The Teutonic Order was founded in 1190 to provide medical care for crusaders in the kingdom of Jerusalem. In time, it assumed a military role and played an important part in the defence of the Christian territories in the Eastern Mediterranean and in the Baltic regions of Prussia and Livonia; in the Levant, it fought against the neighbouring Islamic powers, whilst managing their turbulent relations with their patrons in the papacy and the German Empire. As the Order grew, it colonised territories in Prussia and Livonia, forcing it to address how it distributed its resources between its geographically-spread communities. Similarly, the brethren also needed to develop an organisational framework that could support the conduct of war on frontiers that were divided by hundreds of miles.
This book - the first comprehensive analysis of the Order in the Holy Land - explores the formative years of this powerful international institution and places its deeds in the Levant within the context of the wider Christian, pagan and Islamic world. It examines the challenges that shaped its identity and the masters who planned its policies.
Dr NICHOLAS MORTON is Lecturer in History at Nottingham Trent University.