It was the two great orders of the Templars and the Hospitallers which were, in reality, most dangerous to the kingdom.
It was then that the analogy was first detected between the order of knighthood and the order of priesthood, and that an actual union of monachism and chivalry was effected by the establishment of the religious orders of which the Knights Templars and the Knights Hospitallers were the most eminent examples.
Two special kinds of orders arose out of the religious wars waged by Christendom against the Mahommedans in the Holy Land and in Spain: (r) the Military orders: the Knights Hospitallers of St John and the Knights Templars, both at the beginning of the 12th century, and the Teutonic Knights at its close; (2) the orders of Ransom, whose object was to free Christian prisoners and slaves from captivity under the Mahommedans, the members being bound by vow even to offer themselves in exchange; such orders were the Trinitarians founded in 1198, and the order of Our Lady of Ransom (de Mercede), founded by St Peter Nolasco in 1223; both were under the Augustinian rule.
In 1309 it was conquered by the Knights Hospitallers of St John of Jerusalem at the instigation of the pope and the Genoese, and converted into a great fortress for the protection of the southern seas against the Turks.
In May he cut to pieces a small body of Templars and Hospitallers at Tiberias, and, on July 4th, inflicted a crushing defeat upon the united Christian army at Hittin.
Delaville-Leroulx on the Templars and Hospitallers respectively are worth consulting; while for Eastern affairs the English reader may be referred to G.
It is a heritage from the middle ages, when the Knights Hospitallers undertook for men the duties discharged in female institutions by the nuns.
Here was situated a priory, founded in 1 100, which grew to great wealth and fame as the principal institution in England of the Knights Hospitallers of the Order of St John of Jerusalem.
They threatened at once the debris of the old Latin empire in Greece and the archipelago, and the relics of the Byzantine empire round Constantinople; they menaced the Hospitallers in Rhodes and the Lusignans in Cyprus.
In 1153 made this object more feasible; and we find the Hospitallers preparing sketch-maps of the routes best suited for an invasion of Egypt, in the style of a modern war office.