Knights of Jerusalem The Crusading Order of Hospitallers 1100-1306
Author: David Nicole.
Publisher : Osprey

Book Review.

Knight Hospitaller 1100-1306 is an excellent treatment of the Knight in the Order of St John/Malta in its formation period up to the conquest of Rhodes. It follows the transformation from a Monastic Order to a Military Order.

The text is highly readable, and the book gives a good account of life in the Order. Well covered are the divisions of classes where the Knight emerged as the prime class in an institution which became predominantly military in purpose, although never entirely losing its hospitaller and religious role. Noted is the loss of a real novitiate, due to the pressures of the need to recruit those already trained in warfare (page 9).

The Sections covered are; Introduction: 'Warrior Monks'- Chronology - Origins and Militarisation of the Hospitallers - Recruitment - Organisation and Structure - Ranks and hierarchy - Motivation and Morale - Costume, weapons and harness - Uniform - Arms - Training, Strategy and Tactics - Support Services - Everyday Life - Colour plate commentary - Collections and major related sites - Archives and Museums - Main Middle Eastern Castles - Bibliography - Glossary.
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Contact details for Osprey:
Osprey Direct, P.O. Box 140, Wellingborough, Northamptonshire NN8 2FA, UK.
01933 443863

For the details of the second Volume
click below.


In addition to the information covered, the book is well illustrated with a centerpiece of 10 full colour pages, and in excess of 60 black & white/Grey Scale illustration throughout the book of 64 pages.

For anyone seeking to learn about the Order, this book and its companion first volume are well worth buying, providing a wealth of detail not found elsewhere for the price. The colour illustrations are unique.

One criticism is that a claim made for the cross of the Order may be anachronistic. Page 26; "cross... in the characteristic eight-pointed hospitaller form first seen in the early 13th century".  The evidence is that the Order appears not to have been consistent in its use of a form of Cross, and that the Cross Formée/Cross Pattée - without the v shaped indentations was used in the 13th century. Certainly in Rhodes there is a settled form of Cross Pattée with 'v' indentations 'The Rhodian Cross' in the 14th Century. The criticism is minor, and the book  achieves its aim of providing details on the Knight of the Order, plus a wealth of connected detail. The book is one to be enjoyed, and worth buying, along with the companion volume 2.

The Reverend Michael Foster.
Rector Chase Benefice, Salisbury Diocese, Church of England.
Historian to the Order of Knights Hospitaller, Russian Grand Priory.

Created 20th November 2001
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