In the thirteenth century in England and other European countries, men, whether soldiers or wealthy farmers, lived on average to 31 years of age. Basically, they died due to numerous wars, epidemics, lack of adequate nutrition, normal hygiene and medicine. 40 years was already a venerable age. As for the Templars, many of them lived up to sixty years, and this would not be the limit. After all, most of them died during the battle, and not from various diseases. What is the secret of their longevity?
1. Historical background
The Knights Templar was at the peak of its popularity in Europe for almost two hundred years. By the end of the thirteenth century, it numbered fifteen thousand Templar Knights. First of all, the best of the best warriors served in it, which means that their food had to be of the highest quality. But at the same time, they were all obliged to serve the church, strictly observing the main rules.
Be that as it may, the knights of this order lived quite modestly. They took vows of obedience, chastity, and poverty. They had no right to be the owners of expensive property, to take material benefits from the poor. Even women were not allowed to look them in the eye. And here is the paradox. The financial possibilities of the order were enormous, even when compared with a number of European countries - it was fabulously wealthy.
The life expectancy of the Templars is evidenced by many historical facts described in a number of reliable sources. And if in those days ordinary people were surprised by this, now it has already been proven that it was the right diet that allowed the Templars to achieve such an amazing result in terms of excellent health and longevity.
2. Rules of conduct while eating
Around the beginning of the twelfth century, B. Clairvaux, one of the theologians of France, assisted the order in compiling a very large list of rules that structure the daily life of the Templars. It was based on the teachings of Benedict and Augustine. The creation of the list ended only in 1129. But the knights themselves had already existed for several years and themselves created a number of their own customs and traditions. As a rule, in different European countries, the diet was not the same as the food eaten, but there were general rules.
By the way, the rules were not only in food, but also in the way of life, behavior in general. So the Templars were obliged to protect the church, widows and orphans. There were also certain requirements for what the knights ate, how and even with whom.
The Templars were supposed to be at the table with their brothers, but always in silence. If it was required to ask, for example, salt, the knight was obliged to state his request to his neighbor on the table very quietly. After the meal, the knights also sat quietly - they silently expressed gratitude to God. What was left of the meal was always given to the poor. Bread that had not been started was left for the next meal.
3. Detailed diet of the Knights Templar
When drawing up the knightly diet, absolutely everything was taken into account: church rules, active military life, wearing very heavy uniforms (armor), the need to be the best among the soldiers. The Templars were allowed to eat meat three times a week. On Sunday, individual knights, mainly those with high rank, were allowed to eat fried meat for lunch and dinner. Presumably, they ate mainly poultry, beef, bacon and ham with salt. The portions were apparently impressive as they still needed to be shared with the poor. In the eastern regions, the knights used pork much less often, due to Arab beliefs, therefore they replaced it with lamb or poultry.
On Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, the diet was light - exclusively vegetable dishes with bread two to three times a day. True, cheese, milk and raw, always fresh eggs were added to the vegetables. Knights and oatmeal or bean porridge, vegetable stew could be used. These foods are high in fiber. In the eastern regions, expensive spices were added to cereals, for example, cinnamon, caraway seeds, sauces. In the European parts of the world, they were not available to the Templars. In the preceptors, in the gardens, the knights themselves grew vegetables and fruits. In Europe, they tried to grow figs, olives, almonds, pomegranates. Often these products were given to them by brothers from the east as a gift.
On Fridays, the knights were always fasting. They were not allowed to eat not only meat, but also other animal products such as eggs and milk. But fish was not prohibited by the church. Therefore, they salted it in advance so that the meal would be hearty. The church allowed only those who were injured in battles and thin, weak knights who were recovering from them to take the main food and even poultry meat. Thus, the process of rehabilitation and return to shape was accelerated.
The rest of the time, the knights drank not only water and milk, but also wine, often flavored with anise, honey, cinnamon, albeit in limited quantities. Beer was also drunk in a number of orders.
Other important rules included:
- always wash your hands before eating;
Compliance with the basic rules of hygiene prevented the development of many diseases, and the medical knowledge received from the Arabs helped to fight them if necessary.
Continuing the topic read, why medieval castles were stormed, and not bypassed.