chapter  6
8 Pages

Pope Honorius III, the military orders and the fi nancing of the Fifth Crusade: a culture of papal preference?


The Fifth Crusade (1217-1221) was funded in part through the three-year tax of a twentieth on ecclesiastical income levied by Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) at the Fourth Lateran Council in November 1215. The collection and transfer of the tax was administered by Innocent III’s successor, Pope Honorius III (1216-1227), who employed devolved and centralized systems in tandem. Vital to the centralized system were the Templars and Hospitallers of Paris, who acted as bankers to Honorius and transferred tax revenues to subsidize the conflict being waged in the East. While the twentieth tax has been treated in part by studies of the Fifth Crusade and papal finance, detailed analysis of its machinery and operation has yet to appear in print. 1 This chapter tackles an important and under-researched aspect of the twentieth tax – the role played by the Templars and Hospitallers as middlemen in funding the Fifth Crusade. It addresses the themes of culture and conflict by scrutinizing how Honorius III used the orders to bankroll the crusade during the conflict and questioning whether a culture of preference existed at the papal curia for the use of Templars over the Hospitallers.