Designed by Bruce Brookhart, the knightly Hospitaller Dagger has a sharpened 5160 high carbon steel blade that has been durably peened to the pommel. The guard and pommel are blackened steel and the grip is leather tightly wrapped over a wood.
The dagger is paired with a wood-core scabbard wrapped in black leather with a raised cross on a single side; it is finished with a blackened metal chape.
There is a matching sword for this dagger and it is available separately.
In popular media depiction and analysis it is the Knights Templar who hold the imaginative sway the archetypal Crusader. Too often forgotten is the Knights Hospitaller who possessed a presence in the Crusader Kingdoms to rival that of the Templars; the military arm of the Hospitaller Order had a power base in the Crusader Kingdom of Antioch and held the great fortress Krak des Chevaliers. Their knights and men at arms were a common sight among the garrisons and armed caravans of the Crusader Kingdoms and were certainly a significant force many of the the major battles.
Originally founded to provide for the housing and medical care of pilgrims to the Holy Land, the Hospitallers were known to operate a large hospital (hence the origin of their name) in Jerusalem with accommodation for 2,000 patients. Though their focus was on providing for Christian pilgrims their mandate eventually extended to providing care for other faiths, including Jewish patients who were provided with kosher food. An orphanage was also attached to this hospital and the children raised there were often inducted into the Order.
Despite having an origin rooted in providing a roof, food and care for pilgrims, the nature of the region and the ever-present conflict with Islam caused the Hospitallers to expand their mission to providing armed escort for pilgrim caravans – from this grew the military arm of the Order which would, in time, become the primary focus of the Hospitallers – that of a Crusading force for holding territory in the Levant.
When the Crusader Kingdoms crumbled and Crusading zeal waned in Europe, the Hospitallers would find themselves unable to operate in the Levant. Faced with no longer having a purpose or mission, they would entrench themselves in Cyprus and Rhodes and from there would police the Mediterranean from Barbary and Ottoman pirates and holding the islands for Christendom against encroaching Ottoman dominion. Their holding on Rhodes would be ended after the Ottoman 1522 Siege of Rhodes; It concluded with the Knights Hospitaller being graciously allowed to leave Rhodes by Ottoman Emperor Suleiman the Magnificent after a spirited defense of Rhodes from their large fortress.
Afterwards, the Knights would be granted a new base in Malta by Charles I of Spain and they would continue their anti-piracy mission (though they sometimes engaged in piracy themselves against Muslim shipping to shore up their coffers). Malta would fall when Napoleon invaded Malta in 1798 as part of his Egyptian Expedition. After fierce fighting the Knightly Order surrendered to the irrepressible Napoleon. Though the order would cling to existence its military and historical significance ended with the loss of Malta.
The Hospitallers were typically distinguished from the Templars and other Knightly Orders by bearing shields and surcoats of black with white crosses. Though they possessed a substantial force of knights and skilled men-at-arms that could rival the Templars, the Hospitallers would always have a significant investment in hospitals and way-stations under the patronage of their Order. Like the Templars, the ideal Hospitaller was a warrior monk wholly dedicated to martial skill and religious perfection. Unlike the Templars who were purposefully destroyed and dissolved in 1312, the Hospitallers would go on to have a far longer history.