The “balancing act” that the surviving military orders, especially the Hospitallers and the Teutonic Knights, had to perform in order to survive after the trial of the Templars in the early fourteenth century has been the object of much speculation among historians. In a recent essay on the relations between the military orders and the rulers of Christendom, Helen Nicholson maintained that

whatever their privileges in theory, in practice the military religious orders were not independent of secular powers, nor of the local ecclesiastical authorities, the bishops and the archbishops. In order to survive and to pursue their vocation of the defence of Christendom, they had to negotiate with those who held power, to protect their lands and their incomes and to ensure that they could export resources and personnel to the East. They relied on the powerful elites of Christendom to assist them in their work. However, those in power generally expected some return for their assistance, and not simply the spiritual reward of prayer. 1