University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

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 607

 Ch.XVII THE KINGDOM OF CYPRUS, 1191—1291 607 
recognized as regent and bailie in 1263, but, upon her death in 1264, a contest
arose over the claims of the two Hughs. The high court of Jerusalem decided
in favor of Hugh of Antioch-Lusignan on the grounds that "he was the eldest
living male relative in the first degree of relationship to the minor, and
was most closely related to the person last seised of the office."23 This
significant deci sion became a precedent in later cases in Cyprus, notably
at the succession of Hugh IV in 1324. 
 The death of Hugh II in 1267 brought to an end the series of Lusignans directly
descended in the male line from Hugh (VIII), ancestor of the counts of La
Marche. The high court chose as king Hugh of Antioch-Lusignan, who adopted
his mother's name and thenceforth called himself Hugh of Lusignan. In 1268
Charles of Anjou executed Conradin, last of the Hohenstaufens, and Hugh became
also king of Jerusalem. The reigns of Hugh III(1267— 1284) and his
sons, John I (1284—1285) and the epileptic Henry II (1285—1324),
kings of Cyprus and Jerusalem, were to witness the death throes of Frankish
 The establishment of a Latin kingdom in Cyprus presented certain advantages
to the crusaders of the thirteenth century. It constituted an ideal advance
base of operations, where successive expeditions might rendezvous, recuperate
from the rigors of the long sea voyage, and concert plans for attack on Egypt
or Syria. As a source of supplies, the island, "mout riche et bone et bien
plaintive de tous biens," was no less important.25 Furthermore, protected
by the surrounding seas, it furnished for harried fighters from the mainland
an ideal retreat, where they might rest and recover their spirits before
returning to the struggle. Of much assistance, then, to the crusaders, "the
possession of Cyprus allowed them to prolong for another century their occupation
of the Syrian seaports."26 
 On the other hand its occupation led to certain distinct dis advantages.
Secure and prosperous, it proved to be an irresistible attraction not only
to the barons of Syria, but even to the common people on their Syrian estates,
to whom the liberal policies of Guy 
 23 LaMonte, Feudal Monarchy, p. 76; see above, chapter XVI, pp. 570—57
 24 Hill, History of Cyprus, II, 179, seems to have erred in stating that
John was crowned king of Jerusalem. Of all the authorities he cites, only
the late writer Lusignan speaks of his being proclaimed king in Tyre (Description
de toute l'isle de Cypre, f. 137v). The testimony is discounted by other
modern authorities; cf. LaMonte, "Chronology," Bulletin of the Inter national
Committee of Historical Sciences, XII (1942-1943), 148, 
 25 Gestes des Chiprois, (RHC, Arm., II), p. 818. 
26 Grousset, Histoire des croisades, III, 137. 

Go up to Top of Page