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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)

Page 602

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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