2 knights, 1 horse – how a legendary symbol of the Knights Templar has confused and fascinated for the reason that Middle Ages

The Knights Templara legendary monastic military order forged in the fireplace of the Crusades, still captivates twenty first century audiences.

From their founding in 1119 AD until their dissolution in 1312 AD, the Templars' mission was to beat Christian kingdoms within the Holy Land against the assorted Muslim powers that desired to bring the region back under Islamic rule. To fulfill this mission, the order united two formative institutions of the early Middle Ages: the mounted knight and the pious monk.

At the time, the Templars were a mystery. How could someone be each a pious monk and a fierce warrior? The Templars themselves tried to reply this query of their symbolism, which proved to be as enigmatic because the order itself.

Illustration: Knight on a horse with a heraldic cross, another person holding the horse
The Knights Templar were a military monastic order.
From the British Library archive via Flickr, From

One of essentially the most mysterious symbols of the Templars was her wax seal – two knights on a horse. In the Middle Ages used seals to guard necessary messages from forgery and acted as a signature. Everyone, from individuals to organizations, had their very own unique seal.

While the photographs on seals may very well be relatively easy and simple, they often conveyed more subtle messages. The message of the Templar seal was at all times open to interpretation.

Interpretation of the Templar Seal

When researching Medieval geopolitics and the Third CrusadeI got here across several interpretations of the Templar seal.

The hottest connection of the common horse to the Templars Vow of povertyEven though the order was not literally financially constrained, the symbol was probably intended to point out that the Templars took their vows seriously.

Another connects to the Gospel of Matthewwith one figure representing a knight and the opposite Jesus Christ. This interpretation comes from a biblical passage wherein Christ says, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” The idea is that the 2 knights on a single horse embody Christ's ever-present companionship with the Templars who had gathered in his name.

As a part of a campaign to discredit the Templars, some suggested that the 2 knights symbolized homosexuality It is alleged that these are widespread inside the order.

Some consider that the 2 knights represent a Duality inside the Order itselfThe single horse could symbolize the union of their seemingly opposing roles as warrior monks.

The Seal inscription adds one other layer of intrigue. Originally, the inscription read “Sigillum Militum Christi” – Latin for “Seal of the Soldiers of Christ”. In the mid-Thirteenth century, the nineteenth Grand Master of the Order modified the inscription to “Sigillum Militum Xpisti”, replacing the Latin word for Christ with the Greek one. Some scholars argue that using the Greek letters “XP” Instead of the Latin “CHR”, Emperor Constantine’s vision was to be Battle of the Milvian Bridge In 312 AD, his victory ended the official persecution of Christians within the Roman Empire.

Paintings of various knights, women and deities with angels carrying a red cross to heaven
Constantine is alleged to have had a divine vision throughout the preparations for the battle.
School of Raphael/Wikimedia Commons

Multiple meanings

The exact meaning of the seal stays a mystery, but there may be little doubt that it was powerful symbol of the knights’ commitment to their ideals.

The seal's many interpretations appeal to different audiences. For some, it represents Christian soldiery and unwavering brotherhood. For others, it evokes the enigmatic nature of the Templars. And for still others, it suggests corruption and sexual misconduct.

The seal serves as a window into the identity of the Knights Templar and their influence on medieval Christian history. It is a logo that can likely proceed to arouse curiosity for hundreds of years to come back.

image credit : theconversation.com