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Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume IV: The art and architecture of the Crusader states

V: The arts in Cyprus,   pp. 165-207 PDF (8.9 MB)

Page 166

 The actual conquest by Richard Coeur-de-Lion and the brief occupation under
the Templars have left little mark, though there is enough to show that even
then building was begun. The main undertaking of the early thirteenth century,
under Hugh I and his bountiful queen, Alice of Champagne, was the cathedral
of Nicosia, the greatest example of the new Gothic style to be erected in
the Near East. The struggle between John of Ibelin and the bailies of Frederick
II interrupted such activities, but the coming of Louis IX in 1248 brought
a new impetus. With the fall of Acre, Famagusta became the chief emporium
of tile Christian Levant, and in its brief spell of opulence, ended by the
Genoese seizure of the town in 1373, it became a city of churches, whose
ruins are still today bewildering in their number. In Nicosia, meanwhile,
the archbishop, John del Conte (1312-1332), was introducing a more Italianate
style of Gothic, and the typical Cypriote decoration of somewhat heavy, clumsy
foliage was being evolved. The splendid reign of Peter I (1359-1369) saw
the island at the height of its magnificence. 
 The Genoese invasion and the disastrous Mamiuk raid of 1426 destroyed much
that the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries had created; decline set in.
With weakening Frankish hold, a provincial Byzantine art reasserted itself
and, furthered by the marriage of John II to Helena Paiaeologina, Cypriote
culture was permeated with 
moyen-âge (Paris, 1879). Some important plans and drawings were published
by E. I'Anson and S. Vacher in "Mediaeval and Other Buildings in the Island
of Cyprus," Transactions of the Royal Institute of British Architects, Session
1882-1883, pp. 13-22, pls. I-XX. The definitive work is C. Enlart, L ' Art
gothique et la Renaissance en Chypre (2 vols., Paris, 1899). This is corrected
in certain details by George E. Jeffery, A Description of the Historic Monuments
of Cyprus: Studies in the Archaeology and Architecture of the Island (Nicosia,
1918), though Jeffery's conclusions are not always reliable. See also on
points of detail the Reports of the Department of Antiquities, Cyprus, Jeffery's
series of monographs Historical and Architectural Buildings [Cyprus Monuments,
n.s., nos. 3-7], and R. Gunnis, Historic Cyprus (London, 1936). There is
a short but valuable chapter in G. F. Hill, A History of Cyprus, III (Cambridge,
1948), 1105-1 142, and W. Muller-Wiener, Castles of the Crusaders, tr. J.
M. Brownjohn (London, 1966), pp. 85-91. 
 Mention of buildings is frequent in the Cypriote chroniclers and travelers;
the most important are Estienne de Lusignan ("Steffano di Lusignano"), Chorograffia
et breve historia universale dell' isola de Cipro principiando al tempo di
Noè per in sino al 1572 (Bologna, 1573) and Description de toute l'isle
de Cypre et des roys, princes, et seigneurs, tant payens que chrestiens,
qui ont commandé en icelle (Paris, 1580); Chroniques [de Chypre] d'Amadi
et de Strambaldi, ed. R. de Mas Latrie (Collection de documents inédits
sur l'histoire de France; 2 pts., Paris, 1891-1893); and Giovanni Mariti,
Viaggi per l'isola di Cipro e per la .SorIa e Palestina fatti -. - dall'
anno MDCCLX al MDCCLXVIII, I (Lucca, 1769). Many of the relevant extracts
are collected and translated in C. D. Cobham, Excerpta Cypria, with an Appendix
on the Bibliography of Cyprus (Cambridge, 1908), and T. A. H. Mogabgab, Supplementary
Excerpts on Cyprus, or Further Materials for a History of Cyprus, parts I-III
(Nicosia, 194 1-1944). 

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