Rhodes Knights

The Knights of Saint John in Rhodes Greece, Dodecanese: The order of the Knights of Saint John were formed in the 11thth century and began as a religious order. Their primary objective was to look after the welfare of the wounded and ailing crusaders. The Knights of Saint John first came to Rhodes in the year 1309 and during their 200 year rule of the island, the Ottoman Turks made several valiant attempts to capture the island and with this in mind they soon got hold of a military order.

The members of the order were representatives of all the major European Catholic countries and were strictly divided into exclusive classes on the basis of their degree of aristocracy. They served as soldiers, nurses and clerics based on their level of proficiency.

To begin with, they were broadly divided into 7 exclusive national groups consisting of Provence, Augergene, France, Italy, Germany, England and Spain. The later was further divided into Aragon and Castile, thereby bringing the total number of groups to 8.

The supreme authority of the order was referred to as the Grand Master who was aided by an exclusive advisory group called Bailiffs. The primary languages were Latin and French. Each one of the groups had their own exclusive headquarters and a place for lodging that was popularly referred to as the Inns.

The order of the Knights of Saint John are credited with the restoration as well as building of approximately 30 castles. However, the principal source of their strength and military expertise came from the Old Town, which was strategically surrounded by a 4 km long impregnable walls as well as a moat. During any major attack or seize, each one of the group was allotted a segment for resistance.

Ultimately the island of Rhodes was finally captured by the Turks in the year 1522 and The Knights of Rhodes were provided safe passage. It is worth mentioning that thousands of Rhodians also departed with them, who traveled onto Crete temporarily before being firmly entrenched in Malta. At present, the Saint John's Ambulance Brigade is a carry-over of the order that has been pioneering its Christian tradition of compassion for the sick and the ailing around the world.

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