The Knights Templar were a monastic military order formed at the end of the First Crusade with the mandate of protecting Christian pilgrims on route to the Holy Land. Never before had a group of secular knights banded together and taken the monastic vows. In this sense they were the first of the Warrior Monks. The Templars fought along side King Richard I (Richard The Lion Hearted) and other Crusaders in the battles for the Holy Lands.
From humble beginnings of poverty when the order relied on alms from the traveling pilgrims, the Order would go on to have the backing of the Holy See and the collective European monarchies.
Within two centuries they had become powerful enough to defy all but the Papal throne. Feared as warriors, respected for their charity and sought out for their wealth, there is no doubt that the Templar knights were the key players of the monastic fighting Orders. Due to their vast wealth and surplus of materials the Templars essentially invented banking, as we know it. The church forbade the lending of money for interest, which they called usury. The Templars, being the clever sort they were, changed the manner in which loans were paid and were able to skirt the issue and finance even kings.
They were destroyed, perhaps because of this wealth or fear of their seemingly limitless powers. In either case, the Order met with a rather untimely demise at the hands of the Pope and the King of France in 1307 and by 1314, "The Poor Fellow Soldiers of Christ and the Temple of Solomon" ceased to exist, at least officially.
Although originally a small group of nine knights, they quickly gained fame largely due to the backing of Bernard of Clairvaux and his "In Praise of the New Knighthood". Bernard at that time was often called the Second Pope and was the chief spokesman of Christendom. He is also the one responsible for helping to draw up the Order's rules of conduct.
In European political circles, they became very powerful and influential. This was because they were immune from any authority save that of the Papal Throne. (Pope Innocent II exempted the Templars from all authority except the Pope.) After the crusades were over, the knights returned to their Chapters throughout Europe and became known as moneylenders to the monarchs. In the process many historians believe they invented the Banking System.
The secret meetings and rituals of the knights would eventually cause their downfall. The King of France, Philip the Fair used these rituals and meetings to his advantage to destroy the knights. The real reason for his crushing the Templars was that he felt threatened by their power and immunity. In 1307, Philip, who desperately needed funds, to support his war against England's Edward I made his move against the Knights Templar.
On October 13th, 1307, King Philip had all the Templars arrested on the grounds of heresy, since this was the only charge that would allow the seizing of their money and assets. The Templars were tortured and as a result, ridiculous confessions were given. These confessions included:
• Trampling and spitting on the cross
• Homosexuality and Sodomy
• Worshipping of the Baphomet
Philip was successful in ridding the Templars of their power and wealth and urged all fellow Christian leaders to do the same thing. On March 19th, 1314 the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, Jacques de Molay was burned at the stake. De Molay is said to have cursed King Philip and Pope Clement, as he burned, asking both men to join him within a year. Whether he actually uttered the curse or if it is simply an apocryphal tale; what remains as fact is that Clement died only one month later and Philip IV seven months after that.
The Templar Hierarchy
The original Latin Rule of 1128 CE consisted of only four ranks. This stands to reason, as at this early stage (eleven years after the founding of the order), there were still very few members. Some Historians claim that the order did not accept any new recruits for the first nine years. Desmond Seward, in his book, "The Monks of War" claims that they may have difficulties in finding members.
"A document of 1123 refers to Hugues as Master of the Knights of The Temple but his little band was merely a voluntary Brotherhood; recent research seems to indicate that they [the Templars] were having difficulty in finding recruits and were on the verge of dissolution. Hugues had come [to Bernard of Clairvaux] about another crusade, not to ask for a rule."
The Templar Hierarchy
• The Grand Master
Absolute ruler over the order answered only to the Papacy
Acted as both deputy and advisor to the Grand Master
• Commander of the Kingdom of Jerusalem
Was in charge of The area and had same powers as Grand Master within his own jurisdiction
• Commander of the City of Jerusalem
Was in charge of the area and had same powers as Grand Master within his own jurisdiction
• Commander of Tripoli and Antioch
Was in charge of the area and had same powers as Grand Master within his own jurisdiction
The Drapier was in charge of the Templar Garments
• Commander of Houses
Acted as lieutenants to higher authorities within the order but carried little actual power themselves
• Commander of Knights
Like the Commander of houses, acted as lieutenants to higher authorities within the order. They carried little actual power themselves
• Knight Brothers
These were the warriors who wore the white tunic and cross. Each was equipped with three horses and armaments
The purpose of the Turcolier was to command the brother sergeants in battle. The Turcopolier would lead the march along with a guard of knights
• Under Marshal
The Under marshal was in charge of the footmen and the equipment
• Standard Bearer
The Standard Bearer was one of the sergeants and charged with carrying the order's banner
• Sergeant Brothers
These warriors were support troops and did not have to be nobly born. Although similarly equipped to a full knight, the sergeants had one horse and no squires under them
These were the local troops who would fight along side the Templars. Similar to the sergeants
• Sick and Elderly Brothers
No longer active members but still members of the order
Of The Knights Templar
I will describe the hierarchy of the one of the most remarkable institutions of the medieval world; The Order of the Poor Knights of Christ of the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem, (the Templars). This singular group was founded on the completely unique innovation of combining the triple monastic vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, with the military vocation of knighthood. This concept was revolutionary (and not wholly embraced by the clergy of the day). Drawing from the best of both worlds, these men created a complex, highly disciplined crusader war machine that was altogether unique among its contemporary rivals. The effectiveness of this group impressed the most experienced and successful military leaders of the day. The monastic context allowed the Templars to achieve a very high degree of discipline and uniformity more commonly associated with modern military organizations. A study of their highly evolved organizational structure reveals a great deal about how they were able to achieve their successes.
This analysis is primarily based on the French Rule (OF Rule) as translated into English by J. M. Upton-Ward. This amazing set of military regulations describes the responsibilities of the Order¹s members in wartime and in peace. It evolved from the original "Primitive Rule" created by the Council of Troyes in 1129 over the entire 180-year history of the Order until its suppression by King Philip the Fair in the early 1300¹s.
It is important to view the Templars within the context of their secular contemporaries. Although the Templars were profoundly innovative in the vision of their founding, the basic organizational building blocks were a product of their secular environment. Members were well indoctrinated in the outside world before joining. The Rule clearly states that children were not to be admitted to the Order. Knights were to be raised and trained in the secular world at least until they had reached adulthood before being admitted into the Templars. Thus, the influence of the norms, social structure, and standard military tactics of medieval Europe was pervasive. With that in mind, let us start this analysis with a brief sketch of how that secular world operated. I¹ll also discuss how the Templars contrasted with the secular world in subtle, but important ways.
The Central focus of military tactics in the medieval world was the heavy cavalry charge of a group of mounted knights. This was supported by the mounted sergeants (ignoble mounted soldiers) and prepared for by the infantry. Although Philippe Contamine¹s research tells us that a typical army contained four to nine times as many infantrymen as mounted warriors, the medieval military mind was almost exclusively centered on the Knight, as its most devastating weapon.
The secular Knight is, therefore, the fundamental element of interest for our discussion. The "Knight" was not an individual in this context. He was the central figure of a tactical and logistic unit. To avoid confusion, I¹ll refer to this concept as a "Lance". A basic Lance was comprised as follows:
A Knight with a destrier (war horse). He rode a mule, palfrey, roncin, or such traveling mount to and from engagements. This kept his "main battle tank" fresh and ready for action.
A lightly armed squire to care for the destrier and equipment, typically riding a mule. … One or two pack animals.
Wealthy knights might double or triple this entourage. Altogether, we have between two and five people and three to ten mounts per Lance. The romantic image of a lone errant knight is strictly a literary invention. A lone knight was generally a miserable figure, down on his luck, and extraordinarily vulnerable.
Ten to twenty knights formed a banner. Ten to twenty Banners would form a Squadron. Five to ten squadrons formed a "battle", assuming that many troops were present. The battles were generally arranged in five groups; The Van, Left and Right Wings, the Center or Main Battle, and the Rear Guard. The size, distribution and character of these forces varied greatly. They were organized around the feudal lords who were called up or under hire. The detailed deployment of the forces while on campaign was a daily affair, arranged on an ad hoc basis. Not surprising, the equipment and logistical support (such as it was) was anything, but uniform. Managing the force and maintaining discipline must have been a Herculean task.
The Templars employed the same basic structure used by the secular armies, but did it with Prussian efficiency. A fundamental difference between the Templars and their secular counterparts was the submission of free will. This important characteristic of modern armies was not present in secular medieval forces. Secular knights tended to be very independent. They were responsible for their own gear, squires and upkeep, and were brought together on campaign only for a short time each year. Controlling them was difficult, at best. By contrast, Templars possessed a high degree of discipline and conformity. The concept of the monastic vow of obedience is that a monk should obey the instructions of his abbot as if he were obeying the Lord. The Rule further instructs that Brother Knights should obey the orders of the commanders set over them. The effect of the culture of obedience was that Templars were noted for maintaining formation and order under the most difficult situations.
Like all real armies in the field, the Templars often found themselves with other than ideal force levels. Unlike their secular counterparts, however, their structure and basic building block units remained relatively consistent. The Rule precisely specifies the equipment, mounts and personal staff of every member , from the Master right down to Brother Sergeants. It even provides for modifications when horses or squires are in shortage or abundance. The Rule also leads us to believe that Banners and Squadrons were standardized in composition. With all of the equipment and mounts belonging to the order and not the individual Knights (who took the vow of poverty), the Templars developed a centralized system for the supply and efficient distribution of these resources.
The Templars utilized the basic military model of the secular world from which they originated. Their ability to achieve discipline and uniformity, however, set them apart. As I will discuss below, the Templars were also available around the clock and all year round. This was also a very important distinction between them and their secular counterparts.
As stated above, the basic military unit of both the secular and Templar worlds was the Knight. Feudal socioeconomic structure was organized to support this military building block. The fundamental economic unit was the "knight¹s fee" or "basic fief". This was usually an agricultural entity consisting of around 60 to 120 acres held by as few as one or as many as eight villein families . Several of these together would support a knightly household consisting of a married knight, his children and a few servants.
This was a tenuous existence. War, bad crops, or other misfortune could bounce these families right out of the knightly class in the blink of an eye. Such noble families appeared and disappeared on a regular basis throughout the middle ages. Never the less, these were the lucky middle class of knighthood. Most knights never achieved their own household and spent their lives attached to the hotel of another important lord.
These fundamental knightly units were gathered together by wealthier lords into Knight Bannerets. Several Bannerets might be joined together as a County under the lordship of a Count. In regions continually threatened by invasion, counties often gathered together under a Marquis. From there, we work our way to up to Dukes, Princes, or Kings. The simplistic and theoretical view of this system was an orderly pyramid. The King was at the top. All land belonged to him and he farmed it out in exchange for annual military service. In reality, this completely nationalistic view was generally held by no one except the King.
A more accurate model would be to think of feudalism as a system of rights and obligations. It is a "relativistic" set of relationships that should be viewed from the instantaneous perspective of the individual of interest. He looked downward to the rights he held from his vassals and upward to the obligations he owed to his lords. He rarely perceived this chain traveling beyond the next layer. Kings would occasionally try to extract personal oaths of fealty from everyone. This weak attempt at nationalism was rarely effective.
By the thirteenth century, the standard service obligation was only forty days per year. If this was not bad enough, several exclusions, clauses and limitations also existed. For example, it might only be "20 days south of the Alps", or zero days beyond a certain district. The knight was also compensated if his horse were killed. Although this was not a cash based economy, it became increasingly necessary to pay not only the specialist mercenary troops, but also one¹s own vassals just to keep them in the field for a reasonable length of time. For any major campaign, it was usually necessary for the lord to borrow heavily and mortgage his estates in order to raise the necessary cash. We must bear in mind that a system of regular taxation did not exist. Revenues were "opportunistic". Great Lords seldom achieved the numbers during a muster to which they thought themselves entitled. Looking back on this system from modern times, it is amazing that large scale wars ever happened at all!
The difference in the economic support system and administrative command structure available to secular leaders and that employed by the Templars is stark. While both were agrarian at their foundation, the Templars had a cohesive chain of command from the top to the bottom. The Order¹s organization achieved the advantages of nationalism without the existence of a physical country. Under the Papal Bull Omne Datum Optimum, the Templars held gifted estates all over Europe but owed no taxes or fealty to anyone, but the Pope. The Master was the Great Ruler of a virtual state.
Income was consistent, regular, and supplemented by shipping, banking, and other industries. No "active duty" time limitations existed for Templar military personnel. They were signed up for life. The Templar force was available for field duty year round. The highly disciplined Templar troops were powered by a vast and efficient resource system. Free from the plague of complex feudal obligations and limitations, the Templar command structure was stable, consistent and efficient. These attributes made them a powerful war machine, especially in comparison to their secular contemporaries.
The operation and management of such a unique group also required innovation in its basic internal organization. The Templars had a dual organizational structure with the Master at the Head. Beginning with the Seneschal and flowing down through the Commanders of the Lands, a complex system of administration existed for the raising of revenue, maintaining of castles, and support of the Brothers when not on campaign. A similar hierarchy existed in Europe under the eight Western or Provincial Templar Masters. The main job of the European administrative branch, which included the majority of the Order¹s members, was to create the resources necessary for the Order to pursue its primary role: Defense and conquest of the Holy Land from the Saracens.
The following organization chart provides a good frame of reference for how the peacetime side of the Order was structured.
Templar administrative organization.
The Order’s structure altered while on campaign. It formed a second branch that was led by the Marshal. He acted as Commander in Chief of the brothers under arms, reporting directly to the Master (Rule 103). The Brother Knights and Sergeants were transferred from the command of the Houses to the Marshalcy while on campaign. The Marshalcy also controlled the horses, weapons, and other directly military equipment (Rule 102). This structure is actually somewhat simpler:
Templar organization while engaged in battle.
This duality can be somewhat challenging for the casual student. It is also further confusing in that the same individuals moved between the two branches, occupying different roles. The Commander of the Land of Jerusalem is a good example. His peacetime role was to be the Chief Administrative Officer in the kingdom of Jerusalem and the Treasurer of the Order. In this capacity, he reported through the Seneschal. This job was much like that of a modern regional COO and overall CFO combined. In wartime, however, he would become a simple Squadron Commander under the authority of the Marshal (Rule 103). Thus, one might say he had "two bosses", a common complaint of personnel in modern matrix organizations.
It is fascinating to realize that the duality of the Templar organizational structure bears a striking similarity to modern organizational theory. Some of the most sophisticated principles employed in private business and military organizations can be found in the system described above. There are three basic types of organizations, which are generally recognized; Functional, Projectized, and Matrix. Functional and projectized organizations are the most common. In a functional model, organizational units are identified by basic functional definitions. Which to say; the kind of work performed. Personnel are grouped in these units and authority and responsibility flow within these divisions. In a projectized model, organizational units are formed around products or projects. Personnel are not divided along functional lines until further down the organizational tree, if at all. The matrix structure is a less common model in which the previous two are blended together. Personnel are grouped into major divisions according to function, but are then "farmed out" to support projects. This is the most complex of the three types.
A modern executive, drafting a matrix organization for a group like the Templars, would create something like this:
Templar organization in a typical matrix structure.
Viola! This is the actual organizational structure that was used with the minor exception that the post of Treasurer was combined with that of the Commander of the Land of Jerusalem (Rule 111). This was no doubt due to the physical proximity of the Commander to both the Order¹s headquarters and the capital city of the Holy Land. The ultimate "product" of the Templars was the making of war on the enemies of the Christian States. The Marshal was in charge of this "product". The three lands and eight Provincial Masters were the functional groups charged with raising revenue and the literal "care and feeding" of the Brothers when not on campaign.
This is an extraordinarily sophisticated structure for a medieval institution. Remember that the Matrix Model has only recently gained wide spread popularity in our own time. It is clearly the most complex of the choices available. It is also much more difficult to execute successfully, requiring many more choices to be made. The Templars seem to have adopted this model very early in their history. Their environment would have encouraged this from the start. Their mission was fighting in Outremer, but their resources were scattered throughout the Western Europe and the Near East. This created the need for a matrix structure. The monastic nature of the Order enabled its application. As a church organization, a unifying coherency of authority was implicit. Without a coherent chain of command, a matrix organization would rapidly fracture. Thus, we see the happy convergence of need with ability.
Even a quick review of the Order¹s accomplishments tell us that there is something extraordinary about this group:
• Over 170 years of successful military service in the Holy Land
• The Only (along with the Hospitallers) major standing army in the Frankish East
• Garrison and construction of many of the most important Christian fortifications
• Vast property holdings all over Europe
• A sophisticated, international banking system
• Interests in most Mediterranean and European industries
The analysis discussed above has shown that the Templar organizational structure was highly tuned to their complex and widely dispersed interests. Indeed, when we examine it against the standards of modern organizational theory, we find a sophisticated matrix structure, executed so well as to put many modern corporations to shame. What is more remarkable, however, is that this was achieved during the Middle Ages, when socioeconomic institutions were relatively primitive. Without breaking important interfaces to the secular world, the Templars evolved this very modern structure from a purely feudal origin.
The vision of Founder Hugh de Payens, a monastic military order, was the underlying moral compass. It guided the application of the Templars¹ unique tools and abilities. The effectiveness of the secular socioeconomic system was greatly hampered by the fragmentation of authority, the absence of even a rudimentary chain of command, and the acute lack of a consistent cash flow. Hugh¹s original vision overcame these shortfalls. He and his successors carried the Templars though more than a century and a half of unparalleled success. Their accomplishments are truly remarkable.
Program Manager for several important rocket and missile programs. These ranged in size from a few million, to several hundreds of millions of dollars per year. He has received numerous professional and academic awards and is a respected member of the aerospace community.
In any monastic order there must be strict rules and regulations. The Templar order was no exception. The Commander would call the brethren to hear the charges against an offender and when the accused brother would confess of his fault he was asked to leave the room. At this time the Commander would seek the advice of the brethren in what penance to apply. If his infraction was small or if he was found to be innocent then no penance would be given. If however, he were in violation of a major infraction of the rule then the General Chapter would later try him. Below is a list of some of the faults and consequences a brother of the order could face:
Expulsion From The Order
This was the highest punishment a Templar Knight could face. Upon expulsion of the order he had an obligation to join the Cistercian order founded by Templar supporter St. Bernard of Clairvaux. It was hoped that joining this non-warrior monastic order would save the expelled brothers soul. Below are the infractions to cause such expulsion.
• Murdering a Christian
• Divulging the Chapter's meetings
• Committing acts of sodomy
• Committing an act of heresy or denouncing the Christian faith
• Conspiring or making false charges against a brother
• Leaving the Temple house for more than two days without permission
• Fleeing the enemy during battle while the Beauseant was flying or without permission of the Marshall
Losing Your Coat (Rank)
Losing the coat of the order was a penance of shame. Taken from guilty brother were his coat, weapons and horse. He would also be forced to eat off the floor, do menial tasks and be generally separated from his brethren. This penance befell any that committed these infractions:
• Fought with another brother
• Lost or murdered a slave
• Killed a pack animal or lost their horse due to their own neglect
• Told untruths about themselves
• Injured any Christian person out of anger (not by accident)
• Had sex with a woman
• *Sexual intercourse with a man was a much more serious Templar infraction see above
• Threatened to join the Saracens (usually out of madness or anger)
• Leaving the Commandery at night in anger
• Throwing their Templar coat to the ground in anger
• Loaned any Temple assets without permission of the order
It is important to note that all the above crimes could be forgiven. If a brother repented with sincerity of his bad actions, and providing the brethren agreed, he would be restored with his coat and weapons.
The Seal Of The Knights Templar
Before looking at the seal that has become synonymous with the Templar order, it is first important that we have an understanding of the purpose of such seals.
In the Middle Ages, the most common ways to show the authenticity of a document was to affix a seal to it. These seals were images carved into a block which, when pressed into warm wax, left behind an inverse image of the picture. It worked much like a modern photo negative does. The identified the author of the document and was meant to stop people from forging or tampering with official documents and correspondence.
In an age when even illiterate people needed to conduct business transactions, seals allowed an individual to declare their agreement even if they couldn't sign their names.
There were seals of ecclesiastical bodies, Monarchs, individuals and even orders like the Templars. Although one image would, in modern times become synonymous with the order, there were in fact many Templar Seals. However it is this traditional seal that has garnered the most attention and speculation.
The traditional seal of the Knights Templar depicted two knights riding a single mount and was actually the seal of Grand Master Bertrand De Blanchfort who developed the seal for his personal usage in 1168.
As is the case from any symbol the attached meaning can vary and great studies have been done into symbolism. Perhaps most notably the eminent psychologist and occultist Carl Jung.
The image of the two knights astride a single mount was said to represent their vow of poverty. The original-founding members being so poor that each knight could not afford his own horse. While this is perhaps true of the original nine members, it certainly was not representative of the group as a whole latterly, as during De Blanchefort's reign the Templars had great wealth in both land and other assets. So great was this wealth, that they lent it to monarchs and in so doing, quite likely invented the banking system as we know it. In fact as early as the Council of Troyes, when the Latin Rule was composed an individual knight was permitted three horse to his care and a Grand Master even more.
The reverse of Blanchefort's seal depicted the Temple of Solomon or what the Crusaders and Templars believed to be Solomon's temple. It is actually a depiction of the Dome of the Rock, because the depiction of the Temple as depicted on the seal does not come close to the Biblical depiction as described in the Old Testament's Book of Kings.
Some have theorized, and incorrectly so that the dual knights on a single mount was a reference to the homosexuality that the knights were accused of practicing. This theory most certainly came to be after the accusations brought against the order during and after their arrest in 1307. For more information on this please see the myths section or the accusations section of this web site.
There has been some thought that the Templar Seal's two knights on a single horse is neither a representation of the knights vow of poverty or alleged homosexual activities, but rather a representation of the duality or conflict that existed in their order:
• They were poor by vow, yet rich beyond belief (in their assets)
• They were introspective, yet well versed in the matters of the world
• They were monks on one hand, yet feared as warriors on the other
Still others have cited the Gospel of Matthew as the source of the seal's symbolic meaning claiming that the one knight represented a Templar while the other depicted Christ. This comes from the passage in Matthew where Jesus Christ says:
"Wherever two or more of you are gathered in My name, there am I, in the midst of them."
Whatever the true meaning Bertrand de Blanchfort intended the seal to represent, the likelihood that we will ever know his intentions diminishes with each passing year. Suffice to say that the simplest answer is often the most obvious and likely. Certainly he may have intended it to be an homage to the original nine members.
The Templar Beauséant
The banner of the Knights Templar was called the Beauséant and like many pieces of medieval history, its true etymology may have been lost somewhere along the way. An anonymous pilgrim who visited Jerusalem between the twelfth and thirteenth century had the following to say of the Templars, their banner and battle technique:
" The Templars are most excellent soldiers. They wear white mantles with a red cross, and when they go to war a standard of two colors called balzaus is borne before them. They go in silence. Their first attack is the most terrible. In going, they are the first. In returning, the last. They await the orders of their Master. When they think fit to make war and the trumpet has sounded, they sing in chorus the Psalm of David, "Not unto us, O Lord" kneeling on the blood and necks of the enemy, unless they have forced the troops of the enemy to retire altogether, or utterly broken them to pieces. Should any of them for any reason turn his back to the enemy, or come forth alive [from a defeat], or bear arms against the Christians, he is severely punished; the white mantle with the red cross, which is the sign of his knighthood, is taken away with ignominy, he is cast from the society of brethren, and eats his food on the floor without a napkin for the space of one year. If the dogs molest him, he does not dare to drive them away. But at the end of the year, if the Master and brethren think his penance to have been sufficient, they restore him the belt of his former knighthood. These Templars live under a strict religious rule, obeying humbly, having no private property, eating sparingly, dressing meanly, and dwelling in tents."
The New Knighthood
Canto Publications pg 179
The late author John J. Robinson claimed that the term Beauséant was Medieval French for "beautiful." But to a group of knights who were not at all like the vein secular knights of the day, image certainly cannot be the entire interpretation. Robinson also claimed it was a battle cry:
"The word beau is now generally conceived to mean beautiful, but it means much more than that. In medieval French it meant a lofty state, for which translators have offered such terms as "noble," "glorious," and even "magnificent" As a battle cry then, "Beau Seant" was a charge to "Be noble" or "Be Glorious."
From the book Born In Blood
by John J. Robinson
M Evans and Company
Other etymological suggestions include piebald, which is perhaps closer to the mark. Piebald means spotted or two color as in a piebald horse or cat. This certainly fits the description of the Beauséant, for it consisted of a black square above a white one.
Symbolically, the black section depicted the sins of the secular world that the Templar knights had chosen to leave while the second section was white depicting the purity that the order offered them, a sort of transformation of darkness to light.
Despite many depictions of the banner in later day paintings, the battle standard was not such that it drooped down on its pole. Rather the banner was held in place top and bottom by two poles so that it did not require a breeze to be seen by the Templars and their enemies.
So important was the view of the flying Beauséant, that before battle, the Marshall would select ten Templars to protect him and the banner. If the Marshall were killed during fighting, the Commander of Knights would take the banner that it may fly above battle for all to see. Somewhat of a catch twenty -two was that as long as the Beauséant flew the Templars must fight on and as long as the Templars fought on, the Beauséant must fly.
Its main purpose seems to have been as a rallying point for the Templars. During battle a particular tactic was the heavy horse charging into battle. This often caused the Templars to be separated from one another. The flying banner would allow them to easily regroup in order to continue the attack.