Zacour, N. P.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume VI: The impact of the Crusades on Europe
V: The institutions of the Kingdom of Cyprus, pp. 150-174 PDF (13.4 MB)
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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