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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Postgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology)

Postgraduate Course: The Trial of the Templars (ODL) (PGHC11468)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryBetween 1307-1314 members of one of the most powerful medieval institutions - the Knights Templar - were arrested, tried, tortured and suppressed under the command of the king of France and the pope. Seven hundred years after the dissolution of the Order, the trial of the Templars still arouses enormous controversy and speculation. Using trial records and other texts (in translation) this course will cut through the rumours and myths surrounding the trial to uncover the causes for this infamous, and incredibly well-documented, affair.
Course description The Order of the Temple was established in Jerusalem in c.1119 for the protection of pilgrims visiting the Holy Land. Within years the Knights Templar had become a significant force in Syria, Palestine and in the West, forging a reputation for military prowess as well as accumulating vast wealth and influence. However, in 1307 the Templars in France were arrested on the orders of King Philip the Fair. In the name of the Inquisition, their property was seized and the men charged with a host of severe heresies, including the denial of Christ, homosexuality and idol worship. Confessions extracted under torture were brought before royal and papal tribunals, and although defences were mounted in their support, in 1312 Pope Clement V officially dissolved the Order. In March 1314, Jacques de Molay, the last Grand Master of the Templars, was burned at the stake in Paris.

Seven hundred years after the dissolution of the Order, the trial of the Templars still arouses enormous controversy and speculation. This course will cut through the rumours and myths surrounding the trial to uncover the causes for this notorious affair. It will begin with an some background to the Templars before exploring the situation in Europe and the East on the eve of their arrest, such as the criticisms facing the Order after the loss of the Holy Land in 1291 and the growing influence of the French Crown over the papacy. The arrest and trial of the Templars from 1307-1312 will then be analysed in detail, drawing from a range of sources, including trial records, arrest warrants, confessions, inquisitorial accounts and diplomatic correspondence. The course will end with a look into the trial of the Templars in Scotland and the formation of myths surrounding the last members and the legacy of the Order. By studying this module, students will be able to engage with many pertinent historical themes, including heresy, religious-secular conflict, justice and torture, myth formation and local history.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  22
Course Start Semester 2
Course Start Date 15/01/2018
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 1 x 3,000 word essay (80%)
Forum participation (20%)
Feedback Students will receive written feedback on their coursework, and will have the opportunity to discuss that feedback further with the Course Organiser during their published office hours or by appointment and/or via email.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate a detailed understanding of the relevant areas of the history of the military orders and the Knights Templar;
  2. execute defined research and produce structured and analytical essays on aspects of the course;
  3. critically analyse the sources relevant to the course and be familiar with their strengths and limitations;
  4. engage with other students through the online discussion forums;
  5. demonstrate detailed knowledge of the historiography and debate surrounding the Trial of the Templars.
Reading List
Barber, M., The Trial of the Templars, 2nd ed. (2006). Ebook.

Barber, M., The New Knighthood: A History of the Order of the Temple (1994), pp. 280-313.

Barber, M. & Bate, K. (trans.) The Templars: Selected Sources (2002).

Burgtorf, J., Crawford, P.F., & Nicholson, H.J. (eds), The Debate on the Trial of the Templars (1307-1314) (2010).

Demurger, A., The Last Templar: The Tragedy of Jacques de Molay, Last Grand Master of the Temple (2009).

Forey, A., The Military Orders: From the Twelfth to the Early Fourteenth Centuries (1992), pp. 225-41.

Housley, N. (ed. & trans.) Documents on the Later Crusades: 1274-1580 (1996). D172 Doc.

Morton, N., The Medieval Military Orders: 1120-1314 (2013), pp. 129-42.

Nicholson, H.J., The Knights Templar: A New History (2001), pp. 196-237.

Nicholson, H. (trans.) The Proceedings against the Templars in the British Isles, 2 vols (2011).

The Military Orders, vol. 1 (1994), vol. 2 (1998), vol. 3 (2008), vol. 4 (2008), vol. 5 (2012).
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Michael Carr
Tel: (0131 6)50 2554
Course secretaryMrs Lindsay Scott
Tel: (0131 6)50 9948
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