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)
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 not. 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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