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The Templars and other Monastic Military Orders:

The Parchment of Chinon and the massive forthcoming book Processus Contra Templarios--Papal Inquiry into the Trial of the Templars prove that the Knights Templar were known to be innocent of the charges for which they were persecuted and destroyed.

Nearly seven centuries after the Knights Templar were eliminated, they remain the subject of a vast body of speculation about modern conspiracies and secrets. Here's a short introduction to their real history, and that of their fellow warrior monks.

In 1119, Hugh de Payns created a group of fighting monks who patrolled the roads outside Jerusalem, and defended pilgrims from highway robbers. The impetus for the formation of the group may have been a massacre of 300 pilgrims near Jerusalem, just before Easter, by the coalition of Muslim forces known as the Saracens.

The knights' headquarters was the Temple Mount in Jerusalem (site of the former Second Jewish Temple), where the Muslims had built the al-Aqsa Mosque. Hence, the group took the name of the Order of the Poor Knights of the Temple of Solomon--or "Templars" for short. The Templars may have been created in imitation of similar orders in the Moslem world.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux, the leader of the Cistercian Order, strongly supported the Templars. His Liber Ad Milites Templi De Laude Novae Militiae extolled the knights, and made a word play on the contrast between malitia (evil) and militia. He wrote, "a new kind of militia is reported to have arisen in the world..." The killing of evildoers was "not homicide but malicide." Bernard argued that killing non-Christians was permissible as a last resort if there was no other way to stop them from oppressing Christians.

The Templars also received enthusiastic support from the Papacy. Pope Innocent II in 1139 issued the bull Omne Datum Optimum (Every Good Gift) making the Templars responsible only to the Pope directly. In 1144, Pope Celestine II published Milites Templi to encourage monetary donations to the Templars. The next year, Pope Eugenius III issued Militia Dei to give the Templars the right to own churches and cemeteries, and to collect the associated fees.

While vernacular translations of the Bible were disfavored, the Templars were given vernacular texts of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Maccabees, so they could learn the military strategy and tactics of the Holy Land.

Templar castles were used as secure store-houses for wealth. Because the Templars had a powerful and orderly international organization, the Templars played a role in the creation of Europe's early system of banks.

The Templars grew extremely wealthy. They were subject to no-one's control, and in their wars in the Holy Land, they made their own decisions about concluding truces or starting wars, without deferring to the wishes of the local Christian kings. With good cause, they were widely regarded as arrogant.

The unpopularity of the Templars provided an opportunity for France's King Philip II (known as "the Fair" because of his good looks, not his judgement) to destroy them in order to seize their vast wealth. In 1306, Philip expelled all the Jews from France, and confiscated their assets. He then aimed at the Templars. Templars were arrested and tortured, and made to admit to various infamous crimes, such as sodomy, profaning Catholic ritual, and so on. The actual evidence against the Templars was slight, but Phillip was able to force the Pope to support his plot against the Templars, for the Papacy was under the control of France. Other monarchs, such as Edward in England, followed Philip's example, and helped themselves to Templar property.

The Knights Templar were abolished by the Pope in 1312. In essence, they were victims of forfeiture laws. The rule that the government can seize the property of a criminal proved irresistibly tempting for Philip the Fair and his brother kings. Indeed, forfeiture was sometimes a major revenue source for monarchs, and the Templar persecution was not the last time that innocent people were convicted on phony charges so that the government could enrich itself.

Next to the Templars, the most famous Catholic military order was the Sovereign Military and Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, also known as the Knights Hospitaller. They built a hospital in Jerusalem, but also branched into military affairs, and fought in defense of the Crusader kingdoms. Like the Templars, they warred bravely, but failed to coordinate with other Christian forces. After being driven out of Asia, they headquartered in Cyprus, Rhodes, and Malta, ruling the latter island until being defeated by Napoleon in 1798. Today, they still operate hospitals and ambulances.

The warrior monks of Prussia were the avaricious and oppressive Teutonic Knights, who expanded the realm of Christianity to the north and east of Germany.

The Order of Our Lady of Bethlehem ran hospitals, and was also charged by Pope Pius II with defending the island of Lemnos from the Turks in 1459. (The Turks prevailed.) The Order of St. Stephen was founded in 1561, as a naval force, and participated in the great Christian naval victory at Lepanto.

In Spain, there were many orders of warrior monks. These included the Order of Alcántara, the Order of Calatrava, and the Order of Santiago. The Spanish Orders may have provided the decisive force which helped the Catholic monarchs push back Muslim rule in Iberia. Ironically, the original military orders had arisen as a result of the Crusades in the east, but the most significant long-term effect of the military orders was a victory, that would endure for centuries, against the Muslim invasion of the west.

The Order of Our Lady of Mercy for the Redemption of Captives (the Mercedarians) was founded in 1218 to rescue Christian slaves held by Muslims. Originally a military order, the Mercedarians became a mainly clerical order in the next century; the order still exists today.

Sources: Edward Burman, The Templars: Knights of God (Rochester, Vermont: Destiny Books, 1986); Roberta L. Harris, The World of the Bible (N.Y.: Thames & Hudson, 1995); Michael Walsh, Warriors of the Lord: The Military Orders of Christendom (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm B. Eerdmans, 2003).

BruceM (mail) (www):
The abuse of forfeiture laws by governments in wrongly accusing people of crimes to "legally" steal their property and wealth is so blatant throughout history. I'm surprised the framers of the Constitution did not expressly forbid forfeiture. One of the reasons for declaring independence was King George's abuses of criminal forfeiture.

To be sure, the American government's abuse of forfeiture in modern times is just as horrendous as any other government at any other period in time. I suppose the combination of the temptation for wealth combined with the fact that most people will readily agree to some form of the statement that "criminals should not be allowed to profit from their crimes" makes it perpetually politically correct and easy to support. Having your car forfeited because you used it to drive while intoxicated is, of course, not profiting from one's crime. Having your house taken away because you (or someone) grew some pot in the backyard is likewise unjust no matter how you look at it.

The more there is to forfeit, the more laws the government will pass.
10.14.2007 6:25am
dearieme:
In Britain, I suppose that most forfeiture in the last 100 years has been called "nationalisation". What name was given to FDR's stealing people's gold?
10.14.2007 7:47am
John Burgess (mail) (www):
It wasn't a 'coalition of Muslim forces' that was known as Saracens: it was Muslims and/or Eastern Arabs in general. The term dates back to Greco-Roman usage, long predating the Crusades.
10.14.2007 11:06am
Flash Gordon (mail):
While mayor of New York I think Giuliani either was in favor of or actually did seize the automobiles of anyone arrested for a first time DUI. This was the first time I became aware of what seemed at the time like a banana republic authoritarian impulse in Giuliani.

Federal forfeiture laws are out of control and should be repealed. The forfeiture of the wife's car because her husband used it pick up a prostitute should shock the conscience of the most hardened and accomplished of bureaucrats, but of course it does not.

All forfeiture should be limited to actual contraband or fruits of crime, and the government should have the burden of proof with no actual forfeiture until after judgment. I can remember that the first Federal forfeiture laws were this way and there were cases with such titles as United States v. One BMW 730i. Now the cases are titled, One Poor Schmuck Without a Prayer v. BIG Brother.
10.14.2007 11:10am
Tim Worstall (mail) (www):
Just been reading a potted history on the Crusades. The ending of the Teutonic Knights was interesting: their Grand Master became Lutheran, married and made himself Duke of Prussia (taking over the lands of the Order).
Name of Hohenzollern and I think the ancestor of Kaiser Bill.
10.14.2007 11:40am
BruceM (mail) (www):
I don't even think the proceeds of crime should be forfeitable, because it means all the defendant's money is taken so he can't afford to hire a lawyer. Maybe, if after trial and legal fees, some money remains, the government could have a semi-legitimate claim for it, but the defendant most certainly has the right to hire the most expensive lawyer in the world.
10.14.2007 11:58am
Syd Henderson (mail):
On the other hand, the Teutonic Knights were bad news and it's good that they were finally defeated by the Poles and Lithuanians.

The Knights of St. John, on the other hand, had a good reputation. When Saladin let the Christians leave Jerusalem he let the Knights Hospitaller stay for a while to treat their patients. And their defenses of Rhodes and Malta are great epics of military history.

I always found the ideas of military monastic orders very strange.
10.14.2007 12:33pm
Cornellian (mail):
I particularly dislike criminal forfeiture laws being enacted under the guise of a "tough on crime" rhetorical smokescreen. Such laws are offensive and lead invariably to the kinds of abuses described in this post. If you steal a car, you can at least make some plausible argument for forfeiting the car, though it's hard to see why that would be necessary - the cops will seize the car as evidence and presumably it will eventually go back to its rightful owner - you didn't "forfeit" the car since you never owned it in the first place. Then you get laws along the lines of "we found a joint in your car, therefore you forfeit the car." Governments cannot resist the temptation of these kinds of laws - they're "free" revenue without having to admit to raising taxes, so once the trend of this kind of law gets started, it becomes very difficult to reverse.
10.14.2007 12:36pm
Anderson (mail):
I am puzzled by Prof. Kopel's assertions that the Chinon document and the forthcoming book "prove" the innocence of the Templars.

Following the Chinon link, I find:

As several contemporary sources confirm, the pope ascertained that Templars were involved in some serious forms of immorality and he planned a radical reform of the order to subsequently merge it into one body with the other important military-religious order of the Hospitallers. The Act of Chinon, which absolves the Templars, but does not discharge them, was the assumption required to carry out the reform, but it remained dead letter.

So they were to be forgiven, but that didn't mean they did nothing to *be* forgiven.

I very much doubt that any new book is going to succeed in sifting fact from fiction regarding the end of the Templars, at this late date, and it seems a bit credulous to suppose otherwise.
10.14.2007 12:37pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
People carrying large amounts of cash are vulnerable to have it taken away at airports. Then you have to sue to get it back. Similarly police have seized cash from persons with the intent to keep it if it tests positive for a controlled substance. Now it’s pretty common knowledge that about a 1/3 of the cash in circulation is tainted so this practice has become less common.

In another case, the FBI seized a lot of money from the home safe of an organized crime figure. Subsequently his wife received notice from the IRS that she owed taxes on the money which she couldn’t pay as the government kept the money.

Americans have lost their democracy to the nanny state, which has a insatiable appetite for the capital to keep it expanding.
10.14.2007 1:07pm
Hoosier:
"Americans have lost their democracy to the nanny state, which has a insatiable appetite for the capital to keep it expanding."

I blame the Vatican for this as well.
10.14.2007 1:12pm
David Chesler (mail) (www):
I always found the ideas of military monastic orders very strange.

David Carradine had a great television series on that premise.

In all seriousness, I guess we now think of monastic orders a peaceful groups that live apart and sometimes specialize in a particular product that they sell to support themselves, but at a time when you've got jihads like the Crusades, it kind of fits together, since there's not much difference between a military order and a monastic order.

Will Processus Contra Templarios be available on Amazon? Or maybe in half.com since €5,900 is a little steep?
10.14.2007 1:34pm
Cornellian (mail):
I always found the ideas of military monastic orders very strange.

Back in the day when many Christians thought it extremely important to journey to the Holy Land, even though it was under the control of hostile forces, it wasn't all that odd to consider it part of the duties of a Christian order to shepherd and protect pilgrims visiting the various sites in the Holy Land.
10.14.2007 2:03pm
spectator:

I am puzzled by Prof. Kopel's assertions that the Chinon document and the forthcoming book "prove" the innocence of the Templars.

Far from proving their innocence the new document actually seems to prove their guilt, as it confirms the existence of the blasphemous initiation rituals.

The researcher makes some fuzz about the discovery that that doesn't constitute heresy, but that's a red herring too, as the Pope never condemned the Templars for heresy in the first place.

But if you have a new book to promote, I guess this is as good a headline as you can hope to plant.
10.14.2007 2:58pm
dearieme:
If you like a nice bit of gore and Pope-bashing - and who doesn't? - try reading a history of the Albigensian Crusade. For example "The Perfect Heresy" by Stephen O'Shea.
10.14.2007 3:01pm
The Drill SGT:
David,

Aren't your Sovereign Military and Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, also known as the Knights Hospitaller.

really called Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta, and shortened today to the:

Knights of Malta?
10.14.2007 3:03pm
Truth Seeker:
I don't even think the proceeds of crime should be forfeitable, because it means all the defendant's money is taken so he can't afford to hire a lawyer. Maybe, if after trial and legal fees, some money remains, the government could have a semi-legitimate claim for it, but the defendant most certainly has the right to hire the most expensive lawyer in the world.

But the proceeds of a crime is not the defendant's money. Why should a criminal be able to use thevictim's money for the best defense in the world? That would only make sense to criminals and criminal lawyers.

If the guy is guilty, the lawyer should forfeit his fee because if the money is stolen then title never passed to the defendant or his attorney.
10.14.2007 3:15pm
mariner (mail):
But the proceeds of a crime is not the defendant's money. Why should a criminal be able to use thevictim's money for the best defense in the world?


Because the defendant's money might NOT be the proceeds of a crime? Because the government might be WRONG about the defendant's guilt?

It sounds like you're perfectly willing to abandon the concept of "innocent until proven guilty" that [allegedly] underlies our criminal justice system.
10.14.2007 3:49pm
Milhouse (www):
Perhaps the earliest documented case of forfeiture abuse is that of Navoth's vineyard.
10.14.2007 4:07pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
But the proceeds of a crime is not the defendant's money. Why should a criminal be able to use thevictim's money for the best defense in the world? That would only make sense to criminals and criminal lawyers.
Well, there are two clear problems with that.

The first is that the person isn't a criminal unless and until he's convicted.

The second is that you seem to be reading "proceeds of the crime" to mean the money or property actually stolen by a thief. But the government treats, e.g., any money made by a drug dealer or property bought with that money or earnings from investments with that money as "proceeds of a crime," even though there's no "victim" whose money it is.
10.14.2007 5:21pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
And specifically in the U.S., the real problem with forfeiture is that the government often skips the step of proving a crime, and just seizes the money under civil forfeiture laws.
10.14.2007 5:23pm
NickM (mail) (www):
Will Congressman Brad Sherman introduce a resolution to condemn France and the Catholic Church for this?

Nick
10.14.2007 6:17pm
Seamus (mail):
Perhaps the earliest documented case of forfeiture abuse is that of Navoth's vineyard.

Perhaps, but that story makes clear that the eminent domain laws of the kingdom of Israel must not have been as oppressive as those the Supreme Court upheld. If they had been, then Ahab wouldn't have had to resort to trumped up charges against Navoth in order to get the vineyard.
10.14.2007 6:34pm
John Burgess (mail) (www):
Drill Sgt: The Order of St. John is in existence as a medical services provider in the UK and other Commonwealth countries--and in the US, too.

The Knights of Malta have a more shadowy recent history with various groups alleging to be the 'one true Knights of Malta' in some form or other. Some very strange people end up with Knights of Malta ID cards and 'passports'.
10.14.2007 7:54pm
one of many:
Indeed Anderson. One of the puzzling thigs was the assertation that the Pope of 1312
but Phillip was able to force the Pope to support his plot against the Templars, for the Papacy was under the control of France.
was controled by Phillip. Wholely misses the stated point of the Avignon Papacy, the Pope (Clement V?) had 'retreated' to Avignon becaus Philip had less influence there than in Italy (at that time (pre-Volois kings) the faction in French politics opposed to Philip controled southern France and the Papacy while in Italy there were so many factions, many opposed to the Papacy, that Philip had no difficulty recruiting local allies). In evaluating the Popes decision to permit the plundering of the Templars it might be wise also to realize that he was sucessful, in so far as Phillip was the penultimate Capetian king, which was one of the Pope's major motivations. It has been a while since I have taken a look at the mess of Domestic/International/Familial politics of the 13th &14th centuries, but simple expropriation is not a sufficent explaination for Phillip's actions against the Templars
10.14.2007 8:19pm
Syd Henderson (mail):
Philip V was the penultimate Capetian king; his father Philip IV was the one who raided the Templars.

By the way, the houses of Valois, Bourbon, and Orleans all descend from Hugh Capet in the male line, so in a sense they were Capetian as well. The current Grand Duke of Luxembourg is the great-great-great-great-great-grandson of Louis XIV in the male line, via Philip V of Spain and the dukes of Parma. Oddly, Juan Carlos of Spain does not descend in the male line; it broke with Isabella II.
10.14.2007 8:47pm
Maureen001 (mail):
The Knights Hospitaller exist today, functioning as a benevolent order that supports charitable efforts to alleviate hunger, poverty, and suffering among the poor. Their members volunteer for local charities, donating both time and money. I've seen many variations of their official name, including the title on a Request for Donation form. One version is "Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta, Knights of Malta, Knights of Rhodes, and Chevaliers of Malta". That about covers it, I think.
10.14.2007 8:52pm
Gandalin (mail):
What is interesting here is not so much whether these newly published documents (I believe they have been known to scholars in the field for some time) prove that the Knights Templar were innocent of some or all of the crimes of which they are accused, -- but rather, that the Church is now moving to disassociate itself from the dissolution of the Order and the execution of Jacques De Molay, by laying all the blame on Philippe Le Bel.
10.14.2007 9:37pm
J_A:
Syd,

Just a minor note, King Juan Carlos descends from Louis XIV in the male line through Isabel II's husband, Francisco de Asis de Borbon, the Queen's first cousin

it pays to be the Spaniard here
10.14.2007 10:20pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
Visiting Vezelay Abbey in Burgundy, I learned that Saint Bernard of Clairvaux preached there in favor of a second crusade at Easter 1146, in front of King Louis VII. The Abbey was severely damaged by Protestant Huguenots in the 16th Century, unfortunately -- that's what happens when iconoclasts take their name literally.
10.14.2007 10:32pm
Michael B (mail):
"But if you have a new book to promote, I guess this is as good a headline as you can hope to plant."

Perhaps, though doubtful in this instance if an earlier report I read is true: less than a thousand copies are being printed, for a few thousand dollars each.
10.14.2007 10:42pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
If I recall correctly, for their heroic defense of Malta, the Knights were given a special privilege: their leader has a vote ex officio in the College of Cardinals, when voting for a new pope.
10.15.2007 12:44am
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
"What is interesting here is not so much whether these newly published documents (I believe they have been known to scholars in the field for some time) prove that the Knights Templar were innocent of some or all of the crimes of which they are accused, -- but rather, that the Church is now moving to disassociate itself from the dissolution of the Order and the execution of Jacques De Molay, by laying all the blame on Philippe Le Bel."

Yes, that is exactly the most probably course of action when the accuser gets found out to have been wrong all along about the person wrongly accused. Point the finger of blame at someone else.
10.15.2007 12:58am
Patrick Molloy (mail):
Dante cites the avarice of Philip IV and the decline of the Templars in Purgatorio XX, 90-93:

"I see that this new Pilate is so brutal
this does not sate him, and, unsanctioned,
I see him spread his greedy sails against the Temple."

Dante commentators speculate that Dante's animus toward Philip, in this as well as other cases, stems from his disappointment that France, like the papacy, violated the political unity of Christendom.
10.15.2007 1:00am
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
I can't think of anything that would be more exciting that being turned loose in the Vatican's trove of historic documents. Many many secrets, no doubt.
10.15.2007 1:00am
Superstantial:
"The warrior monks of Prussia were the avaricious and oppressive Teutonic Knights, who expanded the realm of Christianity to the north and east of Germany"

Most of the people east of Germany had already been Christian for 300 years by the time the Teutonic Knights came to christianize them. Its hard to see how they "expanded" Christendom into lands already Christian.
10.15.2007 2:41am
one of many:
Dang, right. Philip IV was not the second to last Capetian king, just that all the rest of them died so fast after becoming king that I've become used to thinking of Louis, John, Charles, Philip &Philip ( did I miss one?) as one king. Bad of me, but none of them held the throne long enough to actually be secure on it( well Philip V maybe... ) and I tend to lump those reigns into one period where the dukes controled France (but most of those periods where the dukes ruled were only under one king, this just wasn't one). A shorthand way of thinking about it that in a moment of stupidity I forgot was not complete, but medievil French history isn't something I've looked at for years, so I beg indulgence for my error. Nonetheless, The Avignon popes were independant of the influence of Philip IV which was the whole point.

And yes, the Volais and Bourbon and Orleans lines could be thought of as Capetian as they did all descend from Hugh but the scheming and divisivness of the interfamial diputes make it perhaps better to consider them as seperate houses descended from the Capet house. Clement V was associated by birth with the House of Anjou, and Avignon was a fief of the House of Valois, but Clement was also a personal friend of Philip of the House Capet. Sometimes things seem complicated but are truely simple, but in the Affairs of Princes nothing is simple.
10.15.2007 4:03am
John Lederer (mail):
So...what happened to the money? Phillip did not get much of it..and "it" was immense, estimated to be a significant proportion of all the money in existence in Europe.

Supposedly the Knights had soem indication of Phillip's hostility and moved the treasury in immense mule trains into Portugal from where .....
10.15.2007 4:11am
Slartibartfast (mail):
My memory has it that Philip wanted to be a Templar, was refused, and that revenge made the prospect of seizing all of their assets look so much more justifiable. Now, if we can only cook up some charges...

ALl of this made for some fairly crappy cinematography, so the Templar Curse is still here, almost seven centuries later.
10.15.2007 7:28am
Slartibartfast (mail):
Plus, wasn't Philip deeply in hock to the Templars? So legend has it, anyway. Easy way to rid oneself of debt, surely: bump off your major creditors.
10.15.2007 7:34am
veteran:
"But the proceeds of a crime is not the defendant's money. Why should a criminal be able to use thevictim's money for the best defense in the world?


Because the defendant's money might NOT be the proceeds of a crime? Because the government might be WRONG about the defendant's guilt?

It sounds like you're perfectly willing to abandon the concept of "innocent until proven guilty" that [allegedly] underlies our criminal justice system."


But isn't this the premise used by the IRS and the Treasury Dept?

I seem to recall that the IRS lost 2 cases before the Supreme Court last year, one on 4th amendment rights and another on 5th amendment rights as well as losing, I think, 9 cases before federal district courts in the last 3 years?
10.15.2007 7:48am
Mike BUSL07 (mail):
"The lunatic is all idée fixe, and whatever he comes across confirms his lunacy. You can tell him by the liberties he takes with common sense, by his flashes of inspiration, and by the fact that sooner or later he brings up the Templars."

Unfair to Prof. Kopel, but had to be said; not every day one can quote Foucault's Pendulum.
10.15.2007 8:21am
Tim Worstall (mail) (www):
One odd note: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Willoughby_Ninian_Bertie
That's the current head of the Knights of Malta (actually, I think wikipedia is wrong there, pretty usre he's dead now).
Used to be a teacher at my old school. Would wake us all up by walking down to breakfast and singing, very loudly, the Our Father in Arabic.
10.15.2007 8:43am
New Pseudonym (mail):

The Knights of Malta have a more shadowy recent history with various groups alleging to be the 'one true Knights of Malta' in some form or other. Some very strange people end up with Knights of Malta ID cards and 'passports'.

Actually, it's pretty clear. Their HQ is in Rome since they left Malta and a number of nations recognize the "Sovereign" in their name by recognizing them diplomatically.
10.15.2007 9:53am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
A non-state actor with a military capacity.
No wonder people were concerned.
10.15.2007 10:30am
TyrantLimaBean:
>Actually, it's pretty clear. Their HQ is in Rome since they left Malta and a number of nations recognize the "Sovereign" in their name by recognizing them diplomatically.

Agreed. The group's members in the US include ambassadors, NSC alumni, etc. If you look around at any big political event in DC you can occasionally see the order's cross on lapels - where others have Congressional pins or the American flag. This isn't anything that should give rise to tin-foil hat conspiracies, it's just an honor for accomplished Catholics.
10.15.2007 12:22pm
Randy R. (mail):
Tyrant: "This isn't anything that should give rise to tin-foil hat conspiracies, it's just an honor for accomplished Catholics."

I might be wrong, but are you confusing them with the Knights of Columbus?

As for the Templars innocence or guilt, I don't think it can ever be settled because the concepts of innocence or guilt were different then from now. Were they guilty of blasphemy? Well, who isn't? Put a group of men with no women around, a keg or two of wine, no supervision, and immense wealth, along with swords, and things are going to happen.

I'm just saying....
10.15.2007 1:30pm
ys:

Actually, it's pretty clear. Their HQ is in Rome since they left Malta and a number of nations recognize the "Sovereign" in their name by recognizing them diplomatically.

They do have their own license plates (I doubt more than a couple of cars have that, so it would be a hot collectors item), but their sovereinty is of a lesser caliber. They have an observer status at the UN, and their representative sneaked into the 50th UN anniversary picture of heads of the member states, into the very back row, even though he was not supposed to. I have the picture and the news item.
10.15.2007 1:41pm
The Cabbage:
The warrior monks of Prussia were the avaricious and oppressive Teutonic Knights, who expanded the realm of Christianity to the north and east of Germany.

At least until Alexander Nevsky sent them to the bottom of Lake Chudskoe.
10.15.2007 1:53pm
Marc in Fort Myers (mail):
Randy R., TLB has it right, indeed: the Malteser are, as it were, la creme de la creme, with the superior class of membership requiring noble birth.

ys, That certain people don't recognise the sovereignty of the Knights of Malta doesn't surprise me (and they have far more justification than, e.g., that smallish but not insignificant number of people who dispute the sovereignty of the Holy See, to which are accredited how many embassies? 170?).

Tim Worstall, Fra' Andrew Bertie remains Prince and Grand Master of the Order, so far as I know; certainly as of a couple of months ago. Am sure I would have seen notice of his death.
10.15.2007 2:33pm
TyrantLimaBean:
>I might be wrong, but are you confusing them with the Knights of Columbus?

No, I'm not, though both are Catholic. I'm much more familiar with the Knights of Columbus (since nearly every adult male I knew growing up was one) than I am with the Knights of Malta (since I only have one acquaintance who is a member), but they are very different groups.

The KofC is pretty much open to any Catholics and has 1.7 million members worldwide. I believe one has to be invited to join a Knight of Malta and there are only 11,000 SMOM Knights and Dames worldwide - usually individuals who are very accomplished in their respective countries.
10.15.2007 2:43pm
TyrantLimaBean:
That should be:

"I believe one must be invited to join the Knights of Malta."

I need more caffeine!
10.15.2007 2:45pm
Tim Worstall (mail) (www):
"Fra' Andrew Bertie remains Prince and Grand Master of the Order"

Could indeed be: I'm very lapsed.
10.15.2007 2:45pm
KevinM:

Detective Tom Polhaus: [picks up the falcon] Heavy. What is it?
Sam Spade: The, uh, stuff that dreams are made of.
Detective Tom Polhaus: Huh?
10.15.2007 2:55pm
Mark Field (mail):
I'm surprised nobody yet has quoted Phillip's arrest order for the Templars. I've always found it very interesting: "A bitter thing, a lamentable thing, a thing horrible to think of and terrible to hear, a detestable crime, an execrable evil deed, an abominable work, a detestable disgrace, a thing wholly inhuman, foreign to all humanity, has .. reached our ears."
10.15.2007 3:05pm
CJColucci:
Damn you, KevinM, beat me to it!
10.15.2007 3:47pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
"wasn't Philip deeply in hock to the Templars?" That's what i read, and further Phillip was envious and feared the larger armies the Templars could afford over himself due to all their increasing wealth.
10.15.2007 4:43pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
"A non-state actor with a military capacity.
No wonder people were concerned."

RA, don't you think the K.Templar serves reather well as the model for our current Blackwater?

'"A bitter thing, a lamentable thing, a thing horrible to think of and terrible to hear, a detestable crime, an execrable evil deed, an abominable work, a detestable disgrace, a thing wholly inhuman, foreign to all humanity, has .. reached our ears."

I thought i was reading my specifications from FBBE there for a nightmarish moment or the turing machine indictment for the contemptible dream of wanting to be a lawyer while autistic.
10.15.2007 4:51pm
Randy R. (mail):
One thing, of course, is that the ability to own and use a sword and, if you excuse the expression, double-edged.

In the middle ages, few people could afford to own a sword, and fewer still knew how to actually use it in battle. (No, you don't just hack away. These things are heavy, for starters). So any king would be grateful to have knights who were loyal to him so that they can fight on his behalf. Any sword yielding knight might be under the kings' protection as a matter of security.

But loyalties might shift, especially if money and power are at stake. (Throw in religion back then). A knight could raise up arms against the king. So there was always the tension between the king and sword bearing knights. I'm sure that the Templars grew so big as to make Philip too nervous to keep them unchecked.
10.15.2007 6:29pm
AndrewPatrick (mail):
Interesting note on the Capetians, Valois, and Bourbons:

The Capetians ended with the three sons of Phillip IV (Louis X, Phillip V, and Charles IV) all dying within 15 years of their father. Throne passes to Valois in 1328.

The Valois ends with the three sons of Henry II (Francis II, Charles IX, and Henry III) each dying without heirs (although this time it took 30 years). Throne passes, after some fun civil-religious war, to the Bourbons in 1589.

The fall of the Bourbons was world-shakingly dramatic, but also amounted to the passing of three brothers, the grandson s of Louis XV: Louis XVI, Louix XVII, and Charles X, who is expelled by the July "Les Miserables" Revolution in 1830. Throne passes briefly to Louis-Phillipe, and the rest, c'est histoire...
10.15.2007 8:37pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
This Knight was out riding her trusty steed, when Richard R. lodged an interesting inquiry deserving of answer. The Roundtable has reconvened to consider such matters.

Your observation of the doubled-edged nature of the sword, along with those few who have acquired the knowledge and mastery to actually use it in battle is, indeed, accurate. That is why an able Knight is so formidable, and so valuable to the King.

However, you mischaracterize several significant qualities of the sword; the sword itself is light, nimble, and can be lightening fast; it is the responsibility bestowed on the Knight entrusted by the King as a keeper of the sword's awesome power that is what's heavy.

Yes, it is likewise an accurate observation to say that any King would be grateful to have Knights loyal to him so they can valiantly and cleverly fight on his behalf, but even more so the King should wish to place the sword's trust under his protection as a matter of security in those Knights who are most capable, you might even say, those with the most amazing of qualities most highly valued to serve in protection of the King.

To say that "loyalties might shift, especially if money and power are at stake," while all too often a flaw of the human nature of some, however, is not enough. This has been the age-old problem for Kings -- in whom to place the trust of the sword.

Notably, those whose shifting disloyalties are to be feared by the King has never been limited to Knights -- such question has been answered in different eras concerning different Kings by children and siblings who covet their inheritance (Shakespeare's Claudius), close guards to the King (Julius Ceasar), and even other Kings.

The King's offer of protection as a matter of security to a coveted and skilled Knight of the highest Order of mastery of the sword, is slightly different, more in the nature of a quid pro quo. Yes, the loyal Knight receives extraordinary money and power in service of the King, but these benefits so graciously bestowed on the Knight by the King comes with a price -- one of the utmost loyalty, Honor, and admiration for the King. And for such a deserving and truly loyal Knight, the money and power are not the true motivator, but rather the love of the mastery of the sword and its use in the heat of the battle in service of the King.

Thus, it is not an accurate observation that there exists "always" a "tension between the king and sword bearing knights." Such matters depend on whether the loyalty of the Knight, and his Honor for and admiration of the King is true.

The real question for the King, then, is how to know if loyalty, Honor, and admiration of the Knight for his King is true? Kings through the ages have always been, understandably, nervous of misjudging their Knights, in fear that "a knight could raise up arms against the king." This is the nature of Kings.

This is the same question faced by Kings as to their Knights, as faced by Knights as to their fiery steeds. It is one, ultimately, of trust -- in whom should be placed this great trust and responsibility of the mastery of the sword in service of the King.

We now live in an era quite different than that which existed when "the Templars grew so big as to make Philip too nervous to keep them unchecked." That was the Medieval times of the Younger Dryas. Now, we are facing catastrophe from abrupt climate change due to global warming.

Very clearly, the Pentagon-Dept. of Defense commissioned an abrupt climate change report dated 2004 in which our President was informed that the sea level rise is expected to affect States with coastal areas, including Florida, which rises to a National Security matter. We're not talking about a few raindrops here or anything a pile of sandbags will hold back.

It isn't rocket science that Florida's coastal properties are predicted to become as worthless as staking a land claim in the middle of the Okefenokee Swamp.

At least one U.S. EPA scientist, addressing the "boom in construction of homes and business along Florida's picturesque coasts," stated his opinion that he does not believe "the data on sea levels" is being "incorporated" "into long- range development plans." This was reported in a Tampa area publication just this past August.

Florida's Governor, Charlie Crist, has undertaken expedited efforts to address Florida's carbon emissions, causing Florida to be the #2 source CO2 emitter contributing to global warming. The Supreme Court recognized greenhouse gases are causing sea level rise just this past term, and our President has confirmed climate change is really happening.

We could be facing rapidly accellerating abrupt climate change that could topple our climate and sea levels like dominos from excessive CO2 levels triggering melting of Artic permafrost, releasing gigatons of methane gases, triggering methane burps from ocean calthrates, a scenario that has at least twice before raised temperatures some 10-30 degrees Celsius over now and caused the extinction of almost every living species on Earth. Ice cores demonstrate some climate change has been as abrupt as a decade.

And now, in addition to the rising sea levels, lakes are scary as well. This past week there are reports out now that brain-eating amoebas are infesting Florida lakes, and three people in Florida have died.

No doubt this is yet another effect of global warming. And it was also recently reported that Dengue fever is in Central America, Mexico, Southern Texas, and some Carribean Islands.

The formula of success for any King may well be to dispatch his loyal, trusted Knights of the sword to protect the property of the Kingdom that remains high and dry. The Roundtable shudders to think of evacuating barns full of horses from rising seas at the coast or a parade of gators march out of lakes and thru the riding arenas with little children and ponies around.

Likely, these gators know global warming is real and the sea levels will change their environments. The Everglades of Central Florida, anyone?

In sum, the enviroment of the kingdom has changed, is changing, in unforeseen and unpredicatable ways, and for this challenge of survival and the rule of law, the King needs Knights of the highest Order of mastery of the sword in his service -- if any can be found in the land.

This is no longer the Younger Dryas, this environment in which today's King must question the loyalty, Honor, and admiration of those Knights upon whom he so wisely chooses to bestow the extraordinary money and awesome power of the mastery of the sword in service of the King. It is no longer an age of religious zealotry and extremism where the losses such as those of Joan of Arc come without cost.

The catastrophes of our ages call upon the wisest of Kings to look in a different direction to answer that age-old question of whom to find worthy to be Knighted in mastery of the sword in service of the King -- such answer can more accurately be found in the unwaivering loyalties of thinkers like Strangelove and Vulcans like Spock. Yes, they were amazing, their mastery of the sword truly riddles wrapped in mysterys in enigmas, but their abilities, as well as loyalties, Honor, and admiration for the King were needed by the King in service of his Kingdom. He trusted them enough to let them into the War Room, without a regret, and he never looked back.

These Kings whom bestowed their trust on Strangelove and Spock did not dwell on irrelevant irrationalities, faux fears as it were, like those experienced when Strangelove's arm that shot up with excitement, or of any Vulcan sensory meltdown when Spock communicated with lifeforms by the placing of his hands. These wisest of Kings let Strangelove be Strangelove and Spock be the Vulcan that he was.

This is so because a truly wise King can ascertain the difference between those things that really matter and those that don't when bestowing the sword's trust under his protection as a matter of security in those Knights with the utmost loyalty, who Honor and admire their King, among the most capable demonstrably possessing the most amazing of qualities most highly valued in the land to serve in protection of the King.

In the end, Richard R., the Roundtable believes it is the wisdom that makes the King admirable, and the mastery of the sword of his Knights that makes him strong, not the hallmark nervous decompensation of the weak. And to this wisdom, the Knight with the awesome mastery of the sword devotes his absolute loyalty and great Honor to the King.
10.16.2007 1:39am
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
Randy R., your silence speaks volumes.

"But loyalties might shift, especially if money and power are at stake. (Throw in religion back then). A knight could raise up arms against the king."

Translation: No matter how good an autistic is at areas of expertise; no matter how many thousands of topics and issues the autistic demonstrates a mastery; no matter how hard an autistic works; no matter the loyalty of autism; there is no opportunity available to an autistic, not one -- an autistic turing machine can't ever be trusted. Why not?

Aversion to autism:

'"A bitter thing, a lamentable thing, a thing horrible to think of and terrible to hear, a detestable crime, an execrable evil deed, an abominable work, a detestable disgrace, a thing wholly inhuman, foreign to all humanity, has .. reached our ears.'"

It could not have been said better.
10.16.2007 3:00pm
NickM (mail) (www):
As long as we're quoting Foucault's Pendulum, "Morons can even win the Nobel Prize."

Nick
10.16.2007 4:30pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Mary Kat.

Wrt the Templars. Nope. Thinking more of al Q.
Blackwater works solely for us.

al Q works for itself.

The Templars worked to safeguard pilgrims--and then their own interests, which may or may not have coincided with those of the nation(s) in which some of their monasteries were located.

This is not to make a moral equivalence. However, the Templars' wealth might have made people nervous. They could buy anything they wanted. Like shares of broadcast outlets, or give enough money to a university to have some influence. Or set up an ATM in the State Department lobby with the other end in Riyadh.

Or, no, wait. Back then it might have been Swiss pikemen. Genoese crossbowmen. Spies. Assassins. Ambassadors.

Anyway, with the military capacity to damage many of what passed for nation-states at the time and an economic power that could end-run the desires of kings, and the suspicion that not everything about their plans was known, they could have made people nervous.
10.16.2007 4:33pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
RA, it seems to me it was the Knights Templars' intelligence that made others nervous.

i wasn't proposing the Templars when I expressed my desire and worthiness to be Knighted. I like good endings.

NickM, the difference between "Morons" and autistics is an autistic (me) would have no interest in quoting Foucault's Pendulum. I prefer Bob Dylan, The Times They Are A-Changin'. It is the best global warming song. They're going to be singing it on the great Northward migration out of Florida when the sea levels rise.

Autistics are fickle, they only do what captures their interest (usually a highly intellectual challenge); that's how you keep their unwaivering loyalty -- give autistics lots of very interesting things to do. Oh, and lots of color patterns work wonders, too, but i try not to give in to leopard stripes, paw prints, and pretty environmental scenes.
10.17.2007 12:21am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Mary Kat. Do you know anything about Charge Syndrome? I think it's a subset of autism.
10.17.2007 12:24am
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
RA, by the way, regarding your mention of crossbow men.

Did you know there old sketches of Chinese burial sites circa 400 B.C. in which metal horse bits (full cheek twisted snaffles) were found? Europe did not manage to discover such bits, stirrups, and horse shoes until around the mid-1700s.

And that, despite Genghis Khan, and also the close proximity geographically of Europeans to the Sythians whom intermingled and traded with the Persians (Iran) and Mongolians.

The Persians were excellent crossbow men; they had a highly advanced army for the times due to the fact they could shoot their crossbows off the back of their horses as they were galloping a retreat manuever. Likely the reason Rome was unable to conquer Persia (Iran).

The most inexplicable thing about the Romans was why they did not use mounted troops and instead relied on primite warfare with foot soldiers, who, of course, were no match for the Barbarians who overran the Northern Roman Empire's (Germany's) borders. Ahh, but maybe it an all be chalked up to Nero.

How do I know all this? I'm a turing machine, and such things caught my interest.
10.17.2007 12:39am
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
"Mary Kat. Do you know anything about Charge Syndrome?"

Okay, what's the joke? It probably has to do with unplugging the turing machine. My favorite part of my one of my favorite shows of earlier years was when the robot on Lost in Space went haywire, and Will Robinson removed his power pack.
10.17.2007 12:41am
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
"primite" = primitive. Sorry, but maybe i should have just left it as was. A Freudian slip of what i thought of many of the Romans.
10.17.2007 12:44am
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
Counting comments so as to be more social, but I had to mention I liked the Greeks much better, and I thought Xenophon was really cool. (Read all his books, translations from the Greek).
10.17.2007 12:52am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
I believe the Persians and others used the compound bow.

Problem with horse cavalry is logistics. Also movement. Unless you have hardened steppe ponies used to hard living, you have to haul grain. Since the horse collar hadn't been invented, the grain surplus per farmer/horse/mule/ox was pretty small.

And after about a week of road marching, the crunchies are ahead of the cavalry anyway. Horses LOOK like they're built to carry men, but that's an illusion. A man can carry a third of his body weight a lot farther than a horse can carry a third of his.

Eventually, the Romans lost to heavy cavalry with the stirrup. But the legions weren't what they had been by the time of Adrianople. Usually, dug-in heavy infantry can't be shifted by anything short of a tornado.

But the barbs who overran the Romans were mostly Infantry. And the Byzantines devised some heavy cavalry. Good description in Graves' fictional bio of Belisarius.

Charge syndrome is not a joke, unfortunately. Just wondered. I have a friend who has a son afflicted with it and all I know is what I see.
10.17.2007 1:07am
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
RA, show me a pic of a compound bow, and I'll let you know. But I'm quite sure the Persians also used the crossbow.

"Problem with horse cavalry is logistics. Also movement. Unless you have hardened steppe ponies used to hard living, you have to haul grain. Since the horse collar hadn't been invented, the grain surplus per farmer/horse/mule/ox was pretty small.

And after about a week of road marching, the crunchies are ahead of the cavalry anyway. Horses LOOK like they're built to carry men, but that's an illusion."

No, I don't think that's accurate. "Hardened steppe ponies" are not the only horses that count amoung their numbers easy keepers, i.e., horses generally caoable of staying beefy on just hay without much, if any, grain. I agree bringing tons of grain along would not be logistically feasible during that time period.

If you read Xenophon's Anabasis, on the Greek army's way into what's now Iraq, the Greek army traveled by some walking/some riding horses. They also brought along many pack horses with provisions (not grain, human food). The idea was they anticipated grazing the horses on the abundant grass-hay on the route they took on the way in.

That strategy would have worked, except for the different designs of the King/King's army the Greeks wwere going to meet, who brought up rear detail and burned all the grass-hay behind the Greek entourage. This was to prevent a retreat by the Greeks due to fact there would be no hay/feed for their horses.

Greeks arrive, are invited to dinner with the King/King's army, but Greeks lacked sufficient dose of paranoia, went to dinner expecting to have a good time. Got drunk, King/King's army killed all the Greek army leaders in the middle of the nite.

Xenophon, Greek journalist/horseman, who was along to write the chronicles of the trip, sees the slaughtered Greek leaders from a hidden spot. Races back to 10,000 sleeping soldiers, wakes them, informs them of the situation, that next morning they will become the King's slaves. Xenophone suggests they might want to dump all the supplies off all the pack horses, mount up, and boogie out of town by nite, to get a head start.

And so on goes the true story, which really is a must read on ingenuity. Great horse pursuit by the enemy with makeshift slingshot defense by the Xenophon-led Greek army, and a brutal death-defying crossing of those Rivers (Tigris-Euphrates). As stated, a must read.

Another thing, a lot of horses are pretty sturdy when it comes to carrying a rider. I know, I have ridden them since age 10.

Okay, sorry to trivialize the Charge syndrome. I checked it out somewhat.

I only see one article where autism and Charge syndrome might overlap, but I do not see any savantism in Charge syndrome. I'm not sure that's what i have, that subset. I do have a little asymmetrical facial features, slight down syndrome look to eyes. Also have the hockey stick line on both palms of hands.

But I am not aware of having any heart defects. No weird ears. My husband vouches for my sexual function -- its A-okay (according to him), and I have a beautiful daughter (exceptionally pretty, first husband).

I had 20/20 vision until this stupid vessel (Mistress) docked alongside our vessel circa 2002-2005, with surveillance RFs. July 2002 vision exam Fla. DHSMV got me at 20/20, I am quite sure. Two judges regarded me as blind. Got my vision checked out because of this, during Sept. 2006, was by then 20/60. i think it has worsened some, but corrected at 20/20 with the special glasses on Sept. 2007 vision exam Fla. DHSMV. But I do have an extreme oversensitivity to bright light. Maybe that's why some people think I'm a vampire.

My hearing is not a deafness impairment; it is combined speech differentiation problem with extreme oversensitivity to several frequencies and noises, speaking, shouting, music that are waaaaay too loud (for me). Being confronted with such, causes shooting pains in my ears, more the left, freaks me out, and I have to get away from the noise, or turn down the volume a lot. I also can't take certain sounds, e.g., wood rubbing on wood, or chalk screeching a blackboard.

I don't lack the ability to smell (i.e, no smell); it is instead that I am allergic to more than 40 foods and even more smells I find abominable/atrocious -- garlic, basil, tabasco sauce, gee whiz, there are SO many. I should keep a list. Hit me with the sidden smell of garlic, and that's another total freak out, I am repelled, have to run, exit the smell zone. This is a major problem.

Maybe i have some of the other Charge syndrome items, but not sure. I do know I have autism. I'm not quite as anal as Temple Grandin with the touch thing, don't weird out wearing the wrong clothes as bad as she describes or do the huggie blanket/security thing she does, but some type of clothing materials or not clothing quite fitting right can really bug me.

Maybe i will check out Belisarius.
10.17.2007 2:59am
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
"caoable" = capable "sidden" = suddden

"I do not see any savantism in Charge syndrome. I'm not sure that's what i have, that subset." I meant I do not believe I have the Charge syndrome as subset of autism, but I do have savantism.
10.17.2007 3:05am
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
RA, I almost forgot to mention, due to the immune system problems, I got opportunisic bacterial spinal meningitis when I was 5, the brain encephaly, was very very sick, almost died, was on the downward spiral.
10.17.2007 3:28am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Mary Kat.
Okay. That sort of matches my friends' son.

You can feed horses on hay--but hay is only a type of grass and that only at a certain point in its growth. In some places I've been you can get seven crops a year, but that's odd. Mostly, three is the max in temperate zones. But, anyway, to keep horses in fodder you either bring it along or keep moving. That suits the March Upcountry, but not an expedition spending a couple of weeks in one location without previous arrangements for supplies.
Put three hundred pounds, including rider, on a horse and make thirty miles a day for a week. You'll be looking at the grunts' dust.
I'm not good at finding pix. The compound bow is made of several materials, including horn laminated together. It is short, being designed for horsemen. When strung, it is bent against the curve it shows when relaxed. Extremely powerful, but to the layman, it looks like traditional bow, but shorter.
You may be handier on a horse than I am for sure, but I still don't see handling a crossbow on a horse.
10.17.2007 9:09am
JohnThompson (mail):
Re your cursorily dismissive comment about the Teutonic Knights--we sure as hell could use a few more of their type these days re fighting the Muzzies. Or as Simon de Monfort once famously said (yes I realize he wasn't a Teutonic Knight) "kill them all, God will know his own"
10.17.2007 1:53pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
"You may be handier on a horse than I am for sure, but I still don't see handling a crossbow on a horse."
RA, I'm sure it would depend on the mental abilities of the horse as well as the level of its training (higher levels of dressage). Assuming one could shoot straight and hit target on the ground, shooting from horseback would add the elements of taking the crossbow from its place, raising it to proper position in ready mode, turning at thw waist with it to face behind the galloping horse, and, most difficult, holding steady enough with the gallop bounce to aim steady and true. No easy feat, I'm sure.

I have never shot a crossbow, but I do believe I could do it (actually execute the manuever) from the back of a galloping horse, given the right horse (one that would hold its path on a straight line with the reins knotted and dropped at the withers). Also, horse not likely to spook, horse unrattled by rider doing things with equipment on its back. Some horses never get used to stuff like this, due to being prey animals horses get very nervous and scared when an unknown is hovering over their backs (they think of big Cats dropping on their backs from trees). Other horses are are okay with it. I would definitely need stirrups, but I understand some of the Persians rode with, essentially, stirrupless bareback pads. Would need a light weight crossbow.

The horse I ride now is very very hot, overly sensitive, all racehorse mentally. While he is okay around vineyard canon shot machines (noisy) and windmills, I think if I got in a gallop and tried to shoot a crossbow from his back, the moment I dropped the knotted reins and tried to turn to shoot over his back, he would mentally short-circuit in the brain and take off like a rocket. (Not that I would fall off, but I might accidentally drop the crossbow. I'm a pretty good rider).

The Persians used a crossbow, then, what I saw, not just a mere compound bow.

"You can feed horses on hay--but hay is only a type of grass and that only at a certain point in its growth. In some places I've been you can get seven crops a year, but that's odd. Mostly, three is the max in temperate zones. But, anyway, to keep horses in fodder you either bring it along or keep moving. That suits the March Upcountry, but not an expedition spending a couple of weeks in one location without previous arrangements for supplies."

Yeah, okay, I agree to some extent, but this is what war strategy was all about. Planning, mapping out the possibilities, knowing the hay yield, etc. The graciousness of one's Hosts (spending time in the one location). I don't think it's as black &white, either/or as you are making it sound; there are various gradations of grey.

"Put three hundred pounds, including rider, on a horse and make thirty miles a day for a week. You'll be looking at the grunts' dust." Well, I don't weight 300 lbs. (Shame on you!) Further, I would not ride &pack supplies on the same horse, either. That puts the rider in the vulnerable situation of the armored, way too heavy and cumbersome to make quick, nimble manuevers. If you needed pack horses, you would have to ride one, lead one, however the logistics. But, oh do I know what 30 miles ride per day is! LOL.

I went on a trail ride out at Pt. Reyes National Seashore a few times. One time (overnite ride from Olema), we got lost going to Bearcat camp down by the seashore. Meandered a few ridges over, many miles. When we got to the shore, I decided I wanted to live a dream and gallop my horse up the surf (Ha Ha). She was terrified of the waves, so I got off and led her in the surf down to the wave line. Mounted back up, and just about then, one of the those famous Pacific sleeper waves came in, frothy, washed 100 feet past where we were standing, horse freaked out, first jumped into the ocean, then spun around and took off away from the water. My pants legs were wet, I got catapulted off the saddle due to wet pants legs slipped, thrown 30 feet further into the water. I reached for my crop (new, $30), as it was washing out, and got caught by the rip tide, almost got taken out by the undertow, was upt o my neck in the water. My friend took off on his horse to get catch my horse before she found an opening to the bluffs, and left the vicinity.

Long story short, I was spared having to WALK back on foot 30 miles to base camp at Olema. My friend got my horse at last moment, I remounted, totally wet, sand in every part of my clothes, even my extra dry sweatshirt for the mosquitos, all wet. Had to ride back over several ridges, cross creeks, past lakes, to base camp, 30 miles. And that was only the first day of the ride. The pain was unimaginable.

"Mary Kat.
Okay. That sort of matches my friends' son."

What? I'm not saying I don't have this Change syndrome thing, along with autism, but I'm not an expert on the Change syndrome. All I know is I don't have trisomy (gene karyotype for one that marker). But I do have autism in spades, and my entire childhood supports that diagnosis. My mother knew, and she was working on PhD in clinical psychology after the two degrees in nuclear atomic physics. Her educational career changed directions after I came along. She couldn't even keep up documentation in the baby book after the regressions began just before age 3. By the way, I do have the balance-coordination problems, just that's what the horseback since age 10 has addressed, helped a lot.
10.17.2007 2:03pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
"Re your cursorily dismissive comment about the Teutonic Knights--we sure as hell could use a few more of their type these days re fighting the Muzzies."

Well, i guess so. It takes a horseback rider to catch a horseback rider, given the mountainous terrain of Afghanistan. The fancy mahines haven't done so well.
10.17.2007 2:13pm
JohnThompson (mail):
Mary Katherine your comments reveal a certain ignorance about ancient history. The Romans, as I understand it at least, conquered pretty much the entire Western world and were incomparably the west's dominant power for close to 700 years. Seems like those "primates" might have known a thing or two about what they were doing notwithstanding their relative lack of cavalry....
10.17.2007 3:45pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
JT, I stated the "primates" typo was likely a Freudian slip about what I THOUGHT about some of the Romans. I did not state it was an objective fact of history that the Romans were primates. And, Yes, the Roman Empire was a formidable World power. I am not disputing that fact in the least. You just want to take issue with what I THOUGHT, because you don't like my autistic THOUGHTS.

So we can simply up and dispense with all the good works and compassionate sympathies objectors to my evidently unpopular autistic THOUGHTS feel toward the likes of Nero.

I'll tell you what the Romans knew "a thing or two about" doing, was their dog work of the slave class, propelling them by brute strength to hold down the Roman fortress for so long. That's why Jesus was such a threat, planted and sowed the ideas of freedom.

But, lest you think the relative lack of Cavalry abilities played no small part in the downfall of the Roman Empire at its zenith, in addition to the Persians, those Germanic barbs were expert horseman -- Napolean, as you might wish to read about, invented the genetic cultivation of superior War horses. Such horse expertise was long possessed by the barbs, e.g. the Darley Arabian, Godolphin Arabian, Byerly Turk, and even today we are benefitting from all those superior Euoropean imports arising from Napolean's efforts -- Selle Francais, Hannoverians, Westfahlens, Trakheners, etc.

I'll tell you what else -- the fall of the Roman Empire, nothwithstanding its longetivity and institutions, was a concurrent result of the efforts to meltdowm the gold, silver, and other valuable alloys out of the conquered areas on the Empire, transpot the riches to Rome proper, and leave the conquered outlying areas with coinage constituted of worthless alloys, much like our own Quarters. Caused hyperinflation, sort of like what we are seeing now in our own Nation, what with the subprime/hedge fund meltdowns and Fed Reserve trying to hold the lid on the inflation.

In sum, all this pissed off the many enemies of the Roman Empire, all of whom were chomping at the bit at the fortress gates, every enemy group from outside wanting to overrun the Empire, as well as conquered enemies (the slave class) from within.

I only wish more students of history demonstrated my so-called "ignorance," rather than yours, because the Roman Empire DID in the end, get overrun -- by the Barbarians. Our Nation is presently facing similar problems, despite its relative youth, and I for one don't wish to see chaos and anarchy, but prefer the rule of law.

Those who are truly ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it.

I'm just sayin ...
10.17.2007 4:19pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
Hmmm, to prevent additional misconceptions from typos regarding what i THINK,

"efforts to meltdowm the gold, silver, and other valuable alloys out of the conquered areas on the Empire, transpot the riches to Rome proper" = efforts to meltdown the gold, silver, and other valuable metals out of the conquered areas on the Empire, transport the riches to Rome proper
10.17.2007 4:50pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
RA, no more horse comments I was so enjoying? What kind of riding did you do?

Obviously JT had no comeback. Probably an ultra-conservative extremist, like those Republicans who advocated Sadaam had WMD and Sadaam was linked with Al Qaeda and OBL at the time we went to Iraq, which has now been debunked.

I am just amazed that people believe they can address some of the problems we have in this Country when they cannot even define the problem first. How can anyone solve a problem when they don't know what the problem IS? And if they can't define the problem, how can they fight off the enemy?

I love my Country, and it is really discouraging to see so many people just going around with their heads in the sand, believing any gullible gossip someone else says. Its like the folly of these developers building $4 B condo complexes on barrier island beaches in Florida, when Rand Corp and Pentagon DoD reports predict sea level rise due to abrupt climate change/global warming.

What happened to our critical thinking skills in this Country? Did we FCAT, LSAT, NCLB, MBE them away?

I guess it is easier to be a denialist than a critical thinker who has the actual skills and abilities to help protect our great Country and the rule of law.

One of the side effects of any discussion about the Knights Templar, it separates the mere watchers of the Da Vinci Code from the critical thinkers.
10.17.2007 6:35pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Mary Kat. The two-horse solution doubles the need for fodder, halves the time you can spend living in one spot, and requires horseholders when in action. Or somebody to guard the herd.

Most cavalry has moved on the horses they fought on.

Problem with crossbows on horseback is cocking them. There is no method using two bare hands which is as efficient as the bow drawing motion. So the way to get the most energy is the drawn bow. Other ways of cocking crossbows involve detachable cranks, or hooks on a heavy belt. You put the bow point down, put your foot in a stirrup-like holder in front, hook your belt on to the string, and straighten up.

Also, the rate of fire is much slower.

I don't do a lot of horse stuff. The family runs to Infantry.
10.17.2007 8:58pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
RA, yeah, I know two horses are more difficult than one. But isn't it fascinating how the Moors on their light little Arabians danced circles around the jousting Knights with all the heavy armor. It is a tradeoff, the strategy, for sure.

I am sure if I did practice pulling off the crossbow manuever (on the right horse), I could not do it using a traditional one, way too heavy. I would need a new high tech lightweight Americanized version. It was amazing the Persians could pull it off with the traditional ones bareback (no stirrups). I can ride bareback alright, but I doubt I could pull off that manuever bareback. You have to have ultra balance for the bareback stuff.

Speaking of cavalry and infantry, have you ever been to Univ. of Tampa Military Library? Its quite amazing. haven't been there for awhile, but my favorite place to work was right beneath Gen. Patton's pic. They have some Great books!
10.18.2007 2:19am
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
What happened, RA? Did you move to another thread? Mukasey, maybe?
10.18.2007 1:49pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Mary Kat

The steppe horsearcher--Hun, Mongol, Scythian, and the more formalized Persian type--all used short conventional bows. The rate of fire was quite high and you didn't have to take your eyes off what was going on around you.

The Crusaders' heavy horses were suitable for fighting other such, which were the dominant arm in Europe at the time for social as well as military reasons, and Infantry.

The light cavalry could have been destroyed had the Europeans had horse archers. However, horse archers were too great a threat to the social structure of armored knights (as was the crossbow. One pope tried to limit it to use against non-Christians) since it didn't take a lifetime's training and a noble's wealth to get into the game good and hard. In fact, any peasant could pick up a crossbow and take a knight off his horse. Longbowmen, however, needed to be at it permanently and so were professionals, serving the establishment who could pay for them.
However, a contingent of horse archers could have ruined the Saracens' entire afternoon, and been protected from a charge by the heavy cavalry.

It is no accident that gentry status and horses are linked.
French Cheval and chevalier
Spanish Caballo and Caballero.
German Pferd and..... hm.

The Brits' insistence on riding horses, or behind them, on any matter of state.
10.18.2007 4:50pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
What an education! Thanks, RA. It was delightful.
10.19.2007 12:32am