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Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries

VIII: The Hospitallers at Rhodes, 1306-1421,   pp. 278-313 PDF (14.1 MB)

Page 279

 In western Europe the Hospital became a powerful social and political institution.
Its extensive possessions were organized adminis tratively in preceptories
or commanderies, each ruled by a preceptor, who generally lived in a central
house, usually with a chapel and stables, and sometimes with a cemetery and
a hospice. Brethren of the three grades—knights, sergeants, and chaplains—all
of whom took vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, lived according to
the rules laid down in the statutes; often the community included confratres
or corrodaries, laymen who purchased their board and lodging by a donation
or annual gift. Preceptories were grouped in priories under a prior who held
regular chapters, enforced discipline, and, above all, collected the preceptors'
responsiones, the money due to the Con vent. Priors and preceptors were in
many ways like other lords, sitting in parliaments, exercising justice, and
serving as royal officials, but often they were exempt from royal and ecclesiastical
jurisdic tions and taxation. Their chief duties, however, were to manage
their estates to the economic advantage of the Convent and to recruit and
(1966), 126—129; xxv (1967), 145—150; XXVI (1968), 57—69.
The most recent major bibliography, leading to the older works, is J. Mizzi,
"A Bibliography of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem (1925—1969),"
in The Order of St. John in Malta, ed. Malta Government and Council of Europe
(Valletta, 1970), pp. 108—204. The present chapter is based on a study
of all the relevant material at Malta, and of many other documents elsewhere.
Though specific reference to it is not made on every page below, J. Delaville
Le Roulx, Les Hospitaliers a Rhodes jusqu'à la mort de Philibert de
Naillac, 1310—1421 (Paris, 1913), should be consulted in the first
instance for much of the information provided; all other information is documented
in the works cited below. Delaville's book, published post humously, contains
valuable material from Malta and elsewhere, but it is not always accurate,
while economic and gocial affairs are ignored, and the presentation and interpreta
tion of the period as a whole now seem unsatisfactory. On the Hospital's
organization, see B. Waldstein-Wartenberg, Rechtsgeschichte des Malteserordens
(Vienna and Munich, 1969), and Der Johanniter Orden: Der Malteser Orden;
Der ritterliche Orden des hl. Johannes vom Spital zu Jerusalem: Seine Aufgaben,
seine Geschichte, ed. A. Wienand (Cologne, 1970). H. Prutz, "Die Anfänge
der Hospitaliter auf Rhodos, 1310—1355," in Sitzungsberichte der königlich
bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften—Philosophisch-philologische
und histo rische Kiasse: Jahrgang 1908, I. Abhandlung (Munich, 1908), 1—57,
though based largely on Bosio and Pauli, is not altogether superseded. N.
Iorga, "Rhodes sous les Hospitaliers," Revue historique du sud-est europëen,
VIII (1931), 32—51, 78—113, 169—187, contains valuable
hypotheses, though it is wildly inaccurate. 
On the Hospital's achievements and weaknesses, see A. Luttrell, "The Knights
Hospitallers of Rhodes and their Achievements in the Fourteenth Century,"
Revue de l'Ordre souverain militaire de Malte, XVI (1958), 136—142;
"Emmanuele Piloti and Criticism of the Knights Hospitallers of Rhodes: 1306—1444,"
Annales de l'Ordre souverain militaire de Malte, XX (1962), 11—17;
and in a more general context, "The Crusade in the Fourteenth Century," Europe
in the Late Middle Ages, ed. J. Hale et al. (London, 1965), pp. 122—154.
The European aspects of the Hospitallers' history are not treated here, but
see E. Schermerhorn, On the Trail of the Eight-Pointed Cross: A Study of
the Heritage of the Knights Hospitallers in Feudal Europe (New York, 1940).
Many of the articles by A. Luttrell cited above and in the footnotes are
to be published at Padua as Hospitaller Studies: 1291—1 440. 

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