100 books like The Knights Hospitaller in the Levant, c.1070-1309

By Jonathan Riley-Smith,

Here are 100 books that The Knights Hospitaller in the Levant, c.1070-1309 fans have personally recommended if you like The Knights Hospitaller in the Levant, c.1070-1309. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of A Brief History of the Knights Templar

Nicholas Morton Author Of The Teutonic Knights in the Holy Land, 1190-1291

From my list on medieval military orders.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an associate professor in medieval history at Nottingham Trent University. My interest in the military orders began over twenty years ago with a very simple question – why? Jesus’ teaching to my mind clearly does not condone the use of lethal violence, so how did medieval Christians come to think that holy war warfare could ever be acceptable in the eyes of God? From this underlying question (which I still don’t feel I’ve satisfactorily answered!) emerged a curiosity about the military orders, who so epitomized crusading ideology. I began to ask wider questions such as: who supported the orders? How did they view people of other faiths? Why were the Templars put on Trial? 

Nicholas' book list on medieval military orders

Nicholas Morton Why did Nicholas love this book?

Helen Nicholson is a leading scholar who has written extensively on the history of the military orders. I picked A Brief History of the Knights Templar because it has the great virtue of being both extremely readable and entirely authoritative. Covering the Templars’ military and political roles, their economic activities, their religious life, and their famous demise, this is the book I recommend to my students if they want a solid and scholarly introduction to the Templar order. 

By Helen Nicholson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Brief History of the Knights Templar as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Much has been written about the Knights Templar in recent years. A leading specialist in the history of this legendary medieval order now writes a full account of the Knights of the Order of the Temple of Solomon, to give them their full title, bringing the latest findings to a general audience. Putting many of the myths finally to rest, Nicholson recounts a new history of these storm troopers of the papacy, founded during the crusades but who got so rich and influential that they challenged the power of kings.


Book cover of The Trial of the Templars

Nicholas Morton Author Of The Teutonic Knights in the Holy Land, 1190-1291

From my list on medieval military orders.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an associate professor in medieval history at Nottingham Trent University. My interest in the military orders began over twenty years ago with a very simple question – why? Jesus’ teaching to my mind clearly does not condone the use of lethal violence, so how did medieval Christians come to think that holy war warfare could ever be acceptable in the eyes of God? From this underlying question (which I still don’t feel I’ve satisfactorily answered!) emerged a curiosity about the military orders, who so epitomized crusading ideology. I began to ask wider questions such as: who supported the orders? How did they view people of other faiths? Why were the Templars put on Trial? 

Nicholas' book list on medieval military orders

Nicholas Morton Why did Nicholas love this book?

Arguably the most famous event in the Templars’ history was their trial in the early fourteenth century, when King Philip IV of France levelled an array of charges against the order—most notably the accusation of heresy. Malcolm Barber’s The Trial of the Templars works through the events of the Templar Trial in granular detail, offering a deep and thought-provoking history of the event itself and the wider developments and powerful agendas which shaped its course. 

By Malcolm Barber,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Trial of the Templars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Malcolm Barber's classic The Trial of the Templars recounts the dramatic demise of this elite military force in the fourteenth century. Having fought against Islam in the crusades in the East for nearly two centuries, in October 1307 the members of this respected Order were arrested on the order of Philip IV, King of France and charged with serious heresies, including homosexuality and the denial of Christ. Finding resonances between the fourteenth-century trial and contemporary events, Barber's classic account endeavours to tackle the unresolved controversies surrounding the consequences of the trial and includes discussions in the context of new work…


Book cover of Archaeology of the Military Orders: A Survey of the Urban Centres, Rural Settlements and Castles of the Military Orders in the Latin East (c.1120-1291)

Nicholas Morton Author Of The Teutonic Knights in the Holy Land, 1190-1291

From my list on medieval military orders.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an associate professor in medieval history at Nottingham Trent University. My interest in the military orders began over twenty years ago with a very simple question – why? Jesus’ teaching to my mind clearly does not condone the use of lethal violence, so how did medieval Christians come to think that holy war warfare could ever be acceptable in the eyes of God? From this underlying question (which I still don’t feel I’ve satisfactorily answered!) emerged a curiosity about the military orders, who so epitomized crusading ideology. I began to ask wider questions such as: who supported the orders? How did they view people of other faiths? Why were the Templars put on Trial? 

Nicholas' book list on medieval military orders

Nicholas Morton Why did Nicholas love this book?

The Templars and the medieval military orders are well known to have been enthusiastic castle builders, creating many massive fortifications across the Crusader States during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Nevertheless, their building activities extended far beyond the creation of strongholds. Whole regions lay under their dominion and they constructed many other structures including chapels, townhouses, mills, and workshops. This fascinating book explores the archaeological remains of the military orders, demonstrating their impact on the broader landscape of the Near East. It also examines the surviving objects they used in their everyday life, such as tableware and seals.

By Adrian J. Boas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Archaeology of the Military Orders as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Including previously unpublished and little known material, this cutting-edge book presents a detailed discussion of the archaeological evidence of the five military orders in the Latin East:

the Hospitallers
the Templars
the Teutonic Knights
the Leper Knights of St Lazarus
the Knights of St Thomas.

Discussing in detail the distinctive architecture relating to their various undertakings (such as hospitals in Jerusalem and Acre) Adrian Boas places emphasis on the importance of the Military Orders in the development of military architecture in the Middle Ages. The three principal sections of the book consist of chapters relating to the urban quarters of…


Book cover of Templar Families: Landowning Families and the Order of the Temple in France, c.1120–1307

Nicholas Morton Author Of The Teutonic Knights in the Holy Land, 1190-1291

From my list on medieval military orders.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an associate professor in medieval history at Nottingham Trent University. My interest in the military orders began over twenty years ago with a very simple question – why? Jesus’ teaching to my mind clearly does not condone the use of lethal violence, so how did medieval Christians come to think that holy war warfare could ever be acceptable in the eyes of God? From this underlying question (which I still don’t feel I’ve satisfactorily answered!) emerged a curiosity about the military orders, who so epitomized crusading ideology. I began to ask wider questions such as: who supported the orders? How did they view people of other faiths? Why were the Templars put on Trial? 

Nicholas' book list on medieval military orders

Nicholas Morton Why did Nicholas love this book?

The Templars are generally remembered as fighters and castle builders, yet their activities along the frontier depended heavily on the order’s huge support infrastructure across Western Christendom. Networks consisting of hundreds of estates spanning many countries dispatched vast quantities of cash and resources—as well as recruits and other supporters—to the Templars’ outposts in the Holy Land on an annual basis. In Templar Families, Jochen Schenk investigates these networks focusing especially on the relationships that developed between the order’s officers governing their landholdings in France and the many local families whose support enabled the order to function.  

By Jochen Schenk,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Templar Families as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Founded in c.1120, in the aftermath of the First Crusade in Jerusalem, the Order of the Temple was a Christian brotherhood dedicated to the military protection of pilgrims and the Holy Land, attracting followers and supporters throughout Christian Europe. This detailed study explores the close relationship between the Order of the Temple and the landowning families it relied upon for support. Focussing on the regions of Burgundy, Champagne and Languedoc, Jochen Schenk investigates the religious expectations that guided noble and knightly families to found and support Templar communities in the European provinces, and examines the social dynamics and mechanisms that…


Book cover of The Religion

Theodore Irvin Silar Author Of Lady Grace's Revels: A Tale of Elizabethan England

From my list on fiction set in the 16th century.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a Ph.D. in English from Lehigh University, and I have taught English for 30 years. I have studied and taught Shakespeare, Tudor drama, English linguistics, the Reformation, and various other aspects in the literary and cultural history of the 16th century. The 16th century is a time of great upheaval and the more I study it, the more I am fascinated by how pivotal this epoch is in the creation of the modern world, for better and for worse. I seek out books that chart, from grandest to most intimate, this momentous time’s transformations.

Theodore's book list on fiction set in the 16th century

Theodore Irvin Silar Why did Theodore love this book?

The Religion is a harrowing, jaw-dropping narrative I think everybody should read. That the 1565 Great Siege of Malta that stopped the Ottomans in the West is so unknown is unwarranted. Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent sends an army to conquer Malta, an island owned by the Knights Hospitaller, a Catholic military order.

Mattias Tannhauser, a former janissary, ends up fighting with the Maltese Knights, against former comrades, for a Hospitaller leader he must murder, while the Inquisition welcomes the Hospitallers’ downfall: a glorious mess of cross-purposes for those who like plot twists. The Religion delivers an overwhelming immersion in a momentous event described in colorful, dramatic prose.

By Tim Willocks,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Religion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Their god is War. And every god needs his Devil. THE RELIGION

Malta, 1565. The greatest war the world has ever seen is unleashed on the doomed island as the Turks do battle with the Knights. The Knights call themselves The Religion. The Turks call them the Hounds of Hell.

Back in Sicily, the beautiful, rich Carla pines for her bastard son, lost in the bloody inferno across the water.

Enter Mattias Tannhauser - warrior, hero and double agent. Under Carla's command, he embarks on a death-defying mission to save her son. But can he evade the Inquisition and escape…


Book cover of Temple Balsall: The Warwickshire Preceptory of the Templars and Their Fate

Helen Nicholson Author Of A Brief History of the Knights Templar

From my list on the real history of the Knights Templar.

Why am I passionate about this?

As my father was a keen amateur historian, family holidays always involved visits to medieval castles, abbeys, and Roman antiquities, but it wasn’t until I’d finished a University history degree and started training as an accountant that I encountered the Templars. Reading a primary source from the Third Crusade, I found the medieval author praised the Templars – yet few modern histories mentioned them, or, if they did mention the Templars, they claimed they were unpopular. My curiosity led me to undertake a PhD on medieval attitudes towards the Templars, Hospitallers, and Teutonic Knights, and eventually to a university post and a professional career in medieval history, writing history books focused on primary sources.

Helen's book list on the real history of the Knights Templar

Helen Nicholson Why did Helen love this book?

This is a detailed study of what life would have been like at the Templars’ commandery at Temple Balsall in Warwickshire.

Its author, Eileen Gooder, was a leading scholar in local history and an expert on the Templars in England. The book is based on her unparalleled knowledge of the inventories that King Edward II of England ordered to be made of the Templars’ estates when the Templars were arrested in England in 1308 and the accounts kept by the royal officials who ran those estates until 1313.

Gooder also reconstructed the trial proceedings against the Balsall Templars and what became of them, and their English brethren, after the trial. This is an excellent, short, readable, and reliable introduction to the Templars’ lives in Europe.

By Eileen Gooder,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Temple Balsall as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Temple Balsall The Warwickshire Preceptory of the Templars and Their Fate


Book cover of Ironfire

William Havelock Author Of The Last Dying Light

From my list on historical fiction depicting premodern battle.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am fascinated by how societies conduct war. Who is expected to fight, and how are they organized? How is technology developed, implemented, and improvised in the heat of battle? And, most importantly, how do its participants make sense of the carnage around them? History is replete with tales of savagery and courage, of honor and depravity. Perilously few of these have been formed into novels, leaving an incomplete and disjointed understanding of thousands of years of struggle. Many authors, including those listed here, paved the path for holistic depictions of historical battle fiction – my hope is to contribute tales from oft-neglected societies, beginning with Belisarius and the 6th-Century Roman Empire.

William's book list on historical fiction depicting premodern battle

William Havelock Why did William love this book?

The Great Siege of Malta – a nearly four-month struggle in 1565, should be essential for any military historian to understand. Sadly, its treatment in fiction has been ludicrously underserved.

Enter Ironfire. Mr. Ball’s work builds slowly, showing the reader how various elements of the Ottoman Army (the Janissaries, in particular) were acquired, trained, and readied for war. Likewise, a failing legacy of crusade, as well as a decline in support for religious military orders, plague Christian leadership in Malta. Ball’s ‘slow burn’ narrative ignites into the island’s famous siege by a massive and well-equipped Ottoman army, facing a motley band of knights and Maltese locals reliant upon blades and fire to desperately hold their walls. Ironfire is a master class on premodern siege warfare in fiction.

By David Ball,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ironfire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the acclaimed author of Empires of Sand comes a mesmerizing new adventure that Jean Auel cites as “crowded with events that both forecast and mirror the conflicts of today.” Sweeping from the drawing rooms of Paris to the palace of Suleiman the Magnificent to the dark hold of a slave ship racing across the sea, here is a dazzling story of love and valor, innocence and identity, an epic novel of the clash of civilizations on a barren island where the future was forged.

The Mediterranean, the sixteenth century: Lying squarely in the midst of the vital sea lanes…


Book cover of Origins: A Memoir

Steven A. Cook Author Of The Struggle for Egypt: From Nasser to Tahrir Square

From my list on understanding the Middle East.

Why am I passionate about this?

Steven A. Cook is the Eni Enrico Mattei senior fellow for the Middle East and Africa studies and director of the International Affairs Fellowship for Tenured International Relations Scholars at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). He is a columnist at Foreign Policy magazine and an expert on Arab and Turkish politics as well as U.S. Middle East policy. 

Steven's book list on understanding the Middle East

Steven A. Cook Why did Steven love this book?

I read Maalouf's book many years ago and it remains one of the best books I have ever read about identity. It helps that he is a gifted writer and that Maalouf's story is so compelling.

By Amin Maalouf,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Origins as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Origins, by the world-renowned writer Amin Maalouf, is a sprawling, hemisphere-spanning intergenerational saga.

Set during the last quarter of the nineteenth century and the first quarter of the twentieth, in the mountains of Lebanon and in Havana, Cuba, Origins recounts the family history of the generation of Maalouf's paternal grandfather, Boutros. Why did Boutros, a poet and educator in Lebanon, travel across the globe to rescue his younger brother, Gebrayel, who had settled in Havana?

Maalouf is an energetic and amiable narrator, illuminating the more obscure corners of late Ottoman nationalism, the psychology of Lebanese sectarianism, and the dynamics of…


Book cover of Arabian Love Poems

Sam Dagher Author Of Assad or We Burn the Country: How One Family's Lust for Power Destroyed Syria

From my list on people of the Levant region.

Why am I passionate about this?

Sam Dagher is a Lebanese-American journalist and author with more than 15 years of experience reporting on the Middle East and its people. He has lived in Baghdad, Beirut, and Damascus and worked throughout the region. Sam has been committed to telling the region’s stories from the ground up and in the process shedding new light on the root causes of war, extremism, and migration.

Sam's book list on people of the Levant region

Sam Dagher Why did Sam love this book?

Damascus-born Nizar Qabbani, a lawyer by training, abandoned a career in diplomacy in the late 1960s to become one of the Arab world’s most beloved poets. Both his sensual and political poems carry seeds of defiance, rebellion and a quest for liberation from autocratic institutions and rigid social norms. This edition reproduces Qabbani’s own handwritten text of the selected poems.

By Nizar Qabbani, Bassam K. Frangieh, Clementina R. Brown

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Arabian Love Poems as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This translation of Nizar Kabbani's poetry is accompanied by the striking Arabic texts of the poems, penned by Kabbani especially for this collection. Kabbani was a poet of great simplicity - direct, spontaneous, musical, using the language of everyday life. He was a ceasless campaigner for women's rights, and his verses praise the beauty of the female body, and of love. He was an Arab nationalist, yet he criticized Arab dictators and the lack of freedom in the Arab world.


Book cover of We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled: Voices from Syria

Sam Dagher Author Of Assad or We Burn the Country: How One Family's Lust for Power Destroyed Syria

From my list on people of the Levant region.

Why am I passionate about this?

Sam Dagher is a Lebanese-American journalist and author with more than 15 years of experience reporting on the Middle East and its people. He has lived in Baghdad, Beirut, and Damascus and worked throughout the region. Sam has been committed to telling the region’s stories from the ground up and in the process shedding new light on the root causes of war, extremism, and migration.

Sam's book list on people of the Levant region

Sam Dagher Why did Sam love this book?

Pearlman expertly, delicately and lovingly assembles elements from the stories and journeys of close to 90 Syrians into a mosaic “mapped onto Syria’s historical trajectory from authoritarianism to revolution, war, and exile” as she explains in the introduction. For me there are echoes of Maalouf’s Origins in this book: More than a hundred years later and Syrians and Levantines are still having to flee their homelands because of tyranny, conflict and political and social upheaval. Pearlman is an accomplished professor at Northwestern University who speaks Arabic and has spent more than 20 years studying and living in the Middle East. Her expertise and empathy shine through in a book that gives us a chance “to listen to actual Syrians, as human beings,” as she says.

By Wendy Pearlman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

LONG-LISTED FOR THE CARNEGIE MEDAL

Reminiscent of the work of Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich, an astonishing collection of intimate wartime testimonies and poetic fragments from a cross-section of Syrians whose lives have been transformed by revolution, war, and flight.

Against the backdrop of the wave of demonstrations known as the Arab Spring, in 2011 hundreds of thousands of Syrians took to the streets demanding freedom, democracy and human rights. The government's ferocious response, and the refusal of the demonstrators to back down, sparked a brutal civil war that over the past five years has escalated into the worst humanitarian…


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