"Templar Convivencia: Templars and Their Associates in 12th and 13th Century Iberia" explores the people behind the legendary medieval warriors: the Order of the Temple of Solomon. Contrary to popular myth, most Templars were neither knights nor nobles. Many were not even monks. Spanish Templars in the Crown of Aragon included in their ranks women, Jews and even Muslims. Illustrated with 47 photos of sites in Spain.
Possessing a quixotic fondness for difficult careers, Paula R. Stiles has driven ambulances, taught fish farming for the Peace Corps in West Africa and earned a Scottish PhD in medieval history, studying Templars and non-Christians in Spain. She is the author of upcoming dark fantasy novel, "The Mighty Quinn," co-written supernatural mystery novel, "Fraterfamilias," and non-fiction medieval history book, "Templar Convivencia: Templars and Their Associates in 12th and 13th Century Iberia." She is Editor in Chief of the Lovecraft/Mythos 'zine/micropress Innsmouth Free Press. You can find her at: http://thesnowleopard.net.
A major inspiration for my PhD thesis was discovering early on in my master that the Templars were far more complex and fascinating than the popular stereotype of xenophobic, woman-hating, snobbish monks who fought as knights. They could also be peasants, women, people of mixed race, and even Jews or Muslims, since those who helped the Templars also regarded themselves as Templars. It wasn't just the monks who had taken vows.
Romantic, nineteenth-century views of the Templars focus on the knights to the exclusion of all other members of the Temple. Such a narrow vision of the Order ignores the fascinating individuals and groups that do not fit neatly into the idea of Templars as noble Christian crusaders. There is no room for the earliest provincial master in Aragon, confrater Guillem Ramon in Novillas; or the Preceptrix Ermengarda and her sister Templar, Titborga, in Rourell; or the turcopole witnesses Bernard and Fragil; or the Mozarabs Dominic Moçarau and Steven Mozarau; or the ex-Templar slave Mafomet and his wife Fatima in Tortosa, who remained associates of the Order after buying their freedom; or King James I of Aragon, who was raised by the Order; or Judah aben Lavi de la Cavalleria, who proudly proclaimed his association with the Temple in his very name.