Knights Templar 3rd Grand Master: Everard des Barres

Everard des Barres

Everard des Barres was born of an aristocratic family in 1113, in Meaux, Champagne, France.  He joined the Order of the Knights Templar in his teens, and by 1143, had risen through the ranks to become Grand Preceptor of France.

When Robert de Craon died in 1147, Everard was one of the highest dignitaries of the Order, making him the obvious choice as the next Grand Master of the Knights Templar.  His election to the post, was nothing more than a formality, making him the Order’s third Grand Master.

Everard des Barres, along with 120 Templar Knights met with Pope Eugenius III, with King Louis VII in attendance.  At this time the Order of the Knights Templar received the right to wear the red cross of martyrdom upon their white habits.

Everard who had close ties with King Louis VII, along with his force of Templar Knights, joined Louis on the Second Crusade (1148-1149), to the Holy Land.

Everard and the Templar force, along with diplomats went ahead of Louis to prepare for the King’s arrival at Constantinople, and agree a contract allowing the Frankish army to pass through Byzantine lands.

Whilst journeying through the Pisidia passes in the Cadmus Mountains in south-west Turkey, Everard saved King Louis VII’s life in battle with Seljuk Turks.

An impressed Louis, placed the Frankish army under Templar command.  The army was divided into two forces, with a Templar knight at the head of each force.

King Louis asked for a 2,000 silver mark loan of Everard, claiming he had spent most of his money getting his troops to the Holy Land.

Everard made the journey to Acre, and so the Order of the Knights Templar became bankers and treasurers for Kings in the Holy Land and Europe.

In 1148, Everard des Barres led his force of Templar Knights along with King Louis VII and King Baldwin III on an ill-fated campaign against Damascus.

What should have been a successful campaign ended in disaster.  King Baldwin had promised the city to the Thierry of Alsace, Count of Flanders.  Christian lords withdrew their troops and the Crusader army fell apart.  Muslim forces saw their chance and attacked Antioch.

Everard des Barres, felt crushed after the ill-fated campaign against Damascus and accompanied King Louis VII back to France at the conclusion of the Second Crusade.

In the April of 1151, Everard des Barres abdicated the office as Grand Master of the Knights Templar, despite protests.  He became a Cistercian Monk at Clairvaux, in order to do penance, for the failure of the Second Crusade, and for the lives lost.  On the 12th November 1174, Everard died in Clairvaux Abbey.

Everard des Barres, made the Order of the Knights Templar, bankers of the French crown.  The seeds had been sown, and France was beholden to the Templars.  So, its not surprising the French Crown rebelled in 1307.

The Second Crusade

Second Crusade 1

The Second Crusade

The Second Crusade (1147-1149) came about when Muslim forces started gaining ground in the 1130’s.

On the 24th December 1144, Edessa the Crusader state fell to the Seljuk General; Zengi the Governor of Mosul and Aleppo.  News of the loss, reached the ears of Pope Eugenius III in the autumn of 1145, such news would have been a devastating shock, fearing Jerusalem, the Holy City was at risk.

In 1145, a second crusade was called for by the French Monk; St.Bernard of Clairvaux, with King Louis VII of France and King Conrad III of Germany, leaders of the crusade.

King Conrad III of Germany and his army, left for the Holy Land in May of 1146, followed by the French army under the leadership of King Louis VII accompanied by his wife “Eleanor of Aquitaine” in the June.

Another crusader army set forth by sea comprising mainly of English and small nation knights.  On route they responded to a plea for help from the Portuguese Christian King; Alfonsa, to dislodge Moors from Lisbon.  The combined action of Crusader and Portuguese played a crucial part in establishing Portugal’s Independence.

Upon arrival at Constantinople, Emperor Manuel persuaded King Conrad to move on, and not to wait for the French army coming up behind.  At Nicaea, Conrad split his forces in two; non-combatants took the coast road, whilst the army took the shorter and possibly more dangerous route across Anatolia.  As they neared Dorylaeum, these German knights, weary and thirsty, were ambushed and suffered defeat at the hands of Seljuk Turks in October 1148.  Barely ten per cent escaped, and made it back to Nicaea.  The remnants of the German army joined forces with the French, under the leadership of King Louis VII, taking the coast road to Attalia.  Upon arrival, food was in short supply and the countryside was in the hands of the Turks.  If that wasn’t bad enough, the Byzantium fleet was unable to take his whole army.

The King of France showed his true colours, by moving his own household and as much cavalry he could load onto the ships and headed to Antioch.  As for the rest of the army; his foot soldiers and pilgrims, supposedly under his protection, they were left to the mercy of the Turkish archers, as they made their way by road to Antioch.  Many lost their lives…

King Louis VII of France arrived in Antioch, and was feasted by Prince Raymond of Antioch, showering them with high quality accommodation and gifts.  This small warrior force, would strike fear at the heart of the Turks.

Abbot Bernard of Clairvaux, he who almost single handedly called for a second crusade, with the backing of the Pope, desired Jerusalem be re-taken.  Many monarchs and knights were under his spell, like King Louis VII of France.

King Louis VII announced that his fleet would be sailing on to Jerusalem, and his highly spirited wife Eleanor of Aquitaine announced she would be staying in Antioch.  Louis had suspected Eleanor and her uncle, Raymond of Poiters, the current ruler of Antioch, and their host, were having an affair.  His response was to kidnap his wife, dragging her by force to his ship and sail off to Acre, to join up with King Conrad III.

On the 25th May 1148, the combined Christian crusader armies laid siege to Damascus.  On the first day, Damascenes came out of the city to do battle with these crusaders, but were driven back into the city.  The crusaders moved to the east side of the city, and were faced with no water and a much stronger wall, this error would cost them dearly.

It wasn’t long before they realised their chance of taking Damascus had evaporated…  At dawn on the next day, the crusaders retreated, through a hail of Damascene arrows… and the Second Crusade had ended in disaster.

(Image) The Second Crusade: Wikipedia