This study is an attempt to discuss the attitude of the three major Military Orders who participated in the defence of Acre (i.e. the Hospitallers, Tempters and Teutonic Knights), with regard to the treatment of the civilian population of this political and economic center on the Syrian coast during its ultimate siege. On the basis of a comprehensive critical investigation, it will be demonstrated that only the Templars evacuated some of the prosperous Italian merchant residents in Acre who did not have their own ships, but were at least able to pay for their passage. It is pointed out that none of the Military Orders were ever interested in evacuating the less prosperous majority of the Christians who were then still living in the Frankish territories. While the Military Orders were not concerned about the fate of these people, they nevertheless tried to help the impoverished refugees who lived as refugees on Cyprus after the fall of Acre. It will be shown that the Templars took a far greater share in caring for the impoverished members of the Syrian upper class than the Hospitallers or even the Teutonic Knights, and continued to perform a task which all Military Orders had already fulfilled in Acre during the last decades of the Frankish reign. © 1993 Elsevier Science Publishers B.V.
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