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

X: The Kingdom of Cyprus, 1291-1369,   pp. 340-360 PDF (10.3 MB)

Page 343

Ch. X THE KINGDOM OF CYPRUS, 129 1—1369 3433. Hill, History of Cyprus,
II, 217—218. 
formed the design of ousting Henry from power and taking his place, in effect
if not in form. To this end he enlisted the support of another brother, Aimery,
constable of Cyprus, many of the leading members of the powerful Ibelin clan
including his (and Henry's) brother-in-law Balian of Ibelin, prince of Galilee,
and Philip of Ibelin, count of Jaffa, the ill-fated last grand master of
the Templars, Jacques de Molay, and a majority of the high court. Loyal to
the king—although Ibelins—were his mother queen Isabel and her
brother Philip, the seneschal, together with "many others who did not consent
to this evil deed." Amalric was married to an Armenian princess, also named
Isabel, daughter of Leon III and sister of Hetoum II, Toros III, and Oshin,
kings of Cilician Armenia, and he could count on the support of his Armenian
connections on the mainland. Toros was doubly his brother-in-law, for he
had married Margaret de Lusignan, a sister of Amalric and king Henry. 
The reasons alleged for Henry's supersession were his malady, his apathy
in the face of Saracen and Genoese aggression, his failure to support his
relatives on the throne of Cilician Armenia against the Moslems, general
maladministration, his inaccessibility to those seek ing justice, and so
on. But the overwhelming balance of opinion of the chroniclers and historians
of Amalric's usurpation supports the king against his accusers;3 the evidence
is convincing that Amalric was impelled by no loftier motives than personal
ambition. If he contented himself with the titles of governor and regent
(gubernator et rector) of Cyprus, it may well have been because he feared
to alienate opinion at home and abroad (the papal curia, for example, was
on Henry's side) by proceeding to the extreme lengths of deposing, and even
putting to death, the anointed king. 
By April 26, 1306, the plans of the lord of Tyre had come to maturity after
six months of preparation. That evening the rebel leaders went to the palace,
where the king was lying sick, and read to him a declaration to the effect
that the barons, convinced that the public weal required the government to
be taken out of his hands, had entrusted it to his brother Amalric as governor
and regent; the declaration included an undertaking to meet all the king's
needs from the revenues of the kingdom. Henry, who had hitherto disbelieved
warnings of his brother's impending treachery, vigorously and indig nantly
protested but could do no more; the towns and castles were already in the
hands of the usurper, whose men also took possession 

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