Were There Any Female Templars?

Were There Any Female Templars?

The Knights Templar, renowned for their bravery and martial prowess, were a medieval Christian military order founded in the 12th century. But one question often asked about this legendary organization is, were there any female members of the Templars? To answer this question, we must delve deep into the Templars’ historical records and cultural context, which will reveal a more complex picture than we might initially expect.

Templars: An Overview

Before we tackle the question, it’s important to understand the context in which the Knights Templar operated. The Templars were formed around 1119 AD to protect Christian pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land during a heightened tension following the First Crusade. Over time, they evolved into a sophisticated military and financial organization, with vast estates across Europe and the Middle East and an influence that extended to the highest levels of medieval society.

Knights Templar and Gender

Like other monastic orders, the Templars had a rigid structure dictated by strict rules, known as the Latin Rule or the Rule of the Templars. Established by the Council of Troyes in 1129, these rules made no provisions for female members. The Templars were to be a brotherhood of knights and monks, living under vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.

The military aspect of the Templar order further emphasized its exclusively male nature. Medieval concepts of gender dictated that combat was a male duty. Women were considered unsuitable for warfare due to prevailing social and religious beliefs about their physical and emotional capabilities.

Did Any Templars Marry?

The Knights Templar were bound by strict monastic rules that encompassed vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. The vow of chastity specifically meant that Templars were not allowed to marry or have any sort of intimate relationship. These rules were strictly enforced; any violation could lead to severe punishment or expulsion from the order.

This prohibition against marriage was consistent with other military orders of the time, such as the Knights Hospitaller and the Teutonic Knights. These orders emphasized their members’ spiritual dedication and brotherhood, which they believed could be compromised by familial or romantic attachments.

However, it’s essential to note that these rules applied strictly to the Knights Templar. While the knights could not marry, other people associated with the Templars—such as their servants, tenants, or employees—were not subject to the same restrictions. Similarly, women who were related to the Templars but not members of the order, such as donors or lay sisters, were also able to marry.

In essence, the vow of chastity and the prohibition against marriage were key components of a Templar knight’s identity. These vows reinforced the Templars’ dedication to their cause and distinguished them from other sections of medieval society. While they may seem strict by modern standards, these rules were a fundamental part of the Templar ethos and integral to their role in the Crusades and European society.

Templar-associated Women

Women couldn’t be knights, but they played roles within the broader Templar organization. Templar estates required administrators, and women, usually of noble birth, filled some of these roles. These women were not knights but essential to the order’s complex financial and logistical networks. Furthermore, women could also be “donatas” or “conversas,” who made donations or contributions to the order or lived in semi-religious communities associated with the Templars.

Interactions Between Templars and Noble Women 

Although the Knights Templar order was a male-only institution, their interactions with noble women were crucial to its operations and survival. This was primarily due to the influence and resources these women controlled, often through their positions as wives, mothers, or widows of powerful men.

Noble women were able to support the Templars through donations of land, money, or resources. Such patronage demonstrated their piety and created social and political alliances that could benefit them and their families. Some women might have seen their support for the Templars as a way of asserting their influence in a world that usually denied them direct political power.

Aside from financial support, noble women could also provide logistical assistance to the Templars. Templar properties needed to be managed, and some noble women took on these administrative roles. This allowed them to participate indirectly in the Templars’ mission, even if they couldn’t be members themselves.

In some cases, interactions between the Templars and noble women may have been more personal. There are records of women becoming “confraters” or “conventual sisters,” living in semi-religious communities associated with the Templars. These women were not Templars; their lives were closely intertwined with the order’s operations.

But it’s important to remember that the Templars’ vow of chastity strictly governed these relationships. Templar knights were expected to maintain a respectful distance from all women, even noble patrons. Any accusations of impropriety could have serious consequences for both parties involved.

Despite these restrictions, noble women played an indispensable role in the Templars’ story, demonstrating the ways in which women could navigate and influence the male-dominated world of medieval Europe.

Women and Templar Rituals

There are intriguing references in historical records that suggest some women were allowed to participate in Templar rituals, despite the order’s official stance. This involvement, however, did not equate to full membership. Many historians believe these accounts may reflect the Templars’ need to maintain relationships with their patrons and allies, many of whom were women.

The Case of Saint Joan of Arc

Perhaps the most famous woman associated with the Templars is Saint Joan of Arc. Joan famously led the French to victory in key battles during the Hundred Years’ War, claiming divine guidance. Despite her martial achievements, Joan was not a Templar, although she was accused of using Templar symbols and rituals. Her relationship with the Templars has been a source of much debate and speculation, but it does not provide evidence of female Templar knights.

Female Templar Names

Due to the male-exclusive nature of the Knights Templar, there are no known historical records of any female Templars, as discussed in previous sections. Still, the realm of fiction has given rise to various representations of female Templars. While not historically accurate, these characters serve to reimagine the past, create exciting narratives, and challenge traditional gender roles.

In literature, films, and video games, female Templars are often portrayed as warriors equal in skill and conviction to their male counterparts. Let’s explore some of these fictional female Templar characters and their intriguing names:

  1. Eleanor of Aquitaine (The Templar Knight series by Jan Guillou): While the real Eleanor of Aquitaine was not a Templar, in Guillou’s historical fiction series, she is depicted as a strong character who interacts with the Templars and is instrumental in key events. She provides a female perspective on the Templar world.
  2. Isolde de Tyrone (The First Templar game): Isolde is a fictional character in the video game “The First Templar.” As a fierce warrior, she defies the social norms of the period.
  3. Cassandra de Mornay (Assassin’s Creed: Unity): In this popular video game series, Cassandra is portrayed as a Templar who is influential in the French Revolution. She is a fictional embodiment of women’s empowerment in a male-dominated setting.
  4. Mariel d’Arcy (Daughter of the Templars by Deborah Jones): Mariel is the protagonist of this novel, set in the aftermath of the Templars’ dissolution. While not a Templar herself, she’s closely tied to their legacy and uses her intellect to preserve it.
  5. Samantha Dixon (The Last Templar by Raymond Khoury): Samantha is an archaeologist who becomes involved in unraveling the Templar mysteries. Her character offers an exciting modern connection to the Templar world.

These fictional female Templar characters and names not only create intriguing stories but also serve as catalysts for reimagining the role of women in historical contexts.

Allegations of Female Templars

Throughout history, allegations of women disguised as men serving as Templar knights have existed. But these claims lack solid historical evidence. Most are based on myths, legends, or misunderstandings of medieval art and symbolism. While these stories are intriguing, they should not be taken as evidence of female Templars.

Templar Order’s Demise and Aftermath

The Templar order met a violent end in the early 14th century when King Philip IV of France, deeply indebted to them, launched a brutal crackdown. Many Templars were arrested, tortured, and executed. The order was officially disbanded by Pope Clement V in 1312. This event, known as the Templar Trials, has given rise to numerous conspiracy theories and legends, including the supposed survival of the order and its secret continuation, often involving female members. However, these theories lack substantiating historical evidence.

Myths and Legends: The Enduring Fascination with the Female Templar

Despite being historically inaccurate, the female Templar concept has captured imaginations and permeated various forms of media, from books and films to video games. The image of a female knight, clad in the distinctive white mantle with a red cross, challenges traditional narratives and carries a potent blend of historical mystique and modern-day aspirations for gender equality.

These legends often depict women disguising themselves as men to join the Templar ranks, braving societal norms and the order’s stringent rules. The intrigue of these stories is magnified by the Templars’ secretive nature and the controversies surrounding their dissolution. The lack of comprehensive historical accounts of the Templars has allowed these myths and legends to flourish, filling in the gaps with tales of daring women navigating the treacherous world of medieval chivalry.

In the realm of popular culture, these fictional female Templars often serve as powerful symbols of resistance and empowerment. They represent the idea of women taking control of their destinies, challenging the status quo, and succeeding in a male-dominated world.

Furthermore, these myths resonate with contemporary discussions about the role of women in society and the military. They provoke conversations about gender equality, female strength, and the historical representation of women.

Despite their lack of historical accuracy, these myths and legends about female Templars continue to fascinate because they provide a unique lens through which to reimagine the past. They challenge traditional narratives, add depth to our understanding of the Templar order, and remind us that history is often more nuanced and diverse than it first appears.


The question of female Templars is fascinating, shedding light on the intersections of gender, power, and religion in medieval society. The evidence suggests that while women could not be Templars in the official sense, they did play important roles within the order’s larger network. Involvement in Templar rituals and operations may have allowed women to exercise power and influence in an era when such opportunities were rare.

Despite its historical inaccuracy, the female Templar’s legend remains powerful. It speaks to our modern desire to reimagine the past in a way that highlights forgotten or marginalized figures and perhaps challenges traditional narratives. While the historical Templars may have been an all-male order, the idea of the female Templar continues to inspire, reminding us of the complex and often untold stories of women in history.