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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 310

own expense, while a proposal made soon after to the Palaeologi for 
a thirty-year alliance against the Turks and a suggestion of November 
1408 for a league with Centurione II Zaccaria, prince of Achaea, met 
no effective response. 64 
 Following their treaties with the Ottomans and the Mamluks, the Hospitallers
reverted to the predominantly defensive strategy which they had modified
after Nicopolis. The Christians failed to exploit Ottoman weaknesses and
the quarrels among Bayazid's sons; the Venetians, who possessed real naval
strength, were not convinced of the need for all-out war against the Turks
and remained hostile to the Hospital. All being relatively calm at Rhodes,
Naillac apparently lost interest in the Levant. In February 1409 he sailed
for the west, where he became a prominent figure in the election of a third
pope, Alexander V, at the Council of Pisa. Naillac was technically "de posed"
from the mastership by Benedict XIII, successor to Clement VII, for taking
the Hospitallers, including a number of Urbanists, over to Alexander's obedience.
Like his predecessor, Naillac re mained in Europe reconciling the quarrels
and complications among the Hospitallers which had arisen out of the schism,
and working to end the schism itself. Naillac did not return to Rhodes until
1420, and for one eighteen-month period he was apparently simply linger ing
in his native province. When Alexander V's successor, John XXIII, began disposing
of the Hospital's benefices, it was the Con ventual brethren who stopped
him by threatening, in 1412, to abandon Rhodes. 
 After the loss of Smyrna the Hospital increasingly strengthened the defenses
of Rhodes, a process partly dictated by the growth of Turkish seapower. The
Hospitallers started to rebuild the walls at Smyrna, but the Ottoman ruler
Mehmed I pulled them down again, and so, some time before 1408, the Hospitallers
began to construct the new castle of St. Peter at Bodrum, a rocky mainland
site opposite Cos town. Rhodes itself was strengthened by the construction
of a great tower to guard the port. Throughout the archipelago there were
fortified villages, such as Lindos, Polakia, and Cattavia on Rhodes, in which
the population could take refuge, but many of the island's castles, including
Pheraclos, Aphandou, and Archangelos, were in ruins. The lesser islands formed
part of Rhodes's defensive system 
64. For details concerning Greece, see above, pp. 16 1—162; G. Dennis,
in Orientalia 
Christiana periodica, XXVI (1960), 43—44; Iorga, Notes, I, 106—109;
Luttrell, "Venice," p. 
211; Malta, cod. 333, folios 115r-118r 120v, 121v, 124v-127r, 129r; cod.
334, folios 
146v-149v, 153v; cod. 337, folios 125r-125v. Here again Delaville Le Roulx's
errors have 
misled all authors; the account given here is to be regarded as tentative
and the date of the 

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