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The Hospitaller Knights of Saint John at Rhodes 1306-1522 (Hardback)

Military P&S History > By Century > 14th Century P&S History > By Century > 15th Century P&S History > By Century > 16th Century P&S History > Medieval World > Medieval History World History > Europe

By Gordon Ellyson Abercrombie
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 424
ISBN: 9781399048002
Published: 14th March 2024


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The first of a series of volumes on the Hospitaller Knights of Saint John, this volume covers the period 1306–1522.

The Hospitaller Knights had developed during the Crusades from a monastic order providing hostels for Christian pilgrims visiting the Holy Land. The need to provide armed escorts to these pilgrims brought about their evolution into a Military Order. An elite component of Crusader armies, Hospitallers were involved in most large-scale Christian-Saracen engagements following the First Crusade. Taking to the sea, the Hospitallers became a major naval power in the Mediterranean.

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. This volume opens with Hospitaller relocation from Cyprus to Rhodes during the years 1306 to 1309 while introducing other entities wielding power in the Eastern Mediterranean, including Mamluk Egypt, Turkish beyliks emerging from disintegration of the Seljuk Empire, the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire, Cyprus itself, and not least, the Republic of Venice controlling most Aegean islands. The book brings to light the contributions of Hospital leaders (Grand Masters) as well as of lieutenants, allies and opponents, including those of Philippe Villiers de L’Isle-Adam, who became Grand Master in 1521.

Complete with an extensive glossary of notable figures, this volume is believed to be the only continuous history since Bosio of the Hospitallers during the period 1306 through 1522, and is certainly the only such history in the English language.

Review as featured in

Historical Miniatures Gaming Society, April 2024

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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