The Grant of Hospitaller Safe-Conducts in the Fifteenth Century to Recipients on Rhodes and Cyprus: Their Function and Effectiveness
Keywordshistory, the Middle Ages, military orders, Hospitallers, safe conducts, Papacy, Cyprus, Rhodes
In this paper the tradition the Roman Catholic Church practised of granting safe conducts to various parties so as to assist them in implementing business of the Church or their own affairs will be examined and discussed with special reference to Rhodes and Cyprus. Hospitaller safe conducts granted on fifteenth century Cyprus and Rhodes were given to laymen as well as to Hospitaller brothers and the reasons varied. Most of the Hospitaller safe conducts issued on Rhodes and Cyprus to be discussed cover the years 1413‒1459 and originate from published documents found in the Order’s Rhodian archives. As one would expect, a considerable number of them concern diplomatic missions undertaken by Hospitaller brothers. The Hospitallers also granted safe conducts to Latin clergy who were not members of the Order. Requests to afford safe passage to persons undertaking diplomatic missions for the Order were at times addressed to the captains and owners of ships, and the persons concerned were likewise not always members of the order.
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