THE HOMOSEXUAL CRUSADERS (Dec, 1967)

I have no idea if the Templars were gay or not, but in general people will admit to pretty much anything when you torture them.

Also, apparently it was all the damn Moslem’s fault.

THE HOMOSEXUAL CRUSADERS

There is good evidence that history’s boldest warriors belonged to a secret homosexual order

By RICHARD STILLER, M.A.
Mr. Stiller, a former associate editor of this magazine, is now a writer in the medical and health fields.

Few historical events have so seized the imagination of Western Civilization as the great Crusades of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. From these passionate efforts of Christian Europe to wrest its holy places in Palestine from the Mohammedans have come down our most virile ideal: the warrior in a sacred cause.

No hero is as noble, as courageous, as manly as the crusader knight of legend, the man who “took the cross” and put his life at hazard for his faith. Richard the Lion-Hearted is only the best known to us among vast armies of kings, dukes, and lesser knights who crossed Europe and Asia Minor to battle Islam for possession of Jerusalem.

Among the most dedicated crusaders were that select brotherhood of warrior-monks, the members of the Order of the Knights Templars, also known as the Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon. The Templars were crusaders par excellence; their entire lives were de- voted to the battle to win and keep Jerusalem safe for Christian pilgrims. On entering the order, they vowed a life of chastity, poverty, and total obedience to their Grand Master; the Grand Master took orders only from the Pope.

The Templars were the very paragons of the manly, knightly virtues: they were also, many of them, homosexuals. Their initiation ceremony included not only religious and feudal rituals but homosexual rituals, as well. The Order of the Knights Templars was, in fact, a homosexual warrior elite.

This is one thesis developed with impressive scholarship by G. Legman in his unusual and provocative book The Guilt of the Templars, published recently by Basic Books. Legman, a noted bibliographer and a well-known editor of books and essays on sexual themes, describes the three basic charges that were leveled against the Templars when they were arrested and suppressed on Friday, the thirteenth of October, 1307.

They were charged with renouncing Christ and Christianity, worshiping a cat or an idol, and “that at their initiation they were required to kiss the Templar receiving them on the anus (or backbone), on the penis (or navel), and on the mouth, and that they were then told that they might have carnal copulation with one another and were to submit to it passively if required by another Templar.”

Legman believes the Templars guilty of the major accusations cited above, although he does not consider that these were the real reasons for the arrest and downfall of the order. In his view the Templars, in their almost two centuries of existence (they were founded in Jerusalem in 1118), came under the influence of anti-Christian heresies and of surviving pre-Christian cults, and that this was part of their sexual outlook.

The essential homosexuality of the Knights Templars, he says, “did not reside in the private or personal homosexual activity of any specific members of the order. . . . The homosexuality of the order was part and parcel of its resistance to medieval Christianity.”

An expression of anti-sexual bias is seen in Templar regulations which forbade the knights to attend weddings, even the weddings of their own sisters. Said one Templar in his testimony before the Inquisition describing his initiation ceremony: “Then he (the knight performing the ceremony) commanded me never to enter a church when a marriage was being celebrated … he commanded me never to enter a house where there was a woman in childbirth”

Following the initiation and the homosexual ritual kiss, the novice knight was then told that if at that time “any animal heat moved him” or if he felt any “stirring of the flesh” he could have sexual relations with any of the brother Templars present. At the same time, he was to be ready to submit to the other Templars should they desire him. According to this, the initiation could be interpreted not so much as a homosexual seduction as a homosexual rape of the intimidated recruit into the order.

Some defenders of the Templars (notable among those who defended their innocence was the great nineteenth century American historian Henry Charles Lea) claimed that the kisses were symbolic acts meant only to demonstrate complete submission to the rules of the order. Others said that it was a falsehood intended to damage them in the public eye.

Legman insists that the formal expression of the “homosexual availability” of all the Templars to each other goes far beyond casual homosexual acts that might occur in almost any circumstance when men are segregated from women.

“In what was clearly the most ritualistic and also the most homosexual form,” he writes, “it was the receptor into the order who kissed the recruit, not the opposite. In other cases, apparently the receptor kissed the recruit first, who was then required to kiss him in return, in the reverse order: mouth, navel (i.e., penis), anus; and anus, penis, mouth. This is clearly the progression of an act of love, as would be even more obvious in the case of opposite sexes.”

Not all the Templars were enthusiastic homosexuals. Take, for example, the story of Hugues de Marchant who at the age of forty was inducted into the Templars. At his initiation, he was confined with other Templars for a long period of time, during which time he was believed to have been subjected to homosexual rape. When he was released, now a full-fledged Templar, he was pale and very much changed. Shortly thereafter, he changed his family seal to read “The Seal of Hugues the Lost.”

The Templars’ homosexuality has been attributed not only to the strong Moslem influence under which the Templars fell during their long years in the Middle East as the principal Christian army during the crusades. Almost all of their activities took place in what are now the countries of Israel, Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan. Homosexual ordeals and general homosexuality, it is well known, have long been common in the Arab world.

There is some virtue in remembering the Templars and what their story tells us about the complexities not only of homosexuality but also about all of human sexuality. Apparently the manly vigor and rough soldierly masculinity of the Knights Templars are not incompatible with homosexuality.

And apparently, also, homosexuality is not necessarily native to a particular time or place or profession. From pastoral Sodom in the Bible down through the medieval crusader knights to the modern homosexual communities in our great cities today, homosexuality endures. It remains a puzzling and important and perhaps permanent facet of human behavior.

*Above, The Seal of the Templars, showing one Templar riding behind another on a horse—a fact of sexual significance in itself.

4 comments
  1. Stephen says: September 26, 20126:01 am

    According to my father – a mediaeval historian – the main problem with the Templars was that the King of France wanted their money; so he and his supporters threw all the mud they could think of at the Order in the hope some would stick. They were also supposed to be devil-worshippers. Speaking as a historian’s son, I immediately want to see contemporary evidence of these penis-kissing rituals. None is provided here.

  2. Charlene says: September 26, 20129:48 pm

    It was more that Philip had borrowed astronomical amounts of money from them and didn’t want to pay them back.

  3. Paladin says: April 27, 201310:33 am

    Steven is right. There is absolutely no kind of evidence of such rituals with Templar Knights. Whatever their initiation was, it was secret. The problem with that is anyone could make up anything about it- and often the worst accusations are thrown at secret organizations.. Especially if someone has a bit of a grudge against them (King of France) or one feels secret rituals, or imitations- are only to be done by a priest (Catholic Church at the time).

    I’m more than sure that there were some Templar Knights, who were homosexual, because they were only ordinary men, and all men are imperfect. Thing is homosexuality in the old world… Doesn’t exactly match what we know or think of today. Meaning even among two men who loved each other romantically, it was seen as a huge disgrace for either man in the relationship- to take on the role of a female in any way shape or form, nor was there any kind of emulation of male/female relationship.

    This means that, it was seen as a huge disgrace for a man to allow another man to penetrate him. This was not seen as an act of love- more like humiliation. Men did not marry in the sense of a man and woman did, but they formed covenants- which were agreements, much like civil unions of today (however they were still expected to marry, and produce children- for practical reasons of their day). Sexually they did something other than anal penetration… But I won’t go into that, I will say that a large group of homosexual men today, follow the old world view of male/male relationship. Due to their dislike of modern gay “norms” and behavior.

    I have nothing against someone who is homosexual, but I get annoyed at how many people of today, try to put a modern gay spin on almost everything- and don’t understand that modern views and behavior of homosexuality- was seen as appalling even among homosexual men of the old world… Because they felt that it humiliated and stripped a man of his masculinity, and dignity- to allow another man to treat him, or for a man to treat a man he was to love and respect- and view as his equal… Like a woman.

  4. kenxxx says: June 14, 201510:09 pm

    As far as I know the Knights Templar were a Roman Catholic order of monks whose task it was to protect the pilgrims while they traveled to the holy land. Another order active at the time was the Hospitallers of St. John of Malta. They provided hospitality services to the pilgrims (food, lodging, rest, and some medical care.) They survived to this day but the KT did not. The KT order was started by 2 French knights. The emblem signifies members share everything and brotherhood, like most other orders of monks. The 2 knights on the horse represent the order was started by 2 knights.

    They KT order took in young boys as apprentices like most occupations of the time. All the boys were taught academics and military skills. They also worked at occupations at the castle (menial skills at first). They worked in every part of the castle like kitchen, farming, blacksmith, horse sheds, etc. Each knight was assigned one boy as a squire. When they were well trained militarily, knights were chosen from the group by there education and military skills (not because they were homosexual). However, only those from aristocratic families could become knights. The rest of the boys continued their work to become masters of their trade (cooks, blacksmiths, horse trainers, etc). Scholars estimate there were 3 lay brothers needed for every knight and 3 horses. Horses had to be well trained as they had to go into battle with the knights to protect the people traveling to the holy land. There were many pirate types along the way who would rob the pilgrims of everything and let them stranded.

    The order became very very rich and expanded to other countries. The King of France at that time borrowed a lot of money from the KT. The KT offered many types of industry including banking and they formed the first international bank. The king kept borrowing to finance the wars. When he died and the son became king he continued to borrow money from the KT. Representatives of the KT kept meeting with the king to get paid back with interest but the king’s coffers were empty. Finally the KT demanded that the king give over the crown jewels until the debt was paid. The king was furious that he was treated in this manner. He conspired with kings in other countries where KT had castles to raid them on Friday the thirteenth in the early 1300s. Somehow these raids were kept secret and KTs were jailed and their castles taken over. France was the most ruthless. France held mock trials and the knights were each tortured until they agreed with the charges against them. The KTs were losing popularity among the civilians as the crusades were over and there were no more travelers to the holy land. The pope was fearful that the KT had become too powerful and too rich. During the trials of the captured knights the Pope did little to help them. The pope disbanded the order. The 2 highest ranking leaders were burned at the stake. When the King of France raided the castle there were no valuables left there including the crown jewels. Their fleet of shops was also gone. Where all the treasures ended up is the mystery of the ages and there are many theories. The knights that were able to escape or released blended into society. It is believed that many knights joined the Hospitallers of St. John of Malta. That order continued to offer medical services and hospitals. They are believed to be the first order of male nurses. The order continued to be popular with citizens and Popes because they were able to change with the needs of the times.

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