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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 299

Ch. VIII THE HOSPITALLERS AT RHODES, 1306-1421 299 
in the defenders' rear assured a successful landing, and they further distinguished
themselves in the storming of the city, which was sacked with incredible
destruction. Many crusaders, including Fer lino, maintained that resistance
against the sultan's forces would be impossible, and so the fleet left for
Cyprus with its plunder.  
 The Venetians, infuriated by the ruin of their commercial position in Egypt,
wrecked serious hopes of further action by spreading rumors of a peace, with
the result that in 1366 an expedition led by Amadeo VI of Savoy sailed not
toward Cyprus and the southern Levant but to Romania.44 Early in 1366 the
master, alarmed by Turkish and Mamluk preparations, summoned a hundred Hospital
lers, together with all available money, to Rhodes; he arranged for the purchase
of horses and arms in Italy. During 1366 and 1367 Peter of Cyprus, assisted
by four galleys and other craft from Rhodes, attacked the Turks in Cilicia.
In June 1367 Peter was in Rhodes, and in September he was pillaging the Syrian
coast as far as Ayas (Lajazzo); the turcopolier of the Hospital was killed
in fighting at Tripoli. King Peter's assassination in 1369 deprived the crusade
of strong leadership, but in the autumn eight galleys representing Rhodes,
Cyprus, Genoa, and Venice sailed to Alexandria to threaten the sultan, with
whom negotiations were still dragging on. A general peace closed a crusading
epoch in mid-1370, while in Cyprus a period of strife followed the accession
of the fifteen-year-old Peter II.45 In 1371 pope Gregory XI named a Hospitaller,
Bertrand Flote, as the young king's guardian and appointed the master to
a council of regency. Yet the Hospital was powerless to prevent a successful
Genoese uprising against the Lusignans in 1373. The master, Ray mond Bérenger,
twice visited Cyprus to mediate, and died there in February 1374. When in
April 1374 Peter II's uncle, John de Lusig nan, arrived at Rhodes seeking
protection but followed by Genoese galleys, the Hospitallers had to insist
that he leave the island. Fur thermore, the Hospital apparently did nothing
to prevent the col lapse of the Armenian kingdom in Cilicia before Mamluk
and Turkish forces in 1375.46 
 The Hospitallers' ineffectiveness in the Levant was rooted in cor 
 43. See below, pp. 356—357; Hill, Cyprus, II, 318—323, 329—334;
and Smet, Peter Thomas, pp. 103, 125—140; see also F. Boehlke, Pierre
de Thomas: Scholar, Diplomat, and Crusader (Philadelphia, 1966). The documents
confirm the number of 100 Hospitallers given by Philip of Mézières;
this included two Englishmen, the turcopolier William Middle ton and Robert
Hales, later prior of England (Malta, cod. 319, folios 171r-172r, 316r).
 44. On Amadeo VI's crusade see above, pp. 74--77. 
 45. See below, pp. 36 1—366. 
46. Hill, Cyprus, II, 339, 344, 347—354, 373—379, 389—390,402—403,
410—411. 


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