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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 286

286 A HISTORY OF THE CRUSADES III 
distracted by events in Cyprus, where reports of the coming pas sagium had
justifiably perturbed the usurper Amalric de Lusignan. Early in 1310 Amairic
sent king Henry to Cilicia as a prisoner, but was himself assassinated on
June 5. Hospitaller Rhodes had been a center of opposition to Amalric, and
in July Henry, from Cilicia, named Villaret to act for him in Cyprus. The
master was unable to leave Rhodes, but he increased his forces in Cyprus
during June and July until they numbered eighty Hospitallers, twenty other
horse men, and two hundred foot. These played a leading part in Henry's restoration,
and in 1312 the Hospital secured the Templars' lucrative lands in Cyprus,
which proved an invaluable source of supplies in times of dearth at Rhodes.8
Tile Convent and its hospital were moved to Rhodes, where the fortifications
were presumably intact. The indigenous population of Rhodes had been reduced
to perhaps some ten thousand Greeks. Chapters-general held there in April
13 11 and November 1314 passed numerous measures, including ambitious decisions
to maintain five hundred horse and a thousand foot to defend the island.
The Floren tine, Genoese, and other businessmen to be found at Rhodes from
the time of its conquest increased its wealth and its dependable Latin population,
but colonists who would fight were also needed. In May 1313 the Hospital
publicly offered lands captured from the Greeks and Turks, both in Rhodes
and on the mainland, to be held in perpetuity with obligations of military
service, to any Latins who would settle with their families. Different terms
were advertised for nobles, freemen, and laborers, and for those who would
maintain an armed galley or a lignum armatum and its crew. Some settlers
were found; in 1316, for example, the Assanti family of Ischia was enfeoffed
with the island of Nisyros, just south of Cos, with the obligation to maintain
an armed galley. Later, in 1325, when the Hospital granted the casale of
Lardos to Vignolo de' Vignoli's brother Fulk, to be held in feudum nobile
by him and his heirs in perpetuity, Fulk was forbidden to alienate the property
without permission and was obligated to serve with a Latin man-at-arms in
defense of Rhodes or outside the island. On the whole, however, strictly
feudal arrangements were rare, and during the fourteenth century uncultivated
lands in Rhodes were being leased to both Latins and Greeks on non-feudal
tenures in perpetual emphyteusis.9 
The Genoese had provided galleys for Villaret in 1309, but they 
8. G. Hill, A History of Cyprus, II (Cambridge, 1948), 228—262, 270—275;
cf. below, pp. 
345—347. 
 9. A. Luttrell, "Feudal Tenure and Latin Colonization at Rhodes: 1306—1415,"
English Historical Review, LXXXV (1970), 755—775. 


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