Wolff, R. L.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume II: The later Crusades, 1189-1311
XVII: The Kingdom of Cyprus, 1191-1291, pp. 599-629 PDF (17.1 MB)
600 A HISTORY OF THE CRUSADES II Whether one holds with lorga that the conquest of Cyprus was an integral part of Richard's grand strategy for the crusade, or with Hill that the conquest was only a "side-issue", which later developed into a major operation, still the position and resources of the island were obviously bound to involve it eventually in the fortunes of the crusader states on the mainland. 1 Cape Andreas, the easternmost tip of the island, lies only a day's sail, with favoring winds, from the coast of Syria less than seventy miles distant; and the northern coast of the island approaches to within forty miles of the coast of Anatolia. In clear weather from the height of Stavrovouni one can see Mt. Lebanon, and from the peaks of the northern range of mountains, the summits of the Taurus range eighty miles away. For centuries a way-station for pilgrim traffic to the Holy Land, Cyprus, since the First Crusade, had intermittently provided ships and supplies to the crusaders. In 1 1 or 1 1 56, it suffered from a devastating raid, condemned alike by Greeks and Latins, at the hands of the freebooting Reginald of Châtillon. In 1 191 Cyprus had been subject for almost seven years to the tyranny of a great-nephew of emperor Manuel I, Isaac Ducas Comnenus, who had assumed the title basileus and had thwarted all efforts of the emperors Andronicus I Comnenus and Isaac II Angelus to dislodge him. An enemy of the Latins and an ally of Saladin, Isaac Comnenus of Cyprus prevented the Franks in Syria from procuring provisions, and gave orders that no ship of the crusaders was to be allowed to enter any port of the island.2 Toward the end of April 1 1 91, two of the ships accompanying that in which Richard's sister, Joan of Sicily, and his betrothed, Berengaria, had sailed from Messina, were wrecked on the southern coast near Limassol. Isaac robbed and mistreated the survivors, endeavored to entice the ladies ashore in order to hold them for ransom, and, upon 1 Iorga, France de Chypre, pp. 16-17; Hill, History of Cyprus, I, 15—316. 2 Hill, History of Cyprus, I, 17, cites only English sources for the league with Saladin; cf. Hackett, Orthodox Church in Cyprus, p. 60; R. Grousset, Histoire des croisades, III, 47; and Mas Latrie, Histoire de l'Ile de Chypre, I, 21 (the last cites also the Continuator of William of Tyre and William the Breton). But see Abu-Shãmah, Ar-raudatain (RHC, Or., Iv), pp. 508—5 10, quoting a letter of the qadi al-Fa4il, secretary of state under Saladin, who refers to the "liberated king from Cyprus", his opposition toward the king of England, and his offer of friendship to the sultan. The editors of ar-Raudatain, p. 510, note I, say that the phrase "roi aifranchi" (Arabic, al-malik al-'atiq, involving a play on words with another meaning of "good" or "precious") refers to Guy of Lusignan, liberated after Hattin, but this makes little sense since Guy aided Richard in taking Cyprus. It seems probable that it refers to Isaac who, before going to Cyprus, had been taken prisoner and liberated by the Armenians. A reference to a roi afranchi at the siege of Acre undoubtedly does refer to Guy: see p. 413 and note a, with reference to another possible translation: "ancien roi". The index, s.v. "Chypre" and "Guy de Lusignan", Continues the Confusion. Cf. A. Cartellieri, Philipp II. August (4 vols., Leipzig, 1899—1921), II, 189, note I, who identifies the "liberated king from Cyprus" as Isaac. On the Byzantine situation, see above, chapter IV, pp. 145—148.
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