chapter  16
10 Pages

Some developments in Hospitaller invective concerning the Turks, 1407–1530 GREGORY O’MALLEY (HUGGLESCOTE)

By the time the Hospital became established on Rhodes, the chanceries of Latin Christendom, assisted by crusade theorists and preachers, had elaborated powerful and versatile rhetoric by which those deemed to be infi dels could be, almost interchangeably, described. At times of confl ict with Christians, and particularly if they were encroaching on Latin Christian territory, infi dels and their activities would be subjected to a battery of derogatory and sensationalist descriptions in the papal bulls and diplomatic correspondence produced in response. Although many of these epithets were also attributed to pagans, heretics and secular enemies of the papacy, Muslims and their rulers in particular were regularly described as impious, greedy, savage, ferocious, furious, rabid, cruel, deceitful and treacherous. They were stated to be blasphemers against, or determined to expunge the name or cross of, Christ; they persecuted the faithful or thirsted for their blood, killing, enslaving, forcibly converting, violating and despoiling Christian persons, and profaning or mocking churches, altars, relics and images. They were, in short, enemies, whether of the faith, of the Christian name, of the cross, of Christ or of God. Muslims, furthermore, were held to constitute the ‘sect’ of a perverse pseudoprophet to whose much-derided law they intended to subject Christians by force, so that their assaults threatened not just mundane injuries but eternal damnation to those falling into their power.