Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Military Orders
MILITARY ORDERS, in Europe, religious associations whose members united in themselves the double characters of monk and knight. These orders arose about the period of the Crusades, the first to be formed being the Hospitallers (q. v.). Their primary duties were to tend sick pilgrims at Jerusalem and on their way to the Holy City. The order of the Templars soon followed; their purpose was to protect pilgrims and guard the Temple at Jerusalem. The orders of Alcantara, of Calatrava, and of Santiago of the Sword, in Spain, had for their immediate object the defense of their country and creed against the Moors. The Teutonic Knights had their origin in the Crusades, but afterward made the S. E. and E. shores of the Baltic the theater of their activity. These religious associations have mostly been abolished or have fallen into disuse, though some still subsist as orders of knighthood.