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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 164

exception of some towers belonging to the chief vassals and the fortified
residences of the Temple and the Hospital (La Castrie and Kolossi), the king
had at his disposal all the fortresses of the realm, where he placed his
castellans (later captains, at least in the most important ones), and occasionally
garrisons. These fortresses also served as state prisons. 
 In area and in revenues the royal domain was as great as or greater than
those of all the vassals combined. In the diocese of Limassol the king, the
vassals, and the military orders shared the territory more or less equally.
The accounts of the church of Limassol for 1367 show that at this time almost
all the villages of the royal domain were farmed out (in apaut). But in the
years which followed, the king resumed their direct exploitation; royal bailies
were charged with administering these villages, grouped into districts whose
number, according to a list drawn up between 1510 and 1525, exceeded twenty.
The Livre des remembrances contains acts relative to the appointment of the
bailies, whose duties seem to have been essentially financial.42 
 The principal plantations of sugar cane, regarding which the king negotiated
with the merchants who refined sugar, the salt beds of Larnaca, and the fisheries
of the lake of Limassol belonged to the royal domain and ensured the king
substantial revenues. Duties (the gabelles) were levied at the gates of Nicosia
on the commodities taken to market; makers of fine cloth (camlet, samite)
had to pay a tax when they sold their products, to which had to be affixed
the bull of the royal dyeworks. Other taxes were levied on commodities put
up for sale in the market. Among them figured a tax of Byzantine origin,
the comerc (kommérchion), the responsibility of a particular bailie.
In Famagusta, in the fourteenth century, the bailie of the comerc collected
the dues that the merchants had to pay when landing their goods, and presided
over a court which settled disputes of a commercial nature.43 
 Pegolotti, who provides evidence on these last points, also reveals how
the mint of Famagusta functioned. In the thirteenth century "white bezants"
were struck, after the model of the Byzantine hyperperon. In the fourteenth
century, the bezant became a money of account, and the kings struck deniers,
gros, and sizains. Financial difficulties compelled them to devalue the coinage:
one devaluation undoubtedly oc 
 42. On the dues levied by the bailies on the peasants of the villages in
the royal domain, cf. volume V of the present work, chapter VI, section B.
It was only in 1222 that the monarchy gave up the chevagia et dimos from
church lands, paid up to that time by the rustici: L. de Mas Latrie, Histoire,
III, 620. 
 43. Pegolotti, Pratica, ed. Evans, pp. 83—84. 

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