The Knights Hospitaller

The Knights Hospitaller

The Knights Hospitaller

The Knights Hospitaller

Synopsis

"This history of the Sovereign Military and Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Rhodes and Malta, also known as the Knights Hospitaller, is intended as an introduction to the Order. Beginning with a consideration of the origins of the Order as a hospice for pilgrims in Jerusalem in the eleventh century, it traces the Hospitallers' development into a military order during the first part of the twelfth century, and the Order's military activities on the frontiers of Christendom in the eastern Mediterranean, Spain and eastern Europe during the middle ages and into the early modern period: its role in crusades and in wars against non-Christians on land and at sea, as well as its role in building and maintaining fortresses. The Order's activities away from the frontiers of Christendom are also considered: its economic activities and its relations with patrons and rulers throughout Europe, as well as its hospitaller work and its religious life. The main emphasis of the study is on the medieval period down to the loss of Rhodes in 1522, but the final chapters of the book consider the Order's history on Malta from the sixteenth to the end of the eighteenth century, and from the loss of Malta in 1798 to the present day." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

His is a brief history of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, better known HIS is a brief history of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, better known T to historians and the general public as the Knights Hospitaller. The Order began in Jerusalem in the second half of the eleventh century as a hospice for sick poor pilgrims. Within a century of its foundation it gained papal protection and a religious rule, and became a supra-national religious order. From caring for sick pilgrims it expanded its operations to guarding pilgrims on the roads of the Holy Land and to defending the crusader states in the Holy Land. After the loss of the crusader states the Order moved its centre of operations to the island of Rhodes; expelled from Rhodes by the Ottoman Turks at the beginning of 1523, it went on to settle on the island of Malta. After being expelled from Malta in 1798 by the forces of Napoleon Bonaparte the Order eventually settled in Rome, where its base remains to this day.

This study is intended to provide a reference work for scholars and students who come across the Hospitallers in the course of other reading or research. It is not intended to provide a comprehensive guide to the whole history of the Order. The study surveys the Order's activities against the Muslims in the Holy Land, Rhodes and Malta, with some consideration of the Order's organisation, religious life, economic activities and relations with European rulers. It has not been possible to include detailed studies of the Order's activities in the various states of Europe. Readers looking for more detail than can be provided here should refer to the 'Further Reading' section, at the end of the volume. This is arranged to provide easy reference to the various points in each chapter; notes have been kept to an essential minimum.

I have incurred many debts in the preparation of this volume. I am extremely grateful to my colleague Bill Zajac for assisting me in finding many of the essential books for this project and lending me books which would otherwise have been very difficult to obtain. I owe particular thanks to those who have generously supplied me with pictures and/or allowed me to reproduce them here: Professor Juan Fuguet Sans of Barcelona; Professor Denys Pringle of Cardiff; Edna and Eliezer Stern of the Israel Antiquities Authority; and Dr Theresa Vann of the Hill Monastic Manuscript Library, St John's University, Collegeville, Minnesota. I am also most grateful to the following institutions which have provided me with pictures and allowed me to reproduce them here: the Biblioteca Communale Augusta, Perugia; the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris; the Israel Antiquities Authority; the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich; and the Bridgeman Art Library. In addition I thank Professor Alain Demurger of the University of the Sorbonne, Paris; Dr Edward Coleman of University College . . .

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