Albert of Schwarzburg

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Albert of Schwarzburg (died 15 March 1327), in contemporary sources also Albertus Alamanus ("Albert the German") or Albertus de Nigro Castro, was a member of the SaxonThuringian House of Schwarzburg who became a member of the Knights Hospitaller, rising to be marshal and grand preceptor of the Order, and fighting with success against the Turks. [1]

Saxony State in Germany

Saxony, officially the Free State of Saxony, is a landlocked federal state of Germany, bordering the federal states of Brandenburg, Saxony Anhalt, Thuringia, and Bavaria, as well as the countries of Poland and the Czech Republic. Its capital is Dresden, and its largest city is Leipzig.

Thuringia State in Germany

Thuringia, officially the Free State of Thuringia, is a state of Germany.

House of Schwarzburg countship

Schwarzburg is one of the oldest noble families of Thuringia. Upon the death of Prince Friedrich Günther in 1971, a claim to the headship of the house passed under Semi-Salic primogeniture to his elder sister, Princess Marie Antoinette of Schwarzburg who married Friedrich Magnus V, Count of Solms-Wildenfels. Reigning over the County of Schwarzburg and founded by Sizzo I of Schwarzburg, the family split in the 16th century into the lines of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen and Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, with the Sondershausen dying out in 1909.



Albert was the third son of Count Günter V (IX) of Schwarzenburg (died 1292/3) and his first wife, Irmgard. The date of his birth is unknown and can only be approximately placed between his parents' marriage in 1267, and the second marriage of Günter V in 1283. [2]

Albert appears for the first time in 1306, as witness in a charter at Limassol in Cyprus. He was already a marshal of the Knights Hospitaller, then based in Cyprus. [3] He was a particular favourite and protégé of the then-Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller, Foulques de Villaret (1305–1319), who promoted him steadily to higher offices. Thus in 1307, Villaret made Albert the Order's preceptor in Cyprus, and allowed Albert to pay only half the stipulated annual dues ("responsions") to the Order. This act, a sign of Villaret's increasingly authoritarian behaviour and corruption, outraged many of the other leading members of the Order, and contributed to the discontent with Villaret's leadership, culminating in his violent deposition in 1317. [4] [5]

Limassol Place in Limassol District, Cyprus

Limassol is a city on the southern coast of Cyprus and capital of the eponymous district. Limassol is the second largest urban area in Cyprus after Nicosia, with an urban population of 183,658 and a metropolitan population of 239,842. Limassol has been ranked by TripAdvisor as the 3rd up-and-coming destination in the world, in its Top 10 Traveler’s Choice Destinations on the Rise. The city is also ranked 89th worldwide in Mercer's Quality of Living Survey (2017). In the ranking published by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network, Limassol has been classified global city in the 4th category.

Cyprus Island country in Mediterranean

Cyprus, officially the Republic of Cyprus, is an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean and the third largest and third most populous island in the Mediterranean, located south of Turkey, west of Syria and Lebanon, northwest of Israel, north of Egypt, and southeast of Greece.

Marshal is a term used in several official titles in various branches of society. As marshals became trusted members of the courts of Medieval Europe, the title grew in reputation. During the last few centuries, it has been used for elevated offices, such as in military rank and civilian law enforcement.

In 1310, as the Order's highest-ranking representative on Cyprus, Albert played a crucial role in securing the restoration of King Henry II following the death of Henry's brother Amalric, who had deposed and exiled the king in 1307. The Hospitallers were among Henry's staunchest supporters, and in July, Albert led a contingent of knights to the capital Nicosia to secure it in preparation for Henry's return. Henry, still in exile in Armenian Cilicia, named Fulk of Villaret as one of his lieutenants in Cyprus (along with the nobleman Aygue of Bethsan), but Villaret, unable to come to Cyprus in person due to the ongoing conquest of Rhodes, gave the post to Albert. In this capacity, Albert served Henry on his return in August 1310, and helped him to secure his rule. [6]

Nicosia City

Nicosia is the largest city, capital, and seat of government of the island of Cyprus. It is located near the centre of the Mesaoria plain, on the banks of the River Pedieos.

Rhodes Island and Municipality in South Aegean, Greece

Rhodes is the largest of the Dodecanese islands of Greece and is also the island group's historical capital. Administratively the island forms a separate municipality within the Rhodes regional unit, which is part of the South Aegean administrative region. The principal town of the island and seat of the municipality is Rhodes. The city of Rhodes had 50,636 inhabitants in 2011. It is located northeast of Crete, southeast of Athens and just off the Anatolian coast of Turkey. Rhodes' nickname is The island of the Knights, named after the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem, who once conquered the land.

In October 1312, Albert was appointed grand preceptor and the Order's representative to the Holy See and the courts of Western Europe, where he travelled as far as England. [7] In his letter of accreditation, Fulk of Villaret fulsomely praised Albert's "discretion, honesty, loyalty, good administrative skills, diligence, and hard work". Among his major tasks in this post was the absorption of the property of the recently dissolved Knights Templar, which had been transferred to the Hospitallers in May 1312. [8] By 1315, Albert was back in Cyprus (he may be the grand preceptor who survived from a shipwreck early in the year) as preceptor of the island, a post he kept until his resignation in 1317, when the Pope demanded that the responsions for Cyprus be once again paid in full. [9]

Holy See episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, Italy

The Holy See, also called the See of Rome, is the apostolic episcopal see of the bishop of Rome, known as the Pope, ex cathedra the universal ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the worldwide Catholic Church, and a sovereign entity of international law. Founded in the 1st century by Saints Peter and Paul, by virtue of Petrine and Papal primacy according to Catholic tradition, it is the focal point of full communion for Catholic bishops and Catholics around the world organised in polities of the Latin Church, the 23 Eastern Catholic Churches, and their dioceses and religious institutes.

Knights Templar Western Christian military order; medieval Catholic military order

The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, also known as the Order of Solomon's Temple, the Knights Templar or simply the Templars, were a Catholic military order recognised in 1139 by the papal bull Omne datum optimum. The order was founded in 1119 and was active until 1312 when it was perpetually suppressed by Pope Clement V by the bull Vox in excelso.

For the next three years, Albert was active in campaigns against the Turkish raiders around the Order's new base at Rhodes. In 1318 he defeated a Turkish raid, while in the next year, with assistance from Martino Zaccaria, he scored a major victory in a sea battle off Chios on 23 July and recovered Leros, whose Greek inhabitants had risen in revolt. Finally, in 1320 he turned back an attempted Turkish invasion of Rhodes with great loss. [9] [10] In 1319, the Pope also granted Albert half of the preceptory of Cyprus (the other half going to Maurice of Pagnac) for ten years, as well as the island of Kos, in case of its recovery from the Turks. [9]

Anatolian beyliks

Anatolian beyliks, sometimes known as Turkmen beyliks, were small principalities in Anatolia governed by Beys, the first of which were founded at the end of the 11th century. A second more extensive period of foundations took place as a result of the decline of the Seljuq Sultanate of Rûm in the second half of the 13th century.

Martino Zaccaria 14th-century Lord of Chios

Martino Zaccaria was the Lord of Chios from 1314 to 1329, ruler of several other Aegean islands, and baron of Veligosti–Damala and Chalandritsa in the Principality of Achaea. He distinguished himself in the fight against Turkish corsairs in the Aegean Sea, and received the title of "King and Despot of Asia Minor" from the titular Latin Emperor, Philip II. He was deposed from his rule of Chios by a Byzantine expedition in 1329, and imprisoned in Constantinople until 1337. Martino then returned to Italy, where he was named the Genoese ambassador to the Holy See. In 1343 he was named commander of the Papal squadron in the Smyrniote crusade against Umur Bey, ruler of the Emirate of Aydin, and participated in the storming of Smyrna in October 1344. He was killed, along with several other of the crusade's leaders, in a Turkish attack on 17 January 1345.

The Battle of Chios was a naval battle fought off the shore of the eastern Aegean island of Chios between a Latin Christian—mainly Hospitaller—fleet and a Turkish fleet from the Aydinid emirate. The Christian fleet was resoundingly victorious, but for the Ayinids, who had been engaging in piracy since the collapse of Byzantine power, it was only a temporary setback in their rise to prominence.

Between 1323 and 1325, Albert travelled in central Europe, first as a visitor to the Order's lands in Bohemia and Denmark, and then in several missions as envoy on behalf of the Holy Roman Emperor Louis the Bavarian to the Papal court in Avignon. From 1324, Albert also served as the Order's prior in Germany. He died on 15 March 1327 and was buried at the priory of Würzburg. [11]

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Hugh IV of Cyprus King of Cyprus

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  1. Burgtorf 2008, pp. 466–469.
  2. Burgtorf 2008, pp. 466–467.
  3. Burgtorf 2008, p. 467.
  4. Burgtorf 2008, pp. 428, 467.
  5. Luttrell 1975, p. 288.
  6. Burgtorf 2008, pp. 161–165, 467.
  7. Burgtorf 2008, pp. 446, 467–468.
  8. Burgtorf 2008, p. 446.
  9. 1 2 3 Burgtorf 2008, p. 468.
  10. Luttrell 1975, pp. 288–289.
  11. Burgtorf 2008, pp. 468–469.