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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 305

Ch. VIII THE HOSPITALLERS AT RHODES, 1306—1421 305 
creasing concern for the Hospital's interests, and resided almost uninterruptedly
at Avignon, where he could best serve the Hospital, until his death as a
very old man in 1396. He had certainly been the legitimate master, but in
March 1381 the Roman pope Urban VI opened an inquiry into the Hospital which
led in April 1383 to his nominating a fellow Neapolitan, Richard Caracciolo,
prior of Capua, as "anti-master." Caracciolo held several "chapters-general"
at Naples and elsewhere in Italy and received some support from English,
Gascon, German, and Italian brethren, but even the Italians were far from
unanimous in their adherence, while the Hospitallers from Urbanist England
continued to send their responsiones via Venice to Clementist Rhodes. In
1384 Caracciolo's agent, a Piedmontese Hospi taller named Robaud Vaignon,
conducted complex conspiracies with a secret Urbanist sympathizer, George
of Ceva, preceptor of Cyprus, and then attempted to win over some of the
English, German, and Italian brethren at Rhodes. One of these, Buffilo Panizzatti,
preceptor of Ban, denounced Vaignon, who was sent to Avignon where he confessed
under torture. Caracciolo's activities faded out after this and his followers
dwindled; on his death in 1395 no new appoint ment was made and in 1410,
following the Council of Pisa, the Romanist faction was almost completely
reassimilated into the Hos pital. That the schism among the Hospitallers
ended before that in the church was a tribute to the brethren's restraint;
both parties had refrained from actions likely to perpetuate a division in
the Hospi tal.54 
As serious a result of the schism as the defection of some brethren was the
nonpayment of their responsiones by others. Despite these difficulties, the
master's vast experience and ruthless financial abil ities roughly maintained
the Hospital's income, which by 1392 stood at some 45,000 forms annually.55
Insofar as was possible Fernández de Heredia called assemblies, reformed
the administration of the priories, and punished recalcitrant brethren; at
one point the Hospi tal owed him 75,000 florins which he had lent it. The
money was badly needed, for while Ottoman power continued to grow neither
pope showed any real interest in the Levant, which was largely left to defend
itself. From 1384 onwards the master flirted with the strate 
Byzancio y España: El Legado de la basiissa Maria y de los déspotas
Thomas y Esau de 
Joannina, I (Barcelona, 1943), 143—146 (placing the Arta ambush before
the end of 
August). 
 54. Luttrell, "Intrigue, Schism, and Violence," pp. 33—48; see also
C. Tipton, "The English Hospitallers during the Great Schism," Studies in
Medieval and Renaissance History, 
IV (1967), 91—124. 
 55. Delaville Le Roulx, Rhodes, p. 382; Nisbet, "Treasury Records," pp.
102—104. 


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