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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 162

 162 A HISTORY OF THE CRUSADES VI 
 The acts of the government were drawn up by the chancery, whose head was
a chancellor, initially a notable (an ecclesiastic of high rank, later Philip
of Mézières), later a simple notary, usually an Italian. It
included a vice-chancellor, scribes, and a judge of the chancery, and would
draw up the acts of the king according to a formulary which had evolved over
the course of centuries. They were sealed with a leaden bull, which was replaced
in the fourteenth century by a seal of wax on which the king was represented
sitting in majesty.38 
 Although our knowledge of the administrative organization of the island
is very scanty for the period of Isaac Comnenus's autonomous dominion, it
may be assumed that, as in the other Byzantine provinces, the fiscal administration
had been based on the division of the territory into units, the casals (chOrla).
In each casal a katepdnos levied public taxes (dëmdsion, strateia) and
there were cadastral registers (praktika) in which were inscribed the names
of taxpayers assessed by household for the collection of the kapnikón.
The duke had a bureau (sekreton) directed by a prdktOr. 
 As far as can be seen, the Latins used this fiscal structure in organizing
the kingdom. The division into casals provided the framework for the allocation
of fiefs; and the management of the king's finances was ensured by the secrete
du roi, or the grande secrete (as Philip of Novara calls it). Its head, the
bailie of the secrete, is often called prdktoras by Leontius Machaeras. It
may be noted, moreover, that when the Mamluks took over Nicosia (1426), several
officers of the secrete placed themselves at their disposal, and that they
appointed a prdktoras.39 
 The secrete formed a college. The secrétains assembled for deliberation;
one of them had charge of the Livre des remembrances in which were registered
the orders of the king of financial import, the leases (apauts) of the revenues
of the royal domain, the sales or exchanges made between individuals on property
held of the crown by quit-rent or otherwise, and manumissions. It was the
secrete which authorized expenditures by issuing writs of payment (apodixes)
on the funds of the collectors, and examined the accounts of the latter;
it also put domania! revenues out to farm. 
 Its personnel, other than the secrétains, consisted of scribes, sergeants,
and a judge. At its head was a bailie, who up to the time of 
 38. Richard, "La Diplomatique royale dans les royaumes d'Arménie
et de Chypre," Bibliotheque des l~Ecole des chartes, CXLIV (1986), 69—86.
 39. For what follows, see the Livre des remembrances, Introduction. 


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