University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

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 298

submitted to the Roman church;41 and in 1359 Peter Thomas arrived at Constantinople,
accompanied by Venetian and Rhodian galleys. He failed to cement the union
between the churches, but with Greek assistance the Latin forces destroyed
the Ottoman fort at Lampsacus opposite Gallipoli in the Dardanelles; fifty
Hospitallers fought a notable rearguard action in the withdrawal from the
fort. The legate then sailed to Smyrna, and early in 1360 he lay ill at Rhodes.
He went from there to Cyprus, abandoning the Latin league; two Hospitaller
galleys were laid up at Rhodes and the Venetians were left to oppose the
Ottomans alone. At the very moment when seapower had been used effectively
against the Ottomans, who, unlike the Turks of Aydin and the emirates south
of Smyrna, had no fleet and were therefore vulnerable, Peter Thomas, more
interested in converting heretics than in defending the Balkans, turned Latin
strength to another sphere centered on Cyprus. Demotica and Adria nople fell
to the Ottomans in 1361.42 
Peter de Lusignan, king of Cyprus from 1359, his chancellor Philip of Mézières,
and Peter Thomas were jointly responsible for the diversion to the southern
Levant of the limited political and financial support the papacy could provide.
The Hospitallers were accustomed to participate in Cypriote affairs, and
were probably more sympa thetic to the French elements in Cyprus and to their
own ancient chivalric ideal, the recovery of Jerusalem, than to Venetian
com mercial interests in Romania or to the Greeks, with whom coöpera
tion was so difficult. The Hospital provided four galleys and some troops
for the Cypriote campaign which captured Adalia from the emir of Tekke in
August 1361, and when Peter de Lusignan visited Rhodes in 1362 on his way
westward to organize a crusade, the Hospital gave a written promise of assistance.
The king returned in 1365 and during August and September he assembled his
forces at Rhodes, where the emirs of Altoluogo and Palatia hastened to offer
him tribute through the master's mediation. After intensive preach ing by
Peter Thomas, a fleet of over 150 galleys sailed for an unannounced destination
on October 4; the Hospital provided four galleys, some transport vessels,
and a hundred brethren under the admiral, Ferlino of Airasca, prior of Lombardy.
This force in fact made for Alexandria. There the Hospitallers' unexpected
41. Cf. above, pp. 69—70, for a somewhat different interpretation.
42. To Luttrell, "Venice," pp. 205—206, add details in 0. Halecki,
Un Empereur de 
Byzance a Rome: Vingt ans de travail pour l'union des églises et pour
la defense de l'empire 
d'Orient, 1355—1375 (Warsaw, 1930), pp. 9—30, 60—77; J.
Smet, The Life of Saint Peter 
Thomas by Philippe de Mëzières (Rome, 1954), pp. 84—90,
206—212. See also above, pp. 

Go up to Top of Page