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Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume III: The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries
(1975)

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


Page 293

Ch. VIII THE HOSPITALLERS AT RHODES, 1306—1421 293 
 After their defeat of the Turks in 1320 the Hospitallers were inactive for
over a decade. Their closest enemies were the Turks of the emirate of Menteshe,
based on the port of Palatia (Miletus) on the mainland north of Rhodes, but
Umur Pasha, emir of Aydin, whose strong fleet sailed from Altoluogo farther
north to make damaging incursions in the Aegean and on mainland Greece, was
a more dangerous foe. In 1327 the Venetians were sufficiently worried to
decide on negotiations with the Byzantines, with Martin Zaccaria of Chios,
and with the Hospitallers, in a fruitless attempt to prevent Umur from capturing
the port of Smyrna. In 1329 the Venetians and Greeks were ready to arm if
the Hospitallers gave the lead, but the Hospital could not produce even a
few galleys. The Hospital also failed to take action when in August 1332
pope John XXII encour aged it to occupy the castles of Sechin and Antiochia
Parva on the Cilician coast, which the Armenians were unable to defend. 
 At the time when Villeneuve finally reached Rhodes in 1332 Umur was attacking
Gallipoli and Euboea. On September 6 at Rhodes, Greek and Venetian envoys
finally agreed that a Christian fleet, to include four galleys from Rhodes,
should assemble in April 1333, but an insurrection in Crete delayed the project..
In March 1334 the pope and the kings of France and Cyprus joined the league;
the Hospital lers' contribution was raised to ten galleys, at least some
of which they did supply. The papal and French contingents, having revic
tualed at Rhodes, joined the fleet, which won limited naval successes in
the autumn of 1334 but broke up leaving the Turks basically as strong as
ever. The Hospitallers continued minor operations in the Aegean, and together
with the Venetian Nicholas Sanudo, duke of the Archipelago, they occupied
Lesbos, only to be evicted by the Genoese. The campaign of 1335, for which
the Hospital had agreed to provide six galleys, eight transports, and two
hundred men-atarms, was abandoned.26 
 The recapture of Cos in about 1337 strengthened the Hospitallers' position,
while they also held a small but strong castle somewhere on the mainland.27
Encouraged by the pope and free of major debts, the Hospitallers had at last
begun to make Rhodes a center of 
 26. Delaville Le Roulx, Rhodes, pp. 86—90; Lemerle, Aydin, pp. 54—61,
89—100, 108, 
142, correcting serious errors and providing some evidence for an unsuccessful
Hospitaller 
Cypriote attack on Smyrna late in 1334. See also A. Laiou, "Marino Sanudo
Torsello, 
Byzantium and the Turks: the Background to the Anti-Turkish League of 1332—1334,"
Speculum, XLV (1970), 374—392. 
 27. Ludolph of Suchem, pp. 27—28; Malta, cod. 280, folios 39v, 43r.
The story of Cos, lost to the Turks before 1319, is obscure (Delaville Le
Roulx, Rhodes, pp.4, 8,24,99). 


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