Edward I and the Crown of France

King Edward as a historical figure looms large over my books, both the After Cilmeri series and my new book, Crouchback. Because in the middle ages, the King of England was also the Duke of Aquitaine, not to mention Norman, Edward had ties to France even before he became king. “France”, however, didn’t exist as we know it today, in that Aquitaine was a separate kingdom and the people there were not “French.” Aquitaine had come under the auspices of the kings of England after the marriage of King Henry II to Eleanor of Aquitaine in the late 12th century, as an addition to Henry’s already extensive “French” estates, which included Brittany and Normandy. Over the next century, the Kingdom of France wrested all but Aquitaine away from the Kings of England. Thus, when Edward left for Crusade from Aigues Read more…

The Templar Order

The Templars were formed in 1118, when nine knights took holy vows to defend Jerusalem. In 1128, their founder received a blessing from the pope to formally form a new order of warrior knights. They adopted the order of St. Benedict and the white robes of the Cistercians and began recruiting. Men flocked to join, and were accepted in a hierarchical system of knights, sergeants (who wore black robes), farmers, and chaplains. Within fifty years, the order became one of the largest landowners not only in the Holy Land but in France and England. They became money lenders in the major cities, and were one of the finest fighting forces in the world. On the way to accumulating land, wealth, and the power that came with it, they established monasteries throughout Europe, called commanderies. We visited five such commanderies on Read more…