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

XI: The Kingdom of Cyprus, 1369-1489,   pp. 361-395 PDF (8.0 MB)

Page 392

was not allowed by them to take even ten ducats from her own revenues; not
allowed to receive letters addressed to her by her subjects or others, nor
to send letters, except with their approval; and not allowed to dine or to
hear mass in public, but had to have her meals alone in her chamber served
by two maids and to hear mass in a room, unseen; and that she had been grossly
abused, brow beaten, and threatened if she demurred at signing a document
of which she disapproved. 
 From supplementary instructions now sent by Venice to the coun selors and
repeated in 1479, we learn that they had been in the habit of placing so
harsh a construction on their orders as actually to insist on living in the
queen's apartments, and that this practice of theirs was to cease. Catherine
was in fact a prisoner in all but name and the counselors her warders; if
the Catalans had chastised her with whips, her own compatriots chastised
her with scorpions. Here was indeed a contrast with the honors showered by
the republic on its "daughter" at her betrothal, and the daughter was finding
her treatment a heavy strain on her genuine love for her mother country.
She never ceases to protest that she has always been a good Venetian. 
 Not unnaturally there was friction between Mark and the coun selors, and
Mark returned to Venice. Thenceforth, what remained of Catherine's so-called
reign was an anticlimax from the point of view of the kingdom, for it was
merely the prelude to Venetian annexa tion. Two factors decided the republic
not to allow Catherine to live out her life in Cyprus in the enjoyment of
her nominal sovereignty. Venice had continued to tolerate the island's make-believe
indepen dence after the death of James III solely because of its anxiety
not to disturb relations with Egypt. Now, however, the growing menace of
the Turks on the one hand, and on the other king Ferdinand's plan to marry
Catherine to his son Alonzo, a plan which the signoria suspected Catherine
of favoring, induced the Venetians to accelerate their moves. The Ottoman
threat required that Cyprus should be placed in a proper state of defense,
which could best be done under direct Venetian rule, while, were Catherine
really to marry Alonzo, there was danger that Cyprus might slip at the last
moment from the Venetian into the Neapolitan orbit. At the end of October
1488, the council of ten ordered Francis Priuli, then captain-general, to
Cyprus to persuade the queen to leave the island and return to Venice, where
she would be treated as a queen and assured the continuance of her existing
civil list of 8,000 ducats. This she was to be urged to do for the sake of
Cyprus, so that the island could be made safe from the Turks. Priuli was
further instructed that should Catherine refuse, she 

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