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Zacour, N. P.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The impact of the Crusades on Europe
(1989)

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


Page 157

 Ch. V THE INSTITUTIONS OF THE KINGDOM OF CYPRUS 157 
juridical theory of John of Ibelin, based on the Assise de la ligèce,
could only strengthen the control exercised by the vassals over the crown.
 In reality, although there was great respect throughout this period for
this Livre (which the Venetian administration would later have translated
into Italian), the Cypriote nobility did not succeed in imposing its will
on the monarchy. The vassals' rights did not prevent the regents named either
by Frederick II or by John of Ibelin from exiling their adversaries and confiscating
their goods, which led to the exodus of many Cypriote nobles.21 Amalric of
Tyre imprisoned and exiled his brother's followers, and Henry II cruelly
revenged himself on Amalric's followers. Peter II confiscated the goods of
his father's assassins, taking advantage of the fact that an attack on the
island by the Genoese had defeated the party which had overthrown Peter I.
John II seems to have deprived certain of his vassals of their fiefs in order
to give them to others.22 But it was the advent of James II which provoked
a real revolution. The great majority of liegemen had remained loyal to Charlotte
and to Louis of Savoy; James, who was besieging them in Kyrenia (1460—1464),
confiscated all their fiefs and distributed them among his own supporters
— Cypriote nobles, persons of lower birth, Italian or Spanish adventurers
— and, when the defeated came over to his side, he gave them other
fiefs, taken from the royal domain or from other vacant properties. The result
of this immense upheaval was to modify profoundly the structure of the nobility,
now completely shot through with new elements.23 
 Among these were the descendants of a non-Latin bourgeoisie, often of Syrian
extraction, which had grown rich either in trade or in the exercise of offices
in the royal administration. Already, under Peter II, Thibaut Belpharage
(AbU-l-Faräj), the bailie of a casal of the royal domain, who had raised
a troop of mercenaries to fight against the Genoese, was raised to the rank
of knight and turcopolier of the realm, before being executed for the murder
of the king's confessor, who had warned the king against giving Thibaut the
castle of Corycus in fief 
king, according to Peter W. Edbury, "The Murder of King Peter I of Cyprus
(1353—1369)," Journal of Medieval History, vi (1980), 219-233. On the
right to make common cause, claimed by the liegemen, see Machaeras, Recital,
caps. 269—270. 
 21. Emile Bertaux, "Les Francais d'outre-mer en Apulie et en Epire au temps
des Hohenstaufen d'Italie," Revue historique, Lxxxv (1904), 225—251.
 22. At least we see the king dispose of "flés arestés": Documents
chypriotes, p. 146, note 2. 
 23. See my introduction to the Livre des remembrances. On the structure
of the Frankish nobility before the difficulties at the end of the 14th century,
cf. Rudt de (von) Collenberg, "Les Dispenses matrimoniales accordées
a l'Orient latin selon les registres du Vatican d'Honorius III a Clement
VII (1223-1385)," Mélanges de l'Ecolefrancaise deRome: Moyen age,
Temps modernes, LXxxIx-1 (1977), 11—93. 


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