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)
294 A HISTORY OF THE CRUSADES III genuine crusading activity when John XXII died in December 1334. At first Benedict XII continued his predecessor's policy, but though the new pope had funds available he was pacific, economical, and somewhat unenthusiastic about the crusade. In any case, from 1336 onward Benedict's hands were tied by the great Anglo-French war and numerous concomitant struggles which precluded any major expedition, and he refused to declare an official crusade when, in effect, that meant granting papal crusading taxes for secular pur poses, in particular to the French king. Meanwhile from about 1335, when its debts were extinguished, to about 1343, when it had a credit of some 360,000 forms with the Florentine banks of Bardi, Peruzzi, and Acciajuoli, the Hospital continued the payments it had long been making to them. Thus papal discouragement of any crusad ing effort by the Hospitallers prevented expenditures which would have increased the growing difficulties of these three houses, which, at least until 1339, were also the pope's own bankers. In May 1336 when Cilicia was threatened by the Mamluks, Benedict canceled all support for an expedition there. In June the Venetians suggested that although Benedict had refused financial aid, they and the Hospital lers should equip a fleet at their own expense; the fleet assembled but did nothing of note. 28 Thereafter the crusade was abandoned, although in 1341 the Cypriote king and the Hospital both appealed for papal aid, and negotiations for a new league were opened with Venice. 29 Pope Clement VI, elected in 1342, was perhaps unjust in threaten ing the Hospitallers that he would found a new order with their possessions if they did not abandon their idle ways and contribute to the upkeep of a Latin fleet, but it was Clement's vigorous diplomacy which secured action against Umur of Aydin. The Hospitallers, faced with a demand for six galleys, increased their responsiones to finance the squadron which joined the Venetian, Cypriote, and papal forces in 1344. After a minor naval victory north of Euboea, the Latins attacked Smyrna, where Umur was preparing a large fleet for a new campaign; they surprised Umur and captured the port and its fortress on October 28, a great if lucky success.30 Then during an assault in January 1345 on the upper citadel, which was never captured, the papal legate Henry of Asti, the papal captain Martin Zaccaria, and the Venetian leader Peter Zeno were killed; thereafter, the Latins 28. For this interpretation of Benedict's policy see Luttrell, "Interessi fiorentini," pp. 318—319, and "The Crusade," pp. 133—134; see also F. Giunta, "Benedetto XII e La crociata," Anuario de estudios medievales, III (1966), 2 15—234. 29. Hill, Cyprus, II, 299. 30. On the capture of Smyrna see above, pp. 11—12.
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