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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 350

Levant. Tile Westphalian priest Ludoiph of Suchein, visiting the island in
1349, is eloquent regarding the splendor of its nobles and its merchants.
"In Cyprus," he says, 
the princes, nobles, barons and knights are the richest in the world. . .
. I knew a certain Count of Japhe [Jaffa] who had more than 500 hounds, and
every two dogs have their own servant to guard and bathe and anoint them,
for so must dogs be tended there. A certain nobleman has ten or eleven falconers
with special pay and allowances. . . . Moreover there are very rich merchants,
a thing not to be wondered at, for Cyprus is the farthest of Christian lands,
so that all ships and all wares, . . . must needs come first from Cyprus,
and in no wise can they pass it by, and pilgrims from every country journeying
to the lands over sea must touch at Cyprus.9 
He speaks of the daughter of a citizen of Famagusta, the jewels of whose
headdress at her betrothal were "more precious than all the ornaments of
the queen of France." 
 Five years earlier an anonymous Englishman had broken in Cyprus his journey
to the Holy Land. He, too, marvels at Famagusta's luxury: "there reside in
it merchants of Venice, Genoa, Catalonia, and Saracens from the Soldan's
dominions, dwelling in palaces which are there called loggias, living in
the style of counts and barons; they have abundance of gold and silver."
10 This observant traveler also outlines revealingly the characteristics
of Hugh IV. Tile king, he says, "is a man of great kindness towards the gentle
and of severity towards the perverse Greeks; nevertheless he rules tile people
of his realm with justice, without looking upon them too benignly." After
an account of the monarch's delight in hunting tile moufflon (the wild sheep
of Cyprus), he continues: "the king is rightly called peaceful." 
 In his word "peaceful" he strikes the keynote of the reign, which differed
from those of Hugh's predecessors and successors alike in its relative freedom
from warlike operations. Hugh was above all a prudent ruler, who, while fully
alive to the potential danger to his country from the SelchUkid Turks, avoided
(unlike his son and successor Peter I) unnecessary adventures. He agreed,
it is true, to contribute six galleys to an expedition sent against the SeichUkids
in 1334 by a league in which Venice and France were the other partners, under
the auspices of pope John XXII. An expedition 
9. Cobham,Excerpta Cypria, pp. 19 ff. 
10. The MS. of the record of this journey, preserved in Corpus Christi College,
Cambridge, is published in the original Latin in G Golubovich ed Biblioteca
bio bibliografica della Terra Santa e deli' Oriente francescano, IV (Quaracchi,
1923), 435—460. The passages relating to Cyprus are translated into
English by Sir H. Luke in Kypriaka Chronika, II (1924), and republished by
Mogabgab, Supplementary Excerpts on Cyprus, part 11(1943). 

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