Synopses & Reviews
The military religious orders emerged during the Crusades as Christendom's stormtrooopers in the savage conflict with Islam. Some of them stille exist oday, devoted to charitable works. The Monks of War
is the first general history of these orders to have appeared since the eighteenth century.
The Templars, the Hospitallers (later Knights of Malta), the Teutonic Knights and the Knights of the Spanish and Portugese orders were "noblemen vowed to poverty, chastity and obedience, living a monastic life in convents which were at the same time barracks, waging war on the enemies of the Cross." The first properly disciplined Western troops since Roman times, they played a major role in defending the crusader kingdom of Jerusalem, in the "Baltic Crusades" which created Prussia, in the long reconquest of Spain from the Moors, and in fighting the "Infidel" right up to Napoleonic times. This celebrated book tells the whole enthralling story, recreating such epics as the sieges of Rhodes and Malta and the destruction of the Templars by the Inquisition. Acclaimed on publication, it has now been revised and updated, with a concluding chapter to take events into the 1990s.
"Undeniably the work of someone who knows and accepts the standards of critical history, but
who sees the past also as an epic or a colourful spectacle"
Professor David Knowles in The Times Literary Supplement
"His scholarship is great, his theme both interesting and largely unexplored and his judgment sound"
"The book is excellent and firmly based on the primary sources of which Seward has a remarkable grasp."
"Compulsive reading, attractively written, and retaining one's fascinated interest throughout"
Presents a general history of the military religious orders that have appeared since the 18th century. The text tells the whole story of the role they played in defending the crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, recreating such epic events as the sieges of Rhodes and Malta.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 379-390) and index.
About the Author
Desmond Seward was born in Paris and educated at Cambridge University. He is the author of Richard III: England's Black Legend, The Monks of War, and The War of the Roses.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations and Maps
1. The Monks of War
II. Latin Syria 1099-1291
2. The birth of a new vocation
3. The bulwark of Jerusalem
III. The Crusade on the Baltic 1200-1560
5. The Crusade on the Baltic
6. The Ordensland: an army with a country
7. The Crusaders without a cause
IV. The Reconquista 1158-1493
8. The Reconquista
9. The Great Advance
10. Kings and Masters
11. Triumph and Nemesis
V. Readjustment 1291-1522
12. Readjustment and the Templar dissolution
13. Rhodes and the Sea Knights
14. The Three Sieges
VI. The Last Crusade 1523-1571
15. The battle for the Mediterranean
VII. Baroque Paladins 1571-1789
16. Baroque Paladins
VIII. SurvivalAgainst All Odds 1789-1995
17. SurvivalAgainst All Odds
Appendices: Orders of St. John in the Modern World