancient knowledge which in turn ties them to Tolkien and influenced his creation of the nation of Gondor in his works.
Originally Posted by Al.
I've done quite a bit of study over the years on various military orders, not only of the Knights Templar but the Fraternitas Hospitalaria (Knights Hospitaller), Deutschherrenorden(Teutonic Knights), The Knights of the Tauand multiple other lesser known orders. It is not my purpose to come out and assign fault to your ideas about the Knights Templar, but to open the idea that claiming association of Gondor to the Knights Templar based on legends and myth would be the equivalent to saying that Harry Potter as a character is influenced by the legends of Merlin the Magician. Yes, it's very possible that some influences might come from your source, but your exact reasoning could be applied to over 15 of the common orders of the day and in some cases much more readily than it could be applied, in some small amount, to the Knights Templar.
The Knights Templar were indeed mysterious and secretive in their own day. Sure, there are legends that associate them somewhat to such items as the Ark of the Covenant or to the Holy Grail but these are in no way unique to the Knights Templar. Every order had their legends. The Fraternitas Hospitalaria were tied in legend to the cross of Christ, the healing staff of Moses and the hair of Mary mother of Christ. The Teutonic Knights claimed literacy and knowledge of all ancient forms of healing above all other orders. So, why could Gondor be based on that?
The Knights Templar cherished military training and the acquisition of wealth far beyond any relics or piety. They could claim piety until they were blue in the face, but the fact that they became Europe's bankers, body guards for hire, and surety of goods providers shows their real focus. A little mythos and legend was good for business. France didn't round them up and persecute them because of their ancient knowledge or institutions of learning. They rounded them up because they were rich, controlled the economy and held several kinds in basic servitude due to the debts of the nations surrounding them.
The Knights Templar started as a military order with the goal of protecting pilgrims and their goods and graduated on to the biggest group of fundraisers Europe had ever seen. They finished up by becoming loan sharks and for hire safety depositors.
Let's take a look at the Fraternitas Hospitalaria. This order was founded originally with the purpose of founding houses of healing to treat and protect pilgrims in the Holy Land. If you're going to take one small part of an order and claim it as Tolkien's insparation for Gondor's cultural structures why not run with that one as a military order of healing monks?
Better yet, go with the Teutonic Knights who build houses of healing that were not just hospitals but castles at the same time! Gondor liked building castles, towers and fortresses. The Teutonic Knights even went as far as to create their own nation in order to achieve that goal. If anything that seems to tie in well enough.
How about The Knights of the Tau, one of the earliest orders founded with the goal of protecting byways and bridges from brigands. Gondor protected a river crossing at Osgilliath, maybe we should say that was the inspiration?
If you're more interested in finding pictures that visually connect to your imagination rather than historical evidence, the four orders I mention here all seem to fit the basic 1000s - 1400s model you favor.
My point is this. You cannot take one small aspect of an order that applied to multiple orders and made absolute statements about them without providing more reasoning than just, "I say so." I have no doubt that some aspects of the various military orders of the 1st - 5th centuries influenced a fantasy genre that obviously pulled heavily from the time period. The orders were a result of the culture, not the other way around. To imply some definitive knowledge that Gondor was influenced mainly by one order alone is (no offense) ignorant of the other established orders of the time.
Post your pictures if you must, theorize about their influence on Tolkien's creative process, look for connections that may or may not be anything more than coincidence; this is of course, all in good fun and part of what makes these debates interesting. Let it be that exactly though; a debate! Please stop making these absolute and definitive statements that simply cannot be absolutely and definitively established. Don't caption things with a definitive tone if you cannot prove definitively it's validity.
Instead of captioning thing with, "Knight Templar, inspiration for Gondorian Knights" try a caption that says, "Knight Templar, possible inspiration in part of Gondorian Knights." The first is invalid as it can be easily questioned and shown inaccurate. The second is a valid caption and puts forth a theory that can be discussed and debated. It allows for a two way conversation rather than you just putting something out there, stamping it as dogma and rejecting any other disagreeing constructs.
You would not receive so much negative feedback if you took that approach.
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