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Cross, Templar

Andr Favin, a French heraldic writer, says that the original badge of the Knights Templar was a Patriarchal Cross, and Clarke, in his History of Knighthood, makes the same statement, but this is an error. At first, the Templars wore a white mantle without any cross. But in 1146 Pope Eugenius III prescribed for them a red cross on their breasts, as a symbol of the martyrdom to which they were constantly exposed. The cross of the Hospitalers was white on a black mantle, and that of the Templars was different in color but of the same form, namely, a cross patte, patte meaning the arms broad and spreading at the outer ends. In this it differed from the true Maltese Cross, worn by the Knights of Malta, which was a cross patte, the limbs deeply notched so as to make a cross of eight points. Sir Walter Scott, with his not unusual heraldic inaccuracy, and Godfrey Higgins, who is not often inaccurate, but only fanciful at times, both describe the Templar cross as having eight points, thus confounding it with the Cross of Malta. In the statutes of the Order of the Temple, the cross prescribed is that depicted in the Charter of Transmission, and is a cross patte.

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