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An extract from Armies and Enemies of the Crusades 1096-1291
by Ian Heath


27a and b represent 2 variants of the Templarsí black and white banner Bauceant as it appears in Matthew Parisí Chronica Majora. Its name, usually corrupted to Beau Sťant or Beausťant, derives from the Low Latin for a piebald horse, and Jacques de Vitry describes how it signified Ďthat they are fair and kindly towards their friends, but black and terrible to their enemiesí. In use at least as early as 1128 (though at that date probably a gonfalon rather than a banner), it was apparently not actually carried by the Orderís standard-bearer, the Gonfanonier, on the march it was borne by one of his esquires, and in battle it was borne by a Turcopole (the Gonfanonier himself taking command of the esquires). In battle it could have a guard of 10 knights, and its loss by a brother meant expulsion from the Order. In addition the Templars had a secondary banner or gonfalon of a red cross on a white field, and each commandery had its own banner plus a reserve one to be unfurled if the first was lost.

27c, the standard of the Hospitallers, consisted of a white cross on a red field; this particular example is again taken from the Chronica Majora, though Parisí Historia Anglorum shows a variant with a plain cross. This standard was in use by 1182 at the latest and probably earlier, and like the Templarsí Bauceant was the responsibility of the Orderís Gonfanonier but was carried by an esquire.

The banner of the Teutonic Knights, 27d, was simply a black cross on a white field. In the Orderís early days the pattern of the cross may have been formťe rather than plain, but certainly the latter form soon came to predominate. The shields of brethren displayed the same black cross on a white field.

Next: 28. THE ROYAL BANNER in Armies and Enemies of the Crusades 1096-1291 by Ian Heath.

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