Gilbert Erail (Horal) was born in the latter years of the 1100’s in the Kingdom of Aragon in modern day Spain.
Erail entered the Order of the Knights Templar in his teens, and rose to be Master of the Temple in the Aragon and Provence, and saw action in the battles of the Reconquista on the Iberian Peninsula, and the Holy Land. He became Grand Master of the Provence until 1190, and Grand Preceptor of France, until 1193.
With the death of Robert de Sable, he became Grand Master of the Knights Templar in 1194.
Unlike his predecessors Erail favoured peace between Christians and Muslims. This caused tension between the Templars and Hospitallers, who were more militant in their outlook.
Erail’s policy towards Muslims put him at odds with Pope Innocent III, and militant clergy calling for war against these infidels. He made contact with Saladin’s brother, one Malek-Adel much to the disgust of the clergy, who attacked his words, calling him a traitor, for acts of treason and collusion with the enemy.
The Bishop of Sidon excommunicated Gilbert Erail, however the Pope stepped in, as only the Pope could excommunicate a Templar.
In the December of 1200, Gilbert Erail died.