Courtier, Benjamin (2017) Analysing the Masculinity of the Knights of the Military Orders: Warrior Monks or Pious Knights? The Developing Identity of the Military Orders. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

The military Orders have long been an object of great interest to historians, hence the plethora of studies on them, and various aspects of their roles and exploits. They have inspired debate and controversy from the years of their foundations to the present day. Yet the question of their masculinity remains unexplored, despite the range and volume of writing on them. This study argues that their masculinity was central to both their success and to their later fall. It thus aims to fill a gap in research by exploring a crucial aspect of what made these knights unique, and a focus of widespread support, using the evidence they left behind and the views of their contemporaries. Using Bernard of Clairvaux’s interpretation of their unique, hybrid brand of masculinity as a starting point, this project explores the formation and development of a specific gendered form of identity for members of these Orders. Their masculinity was governed by many factors and altered as these organisations grew, with no one overarching identity for all members. While many academics have studied the achievements and importance of the military Orders in the broader context of the crusades, this thesis focuses upon their function and lifestyle. It delves into the make-up of their membership, perceived identity and how this was put into practice as well as the factors that affected each. The knights of the Orders were the central figures, responsible for their success and growth by bridging the secular and clerical worlds. Focusing on their masculinity allows us to better understand the role and importance of the military Orders.

Benjamin Courtier FINAL THESIS.PDF - Accepted Version
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