Post-classical history

Caoursin, Guillaume (1430-1501)

Historian of the Order of the Hospital.

Born in Douai in Flanders, Guillaume Caoursin received a doctorate in arts from the University of Paris and was also a professor of law. He became vice-chancellor of the Order of the Hospital on Rhodes (mod. Rodos, Greece), first appearing in the records of the chapter general in 1456, and he served as secretary to the master. Twice he served as the order’s ambassador to the papal Curia, once in August 1470, and again in 1485, when he delivered an oration addressed to Pope Innocent VIII that was published as Ad Innocentium papam VIII oratio (1485).

Caoursin wrote the official description of the Ottoman siege of Rhodes in 1480, published under the title Obsidio- nis Rhodiae urbis descripto (1480). His major work was the compilation of the order’s rule, entitled Stabilimenta Rho- diorum militum (1495). His final published work was an illustrated collection of histories of the order, the Rhodiorum historia (1496). Despite his long association with the order, Caoursin never became a member, nor was he a cleric; in 1480 he married a Rhodian.

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