Nine Original Templars or More Likely Thirty One?

nineSorry to burst the wonderful story of 9 original Knights Templar, but we must look at the two historians that recorded their numbers and judge which is more historically accurate.

The historian that recorded that their were 9 original Templars was writtin by a man who wasn’t even alive at the time of the conception of the Templars, William, Archbishop of Tyre who didn’t like the Templars. William thought that the Templar Grand Master, Odo of St. Amand, was arrogant and showed him in a very pool light in his writings (1). William was allied with the Hospitaliers who were then in competition with the Templars.

So where did William get the number “9” then? Nine is a symbol of wisdom and good leadership so some historians believe William chose it for it’s spiritual significance. Let’s use our logic, would the king of Jerusalem give the whole Al-Aqsa Mosque (at that time converted to a church) to 9 Knights? No, they would need only a single room. And William records in their first nine years they could raise no more than 9 men and yet they protected pilgrims. In nine years of existence, with a whole Al-Aqsa Mosque to fill, do you believe they couldn’t recruit another soul? And how much protecting Pilgrims could 9 men even accomplish? Not much.

The 2nd Historian who was alive at the time the Templars began was Michael the Syrian, Patriarch of Antioch. Micheal recorded that Hugh de Payens led 30 Knights to Jerusalem. 30 knights sounds like the size that would be given the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The following was written by Templar Expert Stephen Dafoe on this topic (2):
Our notion that Hugh de Payens and Godfrey de St. Omer were joined by seven valiant knights comes to us largely from the writings of William, Archbishop of Tyre (1130 – 1190), however, William does not tell us that there were nine at the start, but rather that in their first nine years of existence, the Templars could raise no more than nine men. Although William was born in the Holy Land, he was not an eyewitness to the formation of the Templars. In fact, the Templars had already existed for more than a decade when William was born, and his chronicle was written many years later around the time of the Battle of Hattin (1187) when the Templars were well established.

Another medieval chronicler contemporary with the time of the Templars was Michael the Syrian, Patriarch of Antioch. In Michael’s account of the Templars’ beginnings we are told that Hugh de Payens had travelled to the Holy Land and vowed to never return to France. After serving in King Baldwin II’s army for a period of three years, de Payens, along with the thirty knights who had accompanied him east, accepted the king’s advice to continue to serve the cause. According to Michael, Baldwin granted the knights a portion of the al Aqsa Mosque, believed to be Solomon’s Temple, and thus the Templars were born.

Although Michael the Syrian’s account has received less attention outside historical circles, it is certainly a more plausible account of the formation of the Templars than William’s assertion of just nine knights in nine years (2).


1) The Real History Behind the Templars, By Sharan Newman,+Archbishop+of+tyre+didn%27t+like+the+Templars&source=bl&ots=KO1TuqujuR&sig=Al9fi6_0rqLI0LpqifDSDbu3lqU&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CB4Q6AEwAGoVChMIjOyS-6XKxwIVzJseCh2kOA0I#v=onepage&q=william%2C%20Archbishop%20of%20tyre%20didn’t%20like%20the%20Templars&f=false

2)  Were there really only nine?  By Stephen Dafoe