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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 296

Europe increased their reluctance to assume responsibilities. They lost heavily,
more than 360,000 forms, when their Florentine bank ers went bankrupt between
1343 and 1346, 34 and though the great plague of 1348 probably killed comparatively
few Hospitallers, it certainly brought falling rents and increased indiscipline
in its after math.35 In view of the economic difficulties of supporting all
who wished to serve at Rhodes, a passagium of a hundred brethren which was
planned in April 135 1 had subsequently to be limited to those who could
come properly armed and horsed.36 As usual, these difficulties were not appreciated
in the west: Petrarch wrote, "Rhodes, shield of the faith, lies unwounded,
inglorious,"37 and in 1354 pope Innocent VI, reviving old accusations, reminded
the Hospitallers that they had been endowed to fight the "infidel," and threatened
that if they remained inactive he would transfer the Convent to the mainland,
presumably to Smyrna, and use the Tem plars' lands to found a new order.
In fact, the rather undistinguished masters who succeeded Villeneuve38 only
occasionally opposed the directions of the popes or their legates, and in
1356 an assembly of Hospitallers summoned to Avignon had to accept disciplinary
and administrative reforms proposed by Innocent VI, who instructed that they
be inserted in the statutes. 
Acceptance of the Hospital's immobility at Rhodes and of defen sive campaigns
which mainly benefited Genoese and Venetian com merce was not complete. The
Hospitallers occupied the castle of Carystus on Euboea for a period in 1351,
despite the Venetians' protests at such an invasion of their sphere of interest.39
The Hospitallers perhaps realized that Greece, where they had long pos sessed
minor estates, offered far greater resources in agricultural produce and
manpower than Rhodes, which was so expensive to occupy. The defense of the
Morea against the ravages of the Turks was an increasingly serious problem,
and during 1356 and 1357 Innocent VI sponsored secret plans to establish
the Hospital some- 
 34. Luttrell, "Interessi fiorentini," pp. 318—319. 
 35. Luttrell, "Los Hospitalarios en Aragón y la peste negra," Anuario
de estudios 
medievales, III (1966), 499—514; cf. the socio-economic analyses of
Hospitaller statistics in 
G. Duby, "La Seigneurie et l'économie paysanne: Alpes du Sud, 1338,"
Etudes rurales, II 
(1961), 5—36, and J. Glénisson, "L'Enquéte pontificale
de 1373 sur les possessions des 
Hospitaliers de Saint-Jean-de-Jérusalem," Bibliothèque de l'Ecole
des chartes, CXXIX 
(1971), 83—111. 
36. Malta, cod. 318, folios 13v, 103v. 
 37. Le Familiari, ed. V. Rossi, III (Florence, 1937), 148—153. 
 38. Dieudonné of Gozon was followed by Peter of Corneillan (1353—1355),
Roger de Pins (1355—1365), Raymond Bérenger (1365—1374),
and Robert of Juilly (1374—1377). 
39. Luttrell, "Venice," p. 208. 

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