It is with pleasure and sadness that I begin this introduction. It is a pleasure to be introducing the seventh volume in the series of proceedings of ‘The Military Orders’ conferences, which have been held roughly every four years since 1992. The continuing success of these conferences in attracting excellent scholars from around the world is testimony to the vitality and ongoing expansion of Military Order studies. It is a sad occasion because this is the first volume without a contribution from the founder of these conferences, Professor Jonathan Riley-Smith. Since the first volume, published in 1994, his writing has appeared in every instalment of the series: either in an erudite research paper, underpinned by meticulous research and delivered with clarity and authority, or in an introduction which succinctly summarised the research presented in the volume and set out possible routes for future research. His introductions became a commentary on the continuing development of research into the Military Orders: on the breadth and variety of topics covered, the chronological spread of research – from the eleventh century to the modern day – and the international range of scholars working on this subject.