KNIGHT HOSPITALLER IN HABIT, 15th CENTURY

An extract from Armies of the Middle Ages, Volume 2
by Ian Heath

45.      KNIGHT HOSPITALLER IN HABIT, 15th CENTURY

The Ulm edition of Caoursin's account of the siege of Rhodes provides us with detailed pictures of the Order's habit, which principally comprised a long woollen tunic, a sleeveless mantle, a cap, and a cloak like that of 43. The entire habit was technically black, but at least at the very beginning of the 14th century brown was occasionally worn, and brethren were also permitted to wear bluish grey and dark blue. The distinctive 8-pointed cross was worn only with the habit, not in battle (where the plain cross of 44 was substituted), and remained white in all cases. The cap could be brimmed as depicted here or brimless, and the brim could be turned down to cover the ears. It was black when worn with the habit, but red when worn with the military supraveste. Hair was worn fashionably long, though brethren were still tonsured, but by this date few seem to have any longer worn beards, even though in 1449 the punishment for negligence on guard duty is still recorded to have been the loss of the offender's hair and beard.
[Based on William Caoursin's Obsidionis Rhodie Urbis Descriptio, Ulm 1496]

Other extracts by Ian Heath:
43. Knight Hospitaller, 14th century
44. Knight Hospitaller, 1480
Next: 46. Fra John Longstrother, 1471 in Armies of the Middle Ages, Volume 2 by Ian Heath
47. Rhodian Greek Militiaman, 14th-15th centuries
48. Flags Of The Knights Of Rhodes





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