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)
300 A HISTORY OF THE CRUSADES ruption and indiscipline in Europe. Philip of Mézières complained that the brethren served four or five years at Rhodes in order to get a good preceptory or priory, and then returned to Europe: c'est une moquerie ou grant derision.47 The blame lay partly with the popes, whose attempts to reform the Hospital achieved little but who increasingly interfered with nominations to offices and other busi ness. Innocent VI had pretentious schemes for the reform of the vices he denounced, yet he disrupted the Hospital's whole European organization by overruling legitimate complaints from the Convent, and he abused his papal powers by providing his ambitious and experienced Aragonese favorite Juan Fernández de Heredia both to the priory of Castile and Leon and to the Hospital's richest priory, that of St. Gilles in Provence. Fernández de Heredia had obtained the castellany of Amposta (as the priory of Aragon was called) in 1346 through the favor of Peter IV of Aragon, and for many years he exemplified those unscrupulous brethren who scarcely visited Rhodes but controlled extensive Hospitaller possessions in the west. His own administrative and political talents enabled him to extract great wealth from the Hospital, and to enrich his kinsmen and illegitimate children.48 Even so he was outdone in grandiosity, refractoriness, and personal immorality by Alvaro Gonçalves Pereira, prior of Portugal. The Iberian priories, notably those of Castile and Portugal, were especially difficult to discipline, but they were not the only ones which fell into arrears with their responsiones or failed to pay them in full.49 Capable brethren were not always employed to the Hospital's profit; in 1340, for example, every province in the Papal States was governed by a Hospitaller. The masters were well-intentioned but many were old men, and some had little experience in the east; Dieudonné of Gozon and Raymond Bérenger both tried to resign. The Convent attempted to resist Innocent VI but was powerless when, for example, he appointed a committee of cardinals to white wash Fernández de Heredia's blatant transgressions; subsequently Raymond Bérenger and pope Urban V did manage to strip him of part of his power. The struggle for men and money conducted 47. Philip of Mézières, Le Songe du vieil pèlerin, ed. G. Coopland, I (Cambridge, 1969), 259—260. 48. Details and references in Luttrell, "Aragonese Crown," pp. 13—19; "Juan Fernández de Heredia at Avignon: 1351—1367," in El CardenalAlbornoz y el Colegio de Espana, ed. E. Verdera y Tuells, I (Bologna, 1972), 289—316. 49. While the administrative documents used extensively in Delaville Le Roulx, Rhodes, naturally tend to reflect the troubles which provoked them, the surviving accounts do modify this picture of widespread corruption; see J. Nisbet, "Treasury Records of the Knights of St. John in Rhodes," Melita historica, II, no. 2 (1957), 95—104.
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