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Lot 706

Estimate: 400 CHF   |   Starting price: 400 CHF Price realized: 750 CHF
The Knights of St. John in Rhodes. Juan Fernandez de Heredia, 32nd Grand Master, 1377-1396. Gigliato, n.d. AR 3.87 g. +F.IOh.FªRANDI. G.m.OSPITALIS. Within dotted circle Grand Master kneeling l. before patriarchal cross on base and two steps, Maltese cross on his l. shoulder; in field r. arms of Heredia; below cross P Rev. +OSPITALI.S:IOhIS:IRLnI:QT ODI (!). Within dotted circle cross fleury with shield of the Order at the end of each limb. Schlumberger, Orient pl.X, 9.
Very fine
Provenance: G. Toderi, Florence-Fixed Price List 2, September 1976, 599.
Grand Master Juan-Fernandez de Hérédia (1376-1396).
The 32nd Grand Master came from a prominent Aragonsese family. At the time of his election, he held an important position at the Papal court in Avignon. Two popes had entrusted him with various diplomatic missions, at one time he had also been governor of the Papal states. In his youth he had distinguished himself at various battlefields, such as Crécy in 1346, where he had fought bravely on the French side. A soon as the news of the death of Grand Master de Juilly had reached Avignon, Pope Gregory XI hastened to arrange for the election of de Heredia. Before being able to sail for Rhodes, the new Grand Master had to accompany the Pope, who wanted to abandon Avignon and bring back the Papacy to Rome. While travelling from Rome in the direction of Rhodes, the Venetians requested de Heredia’s help in conquering Patras in Morea. At Acro-Corinth, he was taken prisoner by the Turks and spent a number of years in a dark prison in Albania, before being ransomed by his family. It was only in 1381, that Grand Master de Heredia was able to take up his post in Rhodes. In the meantime the great Schism bad broken out, opposing two Popes, Clement VII and Urban VI. The knights of St. John were split into two rival fractions, which naturally caused much disorder inside the Or­der. The Grand Master, who was siding with the antipope Clement VII and who felt that his presence was needed in Avignon, immediately left for Europe. He died in Avignon, after having held the magistrature for twenty years. Although he had been absent from Rhodes for many years, de Heredia had been an excellent administrator, leaving the Order of St. John in orderly and disciplined circumstances.

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