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M.Besant E.Walter
Jerusalem, the city of Herod and Saladin

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M.Besant E.Walter
Jerusalem, the city of Herod and Saladin
page 254



the Brothers of St. John, took place just before the first Crusade. The order was founded by a certain citizen of Amalfi, Gerard by name. There are many stories about his life. By some he is confounded with that Gerard dAvesnes, who, a hostage in the hand of the Emir of Arsûf, was bound by him to a piece of timber in the place against which the machines were chiefly directed, in hopes that the sight might induce Godfrey to desist. But Godfrey persisted, and Gerard, though pierced with arrows, eventually recovered. Probably, however, this was another Gerard. The order began with a monastery near the Church of the Sepulchre, and in 1113 received a charter from the Pope. Their immediate object, like that of the Brothers of St. Lazarus, was to help the wounded ; their bread and meat were of the coarsest, they did not disdain the most menial offices; and, in spite of their voluntary hardships, and the repulsive duties of their office, they rapidly grew, and became wealthy. Baymond Dnpuy, grand master in 1118, modified the existing statutes of this order, and made every brother take the oath to fight, in addition to his other duties. Henceforth it was a military order, divided into languages, having commandories for every language, and lands in every country. Its habit consisted of a black robe, with a mantle to which was sewn a hood ; on the left shoulder was an eight-pointed cross ; and later, for the knights, a coat of arms was added. And this habit was so honourable that he who fled was judged unworthy to wear it. Those who entered the order out of Palestine might wear the cross without the mantle. Biches presently corrupted the early discipline, and pope after pope addressed them on the subject of the laxity of their morals. Their history, however, does not belong to us. How they fought at Ehodes, and how they held Malta, belong to another history. It is the only one of the military orders not yet extinct.


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