By H. J. A. Sire

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The danger of the Great Schism lay in the use that the self-interested might make of it for their private ambition or as an excuse to avoid paying their dues. The need for closer financial supervision may have been, indeed, one of the motives that persuaded Heredia, like Villeneuve in similar circumstances, to rule from western Europe. He showed his genius as an administrator and a diplomat by keeping the damage of the Schism to a minimum, contriving in time to double the value of the Order's revenues.

Juan Fernandez de Heredia as Master of Rhodes, miniature from the Grant Cronica de Espanya. 134. '2 One may suspect that the Provencal Masters of the time were little interested in further wars whose main effect would be to promote Italian commercial interests in the Aegean, and it is significant that the popes' efforts to make Rhodes more active were linked with measures to give the other nationalities greater power in the Order. The question of papal policy is of great relevance, for the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries mark the high point of papal control over the Hospital, and conversely of the Order's influence The castle of Lango (Cos): the fourteenth-century wall originally facing the harbour (the fortifications on the left were added in the late 15th century).

33 CHAPTER III The Island Empire For twenty years the main task of the knights outside Rhodes was the defence of Armenia. This phase ended about 1337, when the bulk of the kingdom fell to the Mamelukes, and when the resumption of the naval war in alliance with France, Venice and Cyprus enabled the Hospitallers to reconquer Lango. Its size and position controlling the Gulf of Ceramus made it the most valuable of the string of subject islands, and the castle which the knights built at the mouth of the harbour of Cos, facing the Turkish coast, succeeded the Armenian commandery as the Order's principal military stronghold outside Rhodes itself.

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