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The Hospitaller Knights of Saint John, 1523-1565 (Hardback)


By Gordon Ellyson Abercrombie
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 424
ISBN: 9781399039321
Published: 30th September 2024


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The sequel to The Hospitaller Knights of Saint John at Rhodes 1306-1522, this volume covers the period 1523–1565.

This volume opens with the relocation from Rhodes to Malta during the years following the Order’s heart-rending loss of Rhodes to Ottoman Sultan Suleiman. This loss was also that of 4,000 non-belligerent Christians choosing to abandon their homes and livelihoods and to accompany the Order in its search for a new home. Volume II further deals with the first thirty-five years of Hospitaller residence at Malta including operations from there along the coast of North Africa, with major sieges of Tripoli, Tunis, and Algiers, with penetrating exposés of corsair admirals such as Kheir-ed-Din Barbarossa and Dragut, and with giants of Christian history such as Andrea Doria. Finally, this volume deals with the Ottoman Empire’s 1565 attempt to eradicate the Order with that year’s Great Siege of Malta.

The author draws on the work of the Order’s official historians, Giacomo Bosio and his successor Bartolomeo dal Pozzo. He transcribes their writings for the modern reader, while also presenting new information revealed in the 400 years of scholarship since Bosio’s death in 1627.

While initial chapters focus on Philippe Villiers de l’Isle-Adam, 44th Grand Master of the Hospitaller Knights of Saint John, this history also brings to light the contributions of properly identified lieutenants, allies and opponents. This Volume is believed to be the only continuous history since Bosio of the Hospitallers during the period 1523 through 1565, and is certainly the only such history in English.

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About Gordon Ellyson Abercrombie

The son and grandson of naval officers and a naval officer himself, GORDON ELLYSON ABERCROMBIE has spent most of his life at sea and much of it sailing the eastern Mediterranean aboard both warships and his own 44-foot sailboat. A Royal Navy sea cadet early in life at Plymouth, England, he is also a graduate of the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, followed by nine years of naval service much of it with the U.S. Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean. Long a resident of Turkey both before and after naval service, he is an amateur archaeologist who has delighted in tracing the footsteps of England’s George Ewart Bean, turning over stone slabs along the coast of Anatolia in search of inscriptions shedding light on history. It was a similar curiosity which led him to Giacomo Bosio, a search for missing information concerning Hospitallers, their great walls 40’ in width, and their medical service in the time of plague. An avid student of history, the author believes he has crawled through every Hospitaller structure west of Cyprus, not once but often, describing the purpose and history of each to friends and family. In doing so he has scoured the Mediterranean from Morocco to Lebanon and become familiar with the coasts and most historically significant islands of Croatia, Greece, and Italy.

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