The Knights arrived on Rhodes in 1309 and thus began an era of development and innovation on the island. They also secured the ports of Bodrum and Kastelorizo in Turkey. Today, the huge castle dominating Rhodes Town is a legacy of that time. The rival order to the Knights Hospitaller, the Knights Templar, was dissolved by Pope Clement in 1312 with a series of Papal Bulls. This included transfer of property to the Knights of Rhodes. The properties were held in eight tongues with included Provence, England, Germany, Italy, Castle, Crown of Avignon, and Auvergne. Each tongue was headed by a prior. In Rhodes the resident knights of each tongue were ruled by a bailiff.
The Knights of Rhodes became a military force and most of their time was spent fighting the Barbary pirates that sailed in the Mediterranean. During the fifteenth century the Knights defended Rhodes from two invasions. One was from the Sultan of Egypt in 1444 and the other by the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire in 1480. Following the capitulation of Constantinople the Knights of Rhodes were a priority target for the sultan. In 1494 the Knights of Rhodes created a stronghold on Bodrum using parts of the Mausoleum which was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
The Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes. In the Fourteenth century the Knights of Rhodes built the huge medieval palace which is one of the few remaining examples of gothic architecture in Greece. This functioned as the headquarters, as a palace, and as a fortress for the Knights. Today the distinctive character of Rhodes can be seen in the architecture and especially the old town. From churches to arches and doorways, the Byzantine style and reminder of the Knights of Rhodes is everywhere.
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