The Knights Hospitallers, volume 2

The History of the Knights Hospitallers of St John of Jerusalem, volume 2: 1291-1454

by René-Aubert Vertot

Volume 2 picks up the story after the loss of Acre and continues to the middle of the fifteenth century. A constant theme running in parallel with the story of the knights is the weakness of the universal church; the ambition and corruption that led to the schism which resulted in first two then three popes reigning simultaneously.

The first book: While the Hospitallers capture Rhodes and make it their base, the king of France begins a campaign against the Templars. Much of the first book concentrates on their story — their prosecution and torture; the defence of their grand master; the dissolution of their order; the struggle for possession of their effects.

The second book sees the Hospitallers acquiring great wealth and their subsequent fall from grace, with successive grand masters strengthening discipline and introducing reforms, including the division into different languages. A highlight is the wonderful story of the monstrous crocodile of Rhodes and its defeat by one knight and his dogs.

The third book focuses on Bajazet, Tamerlane and Scanderbeg and the wars around Constantinople.

Vertot's "Discourse upon the Alcoran" forms the final part of this volume. It offers an analysis of the Koran and its authorship. It must be remembered that this dates from 1724 and reflects the attitudes and understanding of its day.

The full five-volume index is included, with live links to entries for this volume. A glossary of obsolete words completes the Kindle edition.

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