Introduction JONATHAN RILEY-SMITH (UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE)
It is noticeable, for example, how many young historians have contributed papers to these volumes. The time is past when the history of the Military Orders was seen as a somewhat esoteric, out-of-the-way discipline. I have drawn attention elsewhere to the difficulty we used to have in persuading historians of the Church and the religious orders to take the Military Orders seriously, in spite of their wealth, their political significance and the importance the Church attached to them. There is still some way to go. The author of a recent book on the contribution of Albanians to the sixteenth-century struggles with the Ottomans in the Mediterranean region, who appears to be well read in many fields, still treats the Order of Malta as a purely military organization. Dr Brogini’s plenary lecture in this volume demonstrates how wrong he is, while at the same time providing a nuanced picture of the attempts of the Order to accommodate itself to the Catholic reformation and the reactions of its members to this development.