The Knights Hospitalier, also known as the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta, the Order of St. John, the Knights of the Hospital, The Knights of Malta and the Chevaliers of Malta, was one of the Christian orders of the Crusades. Their emblem was a white cross, often on a black background.
The Knights Hospitalier were founded in the city of Jerusalem to provide care for poor, sick or injured pilgrims to the Holy Land, but became a much more militaristic organization with the onset of the Crusades.
In 1191, the Knights Hospitalier held a significant presence in the Poor District of the recently conquered city of Acre. The Grand Master of the Hospitalier Order, Garnier de Naplouse, personally oversaw the district's hospital, and it was there that he experimented on his "patients" with varying concoctions of herbs and drugs.
As well as the military aspect of the Order, the Knights Hospitalier continued to function in a more peaceful role. Numerous Hospitalier monks could be found in the city, preaching to and aiding the local population.
The Knights Hospitalier were one of the several knightly orders founded during the Crusades, and were tasked to provide care for the sick and wounded in the Holy Land.
By 1191, the Knights were led by Garnier de Naplouse, who was secretly a Templar. He experimented on his patients to try and replicate the effects of the Apple of Eden. He achieved a limited amount of success, though he was assassinated by Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad, which ended his experiments.
By the Renaissance, the Hospitalier base had moved to Rhodes, and the knightly order were responsible for killing the Master Assassin Castor. In response, Ezio Auditore da Firenze sent a team of Ottoman Assassins to burn the Hospitalier compound to the ground.
- The Knights Hospitalier were the only faction of Crusaders without high-ranking soldiers, aside from informant targets.
- In Assassin's Creed, the armor and uniform of Knights Hospitalier guards was strikingly similar to that of the high-ranking Templar crusaders in the Holy Land, with the primary difference being the black and white coloring of the Hospitaliers, as opposed to the red and white of the Templar crusaders.
- In Assassin's Creed: Revelations, the simulated location of Rhodes in the Animi Training Program contained a Knights Hospitalier fortress. In reality, during the 15th century, the Knights Hospitalier held sovereignty over the island.
- Hospitalier Captains could be seen behind King Richard in the crowd when the latter was confronted at Arsuf, and during some of the investigations conducted by Altaïr.
- The Hospitaliers still exist as the Order of Saint John, although they no longer serve a military function.