Ruthlessness, rom antic idealism and other similar characteristics are a ttributed to the Deutschritter Or den, the Teutonic Knights. Yet the story of this order is less colourful than that of similar orders such as the Templars. M ost of them claimed - not always quite correctly - that their origins dated back to St Bernard of Clairvaux, who had issued the Rule of the Tem plars to two knights, Hugo of Payens and Godfrey of St Omer; rules closely modelled on St Bernard’s own order, in a spirit of profound Christian devotion and strict asceticism. A t the time of the second crusade, St Bernard himself called for recruits for the Tem plars, and in a tract issued for this purpose he wrote:

The warriors are gentler than lambs andfiercer than lions, wedding the mildness o f the m o n k to the valour o f the knight, so that it is difficult to decide which to call them: men who adorn the Temple o f Solom on with weapons instead o f gems, with shields instead o f crowns o f gold, with saddles and bridles instead o f candelabra; eager fo r victory no t fo r fam e; fo r battle not fo r pom p; who abhor useless speech, unnecessary action, unm easured laughter, gossip and chatter, as they despise all vain things; who, in spite o f their being many, live in one house according to one rule, with one soul and one heart. (Ernst Kantorowicz)

St Bernard’s foundation did not put an end to the hero of the ‘age of chivalry’ and his courtly pursuits, but countered the ‘restless, vacillating secular knight errant, who flew from adventure to adventure, or sacrificed himself in the service of his lady-love, leading his own individual life and entirely destructive to the firm fabric of the state’ with a closed, rigidly disciplined corporation, dedicated, as in the case of the Tem plars, to the service of Christ, their spiritual head. They were monks, actively serving a com m on purpose with the New Testam ent and the sword, men who subordinated themselves to a com m on master. In m odern terminology: they were activists of the word and the sword, recognizable by the uniform ity of their dress, the m antle with the cross, and style of life.