Arn – The Knight Templar
In this lavish historical drama, Arn, the knightly son of a Swedish nobleman, must journey to the Holy Land on horseback as a sentence for taking up with a forbidden romantic partner. The voyage carries him through the heart of the medieval world and into the core of the brutal and bloody Crusades.
Released in 2007, this remains the most expensive – and one of the most popular – Swedish film of all time.
Key facts about Arn:
- He is part of the Swedish Folkung aristocratic dynasty, a family originating from Östergötland in the south of the country
- Arn grows up in a Cistercian monastery. This order of monks were very closely related to the Templars, so much so that the Templars have sometimes been referred to as their military wing. The biggest spiritual influence on the knights was a Cistercian abbot in France called Bernard of Clairvaux who led a very severe and self-punishing existence
- Arn has to become a Templar as penance for having premarital relations. It is true that some knights had committed crimes and sought to redeem themselves in the order by fighting for Christ in the Holy Land
- Arn meets Saladin, the great Saracen leader, but is then instrumental in defeating him at the Battle of Montgisard. Unfortunately, Saladin would later inflict an even worse defeat on the crusaders and Templars at the Battle of Hattin
- Arn making friends with Saladin may seem far fetched but the Templars were later accused of being on way too cordial terms with the Muslim enemy, something used against them at their trials from 1307 onwards
- The movie about Arn is based on a trilogy of novels by Jan Guillou, an author and journalist who also writes spy fiction
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