Knights Templar drink alcohol

Can Knights Templar Drink Alcohol

The Knights Templar, a medieval Christian military order that rose to prominence during the Crusades, has long fascinated the public. Among the many questions about their lifestyle and customs, one that often arises is: “Did Knights Templar drink alcohol?” The question is more complex than it may seem. To answer it, we must delve into the historical context of the Templars’ era, the specific religious rules they adhered to, and the general attitudes towards alcohol in the Middle Ages.

A Brief Overview of the Knights Templar

Before addressing the topic of the Knights Templar and alcohol, it is essential to understand the organization’s historical and cultural context. The Knights Templar was founded in 1119 AD, initially to protect Christian pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land. Over time, the order expanded its functions to include military operations, banking, and other activities.

Though they were monks, they were also warriors. As such, they straddled the lines between the military and monastic worlds, bound by both the knights’ chivalric code and the monks’ religious vows.

Were Templar Knights Christians?

The Knights Templar were indeed Christians. They were a Christian military order established in the 12th century, during the time of the Crusades. Their full name was “The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon,” reflecting their Christian identity and connection to the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem.

The Roman Catholic Church sanctioned the order, and its members were expected to live according to Christian principles and uphold the faith. They took monastic vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, similar to those taken by monks. They followed a strict set of rules known as the Latin Rule, which outlined their religious and moral duties.

The primary mission of the Knights Templar was to protect Christian pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land. Over time, they also participated in various military campaigns in the Crusades, intending to reclaim and hold sacred Christian territories in the Middle East.

So, the Knights Templar were not just Christians; they were Christian warriors who dedicated their lives to their faith and its defense.

The Rule of the Order and Alcohol Consumption

The Knights Templar lived according to a specific set of rules known as “The Rule of the Order.” This rulebook, created in the early years of the Templars’ existence, outlined how they should live, pray, and behave.

Interestingly, the Rule does not outright forbid the consumption of alcohol. It does, however, regulate it to some extent. According to the Rule, Templars were allowed to drink their “wine diluted,” a typical practice in the Middle Ages to make the wine safer to drink and less intoxicating. They were also restricted to drinking in moderation, primarily during meal times. The Rule made it clear that drunkenness was not tolerated among the Templars, as it was seen as a vice that could lead to other sins.

What Were the Knights Templar Not Allowed to Do?

The Knights Templar were bound by a rigorous set of rules known as the Latin Rule or the Rule of the Order, which outlined specific behaviors they were not allowed to engage in. These prohibitions were designed to maintain their spiritual purity, uphold their vows, and ensure military discipline.

Breaking the Vows of Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience

The Templars took vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, which were strictly enforced. They were not allowed to own personal property. All belongings and earnings were shared within the order. Violating the vow of chastity, which meant they couldn’t engage in any sexual activity, was also strictly forbidden. Obedience to the order’s hierarchy was demanded at all times, with insubordination severely punished.

Engaging in Secular Life

The Templars were prohibited from engaging in secular activities that could distract them from their religious obligations. This included hunting and participating in games or festivities. They were also not permitted to wear ostentatious clothing or adornments; their dress had to be simple and unassuming.

Acting Independently in Battle

In battle, the Knights Templar were allowed to retreat if vastly outnumbered. They also couldn’t act independently; they had to follow the command structure of the order. A lone Templar was not allowed to confront a large group of enemies on his own, which was considered an act of recklessness rather than bravery.

Disobeying the Rule of Silence

The Templars were also bound by a Rule of Silence at certain times. They were not allowed to speak during meals and at other specified times. This silence was considered a form of spiritual discipline, promoting contemplation and prayer.

In the end, the Knights Templar were not allowed to do anything that might compromise their vows, jeopardize the order’s discipline, or distract from their spiritual and military mission. These prohibitions underscore the Templars’ unique role as both monks and warriors, committed to a life of purity, communal living, and martial discipline.

Everyday Life of Knights Templar: Food and Drinks 

The everyday life of a Templar knight was a blend of rigorous military discipline, a monastic lifestyle, and communal living. This unique blend was reflected in their approach to food and drinks.

Food and Meals

The Knights Templar adhered to a relatively simple and nutritious diet, primarily due to their vows of poverty. Their meals consisted of seasonal vegetables, grains like barley and oats, legumes, and occasionally meat. The meat was served twice or thrice a week, usually on Sundays and special occasions. On other days, meals were predominantly vegetarian, following the monastic tradition of abstaining from meat.

Meals were taken communally in silence, with one of the brothers reading aloud from a religious text. This practice was intended to nourish the mind, spirit, and body.


As for drinks, water, beer, and wine were common. Water was a basic necessity, but beer and wine were often safer alternatives due to concerns about their purity. Beer, usually low in alcohol, was a common drink for hydration.

The wine was a staple in their diet and was consumed in moderation, usually diluted with water to reduce its intoxicating effects. The Rule of the Order allowed Templars to drink, but drunkenness was strictly forbidden. Wine also held religious significance, being used in the Eucharist.

The Knights Templar’s diet was a reflection of their monastic vows and military lifestyle, focusing on simplicity, moderation, and communal living. Consuming food and drinks was not merely a biological necessity but a practice deeply entwined with their religious and communal life.

The Role of Alcohol in the Middle Ages

The context of alcohol consumption in the Middle Ages also plays a crucial role in understanding the habits of the Knights Templar. During this period, alcohol, particularly wine, and beer, was a common part of everyday life. It was often safer to drink than water, which could be contaminated, and it also provided a source of calories.

Yet, drunkenness was generally frowned upon, especially among the clergy and religious orders. It was seen as a sign of moral weakness and a path to sinful behavior. Thus, while the Templars may have consumed alcohol, they likely did so in moderation, in line with their monastic vows and the societal norms of their time.

Alcohol as a Social and Ceremonial Tool

In the medieval period, alcohol played a significant role in social and ceremonial contexts. It was often used in celebrations, feasts, and religious rituals. It’s plausible that the Knights Templar, like their contemporaries, used alcohol in these contexts.

Wine, for instance, had a vital role in the Christian Eucharist, representing the blood of Christ. As such, Templars would have likely consumed wine as part of their religious observances. Furthermore, the communal nature of meals, often accompanied by drinking, was an important part of monastic life, fostering unity among the members of the order.

The Knights Templar in Popular Culture

The Knights Templar has left a significant mark on popular culture, appearing in numerous books, films, and even video games. However, these depictions often take liberties with historical accuracy.

Some fictional accounts portray the Templars as hard-drinking, rowdy warriors, while others depict them as ascetics who abstain from alcohol entirely. As is often the case, the truth likely lies somewhere in the middle. The Templars were neither drunken brawlers nor complete abstainers but disciplined monks who drank in moderation according to the customs and rules of their time.

The Templars’ Legacy and Alcohol

The legacy of the Knights Templar continues to influence modern societies, even in the realm of alcohol. Some contemporary alcohol brands have used the imagery of the Templars and the Crusades in their marketing, with products like “Templar Ale” or “Crusader Wine.

While these products play on the romantic image of the Templars, they also reflect the historical reality that the Templars, like their contemporaries, did consume alcohol. Still, their disciplined and moderate approach toward drinking is often overlooked in favor of more sensational portrayals.

Conclusion: Knights Templar Alcohol

To sum up, the historical evidence suggests that the Knights Templar drank alcohol. This practice was governed by their religious vows, the societal norms of the Middle Ages, and the specific rules of their order, which advocated for moderation and discouraged drunkenness.

Their approach to alcohol reflects the dual nature of the Templars as both monks and warriors. On the one hand, they were religious men who took vows of obedience, chastity, and poverty. On the other hand, they were also knights who participated in the social customs of their time, which included the consumption of alcohol.

Thus, the question “Did Knights Templar drink alcohol?” can be answered with a nuanced yes. They likely did, but they did so in a way that upheld their vows and the moral standards of their time. This balanced approach to alcohol, which combined social custom with religious duty, is a testament to the unique role of the Templars in the history of the Middle Ages.