Philippe I
Prince of Rhodes

Villiers de l Isle-Adam.jpg
Prince of Rhodes
Reign 23 January 1519 - 25 April 1522
Coronation 2 February 1519
Predecessor Title created
Successor Title abolished
(Philippe II in pretence)
44th Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller
In office 2 February 1518 - 23 January 1519
Predecessor Fabrizio del Carretto
Successor Piero del Ponte
1st Governor of Tübingen
Tenure 2 January 1523 — 21 August 1534
Predecessor Position established
Successor Philippe de Villiers de Rhodes
Member of the Kronrat
Time in office 18 June 1522 — 21 August 1534
Spouse Teadora of Moldavia
Issue Philippe de Villiers de Rhodes

Marie de Villiers de Tübingen
Sophie de Villiers de Tübingen

Full name
Philippe de Villiers de l'Isle-Adam
House de Villiers
Born 1464
Auvergne, France
Died 21 August 1534 (age 69 — 70)
Tübingen, Württemberg
Religion Catholicism (before 1519)

Lutheranism (after 1519)

Philippe I (1464 in Auvergne, France — 21 August 1534 in Tübingen, Württemberg) was the 44th Grand Master of the Order of Saint Jean (also known as Knights Hospitaller) as well as the founder of the Principality of Rhodes and its first Prince from 23 January 1519 to 25 April 1522, when the Ottoman Empire invaded the island, after which he lived in exil in the Kingdom of Württemberg, where he became one of the main consellor of King Ulrich.

His convertion to Lutheranism in 1519 and secularization of the island lead to the establishment of the Principality and the exile of the Order of Saint Jean.


Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller

Philippe rose to prominence during the 16th century, gaining the favors of the Grand Masters and becoming one of the most prominent member of the Order. In 1519, he was elected as the 44th Grand Matser, succeeding to Fabrizio del Carretto. His election was mainly won with the help of the French knights.

More open to religious reforms than his predecessor, he allowed the publication and distribution of Martin Luther's 95 Theses on the island, and rapiddly became fond of them.

Prince of Rhodes

He secularized the island of Rhodes and converted to Lutheranism in 1519 in an attempt to gain more power and to unify the local population uynder his leadership. The French knights of the order stayed with him, while most of the Italians and Spaniards returned to Rome.

During his first year as Prince, Philippe travelled Europe, searching for a wife and to improve his relations with other countries. He ended up marrying the daughter of the Prince of Moldavia, Bodgan III the One-Eyed. During his trip, he also expressed his full support to the King of Württemberg, who opposed the Pope and declared his independence from the Holy Roman Empire. For those actions, he was excommunicated by Pope Leo X.

One of his main accomplishment was the developpement of the Rhodian fleet, passing many years investing the money of the state into the navy. Although it was mainly to protect the island, he also held the dream of one day owning a colony.

After the colapse of the economy in 1521, he reluctantly accepted a deal with Württemberg which leaved his armies under the command of the King of Württemberg. This diminision of the princial power and the new relation between the Prince and the King would greatly diminish Philippe's influence.

After a long siege, the Ottomans invaded the island of Rhodes, ending the Principality. King Ulrich then welcomed Philippe and his family in his court.

Noble in the Court of Württemberg

Philippe offered King Ulrich of Württemberg an offer. In exchange of selling his claim on Rhodes to the King, he would be offered a seat on the Kronrat. King Ulrich accepted, and offered a seat to Philippe as one of his main advisors. The King would then try to unite the christians against the Ottoman in order to support his new claim on the island.

The following year, he was appointed Governor of the Province of Thübingen, wherehe went to live with his family. During his time there, he had two daughters. Marie and Sophie. He remained loyal to the heir of Ulrich I, Christoph, supporting most of his new policies, also helping in the regency.

He would later be ale to betroth his daughter Marie to his liedge,Electoral Prince Christoph. Later that year, thanks to his liedge help, he was also able to betroth his second daughter Sophie to the Duke of Lorraine, René III.

Philippe died of old age on August 21, 1534. His son Philippe inherited the title of Governor of Thübingen.


In late 1519, Philippe married Teadora of Moldavia (born 1492), daughter of Prince of Moldavia Bogdan III, who was half the age of Philippe.

Together, they had three children so far: