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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 283

miserable ruin by contrast with the enormous and splendid city of ancient
times, but it was strong enough to resist a determined siege in 1306. The
Venetians had established a protectorate at Rhodes in 
1234, but in 1248 they were ousted and replaced by the Genoese. Thenceforth
Genoese merchants frequented the island which, nomi nally Byzantine, was
often granted by the emperor to his Genoese admirals. In 1306 the Genoese
Vignolo de' Vignoli apparently claimed that the emperor had granted him Cos
and Leros, islands to the north of Rhodes, as well as the casale or manor
of Lardos on Rhodes. In fact the Turks had invaded Rhodes some years earlier,
perhaps profiting from a severe earthquake there in 1303, massa cring many
Greek inhabitants and apparently occupying part of the island. The Greeks
held one of the castles in Cos in 1306. The Venetians were also established
on that island in 1302, and, probably early in 1306, they attacked the island
of Nisyros between Rhodes and Cos; they even considered the acquisition of
Rhodes itself. Furthermore, the Venetian Andrew Comaro seized Carpathos (Scar
panto) and other islands between Rhodes and Crete from the Geno ese, whose
position in the Rhodian archipelago was being seriously weakened.4 
 On May 27, 1306, the master, Fulk of Villaret, together with the admiral,
the marshal, the draper, and other brethren, met Vignolo at a secret meeting
near Limassol. In a notarized arrangement for the joint conquest of the Rhodian
archipelago, Vignolo transferred to the Hospital his alleged rights to Cos
and Leros but retained Lardos and another casale of his choice on Rhodes.
In the lesser islands the Hospital was to receive two parts and Vignolo one
part of the rents and incomes, the collectors being appointed jointly; Vignolo
was to have extensive rights as vicarius seu justiciarius in all the islands
except Rhodes, the master reserving rights of appeal, of high justice, and
of jurisdiction over the Hospitallers themselves and their ser vants; there
was no mention of Vignolo's holding lands in fief or owing military service.
On June 23 Villaret left Limassol with two galleys and four other craft carrying
some thirty-five Hospitallers, six Levantine horsemen, and five hundred foot.
Joined by other galleys 
 4. C. Torr, Rhodes in Modern Times (Cambridge, 1887), pp. 4—10; W.
Heyd, Histoire du commerce du Levant au moyen-âge, trans. Furcy Raynaud,
I (rev. ed., Leipzig, 1923), 306—307, 461, 537. The situation before
1306 is obscure; see also A. Luttrell, "Venice and the Knights Hospitallers
of Rhodes in the Fourteenth Century," Papers of the British School at Rome,
XXVI (1958), 196—197; Z. Tsirpanlis, "Pages from the Medieval History
of Nisyros, 1306—1453" [in Greek] , Dodekanesiaka, II(1967), 30—33.

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