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Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries

XI: The Kingdom of Cyprus, 1369-1489,   pp. 361-395 PDF (13.3 MB)

Page 369

Ch. XI THE KINGDOM OF CYPRUS, 1369—1489 369 
severity of the financial clauses of the Genoese treaty was to some degree
mitigated, largely through the successful diplomacy of James's admiral and
plenipotentiary, Peter de Cafran. Prince Janus was now allowed to return
to Cyprus, which he reached in October 1392. Even so, the king, in order
to meet his obligations, had to impose on the country most drastic taxation,
which diminished his earlier popularity. A severe outbreak of the plague
in 1392 added to the country's afflictions; on the other hand, the occupation
of Genoa by France in 1396 reduced for a while the pressure from that quarter.
In 1398 there was concluded between James and the French king, Charles VI,
a treaty of friendship which gave the former at least a measure of moral
 There was a close relationship, established by much intermarriage, between
the Lusignan kings of Cyprus and the royal house of Armenia, the Hetoumids.1
Almost all the Hetoumids after Leon III (1269—1289) were descended
through female lines from Aimery of Lusignan, king of Jerusalem and Cyprus.
Guy de Lusignan, grandson of Hugh III, became king as Constantine III (1342—1344).
His nephew Leon VI, who was king of Cilician Armenia briefly in 1363—1364,
was exiled, and ascended the throne for the second time in 1374, was also
a Lusignan, being the illegitimate son of a grandson in the male line of
Hugh III of Cyprus. The effective reign of the last de lure and de facto
Armenian king was a brief one, for in 1375 Leon lost his sole remaining castle
to the Mamluks and was taken into captivity in Cairo. When he died, an honored
refugee, without issue in Paris in 1393, his second cousin James as next
of kin assumed the crown of Armenia (which in 1368 had been offered to his
brother Peter I, who accepted it and styled himself king, but never visited
his new realm) in addition to the two he already wore. Thenceforth until
the end of the kingdom he and his successors on the Cypriote throne styled
themselves kings or queens of Jerusalem, Cyprus, and Armenia, and quartered
the Armenian lion with their arms. It was, however, an empty dignity, for
there was never again to be an independent Armenia of any sort until the
proclamation of the Armenian Repub lic at Erivan on May 28, 1918. 
 James died, when still in middle age, in 1398, having had no fewer than
eleven children by his queen, the devoted Heloise of Brunswick, who survived
until 1422. Despite the vicissitudes, hardships, tur moils, and dangers by
which his life had been beset, he left behind him a reputation for hospitality
and for a love of architecture and 
 1. For full, reliable genealogies see the study by Count W. H. Rüdt-Collenberg,
The Rupenides, Hethumides, and Lusignans (Paris, 1963). 

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