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The Structure

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Knights Templar

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The Structure

of the

Knights Templar

Grand Master

The Grand Master was in charge of the whole Order; - Outremer, the Iberian Peninsula and Europe. The Grand Master was elected for life by a college of thirteen senior members of the Order - eight Knight-Brothers, four sergeants and a Chaplain-Brother. By the Papal Bull 'Omni Datum Optimum' of 1139 the Grand Master of the Order was answerable only to the Pope.

Throughout history, a couple of men retired from the position of Grand Master, with the pope’s permission, but for the most part, dying was the only way out of the job. The election for Grand Master was held in the East, at the Templar headquarters. It would have been impossible to leave the office empty long enough to wait for emissaries of the Western chapters to go East and vote, and so those commanders simply prayed for a worthy outcome. There was a reason that the election of the Grand Master was a worrisome enough matter to need their prayers: The Templar Grand Master was a very important person politically. The Templars spent the bulk of their time in the Holy Land (roughly the modern nations of Israel, Lebanon, and Syria), and they knew the language, tactics, and attitudes of the Muslim enemy. This knowledge, in combination with their premier skills as warriors, made the input of the Templars very important in any council of war or peace. When new regiments of knights and soldiers arrived at Acre, which was the Templars’ principal port, the first man they wanted a powwow with was the Grand Master, and sometimes the Grand Master of the Knights Hospitallers, as well. (The main mission of the Hospitallers was to care for the wounded, as guarding the pilgrims had been for the Templars.) Though it was well known in later years that the Templars and the Hospitallers were great rivals, in the early days of the Crusades they appeared to work together and fight together very well.------- From The Templar Code for Dummies

Master and Commander

The Master and Commander was the local commander in charge of the commandery. He had complete command in the field.------- From The Templar Code for Dummies

Maritime Master

Seneschal (Grand-Commander)

The Seneschal was the right-hand man for the Master and was sometimes called a Grand Commander. In peace, the Seneschal administered all the lands belonging to the chapter house. In war, he handled the movement of the men, the pack trains, the food procurement, and other issues of moving an army.------- From The Templar Code for Dummies


This officer was the third in line militarily. He was in command of the light cavalry and the  Military Sergeant brothers.------- From The Templar Code for Dummies


The position of Marshal was a very important one on the battlefield: The Marshal was in charge of all arms, as well as all horses. He was very much a
military man, and a Master would usually consult with him, as well as the Seneschal and the Turcopolier, before making any final decisions on tactics.------- From The Templar Code for Dummies

The Marshal had authority over all the weapons and armour of Order both that manufactured and maintained in the Orders own workshops and all gifts, bequests and booty of arms and armour. He was also in charge of the Order's horses.
The Marshal , as senior military commander of the Order, would lead the Order on the battlefield, but if the Master was present he would lead - from Osprey Warrior #91, The Knights Templar


The first officer under the marshal, the Under-Marshal was in charge of the lesser equipment, bridles, padding for saddles, barrels of water, and other supply problems. He held a very important position in battle, because he held the piebald banner, a flag at the head of all, to keep stragglers together.------- From The Templar Code for Dummies
The under-marshal was a sergeant-brother and was assigned two horses and a squire

Standard Bearer (Gonfanier)

Also called the Gonfanier, the Standard Bearer was in charge of the squires. He was their paymaster, their disciplinarian, and the man who checked over their very important work of keeping the knights’ horses and weapons in good order. He didn’t actually “bear the standard” in battle — he marched in front of the banner and led his marching column.------- From The Templar Code for Dummies
The standard bearer was a sergeant-brother and was assigned two horses and a squire


The knight was the backbone of the battlefield. Knights were the equivalent of the cavalry. A small force of knights was very powerful, skilled in warfare, clad in armor, able to take on a large number of foot soldiers. Only a man whose father and grandfather both had been knights could become one, and if he were caught lying about his lineage, the penalty was severe. No bastard (illegitimate) son could be a knight. The knights dressed in the famous white habit, adorned with a red cross. There was no mistaking a Templar knight on the battlefield. Hair was cut short, but knights were forbidden to shave their beards, probably in keeping with the Muslim belief that a beard was a sign of greater masculinity. No sense giving your enemies a reason not to respect you.------- From The Templar Code for Dummies

A Knight-Brother was assigned the assistance of at least one squire and usually two warhorses (destriers), one riding horse (palfroi) or mule, and a packhorse (roncin).


Usually from a lower social class than the more noble knights, the Sergeant was still a light cavalry officer, the chief support officer for the knight. Sergeants dressed in a black tunic, and a black or brown mantle, often with a red cross.------- From The Templar Code for Dummies


sergeant-brother: a brother of the Order who had made the three religious vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, of lower rank than a knight and not a priest. He could play many roles: as a warrior, an administrator, a craftsman, a squire (assistant to a warrior) or a servant.  -- From Osprey Warrior #081 – Knights Templar 1120 - 1312

Sergeant-Brothers were assigned one horse each and no squire. ( Sergeant-Brothers holding military commands were assigned a squire and two horses).


The Treasurer was responsible for the Orders financial affairs

Draper (Drappier)

The drappier or draper was the member of the Order responsible for clothing the brothers.
The Draper was responsible for the clothing of all members of the Order. He was also assigned the task of ensuring all members wore clothing suitable to their duties and position and ensuring none wore any prohibited decoration.


locally recruited light cavalry


Squires were the young men who, just like in the movies, were there to assist the knight in any way possible, from polishing his weapons to feeding his horses. The difference for a Templar Squire is that this was often a hired position, especially in the first hundred years of the Order. It was only later that many Squires were there specifically to test themselves and their mettle, and to climb to the order of knight.------- From The Templar Code for Dummies


Lay Servants could run the gamut, from masons brought in to do building or repair work, to personal servants, to an officer. The hierarchical statutes of the Templar Rule laid out precisely how many of such servants each officer was allowed to have. For a Templar to have too many would be a sin of pride.------- From The Templar Code for Dummies


One of the most important positions within a Templar commandery was that of the Chaplain brother. The job came with many delicate layers of meaning
underneath. He was sort of the internal priest for the Order. He had the power to hear confessions and to give absolution for sins. In fact, Templars were forbidden to say their confession to anyone else without a papal dispensation, which simply means special permission from the pope. This is a very important point, because in effect, what the pope did was to make the Templars spiritually, as well as politically, independent from the rest of the Church. They were not answerable to local clerics or bishops, but only to the pope.------- From The Templar Code for Dummies


Knights who wanted to serve with the Templars could join as Associate-Brothers.
For example;-  in Catalonia, in 1134, Raymond IV, Count of Barcelona, and a group of his vassals pledged themselves to serve with the Templars for a year.


The Infirmarer was the senior official responsible for supervising the Orders infirmary, for the care of sick brothers.


The Receptor was responsible for the formal admission ceremony for the reception of applicants into the Order. Usually the Receptor was the local provincial commander.



The Visitor was an official of the Order sent from the headquarters to the Orders houses in the west to ensure that proper procedures and practices were being followed by the brothers of the Order.





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