The Templars participated in several expeditions to Egypt, being active in the Fifth and Seventh Crusades, both of which started well, with the capture of the city of Damietta, at the mouth of the Nile, and the least said about how they ended the better. The setting gave me a chance to indulge my two great interests, the medieval crusades and ancient Egyptians, since I could envisage the knights defending a position during a skirmish amid some ruins. I included some ancient soldiers among the carvings to suggest the relentless nature of history, through which many armies have battled their way.
Private commission for a gentleman named Chris Redpath, in Leicester, who is also a fan of the Templars. Thanks to him for getting me back to the easel, and giving me an opportunity to do some more Templar stuff, too.
Incidentally I'm not sure medieval knights ever prayed using their drawn swords as crosses, pointed down. There are lots of modern depictions of this but no contemporary ones, it seems, and in hindsight I think they probably would not have done this. It would damage the blade, for one things.
I just so happen to be planning on making a story that takes place during the Crusades, where a "Man from UNCLE" scenario happens between a crusader and a Muslim fighter, who must work together to prevent a cult devoted to Apep, the Egyptian god of evil, from being released to destroy the world.
But it's not like those didn't tempt fate with the Catholic pogrom in 1182.
The sack of Constantinople (in which the Templars don't seem to have been involved) was a low point, to say the least, and tragically farcical. However the Byzantines did recover Constantinople, and they were not completely abandoned by the West in the end. Westerners with something of the crusading spirit helped Greece achieved its independence in the 19th century, moreover.
The crusades also include the Reconquista in the Iberian Peninsula, which was a complete success, enabling Spain and Portugal to become leading European nations, and pioneers of the age of exploration, much of which had a crusader impetus, due to a desire to find alternative routes to Jerusalem. America, in a round-about way, is a by-product of the crusades.