Page 1344

1344 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE MODERN WORLD.

five hundred; and the feudal .militia, consisting for the most part of archers on foot, only

numbered twelve thousand.

Another circumstance tending to undermine the foundation of the kingdom was

the rapid deterioration of the people of the

West under the conditions of life in Syria.

The resident Crusaders were brought into

communion and fellowship with the native

Christians of the country-Syrians, Greeks,

Armenians-a nerveless race of Orientals,

destitute of the warlike vigor of the Western

pilgrims. Besides, the Mussulman peasantry remained in the villages and continued

to cultivate the soil. After the lapse of a

few years these diverse races began to commingle, and a new type of population was

produced, inheriting but little virtue from

either line of parentage. These hybrid inhabitants were known by the name of Pullani

or Poulains-a degenerate stock deduced from

a bad cross under the influence of a baleful

climate and diseased society.

One of the principal events belonging to

the interval between the First and Second Crusades was the institution of the two principal

Orders of Knighthood. The prime motives

of the origin of these celebrated societies are

to be found in the martial spirit and religious

enthusiasm of the age. The condition of society was such as to suggest the conservation of

the chivalrous and benevolent sentiments by

means of organization. As soon as the orders

were established they rose to celebrity, and it

was not long until the highest honors of secular society would have been freely exchanged

for the distinction conferred by the badges of

knighthood.

The fundamental principle on which the

new Orders were founded was the union of

monachism and chivalry. Hitherto the devotion of man to religion had made him a

monk; his devotion to truth denied and innocence distressed, had made him a secular

warrior. It now happened that the warlike

vow and the vow of religion were united in

the single consecration of knighthood. The

condition of affairs in Palestine-unfavorable

to monasticism from the insecurity of society,

and unfavorable to secular chivalry on account of the absence of lofty sentiments

among the lay population of the country-was peculiarly favorable to the development

of organizations based on the cross militant.

Such organizations contemplated the sword

under the cowl-warfare in the name of

Christ. The same ideas which had brought

about the Crusade demanded preservation

under the sanction of secrecy and brotherhood.

The oldest of the religio-chivalric orders

was the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, known also as Knights Hospitallers,

and subsequently as Knights of Rhodes and

Knights of Malta. The circumstances of

the origin of this celebrated Order date back

to the middle of the eleventh century. In

the year 1048 some benevolent merchants

of the Italian city of Amalfi obtained permission of the Fatimite rulers of Jerusalem

to build in the Holy City a chapel for the

use of Latin pilgrims. The establishment

took the name of Saint Mary, and was for

a while used in common by both men and

women. Soon afterwards two hospitals were

built in connection with the chapel; and then

a second chapel, called after Saint Mary

Magdalen, was erected adjacent to the

woman's hospital. The man's hospital took

the name of Saint John the Almoner, an

Alexandrian patriarch of the seventh century.

This saint had left a sweet memory in the

City of David by sending thither in the year

614, after the destructive siege and capture

by Chosroes II, a plentiful supply of money

and provisions to the suffering people. Such

was the origin of the hospitals or hostelries of

Jerusalem.

To the whole establishment thus founded

was given the name of Saint John, who

became the recognized patron of the Order.

The services in the hospitals were performed

by a brotherhood-and sisterhood-of pilgrims under the direction of Pierre Gerard

ie Bienheureux, or Gerard the Blessed. It

was this Order of the Hospital that came

forth on the occasion of the capture of the

city by the Crusaders, and rendered so

great service to humanity by caring for

the wounded and dying. So heroic were

the efforts of the brotherhood, that Raymond du Puy joined the Order, and Godfrey

himself bestowed on them their first foreign

possession, namely, the estate of Montbaire

in Brabant. His example was imitated by

other princes, and it was not long until the

brothers of the Hospital found themselves in

possession of abundant means.