Armand de Perigord (1178-1247)

Master of the Order from 1232 to 1247.

Armand de Perigord, also called ‘Hermann of Périgueux’, came from the family of the Count of Perigord. Born in 1178, he enters very soon the Order and takes the function of Master of the Province of Apulia and Sicily from 1205 to 1232, when he is elected Master of the Order.

From 1232, he leads his knights in important attacks against cities of Cana, Saphet and Saphorie and against Muslims positions around Tiberiade Lake.
All these expeditions only resulted, however, in a significant decrease in the numbers of Templars in all the Latin States.

In 1236, the Syrio-Cilician border is the theatre of a Templar military disaster. 120 knights with several hundred bowmen and Turcopoles try to seize the city of Darbsâk (Terbezek) by surprise.
At first, the Templars succeeded in entering the lower town. But quickly, the Ayubids soldiers pull themselves together and, with reinforcements from the city fortress, they offer fierce resistance to the Templars. At the same time, the cavalry from Aleppo arrived from behind the Templars and slaughtered them.
Of the 120 knights, less than 20 managed to escape and return to the Templar fortress of Baghrâs, 15 kilometres distant.
That battle is also one of the few where the Beauceant fell into Muslims hands, after its bearer, the courageous knight Reginald of Argenton(1), was cut down trying to save it.

Aside from these conflicts, the beginning of Grand-mastery of Armand de Perigord is kept busy with quarrels about internal affairs and diplomacy that preoccupied the three Orders. Templars wish to establish an alliance with the sultan of Damascus, while Hospitaliers and Teutonics prefer to approach to sultan of Cairo.

Enluminure de parchemin décrivant la bataille de la Forbie.
Old 13th century manuscript by Matthew Paris - Battle of la Forbie
Source : Wikipédia

In September 1239, what History called ‘the Barons' Crusade' disembarked in Acre. Poorly lead by the Count of Champagne Theobald IV and some others extremely famous knights, Crusaders will take no advice from either Master of the Orders, nor from the Latin State lords .
In September, this crusade was annihilated by Muslim forces. Templars, Hospitaliers and Teutonics, who had refused to join the conquering madness of these French crusaders, could only recover few survivors and shelter them in Acre.

Armand de Perigord managed to obtain a truce with the Sultan of Damascus(2) and the Hospitaliers do the same with the sultan of Egypt(3).

In 1244, the sultan of Damascus asks for help from the Templars to fight off Kharismians, a tribe originating from Minor Asia pushed toward Syria by Mongol invasion.
In October 1244, Templars, Hospitaliers and Teutonics, reconciled at last, and the Sultan of Damascus face near the city of La Forbie the allied armies of the Sultan of Cairo(4) and of Kharismians.
On October 18th, the French-Muslim coalition is defeated. More than 30000 death of the two sides strew the battlefield. Armand de Perigord is one of the few knights captured. Only about thirty Templars and Hospitaliers will succeed in joining Ascalon, still in Christian hands.

Some historians mention that Armand de Perigord was killed during this battle near La Forbie, same as the Master of Hospitaliers(5). Others, on the other hand, mention that he is captured and he dies in captivity in 1247. Regardless, his successor Guillaume de Sonnac appears as Master of the Temple only starting in 1247.

Previous Master : Pierre de Montaigu - Next Master : Guillaume de Sonnac

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Notes :

(1)He is mentionned in the Chronicle of Matthew Paris. In his "Art de vérifier les dates" Nicolas Viton Saint-Allais mentions him as Philippe Argenton, while quoting Matthew Paris as source. No trace of his name in "The Central Convent of Hospitallers and Templars" of Jochten Burgthof..

(2)The Sultan of Damascus at that time is Al-Malik es-Salih Imad ed-Din Isma'il or simply Al-Salih Isma'il. He is born around 1200, died in 1250. He is the youngest son of Sultan Al-Adel Sayf ad-Din. He is the Sultan of Damascus first in 1237 and then from 1239 to 1245.

(3)The sultan of Cairo at that time is Al-Adil Sayf ad-Din II. He is born around 1216 and died in 1248. He is the sultan of Cairo from 1238 to 1240.

(4)Al-Malik as-Salih Najm ad-Din Ayyub, born around 1207, died in 1249. He is Sultan of Egypt from 1240 to 1249 and Sultan of Damascus from 1245 to 1249. He is the son of Sultan Al-Kamel.

(5)This master of St John's Order was Pierre de Vieille-Bride.

for a bibliography more complete... Bibliography
  1. "Histoire des Croisades et du Royaume Franc de Jerusalem (3 volumes)"
    René Grousset ; Librairie Académique Perrin 1991
  2. "Armorial des Maîtres de l'Ordre du Temple"
    Bernard Marillier ; Editions Pardès, 2000
  3. "Les Grands Maîtres de l'Ordre du Temple"
    Jacques Rolland ; Editions Dervy, 2004
  4. "Histoire des Templiers"
    J.-J.-E. Roy ; Editions Pardès, 1999
  5. "The Central Convent of Hospitalers and Templars - History, Organization and Personel (1099/1120-1310)"
    Jochen Burgtorf ; Editions Brill, 2008
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Translation : Andrew Zolnai
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