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Zacour, N. P.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The impact of the Crusades on Europe

V: The Institutions of the Kingdom of Cyprus,   pp. 150-174 PDF (9.7 MB)

Page 156

des remembrances de la secrete of 1468—1469 includes an entire chapter
entitled "des chozes qui se font par la haute cour". By this time the participation
of this court was entirely formal, since it was reduced to two or three knights
who ordinarily belonged to the council of the king. But this participation
symbolized the control which the court exercised over the development of
the royal domain. In 1372 it forbade Peter II to give, sell, or exchange
any elements of this domain because he had not yet reached the age of twenty-five.'6
 The high court was also the court of first instance before which cases concerning
the monarchy itself and the royal succession were brought. It judged the
rights of claimants to the crown, proclaimed the legitimacy of the royal
succession,'7 and nominated the regent or, as in 1432 on the death of Janus,
the regency council. 
 It also played another role. This court, which passed sentences and kept
its own records,18 was also the instrument by which the vassals and rear-vassals
of the king expressed themselves as a group. As in Jerusalem, the latter
formed a body which some texts, dated 1272 and 1324, called "the community
of the men of Cyprus": they were the ones to voice their claims, through
James of Ibelin, about overseas service; and it was to them that Henry II
granted a "remedy", after his restoration, "de sorte que les gens ne soient
pas perdans," by drawing up two charters, "dont l'une sera au pouvoir du
roi et l'autre au pouvoir des hommes".'9 
 In fact the noble class was divided. It is likely that the high court consisted
only of men of high nobility. These were the men who supported the usurpation
led by Amalric of Tyre in 1306; it was the knights of secondary rank who
put Henry II back on the throne in 1310. But it seems that the arbitrary
acts of Peter I, who ignored the prerogatives of the high court and of the
community of men, created unanimous opposition against him. He was compelled
to authorize "les hommes", among whom were his two brothers, to meet in order
to present him with a list of grievances. On the day after his assassination,
this list was transformed into a "remède" adopted by the high court,
which stipulated among other things that thenceforth the Livre de Jean d'Ibelin
would become the law code of the realm (1369).20 The 
 16. Machaeras, Recital, cap. 327. 
 17. There is a full description of the sitting of the court when Peter II
was proclaimed king, ibid., caps. 319—324. 
 18. RHC, Lois, II, 246. 
 19. Ibid., II, 369, 419, 430. 
 20. I have identified this document as the outcome of the deliberation of
the liegemen, in "La Revolution de 1369". It must have been finally drawn
up the day after the murder of the 

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