The Monks of War: The Military Religious Orders   -     By: Desmond Seward
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The Monks of War: The Military Religious Orders

Penguin Putnam Inc. / 1995 / Paperback

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Product Description

The military religious orders emerged during the Crusades as Christendom's stormtroopers in the savage conflict with Islam. Some of them still exist today, devoted to charitable works. This is the first history of these order to have appeared since the eighteenth century. This book examines the Templars, Hospitallers (later Knights of Malta), the Teutonic Knights, and the Knights of the Spanish and Portuguese orders. The first properly disciplined Western troops since Roman times, they were noblemen vowed to poverty, chastity and obedience, living a monastic life in monasteries which were at the same time barracks as they waged war on the enemies of the Cross. This revised and updated version of the original 1972 work contains material describing events up to 1990.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 400
Vendor: Penguin Putnam Inc.
Publication Date: 1995
Dimensions: 5 X 7 1/2 (inches)
ISBN: 0140195017
ISBN-13: 9780140195019
UPC: 051488016007
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

The military religious orders emerged during the Crusades as Christendom's stormtrooopers in the savage conflict with Islam. Some of them stille exist oday, devoted to charitable works. The Monks of War is the first general history of these orders to have appeared since the eighteenth century.

The Templars, the Hospitallers (later Knights of Malta), the Teutonic Knights and the Knights of the Spanish and Portugese orders were "noblemen vowed to poverty, chastity and obedience, living a monastic life in convents which were at the same time barracks, waging war on the enemies of the Cross." The first properly disciplined Western troops since Roman times, they played a major role in defending the crusader kingdom of Jerusalem, in the "Baltic Crusades" which created Prussia, in the long reconquest of Spain from the Moors, and in fighting the "Infidel" right up to Napoleonic times. This celebrated book tells the whole enthralling story, recreating such epics as the sieges of Rhodes and Malta and the destruction of the Templars by the Inquisition. Acclaimed on publication, it has now been revised and updated, with a concluding chapter to take events into the 1990s.

Author Bio

Desmond Seward was born in Paris and educated at Cambridge University. He is the author of Richard III: England's Black Legend, The Monks of War, and The War of the Roses.

Editorial Reviews

"Undeniably the work of someone who knows and accepts the standards of critical history, but … who sees the past also as an epic or a colourful spectacle"
—Professor David Knowles in The Times Literary Supplement

"His scholarship is great, his theme both interesting and largely unexplored and his judgment sound"
Economist

"The book is excellent and firmly based on the primary sources of which Seward has a remarkable grasp."
New Society

"Compulsive reading, attractively written, and retaining one's fascinated interest throughout"
Catholic Herald

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  1. Jonathan Couser
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    May 18, 2000
    Jonathan Couser
    Seward provides a readable and entertaining overview of the military orders, which combined monastic vows of poverty, chastity and obedience with crusading commitment to fighting against Islam. While his treatment is enjoyable and informative, it also is colored by Seward's own admiration and prejudices. For instance, he regards the invasion of Rhodes by the Knights of St. John as a response to the unwashed evil of the Rhodian pirates and doesn't give much consideration to the more practical issues involved. The book is suitable as an introduction for the Crusade enthusiast; those seeking more serious analysis might look to Malcolm Barber's The New Knighthood (Templars), Dennis Sire's The Knights of Malta (Hospitallers), or Alan Forey's The Military Orders (all orders). Sire and Barber are quite accessible; Forey is densely scholarly.
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