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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 285

 In November 1306, having left Rhodes, Fulk of Villaret held a chapter-general
at Limassol and soon after sailed for Europe; after August 1307 he frequented
the papal court at Poitiers for many months. Pope Clement V excommunicated
Andronicus in 1307, but thereafter failed to harness against him either the
Catalans or the Venetians, whose military and naval force were essential.
Other prospects for a crusade were poor, so Villaret was able to win French
and papal support, apparently by a policy of calculated boasting. On September
5, 1307, Clement confirmed the Hospital in the posses sion of Rhodes, which
he prematurely declared already to be free of Greek and Turkish resistance.
During 1309 Villaret was talking, it seems, of completing the conquest of
Rhodes, of the defense of Cyprus and Cilician Armenia, of an attack on Byzantium,
and even of recapturing Antioch and Jerusalem within five years. The crusade
or passagium generale was reduced to a preparatory passagium to be led by
Villaret himself, and James II of Aragon astutely remarked that the master's
real aim was to consolidate the conquest of Rhodes. The pope wrote on November
4, 1309, that the passagium had emptied his treasury, and he then spoke of
the coming expedition as intended merely to prepare for a major crusade by
defending Cyprus and "other places" in Christian hands and by preventing
illegal commerce with Moslems.6 
 In November 1309 Villaret left Genoa for Naples, and it was rumored variously
that he would take forty galleys and a large force to Rhodes, to Lesbos,
to Crete, or to Cyprus. He reached Brindisi late in January 1310, and was
reportedly due to sail for Rhodes with some twenty-six galleys, a number
of them Genoese, with two or three hundred knights and three thousand foot.
The Venetians, having already sent fifty mercenaries to resist the Hospitallers
at Cos, now took elaborate measures to protect their Aegean colonies. Bad
weather delayed Villaret at Brindisi, but he set out in the spring, accompanied
by the papal legate Peter de Pleine Chassagne, bishop of Rodez. By May 13
assurances of friendship sent by Villaret from somewhere in Greek waters
had reached Venice.7 Once at Rhodes, Villaret probably completed the subjugation
of the island and was 
 6. Riley-Smith, Knights of St. John, pp. 216, 220—225; and texts in
H. Finke, Acta aragonensia, III (Berlin, 1922), 191—192, 198—200,
207—211; J. Delaville Le Roulx, Cartu laire général de
l'Ordre des Hospitaliers de S. Jean de Jerusalem, 1100—1310, IV (Paris,
1906), nos. 4734, 4735, 4751, 4841, etpassim. 
7. Archivio di Stato di Venezia: Lettere di Collegio rectius Minor Consiglio,
1308— 1310, folios 63v_64r, 67v, 69r-69v 83r-83v Cf. G. Golubovich,
ed., Biblioteca bio 
bibliografica della Terra Santa e deli' Oriente francescano, III (Quaracchi,
1919), 128— 131, 143—144. 

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