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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 160

conducted operations which the Hospitallers and the merchants complained
 The exercise of justice belonged to the seneschal, who presided over the
high court in the king's absence. Viscounts in Nicosia (and in Famagusta
from the beginning of the fourteenth century) presided over the court of
burgesses, which was made up of twelve jurymen drawn from the Frankish bourgeoisie.
The viscount, a Frankish knight nominated by the king, had the responsibility
for the administration of justice as well as the maintenance of the king's
rights, according to the conditions revealed by the Livre contrefais; he
would have the orders and the bans of the king published and carried out.
Henry II dismissed (in 1300?) viscount Hugh Piétau and his jurymen,
who had refused to have enforced an ordenement which was contrary to custom.3°
 An assize of 1355 reveals four bailies, those of Famagusta, Limassol, 
Paphos, and Cape Andreas, each of whom exercised in his "diossé" 
a jurisdiction analogous to that of the viscount, which extended over 
a vast district called the viscounty.31 Sergeants would assist these officers;
they were placed under the direction of one of them who bore 
the title of mathesep (Arabic, mahtasib). 
 Around the time of Peter I this scheme was modified by the division of the
island into twelve contrées at the head of which were either a viscount
or a bailie, or more often a chevetain. A judgment rendered in 1406 by the
captain and chevetain of Kyrenia shows that this officer was assisted by
a court of four jurymen.32 
 For the non-Frankish population special courts existed. In Famagusta, whose
population was predominantly Syrian, the court of the ra'~ seems to have
ultimately supplanted the court of the viscount. But it is also known through
gravestones that there were Frankish knights who bore the title of "rais
des Syriens de Nicosie". For the Greeks, some documents originating in Marethasa
reveal a nomikos and a taboullarios, whose titles are those of agents of
the Byzantine judicial administration, some elements of which the Franks
had thus conserved. ~ 
 30. RHC, Lois, II, 235 if., 320-321. 
 31. Ibid, pp. 322—324 (jurisdiction of the bailie of Famagusta); cf.
Richard, "La Revolution de 1369." 
32. Richard, Livre des remembrances, Introduction. 
 33. Jean Darrouzès, "Notes pour servir a l'histoire de Chypre," Kypriakai
Spoudai, xv (1953), 
88, 96-97. The first citation of a ra'Ts by name comes in 1210: Edbury, "The
' Cartulaire de Manosque': a Grant to the Templars in Latin Syria and a Charter
of King Hugh I of Cyprus," in Bulletin ofthelnstitute of Historical Research,
LI (1978), 175. Cf. Richard, "La Cour des syriens de Famagouste d'après
un texte de 1448," In memoriam Professeur E Thiriet (Byzantinische Forschungen,
XII [1987], 383—398). 

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