The manumission of Hospitaller slaves on fi fteenth-century
In this chapter various recorded instances in which slaves belonging to the Hospitaller Order manumitted on Rhodes and Cyprus in the fifteenth century will be examined. The various issues to be addressed include the ethnic origins, ages, gender and faith of the persons manumitted. The reasons why they were manumitted or at whose request manumission was granted, when this is recorded, will also be discussed, as well as any conditions attached to their manumission, especially as regards what the Order of St John gained or hoped to gain thereby. The historical antecedents regarding the manumission of Hospitaller slaves, such as the Order’s own regulations and papal rulings, will be mentioned, and finally an attempt will be made to ascertain, where possible, what became of such slaves following their manumission. The source materials used for this communication derive mostly from published charters of manumission originating from Rhodes and Cyprus, all dated to the fifteenth century.