The Greek inhabitants of the fourteenth-century Rhodian countryside lived under the rule of a Latin military-religious order, the Hospital of Saint John, but all around them were the ruins and other vestiges of their distant past as well as churches, monasteries, castles, towers and other survivals from the Byzantine centuries before 1306. The Rhodians did not live in a constricted space but on a medium sized Mediterranean island at the southern extremity of the Aegean. At 36 degrees north, it covered 1,400 square kilometres, being some 80 kilometres long and 38 kilometres at its very widest, with its major town at its most northern tip lying just 18 kilometres from the Anatolian coast and its massive, threatening mountains. For many centuries Rhodes had suffered incursions from Arabs, Greeks, Latins and others which must have devastated country areas; in 1233, for example, Greek forces destroyed the inland monastery at the foot of Mount Artamitis.