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Title: The Knights Hospitallers and the defence of Malta
Authors: Hoppen, Alison
Keywords: Knights of Malta -- History
Malta -- Defenses -- History
Fortification -- Malta -- History
Issue Date: 1977
Publisher: Annales de l’Ordre Souverain Militaire de Malte
Citation: Annales de l’Ordre Souverain Militaire de Malte. 1977, Vol. 1-2. 8 p.
Abstract: The Order of St John of Jerusalem, the Knights Hospitallers, had, by the time of its arrival in Malta in 1530, a history stretching back over four hundred years. It survived in Malta until ousted by Napoleon in 1798 and even in its final years strove to remain faithful to the two principles which had shaped its development and provided its raison d'etre: service to the sick and the defence of the Faith. Although the original purpose of the Order had been to provide hospitality and alms for pilgrims visiting Jerusalem, the turbulent condition of the crusading kingdoms in the twelfth century and the need to protect the Holy Places had compelled it to assume a military role. The Hospitallers together with the Templars, played an essential part in the defence of the Latin kingdoms: not only did they supply major contingents to the crusading armies, they were also entrusted with the defence of important strongholds. The gift by King Fulk of Jerusalem of the castle of Bethgibelin in 1136 provides the first evidence of Hospitaller military activity. By the eve of the Battle of Hattin in 1187 the knights controlled over twenty fortresses including Crac des Chevaliers, Castellum Bochee, Lacum, Felicium, Margat and Belvoir. The defeat at Hattin still further emphasised the military role of the Order of St John, an organisation which, because it could draw on European resources of money and men, played a major part in the defence of the impoverished remains of the crusader states.
Appears in Collections:Melitensia Works - ERCASHHer

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