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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 349

Ch. X THE KINGDOM OF CYPRUS, 1291-1 369 349 
may reasonably be ascribed to anti-French prejudice. Henry, physi cally handicapped
by his epilepsy, grossly ill-used by two of his brothers and their supporters
among his own subjects, was for his day not a bad man and not a bad king;
we may well feel able to accept the verdict that "as so often happens after
an unquiet reign, he outlived all his enemies and died rather regretted than
When he had been able to exercise independent authority he had used it well;
he had welcomed the refugees from Acre and fortified Famagosta; he contributed
largely to the judicial decisions which formed the supplement to the Assizes,
and he established a strong judicature in Cyprus."7 One may commend the tenacity
with which he endured his sufferings at the hands of his enemies, "which
would have been remarkable even in one who was not the victim of physical
infirmity."8 He had worn the crown of Cyprus for just under thirty-nine years.
Henry had married, in 1317, a Catalan princess, Constance, daugh ter of Frederick
II, king of Sicily. He was probably impotent and the marriage was childless.
He was therefore succeeded—since Amalric's sons were debarred on account
of their father's treason—by his favorite nephew Hugh, son of his brother
Guy, who had been constable of the kingdom until his death in 1302 or 1303,
when he was followed in that office by tile disloyal brother Aimery. The
wise, patient, sorely tried queen-mother, Isabel of Ibelin, who had seen
her family so bitterly and tragically torn asunder, survived king Henry by
only a few weeks. His widow Constance married Leon V of Armenia. 
Hugh IV and his consort, Alice of Ibelin, his second wife, were crowned as
the sovereigns of Cyprus in Nicosia cathedral two weeks after the new king's
accession; a month later the royal couple established the precedent of being
crowned as sovereigns of the kingdom of Jerusalem in the cathedral of Famagusta,
the city nearest to the lost mainland. The early years of the reign saw negotiations
for treaties with Genoa and with Venice designed to stabilize the troubled
relations between Cyprus and the two powerful and rival maritime republics,
each with its close commercial interests in the kingdom. Other foreign cities
and communities, such as Montpellier, Florence, and the Catalans, also developed
their activities in this island so blessed by nature and geography; and it
was toward the middle of the fourteenth century, that is to say in tile time
of Hugh IV, that Fama.gusta, its principal port—busy, wealthy, and
cosmopoli tan—attained its position of eminence among the dchelles
of the 
7. Stubbs, Mediaeval Kingdoms, p. 33. 
8. Hill, History of Cyprus, II, 284. 

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