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ALDKRMAN LIBRARY



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CAREY AND HART'S
LIBRARY FOR TH'|l PEOPLE.



THE KNIGHTS OF MALTA.



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)

ACHIEVEMENTS



OF~^VE



KNIGHTS OF MALTA.



Bt ALEXANDER SUTHERLAND, Esq.,

AVTROB OF' "TAKES OF A FILSRDf," RC.



IN TWO VOLUMES.



VOL. L

rHiLADE*L?HiAr: 5;
CAREY AND HART.
1846.






CR

13108









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TO
HIS IMFEBIAL MAJESTY

NICHOLAS,

EMPEROB 4ND AUTOCRAT OF ALL THE RUSSIAS,

UKDER WHOSE IMMEDIATE PREDECESSORS

THE KNIGHTS OF MALTA

FOUND REFUGE,

WHEN ALL THE OTHER MONARCHS OF CHRISTENDOM

DENIED THEM AN ASYLUM, AND UNDER

WHOSE IMPERIAL PROTECTION

THE BANNER OF

THAT ANCIENT AND ILLUSTRIOUS ORDER

IS STILL UNFURLED,

THIS WOEK

IS HUMBLY INSCRIBED BY

THE AUTHOR,



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CONTENTS OF VOL. I.



CHAPTER I.— Decline of the Roman power ~ Mohammed and hia aucceaon—
Foundation of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem— The Turkomans— Peter the
Hermit— Tbe Firat Crusade— Conquest of Nice and Antiocb— Conquest of Jeru-
aalem— Ferocity of the conquerors— Godfrey of Bouillon elected King, - 17

CHAPTER n.— The Hospitallers constituted a military body— Raymond Du Puis,
Grandmaster— Wan in Antioch and Edeasa— The Second Crusade— Siege of As-
calon— Battle of Sueta— Death of Raymond Du Puis, .... 36

CHAPTER 111.— Invasion of Egypt— Conquest of Belbeis— Unsuccessful issue of
the war— Saladin— Apostaoy of Melier the Templar— The Assassins— Battle of
Jacob's Ford— Embassy to Europe— Guy de Lusignan— Death of Roger de
Moulins Battle of Tiberias— Death of Renaud de Chatillon— Surrender of Je-
rusalem, ^

CHAPTER IV.— Siege of Tyre— Death of the Count of Tripoli— The Third Cru-
sade— Siege of A^re— Expedition of the Emperor Frederic Barbarossa^Institution
of the Teutonic Knights— Arrival of Philip Augustus and Richard Ccsur-de-Lion
before Acre— Rivaliy of the King^Crusaders— Conquest of Acre— Mareh of Richard
fiom Acre to Ascalon— Termination of the Third Crusade— Death of Saladin, 83

CHAPTER v.— The Fourth Crusade— Rigorous administration of the Grandmaster
Alphonso of Fbrtugal— Hostilities between the Hospitallers and Templars— The
FifUi Crasade— Conquest of Zara— Expedition against Constantinople— Siege and
■orrender of that city— Revolt and usurpation of Mourzoufle— Reoonquest of the
Capital— Election of a Latin King, - - 94

CHAFPER VI.— John de Brienne nominated King of Jerusalem— The Sixth Crusade
—Unstable conduct of Andrew, King of Hungary— Expedition to Egypt— Conquest
of Damietta— Capitulation of the Christian army— Expedition of the Emperor Fre-
derie the Second— John de Brienne called to the Throne of Constantinople, 106



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CONTENTS.

CHAPTER VII.— Viceroyalty of Fita-Auger— Puiwmce of the Hoepitallere-Crimet
laid to their charge— Canonized Knighta— The Seventh Cnuade— Restoration of
Jerusalem— Death of Bertrand de C(Hnpt— Invasion of the Koratmians— Lom of
Jerusalem— Battle of Gaza— The Eighth Crusade— Exploits of Saint Louis in
Egypt— Battle of Massoura— Defeat of the Crusaden— Captivity of Saint Louis-
Termination of his Crusade, 121

CHAPTER VUL— Sanguinary feuds between the Hospitallers and Templars— Vi-
goruus administration of Hugh de Revel— Loss of the Castles of Assur and Saphoury
— Conquests of Bendocdar— The Ninth and Last Crusade— Exploits of Prince
Edward of England — Fatal Expedition of Saint Louis to Africa— Council of
Lyons— Loss of Margat — Siege of Acre — Expulsion of the Latins from the Holy
Land. 140

CHAPTER IX.— Retreat of the Knights Hospitallers to Cyprus— Discomfort of their
situation there — Their unsuccessful expedition to Jerusalem— Conspiracy of the
King of France and the Pope against the Templara— Conquest of Rhodes by the
Knights of Saint John— Persecution of the Templars— Martyrdom of Jacques 'de
Molai— Suppression of the Order of the Temple, 154

CHAPTER X. — Division of the Revenues of the Templars— Insurrection of the
Knights against the Grandmaster Fulk de Villaret— Election of Maurice de Pagnao
— Graodmastership of Helion de Villeneuve— liCgend of the Serpent— Conquest
of the Castle of Smyrna— Deodato de Gknon elected Grandmaster— Expedition to
' Armenia— Dishonourable policy of the Pope— Attack on Alexandria— Robert de
JuUiac, Grandmaster— Electioti of Heredia— His expedition agamst Pfttras, aild
capture, 174

CHAPTER XI.— Contumacy of the Cis-marine commanders— Death and character
of Heredia— Succession of Phillbert de Naillac — ^Expedition to Hungary— Battle
of Nioopolis— ^Wars of Tamerlane — Expulsion of the Knights from Smyrna— A o-
qutsttion of the Castle of St. Peter— Predatory expedition to the Coasts of Syria and
Palestine— Death of Philibert de Naillac— War in Cyprus— Repulse of the Egyp-

^ tians firom Rhodes— Fall of Negropont— D'Aubusson elected Grandmaster, 195



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EKEFACE.



Though the days of chivalry are gone, the author of the
following work trusts that the admiration of martial renown
is still sufficiently general to secure some degree of favour for
a history of the achievements of one of the most illustrious
institutions that originated in knightly daring and pious zeal.
Scarcely thirty years have elapsed, since foreign violence and
political craft, combined with their own degeneracy, deprived
the Knights of Malta of their independence, and ejected them
from the insular fastness which remains to this day, and will
remain, to the latest posterity, a monument of their military
skill ; yet, in that short space of time, so completely has their
name been blotted from the records of the day, that their very
place of retreat has become, generally speaking, a matter of
uncertainty. When it is considered that, for seven centuries,
these military friars were regarded as one of the chief bulwarks
4)f Christendom against the. progress of the Mohammedan
arms, and that their annals embrace a series of chivalrous ex-
ploits, unparalleled in the history of any other sovereignty,
there is surely room for hope, that an attempt to revive the
memory of their institution will not prove altogether unac-
ceptable.
* As the Order of the Knights Hospitallers of Saint John of
Jerusalem — ^for such was the original title of the Institution,



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PREFACE.



though better known, in modern times, as the Order of Rhodes
and Malta — ^was cradled and fostered by the Crusades, it was
indispensable that the following nan*ative should embrace a
regular detail of these memorable expeditions. But as several
able and comprehensive works on the Crusades have lately
been offered to the public, particularly those of Mills and
Stebbing, the author conceived it incumbent on him to treat
that part of his subject very briefly, and to devote the greater
portion of his book to the subsequent vicissitudes of the
Order.

In oflering to the public an historical sketch of the achieve-
ments of the soldier-monks of Saint John, it is almost needless
to say, that the voluminous annals of the Order, compiled by
the Abb^ Vertot, and the materials furnished, in later times,
by the Chevalier Boisgelin, are the standard authorities upon
which it is framed. The former having fallen into occasional
inaccuracies in point of dates, and being at the same time
more fervent in his style than historical composition strictly
warrants, is generally regarded as more amusing than correct ;
and such is the character which Gibbon, who has, notwith-
standing, drawn largely on him, gives his history. It is, more-
over, on record against him, that, after he had sent his book
to press, he was offered some additional information regarding
the great siege of Malta ; but declined it, with a churlish re-
mark, that his siege was finished. But Boisgelin, who had
access to the archives of the Order, while he corrects Vertot
on many points, bears testimony to the general veracity of his
work, and attributes his refusal of the proffered information to
the knowledge, that it comprised nothing more than unauthen-
ticated anecdotes of particular knights whom their families
were anxious to immortalize. Vertot brings down the history
of thfe Order only to the beginning of last century ; while
Boisgelin, passing over the Crusades, and the residence of the
Knights in Rhodes, confines himself solely to their sojourn in



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PREFACE. Xi

Malta. Thus, neither of these, the only popular histories of
the Order extant, are complete ; and the present is the first
attempt to arrange in a regular narration the exploits of the
Knights, from their institution, in 1099, to their political ex-
tinction, in 1800. In addition to the two authors above named,
many other works of high authority, and, among them, those
of KnoUes, Fuller, Haklujrt, Gibbon, Savary, Pococke, Prois-
sart, Brydone, Mills, Hallam, and Sonnini, have been carefully
consulted. *

The audior has only to add, that he did not take up the pen
till after much laborious study; and that he was stimulated. to
his task by a sincere admiration of the many noble and heroic
actions which it was his duty to record — an admiration which
has perhaps occasionally given his language too ambitious a
tone. All that he desires is, that his attempt to unite the broken
links of a very brilliant and extraordinary chain of historical
facts may be tolerated, until some abler hand shall e&ct their
perfect and indestructible union.



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THE

ACHIEVEMENTS

or

THE KNIGHTS OF MALTA.



CHAPTER I.



Decline of the Roman power— Mohammed and hit lucceflnri— Foandation of the
Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem— The Turkomans— Peter the Hermit- The
First Crusade— Conquest of Nice and Antioch— Conquest of Jerusalem— Ferocity
of the Conquerors— Godfrey of Bouillon elected King.

The vicissitudes which prognosticated the fall of the Byzantine
Caesars, rank among the most impressive and affecting lessons which
the annals of mankind embrace. Rome had remained for centuries
the mistress of the world ; her eagles, every where victorious, had
been interrupted in their flight only by the sands of Mauritania, the
Steppes of Tartary, and the waves of the Deucaledonian Sea; and
it was only when she had nothing more to conquer that her vigour
began to decline. The division of the empire by the efieminate sons
of the great Theodosius, the last ruler of the whole Roman world,
was a fatal blow to its strength. For a short space longer the
western portion continued to present a crumbling barrier to the
advance of the barbarians of central Grermany; but at last the
formidable Alaric, at the head of a whole nation, burst over the
frontier, and dashed into fragments the structure of a thousand
years (A. D. 409). Sixty-seven years afterwards, the spectre of
imperial dignity which that warlike Goth permitted to remain unde-
throned, vcmished before the fierce Odoacer and his hyperborean
bands ; and the last Emperor of the West voluntarily became the
captive of the Herulian leader, and laid down his crown at his feet.

The Eastern Empire, though equally cursed with a succession of
VOL. I. 2



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18 TH£ ACHIEVEM£NTS OF

slothful and feeble-minded princes, continued to hold together for
several centuries, supported rather by the memory of its departed
greatness, than by actual strength. A latent vigour indeed lingered
at the core ; but the extremities were paralysed, and ready to drop
away. Idle pageants and voluptuous enjoyments emasculated the
imperial despots, who left their power to be usurped by venal para-
sites, and their frontiers to be defended by hireling swords. Those
famous Csesars, the kings of the world, were no longer to be found
under the imperial purple. Their degenerate representatives retained
nothing of their majesty or their valour, save the diadem that
crowned them ; and, like luxurious dastards, sought to hide, under
the vain trappings of imperial pride, their pusillanimous debasement.
The triumphs of Belisarius, the famous general of Justinian, cast a
transient radiance over that Emperor's reign ; but, though he partly
restored Italy to the Roman dominion, and brought its Gotho-Grerman
king in chains to the foot of the Byzantine throne, that country was
shortly afterwards overwhelmed by the tide of Lombard invasion, and
for ever separated from the imperial sway. Rome itself, indeed, and
part of the eastern coast, were exempted from subjugation ; but even
there the imperial authority gradually declined, and the papal power
rose on its ruins.

At the beginning of the seventh century, the Euphrates was still
the Asiatic boundary of the Eastern Empire, which stretched south-
ward as far as the Arabian sands. But every province was ripe for in-
surrection ; and when Heraclius succeeded to the diadem, he found the
Persians masters of Syria and Palestine. Heraclius was one of the
few princes who, in the latter days of Roman glory, proved himself
worthy of the crown he wore ; and after surmounting many dangers,
he had the triumph of partially reviving the splendour of the empire,
by carrying off the victor's wreath in a .series of sanguinary cam-
paigns. Under this heroic emperor, the Roman eagles were un-
furled beyond the Tigris, and partially subjugated the Assyrian
plains. It was at this juncture, when the Roman and the Persian
were competing in mortal strife, that the wilds of Arabia sent forth
one of those ambitious and restless men, whom Providence seems to
have specially appointed to scourge nations and humble kings, and
whose successors not only wrested the richest of the Asiatic pro-
vinces from the Roman dominion, but ultimately buried that empire
in its own ruins.

That man was Mohammed, the most crafty and most successful
impostor that ever assailed the faith of Christ. He was bom about
the end of the sixth eentury, at Mecca, in Stony Arabia, and as a
Koreishite, descended from Kedar the son of Ishmael, was esteemed



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THE KNIOHTS OF MALTA. 19

to be of the progeny of Abraham* His parents, who were idolaters
in common with all their tribe, left him an orphan at an early age,
and he rose to manhood under the protection of Aboo Taleeb his
uncle, who instructed him in the rude principles of commerce, as
then carried on in the East. Afterwards he entered the service of a
rich widow named Khadijah, who first made him her factor, and
then bestowed on him her hand and her whole wealth. His marriage
with Khadijah, stimulating an inordinately ambitious and subtile
mind, gave birth to that gigantic scheme of imposture which subse-
quently spread bloodshed and error over the East. Arabia was at
that time peopled by tribes professing a great diversity of creeds.
Idolaters, Jews, Christians, and Schismatics, dwelt in promiscuous
community ; and the acute mind of Mohammed quickly perceived
how easily a new religion might be introduced. Hitherto he had led
a voluptuous yet not disreputable life ; but, all at once, he aflected to
become a strict penitent, and retired to a cave in Mount Hira, a hill
near Mecca, where, under the guise of great austerity, he revolved
and perfected the gigantic project with which his brain was preg-
nant. Having brought it to maturity, he affected to make a confi-
dant of his wife, by declaring to her, that, through the ministrations
of the angel Gabriel, he had been favoured with special revelations
from heaven. Fits of entrancement, to which he affected to be sub-
ject, were described by him as divine ecstacies, arising from the pre-
sence of the celestial messenger, and were regarded by his credulous
wife as incontrovertiWe proofs of the truth of his affirmations.
Khadijah was enjoined to secrecy; but he relied on her nStural
vanity betraying her into disclosures which would noise his fame
far and wide. As he anticipated, in the pride of her heart, she made
confidants of several of her particular friends. It of course became
currently reported that Mohammed was a prophet, and in a little
time the whole city resounded with his fame.

Nature, if we may credit the Arabian historians, had moulded
Mohammed for a supreme station. His port was noble — his coun-
tenance serene and modest — his wit docile and ready — his manner
courteous — his conversation complaisant and sweet. He was, more-
over, liberal to profusion, endowed with keen discernment, and pos-
sessed of the kingly faculty of placing men in the situations for
which their talents exactly suited them. Consummate craft — ^impe-
netrable reserve— and invincible constancy and courage — ^were also
among his qualifications. No sooner did he find himself surrounded
by a few sincere disciples, than he openly proclaimed the divinity of
his mission; and his prelections, clothed in the richest Oriental
imagery, and redundant with allegorical illustrations, secured him at



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20 THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF

the very outset a high degree of popular admiration. Regulating his
imposture by the prevalent diversity of creeds, he was careful that
every man should find in his doctrines the shadow of his own faith.
A Persian Jew and a Nestorian monk, both apostates, but profoundly
skilled in their respective religions, assisted him to engraft on it
portions of the Mosaic and Christian laws.

The civic authorities of Mecca at length became alarmed at the
success of this extraordinary imposition. A boo Taleeb died ; and
Mohammed was proscribed, by his successor in the magistracy, as a
blasphemer and disturber of the public peace, and had to seek an
asylum in the city of Yatrib ; on which he afterwards, as a token of
gratitude, bestowed the name of Medina-al-nabi, or the City of the
Prophet. This flight is the memorable Hejira of Mohammedan
chronology : and the first year of the Moslem era corresponds with
the twenty-second year of the seventh century (a. d. 622).

His proscription by the magistrates of Mecca, convinced the false
prophet that eloquence alone would never disseminate his doctrines
with the rapidity which he contemplated ; and he finally resolved
that the sword should aid their propagation. He informed his
disciples that his ministering ^ngel had brought him a scimitar from
heaven, with injunctions to employ it for the subjugation of his
enemies, and that, in obedience to this divine message, he was pre-
pared to draw it boldly with a persecutor's hand. No resolution
could have been in stricter unison with the peculiar spirit which dis-
tinguished the Arabian tribes. Addicted to predatory warfare, they
flocked to his standard in thousands ; and, from the insignificant
leader of a horde of desert-robbers, who at first trembled to attack a
defenceless caravan, he gradually acquired the fame and dignity of
a powerful military chief. Mecca was one of the first places that
confessed the supremacy of his arms ; and in the course of time, he
made himself master of all the principal cities and strongholds of
Arabia.

These conquests were not achieved without the co-operation of
several lieutenants — all of them men of talents and bravery. These
were, Abubeker, his father-in-law ; Ali, his cousin and son-in-law ;
and Omar and Othraan — all of whom had been among his first con-
verts, and were fanatically devoted to his creed. In the space of
three-and-twenty years — some historians say ten — all Arabia sub-
mitted to his yoke, and recognised the divinity of his law.

It was the implied wish of Mohammed that Ali, the husband of
his daughter Fatima, should succeed him as Commander of the
Faithful ; " but Ali soon found," says the chronicler, " that the last
wishes of even the most absolute princes are generally buried in



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THE KNIGHTS OF MALTA. 21

their graves."* Omar and Othman gave their suffrages in favour of
Abubeker, the father of Ayesha, Mohammed's favourite wife, who
was an older man than Ali ; and through their influence, he was
advanced to the Kalifate — an election which afterwards gave rise to
violent schisms and sanguinary wars among the followers of the
prophet. Actuated by a fanatical zeal, and quenchless thirst for
blood, the successors of the arch-impostor — who assumed the title of
Kalifs, or Vicars of the Prophet — made their conquests and the
creed of which they gloried in being the propagators, keep pace
together. Arabia subjugated, they invaded Palestine and Syria, took
Jerusalem, Damascus, and Antioch, subdued Egypt, subverted the
Persian monarchy* and extended their dominion over Media, Meso-
potamia, and Khorassan. Even the terrors of the Lybian desert
were defied by these restless warriors. The whole of Northern
Africa acknowledged the invincibility of their arms ; and the islands
of Cyprus, Rhodes, Candia, Sicily, and Malta, were either partially
desolated by their descents, or reduced to permanent bondage. In
the beginning of the eighth century, they carried their banner and
their creed beyond the Pillars of Hercules, and founded a new
empire on the ruins of the Gothic monarchy of Spain ; and, but for
the valour of Charles Martel, the Pyrenees themselves would have
presented but a feeble barrier to their domination. Happily for the
Christian world — the whole of which was threatened with their



Online LibraryAlexander SutherlandAchievements of the Knights of Malta → online text (page 1 of 48)