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A Knight Hospitaller

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The Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, or the Knights Hospitallers, originally were not a military order; they were founded about 1092 by the merchants of Amalfi, in Italy, for the purpose of affording hospitality to pilgrims in the Holy Land. Their chief house, which was called the Hospital, was situated at Jerusalem, over against the Church of the Holy Sepulchre; and they had independent hospitals in other places in the Holy Land, which were frequented by the pilgrims. Their kindness to the sick and wounded soldiers of the first crusade made them popular, and several of the crusading princes endowed them with estates; while many of the crusaders, instead of returning home, laid down their arms, and joined the brotherhood of the Hospital. During this period of their history their habit was a plain black robe, with a linen cross upon the left breast.

The Project Gutenberg eBook, Scenes and Characters of the Middle Ages, by Edward Lewes Cutts
Published in 1911