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

VIII: The Hospitallers at Rhodes, 1306-1421,   pp. 278-313 PDF (20.9 MB)

Page 278

RHODES, 1306—1421 
 The Order of Saint John probably originated in a hospice for pilgrims founded
at Jerusalem by merchants of Amalfi in about 1070. After the First Crusade
this confraternity received papal pro tection in a bull of 1113, and subsequently
it acquired a standardized rule and developed a military character as an
increasingly knightly and predominantly French-speaking order. The Hospitallers
con tinued their charitable works and maintained hospices in Syria, where
they received endowments. They were granted properties and privileges all
over Latin Christendom; these were mainly intended to provide resources for
their activities in Syria, but the Hospitallers did fight Moslems elsewhere,
notably in Spain and Cilicia. The master, or—as he gradually came to
be known—the grand master, was elected by the brethren for life and,
together with the important officers of the Hospital, normally resided at
the Convent, the head quarters in Syria. The duties of these officers reflected
the Hospital lers' activities: the grand preceptor of the Convent acted as
the master's deputy; the marshal was responsible for military affairs; the
turcopolier commanded the light mercenary cavalry; the treasurer, hospitaller,
and draper had charge of the finances, hospital, and clothing; and the prior
of the Convent ruled the conventual church and the frères d'office
or chaplains. 
 Important fragments of the Hospitallers' archives for the period to 1421
are preserved in the Archives of the Order of St. John, Royal Malta Library
(cited as Malta). A number of these documents are printed in S. Pauli, Codice
diplomatico del sacro militare ordine Gerosobimitano, oggi di Malta, II (Lucca,
1737), and a few in M. Barbaro di San Giorgio, Storia della costituzione
del sovrano militare ordine di Malta (Rome, 1927). The Malta archive was
also used in the unreliable but still much cited work of G. Bosio, Dell'
Istoria della sacra rebigione et illma militia di San Giovanni Gierosolimitano,
II(2nd ed., Rome, 1629); the inferior first edition should not be used as,
unfortunately, it often is. On the historiography, see A. Luttrell, "The
Hospitallers' Historical Activities: (1) 1291—1400; (2) 1400—1530;
(3) 1530—1630," Annales de l'Ordre souverain militaire de Malte, XXIV

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