The rhythm of country life on Byzantine Rhodes must, to some extent, have been affected by the Hospitaller forces which occupied the island and besieged the main town between 1306 and 1309. The Hospital of Saint John, which had emerged as an order in Jerusalem following the Latin conquest of 1099, was originally concerned with the sick and the poor but during the following century it acquired a predominantly military function, becoming a powerful force in Latin Syria. As a Latin religious order, the Hospital was subject to the pope who in 1307 recognized its right to hold the island of Rhodes in virtual independence. Those Hospitallers responsible would have had a system of account keeping based on their experience in the West where many brethren carried out sophisticated administrative duties in the countryside and were well ­accustomed to managing incomes and expenditures.