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)
Ch. VIII THE HOSPITALLERS AT RHODES, 1306—1421 313 Granted its weaknesses, the Hospital had some claims to success, and if it played no very decisive part in Levantine affairs, it did overcome considerable difficulties. The Hospital's establishment at Rhodes, the absorption of the Templars' properties, the fortification and defense of the Rhodian archipelago, indeed its own very survival, were real if somewhat unspectacular achievements, without which later successes would have been impossible. The Hospital always acknowledged its subordination to the papacy, but at Rhodes it enjoyed many attributes of independence, passing laws, minting money, and sending ambassadors. The master's powers were not limited to Rhodes. In the west, oultremer to the brethren, he had extensive jurisdictions, and in extreme cases the Hospital's subjects made the long journey to Rhodes to appeal to the master. The brethren participated, usually with distinction, in most crusading enterprises and were seldom responsible when these were strategi cally misconceived. They had played a leading part in the capture of Smyrna in 1344 and in its defense until 1402, and in the period of crisis between the battles of Nicopolis in 1396 and Ankara in 1402 they had successfully defended Corinth, perhaps saving the Morea for Christendom for another sixty years. The Hospitallers provided a permanent and reliable military force to which their experience and discipline gave a value more than commensurate with its limited size. Their presence at Rhodes provided an element of stability in the Christian east. gave favorable consideration to an approach from the Hospitallers, who wished to exchange Rhodes, which they claimed to find too difficult to defend, for a territory of equal value in Greece, preferably Euboea; nothing, however, came of this (Iorga, Notes, I, 338).
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