Aubusson, Pierre d'
AUBUSSON, PIERRE D'
Cardinal and grand master of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem; b. 1423; d. July 3, 1503. He belonged to the noble family who ruled the town of Aubusson, the Viscounts de la Marche. He served with Emperor sigismund and with Albert VI, Archduke of Austria (d. 1463), before joining the Order of St. John (see knights of malta), where he rose rapidly through the various offices until he was selected grand master, June 8, 1476. The main problem during his administration was to prevent the Turks from conquering Rhodes. The knights fought off an all-out attempt in 1480 in an engagement in which Aubusson was wounded. His success against the Turks made him widely known in Europe. The island was temporarily saved from further attack by the death in 1481 of Mohammad II, the Turkish leader. During the struggle for succession, one of Mohammad's sons, Jem, sought asylum with the grand master. Aubusson sent him to France and then, for reasons that are not exactly clear, accepted an annuity of 45,000 ducats from Sultan Bajazet (d. 1513), the captive's brother, on condition that he prevent Jem from appealing to Christian Europe for aid. Jem, in effect, became a prisoner of the knights in France until 1489, when he was handed over to Pope innocent viii. In that same year Aubusson was made a cardinal and given the power to confer all benefices connected with the order without the sanction of the papacy. The knights received also the wealth of the suppressed orders of the Holy Sepulcher and the hospitallers of st. lazarus. Aubusson spent the last years of his life trying to organize a crusade against the Turks, but the death of Jem in 1495 removed the most formidable weapon that could be used against the Sultan. Aubusson's last efforts were handicapped also by dissension among his own troops. Aubusson was an able soldier and an effective diplomat, but his reputation has been somewhat clouded by his acceptance of money from the Sultan for the neutralization of Jem and his efforts, in his last years, at stamping out judaism on Rhodes by expelling all adult Jews and forcibly baptizing their children. The letters and documents of Aubusson are to be found in the second volume of the Codice diplomatico del sacro militaire ordine Gerosolimitano, ed. S. Paoli (Lucca 1737).
Bibliography: r. a. de vertot, Histoire des chevaliers hospitaliers de S. Jean de Jerusalem, 7 v. (Paris 1778) v.3. d. bauhours, Histoire de P. d'Aubusson (4th ed. Paris 1806). g. e. streck, Pierre d'Aubusson (Chemnitz 1872). a. gabriel, La Cité de Rhodes, 1310–1522 (Paris 1923). g. mollat, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart et al. (Paris 1912–) 5:270–274.
[v. l. bullough]