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Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume III: The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries
(1975)

IX: The Hospitallers at Rhodes, 1421-1523,   pp. 314-339 PDF (14.1 MB)


Page 327

Ch. IX THE HOSPITALLERS AT RHODES, 1421—1523 327 
four months in Nice, and was then sent to Chambéry in Savoy, and thence
to other castles of the order in Dauphiné, Provence, and Auvergne.36
 The day after Jem Sultan left Rhodes, instructions were given to the ambassadors
charged with treating for peace with Bayazid II. Peace between "the most
illustrious, excellent, and potent great lord Bayazid Sultan, and the most
reverend lord Peter of Aubusson, grand master of Rhodes, and the noble religion
of Jerusalem" was signed on December 2, 1482.37 It was agreed that full liberty
of commerce should exist for both parties, and that fugitive Christian slaves
might be received at the castle of St. Peter at Bodrum in Anatolia. At the
same time it was agreed that the order would assume custody of Jem Sultan
(Zyzumus in the Latin text), receiving in return 35,000 Venetian ducats a
year for the cost of maintenance of the unfortu nate prince. As proof of
his gratitude toward the Hospitallers, who kept Jem in golden imprisonment
in France, and resisted the de mands of various sovereigns who wanted him
as a tool against the Turks, Bayazid sent to Rhodes on April 20, 1484, an
ambassador bringing as a gift the right hand of St. John the Baptist, patron
of the order. 38 
 After the victorious repulse of the siege of 1480, and the lucky consequences
of the consignment of Jem to the Hospitallers, the situation at Rhodes had
greatly improved. The importance of the order had increased even in Turkish
eyes. While up to 1480 the Turks 
 36. The rest of Jem's adventures belong rather to the history of Europe
than to that of the Hospitallers. Many Christian states intrigued to get
hold of him: the Aragonese king Ferdinand I of Naples, Matthias Corvinus
of Hungary, and Charles VIII of France. In 1489 pope Innocent VIII managed
to get custody of him. The Turkish prince, leaving Toulon on a Hospitaller
ship, reached Civitavecchia on March 6, 1489, and going up the Tiber from
Ostia to Porta Portese, entered Rome on March 13, was received by the pope,
and was lodged in the Castel Sant' Angelo. Bayazid II negotiated with Innocent
VIII, and promised to pay the pope 40,000 ducats a year for his brother's
expenses; in 1492 he sent to the pope as a gift a relic believed to be "the
lance which pierced Christ on the cross." To the new pope, Alexander VI (1492—1503),
Bayazid proposed that Jem be poisoned and thus disposed of finally. But at
that time Charles VIII, invading Italy, persuaded the pope to transfer Jem
to his custody. Charles took him on the road to Naples; at Capua Jem sickened
and died, on February 25, 1495, not without suspicion of poison. His body
was embalmed and, after long insistence by Bayazid directed to the king of
Naples, was sent in 1499 to Turkey and buried in Brusa. Jem Sultan's residence
in Rome is commemorated in a picture by Pinturicchio: the Disputa di Santa
Caterina, in the Borgia apartments of the Vatican. It is said that Jem is
represented in the person of the knight on the right of the picture. Cf.
articles by Zippel, Cognassa, and Sakisian, cited in the bibliographical
note. 
 37. Italian and Greek text, in Malta, cod. 76, fols. 101—102. Cf.
Greek text in Pauli, Codice dip lomatico, II, 419—420. 
 38. The hand was kept at Rhodes until 1522 in a casket of gold and ivory
made for the grand master Aubusson, and then taken to Malta, where it remained
until 1798. 


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