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)
602 A HISTORY OF THE CRUSADES II letter to a friend, after describing the misrule of Isaac, writes: * . lo, the Englishman lands in Cyprus, and forthwith all ran unto him! Then the king [Isaac], abandoned by his people, gave himself also unto the hands of the English. Him the English king bound in irons and having seized his vast treasures, and grievously wasted the land, sailed away to Jerusalem, leaving behind him ships to strip the country. . . . The wicked wretch achieved nought against his fellow wretch Saladin, but achieved this only, that he sold our country to the Latins for two hundred thousand pounds of gold. Whereon great was the wailing . . . ." The hermit took bitter satisfaction in the inconclusive outcome of the Third Crusade, for "Providence was not well pleased to thrust out dogs, and to bring wolves in their room." 7 An unsuccessful revolt by the disaffected Greeks led Richard, anxious to avoid further difficulties with his new conquest, to sell Cyprus to the Templars for a down payment of 40,000 dinars, with 60,000 more to follow from the revenues of the island. Having attempted to exploit the island to the limit, the Templars were faced in April 1192 with a new revolt, which they suppressed mercilessly, with much indiscriminate bloodshed. Disgusted with their purchase, they then, possibly at the suggestion of the dis possessed king of Jerusalem, Guy of Lusignan, turned the island over to him. He paid them 40,000 dinars, borrowed either from the burgesses of Tripoli or from the Genoese, and assumed respon sibility for the remaining 60,000 still owing to Richard.8 Thus by a strange series of chances, Cyprus, permanently sepa rated from the Greek empire, fell under the dynasty of the Lusig nans, who ruled it for close on three hundred years. In the thirteenth century it became a "staging area" for crusading operations, and in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the easternmost outpost of Christendom. In May 1 192, at about the time when Henry of Champagne became ruler of Jerusalem, Guy, having taken possession of the island from Richard I, crossed over to Cyprus. He found vacant lands to be distributed: the ancient public domain, and the lands of those who had fled before or after Richard's conquest.9 He found 7 Excerpta Cypria (tr. Cobham), pp. 12, 10. For dating of this letter about 1196, see Hill, History of Cyprus, I, 309, note 2. 8 See note on the sale in Hill, History of Cyprus, II, 67—69. The chroniclers of the conquest speak of Greek magnates who, at Nicosia, gave Richard half their lands in return for confirmation of their privileges. Since no further mention of them is found, it is probable that those who submitted kept their lands and the rest lost all. See Mas Latrie, Histoire de l'Ile de Chypre, I, 46—47.
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