"Unscrupulous foxes:" Contemporary views of medieval military orders

In the 12th and 13th centuries, European military orders such as the Knights Templar and the Knights Hospitaller were powerful and rich. Did their contemporaries love them or hate them? Helen Nicholson of History Today does the research.

In October 1307, Philip IV of France had the Knights Templar arrested, accused of "heinous" crimes, and executed. In 1289, Jacquemart Giélée wrote a satire of the Templars, "based on the old theme of the unscrupulous fox." Other chroniclers found them proud and treacherous and quarrelsome among themselves and other orders, but some of these depictions seem to be based more on politics than fact.

Nicholson sifts through commentaries and historical documents to look for the truth.