|A portion of the ancient hospital rediscovered by the IAA|
Originally, the Knights of the Order of St. John the Baptist, later the Hospitallers, had come to Jerusalem with the Crusaders in 1099 and formed a kind of medical corps to the infantry. They were monks that turned to soldiers and then practiced medicine to help their wounded comrades and other friendly inhabitants who needed clinical attention.
They were an honorable order that kept to their separate national origins, like the French and the Italians, governed by a grand master of absolute power and restricting entry to young nobles of unblemished Catholic parentage. When necessary, the knights functioned as an army of chivalrous officers.
They were originally quartered in Jerusalem’s Aksa Mosque, after the defeat of the Muslims, stabling their horses in the nearby underground chambers later called Solomon’s Stables. With the conquest of Jerusalem by Saladin in 1187, the Hospitallers retreated to their hospital quarters in the Muristan or Christian quarter of the Old City (Muristan being the Persian name for hospital), but were soon...read on.