Gilbert Horal was probably of Aragonian origin. He was a member of the Order of the Temple from his earliest days.
He stayed in Provence and Aragon where he participated in several battles of the ‘Reconquista’. After some years, he became Master of Aragon Province, then in 1190, he was appointed Visitor of France.
In 1193, after the death of Robert de Sable, he was appointed Master of the Order.
In 1194, Pope Celestin III confirmed the Papal Bull ‘Omne Datum Optimum’ and so extended all privileges previously allowed to the Order.
Prudent and rational, he tried to keep a politic of equilibrium between Christians and Muslims. He strongly committed himself so that the Treaty between Saladin and Richard Lion Heart was respected by Christians.
Pope Innocent III and several Frankish lords denounced the attitude of Horal, accusing the Order of treason and collusion with the enemy. Gilbert Horal had to use all his diplomatic art to calm their minds.
During the time Horal was Master, quarrels between Templars and Hospitalers assumed gigantic and disastrous proportions. The two Orders engaged in armed fights about possession of cities and castles.
In the quarrels, Pope Innocent III arbitrated in favour of the Hospitalers. It seemed as though he couldn’t forgive the Templars for the treaties they signed with Malek-Adel, brother of the deceased Saladin.
On the European scene, Gilbert Horal took time to organise and to strengthen Templar possessions in France and in the Pouilles.
In Spain, the Templars actively participated in the ‘Reconquista’. In 1196 Alphonse, King of Aragon, gave them the fortress of ‘Alhambra’ to reward the Order for their efforts in battle.
During the reign of Horal as Master the monastic Order of the Hospitalers of Holy Virgin of the German became a military order like Templars and Hospitalers. This new Order would soon be called the Teutonic Order.
Gilbert Horal died in December 1200, at the beginning of the Fourth Crusade.
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