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Comment: Publisher: The Boydell Press
Date of Publication: 2001
Binding: hardcover
Edition: 1st Edition
Condition: Very Good
Description: xii 180pp very good in a very good wrapper
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The Knights Hospitaller Hardcover – 20 Dec 2001


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: The Boydell Press; 1st Edition edition (20 Dec. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0851158455
  • ISBN-13: 978-0851158457
  • Product Dimensions: 24.4 x 15.8 x 2.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 442,404 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Helen J. Nicholson was born in Northern Ireland in 1960, and educated in Belfast, in Oadby and at St Hilda's College, University of Oxford. She holds a doctorate from the University of Leicester (1990). Her thesis was the basis of her first book (1993), which studied medieval views of the Templars, the Hospitallers and the Teutonic knights. Since then she has written books on the crusades, the Templars, the Hospitallers and medieval warfare, and most recently on the trial of the Templars. She works at Cardiff University, occasionally appears on the TV or radio, and also maintains a 'Frequently Answered Questions' page on the Crusades and on the Templars.

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Review

Nicholson, one of the UK's leading historians of the medieval military orders, succeeds in setting out (the) main features in an authoritative and accessible manner. She has a flair for clear and uncluttered explanations enlivened with telling detail and quotation. And her account is comprehensive... An attractive volume. HISTORY Can be recommended not only to scholars but also to the general public. All those interested in the history of the crusades must be grateful to have so succinct, so reliable and so readable a summary. CRUSADES

About the Author

HELEN NICHOLSON is Senior Lecturer in History, Cardiff University. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ashtar Command on 7 Feb. 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
“The Knights Hospitaller” by Helen Nicholson is an excellent overview of the “Sovereign Military Order of St John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta”, the rather unwieldy official name of this fraternity at the present time. Originally, the Knights Hospitaller really were a Catholic-manned hospital catering to pilgrims in 11th century Jerusalem, already before the conquest of the city by the crusaders. At some point during the 12th century, the Hospital became militarized and eventually grew into one of the “classic” crusading orders, alongside the Templars and the Teutonic Knights. Apart from defending the crusader states and Cilician Armenia, the Hospitallers participated in military activity in Spain, Hungary and Poland. They operated a network of hospitals in both Palestine and Europe. To finance their military activities, the Knights owned vast estates in Europe, operated mills, dug mines, bought and sold their products at special markets, and lent money to kings. Many Hospitallers served as advisors or administrators at royal courts, and for some time most of the Papal States were administered by local officials drawn from their ranks.

After being driven out of Palestine by the Muslims, the Hospitallers established themselves first at Cyprus, then at Rhodes and finally at Malta, where they became known as the Knights of Malta. Their main activity during the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries was harassment of Muslim (Ottoman) shipping, interspersed with occasional attacks on the Ottoman-associated Barbary States in North Africa. In 1565, the Ottomans attempted to conquer Malta and destroy the knights, an attempt that spectacularly failed. The Knights of Malta participated in the famous Battle of Lepanto in 1571, when the Catholic powers routed the Ottoman fleet.
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By Horace on 18 July 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A fascinating insight into the history of the Knights Hospitaller. If you ever intend to visit Rhodes and want to get an insight into the creation of the fortified city, this is a great book. It is scholarly but nevertheless easy to read
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By G.I.Forbes on 22 Dec. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of several books by the author on the Knights Templar. This one deals with the History of the Sovereign Military Order of St.John of Jerusalem,Rhodes and Malta (the Knights Hospitaller) from its inception as a hospice for pilgrims to Jerusalem in the 11th centuary, its development into a military order in the 12th centuary defending the frontiers of Christendom to the loss of Rhodes in 1522 the loss of Malta in 1788 and its activities up to the present day.
There is an extensive further reading list and a list of masters from 1120-1988.
A first class book.
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Amazon.com: 6 reviews
30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
The Knights Hospitaller - Chivalry at its Best 22 Jan. 2005
By Dr. Carl Edwin Lindgren - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Nicholson, Helen. The Knights Hospitaller. (Woodbridge, UK: The Boydell Press, 2001).

Helen Nicholson is one of the leading scholars of medieval military religious orders. Her books are well known for providing new theories and insight into the history of the military orders, and The Knights Hospitaller is no exception. Though the nature of Dr. Nicholson's work is academic, and one that no scholar of the military orders should be without, her writing is uncluttered by jargon and un-translated items, making it accessible to all.

The Knights Hospitaller covers the history of the Order from its inception to the loss of Malta in 1798 and beyond to the standing of the Order in the present day. Dr. Nicholson does not look at this history in isolation, but rather sets the context for the Order's working by detailing pertinent events and mindsets over the course of the five hundred years of history the book covers. However, in doing so, the work raises some questions that are not answered by Dr. Nicholson. For instance, in discussing the Order's misty founding, Dr. Nicholson dismisses the claim made by William of Tyre that the Order was originally dedicated to St. John the Almoner, without really saying why or drawing any conclusions as to why William would have made this up. Though Dr. Nicholson seems to favor an Amalfian origin to the Order, there is no reason given not to believe that the Order was, at some point in its early days, dedicated to St. John the Almoner.

Despite a few missing answers, which may have been beyond the scope of the work, The Knights Hospitaller is an excellent introduction for anyone curious in learning more about medieval military orders. Dr. Nicholson has once again provided a book that is well worth the time taken to read it.

Review by Jennifer Regan and Dr. Carl Edwin Lindgren
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The "unknown" crusaders 6 Dec. 2014
By Ashtar Command - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
“The Knights Hospitaller” by Helen Nicholson is an excellent overview of the “Sovereign Military Order of St John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta”, the rather unwieldy official name of this fraternity at the present time. Originally, the Knights Hospitaller really were a Catholic-manned hospital catering to pilgrims in 11th century Jerusalem, already before the conquest of the city by the crusaders. At some point during the 12th century, the Hospital became militarized and eventually grew into one of the “classic” crusading orders, alongside the Templars and the Teutonic Knights. Apart from defending the crusader states and Cilician Armenia, the Hospitallers participated in military activity in Spain, Hungary and Poland. They operated a network of hospitals in both Palestine and Europe. To finance their military activities, the Knights owned vast estates in Europe, operated mills, dug mines, bought and sold their products at special markets, and lent money to kings. Many Hospitallers served as advisors or administrators at royal courts, and for some time most of the Papal States were administered by local officials drawn from their ranks.

After being driven out of Palestine by the Muslims, the Hospitallers established themselves first at Cyprus, then at Rhodes and finally at Malta, where they became known as the Knights of Malta. Their main activity during the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries was harassment of Muslim (Ottoman) shipping, interspersed with occasional attacks on the Ottoman-associated Barbary States in North Africa. In 1565, the Ottomans attempted to conquer Malta and destroy the knights, an attempt that spectacularly failed. The Knights of Malta participated in the famous Battle of Lepanto in 1571, when the Catholic powers routed the Ottoman fleet.

Ironically, the Maltese knights were later seen as a nuisance by the Christian states. The Hospitallers often attacked Christian vessels trading with the Muslim Ottomans (especially Venetian ships), or leased out their right to attack Muslim or “pro-Muslim” Christian shipping to people who were no better than pirates. When the Ottoman Empire stopped expanding in Europe, it became an on-off ally to various European powers, who often viewed Russia as a bigger threat. The Knights Hospitaller and their crusading zeal against the infidel had become an embarrassing anachronism. In 1798, Napoleon finally conquered Malta and forced the Hospitallers to leave. For a while, their order was based in Russia under the protection of the Czar! The order still exists and even enjoys extra-territorial status in many countries, but today's “knights” are a purely charitable institution.

A particularly interesting chapter in Nicholson's book deals with the organization and spirituality of the Knights Hospitaller. Apart from the actual knights, the Order had female members serving in the hospitals, and various kinds of supporters and sympathizers. The members of the Order, including the warriors, were supposed to follow the monastic rules of celibacy, poverty and obedience. Those joining the Order were often from the lower knightly class, and hence could use the Order as a path to advancement into the real nobility. The houses of the Order took care of orphans and abandoned children, some of whom joined the knights at adulthood. The Knights Hospitaller also owned Muslim slaves. A Muslim slave who converted to Christianity had to be set free, so the Hospitallers didn't encourage such conversions. Perhaps for this reason, the slaves were permitted to have their own imams! As for Hospitaller spirituality, it's interesting to note that this Catholic Order permitted Protestant branches after the Reformation, and for a period was under the protection of an Orthodox Czar. The main Catholic branches emphasized the cult of holy relics, including those of St John the Baptist, the patron saint of the Order. The relic cult eventually made the Knights of Malta look somewhat archaic even in the Catholic world. More up-to-date was the decision to invite Renaissance and Baroque painters to Malta. Caravaggio painted one of his masterpieces, “The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist” during his stay on the island.

The Knights Hospitaller tend to be overshadowed by the Knights Templar, no doubt because of the aura of mystery and heresy surrounding the latter group. Yet, the Knights of St John actually survived for a longer period and were active at more military theaters. Incidentally, there are conspiracy theories about the Hospitallers, too. Just ask your local unfriendly LaRouchian or Bircher! You won't find the conspiracist subculture in this book, however.

Helen Nicholson's “Knights Hospitaller” fills a gap in this public (non-)perception, and I therefore chivalrously award it five stars.
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Good analysis but lacks substance 4 Nov. 2009
By Ayperi Okur - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have carefully read The Knights Hospitaller by Helen Nicholson and found it very informative. It is a historical book analyzing the Kights of Hospitallers from the perspective of their fighting abilities, their reinforcement of their defence capabilities--in other words how and why they lost or won wars--and additionally their religious stance.

I would however like to find instances from the daily life of the Hospitallers in the book,as well, since they were not at war all the time, but unfortunately there weren't any. This is a disappointment from my point of view.

I guess that's it.
The Knights Hospitaller by Helen Nicholson 27 Feb. 2015
By Carol A. Sholes - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Was a gift for my son who is a history buff. He enjoyed this book. It is read and I am sure he will be looking for another book.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The Black Friars 8 Nov. 2011
By C. Repicky - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is another great book by Dr Helen Nicholson. Her attention to the various details pertaining to the Military Order of the Hospital rivals the efforts she's put forth regarding the Templar Order as well. A must have and read for any Crusades enthusiast as well as Medieval reenactor.
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